29 bioCube - long battle

So as I move away from the 120, I am focusing on the biocube. Doing my test for the first time in forever, was interesting. More on that later.

This tank has been set up with caribsea life rock and has been nothing but a pain in the ass. Nonstop hair algae. No missed water changes, 5g per week though I have sprinkled in a couple 15g water changes as I try to get ahead of this algae situation. Not a fan of the rock, it’s dense and I have questions whether is porous enough for bacteria. Just hair to cyano back to hair back to cyano…wash rinse repeat.

Test results:

1 NO3
.06 phosphate
6.7 alkalinity
450 calcium
1500 mag

Raised alkalinity to approximately 9. No/low nitrates is interesting.

So we are getting somewhere. Tested again tonight. Phosphates are at 0.1, nitrates are at 5.

There is definitely work to be done but whatever I am doing is working. For the first time in a LONG time, I am seeing testable nitrate and phosphates are high. To my uninformed tank mind, that means (at least I think) the algae is dying off.

I have also added waste away gel to the return section, and I think that is the cause of the skimmer going nuts.

The mp10 is finally starting to quiet down.

Other parameters were:

8.2 alkalinity
370 calcium
1310 mag

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I’m going to start dosing my nano tank. Do you have any LPS or SPS in your tank? How did they respond to the alkalinity boost?

I have no corals. I have algae that I am battling. When I do get corals they will be zoas, maybe some other easy lps. I may hold off until I do this 40 breeder build but we will see. That could be a ways off.

what is your filtration/nutrient export? whats the live stock and feeding like?

i have an aquamaxx HOB-1 skimmer. I run an in-tank media basket with filter floss, purigen and chemipure elite (blue next month).

Livestock is 2 clowns and a bi-color blenny, along with various clean up crew.

I feed every other day, every 3rd day. The algae is starting to die off, one of the rocks I actually took out and sprayed some peroxide on it. The other 2 I cannot as there is anemone’s though I could probably work around them, but we will see. The Life rock shapes is a really dense rock, and I thought maybe that’s the problem, but since I started to shut off the skimmer, i’m wondering if I was just overskimming and taking out as much good bacteria as I was nutrients?

I do 10% water changes, and have been doing that every couple days with a scattering of 5 gallon changes about every other week.

I have recently added the waste away gel to the return section and started turning off the skimmer for 4 hours a day.

I started with a 40 with well cycled/aged rock coved in corraline algae. I had a way oversized skimmer and even dosed vodka. Thought i was smart about it.

that was the worst cyano/hair algae ive ever had and it gave me tons of problems. In the weeks and months after i introduced macro algae everything got better.

Waste management has been much easier for me after introducing a fuge with a powerful light. You gotta think the 10% water changes still leave 90% of your impurities.

I wonder if the rock ever cycled and developed the bacteria colony. Never heard of waste away gel, but that seems like the right track to get the beneficial bacteria on the right track. Good luck!

He is a quick video of the cube. The algae has dissipated really quick. Apologies for the dirty glass.

i have also never been able to grow any kind of macro algae, it just withers away and gets covered by other types of algae.

What are you lighting the fuge with? It has to be able to outcompete the other nuisance algae in your system

Was the IM ChaetoMax

The algae is gone. That actually escalated quickly. Will be doing some water tests tonight but wow. The multiple 10% changes for a few weeks with some 25% changes mixed in, adding waste away and the chemipure elite…seems to have made a massive difference

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Well done. Kudos for staying with it and sharing to help others.

So as the algae has died the levels have increased.

7.5 dkh
10 NO3
.09 PO4
365 calcium (added ESV bionic to bring to 440)
1410 magnesium

Did a 5g water change with regular IO, which we know is 10.6 dkh. It was 410 calcium (added 1/2 tsp of calcium chloride to bring to 440).

For whatever reason my IO has been testing at 1500 magnesium at 1.026 (Hanna).

Will keep working at it.

I am starting to think about some extremely easy lps corals to add. Will probably look for zoanthids, maybe something for the sand, and something else.

Looks like it is coming along. Only thing that would bother me is the po4 is slightly high for the nitrates. At 10 no3 I would wants to be about .05+/- .01 but if everything is doing well don’t go chasing this number let it ride and see how things progress. I have more issues when my nutrients are almost undetectable or spike out of balance to much. 1500 mag is nothing to worry about honestly, they say higher mag in the 1400-1500 aids in keeping algae at bay.

keep in mind as you raise calcium up since it is so low your dkh will drop even faster as it is able to be used more efficiently. eventually this will all balance out. I do love the esv b-ionic stuff which is what I do use.

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We extended the light schedule from 4 to 6 hours this week. The wasteaway gel wasn’t being disbursed into the tank because some idiot didn’t take the protective wrapper off of it. So the algae dying back is due to the water changes and addition of chemi-pure elite.

Tests this week were 7.2 dkh (dosed up to 10), 420 calcium, 1410 magnesium, 5 NO3, 0.07 PO4.

i’m starting to think about getting some zoa’s and duncans to test this thing out. Maybe a candy cane and hammer as well. we’ll see. We may or may not be moving, and I guarantee, if i get corals, we’ll move. if I don’t, we’ll stay here.

just how my luck runs.

Thays a good sign if it is going away and you didn’t need another chemical in the tank. Your levels look pretty good. Get the alk more dialed in before you jump into hammers and torches. I do have frog spawn and orange/gold hammer when you’re ready if thats up your alley.


tested last night and alk was at 8.8, dosed to 9 (or there abouts as I have never been able to dose back up to my target, it’s always higher)…my goal is to keep things at 9, let nature do its thing, and maintain a “range” with water changes, as we talked about.

i’m also half tempted to take the skimmer offline because it’s getting louder and louder, but maybe it needs a good cleaning.

Its strange but my 40g went through similar issues and u have the same rock. I do not think its the rocks because i have a few diff brands. But I also forgot to turn my skimmer on for a week and noticed a change for the better. After 3 weeks now things look good but I’m not using the skimmer which feels bad lol. Also dr tims has always fixed any issue in my tanks. Bubble algea use vidbrant and an emerald crab with manual removal. By 6 weeks the vibrant will start working and the crab will have grown and crave it.