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Amphiprion
02-08-2013, 09:07 PM
For some background, the tank will feature some coral and plenty of seagrass. I'm hoping for some hardier, fast growing corals for the rock structure. I'm thinking something like a couple of staghorn species, a branching and plating Montipora species, or maybe a Heliopora/blue ridge in place of the branching Montipora. Had a huge one of those in my old 75 and I loved it. May have a sand dwelling anemone on the far side and possibly a smattering of larger polyped corals here and there. It will be comparatively sparse, but I'm hoping to grow larger, mature corals instead of the assortment, so to speak. This also will not be a designer-style tank with every color and named coral known to man. I won't be paying for those, unfortunately.

Okay, some specs on the tank:

40g Breeder @ 36"x18"x17"
2-250w XM 10K lamps (one is DE, sorry for the lack of symmetry, lol)
1-Vortech MP40w ES--will add more as things fill in and sand settles/gets biofilm
~10lbs base rock and ~10lbs live rock, infested
~120lbs of sand for seagrass

Scrubber is the only filtration--may later include skimmer, as I've found it helps with the heavy amount of organics seagrasses create. It consists of a 9"x10" screen lit by 2-40w CFLs, all fed from my overflow.

Now for the pics, in rough order:

Leak test:
http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z107/Amphiprion_photos/8fe8f62dba2595b8942527f953b21196.jpg

Rough 'scape with about the same amount of overall rock that will be in the tank, maybe a very small amount more. More of a mock-up than anything:
http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z107/Amphiprion_photos/2d6e168bf6bf1c4661a5ecc38f16b5f5.jpg

Filling it up:
http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z107/Amphiprion_photos/9fdbcc082862c0b6e71feb9d4d77ec24.jpg

Couldn't resist turning the lamp on to see how it would look:
http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z107/Amphiprion_photos/323f05678e0c4083ad36299860f4be19.jpg

Minus the trash bag:
http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z107/Amphiprion_photos/IMG_0093.jpg

Got some nice live rock with an amazing surprise to complete my collection:
http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z107/Amphiprion_photos/IMG_0094.jpg
http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z107/Amphiprion_photos/IMG_0095.jpg
http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z107/Amphiprion_photos/IMG_0096.jpg

No big deal, right. Hey, it will only set me back a few months as far as letting my fish go.

So, here it is as of a couple of days ago. My poor fish are staying in the breeder nets, but doing well. I'm hoping they can be released in several weeks to a month, as I haven't seen anymore isopods after removing 70+ individuals from only 10 lbs of rock (!!!):
http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z107/Amphiprion_photos/bd9e22898dbdb59e21c7f6b30691c6d9_zps67b27bfc.jpg

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z107/Amphiprion_photos/3d8780f87a7c35a7f28692aa4b2220e0_zps4f6097d1.jpg

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z107/Amphiprion_photos/d3654c3ba2350c8cf461c863ff64457d_zpsb26c5a8a.jpg

Loving these 10K lamps--it gives it an incredibly natural look. No pics of the scrubber just yet, as it is unproductive. There is very little input into the tank, which is slowing it down. I would pick up the feeding pace, but I don't want to feed the cirolanids, either. Any and all food stays in those little breeding nets and is eaten promptly. Anyway, let me know what you guys think. I'm hoping this will be a successful long term setup, which is one reason I've ditched the smaller, faster growing seagrasses, which crashed my last system. The turtle grass and shoal grass grows substantially slower, so I'm hoping that will do the trick.

SantaMonica
02-08-2013, 10:09 PM
I want to get grasses too one day. Was my original reason for looking into scrubbers.

Amphiprion
02-08-2013, 10:42 PM
I want to get grasses too one day. Was my original reason for looking into scrubbers.

I think you'd really enjoy seagrasses. They've been a unique experience all unto themselves and a great one, at that. They provide a look that just can't be provided any other way. I think most of the tanks I do in the future will probably feature them to one extent or another. As you can tell by the sheer surface area devoted to sand, this tank will be very largely dominated by them. The scrubber should minimize the epiphytes, too, which helps each blade live longer and run more efficiently. In any case, I will keep things up to date here. I've had some bad luck the last several years with my tanks, so I'm hoping that the careful planning and meticulousness I've put into this one so far will pay off.

sklywag
02-10-2013, 09:40 AM
How did sea grass cause crash?
One reason I like freshwater tanks. I think plants make them more appealing to the eye and natural. Watching the fish move through them is nice.
Don't recall where I saw it. But some guy had his whole refugium filled with sea grass. It was very nice, and seeing fish basking among them was cool.
Looking forward to seeing this one mature.

