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Ashurbarnipal
01-01-2012, 01:34 AM
I am preparing to set up a 29 gallon FOWLR aquarium, which is my first salt tank, and I read The New Marine Aquarium by Michael S. Paletta on the advice of fish savvy friends. It suggests that after waiting 24 hours for the salt to settle to wait for a further few days before adding the live rock to avoid die off.

I'm planning on getting cured live rock from the pet store, stuff that's been running in their tanks for a year, so I want to be very careful.

My question is, exactly how long precisely I should wait after the salt has settled?

Cliff
01-01-2012, 01:39 AM
If you mix your saltwater to the correct salinity (1.023 to 1.026 ) you should not have any salt on the bottom of your tank

I would suggest mixing your SW before adding it to your aquarium so you can control your salinity and aviod this all together

smaug
01-01-2012, 01:41 AM
Mix the salt and water outside the tank and make sure it is stable at the desired sg before adding it to the tank. You will get some die off witb the live rock no matter what but don't worry about tbat as that die off is what will cycle your tank.

Ashurbarnipal
01-01-2012, 02:10 AM
I should have said that I have not purchased any rock yet. There is nothing in my tank presently but twenty gallons of R/O water, a heater, and a powerhead.

And yes, the author said there would be die off, but that if the water is aged, the cycle is completed more swiftly.

sheamurai
01-01-2012, 02:37 AM
There should be no "settling" of the salt. If there is, there's something wrong with the amount or the salt itself.
The water will not be sitting in your tank uncirculated, so the salt will not settle out. There is no "precise" measurement for the timing of anything in this hobby, but 24 hours to age is fine.

I also leave a powerhead running in my premixed saltwater (for water changes), so it doesn't have a chance to settle.

smaug
01-01-2012, 02:42 AM
I mix my water and use it within a few hours. Once the water is clear the salt is fully mixed,salt does not come out of solution once mixed unless by evaporation.

Ashurbarnipal
01-01-2012, 02:49 AM
Ah. Well, to be fair, the word I used is settled, but looking back in the book, what he said was more 'once the water has aged.' But thanks for the feedback

Ashurbarnipal
01-02-2012, 01:03 AM
Ok, so after letting the tank sit for a day with my 110 gph powerhead and heater running (it's between 76-77 atm), I added from a five gallon bucket of instant ocean salt, about 9 cups, as the instructions said half a cup per gallon, so I wanted to add less.

Came back half a day later and the salt level is through the roof. Hydrometer goes clear up to 1.30, near the top of it's range. Now, I think my powerhead might be both underpowered and I'm not sure the venturi is working right, so I popped another powerhead in, 160 gph with a venturi I'm reasonably sure worked.

Any ideas? Did I put too much in or does the water need more aeration/time?

smaug
01-02-2012, 01:07 AM
Should have mixed it in a an outside container in smaller batches.Get a refractometer as hydrometers arent the most accurate and are temperature dependant.No way the number should be that high.

Cliff
01-02-2012, 01:11 AM
Any ideas? Did I put too much in or does the water need more aeration/time?

+1 Smaug

If your salinity is ar 1.030, it will still be at 1.030 reguardless of the aeration time.

I would also suggest getting a refactormeter so you know for sure what your salinity is at before changing anything.

Also, the flow in the DT should be at about 10 X the tank volume at the least. Both of my reef tanks are between 30 and 40 Xs

Ashurbarnipal
01-02-2012, 01:13 AM
I think it may have been the aeration. The number has already gone down to 1.28.

As for a refractometer, I'd really like to, but I'm already approaching the end of my budget, and cheapest one I can find on Amazon is 50 bucks.

smaug
01-02-2012, 01:15 AM
When I mix my water I do it in 5 gal buckets. I start with 2 cups per 5 gals. That usually gives me about 1.020. When I have gone with the usual recomendation of half cup per gallon ,or 2.5 cups per 5 gal I end up around 1.027. Your number of 1.03 cannot possibly be correct.

Cliff
01-02-2012, 01:18 AM
Hydrometers have been known to give you a 0.005 to 0.002 variance with the same water sample. At least that has been my experiance using one of the cheaper hydrometers.

Ashurbarnipal
01-02-2012, 01:28 AM
Ok, rinsed it off with R/O water and tried it again a few times, and now it's consistently giving me a reading between 1.023 and 1.024

You guys were right, though. Should have done it outside my tank. Feel kinda dumb now.

smaug
01-02-2012, 01:33 AM
Thats cool.Ive done ALL sorts of dumb things with my sw tank. This one for you was harmless.

Ashurbarnipal
01-02-2012, 01:47 AM
So, now that it's stable and seems to be at the perfect salinity level, I'm thinking if in the morning it's still reading 1.23-4 I should go into the pet store with a water sample, have them test to make sure it's ok, then get my live rock and live sand.

But I just wanna make sure that sounds safe. Don't wanna make any more dumb mistakes.

(I do have a master test kit, just fyi, but I wanna be double safe)

smaug
01-02-2012, 02:07 AM
Is it the so called live sand sold in bags? If so save the money and just get normal dry sand as the bagged live sand adds nothing to the system but xtra dirt.

Ashurbarnipal
01-02-2012, 02:08 AM
No, it's in a tank.

smaug
01-02-2012, 02:11 AM
That should be good then.Do they keep fish in this tank?

Ashurbarnipal
01-02-2012, 02:13 AM
I haven't seen the tank, so I'm not sure. They do keep fish with some of the live rock, though.

smaug
01-02-2012, 02:16 AM
Im a bit paranoid about getting live rock from a system that had fish in it. If any parasitic infestation is present then you just introduced a vector into your system. The live sand would worry me even more if there were fish in the system. If I trusted the shop very much then I suppose my fears would be assuaged .
I do wish to qualify my statements as coming from a newbie to sw keeping. Im a bit paranoid from my first few months of the experiance battling ich and or velvet.

Ashurbarnipal
01-02-2012, 02:38 AM
Hmm, I'm not sure how much to trust them, as I'm p new to this region. I'll do what I can with the liverock, but I'm not sure how much choice I'll have in the matter. Nearest place with liverock is three hours away. :/

sheamurai
01-02-2012, 07:42 PM
Best you can do - no matter where you get your live rock from - is to examine each piece while still in the water, for bad critters. If you take them out to look, things like aiptasia shrink to nothing and you can't see them.

I got a coral from a trusted source - by gawd his tank is gorgeous - but even so I got aiptasia and bristleworms from it. The rock I got from Big Als tho, was clean...the reverse of what you'd think...

Ashurbarnipal
01-02-2012, 08:14 PM
Yeah, my fish friend told me as much. Unfortunately, I was wrong, they didn't have any live sand at all, but they did give me a net full of sand from an established reef tank. Also, all the live rock was from a tank with fish. I got 7 pieces, four medium sized ones and three smallish, but not tiny, rocks. Once the water clears from the crushed coral, I'll post pics, see if it looks right

sheamurai
01-02-2012, 08:19 PM
Well, I'm thinking sand from an established tank IS live sand. I'm with smaug on that bagged stuff - waste of coin.

Do you know how much weight of rock you purchased? For a 29 gal, you'll be wanting 45-60 lbs of rock. 7 pieces doesn't quite sound like enough, unless you are going to add dry rock later.

Waiting for pics...

Ashurbarnipal
01-02-2012, 08:38 PM
I think maybe 35? They sold it by size, not weight.

I could go back later this week and buy maybe two or three more.

edit: to be honest, I'm a little uneasy about stacking the rocks which I'd need to do even more with more rocks, any advice there?

smaug
01-02-2012, 08:40 PM
At this point
:worthless:

sheamurai
01-02-2012, 08:55 PM
Mine are just stacked, against the back and not attached or glued or anything. I do have eggcrate on the bottom. Also, place rock first then sand, so the rocks don't shift if sand gets washed or moved from under the rocks.

You can check out other peoples marine tank journals as everyone has done their own thing concerning setting up the rock.

Ashurbarnipal
01-03-2012, 12:00 AM
I did place the live rock on the glass before putting in the crushed coral.

The water has cleared enough that you can kinda see the rock. Taking a bit to fully clear, cause of crushed coral (which I washed 3 times) Most of it is Atlantic, Fiji rock.

I apologize for the quality, my normal camera is on loan and I just have my camera phone.

Also, it's kinda of hazy, but there is a rock to the right of the red one to the right.

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/001.jpg

This pic kinda hides on of the rocks on the left side

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/002.jpg

Namely this one.

Keep in mind, they're also partially buried under 20 pounds of crushed gravel.

Ashurbarnipal
01-03-2012, 12:16 AM
Out of curiosity, would adding a bunch of deadrock obtained out of town work if I wanted to convert it to a reef in the future? (which I'm not considering any time soon, mind)

smaug
01-03-2012, 12:24 AM
Yes you can use dry rock added into an established system to create live rock. You do need more rock then you have right now if you want a decent amount of fish.

Ashurbarnipal
01-03-2012, 12:53 AM
Alright, I'll try to pick some more up this week. One medium and two small be enough?

