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Archon

The ugly pico

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Archon

I would like to present the pico reef I recently set up, in order to get some feedback and ideas/advice on what I can improve.

The tank is about 2 months old and was set up with mostly existing equipment I already had from a  similar try I did in the past which was not so successful. Specifically, I used dried rock which was live a few years ago and left to dry and rinsed with tap water back then. For circulation, I have an old Koralia nano rated 240 GPH. I also had a cheap 25W heater.

I decided to buy a new light in order to provide adequate intensity for growing easy corals, so I bought an Aqua Knight LED light from Amazon which I run at 100% blues and about 60% whites.

I make water using a brand new RO DI system with 0 TDS and Tropic Marin Pro Reef salt.

Around the one month mark I decided to introduce some corals like a Blastomussa frag, GSP which died within a couple of weeks and a bit later frags of Zoanthus, Euphylia , Clavularia and 2 Ricordeas.

The tank has been through various ugly phases like diatoms, a type of algae that looked like black feathers which I wasn't able to identify but now went away mostly, and hair algae that still persists.

My issue is that some corals seem to do well while others don't look happy at all. I almost lost one of my Zoas which now has one polyp compared to three when I got it and the other usually is closed although the guy that I got it from warned me that it would grow all over my tank. I have seen some growth from the Ricordeas and Clavularia but I believe it has now stalled or really slowed down. When I first introduced one of the Ricordeas, it moved and left a baby behind which is slowly growing.

I will provide the values of the latest water tests I did below:
Ammonia:    0.00 ppm

Nitrite:          0 mgL

Nitrate :        0 mgL 

Phosphate:   0.50 ppm

Magnesium: 1500 ppm 

Calcium:       500 ppm 

Alkalinity:     8.2 dKH 

pH:               8.15 pH 
Salinity:        35ppm

Any feedback on what to change or improve is more that welcome. For example, what do you think about my lighting or circulation. I will add some pictures for reference.

 

 

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Archon

This is what it looked like when I put it together.

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Archon

And this is what it looks like currently. This picture was taken after I cleaned the front glass. The glass in the back is covered with what looks like algae with detritus attached to it. Also, I have a lot of detritus at the bottom of the tank and I wonder where does it come from. I know that my aquascape sucks but this is the best I could do with this low quality rock. Overall I’m mot really happy with the result, that’s why I would like to hear from you if I should wait more or if there is anything I could change to improve the situation.

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Tired

It's your nitrates. You need to have nitrates for corals to thrive, they need it. Start manually feeding your corals, and get your nitrates up. You'll get an algae bloom, but don't worry about that. Add snails and remove algae by hand, and eventually other types of algae will take over and outcompete the pest stuff. You should also try to get some live rock, or pod-heavy chaeto, to introduce pods to your system.

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Archon
19 hours ago, Tired said:

It's your nitrates. You need to have nitrates for corals to thrive, they need it. Start manually feeding your corals, and get your nitrates up. You'll get an algae bloom, but don't worry about that. Add snails and remove algae by hand, and eventually other types of algae will take over and outcompete the pest stuff. You should also try to get some live rock, or pod-heavy chaeto, to introduce pods to your system.

Thanks for your response. I already have some pods that were introduced with the last coral addition.

What do you recommend for feeding? Currently I feed reef roids once or twice a week. Can I increase feeding to every day?

Is it a good idea to make WCs less frequent? Like every 2 weeks?

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Tired

Twice a week or more is good for feeding your corals, and Reef Roids is a great food. Daily is probably a little excessive just for corals, but would be ideal for fish.

 

Water changes are both to replace minerals in the water (calcium, magnesium, etc) and to remove nitrates. If your nitrates aren't high and the stuff you need isn't low, there's no need for a water changes. How often you'll need to change your water depends on enough factors that it's hard to give you a schedule of exactly what you should be doing, it's better to monitor and figure it out for yourself. 

 

You should pull the algae off your corals, it'll irritate them. 

 

I don't think your aquascape looks that bad. It's very basic, but that won't hurt anything. You could try taking that big, flat piece of coral on top, breaking it into small chunks, and reassembling it into a more interesting shape with rock putty.

 

To help with detritus, get an actual form of mechanical filtration. Something that will filter it out of the water. Or add to your cleanup crew to eat it. Definitely move your powerheads to blow it away from places it's settling in an unsightly manner. Detritus comes from organic material breaking down- think of it like leaf litter, except it's also made of poo, food, and dead things in addition to the algae bits. 

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Archon

I’ll follow your advice and report back with the progress of the tank. Thanks again!

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Amphrites

I didn't see any mention of a cleanup crew? You need something to eat algae if you don't want it overgrowing in your tank, grab a couple trochus and astrea, maybe a cerith or two.

