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WCO2 Neptune

Total noob in need of advice

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Read the above, multiple times, at least the first 2-3 pages worth for sure. i read and re-read this many times prior to starting a tank including all the way through just to make sure i didnt miss anything important hiding in all the knowledge. (edit to add, this thread has A LOT of great info even if you dont have the same tank)

 

 

This is a pretty good guide to fish. in your tank at your skill level, i would keep TWO fish. period. if you get the hang of things, go ahead add another; MUCH later on. 

how porous is your rock? it looks kind of smooth. is it river rock? river rock wont work for our tanks, you need surface area for the beneficial bacteria to populate. 

any ammonia is too much ammonia in the tanks. you are too overstocked for a small tank and your biofilter cant handle it. 

distilled water is a good way to go. stay away from tap water. a RODI filter would be awesome if you can get one, but distilled will work. 

dont overfeed. 

start slow. keep 1-2 fish. try to keep the tank at good parameters for an extended period of time before you try to add anything. right now you want to build your routine. weekly water changes, testing, and keeping everything happy.  

 

read articles. read other's posts, learn their maintenance schedules especially the successful tanks similar to yours. start slow stay slow. youll get there.

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In my opinion this should be your maintenance schedule moving forward ONCE YOU GET YOUR TANK ON TRACK (whether that be a reset or listening to people on here help you get back on track). DAILY: Top off freshwater if you don't have an ATO, clean glass and check to make sure everything is working as it should. WEEKLY: Vacuum sand, blow off detritus on the rocks with Turkey baster kitchen tool. Do these two steps first so your weekly filter floss will catch what you stir up. Once you have done these things go ahead and do your water change of about 3 gallons. Making sure to suck out as much of the nastiness as you can. Once you've put your CORRECTLY MIXED saltwater back into the tank and let it run for about 30 mins. Change out your filter floss. MONTHLY: Do everything that you do weekly but with the addition of siphoning out the back chambers in order to get the detritus that's accumulated back there. Take this time to go ahead and clean any equipment that's in your back chambers.

 

On top of all of this you should be feeding very lightly and lowering your bio load by getting rid of the extra clown you have and the other fish. Just have the one pair of clowns. 

It really would benefit you to get an ATO and a RO/DI. I know these two pieces of equipment are not necessary and there will be people who disagree with me. But I've found that maintenance is much easier to do when you have everything you need right there in your house and you don't have to go to the store to get anything. You're much more likely to keep up with the maintenance if you don't have to run to the store every time you need something. 

 

 

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I would like to add that I agree with el ote. That rock does look very suspect. It's quite possible that if you didn't use rock suitable for a reef tank that your only source of biological filtration is your sand bed at this point. 

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5 minutes ago, ReefGoat said:

I would like to add that I agree with el ote. That rock does look very suspect. It's quite possible that if you didn't use rock suitable for a reef tank that your only source of biological filtration is your sand bed at this point. 

I'm glad you both mentioned the rock! 

 

It's why I asked what rock was used because the pic looks like the kind of rock you use in FW. 

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12 minutes ago, ReefGoat said:

I would like to add that I agree with el ote. That rock does look very suspect. It's quite possible that if you didn't use rock suitable for a reef tank that your only source of biological filtration is your sand bed at this point. 

@WCO2 Neptune, I am going to jump on this train of thought as well now that I look closer.  Was that rock called "lace rock" and/or sold near the driftwood in the fish store?  Usually used for cichlid tanks?  In my prior incarnation of my 40 Breeder, I added some lace rock since it was cheap and flat (I was trying to fill some of the vertical empty space against the back wall).  Ended up pulling it back out after I realized it leaches bad stuff into the water and is not porous enough for reef keeping.  If I recall correctly, I think I even experienced hair algae ONLY growing on that type of rock, which contributed to the theory it was leaching nasties. 

 

 

EDIT:  Yep.  Back in 2011, this is what I had to say about the rock we "think" you might be using.  I had added a few pieces to my already well established tank.  Chaos ensued.  Haha. 

 

"In other news, I am convinced that the "lace" rock that I added months is leaching some sort of nutrients or something. I seem to have constant hair algae all over them....and not many other places.  I took one piece out a couple weeks ago and I am thinking about removing the remaining one tonight. Doing that would remove about 90% of the algae that is in my tank."

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I would LOVE to see you turn this tank around and it be a crystal clear reef with some colorful corals and such. Then you could look back on this and laugh. 

 

 

One other thing. Your power head is right where your intake is it looks like to me. Follow me here.........as your detritus is getting stirred up by your flow in your tank like it should be. The suction of your pump is pulling the particles suspended in your water column toward the intake. But as it gets closer......your little power head is just pushing the particles suspended in the water back into your tank in an endless cycle. In my opinion which isn't worth very much. Move that power head to the other side of your tank. Essentially what your power head is doing is preventing waste from going into your back filtration system. 

 

 

Edit to add something: If that's the power head you'd like to stick with i'd go ahead an get another one just like it and have one on each side. But just put the one on the intake side a little further forward away from the intake. 

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All good sound advice. Power head moved forward in tank away from intake.

 

Questions about rocks: I got them from a saltwater aquarium store. Only thing i know is the guy said they were live rocks.

 

Adding a video of rocks...

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It just......looks like what I expect a cycling tank to look like.  All fuzzy and stuff.  I know a lot of that is from your water changes and stirring the sand and all that.  But if you told me you just set this thing up a week ago, I would believe you.  One of my first reactions to your first post was that it looked like a either a really new, or really dead tank.  No coraline algae, etc..  Not trying to be insulting.  I know you want this thing to succeed.  But there has got to be something going on here that we have not figured out yet. 

