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Teeknee

First tank in the saltwater side

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Hello I just set up my first marine tank on October 23. It is a 20long ends up holding 16gallons total. I'm  Using a koralia 240 and a 20 hob (filled with polyfill), running a willis 165watt light (8 blue and 4 white on the control knobs) Added 2 damsel fish 3 days ago and a Gsp today (I'll post pics when it opens up). Ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate was barely detectable. If anyone had any advice or tips that's would be awesome I'd love to learn all I can! A couple questions I had was how often do i feed and should I use a glass lid.

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Welcome to the community @Teeknee! 👋 Nice little nano reef setup you have created, great aquascape too!

 

Did you start cycling the tank with dry rock and ammonia or bacteria dosing, or do you have live sand?

 

You don't have to use a glass lid, but it can help reduce evaporation, so you don't have to top off your system with freshwater as often. If you are concerned about your fish jumping from the system, some type of cover is advised, many hobbyists use a nylon screen of some sort, there are kits available and DIY plans if you do some searching.

 

Were you advised to use the damselfish to cycle your aquarium, or do you plan to keep them long term? Using them to cycle a new saltwater aquarium used to be a common technique years ago. They can do well in a nano reef, but they have a tendency to be aggressive tank mates and may pester other inhabitants, depending on what you keep. Something to be mindful of 🙂.

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Thank you for the thourough response! I used seed to cycle, I started with dry rock and dry sand. I made sure I was fully cycled before adding the fish. I posted the wrong date before, October 23 was when i began to cycle. i do plan on keeping them long term and as of now there's no plans for other fish. I was considering inverts once the tank got a more established. Thanks for the warm welcome! The GSP opened up in about 8 hours.

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Looks great! I love the scape! I really like damsels, they get a bad rap but the blue is intense, I have one in my 22g.

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The yellowtails and azures are more peaceful than the blues IME.   That would be the only change I'd consider, and that's probably optional too.  :)

 

Sooner or later you'll want a second powerhead, so plan for that.

 

Do you have a light meter to set the intensity of your lights?   That unit is SERIOUS overkill for a tank that shallow, so it's likely that you're overlighting it.  This will favor algae, so it's worth tweaking.

 

If you don't have a light meter, you can get an inexpensive lux meter like what I use for <$20 from most big online retailers.  (Mine is an LX-1010B.)  You can also start out with a free lux meter app....there are tons of them out there.  Not as good as a handheld meter for several reasons, but still handy.

 

10,000+ lux is all you need.  More is unlikely to be useful.  I would keep levels <= 30,000 lux on the high end.   

 

(As little as 5,000 lux can even be fine....our ideas of what corals need for light are usually in contrast with their actual needs.  Corals aren't bright light critters by default and their sybiotic dino's are extremely sensitive to light.)

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What a great response! Thank you!  I turned my lights down since I've noticed some algae on my substrate and on the gsp. (I'll have to check out a lux meter, is that similar to par?) The yellow tail is starting to venture out, although the blue one always scares him back into the rock. I'm keeping an eye on the yellow tail, I dont him to get beat up. I was thinking about getting another 240 for the other side ( wish they were a bit smaller though). The gsp closed up yesterday, I used a little pipette to blow the dirt off it and gave it a little brush to clean it and it open right back up. So far there are only the 2 fish does anyone know how long before I can add the clean up crew?

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You can add the clean up crew. 

 

One tip I can think of is don't let your nitrates or phosphates reach/stay at 0. Some people will tell you the lower, the better. But from my experience, don't let them get to 0. Nitrates is fine at 5 ppm (or 2-3 ppm if you plan to add SPS in the future). Phosphates try to aim for 0.03. They are nutrients that your corals will use, just don't let them get out of hand.  Nitrates/phosphates may cause algae to grow, but that's what the clean up crew is there for. They'll eat it. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, paulsz said:

You can add the clean up crew. 

 

One tip I can think of is don't let your nitrates or phosphates reach/stay at 0. Some people will tell you the lower, the better. But from my experience, don't let them get to 0. Nitrates is fine at 5 ppm (or 2-3 ppm if you plan to add SPS in the future). Phosphates try to aim for 0.03. They are nutrients that your corals will use, just don't let them get out of hand.  Nitrates/phosphates may cause algae to grow, but that's what the clean up crew is there for. They'll eat it. 