Amphiprion
02-10-2013, 11:16 AM
I had a smaller species that grew very fast. It had a substantial biomass and reached a tipping point, subsequently dying. No clue why it died, but the amount of organics was huge. A large portion of the sand bed, if not most, was anoxic. It didn't kill anything else, but it turned into a sludge trap. The turtle grass in those pics came fom that tank and thrived in the conditions, though. It just didn't look very good at all. Fish, etc were unaffected, though.

Floyd R Turbo
02-11-2013, 10:27 AM
Got some nice live rock with an amazing surprise to complete my collection:
http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z107/Amphiprion_photos/IMG_0094.jpg
http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z107/Amphiprion_photos/IMG_0095.jpg
http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z107/Amphiprion_photos/IMG_0096.jpg

No big deal, right. Hey, it will only set me back a few months as far as letting my fish go.

What are those and why are they setting you back?

Amphiprion
02-11-2013, 02:01 PM
What are those and why are they setting you back?

Cirolanid isopods. The kind I have not only feed on fish as a micropredator/parasite, they also readily consume any carrion available, compounding their extermination. I can't actually release my fish into the system without eliminating them, which takes a long, long time, unfortunately. I won't be adding anything that requires stable rock structure (many corals, etc.), either, since I have to shuffle the rocks around to catch both these isopods and any stray Aiptasia. I've been largely successful in eliminating Aiptasia, because of the small amount of particulate input into the system and using fire to kill any visible polyps on rocks. I'm not even attempting to use something like Aiptasia-X, since it never worked all that great for me in the past. I'd rather spend plenty of time eliminating all of these things ahead of time than have the tank overrun by them in the future. I'm hoping things will turn out better if I do.

Floyd R Turbo
02-11-2013, 02:39 PM
Why not just nuke the rocks by soaking in Muriatic Acid? Kill those buggars off!

Amphiprion
02-11-2013, 03:20 PM
Would've defeated the purpose of getting live rock to begin with. I'm hoping to preserve at least some of the diversity that was already there. Soaking in acid would produce some crazy expensive base rock. It's not the easy way, bu I'm hoping for the best.

Floyd R Turbo
02-11-2013, 03:27 PM
well it was worth a suggestion, but yes, you are right. Who sold you rock with isopods anyways? I would be talking to them!!

Amphiprion
02-11-2013, 05:52 PM
Who sold you rock with isopods anyways? I would be talking to them!!

I did speak with them and they were already fully aware of the situation. Never mentioned their presence for obvious, unethical reasons nor did the person really seem to be concerned. Said person does not house fish in the systems where the rock is, only corals, nor do they add this rock to their own displays, so it is of little immediate concern to the LFS owner. Able to pass off the blame on "luck of the draw" when it comes to rock and act like it was never their fault to start with. Pretty crummy, but I'm stuck with it--may as well do the best I can to make it usable.

Ace25
02-11-2013, 06:18 PM
I swear I have those in my 60G, or at least they look similar. So far I have never had any problems with my fish, so maybe I have something that just looks similar. I have never seen anything that big come out of my 75G though, which leads to the question, do you think certain wrasses would feed on them?

Floyd R Turbo
02-11-2013, 06:37 PM
I did speak with them and they were already fully aware of the situation. Never mentioned their presence for obvious, unethical reasons nor did the person really seem to be concerned. Said person does not house fish in the systems where the rock is, only corals, nor do they add this rock to their own displays, so it is of little immediate concern to the LFS owner. Able to pass off the blame on "luck of the draw" when it comes to rock and act like it was never their fault to start with. Pretty crummy, but I'm stuck with it--may as well do the best I can to make it usable.

You got those from an LFS and they just threw their hands up and said "Not my problem"?? I would be irate! I would find every forum I could and tell that story man. Sheesh!

Amphiprion
02-11-2013, 08:00 PM
I swear I have those in my 60G, or at least they look similar. So far I have never had any problems with my fish, so maybe I have something that just looks similar. I have never seen anything that big come out of my 75G though, which leads to the question, do you think certain wrasses would feed on them?

You may either have a different type altogether, like sphaeromatids, or one of the few relatively benign cirolanids. These have no problem latching on to my arm--haven't been bitten yet, but they swim right up and grab on if I allow it. There are a bunch of fish that would attempt to eat them and may succeed. However, these buggers are so bad, they've been known to bore out of the stomachs of fishes or just latch on inside the mouth of the fish when eaten. I wouldn't let any fish try to eat them, honestly.

sklywag
02-11-2013, 11:08 PM
Funny. I'd see those and think they were cute. Never knowing any better.
Looking at this thread again makes me want to buy a similar set up.

