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Hello to all

I have had a 14GAL biocube tank for quite a long time.
Right now have quite a bit of live rock covered with coralline algae.
in some parts it has turned BLACk. What does that mean?


But thats not my main problem.
My main problem is that my aquarium got out of control for a while and I left i running with no fish or coral with no water changes. A few months worth. The tank got covered in algae on the glass and green fuzzy type algae on the live rock. I also have what looks like a bristleworm outbreak.(look like this... http://www.reefs.org/hhfaq/worms/faq_bristle.jpg/variant/medium ) I have at least 20 of these things that are growing. Longest one ive seen is 2-3".

What should I do?
I love my coralline algae and dont want to ruin my live rock.

how can i clean out this tank and kind of "start over",
Maybe new sand and scrub the rocks a bit?

These worms although Ive read can be good, give me a bad feeling. I dont like not being able to touch my tank without worried of getting stung.

Any sugestions?

For a pic of my tank, go to http://noelandmeli.com/fish/aquarium.jpg
 

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Right now have quite a bit of live rock covered with coralline algae.
in some parts it has turned BLACk. What does that mean?
Been reefing for years and havent seen this sorta a problem or even herd of it. I got no short answers for you on this.

My main problem is that my aquarium got out of control for a while and I left i running with no fish or coral with no water changes. A few months worth. The tank got covered in algae on the glass and green fuzzy type algae on the live rock.
Neglect a SW tank this long and this is to be expected. Since you didnt include any water parameters including Phosphate, Silica and Iron there aint a whole lot for me to go on to help you correct it. If water Params are good then something as simple as some additions to the clean up crew and a changing of the bulbs if they are due for a change could probably correct this algae issue.

I also have what looks like a bristleworm outbreak.(look like this... http://www.reefs.org/hhfaq/worms/faq...variant/medium ) I have at least 20 of these things that are growing. Longest one ive seen is 2-3".
I will confess that there is about a 50/50 divide as to whether Bristle Worms are desirable in ones tank. I subscribe to the theroy that they are not only benefical but desirable in the tank unless they are large and I have Clams too. This is assumed that they havent reached plauge proportions, in which case you have a problem with your system. I veiw them as beneficial in that they are scavengers and help considerably in keeping your sand bed and to a lesser extent your tank clean and tidy. In my tanks I go to great lengths to have as much sand bed fuana as possible. I think it is a sign of a healthy sand bed when there is a wide variety of sand bed fauna in your tank. Bristle Worms are just one such form. I have never been stung or injured by sticking my hand in the tank by them either, not saying it aint possible, I just think your a little too over concerned. But its your tank and your hand. I personally try to minimize my hands being in the tank to begin with unless there is no other way. It reduces the oppertunity for me to be injured and for me to contaminate my tanks water with what ever residue may be on my hands.

What should I do?
I love my coralline algae and dont want to ruin my live rock.

how can i clean out this tank and kind of "start over",
Maybe new sand and scrub the rocks a bit?
You could just pull the rock next time you do a water change and lightly scrub off any algae on the rock, rinse it with clean fresh SW and place it back in the tank. You could also clean the sand bed in water from a water change and once you have rinsed most of the detris in it out place it back in the tank and let it cycle again. This will be a mild cycle in all probability so you shouldnt see any really signifacant swings in water Params. This should still allow you to have some snails and hermits for a clean up crew during this lull period without any undue stress to them to pick at the rock and clean off any remaining algae. Thats assuming the algae you have is Hair Algae and not Bryopsis.

If its Bryopsis, I would just tear it down and start over. Its not the only solution but its the path of least resistence given the stage of your tank and the lack of tank inhabitants. This is a very persitent algae that is tough to irradicate once established.

If you just clean up or cook the rock and replace the sand you might wanna cosnider adding a couple of pounds of GARF Grunge when re-setting up the tank. Its loaded with Bacteria, coralline algae spores and some sand bed fauna and in my experience a good "booster shot" for a tank, especially a new one.

Well there you have it, my opinion. I am sure there will be some that disagree and thats cool. There are many ways to do this that will end in success. Its your tank and your the one that needs to be pleased, not me. But thats just my buck O five on this subject.
 

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I'm with Imaexpat2, excellent advice. You really need to check the parameters and do a water change to start. The black stuff could be cyanobacteria which when it gets really thick is almost black (though generally it is a reddish purple), see if you can blow it off with a turkey baster, if you can it might be cyano. I'm a firm believer in bristle worms - they are great scavengers and stir up the sand. It is unlikely that you will be injured by them as they are very shy and will quickly move away if you go near them, the "sting" is just their bristles getting stuck in your finger and you may need a tweezers to get them out, but again it isn't that likely.

Before you remove your rock do some water tests and lets see if there are some creatures you can put in there to do the job...
 

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Xeonman, after reading your post and before looking at your tank picture, I was expecting to see something much worse. Your tank is definitely not beyond saving, and I don't think starting over will be necessary. Good water parameters are of course very important, so make sure everything is in range. If so, some light rock scrubbing to get rid of the nuisance algae and the addition of a clean up crew should get you back on the right track. Keep us posted!
 
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