Also, my protein skimmer is noisy as hell, is it alright if I turn it off when I sleep until I can fix it? (I've read about a fix to it, but don't have the materials for it right now.)

sheamurai
01-03-2012, 02:06 AM
yeah, a skimmer is almost counter productive on a cycling tank, tho you might get differing opinions on that.

Ashurbarnipal
01-03-2012, 02:18 AM
Btw, thank you all for your advice, I tend to get a bit OCD and worry a lot every time I set up a new tank.

sheamurai
01-03-2012, 02:20 AM
lol we're all a bit OCD here about our fish! Obviously you are in the right place!

Ashurbarnipal
01-03-2012, 03:17 PM
Water has become crystal clear today. Has a mild odor, so I did an ammonia test (using an API master SW test kit) Ammonia's at .25 according to it, so I guess the cycling is started well.

My T5 lighting is supposed to be delivered tomorrow, so I'll try to get my camera back then and get better pictures.

I'm wondering, should this thread now be moved to the journal forum perhaps?

Cliff
01-03-2012, 04:29 PM
You can start a jorunal, or I can move this thread for you.

Just let me know

Ashurbarnipal
01-03-2012, 04:47 PM
Why not move it for economy sake? And maybe change the title to 29 gal FOWLR, eventual reef, if you wouldn't mind?

In a couple of weeks, I'm going to go out of town and the pet store where I'm going sells dry rock for 2.50 a pound, so I might pick a bit up, there.

Also, my last tank was a sixty gallon discus tank, and I didn't like using the carbon in my HOB filter, is it ok to not use it in this tank? So far I haven't, but I still have the carbon. (I'm using an aquaclear)

Cliff
01-03-2012, 04:52 PM
Done and done

That carbon should be OK for a FOWLR

Ashurbarnipal
01-03-2012, 05:02 PM
Thank you very much! You've all been so helpful. I'll post more updates as things come along.

Ashurbarnipal
01-05-2012, 12:53 AM
Lights and camera are here! And I bought three more rocks. Two were normal, one was kinda smallish.

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/herp.png


http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/derp.png

I'll be testing for ammonia and possibly nitrate later tonight. Have no idea how fast it'll cycle with these rocks and net of sand I got from the store, but I've no intention of rushing things, either.

Ashurbarnipal
01-05-2012, 01:24 AM
No nitrate, but maybe a bit more ammonia, not sure. Color cards are so vague.

Ashurbarnipal
01-05-2012, 03:30 AM
Ok, I hate to quadruple post, but it seems a small snail has hitchiked into my tank. Is it gonna be alright? Can inverts handle the cycling process?

kaybee
01-05-2012, 03:44 AM
Many hitch hiking inverts, usually the kinds you can't purchase (e.g., small snails, pods, micro-sea stars, crabs, pest anemone's, bristleworms, fanworms, etc), can withstand the cycling process, though some die-off may occur.

Nice start, by the way!

Ashurbarnipal
01-05-2012, 08:52 PM
Thanks.

I don't think I'll bother testing again until the weekend.

I have two questions: one, does this seem like enough live rock now? And two, when and how should one introduce inverts? My book talks a lot about introducing fish, but little about inverts.

labnjab
01-05-2012, 10:34 PM
It doesn't look like quite enough rock to me. I had 2 29 gallons until I merged them into a 75 gallon 2 years ago. I'll post a picture of each with the amount of rock each had

Here is one of them with roughly 35 lbs of rock.

http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f370/jabsgirlforever/random%20coral%20shots/100_1122.jpg


and the other with around 50 lbs of rock

http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f370/jabsgirlforever/random%20coral%20shots/100_1166.jpg

smaug
01-05-2012, 10:58 PM
I think you need more but actual weight of rock can be deceiving. This is my 58 gal and despite the looks like I have alot of rock it is barely 45lbs in there. Your rocks seems pretty dense whereas mine is very lacey and lightweight.
24643

Ashurbarnipal
01-06-2012, 12:32 AM
Well, is it enough to cycle the tank in a reasonable amount of time with (considering this all came from established tanks, plus the net full of sand from a reef tank), at least?

I can get a good bit of dry rock for much cheaper the weekend after next.

I'm pretty sure these rocks way at least 40 pounds altogether, for what it's worth. They're sturdy Fiji rocks, mostly.

Cliff
01-06-2012, 12:48 AM
You could add some more dry rock to improve your tank's filtration once it becomes live. You will have to stock your fish very slowly to make sure your bactria can keep up with the demands.

When you pick out your dry rock, look for rock that is very porous, almost looking like there is holes part way through it. The more porous it is the better filtration it will provide. Also, look for a uniform almost off- white color. A little discoloration from that is OK.

Example below

http://i938.photobucket.com/albums/ad226/Cliff_Erhardt/Rock/Gooddryrock.jpg

Ashurbarnipal
01-06-2012, 01:01 AM
Yes, I've been reading up on dry rock. For what it's worth, I've been researching for about a year. Reread that book more than once.

Anyhow, I can either get more fully cured rock now and a little dry rock next weekend or get a bunch of dried rock next weekend. I just don't want to sabotage my cycle.

Ashurbarnipal
01-06-2012, 02:07 AM
Also, what is the likelihood the tank would be cycled by then? I happen to very much trust that fish store as it's where I was the last five years and was hoping to get a Green Chromis there, if the tank was ready for it.

smaug
01-06-2012, 11:29 AM
Your test numbers will dictate when its cycled but in 2 weeks if the rock did not have a lot of die off you very well may be cycled.

Ashurbarnipal
01-06-2012, 05:55 PM
Thanks.

Yes, I've no intention of putting anything in the tank till ammonia and nitrite are zero and I've done a water change to get rid of nitrate; I was just hopeful as I really love and trust this pet store and won't have a chance to go back for a while. Plus, this local place would have to order Chromis and Fire Shrimp, whereas that place always has them on hand.

I haven't seen too much die off, physically. The rocks actually look great and ammonia didn't seem or smell too bad.

Ashurbarnipal
01-06-2012, 10:45 PM
Well, as I somewhat feared would happen, I have got bristleworms in this live rock, I'm positive.

There are invertebrates that consume them, aren't there? What all are my options?

Cliff
01-06-2012, 10:50 PM
IMO, do nothing

Bristleworms can be a valued part of any CUC. They can be found in almost every single marine tank. Having some bristle worms is normal and OK. To be honest with you, I have never looked into what may eat them.

However, if you are over run with bristal worms, then that would be a indecation there is something wrong in the tank, like overfeeding for example.

Without a constant food supply for them in you tank right now, at least some of them are likely to die off.

I would not be worried

Ashurbarnipal
01-06-2012, 10:54 PM
I hate to sound like an uninformed boob, but for what does CUC stand?

Cliff
01-06-2012, 10:56 PM
I'm sorry about that, CUC = Clean Up Crew.

I use too many acronyms some times

Ashurbarnipal
01-06-2012, 10:58 PM
Ah, no worries.

On that note, actually, I was wondering if I could get some recommendations for reading materials both online and in text to study up on reef stuff?

I have no intention of putting anything reefy in until the tank matures, but I wanna take my time and research it in the mean time.

Ashurbarnipal
01-07-2012, 04:41 PM
Well, nitrite and nitrate are both still at 0. I take it that means it probably won't be cycled by next weekend?

Cliff
01-07-2012, 04:45 PM
What is your ammonia at ?

Ashurbarnipal
01-07-2012, 04:55 PM
It has not moved at ALL. .25 Although, I realized that turning of my protein skimmer without removing the skimmate was a mistake. It had putrefied. Smelled awful. So, I dumped that and just turned it back on for now.

Ashurbarnipal
01-07-2012, 06:16 PM
I'm a bit surprised I don't at least have nitrite yet. I mean, moving this much material from a freshwater tank would have sped up the cycling immensely.

sheamurai
01-07-2012, 06:22 PM
LOL its a common saying when you're into saltwater
"Nothing good happens fast."

Ashurbarnipal
01-07-2012, 08:36 PM
Yeah, I know.

I suppose I could just get the Chromis next weekend and keep them in the QT tank until it's finished cycling.

Cliff
01-07-2012, 09:41 PM
That sounds like a great idea

It is always best to QT new fish before adding them to your main tank and this will give you something to focus on while waiting for your tank to cycle. At least this as worked for me. I hate waiting as well :hmm3grin2orange:

Ashurbarnipal
01-07-2012, 09:45 PM
Well, I was gonna QT them anyways, but I mean, I can always do a water change if it's not cycled by then.

Anyhow, any recommendations on reef books and websites? That'd be a productive way to use the waiting time.

