View Full Version : newbie starting sw, will have questions as I progress!

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01-16-2010, 02:25 PM
I guess I should have started this before, I want one thread where I can ask questions about stuff that is happening to my tank as I cycle, stock, and pull my hair out over various happenings. I hope that a journal can be used for asking questions too, rather than just a chronicle?

Recap of what has happened so far:

Dec 29th - Day 1 - set up tank 40gal, live rock, small amount of sand. Stock lighting (canopy and light that comes with the tank from store). Aquaclear 70 HOB filter with only floss pad to help clear water. HOB Skimmer. 2 korali powerhead 3's. Salinity mixed low to start according to FS at 1.016, SG at 22.

Day 2 - tested ammonia and nitrites only, as I was expecting the cycle to start "at the beginning"
ammonia 0 nitrites >0.3 SG jumped to 28.

Day 3 - added more sand, when I decided I wanted to get a shrimp/goby pair. salinity 1.021, SG 28.5

Day 5 - salinity 1.021, SG 28, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 20, calcium 420, pH 8, phosphate 0.5. took out filter floss and replaced with phospate pad.

Day 12 - finally got r/o water and mixed salt lat week in order to do a wc today to drop those nitrates. Bought proper (used) reef lighting and two smaller powerheads. Put them both in the tank and removed the large noisy one. Only running 2 at a time tho, will alter combinations of powerheads to change current occasionally. The guy also had corals for sale cheap and I caved and bought some. Such a good deal, plus more live rock for the tank. I wondered about adding so soon, but the guy said they would be ok. Also gave me some chaeto, will put that in HOB filter for mini refugium...

Day 14 - r/o water change. Noticed hitch hiker hermit crab yesterday.

Day 15 - lots of diatom growth. Coraline growth seems to be dying off the used powerheads and rock.

Day 17 - added some cuc. 10 hermit crabs, one shrimp.

Day 18 - odd growth from red buds noticed - posted thread and found out they are tube worms!

Day 19 - posted question under technical on lighting, if compacts have to be changed out every 6 months. Turns out yes, 6-9 months. Sigh. I need new bulbs already.

01-16-2010, 03:45 PM
You're off to a good start!thumbs2:

Why are you starting your salinity so low?

01-16-2010, 03:59 PM
Fish store guy said to start low...?
Also, I buy my r/o water in town so I'm so new to mixing I'm kinda scared of mixing too high and not being able to dilute it...

01-16-2010, 04:26 PM
try keeping it at 1.025. And also try dosing some calcium as it will help grow corraline faster and keeps corals healthy. i would make a large HOB refugium if I were you, they help SOOOO much to take nitrates out, all my tanks have them and i never have problems with nitrate. Good idea with the phosphate pad, but if you make the refugium you may not need one.

Oh yeah, and i DEMAND some pics!:hmm3grin2orange:

01-16-2010, 04:45 PM
ok, thanks - I'll start bumping up the salinity from now on. I just wasn't sure how long "to start with" was.
I have a aquaclear 110 I was thinking of making into a refugium - will that be big enough? Anymore than that I would think would be too much flow. I will look into calcium additive as well...
lol - not much to see in my tank yet except bloody diatoms...and I'm a little embarrassed to show how sad some of the corals look at the moment...

01-16-2010, 05:43 PM
Well, here's my tank in its sad state...hopefully when I bump up the salinity, the corals will perk up a bit...

01-16-2010, 09:53 PM
is there a trick to adjusting the skimmer? I get nothing but mircrobubbles in my tank. If I turn it up high = microbubbles and full cups of water. If I turn it down lower, the bubbles don't reach the top of the spout. I find a setting I think is good, then two hours later I have nothing, or full collection cups of water. five minutes ago I caught myself about to take the darn thing off as I can't see what good it is doing. Working at its best (so far) all I've seen out of it is green tinted water.
Am I missing something??

01-16-2010, 09:57 PM
Try adjusting the water level in the tank. I have to do that to prevent microbubbles. Also make sure all your lines are clear. If anything at all gets 'plugged' up along the way - the system will suck air and create microbubbles as well.

01-16-2010, 10:31 PM
Hmm, I have noticed the water level makes a difference. I'll have to pay more attention to that. As far as plugged up lines - its an HOB so theres precious little to get plugged, and its only 2 weeks old, lol. Intake tube looks clean at the moment.
I think I just have a skimmer that sucks, lol. I've read nothing good about it online. New one on order, but they are backordered and not available til the end of the month.

01-17-2010, 02:34 PM
Wow, those hermit crabs really do clean things up! I can see trails thru the diatoms where the crabs have eaten paths thru the mat - Death to Diatoms! lol

01-17-2010, 02:58 PM
With a 40gal tank it's not necessarily a bad thing to keep your salinity a little low. The smaller your tank the higher greater the effect evaporation will have on your salinity. Rather than having it go too high, keeping it at 1.021-1.023 will help keep your salinity from raising above 1.025.

01-17-2010, 07:24 PM
ok, thanks...good to know...(I'm noticing that salinity seems to be a personal perference, lol)

01-17-2010, 07:47 PM
Some personal preference...but mostly dictated by what's in your tank. Corals and inverts (reef tank) need a higher salinity (I've seen 1.024-1.026 suggested)...fish can get by with less (for a FOWLR I've seen recommendations of 1.021-1.023). A little fluctuation is okay...a lot is not. A 'lot' would be 1 point in a short period of time. I did notice that in my display tank, with the lid, I have very little evaporation and fluctuation. I top the water 2-3 times a week - but not by very much...

My open-topped frag tank was horrendous for evaporation...had to top it off daily and by quite a bit...so the fluctuation in salinity was much more problematic in that tank...

01-18-2010, 02:12 AM
agreed. I like to mimic the ocean. average salinity in natural reefs is usually 1.023-1.026.

01-18-2010, 02:20 AM
well, I have a few corals so I'll be bumping up both calcium and salinity to more optimum levels. It kinda sounds like a bit high is better than a bit low, in any case.
Thanks all, much appreciated.

01-19-2010, 02:37 PM
Morning all
Something odd happened in my tank overnight. A frag (not really a rock, but more of a rocky debris held together with green matt and zoas) that was placed up high in the tank on a flattish surface of rock, has mysteriously ended up on a ledge/crevice 3" lower. Where the zoa was, there is a hermit crab, and a dead hermit crab sans shell.
Zoas don't travel like anemones, do they? Should I leave it where it lies, or put it back up on the ledge where I want it? Its VERY odd that the zoa segment landed completely flat, it doesn't look like the current rolled it off the top ledge where it was, and I can't see the hermits carrying it, they are still small at an inch or just under.
What the heck's going on?

01-19-2010, 09:56 PM
my hermits do similiar. once the zoa lands on a rock it reataches itself.

01-20-2010, 04:56 AM
Your hermit molted

01-20-2010, 01:06 PM
huh, thanks guys. It never occurred to me that the hermit molted, the carcass seemed rather fuller than say a shrimp molt, but it was very light when I scooped it out.
Whew! I put the zoa back where I wanted it, and dumped the hermit back on the sand.

01-22-2010, 02:55 AM
Can I not buy someone to eat this? It looks like ferns on a forest floor! UGH!!! Bearded rocks! It flows in the current!

ps - Day 21. Only reading still "off" is nitrates, which have dropped to ten. I am hoping after a water change tomorrow and good vacuuming, it will drop further.

01-23-2010, 02:07 PM
Oh my, what a silly goose I am. I was playing around with MOAs fish sheet, and I found out that the tank I thought was a 40gal, and was sold to me as such, is actually only a 30! Maybe even a 29, I'm never sure where to measure, at the top of the sand level to the bottom of the frame (water volume) is what I do.
So, I have 50lbs of LR in my 29 gal tank, lol.
My water changes have been 30%, when most people say to do 10 to 20! No wonder my corals aren't happy the day I do a wc!

day 26
salinity now at 1.026, a touch high...
nitrate - finally not measurable on my API card!

gtg shopping for a new fish today, lol!

01-23-2010, 02:13 PM
sheamurai, don't bother using MOA's sheet for this tank. That sheet is designed for FW only and is not meant for use with a SW tank. Calculating your water volume is fine but that's where it's usefulness for SW ends.

01-23-2010, 02:54 PM
yah, thats all I did do with it...I just like playing around with species and things and see what pops up in it...

I had tentatively planned on getting a hippo tang for my tank, but now I don't think I can cuz my tank is too small for it....?

01-23-2010, 04:35 PM
definitely too small. Your tank is too small for any of the tangs. You need to stick to Gobies, certain wrasses, 1 or 2 of the blennies, damsels and clowns. There's not much outside those groups that is appropriate for your tank.

01-23-2010, 06:27 PM
thanks Addict, what I thought, lol.
Ended up getting a dwarf flame angel.

Any suggestions for a small, blue coloured fish for my 30gal tank?

01-24-2010, 12:25 AM
Another question too in addition to above which I hope someone will respond to as well...
I currently have a nerite snail in a FW tank, and I'm thinking of moving it to my reef. I'm worried that it will reproduce like mad and overpopulate my tank - will nerites do that in a saltwater setting?

02-03-2010, 04:03 AM
Well, its day 36 in my tank, and I have some corals and fish in it now. I also have crazy algae! Every kind is growing! I have hair algae, that is being eaten by my flame angel, diatoms which seem to be mostly gone now, and coralline growing where I don't want it! Its growing on the tank walls, which I know usually is a good thing, but my tank is beside my desk, so I look at it from both sides, and when looking for a particular object, I look in thru the ends too.
What fun, tho, love this tank. I stare at it far more than I do my fw tanks, which I occasionally feel guilty about, as I do have my favourites in the other tanks, and now they only get attention basically at feeding time.
So many tanks, so little time!

02-03-2010, 03:53 PM
I like all my tanks...the SW needs the most work, but I can't say it's my favourite...

No advice for you about the algae...I'm still dealing with my own...seems to come and go without rhyme or reason...I've checked all my levels...everything seems okay...

Maybe more water changes?

02-03-2010, 07:28 PM
Your algae is just your tank going through the normal algae stages and it will come and go over the next year or so. I highly recomend running a phosphate remover in any sw tank. Gfo in a reactor works best but any remover will help. It will really help reduce the amount of algae.

02-04-2010, 12:27 AM
I've put a phosphate pad in the filter, and it does seem to help a bit. Until it gets clogged, then it just encourages the algae. I think using coral food has also increased the algae growth. I rinse the pad every other day now, and while I still have a lot of algae, at least I'm not cleaning the glass every single night.
Now its just every other night, lol.

02-04-2010, 01:06 AM
you might want to get a refugium, it removes many bad things and hels a lot. I lost tons of algae from adding one to my biocube because the macroalgae competes with the micro for nutrients, and the macro usually wins.
nice tank!

02-04-2010, 11:58 PM
If I could, I would get one. One of the reasons I stayed with a small tank, however, was space.
I do have a HOB filter, with some live rock, chaeto and the phosphate pad. Not sure how much so little will help, but I thought it was worth a shot...

02-05-2010, 12:29 AM
What IS this and should I be worried?
The yellow bubbly goo at the base of my xenia...

02-05-2010, 12:40 AM
So, do you think this is doing any good?

02-05-2010, 12:42 AM
What IS this and should I be worried?
The yellow bubbly goo at the base of my xenia...

Looks like a yellow sponge, a beneficial filter feeder.
Here's a pic of one that was in my tank (coincidentally near the base of my xenia as well):

02-05-2010, 12:44 AM
LOL - Its my night to play 20 questions I guess.
Anybody have an idea what this is on my bubble coral?
Almost looks like a clam, but its transparent, and there's two of them, one on top of the other, but the second is hard to see in the pic.
Not a very good pic, but I was trying to magnify it as much as I could...

