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AlexB

Hi, new nano reefer

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AlexB

I've been lurking on the forum for a while trying to wade through all the excellent information on here and finally decided to join. Well 2 weeks ago I pulled the trigger and set up my nano reef.

i opted for a nuvo fusion 20g all-in-one tank with 2 eheim 600 pumps in the rear chamber along with a tunze 9001 skimmer and a Wavelink wavemaker. Bought a second hand current-usa-orbit-marine pro 18" LED and then used 10lb of CaribSea Arag Alive sand along with 15lbs of live rock from a fellow aquariest and a bottle of nitrifying bacteria. I added some Dr Tims ammonium and the tank cycled within a week then went through a 2 day diatom bloom which disappeared very quickly followed by a 25% water change.

Last week I added 2 Ocellaris clowns, 5 redlegged crabs, 2 turbo snails and 2 peppermint shrimp (to rid the tank of some aptasia anemones). One of the live rocks had a soft (leather?) coral attached to it which appears to be slowly recovering from all the shock.

Yesterday I bought a hammer coral and a small zoa colony from my local store and a GSP from another hobbyist. All appear to be doing very well, the clowns are eating and the corals open up nicely except for that leather that came with the liverock, it's polyps are not open yet.

Just to mention that In the past (1980-1994) I had a marine fish only tank and near the end did set up a reef tank, although back then the keeping of corals was very basic and hit or miss. 

I know the urge to accelerate this hobby and I probably pushed the limits a bit but so far all appears good. 

A few questions come to mind:

The coral that came with my liverock am I correct that it's a leather and with time should it fully recover?

I am not yet dosing the tank, when would it be required (on addition of sps?), I do 25% water changes every 2 weeks.

What are your thoughts on the current-usa-orbit marine pro? Will it suffice in the future for lps and sps corals?

I just ordered some Aprasia X to get rid of those critters.

Any comments or criticisms are welcomed. 

Thanks everyone, happy to be here.

 

 

 

 

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Clown79

As recommended by many, I would slow down on the additions. It's a new tank which isn't stable.

 

Give the tank some time to develope before adding anything more.

 

The leather will take time to recover. Dosing ammonia is not required with established liverock. Ammonia can kill good bacteria and livestock.

 It's a source used for dry rock cycling not liverock cycling.

 

 

Depending on the sps you choose will depend on if you can keep it under your current light. 

 

The more stony corals you add the more likely dosing will be required but that takes dedicated testing. Never dose what you don't test and never dose blindly

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AlexB

Thank you Clown 79 for your comments.

What is considered a 'stable tank'?

Does it refer to the bioload it can handle or water chemistry?

Concerning my current-usa-marine pro led light goes does anyone know the par output value and if it's capable of maintaining most sps corals?

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Clown79

Stability really means parameters being stable rather than fluctuating.

 

A new tank isn't always stable, it goes through various changes. You have algae blooms, sometimes large alk and ca consumption etc.

 

A new tank needs time to develope.

 

Your rock is the biological filtration and it take time for the good bacteria to grow to handle a full bioload.

 

For example, in a new tank many will add a small cuc, wait a few weeks, add a fish, wait a few weeks, add a coral, wait, add another fish, wait 

 

This hobby is really reliant on patience and going slow. 

 

Nothing good happens fast.

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AlexB

Thx for the good advice! I do plan to leave this setup mature and stabalize.

Today I zapped most of the Aptasia with Aptasia X  and it appears to have done the job.

When I'm ready to add more livestock what are your suggestions for corals that would be suitable for a begginer. Stick with softies or maybe some 'easy' sps? I don't plan on adding anymore fish, i presume the 2 clowns are about the max number of fish for this 20g. I might return the 2 peppermint shrimp to my lfs as they weren't any help in ridding the tank of the Aptasia. Will probably replace it with one cleaner shrimp.

Still would like to know the PAR value of the current-usa-marine pro 18" led light.

