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first SPS !


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So my cycle seems to have ran its course and quite rapidly too.

 

I had 2 shrimp in there for 48 hours to get ammonia going.

 

It has been 19 days now and my readings are:

 

ammonia 0

nitrite 0

nitrate 10ppm

salinity did drop from 1.025 to 1.020, i sthat normal?

pH 8.4

 

I never had a nitrate spike either, is that normal?

 

So i have diatoms forming and was wondering when is it good to add SPS? I say this because I found a great price on a beautiful coral I am wondering if I can put in once I get my salnity up to 1.026 again.

 

I plan on doing a 8 gallon water change and add lots of salt so i can raise it back up in the DT and thinking once this is up, is it safe to add that SPS acopora?

 

I have a tek 4x39 fixture as well.

 

Wondering if there is anythign I am missing or need to do before I add this first addition.

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It is certainly concerning that your salinity dropped. I have no idea why/how that would be so.

 

However, correcting this issue should be done slowly. For example, when you do a water change set the salinity to about .001 specific gravity higher than before and do the same at the next water change.

Low salinity can be bad but big fluctuation in salinity is far worse.

 

Also, as mentioned, SPS corals are some of the most difficult to care for. They require pristine water conditions (0;0;<5ppm) and strong turbulent water flow. It would be a good idea for you to start out with some easier to care for things. Mushrooms, zoas, ricordeas, leathers, etc. are fantastic choices to start out as they are very hardy and are forgiving.

LPS corals can be very beautiful as well and are still (generally) much easier to care for than SPS corals. Things like frogspawn and candy cane corals are hardy and easy to care for. :)

 

As for the rest of your parameters they look great. You're doing well. The diatoms means that it is time to add a CUC. A variety of snails (narcissus, cerith, a turbo or two, and some astreas would be good), if you're looking for numbers I have approximately 15 narcissus snails, 3 cerith snails, 2 turbos, 4 astreas and three margharita snails). You could also consider a hardy crab like an Emerald Mithrax or something like that. After they've gotten the diatoms under control you can begin to think about fish and the first coral.

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I think to begin with somethign was off because the bucket of salt I want was the 55 gallon one.

 

I have a 40 B with a 20L sump, assuming i have a total volume of 55 gallons that salt bucket should have finished to have according to them, a standard of 1.023 salinity.

 

I ended up having about 14 gallons worth of salt left over that i used for my QT. SO I think i measured wrong from the get go. I used my old instant reef cup they included in the salt i bought to measure this one. So I think 1 cup per gallon wont get me 1.026.

 

another question, do I need to add cuc first before the fish or can i add fish than 5 days later add the CUC?

 

the diatoms aren't that crazy or anything at the moment.

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Most people add the CUC first to deal with the algae problems. If the algae isn't bad you can add a few snails at the same time as the first fish. Snails and other inverts don't really count towards the bioload.

 

 

As for the first thing....how are you measuring your salinity? Are you mixing the water 24 hours before using it? This gives all the salt and other elements to fully dissolve.

It is disconcerting that you're sort of fluctuating around with the salinity. The mixing guidelines on most commercial salts is merely that -- a guideline. Start there and test and then add more and test again.

 

I highly recommend a refractometer. I'm not sure how you are testing it right now but hydrometers are notoriously inaccurate and need to be replaced about once every few months. Their also much easier to read and it's nice to have piece of mind with the salinity.

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I agree that the salinity shouldn't drop and I have a feeling it has to do with inaccuracy of measurement. A hydrometer can be very off. You should definitely invest in a refractometer, especially if you want to keep sensitive SPS corals. You can get a refractometer for $30 or less on Ebay.

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I'm 90% sure that this is, as others have suggested, a problem with your measuring equipment. That would be my first, second, and third guesses, and I agree that a refractometer is always a good purchase. I have had a cheap one for years and it has always steered me right, although I do mostly just use it to check my hydrometer, which is much faster and easier to reach for when I just want a rough estimate.

 

That being said, I would triple-check that tank for leaks too. Topping off with fresh water when what leaked out was salt water will drop your salinity, of course. Since it's a new tank it's not well-tested, and slow leaks can be tricky to spot.

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It is certainly concerning that your salinity dropped. I have no idea why/how that would be so.

 

However, correcting this issue should be done slowly. For example, when you do a water change set the salinity to about .001 specific gravity higher than before and do the same at the next water change.

Low salinity can be bad but big fluctuation in salinity is far worse.

 

Also, as mentioned, SPS corals are some of the most difficult to care for. They require pristine water conditions (0;0;<5ppm) and strong turbulent water flow. It would be a good idea for you to start out with some easier to care for things. Mushrooms, zoas, ricordeas, leathers, etc. are fantastic choices to start out as they are very hardy and are forgiving.