02-05-2010, 12:46 AM
Looks like a yellow sponge, a beneficial filter feeder.
Here's a pic of one that was in my tank (coincidentally near the base of my xenia as well):

oh, great, that IS what it looks like. Thanks kaybee!
Always a relief to find out something's harmless!

02-05-2010, 01:09 AM
Well, here is an updated pic.

I have to say I'm not real impressed (aesthetically) with it. I've seen so many gorgeous tanks, I know this one just doesn't measure up in how I've set it up.

However, I am happy with how everything is getting along so far, and hope to improve its general appearance with time. I also plan on upgrading it to a 50gal in the future.

Any suggestions on more optimal placement of rocks or corals is appreciated, altho I went a bit overboard on my first use of the coral epoxy, so moving things might be a bit difficult!

02-05-2010, 01:26 AM
The tank looks GREAT so far! thumbs2: thumbs2: thumbs2: thumbs2:

02-05-2010, 01:46 AM
I have to say I'm not real impressed (aesthetically) with it. I've seen so many gorgeous tanks, I know this one just doesn't measure up in how I've set it up.

That will take time. My 46 doesn't look stunning right now either. It's a matter of just being patient and let things fill in.
Looks good so far.

02-05-2010, 02:34 AM
thanks guys...

02-05-2010, 02:36 AM
Any thoughts on whether or not that HOB set up is worth running like that?

tim k
02-05-2010, 09:30 PM
Any thoughts on whether or not that HOB set up is worth running like that?

With the water volume of a 29g it should help a little and any time you can add more rock , water and Cheato it can't hurt.
I would try to keep the water going through the HOB a slow as possible.

I think your tank looks good.
I know when I did my rock I spent hours moving the stuff around , I don't think anyone is ever satisfied with their own result and yet it always looks good to everyone else LOL.


02-05-2010, 09:40 PM
Looking nice.

I'm assuming there are no more fish you are adding?

02-05-2010, 10:21 PM
No, I might add a 4-line wrasse if I come across one here, once I upgrade to the 50gal, as previously mentioned.

Thanks Tim - I guess you're right on that - people who come over always tell me it looks great, but I always figure they are just being polite! :)

02-07-2010, 04:46 PM
Ok, here is another what-is-this-and-should-I-get-rid-of-it post.
I don't much like the look of it, but is it worth trying to remove?

02-07-2010, 05:23 PM
Those are the feeding tentacles of terebellid worms (sometimes called 'spaghetti worms'). They're harmless/beneficial detritivores. Some of the 'live stuff' that hitch-hikes on live rock.

The main body of the worm is located deep in the rock. They extend the parts that you are seeing (stand-like or even worm-like in appearance) to capture and 'reel in' particulates, detritus and other macro-organics.

02-07-2010, 05:32 PM
Beneficial? Great! Thanks
Will they outcompete the pink star polyps they are located in? It kinda looks like they are...

I am glad they are beneficial, but I still can't help kinda wanting to remove them - dey uhglay!

02-07-2010, 07:11 PM
Star polyps consume micro-matter and dissolved organics. The worms eat stuff generally too large for star polyps to handle.

Any other corals that you have that consume similar stuff that the worms do are also photosynthetic and won't be outcompeted because the organics corals draw from the water column supplements their diet, and doesn't comprise the bulk of it. The stuff the worms eat is the same stuff that pods, hermit crabs, feather dusters, and their ilk consume. As long as you have fish and feed them that matter is always present in a tank.

02-07-2010, 08:01 PM
thanks for the background, but I was more thinking of space rather than food. While I am not sure, I don't think the one worm located in the middle of the polyps was there when I bought the rock. the polyps used to be a solid mat, and now there are these spots popping up in the middle of it. It could be that when I bought them the worms retracted and only now have re-emerged, or they may have been there the whole time and I never noticed them. It takes a while to get an eye for what your tank is doing, and I'm still developing that - just now noticing things that may have been there since day one.
but anyway, I was more worried that the worms would keeping spreading and breaking up the polyp mat until the polyps are gone.

02-10-2010, 03:18 AM
Hmm, few new developments in the tank recently. (Day 43)
In an effort to make the anemone a little happier, I moved the rock it was on (which I bought with the anemone on it and it never moved) up closer to the light. Overnight, it moved right off the rock to the "base rock" (big rocks that won't be moved) and has been travelling every day since. I'm real happy about this, as now it is directly underneath the bubble coral, less than an inch away. Anybody have any tips on getting the anemone back on the original rock, so I can put it back where it was before? I figure if it didn't move then, it must have been happier there than where I moved it to.
Another change I made was to remove a powerhead. the frogspawn and bubble coral never opened up fully, and my pulsing xenia hardly pulsed, so I removed one power head and moved the filter to the other side of the tank away from the frogspawn. Everything reacted as well as I'd hoped, but I wonder if that also egged the anemone to move.
Crazy algae happening, I also put a phosphate filter in the HOB. Phosphates are at 0.5, yeesh.
As usual, any thoughts much appreciated!

02-13-2010, 03:10 AM
No one seems to be responding to questions anymore, but I'll keep this as a journal anyhow.
the anemone has finally ended up back on the same rock it started on, and back in the same location it had originally been placed when I first got it. I have the hope that seeing as it stayed there for a while before I moved it, that it will stay there again now.
So now I know, it likes it there just fine, lol.

Still crazy algae - red hair now. I put in a phosphate remover with the phoshate pad to see if that helps any. I also plan on picking up a couple Pacific Turbo (mexican?) snails, evidently they have a taste for red hair algae.

Updated pic of tank as of today:

02-13-2010, 04:25 AM
Looks like your reef is coming along well. You've got a nice collection of corals in there. Also, I'm glad to hear the anemone is doing better.
I like your angelfish... but I hope you're not planning on keeping it long-term.

02-13-2010, 06:26 AM
How much flow are you running in the tank? Also, have you tried adding a blue or black background (you could use construction paper just to see what it would look like)? I think a background might really improve the look of your tank.

Your algae doesn't look bad in the FTS, but I would get turbos anyway. I love them.

tim k
02-13-2010, 12:14 PM
I agree with Coach try adding some type of black or blue background , you will be amazed at how it will change the look of you Reef.

Keeping up with water changes should help with the algae a little and try not to over feed.


02-13-2010, 12:55 PM
I don't have a background on it as I view it from both sides. Which is a shame as I am scraping coralline off the glass every week.
the anemone, contrary to my hopes and expectation, moved again, back up the tank where it had been before. I hope it moves, its right beside the bubble coral, way too close.
I actually reduced flow in the tank, as some of the corals weren't opening. the bubble coral and the frogspawn were barely coming out, and the pulsing xenia wasn't pulsing, so I turned off a powerhead and they open much better now. So for flow now I have one powerhead, low in the tank, and the HOB filter running for surface agitation.

02-13-2010, 02:52 PM
...Crazy algae happening, I also put a phosphate filter in the HOB. Phosphates are at 0.5, yeesh. As usual, any thoughts much appreciated!

Be sure that your phosphate filter (or phosphate removing media) is still functional by testing the output water of your phosphate filter (instead of sample from the display tank) to determine when the media has been fully expended.

If detectable phosphate levels from the output match phosphate water from the tank then it's time to change the media.

If the phosphate media is still working on the PO4 problem you should get undetectable to near undetectable levels from the output and higher, yet decreasing, phosphate levels in the tank.

Once both the tank water and phosphate filter output water are identical and at non-detectable levels you've attained control over the phosphates in your tank. After which it will be a matter of time before the algae starves out and dissipates.

02-13-2010, 04:36 PM
I suspect you anemone is moving because its not happy about something. How many watts of what type of light are you running?

02-14-2010, 12:48 AM
I have a hard time beleiving its the lighting the anemone doesn't like, as I bought the anemone and the light fixture from the same guy who was breaking down his tank. My tank is a little deeper, but I would think putting the anemone up higher would have cancelled that out.
Anyway, its a coralife aqualight - 1 actinic and 1 10k compact fluorescent.
Noxt thing I am going to try I think, is putting a larger powerhead in. I took the two large ones out and replaced with two small ones I got from the same fellow, but the corals never opened very well with both running, so I unplugged one. So I will replace the one that is still running with a bigger one. Hopefully that will increase flow but still not bother the corals due to its opposite placement.
Thanks for the tips on phosphate monitoring.
I'm also considering getting an in-tank UV sterilizer.
We shall see what new developments occur over the weekend!

thanks all

02-15-2010, 05:54 PM
Day 49 update:
Lots to journal today. I finally decided to downsize one more tank. So, the freshwater community fish are history. I already sold half of them, with the other half spoken for, if the buyers show to pick them up.

The cichlids are getting moved to the 77gal tank, where they'll be much happier, and I'm going to move the salty into the 50gal (need some more rock), and lose the 30gal the salty is currently in.

Aside from the shuffle plans, I used some Fluval Lab Series phophate remover, and a pouch of purigen in the HOB. The phosphate is down to undetectable now, so I hope it will truly be gone in another weekish, perhaps. Now its hopefully only a matter of time before the algae starves. I've also replaced the one powerhead I was using with bigger and badder, so I've added more flow.
the anemone is still moving around, which sux, but I'm hoping with the improving parameters he will find a spot soon. I replaced the bulbs in the light fixture, so hopefully that will improve the lighting.
It looks like the encrusting gorgonian is dead, not a single head left on it, sigh. I didn't buy the rock with that particular coral in mind, but I'm still sorry to see it go, as its obviously a sign my tank is not a happy one yet. :( the green star polyps (if that is the true name) on the same rock appear to be fine.

Another few days and I will be able to measure the age of my salty in months, lol.

I hope I can report some real improvements soon...

02-19-2010, 02:25 AM
Day 52. Happy day today. My encrusting gorgonian, which I thought was dead, has come back to life, lol. I guess I'm not quite familiar with coral "moods". It was down to a smooth crust, and when a fish went by pink flakes would swirl up, but I guess it likes the new bubls, because its back and almost as full as when I got it. The anemone has been in the same spot now for a couple days, and it looks better than it ever has too - but I don't like where it is, lol. Its sitting on top of some halloween zoas, but I guess so long as killing what it sits on doesn't spread to kill the whole colony, I won't complain if its happy.
Still had to wipe the glass of algae today tho, sigh.
On the whole tho, I'm feel better about the tank today than I have for the past few weeks!

02-19-2010, 12:07 PM
Glad to hear things are doing great.thumbs2: Unfortunately you'll probably always have to clean the algae off the glass. It will come less and less frequent but never completely go away.

02-20-2010, 12:56 AM
I'd be happy if I only had to do it once per week, rather than once per day!
I hardly ever have to clean algae from my freshwater tanks these days *whine* why can't the salty be the same *whine*?

02-20-2010, 12:57 AM
somehow that doesn't read like I meant it to sound... :)

02-20-2010, 02:58 AM
You are only 53 days in to owning a SW tank, you can expect the algae to get to be a bit more of a headache in the near future. I'd say give it another 2-3 weeks and you will hate the word Cyano with a passion. lol

Algae is a natural part of any thriving vibrant reef. Even natural coral reefs have algae present at all times. Something has to feed the herbivores on the reef. :) however it is the presence of these herbivores that keeps the algae in check. It has been proven in areas of the Caribbean that if you remove the herbivores from a given area of the reef, within just a few short days or weeks, the algae will take over. Now take that scenario and put it in your tank where you have no herbivores and lots of nutrients to feed on.

02-20-2010, 02:35 PM
You mean its going to get WORSE?!?!?
I thought I was at the epitome of algae-dom as it was!

02-20-2010, 03:25 PM
This is the easy stuff to deal with. The hard stuff is the cyano that's coming.

02-20-2010, 04:39 PM
I'd take cyno over hair algae any day. At least you can easily suck it out. I've yet to have much cyno, but had a ton of hair algae in the past.