Bilk
02-14-2013, 08:19 AM
You may either have a different type altogether, like sphaeromatids, or one of the few relatively benign cirolanids. These have no problem latching on to my arm--haven't been bitten yet, but they swim right up and grab on if I allow it. There are a bunch of fish that would attempt to eat them and may succeed. However, these buggers are so bad, they've been known to bore out of the stomachs of fishes or just latch on inside the mouth of the fish when eaten. I wouldn't let any fish try to eat them, honestly.

To me they look like average copepods, but won't they be reproducing in the tank as you attempt their removal by manual means? How about baiting a trap with meaty food? Glass jar? The other alternative is to dose the tank with a bit of copper or fresh water dip the rock.

Floyd R Turbo
02-14-2013, 08:22 AM
FW dip is a good idea. Kills copepods, wouldn't it also kill the isopods?

As it turns out...yup

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f11/ciranolid-isopod-22911.html

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f18/things-on-my-clowns-not-ick-identified-isopods-16960.html

But would also kill some micro fauna if you have much.

Amphiprion
02-14-2013, 09:59 AM
FW dip is a good idea. Kills copepods, wouldn't it also kill the isopods?

As it turns out...yup

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f11/ciranolid-isopod-22911.html

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f18/things-on-my-clowns-not-ick-identified-isopods-16960.html

But would also kill some micro fauna if you have much.

It will make them inactive or drop off fish, but it won't kill them--not unless you dip for a long time. I tried that with a few test specimens and dipped them for about 1 hour. I put them back in saltwater (simulating putting my rock back in my tank) and they perked up in about 10 mins and were fine a week later. I don't want to use my fish as sacrificial lambs to get this done, either, especially with the potential for infection to set in. I'd be upset if they killed my clownfish, one of which I've had for about 15 years.

On the plus side, I'm pretty sure I have these guys on the ropes. I haven't seen any at night in a week, but caught a couple swimming in broad daylight. They don't usually do that unless they are hungry, so I'm hoping those individuals were desperate for food. I may actually be near the end of this, but I won't release my fish until I haven't seen or caught any for weeks. I remember years ago the ordeal Brian Plankis went through to get rid of these. Granted, he had much, much more rock and a lot more to lose, but it took him a long time to get rid of them. I don't think I'll have anywhere near the magnitude of his ordeal, but I want to play it relatively safe without being paranoid.

Also, the scrubber is filling in well and starting to get some green filling in. I put a couple of small pieces of coral in the tank as a bit of a litmus test and they are doing well (except for the small leather coral). They aren't anything special, just Pocillopora and branching Montipora frags, but they will at least give me a reasonable baseline. After a few more months and if I observe biological stability with the tank and scrubber, I'll introduce something a bit more challenging, like Acropora. I probably won't keep the Pocillopora in the long term, but it will function just fine in the meantime in letting me know if I'm screwing something up. My testing regime will likely be pretty minimal, as I don't want to spend the fortune on kits I did in the past. Ideally, I'll have a single crocea clam and 3 or so types of coral on that little bommie, allowing them all to mature into colonies. As I also mentioned before, there may be a sand-dwelling anemone in the future for the clowns, but that would be about it. Nothing crazy, but it should look fairly natural in the end, which is what I'm shooting for. I'm not looking for the rainbow tank, just one that grows corals successfully and looks like what I've seen in the wild. If I can get anywhere close to that, I'll be happy.

Amphiprion
02-15-2013, 10:27 PM
To me they look like average copepods, but won't they be reproducing in the tank as you attempt their removal by manual means? How about baiting a trap with meaty food? Glass jar? The other alternative is to dose the tank with a bit of copper or fresh water dip the rock.

I wish they were copepods...

Yes, females will brood young, bypassing any sort of planktonic stage altogether. One female can have dozens of young, so it does make it a bit difficult. I did catch it literally the day I put the rock in the tank, so I was pretty proactive about it. I'm not seeing any right now, but gravid females usually stay hidden and won't eat, only to release all the young later. That is why I must wait a few weeks after not seeing any to account for the possibility of the smaller ones hatching. It has been done plenty of times, it's just that it can take a long, long time. As far as removal goes, I've been trying all of the above, with removal via a turkey baster (which becomes easy once you know how they move) and baited traps. I've been using a 13" graduated cylinder for a trap due to the length and it has worked pretty well so far. They especially seem to like it when the food fouls a bit...

