diatoms or cyano?

newbieruss

New member
hi,
ive had my tank running for 4 months now. been running a fuge with miracle mud only. well was. i added some chaeto in with the mud as well as a light. now im having alot of brown dust on my glass and some rocks. i have noticed that with my chaeto ball rolling in my fuge it was kicking up the mud. i was also told from lfs to add sand sifting snails as these would help. i have phosban running and charcoal as well. so i was wondering is it he disturbances in the sand doing this?

thanks in advance
 

ahullsb

New member
I've never used miracle mud myself. How long have you been running the phosphate reactor? When new, the phosphate media can leach a redish brown powder into the water column.
 

newbieruss

New member
been running it from a month old. was rinsed really good though. i know a picture would help but none here yet. (wife lost it) funny you mentioned it though. the return tube is all brown on the inside as well. too much flow? its a small powerhead and the top of the rowas is just flowing
 

jtma508

Premium Member
Your tank is still new. It will go through a series of environmental changes until it finally stabilizes. It's not uncommon for this to take as much as a year. Cyano is deep burgundy, has a velvety look to it and can easily be blown off rocks. Diatoms are more brown-gold, are more like dust and like the sand.

Make sure you limit your phosphates (reactor if necessary) and ONLY use RO/DI (to eliminate silica --- needed by diatoms). Once you get your bio-cycle tuned-in and your nitrates under control the cyano will disappear. Reducing your light cycle (or even doing a 3-day dark period) will also help.
 

IslandCrow

Reef Monkey
Premium Member
I agree with jtma508. A diatom bloom in a new tank is very common, and it sounds like that's what you have. If the diatoms get real thick, they can look a little like cyano (but still more brown than red) or dinoflagelates. Don't be too alarmed if you wake up one day and they're all over everything.

As for sand sifting snails, they're certainly a good addition. The best are probably Nassarius snails. Either the Tongan Nassarius or Nassarius vibex work quite well. Cerith snails will also spend some time on and under your sandbed. There are also sand sifting cucumbers (like tiger tails) and conchs (fighting conchs are probably the only ones that stay small enough for most tanks).

I'm afraid I'm not any help with miracle mud either, as I've never used it. I don't think a little disturbance in it should be an issue, though, unless it's really getting into the waterstream. Also, by charcoal, I'm assuming you mean activated carbon. You certainly wouldn't want to use Kingsford briquettes in your tank. The phosban is doing more to combat algae than the carbon, but carbon has other benefits, so they're both good to use.
 

newbieruss

New member
thank you guys!
i have been using ro/di water with carbon and phosban. is it possible that the phosban is leaching into the water? im using a product from warner marine called phosaR HC. it is a coffee looking media and it is the same brown i see all over my rocks. also the brown is mostly where my return is blowing at the end of my tank?
 

jtma508

Premium Member
It's unlikely you're seeing GFO from your reactor. Much more likely it's diatoms. They like flow, too, you know. Give it time and remember to keep up with your water changes. Things will settle down in time. You're building a really complex biological environment and it will take time for it to reach a balance.
 
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