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Jerad81

My Journey Begins

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Jerad81

I have a few more pics but I guess I reached my upload limit. I'll add the rest when it let's me start uploading again.

 

I'm also trying to come up with a way to "secure" the gracilaria (the big red macro) to help keep it from getting knocked around. If anyone has any ideas/ experience with this please let me know. I would love to hear them!

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Jerad81

As promised, here are a few more pics of my tank. 

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Snow_Phoenix
18 minutes ago, Jerad81 said:

As promised, here are a few more pics of my tank. 

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I love your circus barred goby! I have one too, and he's amazing. Cryptic, but cool. 🙂 

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Jerad81

Thanks! Yeah, I don't get to see him as much as I would like but I love him. He has quickly become one of my favorites!

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Jerad81

My pitho crab finally came out of hiding!!! He's still not moving very far from his hiding place but hopefully he'll find the courage to start exploring soon! If nothing else, at least he was willing to pose for a picture so I can show him off lol.

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Jerad81

After a couple days staring at my tank and enjoying my new inhabitants I've decided to relocate my palythoa to the substrate. I know they can get a little out of control once they start reproducing so I decided to isolate it on it's own little island before that starts happening. Hopefully this will be enough to encourage it to grow into a few polyps that get nice and big and happy without taking over the main rockwork. So far it seems happy with the move.

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Jerad81

My banded circus goby actually came out of hiding AND sat still long enough for me to get some better pics of him! I finally get to show him off properly! I still need to name him (I'm really bad at coming up with names) but hopefully I'll figure something out before too much longer. 

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Jerad81

Well, I just had a very depressing moment with my tank. I was doing some cleaning and noticed a decent sized scratch on the inside glass of the front display. I don't think it's very deep and I can't even see it unless I look at it from an angle that makes it reflect off the light. I have no idea what caused it or how long it's been there. For all I know it's been there a while and I just never looked at it from the right angle to see it until now. 

Considering it's glass though I know it's only going to get worse over time. I'm going to start researching different repair options and hope that I caught it in time that it's fixable. I can't afford to replace it right now so it's very likely this could be the beginning of the end for my tank 😭.

My greatest hope is the scratch will take long enough to spread that I can save up enough to replace the tank before it forces me to shut it down. I got all my fingers and toes crossed now.

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DevilDuck

I'd just leave it. I put a scratch in my main Waterbox tank when I was putting in the stones for aquascape. I just leave it since no one else but me notices it.

 

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Jerad81
2 minutes ago, DevilDuck said:

I'd just leave it. I put a scratch in my main Waterbox tank when I was putting in the stones for aquascape. I just leave it since no one else but me notices it.

 

Yeah, now that my freakout moment has passed and I've managed to take my chill pills I'm realizing it's not as big of an issue as I originally thought. I even managed to do a little research and learned that fixing it is not worth the time, effort, money or risk that would come with it. Plus the scratch itself will probably never really get worse or if it does it will take a lot longer than I originally thought. So I'm just going to pretend it doesn't exist since no one else will ever know it's there unless I point it out to them.

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Jerad81

I figured it's been a while since I've shown off a lot of my coral. I decided to post a few pics so you can see how my older inhabitants are doing.

 

My ricordias

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My mushroom20210120_121818.thumb.jpg.f921928d0921bf8b657913255bb43b2f.jpg

 

My duncan20210120_121807.thumb.jpg.56e04c17870006abffb41f82b6826e1f.jpg

 

My fireworks cloves20210120_121731.thumb.jpg.1d2a9a39e2cb250bea9a9964643d174c.jpg

 

My rock flowers20210120_121622.thumb.jpg.603a93f761a2f41b23a0a5ba0410405c.jpg20210120_121739.thumb.jpg.8e2a54c45c7d532f6a5e190b61f8dd24.jpg

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Jerad81

I added two new coral a couple days ago. I decided to try a candy cane again. I had one when my tank was still pretty new, it was one of my first coral, that was a disaster. I've learned a lot since then though and decided to give it another shot. I'm a little confused by this one however. When I bought it at my lfs it was a really beautiful dark purple color. Ever since I got it home it's been more of a maroon color. I don't really understand what happened but I still like it. 

