New Substrate

Discussion in 'Tank Talk' started by Decay, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. Decay

    Decay Blue Ring Registered

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    recently i bought some black substrate for my aquarium. its gery glossy and looks fantastic. its made of glass, but isnt too sharp. i can get a handful and squeeze as hard as i can without worrying about it. if i tried i could probably use a piece to cut myself if i applied enough pressure, but the same is true of my liverock, so im not really worried about that, the problem is something i didnt expect. algae.

    ive been without an octopus for a few months now (finding it impossible to get one where i live without looking myself, which ill start doing pretty soon), so to keep my tank going ive just been throwing in some dead shrimp of decent size. it seems to work well and never produced enough ammonia to harm my starfish or hermit crab. however in the last couple of weeks i got some decent sized domino damselfish and a couple of clownfish. i have a few tanks set up to one system so nothing can harm anything else, but after doing that and changing the substrate i seem to have a huge algae boom. the new substrate, being glass, also seems to have noticable amount growing on it. could this boom be becuase of the fish? even though the tank has been going all this time could they have pushed it over the edge? my set up is a 6x2x2, a 4x2x2 and a 3x1.5x1.5 by the way. it wasnt long ago that i finally got around to clearing most of the algae off the glass, but that was before i changed substrate. could that have something to do with it?

    its frustrating becuase i just started really making an effort to make my tank look good, even without any large and impressive animals, and now it seems like im going to have to make alot more effort in keeping this under control. my very nice looking (and very expensive) substrate is starting to look like a very light green snow has fallen on it. any advice?
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Getting the right balance of critters seems to be the best answer to algae (in addition to tank wall maintenance) control, however, finding the balance is difficult. I am really starting to like my newest clean-up crew critter but still don't know if there are any downfalls. I now have two Cowries in two tanks. The reef has not had an alge problem since the seahare cleaned it but I lost the hare once he cleaned all my tanks and there was not enough for him to eat. I started seeing just a little hair algae sprouting when I put the large cowrie in that tank and he has kept the LR clean. The cowries will also eat dried seaweed so I supplement them a couple of times a week and so far I am pleased. The other tank has a brooding octopus. I am not sure if an octo will attack a cowrie but since she is brooding, I felt safe putting the snail (2.5-3") in with her. So far it has stayed on the opposite side and there is enough algae that I don't yet have to supplement but do occassionally add the dried to be sure he will eat it. I also have a couple of knobby stars and maybe a mithrax (not sure if Maya ate or not) and a single pencil urchin in that tank but the LR is relatively new (less than a year) so there is still lots of natural food growing to support the lot.

    I get bi-annual brown algae blooms that last about a month. For that I just mix the substrate well (as I do anyway) and continually rinse and wipe with a sponge (I like the Mr. Clean erasers) to remove it from the tank walls (scraping it will just put it back in the water). I wipe my tank walls, stir my substrate and do water changes weekly so the maintenance is high but the tanks are healthy and look decent most of the time.

    Since your glass substrate won't be a biological filter, you can try rinsing the top layer or so in fresh water, followed by a salt water bath on occasion when you go through a bloom cycle.
     
  3. Decay

    Decay Blue Ring Registered

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    thanks for the advice, i will head to the pet store tomorrow and see if your crew are of any help. i also just realised that because i never had any living coral before, and because my octopus was nocturnal i never turned my light on. now i have some fish and coral and leave it on much of the day im guessing that is probably contributing alot to it.
     
  4. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    I have noticed that the darker substrates almost always look bad at the beginning. Also, there are reports that the 'glass' substrates are bad for sand bed fauna due to their sharp edges. I have not confirmed this because I never use it (for black sand I like Carib Sea's Tahitian Moon) but you might want to do some digging.
     
  5. bluespotocto

    bluespotocto Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    I had a really bad algae break out on my 40 gallon tank and i got a cleaner crew. My crew got all that algae gone within 48 hours....and it was bad. The one creature that worked was the tuxedo urchin. He got a lot of that algae. Also if you have it bad in the sand you could get a cucumber, but be carful they dont die.
     

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