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FAQs on Mud/Algal Filtration, Troubles 

Related Articles: Algal Filtration Nutrient Control and ExportMarine Substrates, Deep Sand Beds, Live Sand, Biofiltration, Denitrification, Live Sand, Live RockMarine Set-Up, An Introduction to Reef Systems, Refugiums, Reef FiltrationMarine System PlumbingMarine Aquarium Set-UpMoving AquariumsMarine Biotope, Marine Landscaping

Related FAQs: Mud Filtration 1Mud Filtration 2 Mud Filtration 3, Algal Filtration in General, & FAQs on Mud Filtration: Rationale/Use, Engineering/Placement, Maintenance/Replacement, Products: Miracle Mud/Leng Sy, Other Mud products, DIY & FAQs on: Refugium Substrates/DSBs, Reef Set-Up, Reef Set-Up 2, Reef Set-Up 3, Reef Set-Up 4, Reef Set-Up 5, Reef Maintenance, Sumps/Filters, Sumps/Filters 2, Marine System PlumbingMarine Aquarium Set-UpLive RockLive Sand, Fish-Only Marine Set-ups, Fish-Only Marine Systems 2, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems Best Marine Set-Up FAQs 1, Best FAQs 2, Marine Set-Up 1


Refugium Mud Gone Wrong   1/31/11
Hello fellow fish folk,
<Hello Jason>
I am having a problem with my refugium and the mud. I put the mud in the refugium and packed it on the bottom. I waited for a few hours for the sump to clear up and started the return pump. The tank was cloudy for a few hours. Few days later I added some Chaeto algae. The algae rolls around in the refugium part of the sump. It looks like the mud is being brushed up by the algae and is putting mud particles in my tank again and the tank is extremely cloudy again.(3 hours later I can barely see the back part of my
tank) I've gotten the algae to not move but I'm worried this will be repeated. Is this common? Did I not pack the mud hard enough? Any ideas?
Should the mud fluff up like this?
<It will if disturbed, yes>
I'm thinking of moving to some aragonite substrate instead since I can't see in my tank.
<Try just a shallow covering of coarser sand over the mud to see if this helps, otherwise you will have to re-think your strategy. You could anchor the Chaeto with a rock to stop it tumbling (it does not have to tumble), or you could switch to a macro that has roots instead>
Thanks for your help,
<No problem>
Re: Refugium Mud Gone Wrong    2/1/11

Hey Simon,
<Hello Jason>
Thanks for your help.
<No problem>
Just a couple extra questions. On your site at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_3/refugiums.html the article says Chaeto should tumble (Optimal flow rate depends on what you want the refugium to do. If you are looking at culturing Chaetomorpha algae then you have to have sufficient flow to make it tumble, otherwise your results will be disappointing. If I attach it or some how make it not tumble how much of an negative effect will it have if any, how disappointing will it be.
<The top will grow more quickly than the bottom, with a light green colour indicating the newer growth. With good lighting in the 10K range it will still grow very quickly and will not disappoint. You can turn it every now and again if you like. Very few people grow this algae and actually manage to keep it 'tumbling', so don't worry>
If I go the other route and cover the mud with something would aragonite sand/live be a good choice and if so how thick would be good. 1/4 inch, 1/2 a inch or maybe a full inch?
<1/2 inch should be fine>
Would this make the mud not work as efficiently and would it be worth it to keep the mud.
<This should work just fine, and yes keep the mud by all means>
And lastly if I'm doing this so the Chaeto grows and eats nitrates and grow a few copepods is mud the right choice or is no substrate or aragonite live sand a better choice.
<A combination of substrate including mud/ sand/ rock/ algae is best for culturing micro-organisms in your refuge. Have you perused Bob and Anthony's' Reef Invertebrates'?>
Thanks again,
<No problem at all>
P.S. Can coral or clams etc die from a tank gone cloudy from refugium mud?
<Not unless it is over such a protracted period that it blocks out the light or causes other problems, no. Simon>

Re: What filter  <Hi again Barry, MacL here again.> What are your  thoughts on the Ecosystem " miracle mud" filter system better or worse than Berlin system?? <I have to tell you that I personally have a refugium system. Not a true ecosystem but designed along the same lines. I have friends who swear by the system. Unfortunately I also know of one person who quickly comes to mind who had her mud system crash. That being said, I really believe your system type needs to come from what you want to keep in your tank. If you want fish only, if you want fish with live rock, if you want corals and then again what type of coral. What you think your ultimate goal is. Do the fish you want to keep need high oxygenation? Do they need a nitrate free tank? What exactly do the fish you want to keep need and then you use the system that you believe is going to accomplish this for you. I think you are well on the way to doing this by investigating the systems out there but I really want you to think more about the fish, coral, invertebrates etc that you plan to keep. What their needs are and what system or even COMBINATION of systems will help you achieve this.> Regards Barry Edwards  <Good luck Barry, MacL>

