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LarryMoeCurly's 20g Long


LarryMoeCurly

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LarryMoeCurly

It's been a while since I have frequented nanoreef so I figured I would give an update. The setup is pretty much the same, but the livestock has changed a little. The tank has been neglected for various reasons as far a water changes go, although not too bad. I did a thorough cleaning and water change a few days ago.

The fish (clown and damsel) are doing fine; however, it recently dawned on me that the clown is not really growing at all, even though there "advertised" max length is 6 inches, it is still probably no more than 2 or 3 inches.

The LPS (trumpet and frogspawn) have done well and grown quite a bit. The soft corals (zoos and mushrooms) have basically died off for unknown reasons. I theorize that it might have been too much light for them. I just moved a rock with a few remaining zoos on it to a less lighted area to see if they will revive. The GSP grew like crazy.

 

So, as it is right now I am disappointed with the tank in general. Among the other coral issues, the coraline algae has been receeding as well. I would like to have more coral in the tank and perhaps another fish or two and a shrimp. It just looks empty; I wish I had more time to devote to it, but that is simply not the case.

 

Anyway, in an effort to revitalize the tank I am considering testing for mag/alk/ca. I do not have the test kits, I wanted to do some research beforehand (considering I knew nothing about these parameters). I have done the research and determined the tests that I should use (Red Sea mag,alk,ca) and the supplemetns I should use (ESV b-ionic) if needed. However, according to Instant Ocean's website (the salt mix I use), all of these elements and ions are included in their mixes. I do not want to spend $50 on tests kits if they are not needed, but I do not know if they are not needed until I test. Interesting predicament indeed.

 

FTS (1-21-13):

12113front.jpg

 

As always any insight on my current issues is welcome and appreciated.

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LarryMoeCurly

Here's some pics I took at the same time as the FTS above (the best I could do with the camera I had):

 

12113clown.jpg

 

12113left.jpg

 

The rock at the bottom left of the picture below used to be COVERED in green and orange zoas, as can be seen on a previous page.

12113right.jpg

 

12113setup.JPG

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LarryMoeCurly

I want to revamp this tank; it is apparently going down hill, and I want to curb the loss. I see the tank only every other weekend (usually) when I go home from school. Consequentially, I have no idea when I will get the chance to follow through and implement any of these improvements/changes. Since I am unable to actually observe or do anything to the tank right now, I will simply list the things I am thinking about doing so I am at least being somewhat productive and hopefully moving in the right direction.

 

Water parameters: The water has not been tested in a long time (maybe over a year). Everything (alk, mag, Ca, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, pH) will be tested to rule out any water chemistry issues. I need to buy the Red Sea alk, mag, Ca test kit. Furthermore, I am usually fairly careless when it comes to salinity; anything within within .002 of 1.025 I deem as acceptable. I usually don't even test the salinity of the tank itself, just the new water. I will get some calibration fluid and be more careful. Any issues will be corrected before anything else is done.

 

Coral: I am hoping to vastly improve the quantity and diversity of coral. I want to get some more LPS, introduce some SPS, and possibly get some zoa's (although the ones I had melted, so I need to figure that out first). I am not set on which coral, I would most likely buy whatever not-difficult-to-keep coral came up for sale on here.

 

Inverts: Of course I had a CUC when I first upgraded tanks, but they have mostly gone away (died I guess). I plan on getting a basic package from reefcleaners. I also want a shrimp or two; probably anemone, coral banded, pepermint, or combination thereof. I have basically ruled out an BTA.

 

Fish: I want to add at least one more fish, perhaps a blenny of some kind.

 

Hardware: I like the look of a painted tank; I will likely get a background from petsmart considering my tank is already up and running and can't easily be painted. I have considered getting a T5HO fixture but that is not likely. If I get coral that likes higher flow, I will get another powerhead. An ATO would be nice since I am not home and rely on my parents to top off.

 

As I said, I do not know when I will get around to any of this, but I feel the need to do something. I am unsatisfied with the tank at this point. Problems will be identified and solutions will be implemented.

 

As always, any advice or input is much appreciated.

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LarryMoeCurly

I tested the water today for the first time in a long while. I got the Red Sea alkalinity, calcium, magnesium test kit. I also bought calibration fluid for my refractometer; it was ready high by about .004. The kits I used to test the ammonia, pH, nitrite, and nitrate are API that I think expired in 2008. I didn't think it necessary to get new kits since I don't think the tank is cycling.

 

Temp: 81F

Salinity: 1.022 (I thought it was around 1.025-26)

pH: 7.8

ammonia: 0

nitrite: 0

nitrate: 0

alk: 6.7

mag: 1120

ca: 350

 

I will raise the salinity over this weekend. Apparently the alkalinity, calcium, and magnesium are all low. I will further research dosing and determine if it is even feasible since I am not home often. I plan on doing a water change tomorrow. Perhaps I will test the new batch of water for alk, ca, and mag.

