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Riddex

Beginner Nano Reef - Am I on the right track?

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Riddex

Hi Guys,

 

I've been researching and have finally taken the plunge and purchased a Fluval EVO Marine 60L tank, it was set up 2 days ago and is currently completing its first cycle. Its set up with 1 Ecoreef rock, standard reef sand and pre-mixed salt water from my LFS and I have been adding bacteria daily.

 

I just wanted to get some confidence on what I have researched and see if I'm on the right track:

 

  • Run first cycle until no Ammonia-Nitrate-Nitrite is present 
  • Introduce CUC to feed on first cycle mess and prepare for fish
    • 1x Emerald Crab
    • 1x Electric Blue Hermit
    • 2x Nerite Snail
  • Introduce corals
    • any suggestions would be appreciated, probably looking at 4-5.
  • Introduce Fish
    • 2x Clown Fish (not sure what breed yet)
    • 1x Royal Gramma
  • Daily top ups of RO water
  • Weekly water changes of 10-20%? - This will ensure that water levels of Calcium, Magnesium etc stay where they should to help the corals grow?
  • Maintain water parameters at:
    • Specific Gravity = 1.023-1.025
    • Temp = 24C
    • pH = 8.1-8.4
    • Alkalinity = 8-12 dKH
    • Ammonia = 0
    • Nitrite = 0
    • Nitrate = <1.0ppm
    • Phosphate = <0.2ppm
    • Calcium = 350-450ppm
    • Magnesium = 1250-1350ppm
    • Iodine = 0.06-0.10ppm
    • Strontium = 8-14ppm
    • I understand that having all those numbers there would be perfection but that's the dream right.
  • Feed the fish bi-daily
  • Supplement extra for CUC and Corals if needed.

 

Now am I on the right track or is there something I'm missing? 

 

 

 

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Clown79

Hello and welcome

 

Congrats on the new tank.

L

 

When a tank cycles, nitrates don't convert to 0. Nitrates are reduced by a  waterchange.

 

With certain corals, weekly waterchanges will not maintain parameters enough long term, that's when dosing becomes necessary.

 

Parameters wise the numbers you have posted are guidelines but stability is very important. You don't want fluctuations of salinity or alk, ex you don't want alk to jump from 8-12.

 

You want your target numbers to stay stable, target numbers are the numbers that salt mixes at.

 

Your salinity for corals should be 1.025 or 1. 026

 

You don't want to maintain very low to no phos and nitrate. That's very old school method which actually leads to many bigger problems.

 

As for the additions of livestock.

 

Only add cuc that you need and add more as the need for them grows. In a new tank, only a couple snails and hermits are enough.

 

Adding 3 fish at once isn't recommended 

 

You want to add livestock slowly, especially just after cycling.

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Diamonds x Pearls
15 hours ago, Riddex said:
  • Run first cycle until no Ammonia-Nitrate-Nitrite is present 
  • Introduce CUC to feed on first cycle mess and prepare for fish
    • 1x Emerald Crab
    • 1x Electric Blue Hermit
    • 2x Nerite Snail
  • Introduce corals
    • any suggestions would be appreciated, probably looking at 4-5.
  • Introduce Fish
    • 2x Clown Fish (not sure what breed yet)
    • 1x Royal Gramma
  • Daily top ups of RO water
  • Weekly water changes of 10-20%? - This will ensure that water levels of Calcium, Magnesium etc stay where they should to help the corals grow?
  • Maintain water parameters at:
    • Specific Gravity = 1.023-1.025
    • Temp = 24C
    • pH = 8.1-8.4
    • Alkalinity = 8-12 dKH
    • Ammonia = 0
    • Nitrite = 0
    • Nitrate = <1.0ppm
    • Phosphate = <0.2ppm
    • Calcium = 350-450ppm
    • Magnesium = 1250-1350ppm
    • Iodine = 0.06-0.10ppm
    • Strontium = 8-14ppm
    • I understand that having all those numbers there would be perfection but that's the dream right.
  • Feed the fish bi-daily
  • Supplement extra for CUC and Corals if needed.