Cliff
01-07-2012, 09:53 PM
The stickies here are really good, I would suggest reading through them

Also, there's a few on-line articels that helped me a lot (links below). I'm a little old school in the fact that I prefer books over on-line info. I guess I just like to know more about the person offering the info. Reef keeping Magazine (on-line) is pretty good tho. One of the better SW books out there (IMO) is The New Marine Aquarium; Step-by-Step Setup and Stocking Guide, by Michael S. Paletta, TFH Publications

I hope this helps

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/subject/filtration.php
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/subject/equipment.php
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/subject/chemistry.php

Ashurbarnipal
01-07-2012, 10:05 PM
Yeah, I have The New Marine Aquarium. Read it back to back more than once lol

Cliff
01-07-2012, 10:12 PM
Check out the links that I sent you

Lots of good info there along with our stickies

Ashurbarnipal
01-07-2012, 11:05 PM
Will do.

I'll post updates on cycling and pics after I get back from my trip with the dry rock. Should be able to buy 25 pounds of it at least.

Ashurbarnipal
01-08-2012, 12:13 AM
Well, my skimmer seems to have broken now.

It's this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001V95TZA/ref=oh_o02_s00_i00_details

I guess I'll get another. Any recommendations in a decent price range?

Ashurbarnipal
01-08-2012, 02:40 AM
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GB0NX8/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details This one looks promising.

Cliff
01-08-2012, 02:47 AM
The one you have posted a link for should be OK. I don't know anything about them but the company that makes them dose make a lot of quality products IMO

I have just bought the below skimmer. I had read a lot of good reviews about it a know a few people currently using them and they really like them

This might be another skimmer to consider

http://www.amazon.com/AquaC-Remora-Protein-Skimmer-Maxi-Jet/dp/B001EHGGUQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1325990700&sr=1-2

Ashurbarnipal
01-09-2012, 04:49 PM
I ordered the one I linked. Should be here tuesday.

Also, I've been researching reef lighting a bit. Currently I'm just using a dual T5, which I know is inadequate for my needs. I've looked at a few alternatives:

http://www.amazon.com/Coralife-08605-Aqualight-Fixture-30-Inch/dp/B0049PMT6K/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I23MZLSOOZKFCN&colid=1JBCEQYM6C4WO

This is probably the best for my budget, but it's only got 4 light fixtures and I'm not sure it'll fit over my skimmer's skimmate cup as it's 13 inches wide.

I also looked at LEDs, but most are sold 24-36 inch, but my tank is 30 inches. I'd also heard they have trouble penetrated deeper tanks like mine, dunno how true that is. And honestly, I don't entirely understand them. A lot of them look woefully inadequate in terms of wattage or they're sold by strip.

I could just get three of these: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+3733+23753&pcatid=23753 but that goes a bit over the budget I've set, which is roughly 300 bucks



I haven't really decided on corals yet. I don't know enough. Started reading some of those links and ordered a book from amazon, so I'll know more later. Only coral I know for sure I want are polyps like these: http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=597+1464+3092&pcatid=3092



Sorry for a long and convoluted post.

labnjab
01-09-2012, 05:30 PM
If its in your budget I highly recommend 1 of these led fixtures. http://apolloreefled.com/shop/solarblast-ultra/ It doesn't have all the fancy programmable features of the more expensive led fixtures, but it is bright and coral loves it

I use 2 on our 75 gallon and 1 on our 20 long frag tank (30 inch long)and I have no complaints. 1 will be plenty for you tank. They get great par even in deep tanks and are equal to a 250 watt metal halide but only use 120 watts

Ashurbarnipal
01-09-2012, 05:34 PM
With tax, that really does go over, sadly. :/ I do appreciate the advice, nonetheless! Thanks.

hockeyhead019
01-09-2012, 05:53 PM
Just as a note when the LED units are sold with the description of 24-36 they'll fit your 30" tank. They give that range because the LED fixture comes with a center unit (containing the lights and any programming screen) and then has extendable legs so that you can pull them out or push them in to fit a tank in the range of 24"-30"

Ashurbarnipal
01-09-2012, 06:00 PM
Thanks! I feel dumb, but that clears things up. What if I got several of these? http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=23688 Or maybe mix and match with T5's to provide penetration to the deeper parts of the tank?

Though, the wattage on those looks low. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=23687 I could afford to get one of these and one dual T5, though

Ashurbarnipal
01-09-2012, 06:56 PM
If those won't work, I'm wondering what corals and inverts would I NOT be able to keep if I just got that quad T5 with moonlight LEDs?

labnjab
01-09-2012, 10:37 PM
I wouldn't do either of those LED lights. I don't think either would do well on a reef.

With a 4 bulb t-5 you can do all softies and lps, and some lower light sps, like montipora caps and birdsnest, although the sps colors may not be as bright as they would be under metal halide or led, they should grow well.

Ashurbarnipal
01-09-2012, 11:03 PM
Yeah. Hmm. If only I could supplement lighting through the side of the tank. I could get those halide lights on Craigslist super cheap, but I really don't want to use halide for the sake of my energy bill.

Ashurbarnipal
01-10-2012, 12:32 AM
I'm considering caving and saving up for the LED labnjab recommended.

If I did, it'd be all I need to keep any kind of coral, right? Also, would I need to purchase an addition system to mount it?

hockeyhead019
01-10-2012, 12:35 PM
Not sure on the additional mounting system but yes that LED fixture would be fantastic for any type of coral you wanted. I know that labnjab has a bunch of sps that are doing very well under the LEDs and softies alike

labnjab
01-10-2012, 01:43 PM
You can have any coral with the lights we have, just make sure to acclimate them to it as they are very bright. We had a few bleach after switching to the lights because we didnt properly acclimate them.

You will need a way to hang them. i built a quicker hanger out of scrap wood and attached it to our stand. If i didnt rent i would probably hang them from the ceiling

Cliff
01-10-2012, 02:24 PM
If you don't hang them, check the vendor's website for mounting rails. When I bought the mounting kit for my LEDs, (the metal rail the lighting sections are mounted to) they also came with a set of mounting legs

If I did not have a canopy, I could have attached the legs to rails and just let it sit on the top of the tank. It would have put the LEDs at about 4" above the top of the tank


http://i938.photobucket.com/albums/ad226/Cliff_Erhardt/Cliff%20fish%20tank%20pics/LEDsinPlace.jpg

Ashurbarnipal
01-10-2012, 02:32 PM
That is an absolutely gorgeous set up you have, Labnjab.

But yeah, I have to say, in thinking more and more about it, I am really heavily leaning towards those LEDs you linked.

I appreciate the advice, and the pic. I might try a DIY project, if I can enlist the help of a friend who's any good at carpentry.

Ashurbarnipal
01-10-2012, 04:23 PM
Oh, I completely forgot, I did a reading yesterday around noon, and found no ammonia, no nitrite, but a good bit of nitrate. And after doing the tests again, I did a 4 gallon water change and still no amm or nit. As such, I talked to the one guy at this pet store who actually keeps saltwater himself and he felt a couple crabs would be fine, so I bought an emerald crab and a hermit crab.

http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/393396_10100520515973779_16828737_51723161_6771565 53_n.jpg

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/394188_10100520852958459_16828737_51724063_4140446 71_n.jpg

I was only able to get the emerald by turning on the lights in the morning and taking a quick pic before he darted back to the crevasses of the rock. I've heard they can get less nocturnal, but he's still small. Half an inch, maybe

hockeyhead019
01-10-2012, 05:16 PM
They will get less nocturnal but they'll still take off with a sudden movement and creep back out once they think the coast is clear lol cool pics!

Ashurbarnipal
01-10-2012, 08:58 PM
Still getting zero ammonia. The petstore has a tank born clownfish available that's basically been quarantined for almost 3 months now, nothing else in its tank; thinking of putting it in the tank.

The guy seemed to think it'd be perfectly fine, but I hesitated, because I wanted to make sure my readings continued to stay steady.

Cliff
01-10-2012, 09:15 PM
That's a really good plan to wait a few days and test, just to play it safe and make sure

Ar you planning on using a QT tank for your clown fish when you get him ?

Ashurbarnipal
01-10-2012, 09:53 PM
I was thinking of putting him straight in, given the circumstances, but haven't made up my mind. I have a QT tank set up and all, but he seems pretty good to go, especially being tank born.

Cliff
01-10-2012, 10:21 PM
I would suggest using a QT tank just to be on the safe side. You have to keep in mind, if this fish does have ick (I'm not saying he does, just what if) the ick will also leave the fish and can live in your rock for a few weeks to a few months and infect any other fish you might add to the tank during that period of time. There are a lot of things like ick that could put you in the same situation.

If you do QT, there are a lot of good threads and info here on the topic

Just a suggestion

Ashurbarnipal
01-10-2012, 11:05 PM
Yeah, I appreciate it.

Also, labnjab, I was hoping I could have more pictures of your DIY hood? Maybe from the top, so I can see how the railing mounts and how the light fixture mounts to the rails.

labnjab
01-11-2012, 12:17 PM
Cliff was the one who actually posted the picture of his canopy and tank. His hanging system looks a lot better then mine, lol

Here is our tank

http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f370/jabsgirlforever/DSCN0748.jpg

And our thrown together hanger.

http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f370/jabsgirlforever/DSCN0640.jpg

Ashurbarnipal
01-11-2012, 03:27 PM
Oh, sorry. Yesterday, I was totally out of it; spent all day helping a friend with a huge house and a ton of furniture move on too little sleep.