02-20-2010, 05:24 PM
I hope the hair algae is the worst kind I have to deal with. Its driving me slightly bats at the moment. Green hair my Angel eats as soon as it starts, but nothing seems to want to touch the red hair - not even the pacific turbo snails I bought specifically for that. And its growing in spots I can't get at to clean - bottom rocks that are holding up the entire arrangement. Even where I can wiggle a toothbrush in, the toothbrush isn't grabby enough to get the algae off. Grrrr. If it didn't spread I wouldn't mind, cuz it almost looks nice, but not when it spreads like it does!
I'm looking forward to the switch to the 50gal tank, it will give me a chance to really scrub those bottom rocks as I transfer them.
I hope to do the transfer within the month - almost all the fish have been sold from the 77gal, and a new Deltec 300 skimmer is ordered and arriving in a week or two. When that gets here, its game on!

02-21-2010, 08:35 AM
I'm with labnjab and sheamurai...I think GHA is the worst. Scrubbing the rocks is practically the only way out, and who wants to do that!

02-22-2010, 08:50 PM
Ha! Last of the fish gone as of this morning! the 77gal has been emptied, just need some egg crate before I can start moving things over!
Salty may be upgraded this weekend if the skimmer arrives!

02-28-2010, 06:30 PM
Day 62

Whew! Done!

what a job. 3 hours to move everything from the 30 gal to the 50.
Then the new Deltec 300 skimmer I got didn't work - was going to overflow so I had to unplug it, quick! Not sure what went wrong, I set it up in the bathtub and it worked fine there. Put it back on the tank and it worked this time. Who knows.
Its much quieter than the prizm I used to have tho.

The only problem I can see now is that this tank is deeper, so the corals likely won't like the little bit less light they are getting. Does 3 or 4" really make that much difference?

Will post updated pic when the dust settles...

03-02-2010, 02:40 AM
Well, here is the 50gal...looks like a fresh new start!
Hopefully tho I don't have to start from scratch, lol.

Previous statements made by fellow AC readers were absolutely right - it looks much better with a background...

03-16-2010, 12:44 AM
I've seen these before, and thought they were from my anemone as they were right beside it.
This time, however, these are quite a few inches away from the anemone, so they can't be anemone waste, can they?

03-16-2010, 01:28 AM
It is green bubble algae. You do not want to pop them in the tank or they will spread faster. Using tweezers or something similar without popping them works the best for removing them if you want them gone.

03-16-2010, 01:36 AM
It is green bubble algae. You do not want to pop them in the tank or they will spread faster. Using tweezers or something similar without popping them works the best for removing them if you want them gone.

+1, you can also try an emerald crab. I have had good luck with them, but they are hit or miss.

03-16-2010, 02:04 AM
do they spread fast? I don't think I mind them if they stay on their own rock...

03-16-2010, 02:29 AM
They will spread all over if you leave them.

03-16-2010, 02:38 AM
ack! removal it is! I could use a couple more crabs, anyway, I only have ten.

03-18-2010, 12:10 AM
There I was, finally starting to feel a bit better about my tank, and then I notice that my female clown has fungus patches on her. :(
I've been keeping an eye on her every day, and the patches actually seem to be receding a bit - is this possible or just my being hopeful?
And how long will it take for my anemone to FINALLY be happy in there?

03-18-2010, 12:20 AM
Any suggestions?
I'm hoping it was just a reaction to poor water quality - I had some real struggles getting my skimmer to work for the past two weeks.

Its hard to see, but she had the one bad patch on her dorsal fin, and two smaller patches near her eye and gill cover. the patch on her fin has fallen off, and I'm hoping that means it is done for. I'm concerned however that I'm being overly optimistic, and that fallen off patch will simply infect the rest of my tank.

She's so darn cute, I'd hate to lose her. She seems to be getting along well with the little male too.


03-27-2010, 03:29 PM
Just an update.
My tank is not doing so hot.
I finally have my skimmer running properly - looks like a faulty suction pipe was the culprit. I'm hoping my water quality will improve now, and that will help my fishes fight off whatever malady they have.
My female clown has less fungus on her, but I'm not convinced she has it licked. I've started a QT tank to medicate her, but I haven't put her in it yet.
My Dottyback is also ailing - I suspect he has flukes. He has not been co-operative about swimming into my trap so I could give him a FW dip, so I have ordered some reef and invertabrate safe meds to treat him.
Cyano is still overly present, but its still a young tank so I've not obsessing about it.

One thing I'd like confirmation on - I've been doing weekly water changes of 10gal (its a 50 gal tank) trying to improve the water quality, but my reading leads me to beleive that the majority of folks don't do so much.

what percentage do you do on your reef tank?

03-27-2010, 03:35 PM
keep doing what you're doing every week with water changes and now with the skimmer your reef conditions will definitely improve. I change 15% from my reef every week not only it adds trace minerals to the tank but helps with the build of phosphate and nitrates that maybe present and help control algae. I suggest you increase flow with help with the cyano aswell and in time everything will fall into place. As for your fish just move them all to the qt and treat them there never treat the display and leave your tank without fish for a month, there is no reef safe med and if they tell you they are safe they will prob not treat the illness and cause problems.

03-27-2010, 03:49 PM
thanks for the advice, Erick

04-09-2010, 09:54 PM
Well, here we are at the almost 4 month mark. The fish appear to be better, tho its only been a week since I treated the tank. I read on another forum about Prazipro, and I ordered some and treated the tank with it for two cycles. Nothing has been harmed, coral wise, and my fish, while they don't look better yet (its only been a week, after all) they are acting much better - more lively, and the one fish is not flashing anywhere near as much as he was a week ago.
I've also bought a UV sterilizer, which, as soon as I do a larger than normal water change to get the meds out, I will be starting up for the first time. I've also got carbon in my HOB right now to remove the chemical too - first time I've ever run carbon in the reef tank. I had to turn off my skimmer while dosing the tank (as per instructions) so I am looking forward to starting that up after my water change too.
Algae has reduced by at least half lately - I haven't had to clean the glass in 4 days, where before I wanted to clean the glass pretty much daily.
I hope these are indications that my tank is finally starting to settle into something less volatile and worrying!
On the positive side, my benggai cardinalfish is turning into a lovely boy, I had no idea that the already cool fish I bought at the fs was going to get so much prettier! His fins have really filled out, and he has a lovely silvery sheen on the clear parts...once the tank is cleaned up and running normally again I will stalk him with the camera for awhile and see if I can get a good pic of him. I have heard that they are now on the red list, so I have the odd thought occurring to try and breed them sometime down the road.
That won't be for a long time yet, tho, if ever!

04-12-2010, 11:12 AM
I strongly recommend not running a uv light in your display tank. They should only be run in qt tanks. They do much more harm then good in a saltwater aquarium by killing off good things.

04-13-2010, 03:18 PM
I researched this a lot on the internet, and I've only found one negative for use of UV for reef tanks is that it kills planktonic algae, so I'll put mine on a timer.
here are the sites I chose to beleive (in order of preference) - feel free to debate:



http://www.marineandreef.com/Aquarium_UV_Sterilizer_Ultraviolet_Water_Steriliza tion_s/14.htm




Some of the material was more than I wanted to absorb (mostly the Redox Potential article), but what I condensed all it down to in my head is that while you don't need a UV Steriliser on a well maintained tank, there are more pros than cons if you choose to run one.

As I said, please feel free to post evidence/sites that refute the above. These sites struck me as more beleivable than the couple sites I found that advised against using them.

sigh, so much information out there

05-01-2010, 03:05 PM
Ack! I was vacuuming my tank and I bumped the candycane coral and the heads fell off! There are 4 small heads but all are on one stem, which dangled by a filament of some kind of fuzzy coral. I put the head back up on the stem, but I need to know if it will grow back on to the stem, or do I need to putty it on?

Aside from that, the tank is doing alright. My clowns have fully recovered, I added an urchin, but my dottyback is still twitching and flashing and looking poorly. I was away for a weeks vacation south, and fully expected him to be dead when I got back, but all was well - well, as well as it was before I left, anyway.
Cyano is present but not unsightly.

05-01-2010, 03:38 PM
Well, the first thing you need to know is that you really shouldn't be vaccuming a reef tank. If you have stuff that needs to be vacced, then that shows you don't have enough detritus eaters in the tank. I'd suggest looking for a detritus pack. As for the coral, there's no chance it will reattach itself to the main "stem" of the skeleton. The way these corals build their skeleton structures, there must be polyp flesh in contact with any given part of the skeleton in order for it to grow. The skeleton is built but the polyp extracting calcium from the water and then depositing it. If you want it to stick, then go get some Super Glue Gel and remove both the "stem" and the skeleton part that contains the polyps and then put a small amount of glue on both parts, and stick them together. Give them a quick dip in the tank to speed the curing of the glue. Do not leave the coral out of the water more than a couple of minutes. After about a minute and a half to 2 minutes the glue should be cured enough to place the coral back in the tank. This is the process for attaching frags to frag plugs. There's really no difference in doing that and what you are needing to do.

05-01-2010, 11:58 PM
thanks for the info. One tube of superglue coming up.

I am still vaccing my tank in order to get rid of cyano growing on the sand. Seems to me if I'm going to do a water change, I might as well vac. I haven't yet found the perfect spot for one powerhead - the corner that the cyano appears in is where I've shut off a powerhead due to it blowing too strongly on my xenia. It won't pulse when that powerhead is on, and I'd sooner having a pulsing exenia than pristine sand...

05-02-2010, 01:58 PM
If the candy cane polyp can be completely detached you can also attach it or relocate it somewhere else in the tank to create another candy cane colony in the same tank.

05-02-2010, 02:25 PM
I'd love to do that, but the entire head came away - I doubt the remaining stalk will grow another head...?

05-02-2010, 03:15 PM
The stalk isn't alive and won't regenerate unless there is substantial coral tissue on it as ILuvMyGoldBarb said.

I meant relocating the polyp head (the soft part of the coral) to another part of the tank, either inserting it into a live rock crevice or gluing it to a decent-sized piece of live rock rubble.

Candy can is a relatively fast growing LPS coral and a 'dead' stalk on the original coral piece will eventually be overshadowed subsequent growth of new heads.

05-16-2010, 02:47 PM
just some fts...
Cyano is still a problem, but thats pretty much it...

05-16-2010, 04:49 PM
Looking great.

Where's they cyno? I can't see any in the pics. I'm guessing its probably due to lack of flow. Are those koralia 1's or nano's? For a 50 gallon I would run at least 2 koralia 2's and even possible 3 koralia 2's

When we had 2 29 gallon reefs, I ran 2 koralia 2's on both and still had dead spots. Our 75 gallon reef has 4 koralia 2's, a koralia 1, and a magdrive 9.5 return and I'm still not satisfied with the amount of flow

05-16-2010, 04:58 PM
I'm guessing its probably due to lack of flow.

Probably not. Low flow is just one cause of cyano, and it is generally a cause in tanks far more mature then this one. The cyano present in this tank is very likely due to it's age. I have never seen a tank that did not go through a stage where at least a little cyano showed up. You just have to keep removing it manually and keep up with the water changes and it will eventually go away. Dead spots are not so much a matter of the gph as it is the positioning of the powerheads. There are a few tricks to getting the flow to go exactly where you want it. What I have found works well is to position the powerheads in the back corners and point them slightly down and so that the "line of flow" from each powerhead points close to the center of the front panel, but enough off center that the "lines" cross. I ran just 2 Koralia 3's on my 125 and had no dead spots at all. On my 37, I have a Sicce Voyager 1 as my source of flow and no dead spots either.