Amphiprion
03-24-2013, 11:21 AM
Well, an update, but not a great one. Everything was going very, very well up until about a week ago. I checked the scrubber one day and noticed that it had completely turned to mush. Not sure what happened--maybe the power went out or something, but I couldn't find any other evidence of it. The tank within a day or so turned into a cyanobacteria sludge pit, with rocks and sand 100% blanketed within the next day or so. Corals that had encrusted and healed substantially suddenly had STN and some with RTN. The water splashing in the sump foamed up like a washing machine and the sump and screen was blanketed in black cyanobacteria. Today, I've taken the screen apart, leaving only one layer, and sprayed it down with a pressure washer. I also took the time to rough up the screen some more. Probably didn't need it, but what the hell. I'm in the process of doing a large water change to hopefully stave off the impending death, but not sure what will happen. Needless to say, the sump will be vacuumed as well.

Interestingly enough, the very, very small amount of filamentous algae in the display had also turned to goop just a day or so prior to all of this. Not sure what is going on, but this is similar to what happened in the small cube that had no supplementary filtration. To be honest, I think the seagrasses are somehow doing it. In some way, I actually think they are inhibiting filamentous algal growth and encouraging cyanobacterial growth. The one thing I have noticed is that the detritus level with seagrass bits has exploded within the last couple of weeks. It immediately settled on the screen and may have contributed to choking out the algae. I hate to do it, but I may actually have to include some sort of cheap, disposable mechanical filtration prior to the scrubber, such as floss. I need to be able to toss and replace it relatively quickly and easily and a filter sock doesn't fit the bill or application...

Any ideas or experience into something like this? I've never had a screen do this before.

SantaMonica
03-24-2013, 12:22 PM
If it had just been the screen, I'd say the lights went out. But never heard of it happening to everything.

Amphiprion
03-24-2013, 03:06 PM
If it had just been the screen, I'd say the lights went out. But never heard of it happening to everything.

Neither have I. I'm honestly stumped. Lights are working fine as of this morning--just replaced them, too. They are the same 40w 2700K CFLs. No idea what happened, but the water has been changed (roughly 50%) and I've cleaned the aftermath out of the sump. I'm hoping the new single-sided screen will work out a bit better as, at the very least, it should allow for more water flow around the algae and also prevent the die-off that would occur in the middle. Hopefully everything pulls through...

Amphiprion
03-25-2013, 05:42 PM
Well, the death is still ongoing. Corals that were doing so well are now dying and/or dead. Ugh...

Ace25
03-26-2013, 08:59 AM
The only time I have had a screen turn to mush and crash my tank was when I tried to use Biopellets in a BRS reactor.

With cyano, isn't there a special ratio of N/P that encourages growth while discouraging most macro algae growth? Ultra low phosphates and high nitrates is what I remember being the ideal scenario for cyano growth. New tank syndrome usually fits this scenario which is why most people get cyano outbreaks on new tanks. The rocks/sand is able to sequester phosphates in the beginning which leads to low phosphates and high nitrates. If that is the case, I can see how some types of macro algae/sea grasses may cause that scenario depending on the species N/P uptake, and on your system it might have just passed the tipping point as your sea grasses grew.

Just tossing out ideas, obviously I don't know the exact answer, and you would have a much better idea than I would on that anyway, Mr. Biologist. ;)

rleahaines
03-26-2013, 10:35 AM
Amp,

Sounds like you have something else going on in your tank.

Any metals? Kid tossed in something? A change in water that you use for top off?

I had a cat once pee in a tank, really raised the ammonia level!

Floyd R Turbo
03-26-2013, 11:33 AM
I had a cat once pee in a tank, really raised the ammonia level!

LOL

Garf
03-26-2013, 01:10 PM
Some marine bacteria can give off phosphinothricin under starvation conditions, if that's any use to you. It's also known as glyphosphate or "Round-Up" is the artificial version. On the other hand, if toxic metals have been deposited in the sand bed, precipitated to calcium carbonate, a massive increase in bacterial activity can produce excessive Co2, reducing pH and dumping the metal content into the column. That's purely from research, not experience.

Amphiprion
03-26-2013, 06:52 PM
The only time I have had a screen turn to mush and crash my tank was when I tried to use Biopellets in a BRS reactor.