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I also bought a yuma I've been debating for a couple weeks. Unfortunately, whoever glued it's rock onto the plug used WAY too much glue in the middle of the rock. I finally managed to get it removed but the rock basically exploded in my hand. It folded up like a yuma taco and I was terrified I might have damaged or destroyed it. Thankfully everything appears to be ok but I am kinda hoping it will decide to move enough that I can get those rock pieces out of there. So far it seems content to stay put so we'll see how it goes. 

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Jerad81

Well, the last couple weeks have been pretty tough for me. I finally decided to get a buffer for calcium (plus other trace elements), alkalinity, and magnesium for my lps corals. I only had a test kit for alkalinity which was at about 7 dkh. It has always been at about this level for some reason but nothing else besides my lps corals seemed to care. I made a huge mistake though when I dosed my tank by following the instructions that came with it. I was hoping to raise my dkh to somewhere between 8 and 9 but ended up spiking it to about 11 instead. Unfortunately, due to other circumstances going on in my life right now, I wasn't able to do a water change to correct my mistake until today. My duncan and candy cane didn't handle it very well and both of them died on me before I could do my water change. Thankfully everything else in my tank appears to be doing ok. My palythoa has been looking a little weak but hopefully it'll start bouncing back now. I also got tests for the other parameters so I can start keeping track of those now too. I guess I learned my lesson on following dosing instructions on the bottle. 

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debbeach13

I do not dose but I have read that many people start with about half of the dose suggested. 

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Jerad81
9 minutes ago, debbeach13 said:

I do not dose but I have read that many people start with about half of the dose suggested. 

I would prefer not to but I am running out of options to get my alk up. I'm really starting to wonder if there's something in my tank that's forcing it to drop to 7 and then maintains it there forever. I'm really hoping I can get my calcium and alkalinity into a good healthy balance and then never dose again. 

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DevilDuck
17 hours ago, Jerad81 said:

Well, the last couple weeks have been pretty tough for me. I finally decided to get a buffer for calcium (plus other trace elements), alkalinity, and magnesium for my lps corals. I only had a test kit for alkalinity which was at about 7 dkh. It has always been at about this level for some reason but nothing else besides my lps corals seemed to care. I made a huge mistake though when I dosed my tank by following the instructions that came with it. I was hoping to raise my dkh to somewhere between 8 and 9 but ended up spiking it to about 11 instead. Unfortunately, due to other circumstances going on in my life right now, I wasn't able to do a water change to correct my mistake until today. My duncan and candy cane didn't handle it very well and both of them died on me before I could do my water change. Thankfully everything else in my tank appears to be doing ok. My palythoa has been looking a little weak but hopefully it'll start bouncing back now. I also got tests for the other parameters so I can start keeping track of those now too. I guess I learned my lesson on following dosing instructions on the bottle. 

Sorry to hear. I'm certain we've all made this mistake before of adding something to our tanks that did more harm than good. 

I'm a beginner in this too so my small bit of advice;

I'd suggest picking up some more test kits for Mg Ca and perhaps Nitrate and Phosphate. In my experience with internet forumns people are more inclined to help of you if you provide more data for them to analyze. 

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Jerad81
3 hours ago, DevilDuck said:

Sorry to hear. I'm certain we've all made this mistake before of adding something to our tanks that did more harm than good. 

I'm a beginner in this too so my small bit of advice;

I'd suggest picking up some more test kits for Mg Ca and perhaps Nitrate and Phosphate. In my experience with internet forumns people are more inclined to help of you if you provide more data for them to analyze. 

I did go out and get Mg and Ca test kits. After testing both plus alkalinity about 24 hrs after my water change my levels were:

Alk = 8.2-8.4 

Ca = 550 ppm

Mg = 1680 ppm

 

My alkalinity doesn't really bother me too much now (although I would like it to be a little closer to 9) but my Ca and Mg appear to be pretty high. I'm definitely going to keep an eye on them over the next few days to see how much they fluctuate on their own now. Everything else in my tank appears to be content so hopefully I can get these numbers to stabilize so I can start looking at options to replace the two lps that I lost.