05-16-2010, 11:36 PM
thanks for the tips, guys, will definitely shift my flow around. right now the cyano mostly shows up in two spots - one is what I know is a dead spot becuase the rock blocks that corner, and the other - which bugs me but not sure what to do about it - is all over my sunshine coral. The cyano just coats that coral and it only comes out during the actinic stage of lighting.
The reason you don't see much cyano is because I just finished cleaning the tank when I took the pics. If you look at the sunshine coral, you will defintely see the cyano on that poor thing.
For flow, I have two nanos, an Aquaclear 70 HOB, and a Eheim 2213. There's also a deltec HOB protein skimmer, but that doesn't seem to provide much flow.
I had a koralia 2 on it, but my pulsing xenia and bubble coral wouldn't open when it was running. Didn't seem to matter where I put it, the xenia was unhappy. Once I turned off that one powerhead, it had a spot where it was able to open.
Its a 50gal tank, 30" long - not a lot of real estate.

05-17-2010, 03:21 PM
....cyano...is all over my sunshine coral. The cyano just coats that coral...

Are you regularly target feeding your sun coral (tubastraea)? If the sun coral is not adequately fed it will slowly starve resulting in tissue recession and exposed skeleton. As this tissue dies and decomposes it releases organics which can fuel cyano at the site.

I'm not sure if you acquired your sun coral in its present state (it's missing a lot of tissue and the majority of its skeleton is exposed). Fully healthy the entire coral skeleton will be covered with coral tissue rather than only at the polyp head areas.

If you are feeding the sun coral, you may want to place it in a less lit area (it is a non-photosynthetic coral and doesn't require light) to deny the cyano from coating it and give it an opportunity to regenerate.

05-18-2010, 09:50 PM
I'm feeding it, (well, all my corals) but only once per week. It used to be in a sheltered spot but it was never coming out. Since I moved it to a place with more flow it has been coming out regularly. Maybe I'll move it to where there's more flow, to discourage the cyano. I've been scared to feed more as I am trying to keep my water clean and free of algae food.

05-18-2010, 11:42 PM
You could always try a feeding bell for it. What you do is you cut a Coke bottle (or what ever your pop choice is) in half and keep the top half. You can use less than half, and the closer to the size of your coral the better. The when you are ready to feed, you simply put the "bell" over the coral and add your food to the bell only. That way you limit the food to the area of the coral.

05-19-2010, 02:00 AM
Hey, cool idea, thanks

05-19-2010, 03:20 AM
I'm feeding it, (well, all my corals) but only once per week...I've been scared to feed more as I am trying to keep my water clean and free of algae food.

For sun corals to thrive two or three feedings per week is perhaps the minimum.

05-19-2010, 04:13 AM
You could always try a feeding bell for it. What you do is you cut a Coke bottle (or what ever your pop choice is) in half and keep the top half. You can use less than half, and the closer to the size of your coral the better. The when you are ready to feed, you simply put the "bell" over the coral and add your food to the bell only. That way you limit the food to the area of the coral.

Thats what we do with our thumbs2: The CUC and fish know what the bottle is for and they gather around it so when I remove it any leftover food is eaten very quickly. We feed ours every other day and its sprouting new heads all the time

Is yours branching or colonial? Every head needs to be fed on a branching sun but only 1 does on a colonial sun.

05-20-2010, 02:16 AM
We feed ours every other day and its sprouting new heads all the time
For sun corals to thrive two or three feedings per week is perhaps the minimum.
Is yours branching or colonial? Every head needs to be fed on a branching sun but only 1 does on a colonial sun.

Wow, that often? Somehow I missed that when I first read up on them. I read to feed regularly, but not often. It sounded like feeding was simply a lure to get them to open all the time. I will step it up a notch or two for them.
Since I;ve moved them to a high flow area, they are out constantly, even tho the flow is obviously flattening them.
I don't know fer sure if its a branching or colonial, but I'm going to assume branching as each head seems to react independently.

thanks again guys, this is the only coral in the tank that is not at least maintaining good health, and most of them are doing well.

05-20-2010, 02:54 AM
Wow, that often? Somehow I missed that when I first read up on them. I read to feed regularly, but not often.

Yeah, 2-3x a week is the mimimum. 4+x a week (basically every other day) is optimal.

I don't know fer sure if its a branching or colonial, but I'm going to assume branching as each head seems to react independently.

Based on the photo you have a the 'colonial type' but tissue recession has made the polyps to become independent of each other.

Every head needs to be fed on a branching sun but only 1 does on a colonial sun.

'Colonial', when pertaining to sun corals, means that the polyps are interconnected with coral tissue regardless of the tubastraea's shape so branching coral can be colonial as well.

When the polyps are all interconnected then a portion of the nutrition that one polyp receives is shared among adjacent polyps that weren't fed, though not the entire colony. It's still best to feed as many of the polyps as possible. And yes, independent sun coral polyps (e.g. aren't interconnected by coral tissue to other polyps) need to be individually fed.

05-21-2010, 01:15 AM
thanks all, I will begin feeding every other day. I hope it recovers!

05-28-2010, 06:40 PM
5 Month Mark

Lots to report today!
I've been feeding my sun coral every other day, and the expected leap in algae did indeed occur. I have to scrape the glass 2x per week now, whereas I was down to once (these counts are NOT including the water change/clean tank days). I'm not sure its recovering yet, I scrubbed it last week to get all the cyano off (fresh start kinda thing so I could monitor it with the new feeding schedule) and all the heads of course retracted and haven't really come out fully since then.

I bought new fish today! I bought a small school (5) neon blue gobys. So thats it for fish in this tank. they are still acclimitising so no pics yet. Also picked up a sea cucumber (which I know I will not be able to keep to full size, but I hope to have for at least a couple years) and some zoa frags. Big Als made a bit of coin off me today, lol.
Pics to come...

06-12-2010, 03:49 PM
Few updates this month. One I am excited about - I finally got a ro/di unit. Turns out that it really will be cheaper to run a unit than to buy my water - and my water will be better than what I've been buying, as it was ro only.
I am (prolly vainly) hoping this will reduce algae in the tank, lol.
Also - as a sidenote - why does water that should taste like nothing, taste like something?
My sun coral is not really showing any signs of improvement yet. I suppose I set it back when I gave it a good scrubbing to get all the cyano off, prior to commencing every other day feedings. It hasn't come fully out since, tho it does emerge a bit when I feed. Sigh. Hope it pulls thru.
Those neon gobys are jumpers! I've lost two now. :(
Not sure what to do about it, as I don't want to completely cover the tank and interfere with lighting (I have a deep tank so I need every bit I can get) and gassing off, but I guess I will have to. I'll get some egg crate for short term solution I guess.
5 1/2 months now...wish I had some kind of base to measure my tank against, as far as how well it might be doing for its age. I don't really know if it's doing well or not, I think my algae problems are taking too long to clear up, and only a few corals are really doing well. The bubble coral is a monster when its completely open, lol. Not that I see it like that very often as the shrimps seem to enjoy dancing across it everytime its open fully, lol.

06-23-2010, 01:59 AM
Hi all
Just wondering if my anemone is going to turn into two anemones. I surely hope not, the one I have is big enough to hog a third of the coral space as it is. But today I noticed that it seems to be developing a second core. There are tentacles coming out the middle that aren't usually there? Anyone know what its doing? Or is this just a quirk for the day?

Sun coral still not seeming to get better, and cyano is driving me bats! I even cleaned some off the powerhead!

06-24-2010, 02:34 AM

06-28-2010, 11:29 AM
I can't tell if its splitting from the picture, but when it splits you will see it start to tear across the mouth. As for a cover, I use a windowscreen frame and clear plastic screen, which most plastic supply stores should sell. No fish can jump through it and it doesn't cut back on light output like eggcrate.

As for the algae, are you running any gfo? If not I would start and it will probably help a lot with your algae.

Here is our tank at 5 months to help you compare yours too. At this point we were running gfo in a reactor for 4 months. Now its close to 7 months old

06-29-2010, 12:35 AM
thanks so much Lab, I had pretty much given up on a response.
All points and pic muchly appreciated!

07-09-2010, 12:01 AM
6 Month Mark!

Hey all.
Thought I'd post an update. My anemone was not splitting, it was just in a mood, lol.

thanks to the advice of my fellow AC reefers, my sunshine coral (while still not looking good) is recuperating and on the mend.

Cyano is still a problem.

We've been having a bit of a heat wave here, and my tank temp has spiked to 85 degrees. I've shut the lights off - a day or two of dark I guess won't hurt (I've even read that its a benefit in one reef forum).
the heat doesn't seem to be affecting the tank adversely tho, everyone is still very active, and very hungry come feeding time.

I'd be happy with my tank if only I had a bit more talent at aquascaping and that darn cyano would dry up!


07-19-2010, 11:03 PM
I guess my anemone was splitting after all. I very defintely have two smaller ones now. ACK! I don't have room for two, so one is getting rehomed as soon as I can manage it.

In talking with another reefer here, I've been tipped to the importance of regular top-offs. I've not been to worried about it until the skimmer started not performing, only topping off once per week. Evidently this is Bad - causes pH to fluctuate and hence adversely affects other levels. So I've ordered a top-off unit, and started topping off morning and night every day. Hopefully, this stabilises the tank a bit more, and therefore more colourful corals and perhaps make it easier to kick the cyano.

Anyone want a bubble tip anemone? Oh thats right, Rue just flooded the market!:hmm3grin2orange:

08-05-2010, 09:16 PM
Update: 7.5 months

Well, its been a fun few weeks since my last post.
I've been wrastling with setting up the ATO - the brackets did not fit my style of tank, and the suction cups were too large to allow me to set the float where I wanted it.
I hate for my water level to show below the tank trim. Also that sneaky saftey shut off had me stumped for a couple days.

But now the ATO is installed, tho I'm still watching it closely to see that its working properly before I go off for a week and leave it running.

Also, had a grossly huge explosion of cyano in my tank.

I now beleive that purigen is an asset to the tank. I took it out for a couple weeks thinking my tank was mature enough/water quality good enough to do without it - boy was i wrong. Within days of taking it out, the cyano was coating some of my zoas. I was back to scraping 3 times per week.

I replaced the purigen (and and next water change I changed out the phophate remover, so it being exhausted or full may have been contributing) and one water change later I can already see that the tank is better. I'm back to scraping just twice per week (once mid week and once during the water change/vacuuming) and the cyano has returned to being annoying rather than fatal.

I'm hoping for even more improvement now that I've taken the skimmer apart and cleaned it up. I had a 2hr power outage 2 days ago, and when the power came back on, the skimmer wouldn't restart properly. Just a trickle coming out and no bubbles. After a proper cleaning its back up and already skimmed out a half a cup of swamp muck.

Here's hoping - another month of ro/di water, consistent top ups, and rejuvenated skimming/phophate removing/purigen filtering will see all the cyano gone.

Too much to ask? Quite likely...

08-20-2010, 05:43 PM
argh. Not much good to report this time around.

cyano is back to original levels. Still have to scrape once per week and during water changes, but at least its not smothering my zoas anymore.

Sadly, I was unable to trust the ATO to run while I went on vacation. I came back to 1.029 salinity. I brought it down over the course of a couple days, but I guess that was too fast as I now have a neon goby with ich. Not happy.
Not too sure what to do. All the fish have been exposed and should be quarantined and treated. On the other hand, the others are not showing signs of it (yet?) and I don't want to stress them further by breaking down the tank. I could also use this as an opportunity to put in the dead rock I've picked up, but I'm not prepared right now to put in the hours it will take to redo the tank.
Very frustrating.
Right now, the only thing I really want to do is pretend I don't see a thing, and hope it goes away on its own...
Not bloody likely.

08-26-2010, 02:11 AM

I know this topic is discussed ad nauseum in the reef forums...BUT...lol

My coraline was bleaching out, with no change in the lighting, so I took what water tests I had out (I still haven't gotten mag test, must get that this week).
I found my pH was a tad low, and my KH was low at 7.
So, a few (or more, and more) searches and reading later, I decide to try a dose of baked baking powder.
Not much, I was ascared.
1/2 a teaspoon mixed into 2cups of water, and I only added one cup to the tank.

