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Is this the ugly phase?
About 12 days into the Red Sea Cycle kit. Lights have been on daily for say 7 hours and skimmer running as per directions. Today I see this. This is on totally dry rock (man made). So I assume this is my first algae....

Most parameters are looking good but nitrate is too high,,,

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It certainly could be. You could turn your lights off and limit the ugly stage.

however, this was a month ago, how did this progress?
The ugly stage could get way worse than this and it comes in many shapes and forms LOL
I’m with Wayne, that’s the start of the ugly phase.

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One way to significantly reduce and possibly even skip the ugly phase is to get a refugium going and get a really strong grow light on it and run it 24/7. I never really cycled my tank at all and never really had an ugly stage either. But I had some really good live rock to get started with too besides the dry rock I had. Did you have any liverock at all? That rock looks pretty solid more like bace rock too.
Definitely the beginning stages; you’ll usually see a significant amount of brown Diatom growth, followed by cyano and other pest algae’s that may rear their ugly head before they will eventually begin to recede when the tank has cycled and begins to stabilize with beneficial bacteria’s.

As Wayne stated previously, I believe what you are currently using would be better considered as “Base Rock”, usually in saltwater, what you want is nice and porous rocks because these little holes are where your little critters such as pods, mini brittlestars, etc will make their home; and allow for them to develop stable populations. A good example of porous rock that wold be suitable is Marco Rock; usually between 4.99-8.99 / LB depending on whether it is dry rock, or true liverock (not just fresh wet rock that I often see being sold as “liverock”)

If I remember correctly; the recommend / golden ratio for rock-tank ratio is usually 1 LB per Gallon; so 90 gallons = 90 LBS. of course, this is not always viable, and it would likely be beneficial to ebb on the side of cation and use less, to provide extra swimming room for fish.

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