LPS corals can be very beautiful as well and are still (generally) much easier to care for than SPS corals. Things like frogspawn and candy cane corals are hardy and easy to care for. :)

 

As for the rest of your parameters they look great. You're doing well. The diatoms means that it is time to add a CUC. A variety of snails (narcissus, cerith, a turbo or two, and some astreas would be good), if you're looking for numbers I have approximately 15 narcissus snails, 3 cerith snails, 2 turbos, 4 astreas and three margharita snails). You could also consider a hardy crab like an Emerald Mithrax or something like that. After they've gotten the diatoms under control you can begin to think about fish and the first coral.

 

what do you think of this clean up crew, i think its over doing it but lets see loll..

 

Astrea 5

Cerith 7

Nassarius 3

Tonga Nassarius 7

Tonga Fighting Conch 1

Turbo Snail 1

Trochus Snail 5

Tiger Turbo Snail 1

Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab 4

Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp 1

 

By narcisscus did you mean Nassarius?

 

my diatoms aren't too crazy right now but probably will be in the next couple days. I think i have to add my QT fish into the DT on Monday because i found a great great deal on 2 black clowns that i have to pick up eaerly next week. Ill probably add the CUC tomorrow or tuesday with the QT fish than QT my 2 black fishes.

 

Most people add the CUC first to deal with the algae problems. If the algae isn't bad you can add a few snails at the same time as the first fish. Snails and other inverts don't really count towards the bioload.

 

 

As for the first thing....how are you measuring your salinity? Are you mixing the water 24 hours before using it? This gives all the salt and other elements to fully dissolve.

It is disconcerting that you're sort of fluctuating around with the salinity. The mixing guidelines on most commercial salts is merely that -- a guideline. Start there and test and then add more and test again.

 

I highly recommend a refractometer. I'm not sure how you are testing it right now but hydrometers are notoriously inaccurate and need to be replaced about once every few months. Their also much easier to read and it's nice to have piece of mind with the salinity.

 

I am using Instant Ocean Hydrometer.

I have a utility pump Maxi Jet that i leave turned on for 24 hours in the bucket wiht the salt in it mixing.

I pour 5 cups per 5 gallons, i think i should go with 7 cups per 5 gallon see where that gets me but i think i remember measureing at 1.026 at one point.

 

hm..I'll look into one, hopefully they aren't too expsneive.

 

I'm 90% sure that this is, as others have suggested, a problem with your measuring equipment. That would be my first, second, and third guesses, and I agree that a refractometer is always a good purchase. I have had a cheap one for years and it has always steered me right, although I do mostly just use it to check my hydrometer, which is much faster and easier to reach for when I just want a rough estimate.

 

That being said, I would triple-check that tank for leaks too. Topping off with fresh water when what leaked out was salt water will drop your salinity, of course. Since it's a new tank it's not well-tested, and slow leaks can be tricky to spot.

 

ah man ! -_- where should i test for leaks? i think i would notice it by now, no?

 

Here is the thing, red sea bucket says 55 gallons worth of salt for 1.023 salinity.

I used about 42 gallons of salt for about 55 gallons so I am sure that is where the low salinity is ocming from, or at least i HOPE.

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I personally would skip the hermits as they're almost always more trouble than they're worth but other than that the list looks good.

And yeah, I can never spell it correctly and that time I was on my phone and didn't have time to spellcheck it haha. Sorry.

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forgot to mention i will be adding a pincushion urchin or royal (tuxedo) urchin as well.

why trouble? my experience seems to have been good unless they were up to no good when i wasn't around.

 

I might cut it some because the total is about $100 which is a bit much for SNAILS loll.

 

JA incase it was another type of snail i should check up on to add

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Hermits are largely opportunistic predators. While they can be great scavengers, they grow to large sizes which requires the addition of shells...and even when there are plenty of alternative shells available they will still sometimes kill snails and other inverts for their shells.

 

Ocassionally they have been observed attacking other things as well, but this is rare.

 

You're safe adding half or a quarter of that to your tank to start out and then gradually adding more as time goes buy. You should be able to get most snails in the $2-$5 range (each)....or look into Reefcleaners.com. If you do go that route, I recommend you get a package that is rated for a smaller tank (maybe a 20 gallon) because that guy will send you LOTS of extra snails and stuff. Some die in shipping but most survive and you'll have way too much if you order a 40gal CUC haha.

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I remember my hermits would like poke inside other hermit crab shells, not knowing if he was trying to kill it for his shell or not but than id seperate them and that would be that until the next day. I do remmeber 1 wearing a shell that was NOT his and couldn't find a snail so i assume he took it.

 

Did your ceriths really help? I had 4 in my 20L once and it never did crap they seemed to stay near hte surface of the water a lot.

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My cerith snails are some of my favorites. They tend to turn over a decent amount of sand throughout the night and yeah mine take some nice trips up the glass. The best part about them, though, to me was the fact that once a month or so they would lay a whole mess of eggs on the glass and this would then become free natural fish food for whichever fish comes about. Mine just laid some eggs last week and my wrasse was very pleased.