I test today, and my KH freaken dropped to 5!!!


What the heck?

I went googling and confirmed that yes, people use bbs to raise KH, and boost pH a bit too...

I dosed the remaining 1 cup I had mixed hoping this was just an abberration.

but geez - did I do something wrong?

08-26-2010, 02:20 AM
oh, and fyi for journal purposes - I did indeed add the dead rock I had to the tank - looks very different now (tho not better, I suck at aquascaping) and the neon blue goby has been improving everyday.

I know not to say wuhuu for another couple weeks tho - we'll see if the ich comes back bigger and badder in a couple weeks...

08-27-2010, 01:56 PM
put in another 1/2 tsp of BBS mixed in 2 cups of SW last night.
Same readings this morning.
I'm assuming I am not putting in enough to make a difference.
When I do my water change, I am going to put a full tsp in my mixed sw. See if that registers...

08-28-2010, 01:50 AM
I can't offer you any advice here, just want to say this is a good tank journal

I've read your whole journal and I learned a lot. Very interesting and informative.

I'm learing learning about reef tanks so I can set up one of my own. Your journal has helped me.

08-28-2010, 02:24 AM
thanks Cliff - good to hear...sometimes doing a journal you wonder if its doing any good for anyone but yourself.

My other thread about the low KH has got me pointed in the direction of questioning my test kit.

I need to get a new kit (plus a magnesium test) and confirm that the readings I have been getting are correct.

08-29-2010, 03:27 AM
Just read your journal for the first time (well, parts of it...) sounds like my tank... ups and downs!

I am wondering if your cyano problem might be a light bulb issue? How old are the bulbs?

08-29-2010, 03:58 AM
I'm sure you're right that the bulbs are part of the problem - well, maybe not the bulbs specifically, but lighting.

The bulbs are all fairly new (the oldest is 6 months) but they are only pc bulbs. 1 65 watt 6700k, 1 actinic, 1 55 watt 6700K bulb. PC's prolly are not quite enough for a deep 50gal. It's 24" from the bulbs to the sand.

I've read a lot on the subject, and technically they are enough to support the softies I have - but I know it's on the low side and thats what cyano likes. The softies were doing well until I left for a week and half - the bubble coral, frogspawn, and mushrooms have all grown since I got them.

I've been keeping an eye out for used fixtures, but they are hard to find for a 30" tank. I don't want to shell out too much $$ because I'm not 100% sure I will stay with SW if it becomes much more demanding than it is has been lately.
I'm hoping things will balance out soon - I know it's a young tank - but if things are still so out of whack after a year, I'll likely get rid of the corals and stick with fish only, and see if that doesn't straighten things out.

If you have suggestions on what bulbs I should be using in my current fixture - I'd love to hear them!

08-30-2010, 02:36 AM
What part of Ontario are you in (or near). That will help us to help you find lights...

08-31-2010, 01:36 AM
I'm just outside of Barrie. I don't go in to Toronto very often, but I do occasionally (2-3 times per year). I bought the current bulbs I have in my fixtures at Big Als in Mississauga.

09-01-2010, 03:16 AM
I found a nice 30" PC light on E-Bay at a decent price....

search for:

30" Aquarium Lighting Power Compact 130W Marine Reef

09-02-2010, 03:00 AM
Thanks, I will check that out.
I also just spotted this, this week - the legs adjust and I have a version of this unit already, so I know it will fit - do you think its a good price?

09-03-2010, 07:07 PM
I'm'a scairt!

I just found this little guy wandering my tank. It looks like a star to me - is it? Urchin? Sea cucumber?

I would be vastly relieved if it was an urchin. Main reason being, I have never purchased a star.

What I did do, however, was add supposedly dead rock to my tank. I hope it was dead. but if it wasn't, and this is a star, I'm likely going to have a disaster in my tank. The rock was live, but it was loaded with aiptasia and other Bad Guys, so I hosed it, left it out on my deck under the blazing sun for a week, and it sat in my basement for another few weeks. I'd hoped it was dead. How long does it take to "kill" rock without boiling it?

What are the chances that the rock still harboured aiptasia or other baddies? Is this even a star? Its got me all anxious that I just introduced unwanted critters in my tank. I don't have a tank that can support a star, which is why I haven't bought one. This one I'll rehome if it is one.

09-03-2010, 09:20 PM
It's an asterina seastar, but they are fairly hardy. Your's appears the be the film-algae/detritus eating kind, pretty much a beneficial hitch-hiker.

There are types of asterina that eat coral tissue but you would have seen the affects of that by now if it that were the type of asterina.

09-03-2010, 09:24 PM
what is its adult size?

09-03-2010, 09:59 PM
I just found this light fixture on ebay.
I should be able to grow anything I want under this, correct? Even with a deeper tank?

Anyone know this seller/brand? I'm a bit leery as there is no brand name evident.

09-04-2010, 02:06 AM
what is its adult size?

They stay fairly small (a few cm at most). The main problem is that they proliferate. I wouldn't be too worried though.

It's one of the joys/headaches of saltwater tanks ... you never quite know what you have in there.

09-04-2010, 07:54 AM
Most are under 1cm-1.5cm in diameter.

09-04-2010, 12:39 PM
here's me wondering why no one replied to the fixture, and I see the link didn't take.
here it is again:

09-05-2010, 03:30 PM
ok, back to my water parameter problems - gotta love sw, lol.

On the advice of AC folks, I finally got another KH test kit.
yes, the reading is different than my old tetra test, but still low at 7.
My mag kit also reads low, at around 1000ppm
I have some Reef Calcium Advantage, and I've dosed half the amount, with the rest going in tomorrow.
My question is, will I still have to dose alk?

09-05-2010, 03:36 PM
And a comment from my other thread concerning the lighting, just to keep everything in one place.
Basically, yes its a good deal - but also you get what you pay for.

09-26-2010, 12:32 AM

My new fixture arrived today, so I used that as an excuse to tweak the tank. Loving the look of the new lights! NOW I know why people stick with MH - that shimmer look is cool - but the corals look so much better under this new lighting - and today, after 4 hours under it, they seem to have expanded a bit too.

I decided to remove the canister filter, and swap the locations of my HOB skimmer and filter. The filter puts out much more disruptive strong flow, so I moved that away from my softer corals. That seems to have worked. I also broke off the xenia from where I had originally expoxied it and moved it lower in the tank, to a less flowy area. That also seems to be working. Its pulsating much more strongly now. I also removed one nano, as I couldn't seem to place it advantageously.

Almost forgot to mention my levels - slowly improving. Pretty much given up on BBS, and gone with Seachem Reef Builder to boost alk. Its hovering at 9-10 right now, much better than the 6-7 it was at a couple weeks ago. Levels should be back to optimal soon!

We'll see what correct levels, the new flow configuration, and new lights do for my corals and cyano. I'm also hoping that the colour of my anemone will improve.

10-01-2010, 11:48 AM
9 Month update

So, as on now I've installed a new light fixture, with 4 T5s and a 250w MH. It also has LED moonlights. Love the look of the new lighting.
However its also caused different problems. Cyano seems to be history (that was fast) but only because green algae is having a hey day. Scraping the glass every other day. I've shortened the light period (I had my pcs on for long days due to being less intense) down to 5 hours for the MH, and 10 hours for the T5s. Should I shorten the T5 lighting and extend the MH? Any other suggestions?

For flow, I've removed the canister and one nano. Relocated the skimmer and the HOB filter on the back glass. I think I may have a decent arrangement now for that.

My cleaner shrimp had babies! Ever cool! Looked like it was snowing in the tank, and it was all teeny baby shrimp. The fish had a heyday slurping them up, but I hope a few survived...

Any suggestions on how to manage the photoperiod to reduce my green algae/improve coral growth would be much appreciated.

10-03-2010, 10:35 PM
As per Labnjabs suggestion, I have altered my photoperiod (again).
Actinic T5's on for 2 hrs, then off for 6 while the MHs come on for 6, then T5s back on for 2 hrs.
4 hrs of actinics, 6 hours of MH = 10 hours total.
We'll see what happens with my algae growth with this schedule...

11-15-2010, 03:18 AM
10 month update:

Much happier with my tank these days! Cyano is history, haven't seen a speck in weeks now - WHEW!

I still have algae, but only a light dusting now easily taken care of with my mag cleaner for the front glass, and a scrape once per week for the sides and front when I do a water change.

Sad note - I haven't seen or heard hide nor click from my pistol shrimp. His YW Goby buddy is still here, but I think Bob (as in bob the builder, for his penchant of rearranging the substrate) is dead. I hope it was just old age, there have been no other deaths in the tank (aside from my carpet surfing dwarf gobies) at all. Bob was pretty big, easily over two inches long, so I hope it was just old age. Pondering whether or not to get Oscar (the YWG) a new buddy or not...

Still tweaking the powerhead locations. I just can't get things placed so that all corals are happy. My pulsing xenia are getting too much flow, as they are scarcley pulsing at all, except for when I shut off the flow for feeding. I am considering removing the HOB, but I'm afeared for the consequences of removing my phos remover, purigen, and carbon I am running in it.

The anemone, under the improved lighting, seems to be improving - it looks to have more spots than it did before, and they are green now, rather than white. I am thinking and hoping that the spots will eventually merge into a uniformly green BTA as the zoos make their comeback.

I have been battling low calcium levels for some weeks now, but finally have the dosage figured out, and its finally in the acceptable range. I want to bring it up a touch higher, but its no longer a worry.

I am hoping to finally see my corals really begin to grow, rather than the very slow growth I have seen up to now. The only thing that has really been noticeably growing is my frogspawn - tho visitors tell me that almost everything is bigger than it was last time they were here, even the fish, lol.

My last obstacle is water flow - I have tried the suggestions given before, but nothing has worked out for all the inhabitants of my tank. I'm starting to think I will have to relocate some corals (even tho they have been epoxied to their current locations) in order to fix this issue.

Anyone know of a way to diffuse the output on my HOB? I think if I could do that, it would fix my last real issue.

11-15-2010, 03:56 AM
...I am considering removing the HOB, but I'm afeared for the consequences of removing my phos remover, purigen, and carbon I am running in it...Anyone know of a way to diffuse the output on my HOB? I think if I could do that, it would fix my last real issue.

I'd probably replace HOB with a reactor (or reactors). Neglible flow and highly efficient usage of the media.

11-15-2010, 04:20 AM
Thanks kaybee. You aren't the first to suggest a reactor. I haven't looked into one yet as I am trying to keep my system simple - is there a reactor that will run multiple media like the HOB filter is? I can't recall mention of one during my reading.

My tank is only 30" long, I'd be leery of putting an HOB skimmer, and a couple of HOB reactors all on the back glass - assuming there was room.

There has to be a limit as to what you can hang off the back glass before the stress is too much?

So far all I have on my tank is an HOB filter, HOB skimmer, and ATO unit.

11-15-2010, 12:23 PM
The BRS media reactor http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/store/brs-gfo-and-carbon-reactor.html can be mounted to the wall or your stand. All that needs to go into the tank is the mj400 feed pump and the return line. I run it for only gfo and have a separate reactor for carbon but some people put gfo and carbon in it or you can run 2 reactors off the same pump.

11-16-2010, 12:51 AM
Hmmm, good to know, will check out those options...
thanks guys

11-16-2010, 01:44 AM
When I got my reactor, it did come down to shipping charges and reactor size. I ended up going with a higher quality reactor from my LFS because there was no shipping to worry about and the guy gave me a deal because I was buying all my live & dry rock from him. Also, itís larger than most, holding about 2L of water. I bought a Vertex reactor UF-20 (pic below is of a UF-15)


Iíve read, and seen pics, of people getting what looks like larger capacity reactors and then using two different types of media in separate media bags placed in the reactor. Iím not too sure if that is a good idea or not, never had a change to look into it.

