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Help me get My 20-Gallon (Tall) Nano-Reef back on track!


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#51
Fishgirl2393

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I don't use anything from a bottle unless I've done some research on it. From what I've seen, this is not much different than sugar (or vodka) dosing. If I see problems with it, I'll stop but for now, it works. Interestingly enough, I've used RO/DI and distilled water and (for me) it doesn't seem to make much difference (my tap water is nitrite, ammonia, nitrate, and phosphate free). Hopefully, this skimmer will make things better in the tank.

#52
Deckoz2302

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did you test for silicates, zinc? both promote algae growth and are normally present in tap water...GL

Edited by Deckoz2302, 28 February 2012 - 06:21 PM.


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#53
Fishgirl2393

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Haven't been able to test for either of those (test kits not available locally) but this is a more recent thing (the nitrates got high, the algae started to grow) and hasn't been happening ever since I started the tank. :/

#54
Fishgirl2393

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Skimmer is working GREAT! It's pulling a fair amount of (dark) skimmate out of the water! :)

#55
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Tank is doing much better now. The algae/cyano/diatoms quit growing and the skimmer is pulling lots of stuff out of the tank. I still dose with the "Natural Nitrate Reducer" and will probably continue to do so for a while (because it IS lowering the nitrates and isn't causing any problems). I added a Kenya tree coral and it's doing great!

#56
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OK, my light bulbs are over a year old now (they're T5HO) and I'm looking to replace the bulbs. However, since the fixture was bought for a 10-gallon tank, I'm considering replacing it with a 24" (mine is 18" bulbs) fixture. BUT, I am still going to stick with T5HO if I do replace it. If I don't have to replace it, I won't. So my question is this... is 3.6 watts per gallon of T5HO enough for soft corals (I have soft corals and frogspawn and they seem to be doing OK but I'm asking anyway), LPS corals (frogspawn, candycane, open brain and bubble in particular but most LPS I would like to be able to keep) and easy SPS (monti-cap, birdsnest)? I know that people who have a Red Sea MAX (130D or 250) can keep soft, lps, sps, clams (I've seen it in the 130D with no lighting upgrades), and anemones so could it be done in my tank?

Edited by Fishgirl2393, 24 March 2012 - 08:25 AM.


#57
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Anyone?

#58
Fishgirl2393

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OK, my light bulbs are over a year old now (they're T5HO) and I'm looking to replace the bulbs. However, since the fixture was bought for a 10-gallon tank, I'm considering replacing it with a 24" (mine is 18" bulbs) fixture. BUT, I am still going to stick with T5HO if I do replace it. If I don't have to replace it, I won't. So my question is this... is 3.6 watts per gallon of T5HO enough for soft corals (I have soft corals and frogspawn and they seem to be doing OK but I'm asking anyway), LPS corals (frogspawn, candycane, open brain and bubble in particular but most LPS I would like to be able to keep) and easy SPS (monti-cap, birdsnest)? I know that people who have a Red Sea MAX (130D or 250) can keep soft, lps, sps, clams (I've seen it in the 130D with no lighting upgrades), and anemones so could it be done in my tank?
PLEASE HELP!

#59
Fishgirl2393

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Bump.

#60
Fishgirl2393

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I'm going to replace my light bulbs so it might help somewhat with this but I have another question...
Whenever I do a water change and slightly disturb (not stir though) the sand bed, the next day, I get a minor diatom bloom that lasts a couple of days. I am guessing that this is because I have lots of detritus in the sand. Is the correct? If so, what should I do (I don't want to go bare bottom though)? I have two detached (not attached to a skeleton anymore) frogspawn heads (they've been this way since late last year and are still alive and thriving but no skeleton yet. Not sure what's up with that. Any ideas?) so if I need more flow, someone will have to tell me what to do about that. Please help with this.