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If you cant afford a Refractormeter, make sure to test 4-8 times with your hydrometer. thats what i usually do so far its been working for me. but ill be investing in a refractormeter very soon.

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I'd try a birdsnest first. They are the easiest of the SPS category, and are very cheap if it doesn't go well. We started with a 1.5" ORA neon green birdsnest frag and now it's the size of a grapefruit!

 

Good luck with your new tank!

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I am using Instant Ocean Hydrometer.

I have a utility pump Maxi Jet that i leave turned on for 24 hours in the bucket wiht the salt in it mixing.

I pour 5 cups per 5 gallons, i think i should go with 7 cups per 5 gallon see where that gets me but i think i remember measureing at 1.026 at one point.

 

hm..I'll look into one, hopefully they aren't too expsneive.

 

OMG, salt is usually measured 1/2 cup per gallon, it seams like you are using twice the salt required!

 

How can somebody not afford a refractometer? They only cost about the price of one nice piece of coral. The money you save purchasing a hydrometer should be invested in a cheaper refractometer that is calibrated properly. I went a long time without one because I felt I didn't need one (which was way wrong), not because I couldn't afford one. You can't calibrate your hydrometer and you have no way of knowing that it is reading properly. note: the exception would be if you have access to a refractometer and you can confirm that your hydrometer is reading properly at regular interviews.

 

Do you have an auto top off system running? The only thing that would change your salinity would be if you add or subtract water from your tank... i.e. water evaporating, you topping off, or you performing water changes. You might loose a little with salt creep on your equipment but that will probably not be measureable. Salinity should be the easiest parameter to control.

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My cerith snails are some of my favorites. They tend to turn over a decent amount of sand throughout the night and yeah mine take some nice trips up the glass. The best part about them, though, to me was the fact that once a month or so they would lay a whole mess of eggs on the glass and this would then become free natural fish food for whichever fish comes about. Mine just laid some eggs last week and my wrasse was very pleased.

 

I had ceriths but only 3 in a 20L and 1 died within minutes and hte other 2 never moved much. I am about to get 5 and give them a try.

 

If you cant afford a Refractormeter, make sure to test 4-8 times with your hydrometer. thats what i usually do so far its been working for me. but ill be investing in a refractormeter very soon.

 

how much are they btw? I plan on getting one along with an electric thermometer soon.

 

I think my salinity at 1.020 makes sense becasue hte bucket was for 55 gallons to acheive 1.023 and i used 40 gallons worth.

 

I'd try a birdsnest first. They are the easiest of the SPS category, and are very cheap if it doesn't go well. We started with a 1.5" ORA neon green birdsnest frag and now it's the size of a grapefruit!

 

Good luck with your new tank!

 

I found one for $10 i might give a try.

 

how long did it take to grow?

thanks,

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I had ceriths but only 3 in a 20L and 1 died within minutes and hte other 2 never moved much. I am about to get 5 and give them a try.

 

 

 

how much are they btw? I plan on getting one along with an electric thermometer soon.

 

I think my salinity at 1.020 makes sense becasue hte bucket was for 55 gallons to acheive 1.023 and i used 40 gallons worth.

 

http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/catalog/product/view/id/843/

 

I paid about $5 less during a sale... I've yet to calibrate it... Meaning it has never lost calibration! Check it with the solution, not RODI water. Love it! Digital therm doesn't mean it's more accurate.

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I meant the cup that came in the salt mix which i belive is half a cup.

 

it isnt i cant afford it it is the fact i didnt thinki needed one.

 

I dont have one yet, (ATO)

I remember reading 1.025 when i just poured the water in teh tank 4 weeks ago, is itpossible because the water didnt mix well it read higher than it was? I did do about 3 gallons worth of top off every week but that shouldn't drop it .06 salinity. its possible as i stated ealrier that my salinity was low from day one and I did remove about 5 cups of water out of hte skimmer but still dont htink its enough to drop that much.

 

OMG, salt is usually measured 1/2 cup per gallon, it seams like you are using twice the salt required!

 

How can somebody not afford a refractometer? They only cost about the price of one nice piece of coral. The money you save purchasing a hydrometer should be invested in a cheaper refractometer that is calibrated properly. I went a long time without one because I felt I didn't need one (which was way wrong), not because I couldn't afford one. You can't calibrate your hydrometer and you have no way of knowing that it is reading properly. note: the exception would be if you have access to a refractometer and you can confirm that your hydrometer is reading properly at regular interviews.

 

Do you have an auto top off system running? The only thing that would change your salinity would be if you add or subtract water from your tank... i.e. water evaporating, you topping off, or you performing water changes. You might loose a little with salt creep on your equipment but that will probably not be measureable. Salinity should be the easiest parameter to control.

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