28g JBJ issues

T Fades

Reefing newb
Hi All,

My 28g JBJ has been going for about a year now, and has slowly but surely developed several issues that are starting to overwhelm me. Inhabitants include a six line, 10 dwarf ceriths, 3 turbos, 2 astreas, 3 nass, 1 harlquin serpent star, fire shrimp. My issues are as follows:

- Bubble Algae, must be hundreds of them now, even growing in a colony of zoas. I did have an emerald crab at one time, but have not seen him in a few months now. I have been trying to pull the bubbles out manually (trying not to pop them), but there are many places I cannot reach.
- GHA on every rock. I have Indonesian LR and tuffs of this GHA is everywhere including the nooks and crannies I cannot get to. Every week I pull as much as I can by hand, but I seem to be losing the battle.
- Grape Calupra (spelling?) Macro. I understand this stuff may actually help remove excess nutrients, which may help to kill off the GHA, but so far it is not controlling the GHA growth. I again pull as much out as I can by hand, but again there are places I cannot get to, so it constantly throws runners everwhere.
-Aptasias. Again, must be hundreds now. I did use Aptasia X at first, but then they started multiplying and now I cannot keep up with them, and they are in places I cannot get my syringe to. Not really sure I should try a peppermint shrimp as I have heard they are hit or miss if they will eat the Aptasias.

My lights were replaced about 2 months ago, when the tank was about 10 months old, which are the 105w CF combo that comes with the 28g JBJ. Lights are on 7.5 hours/day, and no direct sunlight gets to the tank.

I only have 1 fish, Jimmy the 6 Line. I only feed the tank 2-3 times a week and usually not even a quarter of a cube of mini mysis, but I do think that still may be overfeeding.

I have tried, maybe 3 times now, the blackout method for a week followed by pulling stuff and performing a WC, but to no avail.

No skimmer, but I do 5g WC every week with mixed saltwater I get from my LFS. He assured my their TDS is reading 0.

One area I am probably lacking is in flow. I am only using the pumps that came with the setup. Should I get an MP10 to increase flow?

I test my water about once a month, and results are always the same:
pH: 8
Am: 0
Trites: 0
Trates: 0
Mag: 1275ish (a little low)
Phos: 0
Cal: 350ish (a little low)
Temp: 79

I am starting to get overwhelmed with this tank, and not sure if the best solution would be to start over.

Your thoughts?
For sure increase the flow. I would also take every rock out of the tank and scrub everything off that you can see with a hard bristle brush. Then rinse them a few times in clean saltwater. It will be a major pain, but it will help get you back to square one.

I would also get your mag and alk a little high, this seems to help prevent algae growth.
if its that bad i would sell the livestock. and completely dry your rock off for a few weeks and start over. i think youll save yourself alot of headache
Thanks guys.

Not really sure if I will start over yet, just thinking about my possibilities at this point. Bummed about the idea of giving up Jimmy the 6 Line. He is the coolest fish I have (including the ~40 fish I have in my 80g freshie).

If I decided to tear down and start over, I have a few questions:
- Should I get new LS?
- Regarding my LR, should I take them out, scrub them with a brush, boil them, dip in peroxide for a few minutes, rinse in distilled water, then let dry for a few weeks?
- Regarding livestock, I guess it depends on the LFS, but do you think I could trade in my 6 line, inverts, and corals for some store credit? Maybe they could even hold onto some of the corals for me for a few months till I am done re-cycling?
I would do as little fish says and take the rocks out and scrub them and add a powerhead. Rock scrubbing helped me greatly in my biocube battle. I would also cut the lights back to 5 hours. Maybe try doing a 10 gallon water change with saltwater from a different source. It can't hurt. Also, I'd throw 4 peppermint shrimp in there and keep using Aptasia X on the ones you can get to.
It's not hopeless, keep us posted on your progress..
Hey guys,

Here are a couple pics of the tank as it currently stands. This is after a rather large pruning of both micro and macro algaes.

What are your opinions? Should I start over, or is there hope for this setup?



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So far, I have only manually removed as much as I can and have done WCs. I have also incresed my Mag to 1400. I have not yet gotten another powerhead. As you can see, I still have the corals, so I have not yet taken the rocks out and scrubbed them either. Not sure this is feasible as there are so many nooks and crannies filled with macro and micro algaes.

I am still deciding on the route I should go. Either 1) clean each rock and try to keep this setup going, or 2) take everything out, clean the rock, let dry for a couple weeks, then completely start over.
Trust me, Little Fish knows what she is talking about. AND, I've had a 14 gallon this has worked with. Add a powerhead for more flow, it'll cost you, what, 30 bucks? And, pull out 5 gallons of tank water, put the rocks in a bucket with the water and scrub them! it will make a world of difference. Your tank can be looking worlds better in 1 hour. That's all it will take.
ok, I will give that a go this weekend. As far as the corals, should I kiss them goodbye? Not sure if they will survive the scrubbing method, buy maybe they will, dunno.
Just scrub around them, use a toothbrush. That's what I've always done. A new one of course. Then, give it to your husband to use. Or, that's what I've always done. Waste not, want not. My biocube looked like heck and I pulled the rocks, scrubbed and it was like a whole new tank.
Ok, I have a couple questions for clarification.

