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Results 1 to 10 of 21
  1. Default 37 Gallon tall - sumpless - reef tank progress

    0 Not allowed!
    I am starting this thread to track the progress of my 37 gallon reef. I'll lay out what I've got now and what my plans are here in the first post. Then I'll track over time to see how the tank changes and how my plans change. My goal is a nice looking but relatively easy to maintain reef tank with a few corals that might require specific feeding but mostly things that survive by just maintaining proper water parameters.

    This tank started by combining a biocube 14 that was up for about a year and a 20 gallon breeder that was up for about 6 months. FOr various reasons there wasn't much to transfer over besides the live rock, a couple zoas a xenia and a 6 line wrasse.

    I found someone online that maintained a sumpless, skimmerless reef tank that looked fantastic for about 6 years before he moved and had to take it down. I'm trying to follow the game plan he used but I also recognize that he was LFS employee and had knowledge and access to stuff that I don't have. So for the time being, the only skimmer I am running is a very small skimmer intended for a biocube 29. If things continue to go OK, I will remove it at some point. If that becomes a problem than I'll go to a Remora HOB skimmer.

    Tank set up appx May 1, 2014
    Current setup:
    37 Gal tall tank
    35-40lbs live rock
    120 watt led lights with timer. 2 hours blue lights and beginning and end of each day
    ------40 bulbs total, 10 blue, 30 white, 3 watts each. 2 cooling fans
    2 power heads
    Total water circulation including filter: Appx 1200-1300 gph
    Marineland 280 HOB power filter with carbon pad
    ----Plan to start using some poly filter in the HOB filter (this was used in the tank I am modeling mine after)
    also have a small ball of chaeto algae behind the rocks

    Fish: 6 line wrasse mysteriously died a couple weeks after tank was set up. Water parameters were all excellent at the time.
    Current fish and their names: Orange Ocellaris Clown (Pit Bull), Black Ocellaris Clown (2Chainz), 1 Royal Gramma (T.I.) and a bicolor blenny (Ludafish). Wife and son named the fish - don't blame me.

    Fish Plans: May still add a 6 line wrasse to contend with a worm that I know is in the rock but I haven't spotted the worm lately
    May add a cleaner shrimp

    Current corals: 4 Zoa colonys started that I am trying to get onto the rocks, 1 GSP, 1 waving hands xenia
    Coral Plans: Simple LSPs and leathers.

    I want to keep this tank simple. I had considered an anemone but I think that will complicate things more than make it simple.

    Here are a couple pics:
    Last edited by OKStriple; 06-24-2014 at 03:01 PM.

  2. Default

    1 Not allowed!
    Since my last installment, the water parameters have remained nearly perfect with weekly or bi-weekly dosing of Calcium and PH buffer. I've added 2 Acan Frags and a Kryptonite candy cane coral. I've been feeding those mysis shrimp twice a week and they are doing well.
    My Royal Gramma (TI) has been acting peculiar the last few days - Flashing (jerking across the tank and slamming into the rocks and back), then not eating, then hanging nose down nearly lifeless in the back corner of the tank. His eyes are clouding over slightly and now he is staying in his cave rarely coming out. A little online research led me to options of Ich, Velvet Fish Disease, or Flukes. The behavior very closely matches what I have read for Velvet disease. Close inspection does not reveal any salt like spots (ich) or anything that looks like flukes I see online.
    I took some photos and visited the LFS. Based on some notches out of the grammas tail fin and dorsal fin, the LFS said they think its being attacked by another fish. I wasnt sure about this because the Gramma has been the tank 'bully' and I haven't seen other fish attacking it although the Blenny seems to be no longer afraid of it and swims right alongside.
    Looking closer when I got home, I'm convinced it looks like the beginnings of velvet. I see it repeatably scratching its left side against the rocks. AND the Blenny is repeatably scratching his right side against the rocks.
    Now flash back about 8 weeks ago when my 6 line wrasse mysteriously died and I have to go with my own amature judgement here - these fish are getting sick and I think its Velvet.

    So I went to a second LFS - we talked at length about the differences between Ich and Velvet and they tend to agree with me it may be velvet. They gave me medication to mix in with food along with garlic and I headed home and mixed the medication with all my frozen mysis shrimp. I fed them the first round so we'll see where this goes.
    Since feeding them even the Gramma has already been out and more active.
    The clowns appear to b unaffected so far.

    I'm finding that this hobby is a constant learning process and there comes a point where you have to decide to trust your own judgement or hunches over others who may be better experts but aren't personally familiar with what happens in MY tank. If this works out and I save all my fish I'll feel like a hero. If not...... then I'll see what I can learn from it, maybe go reef only with no fish for awhile.

    ** Side note** I considered setting up a hospital tank but there is no way I could catch the Gramma and the Blenny without removing every ounce of rock and coral and the stress on them might be even worse. So this medication with food seems like a good way to go for now.

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    The problem with both diseases is that both viruses can infect the gills only making it very hard to tell the difference or even recognize or see any external symptoms. However, the most effective treatment for both (marine ick and velvet) is using copper based meds. Unfortunately this really is not a option to do inside a reef tank.

    I would suggest seeing if you could get a fish trap to use in your tank and remove and treat all of your fish in a QT tank leaving your display tank empty for about 3 months. Both the velvet and ick viruses have similar life cycles and you want to safely remove the viruses from your display tank to avoid re-infecting your fish again

    Typically, the meds you add to the food will only work for treating internal parasites with very limited impact on anything effecting the gills. It may help treating ick and/or velvet, but I doubt it.