Muddy Mess! I recently purchased some live mud to add to a sump/refugium. I am not quite sure how to get this stuff to settle down. It is very fine/ silty mud. I placed it in the sump already. please...any advice. Thanks Yorgos Gregory <Well, unfortunately, Yorgos, your best solution is just the passage of time. I don't really have any magic solution to this one. The stuff will settle down eventually (not soon enough, I'm sure). Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Mud Refugium Bob, <Yes> Hey, I am adding a mud refugium to my established 55gal marine system. The water in the refugium is extremely cloudy and even when it settles it is stirred up again when I turn on the pump. Will it hurt my main tank if a little of that cloudiness gets in there? Thanks for being such a help. Sincerely, Joe Lace <Likely not a big deal... how many volumes flow per hour do you have through this refugium? A handful is about max. Bob Fenner>

Aquatic Eco Systems pump needs assistance - 9/19/05 This may not be the e mail site for assistance but I know it must be a lead. <Hopefully we can help> I purchased a clean stream 1200 filter UV from Aquatic Eco-Systems Inc <This is the manufacturer correct?> and now need parts. They sent me to "England", calling Tropical Marine Center only to be told parts are purchased in the US. They provided the wrong e mail address and searching now found you. <I went to the Aquatic Ecosystems site: http://www.aquaticeco.com/ and right at the top is a place to enter a part number to search for pricing and availability. I had no problems navigating their site at all. There is an online catalog, phone numbers and email links, retailers sites etc. Seems like it can help actually.> Where can I get parts for this filter. <I would imagine from either the manufacturer or an authorized retailer> Right now I am not filtering because I need one locknut and one gasket and one blue hosetail - no one seems to be able to assist me and my pond is stagnating!! <Hmmmm. Do do some water changes and add an airstone or two for now until you can get what you need but I would certainly lean on the Manufacturer of the pump for parts.> I also want a lead on who can I get more filter material, bags and netting for the future. <Again, I say all this is available on their site.> I will take two of each of the above locknut, gasket and hosetail. <Good luck to you. ~Paul> Help Thanks in Advance Howard Hurst Bubble trouble... Unhappy Ecosystem customer  3/20/06 Hi, <Howdy> You seem to have deleted my email without even reading it, <Mmm...?> this is still very much in need of a response & I am very disappointed so far in your apparent lack of regard for your customers <We don't have customers. Is this addressed to WWM?> and your apparent unwillingness to help in any way once a sale of your products have been made - I hope this is a misconception on my part which you have an opportunity to address now, however my perception is based on your action or lack thereof to date. PLEASE DO NOT DELETE BUT RESPOND INSTEAD. If I may quote from the front page of your website "We know  that only by working together, we can make a difference. Therefore, our company's goal is to assist each customer in realizing success with their aquatic showpiece." - please feel free to do so. Chris Note for Bob at WWM - For info & if you know of a route direct to Leng please do pass on - I would have thought as a businessman he would be concerned, I would be if this were my business. Cheers   Chris <... Chris, did you write to Leng (Sy) at Ecosystem? We are not messengers for disgruntled purchasers of others products, services. RMF> _____________________________________________ From: Marine [mailto: marine@ecosystemaquarium.com]       Subject: Bubble trouble       Sent: 09/03/2006 11:29 was deleted without being read on 15/03/2006 19:27. <By whom? Not WWM> Attached below is my original message - deleted unread by you but still in need of a response I feel. I have STILL had no response to my request for help with your system, your help in resolving this issue would be appreciated and you are best placed to do this as the people with the most experience of your design. Please would you pass a copy of this email in its entirety to Mr Leng Sy - I would have thought he would be concerned by your lack of support (or indeed any kind of response) so far. I am VERY disappointed in your service so far, especially after placing my faith in your methodology over others despite the considerably higher cost which I anticipated would at least prompt a response to my emails and an attempt to help me make your methodology/system work. Chris Subject: Re: Bubble trouble Hi, I could really do with your help here please. Cheers   Chris Hi, I was wondering if you could help - I have a new system, 24" cube main tank with a miracle mud sump below (made to specifications kindly supplied by you, but 1" shorter than the standard 24" due to space restrictions (as discussed with you)).  The system is now running however I am plagued by huge quantities of micro bubbles throughout the system. These micro bubbles are caused by the crash of water into the sump in the first submerged bio ball chamber and from here flow through the sump to the return pump at the other end of the sump and from here around the loop again.  The system is all rigid (glued) PVC pipe work with a Tunze recirculation pump connected to 25mm return piping (correct size for pump) - air leaks here have been eliminated as a cause by bypassing with flex hose - with no reduction in bubbles.  Overflow from the main tank is 50mm Durso style standpipe which flows down through a tank base bulkhead to a 45 deg angle, into a 45 deg y-piece & finally into the sump.  After calculating head loss etc I estimate about 2000 litres per hour flow through the plumbing which is the recommended 10x tank vol. As stated it is the crash of water exiting into the sump which appears to be the cause of these micro bubbles. What can I do to eliminate this problem? Is this a common problem with such a high flow rate through MM sumps? - this was a concern for me in the planning stage however your assurances alleviated this concern. I have tried filter floss in chamber 3 (above bio balls) to trap bubbles - this has barely impacted & I see this as counter productive to the methodology of MM sumps and have no desire to filter out plankton from the system. If I can provide any further relevant info please do let me know. A speedy response, and, hopefully solution would be appreciated (I currently have 20 Kg of live rock sitting in a trash can which I need to get into the main tank as soon as possible - however I am reluctant to do this until the micro bubble issue is resolved) Currently the new tank - which has been a considerable investment for me is totally unusable & sits in the room bubbling at me & causing depression! Please help me to turn an expensive bubble machine into the natural reef setup I dreamed of. Cheers   Chris <... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bubtroubfaqs.htm and the linked Files above, elsewhere on WWM re Algal/Mud Filters, Filtration... Bob Fenner> Ecosystem evaluation  - 2/15/2006 Bob, Thought I'd mention one big negative that will be in my upcoming article on the Ecosystem... customer service. I emailed Ecosystem twice with a couple of questions. It has been a little over two weeks and no response from them. My third email mentioned what I thought of their customer service. Regards, James <I say you/we should report, state our experiences... even if they touch on people, companies we otherwise are friends with. B> Yes, I do plan on stating my experience with Ecosystem in the future article.  I call em' like I see em'.  Too bad as this system is starting to develop into what looks like a good system.  I stop dosing all elements except calcium/buffer.  The "mud" is rich in iodine and others.  My shrooms are starting to extend, something they haven't done before, yellow polyps larger than before... James