1) If I start removing rocks to scrub them in a bucket of sw, does this sw need to be from my tank, or can it be clean sw I would generally use for a WC?

2) If I start removing rocks to scrub, I will in essence need to remove all rocks. How should I go about this? Take one out and scrub in bucket, rinse in same bucket, then put back in tank, then take another rock out and scrub, and repeat?

3) Should I incorporate a peroxide dip during this process?

4) Regarding fish/inverts, I am hoping that they stay out of the way. In particular, I am worried that my Harlquin Serpent Star will hide in a rock, but I guess he will come out in one of the buckets. I guess I am not sure what my question is here.

5) Regarding corals, it seems it would be very difficult to keep them safe during this process. I only have about 5 corals (monti cap, froggy, flowerpot, shrooms, zoas). Also, my colony of zoas has lots of GHA and aptasia in it. I guess it would be easier to get rid of my zoa colony?

6) Regarding aptasias, will they just receed in the rock, or will I be able to scrub them off as well?

Thanks for your patience. I am not giving up!
For the rocks I would do a water change and then scrub off in the old tank water. Dip in clean saltwater and then place back in the tank. If you have some serious roots and stuff still left, you can drip some diluted hydrogen peroxide on the area, but i wouldnt dip the whole rock.

If you can put the corals in a different tub while you scrubb, that might be best, otherwise just be careful. If the zoas are that badly incased you might have to get rid fo them but, i would first try scrubbing around the area and then do the hydrogen peroxide thing. The might be pissed, but they should survive.

Aiptasia, i would carefully mark the area that they are attached to because the will retract once you start moving stuff. Then scrub the hell out of that area, apply hydrogen peroxide and then aiptasia X. Then rinse that rock off very well. If you are still worried, superglue over the areas.
Still in the planning stages of starting over.

I think I want to start over using 100% dry rock (BRS reef saver or pukani), and using new live sand. Is this a good idea? Will the live sand seed the dry rock?

You mean live sand in a bag at the store? That is what I used and was advised by the smarties on here that there isn't much "live" in those bags. So, I'd toss in a cup of sand from your established tank or the LFS or a piece of live rock to get everything all nice and seeded. Did you pull your rocks or can you salvage any of your live rock for seeding?
You mean live sand in a bag at the store? That is what I used and was advised by the smarties on here that there isn't much "live" in those bags. So, I'd toss in a cup of sand from your established tank or the LFS or a piece of live rock to get everything all nice and seeded. Did you pull your rocks or can you salvage any of your live rock for seeding?

Yes, I mean live sand in a bag.

The tank is still up and running with the old setup. I really don't want to use my LR as the reason I am starting over is to avoid the many problems my current setup has (aptasia, GHA, byropsis, bubble algae, caulerpa, other macros).

I have no problem being patent with a new setup, and don't want to risk any unwanted stuff in the tank. Since the LS is not seen as truly live, I will not rely on that to seed the new LR. Was then thinking of using all dry rock, live sand, and using a table shrimp to build bacteria. As I understand it, this method may take a 2-3 months for the dry rock to become live?

Plan: Before I get the new setup going, I will do a complete tear down, and give most of my stuff (rocks, corals, inverts, 6-line) to a LFS for some store credit. I will then clean the inside of the tank/sump and all equipment, then let dry for a couple weeks to ensure nothing is living, then maybe rinse again to flush any dead matter out of plumbing. Now it would be time get the new dry rock in the tank, followed by the sand, water, and get all equipment running. Let that run for a couple days to monitor equipment, then add a table shrimp. Wait for cycle to complete, add part of CUC, a couple corals, and a fish. Any comments on this plan?

Thanks again everybody, for your help and patience.:Cheers:
Sorry to hear it's led to this T Fades. After emptying and scrubbing your tank I wouldn't think you need to wait weeks. Your plan sounds nice and thoughtful and slow. All good stuff.
The shrimp will kick off your cycle and your biological filter will begin to build. Perhaps you can grab a live rock or 2 from your lfs?
I re-skimmed thru the thread and do not remember, do you use r/o water or tap water for your tank? Are you going to replace your light bulbs during the rebuild?
I have always used mixed saltwater from the lfs. not a single drop of tap has ever reached the tank. I did replace the bulbs about 3 months ago, and will replace it again in about 3 months.

I will not be discouraged though. If keeping a reef was easy, everybody would be doing it.

Thanks again, will keep you all posted of my progress.
i would set everything sit in a strong solution of vinegar and water, that will kill off any remaining organisms and dissolve most everything that was deposited on them, leaving them nice and newish for when you restart.

You can dry cycle a tank, it will just take a little longer.

Good luck with everything, I admire you sticking it all out!