Yours does look good, too, though!

Ashurbarnipal
01-11-2012, 03:29 PM
Also, the new protein skimmer came. It seems to be working fine, but it was MASSIVELY frustrated getting set up. The mounting chassis kept falling off and the air tube isn't very securely placed. Been thinking of taking it out and just using aquarium silicone to secure them both.

Ashurbarnipal
01-11-2012, 06:28 PM
Well, as this morning I was reading zero nitrate zero ammonia and zero nitrite, so I just got that clownfish...I went ahead and put him in the tank, but now that I have a fish in there, I intend to put every other fish through quarantine.

http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/390428_10100520046529549_16828737_51720353_2963796 56_n.jpg

He seems to be acclimating pretty well.

I have a question regarding the Chromis. I know they're a schooling fish and as such, I thought I should get three, but I'm unsure given the youth of the tank. What procedure would you recommend?

hockeyhead019
01-11-2012, 07:31 PM
given the size of chromis I don't think it'd be too much of an additional bio-load on your tank but I'd wait a week or two probably and then you should be ok if you add 3 small ones... but that's just me haha some people are much more cautious when adding livestock and understanable so

Ashurbarnipal
01-11-2012, 07:36 PM
Well, I have no idea how big these chromis will be. They may only have adults in, they may have young ones.

And yeah, like I said, I'll quarantine these guys for a bit before I introduce them. I remember well enough that the biofiltration needs time to adjust.

Ashurbarnipal
01-12-2012, 05:23 PM
So, I was looking at my aquarium earlier and I saw what looked a bit like the shed skin of a small shrimp (I'm fairly familiar with this, kept dozens of Amanos with my Discus) and the more I looked at it, the more it looked like a mantis shrimp. I'm not totally sure, though.

Anything I can do to confirm? And if it is in there, what can I do about it?

sheamurai
01-13-2012, 12:19 AM
post a pic. Some folks on here own mantis, and other shrimp, so they'd be able to tell you...

Ashurbarnipal
01-13-2012, 12:25 AM
Unfortunately, in trying to get a better look by adjusting the rock, it became dislodged and got lost in the current.

Ashurbarnipal
01-14-2012, 12:44 AM
Just thought I'd do an update.

Read up a bit on mantis shrimp, haven't heard any popping noises at night and all my animals are well accounted for, indeed, thriving.

My stats are extremely stable. 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrate, 0 Nitrite and the PH hasn't moved from around 8.1 or 2.

In fact, algae growth has been phenomenal. It's spread over most of the crush coral and I can see tons of little algae blooms on the aquarium glass. As such, I added a peppermint shrimp. Are there any other animals I can add to combat Algae? Something like the equivalent of a Bristlenose Pleco would be great. I had one keeping my discus tank algae free.

hockeyhead019
01-14-2012, 12:57 AM
mexican turbo snails are fantastic at controlling algae, grab two or three of them and you'll be good to go

sheamurai
01-14-2012, 12:58 AM
lawnmower blennies are supposed to be good with algae. Snails too. I prefer astreas.

It would be far better tho, to fix whats causing the algae. How are your phosphates?

Ashurbarnipal
01-14-2012, 01:08 AM
My API Saltwater kit doesn't have a phosphate mix, I'm afraid. Wasn't planning on getting a reef test kit till the tank was more established.

I was thinking of getting some astrea and banded trochus when I go out of town. As for the Blenny, that looks a bit big for my tank.

sheamurai
01-14-2012, 01:12 AM
good thinkin.

Ashurbarnipal
01-14-2012, 11:39 PM
Well, I BELIEVE I have enough rock now.

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/DSC00889.jpg

The Chromis are in the quarantine tank now, they seem healthy. The store has considerably changed since I was last there. Even had nudibranches (which, no, I didn't buy)

smaug
01-15-2012, 12:21 AM
Yeah,you got plenty o rock now!:hmm3grin2orange:
Good thought on the lm blenny. They are too lrg for your tank and are in no way suited to a new tank anyway. They need large amounts of algae to stay healthy.Dont add any algae cleaners for awhile,you have nothing for them to stay healthy on.

Ashurbarnipal
01-15-2012, 02:21 PM
Ok, so one of the Chromis definitely seems ill already. The other two are swimming together quite happily, but he slinks off behind the powerhead, I guess to avoid expending energy, and had what looks like a little white bump on its head.

I'm thinking fungal infection?

(also, I'm ashamed to admit that I was so overwhelmed by how much the shop had changed that I didn't actually look at the Chromis they picked out)

sheamurai
01-15-2012, 02:33 PM
Try and grab a pic. Fish disease are hard to diagnose, pics help.

Ashurbarnipal
01-15-2012, 02:53 PM
The good camera's batteries are charging and the pics I took with my phone don't really show anything (v poor lighting in the QT)

I'll try to get better pics when the battery is charged

Ashurbarnipal
01-15-2012, 03:40 PM
http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/zz.png

I know it sorta looks like there are spots on his fins, but I don't see those when I look at it normally.

Ashurbarnipal
01-15-2012, 05:46 PM
Okay, a few more diagnostic bits. Fed them a small bit of frozen mysis shrimp today. The other two chromis attacked it with the fury of the gods, but the sick one didn't move from his spot, even when a piece floated by.

Its breathing isn't even a little bit labored; if anything, it breaths more slowly than the others. Looking closer at the dorsal fin, there still aren't spots, but there are what appear to be gaps or bites or something. Perhaps it was bullied somewhat.

Ashurbarnipal
01-15-2012, 07:34 PM
So, I just went to the LFS and got API Pimafix. I haven't dosed it yet, but figured that I might as well have it.

sheamurai
01-15-2012, 10:23 PM
Could very well be bullying. A school of three isn't really a school, two generally gang up and pick on one when you get three of a schooling fish. I had three chromis as well, and 2 of the three ended up carpet surfing. I think they just chase each other til one tries a jump and ends up on the floor. I've had a single chromis now for weeks with no darting or jumps.

Can't really see the lump on the head you were referring to earlier, as the spots on the fins look the same as the mark on the head.

Maybe someone more disease-savvy will chime in.

Ashurbarnipal
01-16-2012, 12:41 AM
I'm so used to taking pics in iso mode without flash, I forgot I had flash and I think got a better pic with it.

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/DSC00929.jpg

Could it be Marine Ich?

Ashurbarnipal
01-16-2012, 04:14 PM
I'm less inclined to believe it's ich today. The spot haven't spread. It's moved from the side of the powerhead to first the bottom right then left corner of the tank. I'd also swear the fins are getting worse (and not from bullying, I put a divider in the QT, the others can't get to him)

Maybe something bacterial? Sorry, in my years of freshwater, all I ever encountered were Ich, fungus, and dropsy and then only rarely, so I don't know much at all about diseases.

Ashurbarnipal
01-16-2012, 04:39 PM
Sorry to keep posting on and on, but I get really super worried when a fish is sick

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/sick.png

Ashurbarnipal
01-17-2012, 12:16 AM
Update: It got much better for a bit, became completely active and normal, but now has declined again. Right now it's swimming along the very bottom gulping very heavily for air and there's a red spot on one side right next to the back fin.

Looks a bit like Hemorrhagic Septicemia. I don't really have another tank I can put it in, just the QT, should I separate him from the others?

Ashurbarnipal
01-17-2012, 01:46 PM
Well, I realize I'm going into ridiculous levels of continuous posts but the fish is still somehow alive. After it was so sick yesterday it recovered again to where it was swimming healthily and actively, but crashed back to where it was as of this morning.

It's twice been so weak it got stuck in the powerhead intake and I had to turn it off. Poor guy seems to be suffering. :(

Also, I went ahead and dosed the tank yesterday, since the bottle said it also treated Bacteria

sheamurai
01-17-2012, 05:22 PM
If you have a quarantine tank, then I'd be using it, especially if you are dosing meds.

Ashurbarnipal
01-17-2012, 05:30 PM
Yes, it and the other two are in a 10 gallon QT tank right now. I have a divider separating the sick one from the other two, but I'm worried they'll get it too

sheamurai
01-17-2012, 05:42 PM
Ah, I forgot they were all still in QT. I

wouldn't move the others - moving fish is stressful, and its stress that leaves them open to infection. If you move them to the main tank and they have been exposed to the problem, the stress of the move may weaken them enough to get sick - then you have it in your main tank. The whole point of QT is to avoid that. Fish can carry a sickness but not suffer from it, so you don't want them to carry anything to your display tank.

If they are not suffering from it now, chances are they will be ok, but they are still potential carriers.

Ashurbarnipal
01-17-2012, 06:00 PM
I'm afraid it's at death's door.... his condition has deteriorated immensely.

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/Sad.png

This doesn't even begin to show the deterioration. Its anal fin is white and shredded.

I honestly don't know what more I can do for it right now. It won't eat, so I can't give it internal meds. It's kind of heartbreaking to watch.

