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Old 01/15/2015, 11:15 PM   #651
Michael Hoaster
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Dude! I have test kits, but I'm reluctant to use them. Why? Lets say I test for phosphate. Results reveal high phosphate. So what? I already suspected that, and I'm making adjustments. Suppose the test shows phosphate is undetectable. Then what? Test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate? Those will be processed by my tank. In my experience, testing only confuses me and causes me to take the wrong course of action. There's also false positives, false negatives and plain old user error. Yahoo! I prefer observation, deduction, experience and research. I wasn't always like this. It took years. That's how I roll now. I wouldn't suggest for you or anyone else to do it this way.

My point is, testing doesn't reveal the cause of the problem, nor does it present a solution. Oftentimes they reveal perfect water conditions-the algae has already taken up the offending pollutant. Whether it's phosphate or nitrate or ammonia is unimportant. Algae's pretty simple. It reveals an excess of (whatever)nutrients that the present system is unable to completely process. So I reduce nutrient input, bolster the system's nutrient processing ability and increase nutrient export. And I give this very young tank TIME to mature.

For me, testing is observing THE TANK. If the tank turns green, I have excess nutrients.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll climb down from my high horse, step off the soapbox, and go to bed…


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Old 01/15/2015, 11:39 PM   #652
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LOL. So, when you have a fever ... No tests for you? Bacterial or viral, or malaria... It'll work itself out.

Symptoms can be common across different sources of problems. Data can be wrong, misinterpreted, or just exhibit error - but measurement (and measurement error) is part of any feedback loop.


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Old 01/15/2015, 11:40 PM   #653
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Off my box on a high horse too. Just trying to help.


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Old 01/15/2015, 11:40 PM   #654
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Lol. I'm just like you except... My theory is if there's algae - too much nutrients.
Test kit - shows there's something wrong.
Me - I either don't have the right additive to treat the problem, don't know what I should use to treat the problem, or I'm too cheap to buy something to fix the problem. Haha

Water changes are the easiest thing and usually fix the problem...

temporarily. Just like manual removal.

I have a number of additives/supplements and bottles of reef solutions that I add periodically. Do they work? I don't know. The bottles say they do this and that so I just take their word for it and dump away.


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Old 01/16/2015, 01:00 AM   #655
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Thanks, Karim. I'm glad you were amused. I must admit, I amused myself writing it. But it is my opinion, based on my own experience. I've tested and probed with the best of them, when I was inexperienced and searching for answers. Nowadays I rely on my giant head…

"Symptoms can be common across different sources of problems. Data can be wrong, misinterpreted, or just exhibit error - but measurement (and measurement error) is part of any feedback loop."

Whoosh! That's the sound of your above statements going right over my head. I have no idea what you meant to say. Can you dumb it down a little?

Sam.basye, I think I know what you mean. I too have been seduced by some very professional looking bottles…


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Old 01/16/2015, 01:34 AM   #656
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Ok. To make improvements, you must measure something and relate actions/choices to changes in those measurements.

That way, you can relate turning the knob to the outcome you want.

So, you discover a shower but have no idea how to make it work. You turn the knob to the left, right and pull the knob forward or backward. Great - what does that do? Measure flow, measure temperature and relate the action to the outcome... Now, you can fine tune the temperature and flow.


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Old 01/16/2015, 08:28 AM   #657
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I have to agree with Karim, test that water! Science is all about testing. You might realize you have high nutrients but by testing them you'll figure out which ones are high. When you know which ones are high you'll be much more capable of pinpointing the source, thereby preventing excesses of that nutrient in the future. Test, Michael, test!! Almighty science demands it!


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Old 01/16/2015, 08:52 AM   #658
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Your logic is sound-measure specific parameters so you know what to adjust.

Unfortunately, even accurate test results can lead you down the wrong path. Suppose I've got a bunch of algae, and I test for phosphate. The test shows no phosphate (a likely scenario, if the algae has all the phosphate bound up) Going by this test, I would conclude that I need to dose phosphate. This is an extreme and simplified example, but I can remember similar occurrences in my younger days.

So we both make good points. My disdain for tests stems from what they can't tell you. I find that my years of experience, observation, and more than a little reading, is a better guide for what I need to do.


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Old 01/16/2015, 08:56 AM   #659
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All tests can do is provide you data, they can't tell you what to do. Combine that data with the info in your head, you'll have more information to work with!