 

I am wondering if these water chemistry issues would be the reason that my zoas all melted away. The part I do not understand is that my LPS seem to be growing fine, and they are the ones that use the CaCO3. I wouldn't think they would have grown that much if the mineral weren't available.

 

I would really appreciate any advice or input on my current water chemistry issues. Thanks.

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Weird question, does your Maroon clown ever try to bite you?

 

 

Also in terms of your water chemistry what type of water are you using (ro/di, tap, etc) and what salt mix are you using?

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LarryMoeCurly

I do not stick my hand in the tank usually, but when I do the clown just swims away. I've heard they can be aggressive but he/she is pretty calm.

 

I use distilled water from walmart. I would like to get an RO/DI unit in the future, but that would be more like phase 2 or 3 of this overahaul I'm doing. I am using regular instant ocean (not reef crystals). I am going to petsmart tomorrow, so I'll see what other salts they have and maybe I'll switch, I'm almost out anyway.

 

It just dawned on me that the low mineral levels could be because I've been mixing my salt to a lower specific gravity than I thought, since my refractometer was not calibrated. I wonder if there is a huge difference between the alk, ca, and mag in 1.022 versus 1.026. Perhaps that could explain my low levels. It just seems a little strange that my levels would be that low. I just did a 25% change 2 weeks ago, and there isn't that much in my tank that uses CaCO3.

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I do not stick my hand in the tank usually, but when I do the clown just swims away. I've heard they can be aggressive but he/she is pretty calm.

 

I use distilled water from walmart. I would like to get an RO/DI unit in the future, but that would be more like phase 2 or 3 of this overahaul I'm doing. I am using regular instant ocean (not reef crystals). I am going to petsmart tomorrow, so I'll see what other salts they have and maybe I'll switch, I'm almost out anyway.

 

It just dawned on me that the low mineral levels could be because I've been mixing my salt to a lower specific gravity than I thought, since my refractometer was not calibrated. I wonder if there is a huge difference between the alk, ca, and mag in 1.022 versus 1.026. Perhaps that could explain my low levels. It just seems a little strange that my levels would be that low. I just did a 25% change 2 weeks ago, and there isn't that much in my tank that uses CaCO3.

 

It will make some difference. I use Reef Crystals and mix it to 1.025.

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LarryMoeCurly

I got reef crystals salt at petsmart today (at a slight discount since there was a large hole in the bag). I mixed a 4 gallon batch (20% water change) at 1.029 sg. This is a little higher than I originally planned, but I do not think it will be detrimental since it is only 4 gallons. I will check salinity in the tank after and see if I need to take a little out and replace with distilled. I bumped the sg up to 1.023-24 last night by mixing salt with some tank water and re-introducing it. Here are the results for the reef crystals at 1.029 sg:

 

Alkalinity: 12 dKH

Calcium: 675

Magnesium: 1580

pH 8.2

 

I am hoping that this new salt will be a sufficient remedy for my parameter issues and I will be able to avoid dosing for now. I'm a little afraid that inceasing these parameters fairly drastically so quickly will have adverse effects. Unfortunately I'm only home for the weekend, so I cannot draw it out over several days or a week. I plan on changing the water today and re-testing the tank tomorrow.

 

As always any advice or input is much appreciated.

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LarryMoeCurly

I did the water change. The salinity of the tank is now 1.025 sg. I will test the other parameters tomorrow. I am hopeful that with each water change using the new salt, the ca, mag, and alk will rise unitl the tank is mainly Reef Crystals instead of Instant Ocean.

 

I also got a blue/black backdrop from Petsmart. I have the blue up now temporarily. It doesn't look quite like I expected, I'm not sure if I like it or not yet. Perhaps I"ll try the black side tomorrow.

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LarryMoeCurly

The test results for today:

 

Salinity: 1.024

Alk: 8.1

Ca: 425

Mag: 1280

 

I calibrated the refractometer again today, assuming it would be fine. It was actually a little high again; I did it like three times to be sure. I think it is pretty much dialed in now; I'll have to make it a point to recalibrate every time.

 

Technically all of these parameters are within acceptable range. As I stated previously, I think they will continue to increase after every water change until the majority of salt in the tank is Reef Crystals rather than Instant Ocean. Back to school today, so I'll test again next weekend; that should give me an idea of how much the tank uses in a week.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The test results for today:

 

Salinity: 1.024

Alk: 8.1

Ca: 425

Mag: 1280

 

I calibrated the refractometer again today, assuming it would be fine. It was actually a little high again; I did it like three times to be sure. I think it is pretty much dialed in now; I'll have to make it a point to recalibrate every time.