Yeah, I didn't mean move it to the main tank, but maybe moving the sick one to a bucket or something, I dunno.

Ashurbarnipal
01-17-2012, 07:04 PM
It's dead. :(

I removed it. The other two are still fine.

When the quarantine is up, I presume I should clean the tank? What methods would you recommend me?

hockeyhead019
01-17-2012, 10:26 PM
Sorry to hear about the little guy, on a side note you might want to keep an eye on the two others to make sure they don't begin to pick on eachother since I assume that's what the cause of death was in this case for whatever reason.

As far as cleaning the tank you should be ok since the other two haven't gotten sick while in the same tank (if it was a type of disease they'd almost surely be sick as well) but if you are nervous use soap and warm water and make sure to rinse thoroughly. DON'T USE ANY CHEMICALS!! It's not worth the risk of hurting future livestock just in case lol

Ashurbarnipal
01-19-2012, 03:51 PM
So, I have a question regarding powerheads. Currently, I'm using two of these:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004IMPOJ8/ref=oh_o01_s00_i00_details

Though the other is a 110/500 model. Currently, they're in powerhead mode, but my question is if I put the 295 model into circulation mode, would that be enough for my reef tank?

Presently I'm looking at mostly Zoanthids and maybe later an SPS like a Montipora.

Cliff
01-19-2012, 04:14 PM
I guess it would depend on your set-up. They might be fine. As long as you can get about 20 to 30X flow inside the tank with no (or minimal) deadsposts you should be fine

Ashurbarnipal
01-19-2012, 04:17 PM
Well, 1300 gph on a 29 (honestly 28) is definitely there.

Any tips on minimizing said dead spots in terms of placement? I had considered moving it more towards the top of the tank.

Cliff
01-19-2012, 04:19 PM
Getting rid of dead spot (for the most part) is trial and error.

You just have to keep trying different power head potions and maybe even move your rocks a little.

Ashurbarnipal
01-19-2012, 04:21 PM
How can I check for deadspots? (sorry, hate asking all these questions (blush) )

Ashurbarnipal
01-19-2012, 04:55 PM
I just changed it to circ mode btw and it keeps sucking air from the surface into little whirlpools. Is that normal?

Cliff
01-19-2012, 05:00 PM
How can I check for deadspots? (sorry, hate asking all these questions (blush) )


You will see stuff building up in the deadspots

Ashurbarnipal
01-19-2012, 05:01 PM
Like detritus and fish feces?

Cliff
01-19-2012, 05:03 PM
You got it, stuff like that and any uneaten food. You typically see algae start in the low flow spots as well.

Ashurbarnipal
01-19-2012, 05:14 PM
Ok, thanks. Changing the pump certainly stirred up my tank. I'll check to see where things settle in a few hours.


My clownfish is terrified of all the whirlpools, though, lol.

Cliff
01-19-2012, 05:17 PM
Yup, fish will do that.

I recently up-graded a few powerheads in my 120 which changed the flow in the tank. It took the fish a day or two to get used to the changes in the flow, but once they did they were back to normal in no time.

Ashurbarnipal
01-19-2012, 05:50 PM
I also discovered what I believe to be my first visible amphipod. Hard to say, considering how tiny it was, but it was definitely alive.

Ashurbarnipal
01-20-2012, 03:12 AM
http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/DSC01019.jpg

Any idea what this thing to the left of the snail is? I've got several in the tank, some with white tips at the end. I'm not worried, just curious.

hockeyhead019
01-20-2012, 02:15 PM
Looks like maybe a feather duster but I'm not sure

Ashurbarnipal
01-20-2012, 03:27 PM
So, I got a fire shrimp the other day and it is the most sociable little guy. And yesterday when I was adjusting my powerhead, I made a discovery about it and filmed it:


http://s221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/?action=view&current=MOV01012.mp4

It loves to nibble on my fingers! It usually hangs out in caves, peaking out here and there, but anytime my fingers come into the tank now for any appreciable time, it starts to nibble on them.

hockeyhead019
01-20-2012, 05:31 PM
So cool! Probably wants to clean you I guess?

Ashurbarnipal
01-20-2012, 05:44 PM
Yeah, it was nibbling my hairs and the cleaner shrimp was nibbling under my finger nails. It tickled.

Ashurbarnipal
01-22-2012, 04:39 AM
So, I've been reading and planning a bit in the way of corals and I think what I want to do when the tank is more mature and I have lighting and whatnot is start with mostly zoanthids (probably more than anything else) then perhaps pipe organ coral and once I feel a bit more confident a montipora sps.

What do you guys think?

Cliff
01-22-2012, 04:44 AM
The zoas sound like a great idea. They can take up a lot of nitrates as well.

Some monties can grow really big so I would carefull look into that.

Ashurbarnipal
01-22-2012, 04:48 AM
I was thinking specifically Montipora verrucosa. http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=597+322+3081&pcatid=3081


If it gets too large, can it not be fragged?

Cliff
01-22-2012, 04:52 AM
Yup, you can frag it as well

hockeyhead019
01-22-2012, 05:41 PM
Zoas are great b/c they're just about indestructible haha and the monti is a really good starter SPS since they're pretty tough as far as SPS go.

Ashurbarnipal
01-22-2012, 08:51 PM
How about the pipe organ coral?

http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=597+599+480&pcatid=480 I REALLY love the look of this one.

Cliff
01-22-2012, 09:00 PM
That sounds like a pretty good choice. I don't have any personal experiance with them tho, that is just what I have read about them

There is some info in the below stickie about them as well. I can't remember if you had found this stickie or not yet

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showthread.php?t=83538

Ashurbarnipal
01-22-2012, 11:18 PM
Also, question about food for these guys. And my future plans include a dottyback, flasher or fairy wrasse or anthias. So far I have frozen mysis and brine shrimp, frozen saltwater multipack dry NLS small fish pellets and freeze dried Omega One Tubifex worms and a few sheets of Nori.

I'm wondering what kind of food should I get next to balance things out more?

Also, I really don't like using flake food if I can avoid it.

kaybee
01-23-2012, 11:30 PM
How about the pipe organ coral?

They're a good coral to add after the tank has been stabilized, matured somewhat and running for quite a while. A hardy coral when conditions are ideal, though not quite in the starter coral catergory in my opinion.

Ashurbarnipal
01-23-2012, 11:48 PM
Yeah, wasn't thinking of them till the Zoanthids were established.

Ashurbarnipal
01-24-2012, 08:25 PM
So, a minor issue I'm noticing is my protein skimmer, which is producing yellow skimmate presently, has a tendency to occassionally bubble over and I sometimes notice a small bit of bubbling film on the top, which usually goes away as I replace evaporated water.

Is this anything to be concerned about? It hasn't affected readings or anything yet.

hockeyhead019
01-24-2012, 08:34 PM
You just need to empty it quicker then so the liquid level doesn't fill up enough of the cup for it to bubble over. Also do you have your sump compartmentalized? If not the change in water height will mess with your skimmer settings

Ashurbarnipal
01-24-2012, 08:49 PM
I don't yet have a sump, lol.

I just have this on an old (but v sturdy) chest of drawers. Was thinking of setting up a sump if I could do it on the cheap without drilling later.

labnjab
01-24-2012, 11:04 PM
Skimmers do funny things if the water level isn't consistent, I would top off more often which should help keep the bubbling over down

Cliff
01-24-2012, 11:16 PM
Skimmers do funny things if the water level isn't consistent, I would top off more often which should help keep the bubbling over down


+1 to the above

Skimmers need a consitant water level

Also, if I remember correctly, your skimmer is still pretty new. Some times skimmers need a brake-in period of 1 to 2 weeks. Untill it is broken in, it may not work as well as normal

Ashurbarnipal
01-24-2012, 11:30 PM
Hmm. I top the water up first thing in the morning and when I go to bed. Maybe an auto top off system, but those are expensive.

Ashurbarnipal
01-24-2012, 11:36 PM
I have to say, apart from the bubbling, my tank is doing so great. Algae has calmed down, chemicals are steady (just ordered a phophate, calcium, dkH test kit so I'll let ya know how those are when they arrive) and my clown fish has REALLY colored up. I think he's much healthier than when he was in the store.

And coralline is starting to grow on the dry rock.

hockeyhead019
01-25-2012, 12:12 AM
Always nice to see coralline start coming in on the new rock lol

Glad to hear the clown is doing well also!!

Ashurbarnipal
01-27-2012, 12:59 AM
My test kits got here today.

Calcium was 460 ppm
dKH was 10 or 11
I wasn't totally sure on Phosphate. It was either not there or at the lowest possible reading, but couldn't be quite sure.

sheamurai
01-27-2012, 01:52 AM
Phosphate is like that. I have a tough time getting clear results for phosphate too. But any reading is less than optimal.

Thats a decent reading for calcium, perhaps a touch high. Your coraline will continue to spread if you maintain that.

Ashurbarnipal
01-27-2012, 04:29 AM
Yeah, I was pretty pleasantly surprised. I guess I just need to wait for the tank to mature now...and save up for those lights.