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Jerad81

I would also like to say a huge thank you to @seabass. That video and link you gave me were really awesome and helped me understand this a lot better! If anyone wants to check it out you can see it here 

I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who is still trying to figure all this out like I am. 

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Ocean_dreamer89

Do you noticed a major change in your parameters before and after a water change?  In other words, is it being consumed throughout the week or however often you do a WC?  Also, what salt mix do you use to make your saltwater or do you buy from a LFS?

 

Awesome thread BTW!  Can't wait to see those firework cloves grow.

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Jerad81
34 minutes ago, Ocean_dreamer89 said:

Do you noticed a major change in your parameters before and after a water change?  In other words, is it being consumed throughout the week or however often you do a WC?  Also, what salt mix do you use to make your saltwater or do you buy from a LFS?

 

Awesome thread BTW!  Can't wait to see those firework cloves grow.

I actually never thought about testing my parameters before and after a water change. So far, except for my alkalinity, they always stay pretty consistent and where they should be whether I did a water change or not. My alkalinity actually stays pretty consistent too but it always stays around 7 dkh. I've always gotten my water from my lfs and have wondered a few times if their water is on the low side. Unfortunately I always forget to test it before I put it in my tank. No matter how many water changes I do though it still tests out at 7 dkh.

I actually don't do water changes very often anymore. I completely stopped doing them when I got my spotted mandarin because I was trying to keep as many copods in my tank as I could. That turned into a total failure though and my attempt at a homemade refugium was a disaster as well. My fish still ran out of food and refused to eat anything else. Although I've wondered if it was just a REALLY bad hunter because I still have a lot of copods in my tank and I took down the refugium after it died. Now I only do water changes if I have a noticeable problem going on. I'm basically testing the theory that less is more to promote better biodiversity and keep everything in check. 

I am going to start paying closer attention to my parameters now though. I actually always thought that alkalinity was a constant in saltwater that basically showed how "salty" the water was. I never realized that my coral were actually using it in a way. Now that I've learned my lesson on that I'm going to check it a lot more often to see how quickly it is getting used up. I also found a dosing calculator that looks promising to help me figure out how much I should actually be dosing when I do. My goal is to keep it between about 8.5 and 9 dkh and see how much of an effect it has on my coral. Since they are all used to it being at 7 dkh I'll give it about a month to observe how much they like it. 

 

Thanks for the support! I can't wait to see those cloves grow either. They are becoming one of my favorites already and they're still small lol.

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Ocean_dreamer89
27 minutes ago, Jerad81 said:

I actually never thought about testing my parameters before and after a water change. So far, except for my alkalinity, they always stay pretty consistent and where they should be whether I did a water change or not. My alkalinity actually stays pretty consistent too but it always stays around 7 dkh. I've always gotten my water from my lfs and have wondered a few times if their water is on the low side. Unfortunately I always forget to test it before I put it in my tank. No matter how many water changes I do though it still tests out at 7 dkh.

I actually don't do water changes very often anymore. I completely stopped doing them when I got my spotted mandarin because I was trying to keep as many copods in my tank as I could. That turned into a total failure though and my attempt at a homemade refugium was a disaster as well. My fish still ran out of food and refused to eat anything else. Although I've wondered if it was just a REALLY bad hunter because I still have a lot of copods in my tank and I took down the refugium after it died. Now I only do water changes if I have a noticeable problem going on. I'm basically testing the theory that less is more to promote better biodiversity and keep everything in check. 

I am going to start paying closer attention to my parameters now though. I actually always thought that alkalinity was a constant in saltwater that basically showed how "salty" the water was. I never realized that my coral were actually using it in a way. Now that I've learned my lesson on that I'm going to check it a lot more often to see how quickly it is getting used up. I also found a dosing calculator that looks promising to help me figure out how much I should actually be dosing when I do. My goal is to keep it between about 8.5 and 9 dkh and see how much of an effect it has on my coral. Since they are all used to it being at 7 dkh I'll give it about a month to observe how much they like it. 

 

Thanks for the support! I can't wait to see those cloves grow either. They are becoming one of my favorites already and they're still small lol.

