+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 43

Thread: Ultra-High Nutrient Tank - No Scrubber Growth

  1. #1
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,710

    Ultra-High Nutrient Tank - No Scrubber Growth

    So here's a tricky one for y'all to pick apart. First, a quick background.

    Tank is in a Japanese Steakhouse. 225 FOWLR. When I came across it, it looked like this



    Nitrates well off the scale (over 800 on API, extrapolated after diluting sample water with fresh SW) and Phos who knows.

    With 1 fish alive



    And one that I found under a rock when emptying the tank, and he was blind and barely alive



    He died a few weeks later.

    I pulled the fish & bio-balls out into a temp tank



    Soaked all the rocks in freshwater, sprayed with bleach, rinsed, etc...Then sanded down the main tank (took 2 weeks @ 2 hours/day) and set it all up again.





    That was almost 3 years ago.

    Now, because the owner hasn't wanted to pay for monthly water changes, and they really didn't seem to be making much of a dent, the tank is back to super high nutrients.

    The result is N is over 400, and P is around 6.5, both using diluted samples. Please do not crucify me!!! LOL

    I added an L2 (original version) in October of 2012. I wanted to see how it would perform. Turns out, it doesn't - at all.



    The only growth I get is in the bottom of the box:







    ...and it's sort of like a skin of algae





    Then there is some emerald green growth inside the slot pipe - deep inside it, like where there is nearly zero light, and some brown growth right at the bottom of the screen (underwater)





    This is what it looks like, week after week, for over 3 months. The screen is bare white, like it was brand new, and the only growth is at the slot pipe junction and up into the pipe, and in the corners and bottom of the box.

    I have tried running the lights 24/7 (for one week, a month into it) but for the most part I run the lights 1 hour on, 1 hour off, for a total "on" time of 12 hours/day.

    So what is the deal here? Nutrients too high for algae to grow? No presence of proper strain of algae?

    Is it just high P, just high N, or both? Could I run GFO to pull down P? I recall a thread about high P inhibiting algae growth. They clean the tank with a algae mop once a week and there is hardly any growth.

    The restaurant changed owners last year, and the new owner wants to turn it into a full-blown reef tank (and so do I!!). I can do a PWC if I really need to, but it's a PITA on this tank. I was hoping that the algae scrubber would at least make a dent in the nutrients - I haven't even bothered to re-test.

    To my knowledge, no one has tried putting an algae scrubber on a tank that is this high in nutrients. So maybe there is a limit to what the scrubber can do. If that is the case, this tank is well beyond it.

    So I'll leave it to the study-diggers to dig up something that might explain this...

  2. #2
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Uk! England
    Posts
    1,212
    Very interesting. Have you re seeded it since the bleach treatment, to get a bit of micro fauna / flora going?

  3. #3
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,710
    Nope, but I didn't soak the rock, just sprayed with straight bleach, scrubbed, rinsed right away, and soaked in water treated with prime. The red growth on the rocks came back eventually, but the gravel stays clean. The old gravel was regular aquarium gravel, the new stuff I put in is Special Grade Reef Sand

    Here is the tank now





    Oh yeah and the scrubber



    Had to take skimmer off. Until I replace the sump with a 40B, they won't both fit

  4. #4
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    940
    Needs more light.

    LOL.. sorry, had to say it.

    Why are they still using bioballs on that tank? Obviously the bioballs are not helping much and I would imagine there are many other things you can put in the chamber that would benefit the tank more.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    USA, Westchester,NY
    Posts
    119
    light is too intense in the center part

    remove a few leds and see what happens

  6. #6
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,710
    Well I have 50 of the exact same scrubber out there being used by customers (original Rev 1 L2), and none of them have had zero growth like this. It's not the LED intensity specifically that is wrong. It has to have something to do with the nutrient levels, or lack of specific algae.

    Initially when I re-started the tank, there was an on-and-off cyano bloom on the sand bed, mostly red, but some green. I was doing small PWCs and vacuuming the gravel bed for a while. Then I decided to leave the bed alone and let them just turn over the top layer when they cleaned the glass with the mop, and after a while it just went away. So there is a strong possibility that the tank is lacking the algae needed (no GHA). Even the display tank has never grown any GHA. Just this layer of red that is mostly picked off by the Sailfin Tang.

    the bio-balls are there because, well, that's what they had, and the original owner was not interested in re-doing the entire filtration system. He just wanted the tank cleaned up and scratches taken out, and better fish. I put a bunch of fish in after the tank stabilized originally, then there was some unanticipated aggressiveness and the fish population dwindled down. I have wanted to get rid of the bioballs but for lack of any other initial filtration, I left them in to keep a cycle from happening and just haven't had the time to remove them.

    The sump itself is a POS and the seams are starting to show signs of failure so the plan is to take a 40B and drill it for the pump bulkheads, then build an insertable acrylic intake chamber on one end which will overflow into a filter sock chamber (right now there is a filter pad & drip plate over the bio-balls), then the skimmer and scrubber. Unfortunately there is little room for an auto-top off system or a storage bucket, at least without modification to the wall surrounding the sump area.

    However, the customer (new owner) is a former reef tank owner and is willing to really dump $$ into the tank. They actually get many positive comments now (from non-reef folks LOL)

    The plan is:
    Fix nutrients
    Replace sump
    remove non reef safe fish
    replace PC lighting with LED (perhaps a couple of DreamChips)
    Add a bunch more LR
    Add corals and reef safe fish

    But first things first. Why the problems with the scrubber....

  7. #7
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    940
    Since you can make acrylic sumps, why not make a completely custom one that has a built in section for ATO water? I have seen a few custom sumps that had that feature.

    And ya, lack of any GHA is probably the cause, take a rock out of some other tank that has some and stick it in the sump, I bet that will help a ton.

  8. #8
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    9,952
    Well the stuff that is growing is certainly high-nutrient growth... thick and gell-like. What may be happening is that any similar gell-like growth that tries to attach gets washed away because gell-like growth has no roots. Possible solution might be to slow the flow.

  9. #9
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,710
    Quote Originally Posted by Ace25 View Post
    Since you can make acrylic sumps, why not make a completely custom one that has a built in section for ATO water? I have seen a few custom sumps that had that feature.

    And ya, lack of any GHA is probably the cause, take a rock out of some other tank that has some and stick it in the sump, I bet that will help a ton.
    I have made those as well. But they kind of balked at the cost. A 40B is a cheap alternative for now. They currently just dump in 5g of RODI whenever the sump gets low. Plus an built-in ATO chamber would likely be on the end of the tank opposite the pumps and quite difficult to access. Still a possibility though.

    Introducing GHA to the tank might create a bigger problem though...the tank might turn into a forest!

    Quote Originally Posted by SantaMonica View Post
    Well the stuff that is growing is certainly high-nutrient growth... thick and gell-like. What may be happening is that any similar gell-like growth that tries to attach gets washed away because gell-like growth has no roots. Possible solution might be to slow the flow.
    Gel-like is a good description. It reminds me of the inside of a Mike & Ike candy, like when you suck on one and the outer coating is gone. It's like a semi-hard gelatinous stuff that breaks into chunks when you squeeze it.

    I had not considered slowing the flow.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by Floyd R Turbo View Post

    Introducing GHA to the tank might create a bigger problem though...the tank might turn into a forest!
    Since your scrubbers are identical, have you thought about taking a screen from another tank, that's halfway through it's growth/cleaning cycle, and putting it in that scrubber? That way you jump to a fully functioning screen instead of a screen ramping up and hoping to stay ahead of whatever might spread from a seed rock throughout the tank.

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts