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Fishgirl2393

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

103 posts in this topic

This is a page for my 20-gallon tall nano-reef aquarium. It has been set up for over 6 months and is doing very well. The specs are...

Tank: 20-gallon tall aquarium (24"L x 12"W x 16"H)

Filter: Aqua-Tech 5-15 power filter with activated carbon, unknown brand power filter that pumps 80GPH Unknown brand pwerhead. Lee's Counter Current Protein Skimmer

Lights: Odyssea T5HO 20" fixture (4x18 watt fixture) with stock bulbs (two actinic blue, two 10,000K).

Heater: Tetra 10-20 gallon heater

Corals: Hairy mushrooms, frogspawn, xenia, kenya tree.

Inverts: Five blue legged hermits, peppermint shrimp

Fish: Six-line wrasse, ocellaris clownfish

Additives: Kent Marine CromaPlex (2-3 times a week to corals), Kent Marine Superbuffer dKH (when needed)

Updated now! Pic finally uploaded.

post-50769-1328385780_thumb.jpg

Edited by Fishgirl2393

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You should probably get on top of this "no pictures" thing :lol:

 

:welcome: to the 20H club!

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Thanks JoelRHale! I'll get the pics thing taken care of soon.

Anyone have any ideas as to what is likely causing my candy-cane coral to do poorly? I had my water tested fully and the results are below. I had run a few tests on my own but I had my LFS (they are an absolutely great LFS and know what they are doing) do a FULL water test about a week ago. The results were...

Ammonia: 0

Nitrite: 0

Nitrate 1ppm (it was barely showing up on the chart but was there)

Calcium: 500ppm (I use Oceanic salt)

pH: was 7.8 but now is 8.2 (as of yesterday) a week later because I've been adding the Superbuffer dHK

Total hardness/carbonate hardness: Was 3 degrees of hardness a week ago but is higher now (I'll find out exactly how much higher when I get my water tested today)

Phosphates are low to non-existent.

 

Now, I am thinking (and so was the LFS) that the hardness of the water is the reason my candy-cane coral was receding. Is that likely the case? Also, how long should I expect to wait before seeing it start to recover? It went from being nice and inflated over the skeleton to showing the spiky "crown" of the coral around the polyp (like the polyp shrunk). It seems to be stable now (not getting worse) but it is not better either. Any suggestions?

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Anyone have any answers to my questions about the candy-cane coral?

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I'd love to help but I've never kept LPS so I'd be talking out of my element.

 

But having hardness that low can't be ideal. Get it back up to 8-12 and I think things should get better. But I don't know what I'm talking about with LPS, I could be completely off base.

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Thanks JoelRHale.

 

Anyone have any answers to my questions?

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Woah woah woah woah woah.

 

Slow down.

 

Don't chase a PH number. Your tank will crash. Really.

 

What is the alkalinity of your tank in dKH? if it was indeed 3... something is really really really wrong.

 

How are you making salt water?

 

What kind of water are you using to top off?

 

Put that Kent stuff aside for now, and adjust your KH with sodium carbonate, or bicarbonate.. about 1 dKH point per day until it's about 8-10 dKH..

Edited by Maeda

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Found out that the dKH is good now. In the 8-12 range (it is 9)! The Superbuffer stuff worked. My water (tested the water source I've been using) and it is just really really soft.

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perfect numbers aren't necessarily good for your tank if they aren't stable. it is most likely better for your tank's well being if your parameters (as far as hardness, pH, and temp) if the numbers are close to the ideal range and consistent. for instance my pH is usually a little low (around 8.0) but my dKH stays at 9, and the temp stays with in 1 degree F of 77. you may want to let your calcium drop a little too (i get the best growth around 440 from sps and lps alike), as Calcium levels higher than 480 may cause the calcium to precipitate out rendering it useless for corals. remember, stability is the key. dKH near the ideal range (8-12) is not good if it changes from 7 to 12 and back in a few days time, large swings in dKH and temp can have toxic effects on corals and other livestock, especially swings upward in dKH. I tried to fix my pH when i first got into this hobby a couple of years ago and ended up nuking my tank when my dKH reached 14, which killed off some things causing another cycle, even some of my hardiest specimens died. just keep it consistent. good luck, and post some pics already!

 

oh and keep an eye on your candy canes. mine look similar to what you are describing for most of the light period, but when the lights go out they swell up huge. they seem pretty healthy and continue to grow and reproduce, so you may want to check yours at night. too much or too little flow may also be an issue.

Edited by bwoodward0012

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perfect numbers aren't necessarily good for your tank if they aren't stable. it is most likely better for your tank's well being if your parameters (as far as hardness, pH, and temp) if the numbers are close to the ideal range and consistent. for instance my pH is usually a little low (around 8.0) but my dKH stays at 9, and the temp stays with in 1 degree F of 77. you may want to let your calcium drop a little too (i get the best growth around 440 from sps and lps alike), as Calcium levels higher than 480 may cause the calcium to precipitate out rendering it useless for corals. remember, stability is the key. dKH near the ideal range (8-12) is not good if it changes from 7 to 12 and back in a few days time, large swings in dKH and temp can have toxic effects on corals and other livestock, especially swings upward in dKH. I tried to fix my pH when i first got into this hobby a couple of years ago and ended up nuking my tank when my dKH reached 14, which killed off some things causing another cycle, even some of my hardiest specimens died. just keep it consistent. good luck, and post some pics already!

 

oh and keep an eye on your candy canes. mine look similar to what you are describing for most of the light period, but when the lights go out they swell up huge. they seem pretty healthy and continue to grow and reproduce, so you may want to check yours at night. too much or too little flow may also be an issue.

 

Good job 2010.

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Well, in this case, I think adding Superbuffer was the only answer that was reasonable. My water source is really really soft and even after adding Oceanic salt, my water was still really soft. The pH and hardness were both low so it wasn't as if I was ONLY going on pH. If everything had been fine in the tank, I wouldn't have worried, but things were not doing so well and the only thing found on any test was the hardness. How do I go about lowering my calcium??? I don't dose any calcium products at all. I've considered too much flow/not enough flow but I'm finding differing opinions on what is "ideal". Any suggestions as to what is ideal flow/light? My candycane looks more like a "kryptonite candy cane coral" to me so if that makes any difference as to where it is placed in the tank (flow wise and light wise) that would be most helpful to know.

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why are you using tap water?

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I started out with RO/DI and a bit of distilled but found that it didn't make much difference even after multiple months. I still use RO/DI or distilled for any water changes but for top-off, I use tap. I don't have major algae issues (I have lots of types of macro but it is controlled).

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Here's an update on how the tank is doing...

The water hardness/pH issue has been fixed and things are looking much better now that everything is stable. Just to explain why I went ahead and fixed it (because I know many people feel that "stable" is better than "perfect water" and I agree with that) here is what was happening... I had pH swings of 7.6 to about 7.9 in the course of about 12 hours. Way to wide a range obviously. My hardness was really really low (3 degrees) so it just made the problem worse. Now, everything is great. I dose 1 tsp of Superbuffer dKH every two weeks and add 1/8 teaspoon of it to my top-off jug which I go through about once a week. The only water quality issue I'm seeing now is that my calcium is too high at over 500ppm. Any ideas on how to fix this?

Now, for a while (over a year) I've had a problem with carnivorous amphipods that eat corals. Mine started off eating polyps (saw them doing it) and then, the other day I saw one eating one of the heads on the candy-cane coral. So, I've lost a few corals to these little buggers. I'm taking care of that problem this week by getting a green clown goby. I wanted to get a six-line wrasse but it is on back order and will be for a long time (this needs to be fixed before I loose more corals). I don't want to order online and there is NO other LFS close to me at all that sells saltwater anything. So, on Thursday, I'll be getting my clown goby.

 

I've been adjusting my water flow lately to find the best setup and I'm STILL tweaking it. I think I need/want more flow because it is hard for me to get it to all the corals that need it.

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Still no pichars... :(

 

As for calcium, if you're using a "reef salt" that had added calcium and magnesium, a simple solution would be to switch to something like Instant Ocean.

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I tried posing pics earlier but I kept getting error messages (I think I need to shrink my pictures). I can't do it right now but I'll try to get some up soon (maybe tomorrow). I've been using Oceanic salt (and occasionally Reef Crystals) so the calcium content is pretty high in those. I'll be getting more salt soon (I'm pretty much out) so I'll get Instant Ocean. I really prefer Oceanic because it dissolves better but Oceanic is just to high in calcium right now.

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for pics try making a photobucket account. its really easy. then, when you want to post pics on here, have this window open and your photobucket window open at the same time. when you put the cursor over a pic on photobucket a small box will pop up with several options. click image link, then flip back to your nano reef window and right click and paste in the reply box. it will paste the image link as text. when you finish and click add reply the picture itself will show up in the post. i haven't used any other image sites yet but this method is much easier than resizing every photo then posting them.

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Photobucket is good. If you go with imgur all you need to do is paste the direct link to the picture between the img tags which will look like this without spaces: [ i m g]directlinktophoto[ / i m g ]

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I'll consider those but mostly it is that I have an internet cap and don't want to use a lot of it up on pics. I'll post them as soon as I can! :)

I think my candy-cane coral is dead/dying because it detached itself from the stalk (I placed the fleshy part back on the stalk but I don't think it will make it). However, I got some free corals at my LFS tonight. The store owner/reefer said that some of his corals were overgrown and that he would GIVE me some. I came out with a nice sized stalk of pulsing xenia and a birdsnest coral that is a couple inches tall. They were freshly fragged (I watched him do it) so I had to attach them to rock myself (which was an experience!). I used superglue gel for the birdsnest and fishing line (tied it) for the xenia. The birdsnest already has polyps extended and the xenia is looking better than I expected (the LFS owner warned me that it might look really bad for a few days). Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

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I have a lighting question. First off, I have (as the top post says) an Odyssea 72 watt T5HO 4 bulb system. It works great but I want to know what configuration of bulbs would work best. Right now I am going to stick with the original bulbs (10,000K and actinic). This is the way it is currently setup. Actinic bulb in front spot, 10,000K bulbs in the middle (both of them) and actinic at the back. Would it be better to have it in another configuration? Please help me with this!

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I'm not sure if there's a "right" way to do it, but I have the two actinics in the front and the 10ks in the back. My thinking was I'd put the higher PAR shining on the higher parts of the reef, so when I get SPS I can put it up high and then the actinics over the sand so my mushrooms wouldn't get mad on the sand. Hope that helps!

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OK, well, I've been considering seahorses for a while and first, I thought dwarfs would work well but I'm a little nervous about their feeding and would like to try a "horse" that will eat frozen food first. I want put a pair into my 20-gallon high reef. This should be OK because I'm going to go with a "tropical" species and my reef tank doesn't run at 78 anyway (more like 75 or so). The ONLY thing I'm concerned about is that I have a frogspawn coral (the only LPS in the tank). Any way to protect a pair of seahorses from this (block the frogspawn off, etc)? PLEASE HELP!

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Well, the tank is still doing well but I'm battling nitrates. I don't have a high bioload but I am still having high nitrates. I'm thinking about adding purigen and removing ALL other filter pads from the tank. Any other suggestions to keep nitrates low? I do water changes weekly (usually 1-2 gallons) but it just creeps back up.

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OK, so my tank has not gotten enough water changes for a while (not enough water was changed during each water change either) and I have nitrates of 60-70ppm. I have cyano and diatoms along with grape caulerpa (don't mind having a bit but it just keeps growing with the nitrates the way they are). There is also a lot of detritus in the sand/on the rocks (I replaced the sand a few months ago so I really want to keep it) that also needs to be gotten rid of. The mushrooms/xenia are doing well and the two frogspawn heads that detached themselves a month or so ago are also doing OK (I think they're trying to re-calcify). The six-line wrasse is doing well and the blue legged hermits (5 of them) that I added yesterday to combat some of the algae are doing fine too. I really need help! How much water should I change? What else should I do?

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