If I remember correctly, you donít have a sump. But thinking more about it, I have a idea you might want to consider. You could get a small wet / dry pump, with a siphon based supply line running from the tank to the pump placed under your tank. Have the return line go through the reactor than back up into the tank. Iím not too sure if a long intake like this would work or not, but if it does, it might be a good solution

11-16-2010, 01:55 AM
thanks Cliff, another option for me to look into...

11-18-2010, 01:32 AM
You'd think I would have done something about it by now!

I haven't lost any reef fish due to bad care - but I have lost them to carpet surfing. I fed the fish tonight, and was missing one of my little guts. Sure enough, I look around the floor, and there the poor little guy is, all dried up.

I lost two of my little neon gobies to jumping, but they were very rambunctious and I hadn't lost any other fish for months so I thought I was ok. Then I come home to find my dottyback dried out on the floor.

I didn't want to put a screen over the tank because it would interfere with the lighting, but now I really have to get on that, I've lost too many fish. I hate to think of them slowly suffocating to death, and then there is just the plain waste of money - saltwater fish aren't cheap so I need to ensure they stay IN the tank!

unhappy and not too bright

11-18-2010, 01:38 AM
That sucks, sorry to hear about the jumpers.

11-18-2010, 03:49 AM
You could look into using the chrome / silver colored egg-crate. You can buy it a home depot, its usally kept along side of the ceiling tiles. The reflective properties of the finish might make up for the loss of light. That's what I'm planning to use.

It might be worth looking into

11-18-2010, 04:25 PM
IMO you do best with a closed cover. One of the reasons I dismantled my open frag tank (before I actually even used it for frags) was the evaporation rate. It's so hard to keep the SG even. I have no issues with that in my closed tank.

11-18-2010, 11:54 PM
I use clear plastic mesh screen. It uses a window screen frame. It doesn't cut out any light at all. With halides I can't keep a closed top our I'll have fish soup in a matter of a few hours and small fish can slip by eggcrate, plus it cuts light down a lot

BRS sells it now http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/store/products/miscellaneous/miscellaneous-items/clear-1-4-screen-netting-7-x-3.html

11-19-2010, 02:12 AM
I am going into town tomorrow, and will be checking out the above suggestions...

@Cliff - I will look for that kind of eggcrate, but I think I'd prefer a screen to allow fresh air to the water surface - winter is coming and the house will shut up compared to the summer.

@Rue - when you say closed top, do you mean a full glass lid?

@lab - the screen is what I'm leaning towards - but I know house screens block some light, I've never seen this clear plastic mesh you are referring to. Will look for it on my trip into town...

thanks for all the suggestions, folks.

Once I get a lid on there, I can shop for a replacement fish...hopefully it will be accepted - all the other fish were introduced to the tank within a couple months, then this guy will come along 6 months later.

11-19-2010, 02:17 AM
Post some pics of the screen or top that you end up getting, if it's not too much trouble to ask.

I'm starting to re-think my egg-create top and I am learning towards a solution like you have mentioned.

I would love to see what you come up with

11-19-2010, 02:25 AM
Will do.
part of the reason I was being lazy getting one, previously, is becuase I have so much HOB stuff. I didn't really want eggcrate, but its not simple to have a cut out in screening.

I'm going to either build it to fit inside the HOB piping, leaving that whole strip uncovered, or make it 3 sided and cut the screen very snugly to the pipes. I'm sure no matter how tight I make it, having only 3 sides will cause it to sag eventually.

So I guess I'll settle for making it fit inside, and just hope the fish don't decide to jump out at the back of the tank.

11-20-2010, 06:35 AM
@lab - the screen is what I'm leaning towards - but I know house screens block some light, I've never seen this clear plastic mesh you are referring to. Will look for it on my trip into town...

I've personally never seen it sold locally. I bought mine from a local reefer and bulk reef supply sells it for $12 for a 6 foot section. I've tested par and theres no difference in light with or without it so it doesn't block light. Lowes or home cheapo sells the screen frame for under $10. The only downside is the screen needs to be replaced every year or so but its cheap enough. Baking under the "sun" tends to make it brittle. I need to replace ours soon.

11-20-2010, 02:20 PM
I was at Lowe's yesterday and bought everything I needed - but they didn't have the clear stuff. I bought the grey fibreglass stuff, but there is a visible drop in light when I put it on, so I will try Home Depot today, and Home Hardware. I'm also going to try a farm supply place, that might be the better option.

Midnight Madness at my local Big Als tonight! Wuhuuuu!

02-07-2011, 04:03 AM
Hmm, been a long time since my last post. Didn't mean to leave the mesh lid issue hanging like that.

I did find some silver mesh, 1/4 gap, and made the screen. My problem was that with an HOB skimmer, power cords for the powerheads, and HOB filter, It was impossible for me to get 100% coverage of the top.
I couldn't see any impairment of the light, tho I would need a par meter to really tell if the light is degraded with the mesh top or not. In any event, the thing didn't work. Of course the 2" the mesh did NOT cover was enough to lose yet another fish to jumping. I don't understand it tho - it was my YW goby! He hangs out at the bottom of the tank all the time, mostly under rocks, and I've never seem him higher than mid way up the tank. But, I was away for the weekend, and there he was when I came home, dried up on the floor. :(

Aside from that, that tank has been pretty stable, hence the lack of posts here. I'm still having trouble with some levels being low, but while nothing is growing crazy, nothing is looking poorly either. Mushrooms (both regular and the frilly ones) are about the only thing spreading at a noticeable rate. I seem to have a lot of rock worms too - I have those little yellow filaments all over my tank, and occasionally one is on the glass.

The fish have all grown a touch, my favia seems to be very slowly spreading onto the rock beside it.

I'm still not completely happy with my flow.

Nothing ever seems to ever be perfect in any fish tank, eh? Always something that needs tweaking...

On the plus side - I've heard that the average life span of a flame scallop in a tank is about 8 or 9 months - and mine is reaching that point now, and it still looks as good as the day I bought it. I wonder what their growth rate is supposed to be? I can't tell if its grown at all or not, I'm lucky that its currently picked a shelf to stick to that I'm able to see it at all, but measuring it is out of the question.

Algae is present, but easily kept ahead of. I seem to have some snails breeding too - lots of wee white shells all over everything! I'm thinking at some point I will be giving them away to my local reef club, if they all survive.

Sorry, that was a long post! After a long absence, tho, I had some time to make up for!

Here is that pic I promised Cliff - sorry so late!

02-07-2011, 04:14 AM
Iíve heard a lot of mixed feedback about flame scallops. From what the guys at our SW LFS told me was that you need a really good and established tank or they wonít last much longer two weeks. Itís not surprising that yours is healthy after 8 months or so.

Iím also glad to see your not happy with the flow in your tank either. I also feel the flow in my tank is not the best it could be right now either. This is way I want to try a wave maker.

And thank-you for remember the pic. I think Iíll start looking for a top like that as well.

Post a few pics of your tank if you can. I would love to see the progress in your tank

02-07-2011, 04:53 AM
Glad to hear all is well... and na nothing is ever perfect just because of the way we are haha

Definitely wanna see a couple FTS if you can! Glad to hear that the flame scallop is doing well... I've read they're much like most anemones... they will do ok for the first couple months but will perish towards 8-10 months... but you can usually tell if it's on its way out lol... glad to hear yours is looking good!

02-08-2011, 02:48 AM
I won't be able to get a current FTS til Friday...I'm getting home pretty late and I barely have time to feed them before my actinics come on.

I haven't posted one so far becuase I don't feel its anything to brag over - for a year old tank I'm not getting anything like the crazy coral growth others are touting...I obviously don't have optimum conditions, but as I am keeping my tank low tech and gadget free, it is what it is.

02-08-2011, 04:32 AM
Don't sell yourself short for having a heathly tank.

Kijiji and Cragslist is filled with set-ups for sale because others could not do it

02-08-2011, 05:07 AM
I second Cliff's statement haha most people's tanks are disasters by this point so I'd give yourself a little pat on the back haha

02-09-2011, 12:19 AM
Thanks guys ;)

02-13-2011, 08:39 PM
My tank isn't really worth showing, but, you asked...

02-13-2011, 09:22 PM
wow how can you say that's not worth showing!! That tank is awesome!

Great pictures too. What kind of fish is the black blue and yellow one?

02-13-2011, 09:52 PM
Err, thanks :) My sunshine corals aren't doing great, I starved them in ignorance for awhile, and they are slow to recover. I'm not even sure if they will :(

Its a velvet damsel. It was an unresearched buy, and likely it will be trouble down the road. But for now its a pretty fella, isn't it?
Supposedly they don't get along with clowns, and the colours will fade to brown as it gets older. I hope what I read is bunk, lol.

02-13-2011, 10:46 PM
Looks fine to me...

...and we all make mistake...I still can't figure out I can't my CUC in better shape...I've had my tank for almost 4 years...

Think I need to go back to calcium and iodine supplements...

02-13-2011, 11:09 PM
Great shots! Nice corals (I like the bubble coral).
Nice coraline algae growth as well!

...Its a velvet damsel. It was an unresearched buy, and likely it will be trouble down the road. But for now its a pretty fella, isn't it?
Supposedly they don't get along with clowns, and the colours will fade to brown as it gets older. I hope what I read is bunk, lol.

The neon velvet damsels are nice when they're small. But it's not bunk. As they get bigger they do lose all of their nice colors and become rather bland looking fish (nearly solid dull black with some brown and faint light colored markings). They get fairly large too. When I purchased my neon velvet damsel in 2006 it was slightly larger than quarter and very colorful. Now it's just under 6" and its coloration is as I've described. It gets along with my maroon clownfish very well, though.

02-14-2011, 12:21 AM
You and I have a different opinion of what "not worth showing" actually means.

That's one great looking tank.

Stop selling yourself short, you got a really good tank. It's easy to get caught up in the quest for a "perfect" tank. I know I can get wrapped up in that from time tp time.

I'd love to see pic up-dates from time to time

03-19-2011, 12:37 AM
A reef store (www.fragalot.ca) has $10 frag specials, so a local reef guy went down and offered to do a group run - so a bunch of us went in and I got these 4 frags at $10 each. Very excited!
That blue fan tho - I don't know what it is with me and hard luck keepers - but I figured if I was keeping the tank "dirty" for my flame scallop, I'd see if I could keep one of these as well.

They are still all closed up, they have only been in the tank for 30 minutes, but I was too excited to wait to post!

So mad tho - taking the fan out of the bag, I busted it off the mount...I glued it back, and used a twist tie to hold it while it sets seeing as it wasn't holding all that well in the high flow.

03-19-2011, 12:46 AM
Nice ricordeas

What a great deal on the frags. I miss living in the GTA

03-19-2011, 12:56 AM
Yeah, the guy at fragalot is in Guelph, and the pick up guy met him in TO.
Pretty much the ONLY good thing about the city, is the availability of just about anything you might want.

03-19-2011, 04:17 PM
Nice frags... thanks for the link I just scooped up a couple haha :)

Definitely post some pictures up once they start to open up!!

04-18-2011, 11:55 PM
Well, I am back from vacation, and all my new frags are still alive! The blue gorgonian doesn't look as good as it should, but I've ordered in the same food as the seller uses, so I anticipate it looking its best soon...

While I was gone, I did lose one fish tho - my small school of dwarf neon gobies is now a single lone survivor :(

I guess it could have been worse, many people report crashes when they are gone for a week - I was gone for 28 days with only one fish loss in my reef tank, and also a lost fish in my african tank - the Otopharynx is gone. I imagine the short rations caused the more aggressive fish to harass and starve the poor fella... :(

On the other hand, I can now turn my fishy thoughts to who is going to get that 6' tank I bought before leaving on holidays... :)

04-19-2011, 12:14 AM
Sorry to hear about your losses

I am glad to hear that you are still setting up that 6' tank.