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Slim64684

Current lists par data on their website. I think it's air par not par in water but should give you a general idea. They list the orbit marine at 120 par, the orbit marine ic at 160 par and the ic pro at 220 par.

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AlexB

Well I did a water test yesterday and had the following readings,

Salinity - 1.026

temperature - 78.3F

pH - 8.15

Nitrate - 10

Phosphate - 0

Calcium - 480

Magnesium - 1350

Alk - 8.0

My question is should I put in some medium to keep the Nitrates down? I still have 5 days before my schedualed water change.

 

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specore
On 12/9/2018 at 6:17 PM, AlexB said:

Thx for the good advice! I do plan to leave this setup mature and stabalize.

Today I zapped most of the Aptasia with Aptasia X  and it appears to have done the job.

When I'm ready to add more livestock what are your suggestions for corals that would be suitable for a begginer. Stick with softies or maybe some 'easy' sps? I don't plan on adding anymore fish, i presume the 2 clowns are about the max number of fish for this 20g. I might return the 2 peppermint shrimp to my lfs as they weren't any help in ridding the tank of the Aptasia. Will probably replace it with one cleaner shrimp.

Still would like to know the PAR value of the current-usa-marine pro 18" led light.

You could probably get away with another smaller fish, royal gramma, etc.  However, it may be difficult with an established pair of clowns to introduce anything else without it getting bullied. 

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specore
11 minutes ago, AlexB said:

Well I did a water test yesterday and had the following readings,

Salinity - 1.026

temperature - 78.3F

pH - 8.15

Nitrate - 10

Phosphate - 0

Calcium - 480

Magnesium - 1350

Alk - 8.0

My question is should I put in some medium to keep the Nitrates down? I still have 5 days before my schedualed water change.

 

Nitrates are fine at 10ppm, just keep doing regular water changes and they should come down.  Think it's like 40ppm before they are dangerous. 

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AlexB

Do you guys think this setup could supporrt another fish, a purple firefish?

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Clown79

In time possibly but not on a this new of a system.

 

 

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AlexB

Will I have problems with the clowns being territorial and aggressive towards it later?

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mcarroll
On 12/11/2018 at 5:45 PM, AlexB said:

Nitrate - 10

Phosphate - 0

The disparity of having a plentiful supply of nitrates and ZERO phosphates can be problematic to coral and can encourage some of the worst pest algae.

 

If the test result for phosphate didn't turn very blue at all, and if nitrates continue to hold at 10 ppm or rise, then you have a problem.  

 

As was already suggested, stop dosing any more ammonia and hope that's all that was driving your numbers in that direction.

 

If so, test results should normalize on their own, with nitrates decreasing with usage+denitrification and phosphates increasing slightly.

 

If you are doing anything else to "remove nutrients" like algae filtration, GFO, etc, then I would suggest taking them offline as well, at least until the tank stabilizes and matures a bit.

 

Since you have stony corals in the tank already (a good thing for the tank IF you can take care of them) and assuming your nutrient numbers straighten out after you stop ammonia dosing, alkalinity should be the most important test number to watch.  When alk dips down to 7.0, either dose a real two-part system or do a water change large enough to make the correction.  Verify by retesting until you have your process down pat.   I would try not to let alkalinity dip any lower than 7.0. 

 

As long as you do that and as long as nitrates and phosphates remain non-zero, your tank should be fine.

 

Be sure to keep algae managed by hand AND/OR with the generous addition of herbivores to the tank.  Don't skimp on the "by hand" part....you're the #1 member of the cleanup crew!  :)

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specore
1 hour ago, AlexB said:

Will I have problems with the clowns being territorial and aggressive towards it later?

Yes...clowns are buttholes 🙂

 

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AlexB
6 hours ago, mcarroll said:

The disparity of having a plentiful supply of nitrates and ZERO phosphates can be problematic to coral and can encourage some of the worst pest algae.

 

If the test result for phosphate didn't turn very blue at all, and if nitrates continue to hold at 10 ppm or rise, then you have a problem.  

 

As was already suggested, stop dosing any more ammonia and hope that's all that was driving your numbers in that direction.