Ecosystem   2/22/06 Bob, Sorry I had to send this way but my computer has one leg in the grave and the other on a banana peel.  Got an old laptop you want to sell cheap?  See attachment. <See below> Regards, James Bob, As silly as this may seem, I have to reply to you with the Word program.  My computer is really going to the dogs.  Lately has been disconnecting me from the internet with no warning.  Probably spent 15 minutes on a query the other day and just getting ready to sign off and BAM, bye bye.  I was HOT. <Yikes...> Anyway, I did receive a call from Leng yesterday with full apologies and no excuses.. nice.  In the 15 minute conversation I had with him I was impressed with his knowledge in this aspect of the hobby.  I told Leng the only question I really had in the emails was that the manual stresses the use of Caulerpa species of algae.  I informed him that the Caulerpa would be difficult to get around here, especially since it doesn't ship well to begin with, yet alone during the winter season.  I told him I was given some Chaeto by a friend of mine and told Leng it was doing quite well in the system and if it was an OK substitute to work with the Mud since the manual does state the Caulerpa must take root while the Chaeto tosses around in the chamber.  He told me that the Chaeto will work better'¦nice to hear since I can't get the Caulerpa.  Leng also stressed to me not to use any chemicals/additives.  Told him I am aware of that and was the basis of my evaluation I am conducting on a hobbyist level.  Told Lend I will just add calcium as the manual states and again a change'¦.no calcium is necessary either.  Leng mentioned that all that was necessary was a monthly 10-12% water change and not to feed the corals as there are plenty of nutrients in the Miracle Mud to maintain coral growth.  Shortly before ending the call I said Bob Fenner asked me to tell you hello'¦'Ahhh, Mr. Fenner, Bob Fenner, yes I know/met him'. Regards, James <Heee! Leng and I have been out diving in quite a few countries together... B>