Ashurbarnipal
01-27-2012, 09:10 PM
So, I came across a product on Amazon and was wondering if anyone had any experience with it: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009YD766/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details

I kinda doubt it'd do anything to accelerate my coralline growth, but it does supplement calcium, strontium, magnesium and iodine all at once, which seems potentially like a good combo, but I'm always wary of new products.

Any thoughts?

Cliff
01-27-2012, 09:19 PM
Save your money and pass on it.

IMO and IME, It is nothing more that a overpriced calcium supplement.

IMO, there are better products out there

Ashurbarnipal
01-27-2012, 09:27 PM
Are there any other supplements you'd recommend?

Also, vis-a-vis tank maturation, is there any way of telling when a tank has matured or is it just something that always happens after a certain amount of time? I was just curious.

Cliff
01-27-2012, 09:36 PM
There are a lot of good brands out there. The below is the brand I use as it is available locally for me and I have found it to be a really good quality product.

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/review/showproduct.php?product=473&cat=32

With my tanks, they establish (matured) at slightly different times, one around 6 to 7 months one around 9 to 10 months. below were the signs that I picked up on that they were matured:
A) all of the parameters were establish and stablized (dKH, Cal, Mag, PH)
B) I had to dose a lot less to keep all parameters stable,
C) My nitrate was rarely above 0 ppm,
D) good coraline growth
E) the rate of growth in all of my corals increased greatly

Every tank is different tho, so your experience will vary

Ashurbarnipal
01-28-2012, 04:46 PM
My fire shrimp just had its first molt! Also, I think the emerald crab is getting ready too. He's been less shy and still pretty peaceable too. I added the porcelain anemone crab, and it's actually proven far more shy than any other creature in the tank. I don't think the emerald's had a chance to harass it because he can't find it!

sheamurai
01-28-2012, 04:59 PM
Personally, I wouldn't supplement or dose anything to the tank unless testing showed a deficiency. If everything is growing and doing well there's no need to risk upsetting the balance...

Ashurbarnipal
01-28-2012, 08:08 PM
Alright, I suppose there's no immediate need for it. Really, things seem near perfect in the tank. Getting ready to introduce the Chromis from QT in a couple of days. They seem quite healthy.

Ashurbarnipal
01-29-2012, 02:58 AM
You know, I'm dubious I'd need more than cursory supplementation at all given that I do weekly water changes. Which makes me wonder, are reef crystals really that much better a purchase than normal salt?

sheamurai
01-29-2012, 02:01 PM
For a fish only tank, supplementation and "normal" salt mix are all that's required.

Its corals that deplete the water as they absorb more from the water than fish do. When you start keeping corals, then premium salt mix and/or supplements are a given.

Ashurbarnipal
01-30-2012, 08:05 PM
Fun little update. The other night, I was going to bed and noticed a very funny phenomenon. My hermit crab was riding one of my snails!

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/DSC01037.jpg

He rode him for about five minutes, eating up some algae that was growing on the glass as he did. I even got video of it!

http://s221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/?action=view&current=MOV01031.mp4

Apologies for the quality, but it didn't occur to me to turn on the lights. Also, as to the riding dirty comment, he had some fish feces lingering on his shell.

Ashurbarnipal
02-01-2012, 03:06 AM
Ok, so one of my old friends came through town today and gave me a surprise gift for my tank (I won't shut up about it :hmm3grin2orange: ) : a marble sea star and a small thing of blue mushroom coral

I put them in my tank for now, as I dunno what else to do with them. It's actually better here than giving them to the LFS, as they use two T-8s for lighting as opposed to my two t-5's and the LED system arrives thursday.

Actually, I'm pretty disgusted with my LFS, resolved never to buy their again. They were keeping a grouper and some kind of moray eel in a tank with a vicious grouper that was attacking the eel, taking literal BITES out of it and the eel looked on the verge of death. I told them several times about it, but they didn't do anything.

Anyhow, the mushroom is doing well, as is the star, but I'm open to advice.

Ashurbarnipal
02-01-2012, 03:36 AM
http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/DSC01079.jpg


http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/DSC01089.jpg

Here they are. Just put them in this morning.

Dave66
02-01-2012, 03:54 AM
Congrats. Looks like a Fromia species starfish. Hard to tell the species with it up on the glass, but most are detrivores and are reef safe. Just don't keep any giant clam species with it, since star fish can't seem to resist them.

Dave

Ashurbarnipal
02-01-2012, 04:22 AM
Yeah, but I'm a bit worried about the mushroom, given the youth of my tank. I mean, I've been monitoring the chemistry of this tank obsessively since I got it and I've never noticed any nitrates after it cycled or ammonia or anything although my nitrate test kit only measures to .5 ppm. Still need to get a salifert. I had a slight amount of phosphate, but a water change solved
that and I ordered a phos-zorb thingy for the future.

I think the tank stays so incredibly stable because I'm replacing about a half gallon's worth a day due to evaporation (open top lighting) but I worry that might deplete my calcium a bit.


Oh, also, I'm now saving up for that Deionization unit you showed me, Dave. It'll take a while as those LEDs draaaiiined me, but I'll get it.

Ashurbarnipal
02-01-2012, 05:15 PM
As of this morning, however, the corals have opened nicely:

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/DSC01101.jpg

Dave66
02-01-2012, 07:26 PM
I think the tank stays so incredibly stable because I'm replacing about a half gallon's worth a day due to evaporation (open top lighting) but I worry that might deplete my calcium a bit.

It won't deplete your Calcium, since when water evaporates, just the pure water does. The minerals, including the salinity, are left behind.

You should get a hinged glass top for your tank, would cut down on the amount of top-off water you'll have to do daily.

Of course, if you have a furniture-style stand . . . (http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=13959)

Dave

Ashurbarnipal
02-01-2012, 07:44 PM
Oh, duh. I knew that the salt didn't evaporate, didn't even think about the calcium. (blush)

I'm actually quite happy to replace the water, but even so, I'm planning to try to build my own hood to accomodate my LEDs after the one Cliff made. That one should make evaporation less of an issue.

Either way, the mushroom keeps getting fuller every minute. Seems to be acclimating well, though I know it's waaay too early to celebrate.

Cliff
02-01-2012, 08:06 PM
I've never kept any star fish and I only know what I have read about them

I did find some information that suggests they need a well established and mature tank because they feed on the organisms found in detritus. He may not be able to find enough food in your tank and I have read these guys can be difficult to feed.

Just a concern tho.

Might be a good idea to look into it a little more.



http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fromiastars.htm

Ashurbarnipal
02-01-2012, 09:05 PM
It's definitely Fromia monilis.

And I'll see what I can find out. I got some phytoplankton for the coral, dunno if that'll help. As for the star, so far it seems to want to eat the algae of my tank walls. I could certainly supplement cut up shrimp and mussels for it, though.

kaybee
02-02-2012, 12:02 AM
...the mushroom keeps getting fuller every minute. Seems to be acclimating well, though I know it's waaay too early to celebrate.

Good to hear. Mushrooms are very hardy and should fare well.

Ashurbarnipal
02-02-2012, 08:14 PM
My LEDs just arrived! I tested them and I think I might have temporarily blinded myself. Thanks for the recommendation, Labnjab

Anyhow, I hope to start picking up the wood tomorrow and putting the hood together.

Ashurbarnipal
02-03-2012, 11:58 PM
How far above your tank are the lights mounted, Labnjab?

Also, what should I do with these mushrooms? I'm not sure if they can take this lighting even with acclimation. Although, the light is very narrow, so perhaps I could move them to a corner?

Ashurbarnipal
02-05-2012, 03:40 AM
Ok, sorry to add to the questions, but I just realized this hood won't work with my HOB filter, so I'm gonna need to replace it with a canister filter.

Any recommendations for a good CHEAP filter? I mean, cheapest so as to still be reliable. Are the cascade's any good?

sheamurai
02-05-2012, 04:57 PM
lot of threads on here concerning canisters...run a search and you will have some pretty solid recommendations.

Given enough Live Rock and flow, you don't really need a filter. If you want to run some kind of media in the future, you can get the mixer/doser set up at that time...?

Ashurbarnipal
02-09-2012, 09:28 PM
Well, I went ahead and bought this canister filter: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002DJIQW/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details

I know I don't need one, but it just would make me feel more comfortable to have one.

Dave66
02-09-2012, 10:50 PM
Extra filtration is always a good thing, Ash.

Dave

sheamurai
02-09-2012, 11:54 PM
What are you planning on putting in it?

Filters with sponges/floss have the reputation of being a nitrate reservoir, and corals don't do so hot with nitrates. Depending on what media you load your filter with, you're going to want to be pretty anal about cleaning it.

Ashurbarnipal
02-10-2012, 12:03 AM
I haven't really decided. For now, the only thing I know I want in it is the phos-zorb pouch I got.

Ashurbarnipal
02-10-2012, 12:19 AM
How about bio balls?