    The below links might also be helpful
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL=""]

  4. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks Cliff. Yes as I've researched this some more, I have been coming to the same conclusions. I really didn't want to get into setting up a hospital tank (don't really have a place for it and would need to invest in a few more things to do it) but it seems to be the only logical course from here.
    The Royal Gramma does seem to be acting better - less scratching, is out and about in the tank more frequently and is eating a little more. A day after I posted above, the white salt like flecks started showing up so I now believe this is ich, not velvet, but treatment is the same.
    I still have my son's 20 gallon breeder tank I can use for a BB hospital. I recognize I would need to do frequent water changes. Would I need to get another HOB filter (no carbon dosing of course) or could it work with a media sponge or something in the hospital tank?
    Also I have specific concerns about the Blennie:
    1) The Bicolor blennie rarely eats the foods I put in the tank (they tend to be vegiterian but he even stays away from the veggie flakes I got him) and he eats what he can get growiing in the tank on rocks and such. If I put him in a BB tank with nothing growing, will he give in and eat what I provide him?
    2) I read that it can be more dangerous to copper dose blennies - something about because they are scaleless. So am I putting the blennie at risk moving him to the hospital tank and copper dosing?

    **Edit - I swear this is a constant learning experience. I am 100 times smarter now about reefkeeping than I was last year yet I've barely scratched the surface**
    Last edited by OKStriple; 07-14-2014 at 03:25 PM.

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    I keep a sponge filter running in one of my sumps to keep seeded with BB. That way, when I need my QT tank I can just move it over. I have found this to work well when I need a instantly cycled QT tank. However, that sponge NEVER be placed back in my sump ever again to prevent anything (like meds) from finding their way into my main tank. Using the sponge filter in QT seems to work well. You should have some type of decorations in the QT tanks as well so everyone has a place to hide and feel safe. I have some old poor quality base rock I use for this. And once again, that rock will never make it’s way into any of my display tanks to prevent meds from accidently being leached out into the display tank.

    For your blenny, try feeding him seaweed. You can take a small pc of rock, attached the seaweed to it with a rubber band, and place it on the bottom of the tank here were the blenny likes to hid out. That is how I have always got new blennys to start eating. You have to remember, wild caught omnivore fish are not used to looking up to find food as well as the fact they won’t readily recognize store bought food.

    As far as treatment options for him, you could look into a hypo salinity treatment. The below link explains a little bit of that. I have never used it before so I can’t not offer much more help there
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL=""]

  6. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    I planned on lowering the salinity in the QT a little in addition to the copper.

    I got the QT/hospital tank set up tonight and moved all 4 fish over, but the only way I could catch the Blennie and Royal Gramma was to move them in the rocks they were sleeping/hiding in. I haven't added any copper yet and I want them to have some kind of security for the night, they seem stressed since I moved them.
    Tomorrow I'll get some PVC elbows they can use for hiding spaces and put the rock back in the DT. I'll feed them, do a water change, and then begin adding copper.
    I bought an ammonia test kit (API) but I spend the big bucks for the Salifert copper test kit since it's critical to keep that on target.
    I need to get more water tomorrow since I removed / replaced 10 gallons from the DT and put 5 1/2 new gallons (in addition to the 10 gallons transferred ) into the hospital tank. I'll need some more for frequent water changes in the hospital tank.
    Question: Once I get the copper just right in the hospital tank and it's time for a water change, how do I keep the copper level right? Just add more drops as directed to keep the level up? This does not seem like fun.

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    I would advise against lowering your salinity while using copper. Copper is toxic to all forms of marine life, which is why it is so effective on ick and why it is so important to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the copper based meds. Lower salinity levels (even as little as a 0.003 decrease) will increases the effectiveness (and toxicity ) of the copper and this can effect your BB and well as causing pH swings depending on the size of the salinity decrease.

    For water changes, I would suggest adding copper to the replacement water and testing the level with your test kit to make sure it matches the level in the QT tank (0.5ppm if I remember correctly).
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL=""]

  8. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Two fish I could only capture by moving the rock they were in, then removing the rock when they came out so this set me back a day (blennie and Royal Gramma). Got the rock out last night, Fed them and the RG wont eat and the blennie wont eat even the seaweed I bought. I'm 80% sure the stress and lack of eating will kill these two before the copper or anything else has a chance to. They were both being fairly active in the DT before transfer, now they both lay on the bottom lifeless.
    After I fed them, I changed out 2 1/2 gallons of water but left seaweed in there to try and get the blennie to eat anything.
    Today when I returned from work the water quality was the worst appearance I have had (my water is normally very clear and the LFS tells me I tend to bring them some of the best water to test among thier clients)
    I attempted a quick feeding - The clowns went after it, the other two didn't even when I pushed food in their direction. Then I did a 5 gallon water change - tested ammonia and it's very low (at or near 0 following the water change) and water looks much better, I then immediately began the copper treatment and added it to the 3 remaining jugs of saltwater. Currently it appears to test at .5
    I would rather feed less and do 2 1/2 gallon changes but as long at the blennie and royal gramma are alive I have to keep trying to get them to eat.

  9. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Well the Royal Gramma died the day after the last post. I still have all the rest in QT, daily water changes, maintaining Cupertine (copper) at .5. Almost done with the copper treatment. Blennie is looking better but still barely eating.
    This is not fun :(

  10. #10


    0 Not allowed!
    What are you currently using for filtration in your QT tank ?

    And did you mean to say you are using Cuparmine in your QT tank?

    The reason why I am asking is that Cupermine (the one made by Seachem) is a very safe type of copper med. However, when combined with a typical dechlorinater (like prime) and ammonia, it becomes a more toxic form of copper. It speeds up the process of breaking down the organically bounded copper in Cuparmine releasing free copper into the water which can reach toxic levels quickly. To put this in prescriptive, bounded copper is safe at or lower than 0.5ppm while free copper is safe at or below 0.1ppm
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL=""]

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