 

 

 

While corals do need these nutrients, I also think chasing nitrate/phosphate levels should be left to the advanced reefkeepers.  For now just focus on good husbandry...not overeeding, regular water changes, blasting detritus from the rocks regularly, etc.  Phosphates and nitrates at or near zero is perfectly fine and doesn't mean there aren't nutrients available, but rather could just indicate they are being consumed.  Have seen a couple of new hobbyists get sucked into this and then have issues from purposely overfeeding for the purpose of hitting a certain nitrate/phosphate value.  Just my humble opinion. 

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47 minutes ago, specore said:

While corals do need these nutrients, I also think chasing nitrate/phosphate levels should be left to the advanced reefkeepers.  For now just focus on good husbandry...not overeeding, regular water changes, blasting detritus from the rocks regularly, etc.  Phosphates and nitrates at or near zero is perfectly fine and doesn't mean there aren't nutrients available, but rather could just indicate they are being consumed.  Have seen a couple of new hobbyists get sucked into this and then have issues from purposely overfeeding for the purpose of hitting a certain nitrate/phosphate value.  Just my humble opinion. 

I do agree that chasing nitrate/phosphates is not to be done. However, when starting out, I had the idea that having 0 nitrates and 0 phosphates is the way to go, as they'll keep the tank clean. However, you could run into issues with having both of these at 0.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, paulsz said:

I do agree that chasing nitrate/phosphates is not to be done. However, when starting out, I had the idea that having 0 nitrates and 0 phosphates is the way to go, as they'll keep the tank clean. However, you could run into issues with having both of these at 0.

 

 

If you're starving the tank, yes.  As long as you are feeding on a regular basis (daily, or every other day) there will be enough nutrients available that you shouldn't see any adverse effects, even if nitrates and phosphates stay at 0 due to consumption. 

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1 minute ago, specore said:

If you're starving the tank, yes.  As long as you are feeding on a regular basis (daily, or every other day) there will be enough nutrients available that you shouldn't see any adverse effects, even if nitrates and phosphates stay at 0 due to consumption. 

Yes, I agree with that. My apologies if my initial response made it sound like you had to chase certain levels of NO3/PO4

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1 minute ago, paulsz said:

Yes, I agree with that. My apologies if my initial response made it sound like you had to chase certain levels of NO3/PO4

No need to apologize.  I just try and be careful with newbies so they don't overcomplicate things right out of the gate 🙂

 

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Looks like the course of action is to get the cuc, I was thinking cerith snails, a couple nassarius snails and maybe a detritovore. Was planning on avoiding crabs and grabbing maybe 6 snails to start of with. I have kept freshwater fish for a while now so at least it's not to hard learning process 🙂 thanks for all the advice.

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Sounds fine.  I personally prefer trochus and astrea snails, as I had ceriths before and wasn't terribly impressed.  

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So i ended up getting 2 ceriths, well see how they do. My lfs did have trochus and Astrea so I can always go back for them if the ceriths dont cut it. I also picked up a couple nassarius snails and did a 20% water change to keep my phosphates down a bit. I still need to get another circulation pump but overall everything is looking great

 Thanks for all the help!

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5 hours ago, Teeknee said:

I'll have to check out a lux meter, is that similar to par?

Same idea...and for our purposes they are more than adequate.  My Beginner’s Lux article has some more info.  If you google "mcarroll lux" you should be able to find lots more threads where it's come up in discussion too.

 

5 hours ago, Teeknee said:

I was thinking about getting another 240 for the other side ( wish they were a bit smaller though).

Consider either a Tunze 6045, 6025 or 6015 (L, M or S, respectively) or maybe instead a 6020 (or the controllable 6040)....they might be more compact and/or their superior adjustability/mountability might allow for a better/less obtrusive placement vs the 240.  (ie hiding)   Might be overkill, but they even offer "live rock" covers for the 6045-6015 series that lets you hide one amongst your rocks.  🙂

 

3 hours ago, specore said:

If you're starving the tank, yes.  As long as you are feeding on a regular basis (daily, or every other day) there will be enough nutrients available that you shouldn't see any adverse effects, even if nitrates and phosphates stay at 0 due to consumption. 