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Old 01/16/2015, 11:57 AM   #660
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I advocate for data. Wisdom is in combining the data and observation with your big head and compatriots online to make good decisions (most of the time).

If you make bad ones - write them down and learn a better way to use the data. AND your mistakes inform the collective and makes all our heads bigger.


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Old 01/16/2015, 11:58 AM   #661
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You want the truth? YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

or else you'd test for it.


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Old 01/17/2015, 03:00 PM   #662
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A TEST? WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' TEST! (as long as we're doing movie quotes)

Come on guys, it's cyanobacteria, not rocket science. It popped up shortly after I introduced the barnacle blennies, which I fed heavily at first to help them settle in. Hello! Phosphate anyone? Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

Look, I'll make a deal with you. If something happens I can't understand, I'll test, mmkay? Everyone happy?

To review, I have drastically reduced feeding, seriously shortened the photoperiod, slightly increased the current, temporarily suspended carbon dosing, and merrily added nassarius snails to clean up uneaten food. Also, I have done weekly manual removal/water changes, mmkay?

I know from doing research, that once it takes hold, it takes quite a while to "leave the building", even after diligent work to remove it. Kinda like that last guy at the party that won't leave, so you can go to bed! It can sustain itself even with pristine water conditions. The top layer dies, decomposes and fertilizes the layer beneath. Under the definition for tanacious, it says "see cyanobacteria".

I read another post on RC, stating that the blackout method can/should be repeated monthly, to fully eradicate it. So I'll probably add that to the strategy. Of course there are chemical methods, but I want to avoid them.

Another thing I am considering is removing my tuxedo urchin. Why? The little guy has nearly wiped out all of the algae. Sounds like a good thing right? The problem is, he doesn't touch the cyano, drastically reducing the diversity of my algae, tilting the system in favor of cyano-not good. I was just reading in "Dynamic Aquaria" (great book!) that "It is essential not to allow a model system under development (young tank like mine) to be overgrazed. This would remove the critical energy supply and an important part of the water quality control system at a very sensitive time." So I'll just move him down to the quarantine tank for now, and bring him back for the the occasional 'temp work'. I need the 'regular algae' for the herbivorous fish I have planned.

If I was a biologist, I would focus on breeding the perfect cyano-consumer. I'd have hefty bags of cash! I did a search on "what eats cyanobacteria?" There were lots of claims, but no consensus. Trochus, turbo, queen conch, fighting conch, mexican hermit, mexican trochus, even black mollies! I have seen mine eat a little, but not near enough to make a dent! So it's back to work…

Cyanobacteria outbreaks are an extremely common phase in new tanks. In the big picture it's a good thing. It forces you to really look hard at your husbandry habits and improves your skills as an aquarist. I know I'll do just about anything to avoid going through this again!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass-Mangrove Mudbank Lagoon
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Old 01/17/2015, 09:01 PM   #663
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Oh, I almost forgot! I received 3 turtle and 6 manatee grasses on friday, along with a 2 pound portion of live mud, from Florida Pets. After planting the grasses and adding the mud, I added a thin layer of sugar-sized calcium based sand on top.

The tanks kind of silty now, but once I get it cleaned up a bit I'll post pics.

It's not a lot more seagrass, but it does fill out the DSB a little more. I'm hoping that eventually the grasses will grow so thick as to shade the bottom, preventing algae growth on the sand. Someday I'll have a lush mini-meadow. THAT will be sweet!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass-Mangrove Mudbank Lagoon
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Old 01/19/2015, 08:53 PM   #664
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Another cyano cleanup/water change today. TE-DE-US! It's hard to remove because it's stuck to the substrate, making it difficult to vacuum. Then it's one pinch at a time. I brushed a good bit off the back wall as well. Plus I removed the urchin. I'm trying to encourage 'regular algae' to come back and compete with the cyano. With the all the adjustments I've made, I feel confident 'the scourge' will end one of these days. I've just got to keep at it. Joy…


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass-Mangrove Mudbank Lagoon
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Old 01/19/2015, 09:38 PM   #665
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Now what fun would it be to have a tank that required no maintenance?? that's what keeps you out of trouble because you're spending all your free time in the tank... except it probably has a negative affect with the wife. Lol

When are we gonna post pics of the new grasses? I'm expecting that lush forest one of these days!

Did you get any cool critters in the mud?