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Archon
17 hours ago, Amphrites said:

I didn't see any mention of a cleanup crew? You need something to eat algae if you don't want it overgrowing in your tank, grab a couple trochus and astrea, maybe a cerith or two.

Correct, I still don’t have a cleanup crew. Would you recommend a couple of shrimps instead of snails? 

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Matteo
On 11/22/2019 at 4:13 PM, Tired said:

It's your nitrates. You need to have nitrates for corals to thrive, they need it. Start manually feeding your corals, and get your nitrates up. You'll get an algae bloom, but don't worry about that. Add snails and remove algae by hand, and eventually other types of algae will take over and outcompete the pest stuff. You should also try to get some live rock, or pod-heavy chaeto, to introduce pods to your system.

OP has hair algae. I'm sure there's nitrates in there. Maybe the test are not accurate? 

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Amphrites
6 hours ago, Archon said:

Correct, I still don’t have a cleanup crew. Would you recommend a couple of shrimps instead of snails? 

No, not really lol, snails are better. Get a shrimp if you like them, but you'll likely need to feed it meaty foods or pellets. If you want crustaceans hermits can help out, but are usually not the best solo-crew.

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Archon
20 hours ago, Matteo said:

OP has hair algae. I'm sure there's nitrates in there. Maybe the test are not accurate? 

Thanks for responding. I did not mention that but I test with Salifert kits. Of course I expect some inaccuracy but the test should give a rough idea of where the nitrates are.

Previously I have measured higher values using the exact same kit, so I think that the test is not so off. What do you think?

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Archon
15 hours ago, Amphrites said:

No, not really lol, snails are better. Get a shrimp if you like them, but you'll likely need to feed it meaty foods or pellets. If you want crustaceans hermits can help out, but are usually not the best solo-crew.

Alright, thanks for the advice. I will try to get a cleanup crew by Saturday. In the meantime I will remove manually what I can.

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Matteo
10 minutes ago, Archon said:

Thanks for responding. I did not mention that but I test with Salifert kits. Of course I expect some inaccuracy but the test should give a rough idea of where the nitrates are.

Previously I have measured higher values using the exact same kit, so I think that the test is not so off. What do you think?

If you had 0 nitrates you wouldn't have algae. So I'm not sure what's going on. 🤔

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Archon
9 minutes ago, Matteo said:

If you had 0 nitrates you wouldn't have algae. So I'm not sure what's going on. 🤔

Probably it's a value really close to zero. I will see if anything changes in the following days and report back.

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Amphrites
32 minutes ago, Matteo said:

If you had 0 nitrates you wouldn't have algae. So I'm not sure what's going on. 🤔

0 N03 and 0 P04 are actually pretty-common readings for people having a severe algae outbreak, the organics are uptaken by the algae in the system, in fact, a fair few folks find (many when trying to kick dino's) that elevating free P04 and N03 to detectable or even elevated levels in their system actually causes nuisance-algae to die-off after a point. 
Though that's certainly not always the case, algae simply isn't always a result of nutrients, plenty plain-old don't care what you have in your water (bryopsis comes to mind immediately) and I think the real issue here is, without anything to eat the algae as it grows - it grows and doesn't get eaten. You're not going to just stop it without turning off your lights and even then ambient room-light will still grow some on your glass lol...

If you zero-out your levels I wouldn't expect the algae to go away, but I would be inclined to think you might end up with a dino-bloom; oh and manual-removal is still pretty-much the best policy if you've got a fair bit of an algae you don't want in the tank anyway haha.

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kurnn

Hi, your alkalinity is good. But have u checked its level day by day? Because the carbonats are depleted quite easy than any other trace elements.

 

For the algae, u may try to reduce your light intensity. Just enough to make corals extend their tentacles. And whenever possible, try to focus the light just on the corals area. This will prevent algae growing on the glass.

 

And yes, u will need snails to graze the algae on the rock. 

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Archon
On 12/1/2019 at 4:11 PM, kurnn said:

Hi, your alkalinity is good. But have u checked its level day by day? Because the carbonats are depleted quite easy than any other trace elements.

 

For the algae, u may try to reduce your light intensity. Just enough to make corals extend their tentacles. And whenever possible, try to focus the light just on the corals area. This will prevent algae growing on the glass.

 

And yes, u will need snails to graze the algae on the rock. 

I have only checked alkalinity on a weekly basis and it looks kind of stable. It has never gone out of range. I reduced the whites and indeed, the corals looked better after a couple of days. Blues are still at 100%.

Thanks for the advice, I’ll update with pictures when things get better.

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