That's not a good assumption these days.  It should be, but it's not.

 

Folks start tanks with dead/bleached rock, GFO reactors and loaded macro refugiums all running from Day One all the time these days (actually seems a little less common here on n-r to be honest) because "that's what you do" based on looking around at how others are keeping their tanks.  

 

But the fact is that with these tools and the common practices that go along with them, it's very easy to starve out a tank even when there is a bio-load to feed.  Dino's aren't the only possible negative outcome, just one of the more extreme possibilities....extreme in effect, but fairly common in occurance.  Coral issues are the next most common.

 

So the "chasing" that is to be avoided is chasing zero's.  

 

Assuring adequate nutrition is not chasing anything.  

 

For example, 0.03 ppm is the level of phosphates that corals need access to just to keep photosynthesis from killing them.  In an immature system especially, the dissolved sources may be all that's available to corals.   (Where algae can settle "anywhere" and make use of po4 that's bound to aragonite in the tank.)

 

That 0.03 ppm is exclusive of any additional demand for growth, repair, reproduction or other functions.  Corals are not well-adapted for near-zero phosphate levels.   (And it really is a mistake for folks to think wild reefs are "near zero" like that.  Dissolved levels are commonly low, but the replenishment reservoir in the wild is almost infinite, and food sources are likely to be more available than in aquariums)

 

Corals are much more adapted to near-zero nitrates conditions and are generally able to acquire nitrogen in any available form...maybe even from N2 to some extent with symbiotic help from hosted cells, but there can still be health side effects for the coral (at least in aquariums), such as loss of color.  And as we know, color is not a mere decoration for the coral, it's their sun-shield and part of their photosynthetic mechanism – so color-loss is an indicator of stress.

 

Using "too much filtration" with the goal of chasing zero's is the kind of chasing you want to avoid.

 

Assuring the known minimal levels of nutrients while not overdoing it is simply the conservative way forward.  Right in the same vain as not overfeeding and not stocking too fast, IMO.

 

(if you doing a conservative build and aren't overdoing the filtration, there will be no chase....just testing and monitoring that should happen in any coral tank)

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Ceriths are my favorite, but you have to realize how small the are vs asteas or other snails to stock the right amount of them.

 

Nassarius snails are detritivores/carrion eaters, BTW.   From reading they inhabit the same spaces as hermits and compete with them.   A very few of these types should be needed.   LOTS more algae eaters should be needed than detritavores.

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Thank you for the replies!

 

I'll be going back for more snails when I get the chance. I'm thinking of getting 6 more cerith and a couple of the other algae eaters. 

 

I tried out a lux meter on my phone, I set the surface lux to 18k but I'm planning to research this further, not sure how much lux I need at the sand level or if I'm willing to put my phone in! 🙂

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2 hours ago, mcarroll said:

 

 

That's not a good assumption these days.  It should be, but it's not.

 

Folks start tanks with dead/bleached rock, GFO reactors and loaded macro refugiums all running from Day One all the time these days (actually seems a little less common here on n-r to be honest) because "that's what you do" based on looking around at how others are keeping their tanks.  

 

 

Maybe so.  I'm more of a KISS kind of guy.  Floss, maybe a little activated carbon or GFO running passively, small bit of chaeto.  Definitely are a lot of people who like to over complicate things though 🙂

 

I still don't think it is a good idea for new reef keepers to worry about these things.  More important to be consistent in maintenance and aware of bio load.  

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Hey, tank is looking good! Very clean appearance. I've been thinking about adding a background to my own tank for a while. 

 

For feeding, I like to do several small feedings throughout the day. It's more similar to what the fish encounter in the wild. I alternate between flake, pellet, and a frozen mixture. I think it's better for their digestion, less chance of bloating. Introducing copepod and isopod populations is also a good way to supplement fish throughout the day.

 

One thing to keep in mind with the GSP is that they have the potential to grow quite rampant if left to their own devices. It may be better to isolate them on their own little island. Other types of corals like that are clove polyps and xenia. 


If you don't have an aquarium journal started, you should start one of those too.

Welcome to the forum! :welcome: 

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