With cyano, isn't there a special ratio of N/P that encourages growth while discouraging most macro algae growth? Ultra low phosphates and high nitrates is what I remember being the ideal scenario for cyano growth. New tank syndrome usually fits this scenario which is why most people get cyano outbreaks on new tanks. The rocks/sand is able to sequester phosphates in the beginning which leads to low phosphates and high nitrates. If that is the case, I can see how some types of macro algae/sea grasses may cause that scenario depending on the species N/P uptake, and on your system it might have just passed the tipping point as your sea grasses grew.

Just tossing out ideas, obviously I don't know the exact answer, and you would have a much better idea than I would on that anyway, Mr. Biologist. ;)

This is part of what I was thinking, at least with the start of the cyanobacterial growth. NO3 is currently not detectable with the old Elos kit I have, but that doesn't mean it isn't higher than the PO4 concentration, which could very well be causing this. I know freshwater systems often work this way, too.


Amp,

Sounds like you have something else going on in your tank.

Any metals? Kid tossed in something? A change in water that you use for top off?

I had a cat once pee in a tank, really raised the ammonia level!

Something I'm also considering, though there isn't any possibility of throwing something in the tank, since I'm the only person there. I'm actually going to go ahead and replace my RO/DI filters just in case, even though TDS is measuring 000 out of the final DI stage. I'm also running carbon fairly aggressively and have from the start. That doesn't mean I can completely rule other things out, but I'm doing everything I can to hopefully do something close to it.


Some marine bacteria can give off phosphinothricin under starvation conditions, if that's any use to you. It's also known as glyphosphate or "Round-Up" is the artificial version. On the other hand, if toxic metals have been deposited in the sand bed, precipitated to calcium carbonate, a massive increase in bacterial activity can produce excessive Co2, reducing pH and dumping the metal content into the column. That's purely from research, not experience.

This I've actually read before, but never really thought about it. Something very, very odd I noted when I removed the screen with all the cyano sludge was that the screen reeked of... chlorine. That's right, chlorine. I tested the tank with some low-range strips and got nothing, but I wonder if some strains of cyanobacteria are capable of releasing chlorinated compounds or chlorinated species when under specific conditions. This stuff was literally making my whole sump smell like it...



In any case, the death is continuing. The Montipora that had done such a good job of hanging on to dear life suddenly started sloughing tissue in select areas. Whatever is going on is just not stopping... I'm at a loss at what to do at this point.

Bilk
03-27-2013, 08:33 AM
Wow. Really sorry to hear this. I was looking forward to seeing your tank grow out. It looks very interesting and different. I guess we've all read about similar situations where a tank is doing fine and the mysteriously crashes. The massive foaming in the sump is quite odd too. Could some aerosol have been present in the air? I am also wondering if the DSB had something to do with this? Could a pocket of hydrogen sulphide developed and been released? How about alkalinity and ph levels? Normal?

I know it's discouraging but keep at it and keep us posted.

rleahaines
03-27-2013, 09:40 AM
Chlorine?

There was an incident at a LFS several years ago where the person making RO/DI water got the output hoses mixed and ended up filling jugs with the wastewater instead.

Luckily this mistake only had an effect on 2 or 3 customers but it was a real mess.


There was a time last year where the chlorine and chloranamine levels in our local water supply shot up because of additional dosing by the water company.

People using de-chlorinator ran into problems in their fish tanks as it was more than the chemicals could handle.

Ace25
03-27-2013, 04:47 PM
Good call rleahaines. I had that problem happen to me once as well... city dumped a TON of chlorine into the water to sanitize it (so much it smelled like a swimming pool when you turned on the faucet), and it killed all 7 stages of my RO/DI filter, that I JUST replaced. I got maybe 20 gallons of water out of the new filters before they were ruined. Only positive was that it was chlorine and not chloramines (although I had chloramine filters) which gasses off in 24 hours if you let it sit.. chloramines do not gas off like Chlorine due to the molecular bond with ammonia (or so I have read). You have to break the bond first, then you can remove the ammonia and gas off the chlorine if it makes it though your filters, but good filters should be able to handle a 'normal' level.

rleahaines
03-28-2013, 09:22 AM
The Chlorine smell may be an indication of the seagrass somehow decomposing. Seagrasses accumulate chlorine as part of their biology according to some websites. It may be that they are releasing it into the tank and causing a die off of corals, fish and so on. This is just speculation on my part.

Bilk
04-03-2013, 09:43 AM
Doing a search on NSW parameters I found this article which may have information for you regarding the issue you're having. I have not read through it so not sure it applies, but it may be useful considering what you've incorporated in your build. Link (http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/2/024026/article)