 

If so, test results should normalize on their own, with nitrates decreasing with usage+denitrification and phosphates increasing slightly.

 

If you are doing anything else to "remove nutrients" like algae filtration, GFO, etc, then I would suggest taking them offline as well, at least until the tank stabilizes and matures a bit.

 

Since you have stony corals in the tank already (a good thing for the tank IF you can take care of them) and assuming your nutrient numbers straighten out after you stop ammonia dosing, alkalinity should be the most important test number to watch.  When alk dips down to 7.0, either dose a real two-part system or do a water change large enough to make the correction.  Verify by retesting until you have your process down pat.   I would try not to let alkalinity dip any lower than 7.0. 

 

As long as you do that and as long as nitrates and phosphates remain non-zero, your tank should be fine.

 

Be sure to keep algae managed by hand AND/OR with the generous addition of herbivores to the tank.  Don't skimp on the "by hand" part....you're the #1 member of the cleanup crew!  🙂

Why is it considered bad to have Phosphates at zero?

I did add some GFO and carbon 2 weeks ago but as per your suggestion I removed them.

When I set up the tank initially I added a bit of Ammonia but have not done so since. The alkalinity is steady at 8.

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Clown79
15 hours ago, AlexB said:

Will I have problems with the clowns being territorial and aggressive towards it later?

Possibly. Firefish are skittish fish.

 

Each fish is different.

 

My clowns haven't been aggressive to any additions after yet my one clown in my other tank had to be removed because even the shrimp was harassed.

 

I had a pink streaked wrasse that murdered every additional fish and they are very peaceful fish.

8 hours ago, AlexB said:

Why is it considered bad to have Phosphates at zero?

I did add some GFO and carbon 2 weeks ago but as per your suggestion I removed them.

When I set up the tank initially I added a bit of Ammonia but have not done so since. The alkalinity is steady at 8.

Phos and nitrates are not good at 0 as corals need and use the nutrients as well 

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Tamberav
16 hours ago, AlexB said:

Will I have problems with the clowns being territorial and aggressive towards it later?

If they are babies/juvenile you will probably be fine to wait awhile. Clowns get pissy when they grow into adults and start thinking about making babies but it takes a long while to get to that point. 

 

I would not add SPS till later, it would be a hit or miss to add them now. Sometimes they seem to do well in tanks then we get posts like "all my paremeters are good, why is my SPS dying, I have had it 3 months and it looked great until now"

 

There are many biological process going on in your tank as it matures that we can not test for. 

 

Plus it would be best if you figure out how to 'dose' first, obviously you don't need to dose now but as the tank fills up with LPS types and they grow into colonies, you will need to dose and its easier to get a feel for it with LPS as they are more forgiving. You need to calculate the usage of your tank daily and then adjust every so often as the usage varies. 

 

Mushrooms are generally good beginner corals, green nepthea is very nice neon green and not a 'pest' like some soft corals can be. Duncans, Favia, Hammer/frogspawn, and Acans are a good beginner LPS. 

 

As far as the light goes... it should be okay for lower light SPS but they may not be as colorful as expensive lights. 

 

 

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Wonderboy

Jump starting the nitrogen cycle with ammonia is perfectly fine - It is common practice for fish-less cycling in aquaponics, and I have also experienced its usefulness with many saltwater systems, working best with seeded bacteria (liverock or bottled - both is great, good job). I think that you have done a thorough job setting everything up; nonetheless, I agree that the tank is still young and prone to unseen fluctuations that you will need to respond to with water changes. Just be ready after any addition or routine change you do with the tank. You did push the limits, but I still get the idea you have a good plan with what you're doing - now you just need to watch parameters and organic responses.  Oh and that leather is one tough cookie; if it's not melting by now, it's probably going to be fine. I am positive the firefish will work, get it in there like @Tamberav suggested, before the clowns develop a solitary disposition. Also, you can try adding and rearranging some rocks upon tank-mate additions to distort territories. Also, make sure to keep feeding super minimal (fasting if needing) when nitrates approach 10. Phosphorus is a macro nutrient that all life needs in some ratio. Looking forward to the updates!