I'd love to read the up-dates on that journal thumbs2:

04-19-2011, 01:13 AM
*cough cough* go SW *cough cough* sorry to hear about your loss... but that's awesome that's the only thing you lost! It's a great testament to how well your tanks are doin!

04-25-2011, 12:00 AM
Decided to tick off my corals and fish today. did a major cleaning of all the powerheads, skimmer, filter. Had to get rid of some blue shrooms, so I decided to do a rescape at the same time. I never liked my "heap of rocks" which is what I did to keep them off the glass. I think I like the look of this better...it is SO much harder to rescape once you have corals on the rocks, sigh.
You can even see my blue gorgonian and flame scallop...tho I don't think the scallop will stay there long.
Tank is still a bit foggy, but here is a FTS...

Has anyone used Joes Juice for anything other than Aiptasia? Next time I need to remove overgrowing coral I'd rather not have to take any rock out.

04-25-2011, 02:01 AM
your flame scallop really found a nice little hiding spot. I always thought they would stay on the substrate for some reason. They are interesting little critters. I'd love to try one some day

Your tank looks great

04-25-2011, 01:25 PM
Thanks Cliff.
The flame scallop has never hung out on the substrate. He sputts himself onto the underside of a rock where there is good flow for him to catch stuff. I even took that rock out while scaping and he stuck to the underside. He never closed his shell, so maybe thats how he sticks there - kinda uses his shell as wedge and holds himself in place by forcing the shell open to opposite walls. I think if he had closed his shell he would have fallen off it. Also, while he was out, he snapped a couple times, so maybe he was trying to improve his grip. At the time, I thought he was trying to sputt away. Now I think he was trying to sputt in more securely.
One more month and it will be 1 year old.

05-13-2011, 11:18 PM
Another updated FTS. I did another rescape, and, wonder of wonders, I might even be happy with it, lol. At least it doesn't have the bucket look anymore (as if I took a bucket of rocks and dumped them in).

I rescaped, and added a couple peices of dead rock.

One of these days my tank will look mature!


Also, in order to keep this thread complete:
controlling coral growth - Kalkwasser paste; some superglue gel over them or IC gel; dabbing clear coral fragging gel (cyanoacrylate, essentially the gel version of super glue) on them.
I will start with some Aiptasia X and progress thru the other ideas given as required.

One of my recent purchases:


Now, to get some better colour...any suggestions?

05-14-2011, 03:55 AM
Your tank looks great

How about a golden tourch coral for some color ?

I was wondering, how active is your Bangii cardnel during the day ?

05-14-2011, 12:02 PM
I would love to get a torch, but I think I am running out of real estate to add corals, once the ones I have start to spread...? 30" tank does not give you a lot of room to play.

My banggai doesn't hide during the day, if thats what you're asking. He's not all over the tank all the time like the angel and damsel, he kinda hangs out on his side of the tank, mostly the front right corner where there is some free space. He'll go across the front to the other side sometimes.
I've had him for over a year now.

05-16-2011, 01:36 AM
Fantastic journal ;)

05-16-2011, 03:10 AM
IMy banggai doesn't hide during the day, if thats what you're asking. He's not all over the tank all the time like the angel and damsel, he kinda hangs out on his side of the tank, mostly the front right corner where there is some free space. He'll go across the front to the other side sometimes.

Thanks Sheamuria. I picked up three banggais yesterday and they seam to be acting the same as yours.

05-16-2011, 11:11 AM
Our banggai does the same thing, and really becomes active at night. I had to move our sun coral to the frag tank because when we feed it a night, the banggai steals all the food

05-16-2011, 12:54 PM
My banggai is more active at night too - but he certainly doesn't eat anything other than brine shrimp! I wish he would eat something else...

05-16-2011, 02:34 PM
ours eats anything, frozen brine and mysis, as well as nls pellets and he even takes the occasional nip at seaweed sheets, lol

05-16-2011, 02:50 PM
Well, here's my tank in its sad state...hopefully when I bump up the salinity, the corals will perk up a bit...

That looks REALLY cool!!! Just wondering, are you going to put anything on the back of the tank? Just looks like maybe some paper or something to really showcase what's in the tank.

Sorry in advance if you already did this.

06-13-2011, 01:15 AM
Update time, seeing as I have a question...

I think I mentioned it elsewhere, but my flame scallop has made it to a year old, which I am happy about as from what I've read they generally die in 6-9 months of starvation. Unfortunately, my gorgonia and sun corals are not doing well. My calcium has been low, so I'm currently dosing twice weekly to get it back up to where it should be. Otherwise, the tank is doing excellently. My frogspawn is a monster, with over 40 heads now, and my bubble is 8" across even tho it is hosting my clowns.

My main question this time is this - my favia when I first got it was green with red centres. While I've had it, the green has gone away until it is almost totally red. Is this a lack of calcium or other element?? It is not declining at all, and the red is not faded. It seems perfectly healthy to look at, but every favia I have seen has had an outer and inner colour. So it must be lacking something? Any ideas?

before and now pics...

06-13-2011, 01:34 AM
Have you considered dosing daily instead of twice weekly

I have read that can made a difference in most corals. That way the Cal level are not only within the range corals need, but it is a stable level. If I remember correctly, thos favias like higher cal levels. So it the level were to drop a little lower on occation, it might do that. Just a guess tho

06-13-2011, 02:05 AM
I thought of it, but didn't want to shock anything by bringing the levels up to fast...and I hate math, so I'm too lazy to figure out what a daily dose should be... :)

06-13-2011, 02:24 AM
LOL, me too

As a non techincal approach, you could just divide the total amount your currently dosing each week by 7, and start at that level. Then test each day to see the impact. After about 3 or 4 days you can adjust the amount a little and take it from there. Within about 7 to 10 days you should find the "sweet spot" for your tank.

I tried almost the same process for my 120 and it's working so far.

12-31-2011, 08:52 PM
Well, the end of this month marks the second anniversary of my reef tank.

Not much to update for those of you that know my tank - my big issue right now is a growing mushroom population which I will have to control. I've ordered a 40 box of clean dry rock so I can start selling out mushroom covered rocks. Also, the damsel is marked for eviction as soon as I get selling the shrooms - I hate to disrupt the tank more than I need to so he will wait til I am already in there removing rocks anyway.

I just did a major tank maintenance on the tank prior to these pics, so the corals aren't looking their best. Also, I've been away a lot so wc's haven't been regular which, with the removal of the skimmer, has also affected them somewhat. I'm back on it now tho, no more overtime at work is expected and no trips away in the near future!

Here are some updated pics of tank and stock...

"dawn" fts - w/flash

"dawn" fts no flash

12-31-2011, 08:53 PM
stock -




12-31-2011, 09:04 PM


My frogspawn is huge - its got to be at least 8" across now...

and the beginning of the swarm...

12-31-2011, 09:10 PM




12-31-2011, 10:40 PM
Your tank is looking great

Thanks for posting some pics

01-01-2012, 12:29 AM
Nice update! :thumb:

01-04-2012, 06:06 PM
wow the evelution of this tank is amazing! I'm deff subbing this journal!

I do have some questions though (I read the 1st 4 or 5 pages and then skipped to page 15 lol so I need the Sparknotes lmao)

It looks like your still in the 30G tank? I know in the beginning you said you where upgrading to a 50G tank but the picture doesn't look like a 50 so I was just wondering what your plans with the actual tank was lol

Do you mind repeating your stock list? (or know stock lol, I know there are hitchhikers)

Okay now two stupid newb questions (I'm barely out of the newb category and into the novice category for FW, let along my super-newb SW status lol)

Can the coral grow over the fish? For example, you said your clown lives in the coral (i forgot the name of the coral, I barely know like 10 SW Fish let-alone the names of the coral lol). So can that coral keep multiplying to a point where the Clown is underneath/behind the coral? Or would that never happen/can't happen

And the rock you have in your sump, (or what I assume is your sump, you had pictures in pages over a year old) are they there just to add more BB (or the SW version of BB) to the tank? Or why are they there?

thanks, and great tank and journal! Can't keep to keep reading it, seeing the pictures, and learning

01-04-2012, 11:06 PM
wow the evelution of this tank is amazing! I'm deff subbing this journal! Thanks! There are lots of sw journals better than mine on here tho...

It looks like your still in the 30G tank? I know in the beginning you said you where upgrading to a 50G tank but the picture doesn't look like a 50 so I was just wondering what your plans with the actual tank was lol No, the last fts are of the 50 gal. The 50's are only 30" long.

Do you mind repeating your stock list? (or know stock lol, I know there are hitchhikers) Current stock - fish only: One Blue Velvet damsel, one Banggaii Cardinal, one neon goby, 2 clowns, one chromis. Both the gobies and the chromis used to be part of small schools, but they chase each other right out of the tank so I only have one left of each.

Okay now two stupid newb questions (I'm barely out of the newb category and into the novice category for FW, let along my super-newb SW status lol)

Can the coral grow over the fish? Some corals will eat fish, but no, corals do not grow over fish. They are animals, not plants, and some species can close over a fish and eat it.

And the rock you have in your sump, (or what I assume is your sump, you had pictures in pages over a year old) are they there just to add more BB (or the SW version of BB) to the tank? Or why are they there? The rock is my biological filter. I do not have a sump, my tank is extremely simple compared to most saltwater set ups. I have that much rock both for hiding places for the fish, and roosting places for the coral, and to act as the filter. I have no other filtration on the tank. The general ratio of rock is 1.5 to 2 lbs of rock for every gallon your tank holds. If you were going to stock heavily, you would lean to the 2 or more pound of live rock per gallon.

thanks, and great tank and journal! Can't keep to keep reading it, seeing the pictures, and learning Glad you are getting something out of it! Check out other saltwater journals too, under the Journals section of the forum.

01-05-2012, 04:57 AM
oh thanks, didn't realize how the filtration worked, thats pretty cool! good luck!

01-05-2012, 12:18 PM
Nice Nice Nice!

01-05-2012, 04:18 PM
late response but the tank is lookin great!! Definitely can see ur shroom infestation starting though haha...

I love the frogspawn colony though! So cool when people have a huge colony like that

01-28-2012, 08:52 PM
Minor update today. Month 14 on this current set of lights, and with my bubble coral still not opening like it used to, I decided it was time to change.

I replaced the 10k Odyssey bulb with a 14K Ushio, and changed two of 4 actinics (I didn't realise there was 4 bulbs in the fixture when I ordered the replacements! D'oh!) with one superblue and one fiji purple.

I'm not sure I like the fiji bulb...pic one during "daw/dusk phase...and one shortly after the new MH came on...

Once everything is on, it doesn't look much different than pre-change...
I hope the corals acclimatise easily to the new lighting.

01-28-2012, 09:46 PM
I really like the after look with the new bulbs

01-28-2012, 11:37 PM
I always neglect looking through the journals [on purpose] I like seeing quick progression in reef tanks as everything but the bad seems to take so long to happen:hmm3grin2orange: Your reef has looked so nice for a long time now it seems,a testament to good keeping Shea!

01-28-2012, 11:51 PM
thanks guys

02-10-2012, 01:01 AM
Update! Happy One!

Some of you will remember I had some coral unhappiness recently, which I wasn't sure might have been the fault of removing my annoying HOB skimmer.

So, reading my tank history, I got some new bulbs, and ran some water tests.

I've been dosing Mg and Iodine daily, and laid off on the calcium dosing as ti was high.