Cliff
02-10-2012, 12:21 AM
I would suggest a phosphate remover and some good quality carbon

sheamurai
02-10-2012, 12:25 AM
I wouldn't put any bio-media in it, as bio-media means nitrates...
The phos-zorb is all good, and +1 on carbon that Cliff suggested.

I used to have rock rubble in my filter to act as more live rock...but got confused as that seems to be the same as bio-media and took it out as well, lol.

All I run in my HOB is carbon, purigen, and phos remover.

Ashurbarnipal
02-10-2012, 12:29 AM
I've been running my current HOB with no carbon at all, but I suppose I could put some in when I set up the cascade.

Ashurbarnipal
02-10-2012, 12:19 PM
I've been noticing more and more dots of coralline growth lately. Usually only a millimeter or two across. There are even a few patches of pinkish looking algae on the glass. I think the diatom bloom has halted, though I'm not sure if it's receding any yet.

Cliff
02-10-2012, 01:26 PM
Sounds like thing are coming along nicely

Both the coraline developing and the diatoms slowing down are signs your tank might be starting the process of become mature / stable. In about 4 to 6 months from now you should have a lot of coraline in the tank

Ashurbarnipal
02-10-2012, 03:03 PM
Thanks. It's satisfying to see things going so well.

So, since I haven't drilled the tank and can't really safely put in a sump (to my knowledge, I mean this place gets power outages every month or so, and I don't want a disaster) I've been thinking of getting a hang on back refugium. Anyone have any experience with those?

labnjab
02-10-2012, 05:48 PM
How far above your tank are the lights mounted, Labnjab?

Also, what should I do with these mushrooms? I'm not sure if they can take this lighting even with acclimation. Although, the light is very narrow, so perhaps I could move them to a corner?


Sorry I just saw this post. Glad you like them. I blinded myself the 1st time I fired ours up, lol. We have ours around 9.5 inches above the water which seems to give it the best spread. As far as acclimating things, you can put a section of eggcrate above the tank which cuts the light back significantly, or you can always mount them way higher and drop them down a few inches every week or so until they are at the right height. I made the mistake of not acclimating to the light since I was coming from halides, and had a few frags and colonies bleach

Ashurbarnipal
02-11-2012, 02:23 AM
Alright. Dunno yet how high above the water the lights will be atm.

And my filter came, put the phoszorb and carbon it came with (which looks pretty good) in. Ordered some purigen too. Will be here monday.


So, has anyone got experience with HOB refugiums? I found a decent priced one:

http://www.amazon.com/HB-210-Finnex-External-Refugium-Breeder/dp/B005VFLAG2/ref=sr_1_4?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1328887009&sr=1-4

The one negative review seems to be off, but I dunno

Dave66
02-11-2012, 03:15 AM
Yes, I have experience with refugiums, since have several connected to my tanks. The brand I use is here (http://www.cpraquatic.com/products/index.html). Keep in mind you'd need both a pump and a light for that 25 dollar one you linked to.

Always remember you get what you pay for. Buy cheap, you get cheap.

Dave

Ashurbarnipal
02-11-2012, 03:22 AM
Yeah, fair point. I had thought of getting just the HOB tank from this pet store in wichita and just trying a DIY project to build the rest.

Apart from a pump and a light, what would I need?

Dave66
02-11-2012, 03:28 AM
Marine sand and live rock rubble. The sand and rubble will process nutrients and generate lots of 'pods' for your fishes and corals to eat.

You can also plant marine macro algae in a refugium. When you trim it, you'll be removing excess nutrients from your aquarium.

Dave

Ashurbarnipal
02-11-2012, 03:34 AM
What about refugium mud? I keep hearing about that.

Dave66
02-11-2012, 04:17 AM
Really no point in it, since the sand and live rock rubble will be as nutrient rich for pod production as that refugium mud.

If I was going to grow mangrove shoots I'd use the mud.

Dave

Ashurbarnipal
02-11-2012, 04:29 AM
Thanks for the info. That actually shouldn't be too difficult to put together, I think.

Ashurbarnipal
02-11-2012, 11:58 PM
Well, I set up my canister filter last night. It works wonderfully. It took out a full gallon and a half of water, so now I'm running at least 30 gallons worth of water through the tank between the filter and the tank itself.

Also, I picked up a few hermit crabs the other day. A halloween, electric blue (haven't got pics yet) and a plain one:

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/DSC01078.jpg

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/DSC01046-1.jpg


Those barnacles are quite alive, I've seen them moving and even opening up a bit and probably feeding.

Dave66
02-12-2012, 12:23 AM
Barnacles rarely if ever survive in aquariums, because there simply isn't enough nor a constant flow of suitable micro-food, like Rotifers and phytoplankton. Though not impossible to keep barnacles fed, it does take some work by the keeper.

Dave

Ashurbarnipal
02-12-2012, 12:26 AM
Well, I don't wanna set up a plankton drip in an aquarium this small, but I could dose a bit more plankton, I suppose.

Do they prefer phyto or zooplankton?

Dave66
02-12-2012, 12:44 AM
Phyto, and they need it 24/7. You'll get Rotifers (aka zooplankton) if you drip that commercial phyto.

Don't know if preserved phyto would work with barnacles, but it's worth a shot. They will starve to death otherwise, so it's good you're making an effort to feed them.

Dave

Ashurbarnipal
02-12-2012, 12:51 AM
How about 2 ml a day?

And is there an alternative to preserved phyto? Like maybe something I could order on Liveaquaria or at a really nice fish store?

Dave66
02-12-2012, 04:07 AM
You can buy live phyto here (http://dtplankton.com/phytoplankton.html). I don't believe private people can buy it from that site, but your local fish store can order it for you.

I have to say it's easier and cheaper to culture it yourself, but the best commercial phyto product is DT's.

Dave

labnjab
02-12-2012, 05:45 PM
This is a good live phyto and most local fish stores carry it http://reefnutrition.com/phyto_feast_live.html I used the non-live version and the fish loved it, but it wasn't cheap and I kept forgetting to put it back in the fridge which made it unusable, lol

Ashurbarnipal
02-12-2012, 08:27 PM
Thanks! I'll look into those.

In other news, the starfish looks even worse this morning. And some of the corals aren't looking great either.

I think what happened was either that I started using carbon for the first time in the tank's filtration or that I didn't clean my water changing bucket for the water I added well enough after using it to rinse said carbon.

Ashurbarnipal
02-14-2012, 04:04 PM
Well, the starfish has passed on, but the corals are still ok. The white spots aren't rubbing off, so I dunno what those might be, maybe dead coralline?

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/DSC01198.jpg

Took this pic last night.

There might have been a nitrate spike, but it wasn't detectable by my nitrate kit. I have ordered a Salifert nitrate kit though.

I've been thinking about nitrate control and was wondering, has anyone here tried Kelp before? Apart from zoanthids, I haven't heard of other things that would eat nitrates.

Cliff
02-15-2012, 12:07 AM
There are some nice macro algaes out there that look more like plants than the kelp

I've been wanting to try ordering some of there nicer ones (like red or blue) but my tangs would just eat it.

This might a cool option for you to look into as well

Edit, like the below pic

http://www.thesaltybox.com/forum/attachments/reefs/34049d1290630200-where-do-people-get-macroalgae-macrotankmature0001.jpg

Ashurbarnipal
02-15-2012, 12:48 AM
Wow, those are STUNNING.

I don't think anything I'm planning on keeping would eat them, either. Certainly this tank is too small for tangs.

kaybee
02-15-2012, 12:56 AM
...Apart from zoanthids, I haven't heard of other things that would eat nitrates.

I know that zoanthids can be found in areas with significant nitrate levels, but I didn't think they actual uptake nitrate (but rather the co-existing dissolved organics in those environs).

Xenia is said to be a coral that can uptake nitrate (I've heard of hobbyists constructing 'xenia scrubbers' to that affect). While not corals, clams can uptake nitrate, though shouldn't be acquired for that purpose.

Common nitrate reducing methods in the reef hobby: water changes, algae-scrubbers, macroalgae (either in a refugium or in the display tank), deep sand beds (sugar grain sized sand , 3"-4"+ in depth), lots of very porous live rock, protein skimmers, carbon sourcing (e.g., vodka-dosing, sugar-dosing, 'bio-pellets') or combination of the any of the above, etc.

In my reef tank a 4" DSB, live rock and assisting protein skimmer keep nitrates at 0ppm.

Ashurbarnipal
02-15-2012, 01:37 AM
Well, I'm mostly just wanting a back up system in CASE of nitrate spikes. I haven't detected any nitrates in over a month, but I am paranoid, especially given the youth of the tank.

I'm gonna look into setting up a refugium in a month or two, though. The carbon sourcing I hadn't heard of, though. Any more info on that?

smaug
02-15-2012, 01:43 AM
There is no real reason to expect a nitrate spike if you are being concientious with water changes and feeding regimens. Keep your rocks turkey basted and a proper flow and trates stay a constant. Macro algaes are not the simplest things to keep and can be on par with coral keeping. They require the correct balance of nutrients and elements as well or many of them can go sexual and cause all sorts of hell.