#61
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OK, so I need help to get my system looking/doing its best. Right now, I have nitrates as low as I've been able to get them (20-30ppm), nitrites are 0, ammonia is 0, pH is 8.3, SG is 1.022.5-1.023. I don't know what phosphate is, calcium (last time it was tested) was good (415ppm) and since I use Oceanic salt (and don't have any hard corals except frogspawn) I figure it still is (it has been stable for a while so I quit having it tested). I am going to replace the light bulbs in my T5HO fixture (4x18watt Odyssea 20 inch fixture) as soon as they come in (I'm ordering them). I run an Aqua-Tech 5-15 power filter (I currently have a carbon/floss pad that is made for it in there), a Top-Fin power filter (the small one that pumps 80gph and can be found on petsmart's website) running empty, and a Penn-Plax "Cascade" internal filter (used as a powerhead running empty and pumps 45gph). I have Nature's Ocean #2 Samoa pink substrate (not a fine grain sand but not crushed coral substrate either). I run a Lee's Counter Current protein skimmer in the tank (run 24/7) and run my daylights lights for 12 hours and moonlights for 3 hours. I can't seem to get nitrates to stay low (I have recently been using "Instant Ocean Natural Nitrate Reducer" but it hasn't made much of a difference one way or another) even with weekly water changes. I have very dense live rock in my tank (not very porous at all). I am not interested in a SPS dominated tank and like the look of soft corals (I have xenia, kenya tree, and hairy mushrooms) and LPS (I have two heads of frogspawn that are detached from skeleton and have been for 4+ months). I also have a six-line wrasse and 5 blue legged hermits (my only clean-up crew). Please help me get my tank back on track. I've been working on it for a long time (doing water changes, adding skimmer, trying IO Natural nitrate reducer stuff, etc) and nothing seems to make the nitrates stay low. HELP!

#62
Fishgirl2393

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I just basically need help getting my system to be balanced and nitrates low (I know that nitrates are beneficial for soft corals in small amounts so I don't care if they're 0, just don't want them to be high) and get my system LOOKING good too.

#63
jamesb2012

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Tank.jpg
It looks like we are in the same tank (no pun intended) I have a 20Tall also no fish...yet. And is that 2 HOB filters I see?
But why no fish? I am going to get a pair of ocellaris clownfish and a watchman goby soon i would reccomend that to a similar tank if you are looking to stock.

But why no fish? I am going to get a pair of ocellaris clownfish and a watchman goby soon i would reccomend that to a similar tank if you are looking to stock.

Lol nevermind I overlooked that part. But still they would be good :)

Edited by jamesb2012, 28 March 2012 - 09:37 AM.


#64
Fishgirl2393

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Thanks for the tip on adding fish. I'm going to add at least one clownfish, a royal gramma, and possibly a lawnmower blenny (if that is not too many fish for a 20-gallon tank) along with the six-line wrasse I already have. I do need to get the tank looking better though. Any suggestions?

#65
CH2iS

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lets start with this ..

- what kind of live rock is that?
- what kind of test kit are you using?
- how old is the sand bed?
- 12hrs of light ... take it down to 6hrs of light a day till you get the algae/parameter problems in check. personally for me, thats just too much light a day.
- tap water for top off is def not helping. ro/di water is cheap and should def be used over tap. STOP with the tap for top off.
- how heavy do you feed?
- how much flow altogether is in the tank at the current moment?
- STOP using the bottle insta-fix stuff.
- do you test on a regular basis? should at this point.
- dont add anymore animals until you get all parameters in check
- cleanup crew of more then 5 hermits is needed. reefcleaners.org has great packages for this.
- not familiar with t5/t5ho lighting but should be the same as metal halide and you should replace them every 9-12 months. i change mines out every 8-10 months for metal halide. the effectiveness and par values diminishes after that causing you to grow algae.
- research the specimens your planning on keeping, and find out what their preferred salinity is, and aim for that. i like keeping mines at 1.025/1.026 for mix reef system.
- current temp?

i might be missing a few more questions and will ask as when my mind wants to start back up again.

Edited by CH2iS, 29 March 2012 - 01:21 AM.


#66
Fishgirl2393

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lets start with this ..