Yeah, sounds like you're right on track that it could be that the water from your LFS is on the lower side if it stays consistent with water changes.  I've only been at reefing for about a year and a year, but one thing that I have picked up and had success with is that consistency is key.  The longer your corals and other livestock are in consistent water parameters, they tend to adjust well.  That being for maximum health and growth, maintaining parameters as close to the ocean as possible would be ideal.  Sometimes number chasing can be more damaging because of the fluctuations in the chemistry of the water, especially in a smaller tank where the parameters fluctuate more quickly.  It's sounds like you're doing this but any changes, make them small and slow to work up to where you want it.

 

I'm sorry to hear about you're mandarin!! I don't have any experiences with keeping them as my current tank is too small to sustain it.  Especially, since I don't want to buy copepods on a regular basis.  Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong, but the copepods live in the sand and rocks so water changes shouldn't affect their population if, when you take the water out, you take the water strictly from the water column.

 

And you are absolutely correct about the corals using both alkalinity and calcium for growth!  There are some very helpful BRS videos explaining this process.  Here's a link to the 52 weeks of reefing alkalinity portion. BRS 52 Weeks of Reefing Calcium and Alkalinity   If you haven't watched this series, I highly recommend taking the time to do so.  Some of the concepts they talk about, new understandings have since come out, but it is still great for the fundamentals.  Keep in mind that the tank they build throughout the series is an ideal solution if you have all the money in the world, but the basic concepts can definitely be applied in other ways.

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Jerad81
28 minutes ago, Ocean_dreamer89 said:

Yeah, sounds like you're right on track that it could be that the water from your LFS is on the lower side if it stays consistent with water changes.  I've only been at reefing for about a year and a year, but one thing that I have picked up and had success with is that consistency is key.  The longer your corals and other livestock are in consistent water parameters, they tend to adjust well.  That being for maximum health and growth, maintaining parameters as close to the ocean as possible would be ideal.  Sometimes number chasing can be more damaging because of the fluctuations in the chemistry of the water, especially in a smaller tank where the parameters fluctuate more quickly.  It's sounds like you're doing this but any changes, make them small and slow to work up to where you want it.

 

I'm sorry to hear about you're mandarin!! I don't have any experiences with keeping them as my current tank is too small to sustain it.  Especially, since I don't want to buy copepods on a regular basis.  Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong, but the copepods live in the sand and rocks so water changes shouldn't affect their population if, when you take the water out, you take the water strictly from the water column.

 

And you are absolutely correct about the corals using both alkalinity and calcium for growth!  There are some very helpful BRS videos explaining this process.  Here's a link to the 52 weeks of reefing alkalinity portion. BRS 52 Weeks of Reefing Calcium and Alkalinity   If you haven't watched this series, I highly recommend taking the time to do so.  Some of the concepts they talk about, new understandings have since come out, but it is still great for the fundamentals.  Keep in mind that the tank they build throughout the series is an ideal solution if you have all the money in the world, but the basic concepts can definitely be applied in other ways.

Before I bought the mandarin I did a decent amount of research on copods first. I was hoping to learn how to get my tank at a level where it would maintain their population after the mandarin was in there hunting them down so I wouldn't have to keep buying them either. I'm no expert but most of the research I found said that there are actually multiple types of copods. Some of them will float around in the water column in their early stages of life and move into rocks, sand, macroalgaes, and other good hiding places as they age while others will stay in those areas throughout their life. I just wanted to make sure I was keeping as many in my tank as possible since mandarins are well known for their ability to eat A LOT of copods in a short amount of time if they don't have enough places to hide. That's why most people who have mandarins also have refugiums. It gives the copods a safe place to grow and reproduce but also will send them out into the tank to continuously restock their population and keep the fish fed.

 

I actually forgot all about the  52 weeks of reefing series. Thank you for reminding me! I remember watching the set-up videos several times when I was working on getting my tank started. I didn't actually watch any of the other videos though. I guess I got sidetracked and forgot all about them lol. I will definitely go back to them now and check them all out now that I can apply a lot more of it to my own tank.

