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Discussion Starter #1
Ok i have 4 tanks set up, 2-10g 1-20g and 1-55g. I have Pea Gravel from wal mart home and garden Department in 3 of them. 2 of them are fine(10g and 20g) but the pea gravel has turned coal black in my 55g tank, the water source is the same for all the tanks, and the flow rate in the 2 that are fine is LESS than it is in my 55g. I cant understand why the gravel is turning black in one and not in the other 2. It came from the same bag, and is not "Aquarium Gravel" but it did pass the Muric acid test(no reaction)it also Smells pretty bad when mixed up. Depth of the gravel is similar in all three tanks. Any ideas why the tank with the highest flow is getting this problem and any ideas what the cause is?
 

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Depends what it actually is. Two things that come to mind is black brush algae and sulfur pockets. Black brush sometimes starts off as a black coating or mat over objects, leaves etc, before the hairy tufts show up, and would imply you have too much light per CO2 present in the tank, fix would be lowering light or increasing CO2, or adding Excel.

Anearobic pockets (sulfur) stinks bad, obviously, happens under the gravel and usually viewable through the side glass. This would indicate there isn't enough circulation through the substrate. Fix would be stirring the sub occasionally, adding Malaysian Trumpet snails, possibly adding a powerhead to assist the lower levels of the water column.

Other than that I could only imagine it's fuzz algae or maybe even cyanobacteria, hard to say without a pic or seeing it in person. Both have a few causes. Check here for more info, http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm, http://aquariumalgae.blogspot.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Anearobic pockets (sulfur) stinks bad, obviously, happens under the gravel and usually viewable through the side glass. This would indicate there isn't enough circulation through the substrate. Fix would be stirring the sub occasionally, adding Malaysian Trumpet snails, possibly adding a powerhead to assist the lower levels of the water column.
Im guessing from the smell that this is it, but the thing is there is a TON of water movement in the tank, it has 3 HOB filters moving water and a power head in the tank, what ever it is its not "growing" on the rocks the rocks themselves have turned black, and it doesn't scrape off like an algae or cyano.

Im gonna try a good rough gravel vac on the tank once is settles i stirred it up. It does have MTS in the tank but the dont seem to go into the gravel they like to hang out on the side of the tank.

And i doubt there is to much light it is at .96 wpg right now until my bulbs get here.
 

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Maybe you just have too much crud built up under there. Try not too destroy the biofilter in the process of vacuuming, maybe do half now and the other next week. Do a big water change right after.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Maybe you just have too much crud built up under there. Try not too destroy the biofilter in the process of vacuuming, maybe do half now and the other next week. Do a big water change right after.
Ya to avoid trashing the bio filter i put new floss in the HOB filters and Stirred up the bottom real good so they could suck up some of the nastiness and function as bio filter when i gravel vac it.I think you may be right about the crud i noticed when i stirred it there was an immense amount far more than i though there was(dang neutral colored gravel anyway lol), well looks like time to cause myself some pain(bad back + buckets of water= pain lol)

Edit: Yup there was so much crud when i gravel vac that i had to rinse the bucket 3 times to get the inch thick layer of fine black soot out! not to mention the water was Pitch black the inch layer was just what settled out!
And some of the gravel is starting to return to normal color, i think this is gonna be a 3 or 4 day, one bucket at a time project to get it all cleaned up.
 

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I feel you on the back pain. And I'm still too lazy and cheap to put together an autofill system. :p

Sounds like it might be a good idea to do it in portions. I would treat the new water with something like Prime or Amquel Pus, and watch out for ammonia or nitrite spikes, that much work is bound throw the tank a little off kilter. This is one reason I like sand in my lower maintenance tanks (or the ones I tend to ignore), the crud builds up on top and forces me to remove it, or I keep a powerhead on it and the filter catches it. Sand isn't immune to compaction or anaerobic pockets, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I feel you on the back pain. And I'm still too lazy and cheap to put together an autofill system. :p

Sounds like it might be a good idea to do it in portions. I would treat the new water with something like Prime or Amquel Pus, and watch out for ammonia or nitrite spikes, that much work is bound throw the tank a little off kilter. This is one reason I like sand in my lower maintenance tanks (or the ones I tend to ignore), the crud builds up on top and forces me to remove it, or I keep a powerhead on it and the filter catches it. Sand isn't immune to compaction or anaerobic pockets, though.
Well if i had the money i would do an auto fill in a heartbeat lol. Ya each bucket is 5g bucket is getting a full cap full of prime(which is enough for 50g) im not taking any chances on an ammonia spike and dead fish.
 

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Use a hose to syphon out your water. You don't have to use buckets. I use one hose that is zip tied on my gravel vac tube to empty and another hose hooked to my faucet to fill. I let the water drain out to my flowers. I put a full dose of Prime for entire tank volume of water into my tank and fill with the hose. Does not hurt any fish or invertebrates. No more buckets for me. :D
 

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I do the same thing to empty the tank. What I need to do is buy a small sump pump to get it back into the tank from the bucket or container, so I don't have to lift buckets above the tank to refill or siphon back in.
 

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If you use Tex's method or a Python system then you just fill directly from the tap. Just do it slowly and there is no problem. I used to do 50% water changes on my 55 gallon by hand every week, couldn't walk for a day afterwards but I did it. Now with my 50ft Python it's a breeze, almost a pleasure to do water change.
 

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If you use Tex's method or a Python system then you just fill directly from the tap.
Not an option, I use RO.

RO/DI on my reef tanks.

Tapwater here is disgusting and I would never drink it or use it in a fish tank.

I fishless cycle tanks in 6 days with a seeded filter and my own tapwater.. pretty nasty, eh? I can't imagine Miami is much better unless your treatment plants actually know how to do their job.
 

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If you use Tex's method or a Python system then you just fill directly from the tap. Just do it slowly and there is no problem. I used to do 50% water changes on my 55 gallon by hand every week, couldn't walk for a day afterwards but I did it. Now with my 50ft Python it's a breeze, almost a pleasure to do water change.
I don't even use a phython system. I just use a hose connected to my sink and turn in on to the desired temperature and fill my tank.
 

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jaid,

The water in my area is surprisingly good and even pretty soft. That's not the case in other parts of south Florida though. Just lucky I guess!!:D
 
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