Oh, I just dumped my entire bottle of bacteria. hahahaha

 

I'd skip the emerald crab unless you actually get bubble algae or you just really like them. A decent number of snails of your choice will do enough.

 

I'd add the fish first as they don't as many needs compared to corals. Ocellaris or Percula species are probably the most popular selections for a tank your size. You can try other species of clownfish, but some may be bigger than others. (Maroon clowns can get angry, beware.) If you do select anything Ocellaris complex there's tons of designer breeds. If you read my journal (in the signature), I have a pair of Frostbites.

 

Corals? I suspect you are running stock lighting. I think the "easier" corals will suit that tank. Generally aim for corals that are on the low-moderate side. Lighting is somewhat of a loaded topic. How are you on flow throughout the tank? Do you have dead spots? Does your setup have powerheads to provide additional water movement within the tank itself?

 

You can more nutrient rich water especially if you stock the soft corals. At the Petco I work at the corals were stable in like ~20ppm NO3 water with <.25ppm PO4. Heck some of the soft corals took off.

 

Iodine and Strontium numbers you could test for, but generally recovery is made through water changes.

 

Generally the main elements, Ca Mg and Alk are handled in your salt and/or dosing schedule if you do enter that part of the tank's life cycle....this kinda jumps back to the coral conversation.

 

Do you have certain corals you have in mind or are you a blank slate?

 

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R0C95
On 2/27/2020 at 9:17 AM, Clown79 said:

Hello and welcome

 

Congrats on the new tank.

L

 

When a tank cycles, nitrates don't convert to 0. Nitrates are reduced by a  waterchange.

 

With certain corals, weekly waterchanges will not maintain parameters enough long term, that's when dosing becomes necessary.

 

Parameters wise the numbers you have posted are guidelines but stability is very important. You don't want fluctuations of salinity or alk, ex you don't want alk to jump from 8-12.

 

You want your target numbers to stay stable, target numbers are the numbers that salt mixes at.

 

Your salinity for corals should be 1.025 or 1. 026

 

You don't want to maintain very low to no phos and nitrate. That's very old school method which actually leads to many bigger problems.

 

As for the additions of livestock.

 

Only add cuc that you need and add more as the need for them grows. In a new tank, only a couple snails and hermits are enough.

 

Adding 3 fish at once isn't recommended 

 

You want to add livestock slowly, especially just after cycling.

Hey, so new to saltwater as well. No low phos and nitrate?  Very Interested in hearing more!  I was under the impression from everyone and research that to keep Lps and sps,  you gotta chase low numbers?

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R0C95

Hey, and welcome!  I'm new to saltwater as well. Ised to do some cool freshwater stuff so I'm hopefully a bit used to keeping parameters stable. 

 

So all looks good overall, once your tank cycles, your nitrates will most likely be a bit high, not zero. 

 

 

 

I'm not sure if there is a perfect order for adding livestock, but I'm doing CUC, 2 Nemo's (im doing this tank with my 5 yo daughter lol) and then adding a few soft coral. Then move to another fish, maybe a shrimp goby combo,  and get the tank good and stable before moving into the really sweet Lps and sps corals and nems. 

 

Dump your bacteria and let it go to town lol. You dont need to precisely dose. I cycled my 32 bc tank in 6 days, with dry rock, 2 oz of fritz turbostart 900 and 86 degree water temp.

 

 

 

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Diamonds x Pearls
1 hour ago, R0C95 said:

Hey, so new to saltwater as well. No low phos and nitrate?  Very Interested in hearing more!  I was under the impression from everyone and research that to keep Lps and sps,  you gotta chase low numbers?

The key is maintaining stable numbers. You can keep low numbers by listening and understanding how your aquarium behaves and then doing partial water changes accordingly (total water change more so if you're doing a pico).

 

Each tank is different. That's the art side of this hobby.

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R0C95
15 minutes ago, Diamonds x Pearls said:

The key is maintaining stable numbers. You can keep low numbers by listening and understanding how your aquarium behaves and then doing partial water changes accordingly (total water change more so if you're doing a pico).

 

Each tank is different. That's the art side of this hobby.