 

I am going to let my tank stay on the lower end for alkalinity since it's already used to being there. I would like to raise it a little though just because I've always had difficulties making stony happy. I am inclined to believe this has been at least part of my problem with them. I just didn't have enough in my tank for them to use. I'm sure there's more going on than just this but I'm hoping that once I fix this piece I can start troubleshooting for others. I figure if I just fix one piece at a time my tank will handle it a lot better than shocking my system by changing multiple things at once. I'm debating between focusing on my lighting or my water temp next. I can't help but wonder if I need to tweak one or both a little as well. 

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Ocean_dreamer89
1 hour ago, Jerad81 said:

Before I bought the mandarin I did a decent amount of research on copods first. I was hoping to learn how to get my tank at a level where it would maintain their population after the mandarin was in there hunting them down so I wouldn't have to keep buying them either. I'm no expert but most of the research I found said that there are actually multiple types of copods. Some of them will float around in the water column in their early stages of life and move into rocks, sand, macroalgaes, and other good hiding places as they age while others will stay in those areas throughout their life. I just wanted to make sure I was keeping as many in my tank as possible since mandarins are well known for their ability to eat A LOT of copods in a short amount of time if they don't have enough places to hide. That's why most people who have mandarins also have refugiums. It gives the copods a safe place to grow and reproduce but also will send them out into the tank to continuously restock their population and keep the fish fed.

 

I actually forgot all about the  52 weeks of reefing series. Thank you for reminding me! I remember watching the set-up videos several times when I was working on getting my tank started. I didn't actually watch any of the other videos though. I guess I got sidetracked and forgot all about them lol. I will definitely go back to them now and check them all out now that I can apply a lot more of it to my own tank.

 

I am going to let my tank stay on the lower end for alkalinity since it's already used to being there. I would like to raise it a little though just because I've always had difficulties making stony happy. I am inclined to believe this has been at least part of my problem with them. I just didn't have enough in my tank for them to use. I'm sure there's more going on than just this but I'm hoping that once I fix this piece I can start troubleshooting for others. I figure if I just fix one piece at a time my tank will handle it a lot better than shocking my system by changing multiple things at once. I'm debating between focusing on my lighting or my water temp next. I can't help but wonder if I need to tweak one or both a little as well. 

Sounds like a good plan!

 

Good to know about the copepods, especially about the early life stage.  Look forward to following along!

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Jerad81

After testing my tank again (24 hrs after the last test) I found all of my numbers stayed the same except for alkalinity. That actually showed 9.8 dkh today. I did notice though that I used about the same amount of reagent as yesterday. This makes me believe that I either missed the propper start point in previous tests or I started counting too early in this one. Either way I think I can safely say that my alkalinity didn't really change over the last 24 hrs. Since none of my numbers changed I'm going to wait about 3 days to do the next test and see how they look then.

 

Apparently I'm doing something right though. All of my coral appear to be a lot happier than they've been in a while. 

The picture doesn't do it justice but my gorgonian is finally starting to show it's polyps. Hopefully it will keep filling out now so I can show it off better.

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My mushroom looks like it might be splitting, although it may just be the rock it's on makes it look like it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I might have 2 instead of 1 pretty soon.

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My rockflowers are growing really well and I'm considering adding a fourth one to the group if I can find a color pattern I like.

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My fireworks cloves are doing ok now. I've lost a few but there are some new ones popping up in the sand as well.

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My ricordias apparently are immortal. They never seem to show signs of stress and just keep growing no matter what's happening around them.

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My pearl bubble is always interesting to watch and sometimes (when it opens up all the way) I can't help but wonder if it might eat my fish lol.

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My ricordia yuma is still looking good although one of my crabs has been obsessed with moving it around lately which is getting a little annoying lol.

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The only coral that's not looking good is my palythoa. It's been stressed out ever since I put it in my tank and I'm sure my dosing disaster didn't help much. Hopefully, now that I'm getting everything stable again, it'll start opening up and stretching out in the next week or two. 

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Jerad81

Here's a FTS as well. I really need to figure out how to get rid of all that green algae that's starting to cover the glass by the sand bed. My scraper doesn't have any effect on it and I'm not sure yet how to get it off without scratching the glass all up. I guess I have some more research to do lol

20210207_150447.thumb.jpg.6d5a046443c2b7f944f82ec4e60b179f.jpg

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