 

Technically all of these parameters are within acceptable range. As I stated previously, I think they will continue to increase after every water change until the majority of salt in the tank is Reef Crystals rather than Instant Ocean. Back to school today, so I'll test again next weekend; that should give me an idea of how much the tank uses in a week.

 

Howdy,

 

I have to calibrate my refractometer every use as well. It's supposed to temperature adjust, but it seems to be useless. Be careful raising salinity much above 35ppt or 1.026. I have found, due to a high salinity accident, that the damage is done quickly but takes a week to show up, and once you realize something is wrong it's too late to prevent the damage.

 

IMO the params you listed above are perfect. I find running much higher alk and calcium just means I have to dose more often and my parameters tend to not be as stable.

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LarryMoeCurly

Thanks for your input. Just to be clear, I have no intention of rasing the salinity higher than 1.026. I used higher salinity water in the last water change to make up for the low salinity that the tank had been at because of a non-calibrated refractometer. I only added 4 gallons and in the end it increased to 1.024; I hope I didn't do any damage, I was home a couple weeks ago and everything looked ok. Unfortunately, last time I was home I had to work and couldn't test the water; I should have time this weekend though.

 

I agree that my parameters are fine as they are; however, I started using a new salt (Reef Crystals), which when mixed yields higher concentrations of alk, ca, mag, etc. I figure that until I have done a few water changes with the new salt, and the tank mostly has reef crystals instead of instant ocean (the salt I was using before) the concentrations will continue to increase with every water change. I could be wrong, perhaps the tank consumes enough that I will not see a change.

 

BTW, Instant Ocean's website lists the following concentrations for Instant Ocean salt at 1.026: Mag-1320, Ca-400. I assume reef crystals will be higher.

 

Also, why would having a higher calcium and alkalinity cause you to have to dose more?

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Thanks for your input. Just to be clear, I have no intention of rasing the salinity higher than 1.026. I used higher salinity water in the last water change to make up for the low salinity that the tank had been at because of a non-calibrated refractometer. I only added 4 gallons and in the end it increased to 1.024; I hope I didn't do any damage, I was home a couple weeks ago and everything looked ok. Unfortunately, last time I was home I had to work and couldn't test the water; I should have time this weekend though.

 

I agree that my parameters are fine as they are; however, I started using a new salt (Reef Crystals), which when mixed yields higher concentrations of alk, ca, mag, etc. I figure that until I have done a few water changes with the new salt, and the tank mostly has reef crystals instead of instant ocean (the salt I was using before) the concentrations will continue to increase with every water change. I could be wrong, perhaps the tank consumes enough that I will not see a change.

 

BTW, Instant Ocean's website lists the following concentrations for Instant Ocean salt at 1.026: Mag-1320, Ca-400. I assume reef crystals will be higher.

 

Also, why would having a higher calcium and alkalinity cause you to have to dose more?

 

Because it increases the speed of coral growth so in turn, to keep things stable, you have to dose more ... or change the water more often. I liken it to a drug addiction for the corals. It depends on what you want of course. Very similar to adding CO2 in freshwater, mad growth, but increased fert dosing and trimming.

 

It's not wrong, just be aware what you are getting into IMO. I'm still at the stage in my 1 year old 40 where I keep my Alk between 7 and 8 and dose 2 part daily. I tried keeping my Alk at 10 and I would lose over 1 point of Alk a day, so I would be swinging from 10 to 8.5 to 10 to 8.5 where now I swing from 7.2 to 8.0, give or take.

 

This is why, at some point, people start to look at automated dosing, dripping, etc.

 

As a result of this I switched to a salt where the Alk is 7.8 (Red Sea Regular) so I don;t have to worry about rapidly swinging parameters when I do a water change.

 

Again, just my opinion, and it really depends on your goals and how much maintenance you can do.

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LarryMoeCurly

Oh, I see. That makes sense, thanks for explaining. I actually don't want excess growth at this point. The trumpet and frogspawn are getting so big that they are almost becoming a nuisance. I hope to get more coral in the not-too-distant future, but I fear my placement options may be limited due to the growth. Hopefully the new salt won't raise them too much more.

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LarryMoeCurly

Tested today.

 

Salinity: 1.023 (doesn't make much sense to me)

Mag: 1260

Alk: 6.3

Ca: 350

pH: 8.0 (could be 7.8, API is hard to read)

 

I plan to do a water change tomorrow. I guess I will try to raise the salinity in the tank to 1.025 by increasing the salinity of the new water to 1.026 or 1.027. My parameters are about what I expected, since I haven't done a WC in 3 weeks. My magnesium hasn't changed much, I can't explain this.

 

It appears that there is not enough flow, or that the flow is misplaced/misguided. I may move one of the powerheads to the other side. That will also hopefully fix the problem of the ac70 flow hitting the glass, going down, and blowing the sand away.