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AlexB

Thx guys for all the excellent feedback, it really helps!

The leather is growing like crazy but the polyps still have not opened up.

The hammer coral is also doing well and the coralline algea is spreading. My only concern now are my Ocellaris clowns. They don't seem to eat very much and are looking very skinny. I try to feed sparingly alternating with Omega One marine flakes and mysis shrimp but they hardly eat any of it. Any suggestions?

 

 

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AlexB

Well just as I finished my last post one of the clowns just lay one the bottom and expired.😟

I wonder if they both were just sick fish as the lfs I purchased them from does not specialize in marine fish but does a bit of everything pet related and doesn't have the best reputation.

Live and learn I guess.

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mcarroll
On 12/13/2018 at 5:00 PM, AlexB said:

Why is it considered bad to have Phosphates at zero?

That is bad in and of itself - and this may be true of anything photosynthetic.

 

But further, you have an ample supply of nitrates at the same time.

 

That specific kind of imbalance can be very bad for the corals as it throws off the symbiosis with their dino's.

 

Here are some articles I've saved that talk about it...the first one has pics that make what's going on with phosphates really clear:

Phosphate deficiency promotes coral bleaching and is reflected by the ultrastructure of symbiotic dinoflagellates

Nutrient enrichment on coral reefs: Is it a major cause of coral reef decline?

Global microbialization of coral reefs

Nitrogen cycling in corals: the key to understanding holobiont functioning?

Limited phosphorus availability is the Achilles heel of tropical reef corals in a warming ocean

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AlexB
22 minutes ago, mcarroll said:

That is bad in and of itself - and this may be true of anything photosynthetic.

 

But further, you have an ample supply of nitrates at the same time.

 

That specific kind of imbalance can be very bad for the corals as it throws off the symbiosis with their dino's.

 

Here are some articles I've saved that talk about it...the first one has pics that make what's going on with phosphates really clear:

Phosphate deficiency promotes coral bleaching and is reflected by the ultrastructure of symbiotic dinoflagellates

Nutrient enrichment on coral reefs: Is it a major cause of coral reef decline?

Global microbialization of coral reefs

Nitrogen cycling in corals: the key to understanding holobiont functioning?

Limited phosphorus availability is the Achilles heel of tropical reef corals in a warming ocean

Great info in those articles, thx!

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specore
12 minutes ago, AlexB said:

Great info in those articles, thx!

Sometimes there is such a thing as too much information.  Your tank is only in its infancy so please don't go and try to raise nutrient levels just yet.  Give it a few months to begin maturing and settle into a groove, then think about these sort of things.  Seems like there are more and more new hobbyists having nuisance algae or cyano outbreaks from trying to increase nutrient levels.  Removing anything with GFO would be a good idea though. 

 

Just my two cents from 15+ years experience...obviously others will disagree.  

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Tamberav
4 hours ago, AlexB said:

Well just as I finished my last post one of the clowns just lay one the bottom and expired.😟

I wonder if they both were just sick fish as the lfs I purchased them from does not specialize in marine fish but does a bit of everything pet related and doesn't have the best reputation.

Live and learn I guess.

 

Sorry for your loss. They may have had internal parasites from your description. There is medications to treat such things such as: prazipro, API general cure, seachem metroplex. Some of these can be mixed with food and bound to the food using seachem focus. 

 

It is not uncommon for reef fish to have diseases as many are wild caught and the captive ones are mixed with wild ones.

 

Certain diseases will stay in your tank awhile such as velvet, brook, and ich and no fish can be added until those diseases 'starve and die'. Brook and velvet are very deadly. Even apparent healthy fish can bring home disease that doesn't show until the stress of being moved to your tank.

 

You may want to read familiarize yourself with common salt water diseases in case you bring something unwanted home. I know humblefish has been posting about disease and treatments here, the rest should be popping up soon. 

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