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Perpetual Cyano


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My reef tank has been devastated by Cyano. I have been traveling and husbandry has been on the back burner.
I have been using a lot of live rock in my 55 gallon sump in addition to a couple hundred pounds that are in my 225 gallon.

I’m wondering if the detritus is just building up in my refugium? Does anyone else run a ton of live rock in there sump? I’m thinking maybe if I get rid of all of this but it would be just easier to clean without an area for the detritus to build up?  Thoughts? Pics?

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Detritus, aka fish poop, is an important source of carbonates in reef ecosystems so I wouldn't be too aggressive removing all of it.  You likely have cryptic sponges also which are essential recyclers and process labile DOC 1000X faster than bacterioplankton (and thus skimmers).   If I remember right your system is about 10-12 years old?  With the combination of neglect and a likely build up of DOC (and maybe also some loss of corals or reduced growth?) the equilibrium of your system has shifted to one supporting cyano and not corals.  What I'd be doing is frequent water changes and siphoning out as much nuisance algae as possible and, depending on what you currently have, maybe also adding some hardy corals to compete with algae for nutrients.  I wouldn't do larger than a 10% water change at a time and not more than once a week, you're trying to shift teh equilibrium of the ecosystem by reducing the labile DOC that promotes harmful and pathogenic shifts in coral microbiomes as well as removing microbial stuff that's not removed by skimmers or GAC, over time shifting microbial processes beneficial for corals.

 

To help understand how microbes, corals and algae interact with each other to shift the equilibrium of a system to a coral dominate or algae dominate ecosystem I'd strongly recommend getting Forest Rohwer's "Coral Reefs in the Microbial Seas" as well watch his video by UCTV.  His video compliments his book of the same title (Paper back is ~$20, Kindle is ~$10).  While there is overlap bewteen his book and the video both have information not covered by the other and together give a broader view of the complex relationships found in reef ecosystems

 

You might find using straws helpfull in removing cyano from around corals,heres a video how I use straws and paper towels to remove algae instead of just knocking it off with lagea magnets.

 

Here's links to 2 algae threads to see how this fairly simple process can change a system:

 

http://www.austinreefclub.com/topic/34556-hair-algae-a-case-study/?tab=comments#comment-275433
http://www.austinreefclub.com/topic/39043-hair-algae-a-second-case-study/?tab=comments#comment-325744

 

WHatever you do please post your progress!

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Tim,

Thanks for the response! Doesn’t take long for a tank to crash when you are gone most of the time. Now I’m home again, I plan on going back to water changes every 10 days (10%). I cleared the rubble out of the sump and started with a clean slate. Still have all sand and about 200 lb rock in the 225 g. The tank itself was set up in 2008 (14 years now).
 

New filter socks with larger porous media intercepting, first. These are now cleaned out daily. All pumps cleaned throughly. Salinity levels checked at 1.023. Other parameters to be checked and posted tomorrow as I wanted time for this water/ filtration change to settle a bit.

You mentioned “hard coral” to be added? Any particular that you would recommend?

Also, old lights are gone and Kessil A160WE’s are now installed.  Still running original “Ehim 1262 (2/ea)” from sump. Internal circulation is Tunze 6105 Turbelle and a ReefWave 45 Gyre. New GFO and Carbon as of 7 May (yesterday). 
Pics: old to new.F664CE36-78FA-4209-8501-6F96F3D4438A.jpeg

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F0F7E249-7965-446D-B59F-32EB302C38EC.jpeg

36B11638-D111-4B87-A97F-D70A1BDAEA07.jpeg

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That was a lot of of work! :)

13 hours ago, renman303 said:

. . . You mentioned “hard coral” to be added? . . .

No, I said "hardy" not "hard".  Corals are competing with algae for nutrients and under ideal conditions corals limit the amount of nutrients their zooxanthellea get.  When the equilibrium of a system shifts and algae thrives there's a lot of stuff that hinders corals ability to compete and promote microbiomes beneficial to them.  Doing a lot of stuff all at once may feel like something is being accomplished but we need to keep in mind it is also an additional source of stress for the existing corals.  To help restore beneficial microbiomes adding hardy corals will help the process along.  These don't necessarily have to be corals we want to keep long term. (I like Xenia but I don't find it a hassle to control or remove either and purple stylo is one of the hardiest corals I've stumbled across.)  What we want to do is keep reducing the algae by siphoning it out and getting algae eaters like urchins and Sally Lightfoot crabs and maybe larger algae eating hermits like the Thin Strip Hermits and reduce the overall microbial load with water changes letting corals promote the beneficial stuff. 

 

 

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