So, I don't really know what to attribute it to - I'm leaning towards the lighting - but things are looking up! My bubble is opening more - tho its not as big as it used to be yet - and it has noticeably more colour than it did!
My candy cane had suffered an uprooting during a maintenance run, and had 8 damaged heads - now I can positively say it is recovering and now only 5 heads show damage. When it uprooted it also broke, so now I have two of them and they are both mending.

All I lost under the new lights was some coraline - some got bleached on a particular rock, and on some of the hermits and snails.


02-10-2012, 01:08 AM
You can see the damage on the candy cane - but there used to be 8 heads that looked like that. If you really look you can see the deformity where it grew over damaged spots.

Not very clear pic, but you can see a bit of pearly colour on the bubble coral...

And just a close trying to get a pic of the colour on frogspawn, which has always looked pretty good...but the tips aren't really showing up...

Just after feeding, thats cyclops and dirty glass you see, lol...

02-10-2012, 01:49 AM
The corals look happy

Good job with the tank

It sure is satisfying when you can figure out how to improve things thumbs2:

02-10-2012, 02:03 AM
It sure is...and it takes so long to be sure you really do see improvement, rather than only seeing your hopes for improvement!

02-11-2012, 08:20 PM
Picked up a couple actinics so now all the lights are new.

So I thought I'd post a new fts, but of course the colours just aren't coming thru...this isn't my current rescape, a couple of the top rocks are up there only for easy access as I am trying to sell them.

The new dead rock sure shows through!

02-11-2012, 09:40 PM
Your tank is still looking great thumbs2:

02-11-2012, 09:47 PM
I am consumed with envy at this tank, man. Good work.

02-12-2012, 11:32 PM
Big week for my tank this week.

I got the last two actinics replaced, which you may recall I forgot to order enough lights to replace all the bulbs in the fixture.

I traded two mushroom laden rocks for a nice large orange sun coral frag!

And added some dead rock to replace the rock I traded away, plus a bit more.
The white is a bit glaring, but here are the pics - you can see the new frag in the bottom left corner.

One actinics shot. The actinics are a bit of mash of 3 different lights. One fiji purple, one super blue, and two actinic blue.

The sun hasn't opened yet :( but I'm hoping tomorrow...

02-13-2012, 02:41 AM
That sun coral is a nice orange. I think it's going to look great when it opens

02-13-2012, 03:01 AM
damn thats sweet!

Kinda a newb, esp with SW, what are those ball shaped objects in the top left and and one on the right?

02-13-2012, 01:11 PM
Not sure, but I think you are referring to the powerheads?

02-20-2012, 04:02 PM
Having trouble balancing my parameters. I can see now why people go to dosers and reactors, trying to do it manually is for the birds.

The tank is old enough now that some elements are being depleted, but as I am trying to adjust three at the same time, its hard to get them all balanced. I should have stuck with just trying to balance one, but I'm pretty sure (as they are all interdependent) that one stable one would have been offed by my working on the second.

Anyhoots, I went from low KH to high KH; good calcium to low calcium;low MG to good (thats one!); and iodide still not detectable tho I dose it everyday.

KH and calc will be easy to bring back to normal, Mag I hope the dose won't change once calc gets back to where it was, and iodide I guess I'll step it up a bit, tho I hate to dose something that could be harmful.

Getting there...

02-20-2012, 05:53 PM
sheamurai, I'm in the same boat lol you mess with one and discombobulate the others haha

If you find a routine that works well definitely put it up on here since I've been tinkering with this as well haha

Best of luck on the hunt for equilibrium though!

02-20-2012, 06:22 PM
thanks hockeyhead...if it was easy it wouldn't be as fun, right?

02-20-2012, 06:39 PM
very true very true haha the challenge is what keeps me involved haha

Also do you have any pics of the sun coral open? I'm really jealous haha they're so cool!!

02-20-2012, 06:42 PM
No, sorry, it still only opens for feeding and I'm busy feeding all my tanks so no pics at feeding time. Its not completely open yet either. If I had been smart I wouldn't have cemented it down until after it was staying open...VERY hard to feed this guy and keep shrimp and other fish away. It's too big for the bottle trick.

02-20-2012, 06:55 PM
Yea he looked rather large and I hear ya on the shrimp they're a pita haha my fish generally leave the corals alone when they're feeding, usually cuz I drop their food in at the same time so they're pre-occupied with that

02-23-2012, 01:51 AM
Another change for my tank today.

Went to the store to buy a new container of phophate remover, and decided to try Chemi-pure Elite instead. I really need to do more to reduce my nitrates, as I feed so heavy, and I'm hoping that chemi-pure, purigen, and de-nitrater will drop my nitrates to zero or close to it.

My HOB can hardly hold all the media!
I think I may pull my spare out of storage and add it on so all that stuff is not in one filter...and the extra flow will likely be welcome anyway.

02-23-2012, 01:57 AM
I know how much you love dosing, but have you considered some type of carbon dosing for your tank to help with the nitrates :14:

After my tanks were fully cycled, I have not got a nitrate test result higher than 1ppm that I can remember. Almost all of the time I get a 0 ppm test result.

02-23-2012, 02:32 AM
I've read about them, but no desire to run one. When I finally upgrade the tank, I'll get serious about equipment, but until I know what my final reef plan will be its staying small and low tech.

The only reason nitrates are wicked high in my tank is because I feed the tank every other day for the flame scallop. I don't know where it is right now to spot feed it, so the whole tank gets a cube of food every other day that basically nothing eats, except whatever the filter feeders take out.
As much as I like it, I may rehome it one of these days so I can quit being a hypochondriac about it and feed normally.

02-23-2012, 02:41 AM
LOL, I was actually referring to a liquid carbon suppliment that you dose just like you would for Cal or dKH. There are products like the below that are meant to be used in set ups without skimmers. There is also the option for suger or voda dosing but I don't know if those methods will be effected buy not having a skimmer. I have not used any of these methods, only read about them.

Just a option to think about if you feel the nitrated are causing a big enough problem for you


02-23-2012, 02:45 AM
OH no I hadn't heard of that one. Thanks!

yeeks...one more thing to dose...

Well, I'll wait and see how the chemi-pure does before trying something else again. Jenn mentioned chemi-pure in some past posts is why I thought I'd try it...

02-23-2012, 02:48 AM
Hmm, I read that link Cliff, and it says "skimmer must be left running".

I don't think its meant to be used without a skimmer...

02-25-2012, 02:58 AM
Now, the usual issue still exists that I've implemented a number of changes at once, so I don't which (maybe it took them all) turned the trick, but my goal has been ACHIEVED!


My bubble coral is now fully open the way it should be, after weeks of only being half inflated.


Of course, now I have to continue with the chemi-pure and all.
Once my nitrates are completely down I will desist with the pebble nitrate remover, and hopefully the chemi-pure and purigen will be sufficient to maintain the water quality.

03-24-2012, 09:58 PM
Wow what a long day. 8 hours - pulled almost all the rock out of my tank, and netted that damnsel. He's gone to a bigger tank with other damnsels, which was lucky for him, as I really hated him the last few days I would cheerfully have flushed him if no one had wanted him. Which is really unfair, as it wasn't his fault, but he's gone now and everyone's happy.

Well, I shouldn't say that. Complete rescape so my corals aren't happy at all. Fish are unsettled. I hope they settle in fast. I took out about a quarter to a third of the rock - I took the opportunity on launching a counterstrike against my invading blue mushrooms. I either got rid of the rock entirely, or scraped the beggars off the rock I really wanted to keep. I doubt they'll stay gone long, but for now there's not a spot of blue shroom in the tank, and I'm liking it.

Pic of the new 'scape to come tomorrow when the cloud has settled and hopefully the corals have opened again.

LOL not that it looks any better, I SO suck at scaping...I wish I had Jen's touch....

03-24-2012, 10:02 PM
I'm looking forward to the pics

I'm sure your scaping skills are a lot better than you give yourself credit for

03-25-2012, 01:47 PM
oh, forgot the one sad note...

I did a pretty thorough search, and I did not see my flame scallop. Or even an empty shell. The only possible way it could still be around is if it buried itself in the sand to hide, which I don't think they do.

I guess its dead :(

03-25-2012, 11:54 PM
pardon the reflection in the bottom corner...it covers my orange ric, which has almost doubled in size from the little cap I bought...

03-25-2012, 11:57 PM
Your tank is still looking great

I love how your clowns like to hang out in the bubble coral

03-25-2012, 11:59 PM
thanks Cliff

I'm bummed about my flame scallop tho :(

03-26-2012, 12:53 PM
I've already seen an improvement in my fishes behanvior. The banggai is all over the tank now, where before he used to hang out in one corner. Chromis, same story. For some reason the neon hides more tho. Hopefully he's just spooked and will come out to play after a few days. Even the clowns range out more now, tho I think in the beginning it was merely checking out the new scape to see if there was a better host coral situation...

03-26-2012, 01:30 PM
sheamurai do the clowns stress the bubble coral out?

The tank looks fantastic though!! The lighting looks great and your coral growth is awesome!!

03-26-2012, 02:21 PM
I've been warned that they might, hockeyhead, but its been two years and the bubble is ok. Occasionally I see a hole in the bottom tissue, but so far it hasn't been an issue.

03-26-2012, 03:14 PM
Gotcha... glad to hear they haven't done anything to your coral yet... funny how things differ from tank to tank and fish to fish since I've read a couple times of clowns destroying frogspawn and hammerhead regularly but mine don't even look at it to host in haha and your bubble does fine lol

Anyways congrats on the tank!! It looks fantastic

03-26-2012, 03:28 PM
I hear ya. I'm still withholding final judgement, they are not full sized yet nor breeding - I think both of those things may influence how rough clowns are on their coral.

One thing for sure - if you like coraline don't get an urchin...he sure goes thru a lot! I like him tho, and he's almost always visible. I'd like to get a breeding pair of banggai and see if the fry hang out around it, lol.

and thanks!

03-26-2012, 04:38 PM
pardon the reflection in the bottom corner...it covers my orange ric, which has almost doubled in size from the little cap I bought...

Your tank looks fantastic! What exactly is that orange thing growing in the front?

03-26-2012, 05:50 PM
Its a sun coral, and its not open in the picture. They seem to be less forgiving of being moved and relocated than the other coral are. Very unhappy fellow.

03-26-2012, 09:58 PM
Cat Fish lady, just a note about those Sun Corals, they are not for beginners. They are a non-photosynthetic coral and must be fed. They generally require a good bit of work to keep them healthy.

Tank looks great shea

06-24-2012, 12:07 AM
Thought I'd post a wee update, seems due and I just installed my new used MP40 ES. I like that the tank has less hardware in it now - one powerhead in place of 4 - but not convinced that one powerhead can be placed to eliminate all dead spots.

A couple new frags in there...I picked up a green slimer (thats what he called it), a bit of scroll with some orange zoas...due to pick up a red monti frag on Tuesday.
Also, a new fish. I picked up a purple firefish, to replace the dwarf angel that died a while back. Stocking now consists of a pair of clowns, a neon goby, a banggai cardinalfish, and the firefish.

Curiously, I lost my two cleaner shrimp within a week of each other, but my blood red is fine. Actually, he's happier without the competition around. I'm guessing they just died of old age, from what I can gather they only live around 4 yrs at best anyway.

Running carbon, chemi-pure elite, and a sponge in the HOB. Calcium is the only thing that I can't get 100% stable yet - dosing by hand is imprecise, so I have a variance from week to week of 20-40, which I don't think is really that big a deal, more of an annoyance.

Ok, thats it for tank summary, here's the fts...

06-24-2012, 12:17 AM
Some snaps...

Note that the bubble and sun coral are still not happy with me for mucking about with the flow...

06-24-2012, 12:20 AM
a few more...

06-24-2012, 12:21 AM
last one...

06-24-2012, 12:35 AM
tanks looking good. Corals are looking healthy bud!