Cliff
02-15-2012, 01:43 AM
Here's some info that might help

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2008-08/nftt/index.php

Ashurbarnipal
02-16-2012, 07:31 AM
Well, I just put purigen in the filter, so hopefully that'll help.

I think between that and a refugium, nitrates won't really be a problem.

Though I dunno when I'll get one set up.

Ashurbarnipal
02-16-2012, 02:24 PM
Well, I mounted the lights and everything. It's quite different, and the light's a bit narrow, which I was worried about. It's about eight inches from the water. I will say that when the fish are under the light, they're quite stunning.

Here's a video of it: http://s221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/?action=view&current=MOV01206.mp4


Labnjab, is this about what my tank should look like? I have the lights about eight inches above the water.

I wanna be sure this is enough lighting for whatever kind of coral I decide to put in, including SPS

It almost feels like the actinic lights are overpowering the others.

hockeyhead019
02-16-2012, 02:35 PM
I love the color, you do have a spotlight effect going on though but that's to each their own, some people dig that I'm personally not a fan but like I said to each their own.

Ashurbarnipal
02-16-2012, 02:39 PM
Well, the spotlight effect was not on purpose. I'm not a fan, either. However, I dunno what I can do to change it. Maybe supplement some power compacts?

Also, do you think it'll work for SPS corals?

Dave66
02-17-2012, 02:34 AM
Raise the light higher so it reaches all of the tank. SPS demand constant perfect NSW levels of minerals and a rock solid temperature. I strongly suggest you be a success with soft corals for some time before you try SPS.

Dave

Cliff
02-17-2012, 02:37 AM
+1 to the above.

SPS are very demanding when compared with soft corals. It might be best to wait until your tank has matured before trying them. It would be a lot easier that way if you want to have some SPS

Ashurbarnipal
02-17-2012, 04:19 AM
A. I don't at all intend to start SPS for a good while, I just want to make SURE that when the time comes, the lights I just spent 400 bucks on works.

B. As for raising it, I tried raising it in the testing phase and it really didn't do much. And even so, I'm kinda stuck with it where it is.

Cliff
02-17-2012, 04:23 AM
From what I have read about those LEDs, they should be good enough lighting for SPS should you choice to add some to your tank. You may have to place them a little higher on the rocks tho.

I might have missed this in your thread, but did you get a controller with your lights ?

Ashurbarnipal
02-17-2012, 04:30 AM
Nope, this one was the cheapest model. Has no controller.


But yeah, I intend to start with Zoanthids, and probably even do a few LPS corals before I introduce ANY SPS. I intend to wait till I KNOW my tank is mature and ready for it. Sorry I didn't make that clear!

Ashurbarnipal
02-17-2012, 04:35 AM
http://apolloreefled.com/shop/solarblast-ultra/

Here's the link. I dunno, I really think the actinic lights just massively overpower the whites here, cause when I just have the whites and moonlights on, it looks pretty normal. So I'm thinking maybe put some power compacts or just cheap petstore incandescents in next to it.

Ashurbarnipal
02-17-2012, 11:59 AM
I'm actually thinking of picking up some zoas this weekend. Going back to the good pet shop. I'm guessing the egg crate will be enough to acclimate them?

labnjab
02-17-2012, 12:17 PM
That looks different then mine, I wonder if they changed something since I bought ours. I would send them the video and ask them what they think and tell them you are unhappy, they are usually pretty helpful. I keep them at 10 inches above the tank and get a nice even spread on both our 75 and 20 long with no spotlighting on either tank. I also keep sps on the sand as well as higher up

Here is our 20 long which is the same footprint as you tank and the light is offset to the right by 3-4 inches since we keep the frags on the right half of the tank. This is the 20,000K fixture

http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f370/jabsgirlforever/DSCN0783.jpg

and here's the display with 2 15,000k fixtures mounted 10 inches above the tank. No spotlights anywhere. Its not that purple though, this spectrum doesn't photograph well

http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f370/jabsgirlforever/DSCN0748.jpg

Ashurbarnipal
02-17-2012, 12:24 PM
Well, the version I bought was 15000k but I didn't see a 20 at the time of purchase.

The weird thing is my tank DOES look about like your frag tank when I turn the actinics off. I really think that either the actinics are over powered or the whites are under powered. (also, I checked their website and they recommend it at eight inches above the water, which is where mine was)

I did send them an email, though. Haven't heard back yet.

labnjab
02-17-2012, 12:29 PM
I go the 20k by mistake, I ordered 3 15000K and they sent 2 15000K and a 20000K, but I kept the 20,000k for the frag tank. Its a little more colorful but I don't get quite the growth as the 15000K.

It seems really odd to me though, that yours doesn't look similar to my display when their the same spectrum. You should have even color throughout with no spotlight. They must have changed them because the site said 10-12 inches when I bought ours, lol

The frag tank has both the blues and whites on.

Ashurbarnipal
02-17-2012, 12:39 PM
http://apolloreefled.com/faqs/

"How high off the water do you recommend the light be mounted?
Our testing has all been done with the light 8″ off the water surface. You can raise the light higher to fit your needs. Our new hanging kits extend to 39″ to reach the ceilings in most homes though hanging your light more than 14″ is not recommended"

That's what I found, anyways.

I tested the lights out a bit before I started construction to see how height would affect it and I didn't really notice a difference in color.

I dunno, I'll try fiddling a bit more and then email them the video today if I can't get anywhere.

Ashurbarnipal
02-17-2012, 12:50 PM
For what it's worth, here's how they're mounted in the hood:

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/DSC01207.jpg

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd310/Archilocos/DSC01209.jpg

The two by twos are just on the metal part on the side, they don't obscure any of the glass between the LEDs and the water. I don't think the mounting has really affected it, as it looks about the same as when I held it over the water to test it.

smaug
02-17-2012, 05:24 PM
Get the right lps corals and sps are boring in comparison. Your tank is lookin good.

Ashurbarnipal
02-17-2012, 07:14 PM
Thanks, Smaug! I hope to have a good combo of softies, LPS and SPS when I'm done.

Also, I really think that the issue I'm having with this is that the actinic lights on my LEDs just MASSIVELY outnumber the whites. There are about two times as many actinics as there are whites.

Ashurbarnipal
02-18-2012, 05:09 PM
So, I'm kind of planning my refugium a bit now, and I'm wondering, after I've pumped the water into it, would it be possible to just return the water to the tank with a siphon or some kinda tube as opposed to just letting it return as though it were an HOB filter?

I ask cause there's not really any non-sloppy way to do it in my current set up.

labnjab
02-18-2012, 05:57 PM
Just a though, but I think the boards resting on the tank are part of the problem with the light. The beam on these fixture is wide and I think the boards are blocking some of the light. We have our lights dead center in the tank and we get full light throughout the 18 inch width of our tank,. Just to test this I put a board in a similar position on our tank, and it looks similar to your video, with shadows and spotlighting

Ashurbarnipal
02-18-2012, 06:44 PM
Wow, that was nice of you to test out, I appreciate it.

Ashurbarnipal
02-20-2012, 12:25 AM
Just got back from the fish store. They oddly had no zoas in stock, but had a lovely Lobophyllia which I got instead as well as a longfin fairy wrasse (in QT)


http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/420261_10100610609216199_16828737_52011048_1818947 870_n.jpg

It looks even better than it did in the store. They had it under halides. Also, I adjusted the lights as much as I could and I think that they're better, though still more blue than I am used to.

Ashurbarnipal
02-21-2012, 03:16 PM
Well, I just got my Salifert nitrate test kit in. I believe it's showing my nitrate at 1 ppm.

So this makes my desire for a refugium even greater.

I'm really having my doubts on my idea for a DIY HOB and now I'm wondering about an in tank refugium:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+3727+3621&pcatid=3621

Anyone got any opinions on this?

hockeyhead019
02-21-2012, 04:09 PM
You'd probably have to cover it up with eggcrate or something to keep the fish from getting in there... and just out of curiosity what are you hoping to accomplish with the fug? Live food breeding or what?

Ashurbarnipal
02-21-2012, 04:27 PM
I could do that, or move it high enough that the fish just can't get in.


As for that, I am hoping primarily to keep my nitrates down. I'm very regular with water changes. Do about 15% every week, but I'd like my nitrate either undetectable or nearly so.

Also, would my own crushed coral from this tank work as a substrate for a refugium?

Ashurbarnipal
02-21-2012, 04:56 PM
Also, the other stuff is good, too. Was thinking of starting a colony of live feeder shrimp, pods and maybe some algae for a starry blenny (which I'm considering getting in the future)

hockeyhead019
02-21-2012, 05:24 PM
Just keep in mind that in tank fuge is small... much to small to really eat any trates IMO... if you really want to have zero trates go with an algae scrubber or just let your tank continue to mature. 1ppm of trates isn't bad at all especially for a young tank. Just something to think about

If you do go the route of having live food in the fuge it'd probably be better suited for that, get some algae growing and just somewhere safe for pods to hide and possibly shrimp to hide (although I can't imagine them staying there but who knows lol)