- what kind of live rock is that?
I don't know exactly what kind of rock it is. It is probably atlantic rock or some other not very pourous rock. It seems to be OK in the tank (I've been using it before this tank became a reef and was a FOWLR)
- what kind of test kit are you using?
I HAVE been using test strips (don't remember the brand) but I'm about to get a API Nitrate test kit
- how old is the sand bed?
Pretty new. I replaced it from Crushed coral substrate about 4-6 months ago because I was having nitrate problems then too (and they were much worse nitrate problems).
- 12hrs of light ... take it down to 6hrs of light a day till you get the algae/parameter problems in check. personally for me, thats just too much light a day.
Well, I only have 3.6 watts of T5HO over a 20-gallon tank so I'm not sure I should cut it back TOO much but I can cut it back a couple of hours.
- tap water for top off is def not helping. ro/di water is cheap and should def be used over tap. STOP with the tap for top off.
I'll try to find either distilled or RO/DI
- how heavy do you feed?
I feed once a day/once every other day but only a tiny bit (just enough for one fish and no more)
- how much flow altogether is in the tank at the current moment?
225GPH
- STOP using the bottle insta-fix stuff.
I haven't put it in for a while now (just wanted to see if it would make a difference)
- do you test on a regular basis? should at this point.
I test about once a week to monitor nitrates (the only parameter that seems out of check) but also test nitrites, ammonia, PH, hardness, and alk.
- dont add anymore animals until you get all parameters in check
Don't plan on it! :) I am not adding any more fish for a while anyway because I want my corals added first.
- cleanup crew of more then 5 hermits is needed. reefcleaners.org has great packages for this.
I can get some more clean-up crew but how much would you suggest?
- not familiar with t5/t5ho lighting but should be the same as metal halide and you should replace them every 9-12 months. i change mines out every 8-10 months for metal halide. the effectiveness and par values diminishes after that causing you to grow algae.
I know my bulbs need replacing. I am getting new ones. They are a little over a year old so they need it!
- research the specimens your planning on keeping, and find out what their preferred salinity is, and aim for that. i like keeping mines at 1.025/1.026 for mix reef system.
I was a little surprised that my salinity was that low. I'll bring it back up when doing water changes.
- current temp?
78 degrees F.

#67
Fishgirl2393

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OK. Just did another test. My nitrates are 50ppm. I had something occur to me today. My live rock is almost completely smooth and no holes in most of it at all (a few pieces have lots of holes but they are a different type of live rock) so this is my theory...
Since my live rock is solid, the bacteria that usually convert nitrates to nitrogen gas can't live in it and therefore, the bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrites and nitrites to nitrates are converting a lot of stuff that is not getting removed (kinda like bioballs). Is this likely what is happening? I've been doing regular water changes (with no nitrates in the water being used) and skimming and still nitrates are rising out of control. What should I do? I've considered removing the corals to another tank after getting it cycled (a very simple tank that's just temporary) and replacing the rock/removing the "solid" live rock and then letting things establish themselves. Is this a good idea?

#68
jamesb2012

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Since my live rock is solid,

Enough said ;) Solid rock should really only be used as base rock because of your bioball logic. Because the rock is solid it has less surface area for the bacteria to survive and metabolize so getting more porous rock that truly is live rock should greatly help your tank stabalize. I use small granite stones to prop my pieces of live rock up off the sand bed and the granite only grows diatoms, nothing truly beneficial for the tank.

#69
CH2iS

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OK. Just did another test. My nitrates are 50ppm. I had something occur to me today. My live rock is almost completely smooth and no holes in most of it at all (a few pieces have lots of holes but they are a different type of live rock) so this is my theory...
Since my live rock is solid, the bacteria that usually convert nitrates to nitrogen gas can't live in it and therefore, the bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrites and nitrites to nitrates are converting a lot of stuff that is not getting removed (kinda like bioballs). Is this likely what is happening? I've been doing regular water changes (with no nitrates in the water being used) and skimming and still nitrates are rising out of control. What should I do? I've considered removing the corals to another tank after getting it cycled (a very simple tank that's just temporary) and replacing the rock/removing the "solid" live rock and then letting things establish themselves. Is this a good idea?


i thought so .. looking at your picture of your tank i didn't recognize the rock in it that is why i asked. yes, removing/replacing the current rocks with actual live porous rock will help your water parameters a great deal. fiji, tonga, marshall island and vanuatu are all great live rock. i tend to stay with fiji cause the shapes are easy to work with. if your on a budget do half live half dry.