Ecosystem 40m filter and water quality Dear Whomever is filling in,<Howdy> I have a 29g tank with 20# of LR, two 175ghp power heads and an Ecosystem 40m, utilizing 5# of Miracle mud and some proliferate and racemosa Caulerpa. The tank is about 3 mo old now and I have 1- 3" yellow tang, 1-percula, a sand sifting star, a couple of turbo snails, and some button polyps. about 3 weeks ago, I tried putting in a Trachyphyllia (green open brain). A few days later, the coral developed a small, blackish green spot, one at a time, under the translucent tissue. It festered out to the very edge of the coral and turns the tip black with some green algae protruding. As time goes on more become visible elsewhere. I cycle my 65watt smart light on for a 10 hr period and my water quality is usually as follows: nitrate - 12ppm, Phosp - 3 ppm, <As in three parts per million? Not 0.3, 0.03? This is way too much>  Ca. - 450 mg/d pH - 8.4 SG - 1.035 temp - 76 F. Salt brand is Instant Ocean. I do a water change every two weeks. Wheeeew!!!! Now that I have that out of the way. I know that most who have used the Ecosystem filter have had pleasant results. I think my numbers are a little high though. They claim that you do not need a protein skimmer. I am a little skeptical. <The owner of EcoSystem, Leng Sy and I were diving for a week together last month in Australia... we're friends as well as associates in the same trade... we have gone over this issue. I will cc him here. IMO/E skimmers are a good idea to use in conjunction with these products/approaches for some time, in many cases... I would/do use them> Do you have any ideas on what could be happening to the Brain Coral? <Yes... could be just color/looks "adjustment" to your (different) growing/living conditions (than the wild) and no big deal. Could be a result of exposure to too much nutrient... and a problem.> Considering I use Semiconductor Grade D.I. water from my work, I am shocked that my phosphates are that high. How do you rate the Ecosystem filter? Do you think I need a skimmer? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mudfiltrfaqs.htm and where the links lead you. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Jeff Seely

Re: Ecosystem 40m filter and water quality Dr. Fenner, <Anthony Calfo with the follow up, my friend> Thanks for the reply. Yeah, the phosphates were 3.0 PPM. I bought some of that filter pad with phosphate removing resins and put them in after the mud chamber and now I test @ about 1.0 PPM. Still way too high, but decreasing. <indeed> I have always fed the tank sparingly, once a day, with Nutrafin Marine Complete. also 5 ml. of phytoplankton weekly. <do you have corals/inverts that actually eat it? Gorgonians, Nephtheids, bivalves? Else this could easily be contributing to your phosphate dilemma. Many/most popular corals prefer zooplankton rather than phytoplankton despite the marketing craze!> We have nearly perfect 17.8 M? de-ionized water, at the plant, that I use for top-off and changes. I think you are probably right about too much nutrient. I do have some green algae growth in the sand, during the tank's lit period but gets removed in the nighttime. The Smartlight's lamp is only 3mo. old. Attached is a picture of the brain and some of the visible green algae. Does it look like excessive nutrients? <wow... this brain is bleached (as in, "has expelled a lot of its resident and necessary zooxanthellae). They bleach for many reasons. Temperature shock, excessive light, etc. Has it been fed very fine meaty foods (not chunks which get regurgitated at night) weekly at least of not daily? This is a very hungry coral that needs regular feedings...perhaps the reason for the state of duress if not. As far as your question is concerned... yes, excessive phosphates can be quite harmful to coral such as this by interrupting calcification... but would not cause the color change necessarily> Is there something I can do for that brain coral? <if the lights are not too bright, it simply needs regular foods and many months to recover> I did have a chance to read the mud FAQs (some really good discussions!). What would be your favorite hang-on skimmer for this type of application? <I don't personally rate many hang-on skimmers very highly, but have heard excellent feedback from aquarists about Aqua C models> Thank you very much for your help. jS. <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Ecosystem 40m filter and water quality (Note: Add image) Dr. Fenner, <Just Bob please> Thanks for the reply. Yeah, the phosphates were 3.0 PPM. I bought some of that filter pad with phosphate removing resins and put them in after the mud chamber and now I test @ about 1.0 PPM. Still way too high, but decreasing. <Yes> I have always fed the tank sparingly, once a day, with Nutrafin Marine Complete. also 5 ml. of phytoplankton weekly. We have nearly perfect 17.8 M?  <Is this a measure of conductivity, like micro-Siemens?> de-ionized water, at the plant, that I use for top off and changes. I think you are probably right about too much nutrient. I do have some green algae growth in the sand, during the tank's lit period but gets removed in the nighttime. The Smartlight's lamp is only 3mo. old. Attached is a picture of the brain and some of the visible green algae. Does it look like excessive nutrients? <Don't see the pix, attachment> Is there something I can do for that brain coral? <You are doing it> I did have a chance to read the mud FAQs (some really good discussions!). What would be your favorite hang-on skimmer for this type of application? <This is posted on the WetWebMedia.com site under "Skimmer Selection"> Thank you very much for your help. jS. <You are welcome. Bob Fenner><Ah, did see it. Yes to the green algae growing apparently on its margins. Nutrient, health-related. Reduce the "fertilizer" and all should clear up over time. Bob Fenner>

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