A cautionary tale....

Discussion in 'DIY' started by Bruce Spiegelman, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. This is a bit if a Ripley's believe it or not, but since it happened in my tank I believe it and thought I'd share.

    A couple of weeks ago I had a bad outbreak of bubble algae in my frag tank. Manual removal was no longer possible and emerald crabs were sated and couldn't eat another bite.

    I decided the only course of action was to pull everything down and clean. I yanked every coral out and took a toothbrush to it. I pulled every snail and hermit out and took a toothbrush to them (yes their shells were decorated with awesome rows of emerald bubbles. )

    Then I took some egg crate and made a new frag rack.

    Two or three days later an incredible outbreak of dinoflaggeletes erupted. Hundreds of long streamers of dino's from every part of the egg crate. I sucked and sucked them out. I did water changes and back they'd come. I surmised that maybe when I stripped the tank I took out too much good bacteria and that opened the door to the dino's. So off I went to Diablo Corals to get some bacteria in a bottle. Planned a sucking session, water change and new bacteria. Talking to Jess (the owner) I explained what happened and he asked one simple question -- what color egg crate did you use?

    I told himn I had white laying around and he said, "that's the problem." Most white isn't HDPE plastic and it leaches phosphates. I scurried home and make a new rack out of black eggcrate and did a 48 hour lights out.

    Eureka! Dino's are all gone. Nothing. Nada. Nil.

    Black eggcrate matters # BEM
    Newjack, RavenSF and JVU like this.
  2. Kremis

    Kremis Supporting Member

    oh wow, good to know. good thing i use black :)
  3. jepoy

    jepoy Supporting Member


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
  4. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Has anyone ever done testing on white vs black as far as actually leaching phosphates? Or is it just one of those reef rumors that once it gets started it keeps going?
  5. I didn't test for phosphates but based on the real world results I think it was confirmed at least with this set of white. Dino outbreak within a couple days of using white. Dino's gone within a day after removing.
  6. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Doesn't make a difference and more like an old wives' tale.

    Someone did do a phosphate analysis on RC awhile back and found no signs of it leaching from white eggcrates. It's more aesthetic than anything from my experience since I've grown both cyano and hair algae on black ones as well.
  7. Gablami

    Gablami Supporting Member

    It could well be, but I'm gonna be the annoying guy that says it coulda been the blackout period as well and some time for the bacteria fauna to reestablish.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  8. I hear you. I kind of didn't believe him either, but made the change anyway -- and it worked. Could it have been other factors? Possibly, but the timing and complete eradication makes a believer out of me. Now could it be that particular white eggcrate? Is all white eggcrate equal? Is it all made by the same company? That I don't know.
  9. Interesting side note. Out of curiosity I called a major distributor down in San Diego and asked if there was a difference. They connected me to one of their "advisers" that knows fabrication, chemicals, etc. He wasn't able to verify a difference, but he did say they sell thousand of sheets a year to large scale reef operations ( I assume stores, wholesalers, etc) and that they all only buy black......
    Gablami likes this.
  10. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Frags looks better over black eggcrate than white. Don't forget that these large scale reef operations are in the business of selling corals and their sole purpose is to clear the racks of corals for profit. Blue light aren't as obtrusive over black eggcrate than white.

    ReefRaft at one point employed only white eggcrate, but due to prevailing practices, switched over to black as well when they have to snap pics. If you actually visit the ReefRaft shop in SoCal, you will see that they still use white eggcrates in their frag tanks. This also applied to TGC, where they had huge raceways full of sps, and the one wholesaler that I visited (Aquarium Arts).

    Lastly, keep in mind that black eggcrate is a special order. White ones are readily available at HD and other hardware stores and you don't need to go to a major distributor for them.
  11. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I remember for a while that old member Jim did, which is just drill holes in acrylic, an attach frags to acrylic rods with a little 1/4" tubing snipped as a "gasket" to get the height you want. This was great because it allowed for flow to zip under the frags as if it was the bottom of a tank, and frags never "fell between the holes" :D Overall though did get covered in algae, but presumably it'd be real easy to clean, just remove the frags and use a sponge in the sink or something... but I don't foresee huge frag growing operations for me, so the tiny black egg crate that attaches via magnets to the wall is good enough for me.
  12. Wlachnit

    Wlachnit Vice President

    I can't quite visualize this?
  13. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Flat piece of acrylic instead of eggcrate. Small holes with acrylic dowels instead of frag plugs. You could get the dowels to sit right in the holes w a little rubber band or other gasket type thing
    Definitely better for flow. All the holes in the eggcrate take away from the aquadynamics. I'm not sure that's a word, but I bet you know what it means?
  14. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member


    So this is a much slicker version, since I'm sure they use some sort of CNC tooling to do everything. Plus this looks like the holes are big enough to accept standard frag plugs, where as my version (not my idea) used 1/4" acrylic rod material (that I snipped to the size I wanted) that frags were glued to the end of. The major downside is that the frag really only grows down the rod as it doesn't have a base to "puddle" outward, the upside is that they're easier to stuff into existing rockwork since the rod is so thin it could fit into most holes, plus if you're the type of person to snip off the frag plug base anyways, it's a win win :)

    Jim Adelberg(?) used this technique in his Berkeley store while it was open.
  15. Wlachnit

    Wlachnit Vice President

    Ahh... I get it now.
  16. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Colorado member

    Maybe test it by putting the white back in and see if it comes back.
  17. ashburn2k

    ashburn2k Webmaster

    I was in the same shoe last week, yanked out white crate for a black one and the hair hasn’t come back since then

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  18. tankguy

    tankguy BOD

    Didn't know this. Thanks for todays learning lesson
  19. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    I wonder if it could have to do w the white being "brighter" by reflecting light rather than absorbing it?
  20. I thought about that, but the outbreak happened too quickly and was too large. It seemed to me that something had to be leaching "food."

Share This Page