test strips are not very accurate and API master kits on amazon are under $25 .. that really needs to be addressed also. trust me you will be better off with the API, Red Sea Marine Lab or Salifert test kits. I have used the Red Sea and Saliferts myself in the past with accurate results. Money spent on miracle tonics should have been spent there :)

yes, bring salinity up 1ppm per day till you reach the desired ppms.

corals are animals too. i wouldn't add ANYTHING till your main display tank parameters are corrected.

clean up crew packages in tank sizes are available from reefcleaners plus, i hear this guy ALWAYS ends up giving you extra of what you buy so thats a plus. speak with him about your situation after you have established good parameters in your display tank. like whatever algae thats left from the cycle and he can recommend a package for you to combat it.

bad bulbs, a lot of light = algae blooms. nuff said.

do setup the quarantine tank for your corals and replace all the rocks with live/dry rocks. split 50 of your old water to quarantine and add 50 new water. do the same with display tank and watch it cycle till nitrates are at tolerable *i would aim for 0* levels.

#70
Fishgirl2393

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OK, so if (and it will likely be WHEN) I do this, I need to know a few things...
First, how long do I need to cycle my quarantine tank (I really don't want to do daily water changes)?
I'm thinking of when I move corals to the quarantine tank, moving one of the power filters from the reef. Is this a good idea?
Second, once I get new live rock, how long (approx.) do you think it will take to cycle (and be safe to put kenya tree, xenia, mushrooms, frogspawn, blue legged hermits, and six-line wrasse back in)?
Third, what is the procedure I should follow to get this done right?
Any other things I should know?
I plan on "rinsing" my sand in saltwater that I remove. Is this a good idea?
Thanks in advance.

#71
Fishgirl2393

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Anyone?

#72
CH2iS

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OK, so if (and it will likely be WHEN) I do this, I need to know a few things...
First, how long do I need to cycle my quarantine tank (I really don't want to do daily water changes)?

-Quaratine tank is bare bottom and should not have anything except your animals, heater and filter. Why wouldn't you do water changes? Might only need to do one during the whole process.

I'm thinking of when I move corals to the quarantine tank, moving one of the power filters from the reef. Is this a good idea?
-Yes, if main tank has enough filtration.

test till there is no more nitrates and thats when you can put everything back into the display tank. how long is anyones guess but if it goes through the same cycling process as if someone was to start a tank from scratch .. probably a month. if you use half dry and half live it might be less time. only way to know is test and wait and test again. in this hobby rushing shouldnt be an option.

if sand bed is fairly new no need to rinse. theres probably not enough detritus to be of concern. quarantine tank should have at least 50% of old tank water and 50% new water. display tank should have 50% old tank water and 50% new water. after the end of the cycle slowly acclimate all animals to new tank parameters if they are not the same as quarantine tank. treat quarantine tank as you would display tank by doing your water changes during the quarantine.

good luck ..

#73
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OK. Thanks. I was thinking I would have to do daily water changes but if you're saying just possibly one (I would be OK with a few) then sure, water changes are fine! :) OK. I'm thinking of getting a new powerhead for main tank so FLOW shouldn't be an issue and since I'll be getting new live rock, filtration should be OK too, right (I have a skimmer)? OK, on my list I have new live rock, test stuff (API test kits), and a powerhead. Thanks. I'll probably have more questions soon! :D

#74
CH2iS

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OK. Thanks. I was thinking I would have to do daily water changes but if you're saying just possibly one (I would be OK with a few) then sure, water changes are fine! :) OK. I'm thinking of getting a new powerhead for main tank so FLOW shouldn't be an issue and since I'll be getting new live rock, filtration should be OK too, right (I have a skimmer)? OK, on my list I have new live rock, test stuff (API test kits), and a powerhead. Thanks. I'll probably have more questions soon! :D


im impressed. get one of those used koralias 240's or 2 of those that people are selling in the used section. very good powerheads from what i have been reading and very small in size. keep us updated on progress :)

#75
Fishgirl2393

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OK, so I just called my awesome LFS and they don't have much live rock right now (most of it got sold yesterday) so I'm going to wait on LR until they get some more. Would it be OK for me to move my corals to a 10-gallon setup, remove the bad live rock and keep what good live rock I have and add more when they get some? I'm also going to get a new light hopefully (a 4x24watt T5HO fixture) so that will be better.