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I could be wrong about the rock. But it does not appear to be very porous at all. What do you measure your salinity with?

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In addition to the "what do you measure salinity with" question, what do you measure temperature with?  This is a closed top tank, right?  Maybe you are cooking things. 

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Someone asked about the filtering system. I took a few photos..

1st chamber I installed a skimmer.

2nd chamber is water going into something called bio balls.

3rd chamber has a square foam and then water returns into tank..

 

Note: I ordered an in tank cage filter system to be placed into chamber 2. Bio balls going bye bye...

 

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Good idea to ditch the balls.  I mean....I can literally "see" the problem they are causing in your photos.  Salinity is a little low for corals if that hydrometer is to be trusted, which is....questionable.  Most folks are going to say that you need to buy a refractometer. Another $20 on Amazon.  Add it to the list.  Ohh, and calibration solution for the refractometer that you use every time before you measure.  Also on Amazon. 

 

Someone earlier mentioned cleaning out the back chambers monthly.  Those look dirty, so I assume they have not been cleaned in a while.  Get that added to your maintenance schedule. 

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Someone asked about the filtering system. I took a few photos..

1st chamber I installed a skimmer.

2nd chamber is water going into something called bio balls.

3rd chamber has a square foam and then water returns into tank..

 

Note: I ordered an in tank cage filter system to be placed into chamber 2. Bio balls going bye bye...

 

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It's a good thing you're taking those bio balls out. Those are a nitrate factory. How often are you tending to that sponge. If never then those are your two main problems in my view

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Sponges Changed monthly. They are due but waiting for new filter system to arrive to change everything out at once.

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1 hour ago, Clown79 said:

80% waterchange is not dangerous if done correctly.

 

Salt must be mixed properly, matches parameters.

 

If one follows Red Sea's mixing instructions for coral pro, that means the salt sitting for 2 hrs, then pump and heater being added before it can be used.

 

I agree there is something going on here.

Possibly a few things.

 

Key point, if done correctly. There are many things pointing to it not being done correctly. This is not a experienced reefer here. This is a new hobbyist. The chances of it being done correctly are marginal at best. 

 Im on the same side as you @Clown79. Trying to guide a new reefer to doing things safely and correctly.

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In those pictures the back chambers look filthy. That's a big problem. Once you get your in tank media basket I'd ditch the bio balls like you've said but also ditch the sponge and use the top rack of your in tank basket for filter floss. I'm not familiar with this particular tank but in the innovative marine cube AIO tanks the filter media is in the intake. Not the return like yours is set up. Once again I'm not familiar with this particular tank so I could be wrong.

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Question.. should I try to recycle my tank? Like start over again? Can I do it with what I currently have or do I have to get rid of everything?  Any suggestions ?

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+1 no sponge and no bioballs... 

 

Use filter floss and change it twice a week

 

Return one clown and the goby.... You can maybe add a different tiny goby months down the road if the tank is thriving. You haven't mentioned (I don't think) if you plan on lowering the bioload but I feel this is just as important as the other changes. 

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i dont think you have to restart. just tweak things until you get a good rhythm going. i think you can safely remove the bio balls now without waiting. if you have to keep the sponge until your order gets here, take it to the sink, rinse and squeeze the gunk outta it. 

trial and error. trial and error. you'll get it.

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awesome, didn't know i could just take out the bio balls  and keep running the tank... I will do that.... I have extra sponges, i will just replace it... 

I ordered new stuff to go with the new in tank media basket... hoping it arrives soon... things are delayed due to damn hurricane just hitting us in Florida.

 

i can't return the fish :(  no take backs, no receipt, so i'm stuck.    If I were to give up anything it would be the two bigger clown fish.... the small clown i'd keep cause it's small but i kinda like the crazy diamond goby.... he's so active and is all over the place... never bored watching him.... but if he has to go to get things working, well then his bags will be packed buh bye ;(      So anyone in Florida looking for a couple of fishes ?   

 

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I would definitely listen to the great advice from @Clown79and @paneubert @Tamberav And other experienced reefers. From the looks of it, it seems you are beginning to get the tank in track.

 

Even if you can’t get a refund on the fish see if the LFS will give you some store credit that you can use in the future towards coral or inverts for the tank. Would definitely bring back 2 clowns if you are set on the goby but knowing the goby will outgrow the tank eventually. Personally I would keep 2 clowns and then down the road introduce a smaller goby or blenny.

 

In reefing, and many things, consistency is key. Weekly 10-20% WC’s, siphon our back chambers monthly or semi monthly, and replace filter floss at least weekly. It looks like you will be ditching the bioballs and would definitely do this sooner than later. Always used distilled water or invest in an RO/DI unit and follow the mixing instructions for the salt. Definitely get a refractometer and I would look into salifert or Red Sea test kits instead of API. For coral you should be around 1.024-1.026 salinity. 

 

I agree that the rocks you have don’t look very porous so might not be able to have enough beneficial bacteria in the tank to keep up with a high bio load. 

 

I would focus on getting your maintenance schedule down like clockwork over the next 1-2 months and I think the tank will start looking a lot better. After your maintenance schedule becomes a habit then you will be able to start adding coral again. Always remember slow and steady in SW will lead to success. You have made a bunch of changes to the tank recently so I would focus on letting it stabilize and becoming accustomed to a new maintenance routine.

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To make up for that non porous rock you could use a couple of spheres of marine pure in the back chambers. It's really amazing how porous those things are. 

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since the rocks, don't look too good, should i get rid of them also and get new better rocks ?   I'm currently researching new water test kits and RO/DI unit to buy...

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Based on reviews and suggestions. I just ordered this kit online.... Hope to get it soon, this should be more accurate...

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