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Old 01/19/2015, 10:03 PM   #666
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I remember how easy the tank was before I added the blennies. Pretty low maintenance! It should be again, once I get out of cyano-purgatory! If I was a beginner, and didn't understand what was going on, I'd be pretty discouraged. But I've been in this predicament before, and I know it'll come around.

We'll see how it looks tomorrow in the light of day. It's not a lot more grass, but is is more. I didn't see any critters in the mud when I got it. I imagine there's some. It'll be interesting to see what pops up with this new addition of stuff. The more the merrier!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass-Mangrove Mudbank Lagoon
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Old 01/24/2015, 09:11 AM   #667
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"The more the merrier ". Unless it's more cyano!

How's the tank doing? New grasses happy?


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Old 01/24/2015, 05:33 PM   #668
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I doubt I'd notice more cyano! Ha!

Tanks fine. With the urchin gone, I'm getting more green algae, which I like a little bit better. Yay!

Cyano's still lingering, but may be lessening. It seems a little less virulent. I think I might skip the water change this weekend, and let it build up a little more. Then do another big removal/water change next weekend, and follow it up with another 3 - 4 day black out. I may be rounding the corner!

I've been lovingly removing cyano from the seagrass blades, to keep them from getting smothered. The new grasses are still too early to call, but I think they'll be okay. They neither grow nor die quickly, especially when so newly planted.

Since I've had some sponge development, I may try introducing one or two. Hopefully, these organisms are going to be an important part of my living filtration system. They will perform roughly the job of a protein skimmer, consuming excess bacteria and other tiny food in the water column.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass-Mangrove Mudbank Lagoon
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Old 01/26/2015, 12:53 PM   #669
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Thought I'd post a Barnacle Blenny pic. This is the only one of four that actually chooses the barnacle shells to inhabit. The other three are in holes in the back wall. It'll be interesting to see if they get evicted by the Royal Grammas, when I get around to adding them. As you can see, the cyanobacteria is still hanging around, but I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel! Got a nice little red macro growing from the barnacles as well. And a piece of Ulva in the background.



These little guys are just amusing! They remind me of the fish characters on "SpongeBob".


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Old 01/27/2015, 07:47 PM   #670
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Haha your right.




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Old 01/27/2015, 08:05 PM   #671
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Yes! Sam, you nailed it! Thanks, I needed that.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass-Mangrove Mudbank Lagoon
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Old 01/28/2015, 03:09 AM   #672
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I think they look more like this
 photo 8BC1EAC3-665F-488C-A86A-082E7028E6B2_zpsbmhcbsvi.jpg


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Old 01/28/2015, 10:16 AM   #673
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Kinda similar to their 'threat pose', with their mouths agape. They look bizarre when they do that!

CYANOBACTERIA UPDATE

No water change last weekend, but I was unable to resist doing some manual removal, because I love doing it so much…

Anyhoo, yesterday I noticed a change. Much fewer new patches came back to replace what I'd removed. Also, I suddenly have filamentous green algae growing from the cyano-patches that remain. To me this indicates that the cyano is dying, and the filamentous algae is feeding on the nutrients released. It appears to me to be a form of succession.

So what's next?

First, I just want to observe what's happening. Second, I bring my oversized head into the game. What IS happening? Hmmm…THINK!

My initial impression is that all of my efforts are starting to pay off. I'll list them again, for any of you folks also going through 'the scourge': 4 day blackout, (frequent) manual removal, weekly water changes, reduced photoperiod, reduced feeding, increased water flow rate, suspended carbon dosing, and removal of the urchin.

Basically, I sped up (facilitated) a natural process, that might have occurred without my help. But I needed to expedite the process to prevent the seagrasses being smothered to death, while in this delicate phase of establishment.

I'll continue removing algae from the seagrasses, but not elsewhere. I'm hoping the filamentous stuff will consume the remaining nutrients that were bound up in the cyano. I have other ideas for 'next actions', but I want to OBSERVE and THINK a bit more first. My guiding principal is to work WITH Mother Nature and see where she leads me…


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass-Mangrove Mudbank Lagoon
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Old 01/28/2015, 11:26 AM   #674
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Sounds like you're going to trade one evil for another... Green hair algae!! Good luck. Lol

I'll add that to to the list of things that will be in hell - manual removal of cyano, GHA, and diatoms! Not that I plan on going. Lol


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Old 01/28/2015, 12:06 PM   #675
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Better filamentous than cyano, n'est-ce pas?


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