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Sand is discoloring
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Joined: 24 Jan 2004

PostPosted: 2004.01.24(Sat)8:25    Post subject: Sand is discoloring Reply with quote

I've had my new tank up for about 4 weeks now. I've got 2 damsels, and skunk shrimp, a small cirque anenome, a little crab, and one other fish that came hidden in a 9lb piece of live rock. It's a 36gallon corner tank with sand as the substrate. The problem I'm having is the my white sand is starting to turn a rust color in areas. Also, I noticed last nght that my live rock is developing a deep maroon film on it. Is this normal? Should I Panic and start over? This is my very first attempt at owning any kind of fish. Confused
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The Old Salt

Joined: 01 Apr 2003
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: 2004.01.25(Sun)13:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

The rust color on your sand is a coating of Diatoms. Diatoms are tiny little brown algaes with shells, basically. They show up in almost every new tank, since there is so much for them to "eat" and not much around to stop them.
The good news is that it eventually dies off and goes away, but the bad news is that it takes several months.

The maroon stuff can be any one of a few things, but it's probably "red algae" which isn't really algae at all. It's cyanobacteria, otherwise known as bluegreen algae. Yes, it's bluegreen algae even though it's red.

This stuff is a lot worse than the diatoms, and a lot of trouble to get rid of. It grows best when the conditions in the tank are NOT as they should be. The problem is figuring out just which of the tank's parameters is to blame. There are some products available for killing red slime, but they do more more damage than they are worth, and the problem which caused it's growth will still exist.

Increase the lighting in the tank and do a lot of water changes. Use distilled water instead of tap water. That usually does the trick. You can also wipe the stuff off before you do these things, so that there will be less of it trying to give rise to more.
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