 

I am also thinking about new lighting. I have old style par38s (just white and blue). My coral (the little I have) has minimal coloration. I may look into a couple full spectrum par38s.

 

I happened upon this reefbreeders fixture. Any opinions? I really don't plan on spending $300 or more on a sol, or radion, etc. I want something that will give good coverage because I would like to get into SPS. I also want good coloration. The lights I have make the coral look bland/dull. I have a little UV lightbulb, when I shine it near the tank everything glows green, red, etc. I get none of that with the current lights.

 

As always, any input is much appreciated, especially if you have opinions about possible lighting.

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LarryMoeCurly

I changed the water today. The salinity is now at 1.025, hopefully it stays that way. I also moved a powerhead to the other side, I'll see how that works out. It's now pointing near the kenya tree and frogspawn, I hope they are not upset by it. I plan on testing tomorrow to see how the parameters responded to the WC.

 

I'm starting to realize how mundane and boring my posts are; I never see anyone else posting in their tank thread saying "I did a WC today". Oh well, it is what it is. I'm on spring break in a couple weeks so perhaps things will become less boring if I actually get the chance to visit a LFS.

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LarryMoeCurly

Test results:

 

Mag: 1400

Ca: 420

Alk: 10.1

Salinity: 1.024

pH: 8.1

 

I have very little trust in my refractometer, it seems like every time I pick it up it is not calibrated properly.

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LarryMoeCurly

It finally happened, I went to a fish/aquarium store today. (I do not call it a LFS because it was over an hour away.) Since there are no stores less than an hour from me, I have not visited a fish store in probably over a year; it was a big day.

 

I was in the market for a fish, a shrimp, and some coral. I came back with a fish, a shrimp, and some coral. I got an orange banded goby, a small cleaner shrimp, a green ricordia, and a small frag of blue acro. Right now the shrimp is hiding, the goby is out on the sand bed, and the ricordia looks fine. I have never had an SPS so I do not really know what the acro should look like. I will get a better idea of how everything is doing tomorrow when the lights come on. Nothing looks too distressed right now, so hopefully everything will survive and thrive.

 

I changed the water yesterday; I plan to test parameters tonight. Perhaps I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

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LarryMoeCurly

Test results:

 

Mag: 1360

Ca: 400

Alk: 7.7, retested and got 8.4

pH: 7.8

SG: 1.024

 

The alkalinity and calcium are lower than I would expect the day after a 20% water change. The alkalinity was so low that I retested to be sure, I got a little higher the second time; perhaps I am misreading the end-of-titration color change.

 

The goby it sitting on the sand under a clear tupperware container that I have the ricordia and a piece of LR in, with hopes of it attaching. The goby does not appear to be breathing heavily, so hopefully it handled the transfer well.

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LarryMoeCurly

Everything appears to have survived the night. The ricordia looks fine (although I've never had one, so I don't know exactly what it should look like). The goby has dug a little cave for herself, but did not take any food (neither mysis nor flake). The shrimp hides under the rock, but did take some mysis right from the turkey baster. I am worried about the acro. It is a very pale blue and I have seen no polyp extension thus far; I could not get a good picture of it.

 

I took some pictures; they are not good, but it's the best I could do:

 

cleanershrimp.jpg


ricordia.jpg

 

This one is the goby, you can only see his head. Again, sorry for the bad quality pictures.
goby.jpg

 

3413fts.jpg

 

As always, any advice or input is much appreciated, especially regarding the acro frag.

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LarryMoeCurly

The goby still will not eat, it sits in it's "burrow" all day. I think it does come out at night though. I tried to feed it mysis, and flake again and it took neither.

 

The acro has not shown any signs of life. Here is the best picture I could get; it looks all white, but the top part has some light blue in it.

 

acron.jpg

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If it shows any color at all then it's alive. Put it down in the sand and wait for a couple of weeks, or more. IMO. :)

 

A dead acro will start growing algae, but a live one will stay the same color, even bleached, which shows it has skin and is alive.

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LarryMoeCurly

Thanks for your help. I moved it to the sand, hopefully it doesn't get covered by the fish or the powerhead making sand dunes. There is also some cyano-looking brown/red goo that grows a little bit on the sand, hopefully it won't grow up the frag plug.

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Well you know your tank better than I do, it's possible up a bit on the rocks is a safer place, as long as it doesn't get knocked around and it's not under too much light, at least to start out with.

 

I grow SPS frags in the sandbed, wait till they are encrusting and showing good steady growth and color, then I move and glue to their final position. SPS don't like to be moved or touched, but mine don't seem bothered by hermits or a light sand storm.

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LarryMoeCurly

I think I'll just leave in on the sand, like you said. I know SPS like a lot of light, that was the main reason I didn't have it in the sand in the first place. Thanks for all of your help.

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