Gotcha. Yeah, I heard about the stability needed for some of the cooler coral. But if I'm floating at 10ppm nitrate consistantly, that wont piss sps off?  I dont want that ultra sterile tank because I  know other stuff will have issues, but still want to eventually keep some sps... 

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Diamonds x Pearls
Just now, R0C95 said:

Gotcha. Yeah, I heard about the stability needed for some of the cooler coral. But if I'm floating at 10ppm nitrate consistantly, that wont piss sps off?  I dont want that ultra sterile tank because I  know other stuff will have issues, but still want to eventually keep some sps... 

I'm not going to give a definite yes or no, but 10ppm NO3 isn't a bad place to be at for a tank in general.

 

Let's not hijack a thread. If you'd like, you can start a new thread and I can meet you there.

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Clown79
14 hours ago, R0C95 said:

Hey, so new to saltwater as well. No low phos and nitrate?  Very Interested in hearing more!  I was under the impression from everyone and research that to keep Lps and sps,  you gotta chase low numbers?

No, that's very old school...which was inaccurate

 

 

Corals require both, without them their growth and coloration is effected as well as you run the risk of pest algaes and dino's. 

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Clown79
12 hours ago, R0C95 said:

Gotcha. Yeah, I heard about the stability needed for some of the cooler coral. But if I'm floating at 10ppm nitrate consistantly, that wont piss sps off?  I dont want that ultra sterile tank because I  know other stuff will have issues, but still want to eventually keep some sps... 

Don't worry about asking questions on others threads, everyone can learn from the questions asked and answered.

 

10ppm isn't a huge deal for nitrates. You want a balance in phos and nitrates.

 

Alk and salinity need to be stable, these 2 really effect corals when you have changes.

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Riddex
On 2/27/2020 at 3:17 PM, Clown79 said:

Hello and welcome

 

Congrats on the new tank.

L

 

When a tank cycles, nitrates don't convert to 0. Nitrates are reduced by a  waterchange.

 

With certain corals, weekly waterchanges will not maintain parameters enough long term, that's when dosing becomes necessary.

 

Parameters wise the numbers you have posted are guidelines but stability is very important. You don't want fluctuations of salinity or alk, ex you don't want alk to jump from 8-12.

 

You want your target numbers to stay stable, target numbers are the numbers that salt mixes at.

 

Your salinity for corals should be 1.025 or 1. 026

 

You don't want to maintain very low to no phos and nitrate. That's very old school method which actually leads to many bigger problems.

 

As for the additions of livestock.

 

Only add cuc that you need and add more as the need for them grows. In a new tank, only a couple snails and hermits are enough.

 

Adding 3 fish at once isn't recommended 

 

You want to add livestock slowly, especially just after cycling.

Sorry for the late response, but thanks for the reply.

 

What is best to dose for the corals? 

 

I got my salt water pre-mixed from my LFS and it was @ 1.023 on my refractometer, is that OK?

 

So what I'm getting from this is stability with stability and then some more stability surrounding most of the water parameters? 

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Riddex
On 2/28/2020 at 7:14 AM, Diamonds x Pearls said:

Oh, I just dumped my entire bottle of bacteria. hahahaha

 

I'd skip the emerald crab unless you actually get bubble algae or you just really like them. A decent number of snails of your choice will do enough.

 

I'd add the fish first as they don't as many needs compared to corals. Ocellaris or Percula species are probably the most popular selections for a tank your size. You can try other species of clownfish, but some may be bigger than others. (Maroon clowns can get angry, beware.) If you do select anything Ocellaris complex there's tons of designer breeds. If you read my journal (in the signature), I have a pair of Frostbites.

 

Corals? I suspect you are running stock lighting. I think the "easier" corals will suit that tank. Generally aim for corals that are on the low-moderate side. Lighting is somewhat of a loaded topic. How are you on flow throughout the tank? Do you have dead spots? Does your setup have powerheads to provide additional water movement within the tank itself?

 

You can more nutrient rich water especially if you stock the soft corals. At the Petco I work at the corals were stable in like ~20ppm NO3 water with <.25ppm PO4. Heck some of the soft corals took off.

 

Iodine and Strontium numbers you could test for, but generally recovery is made through water changes.

 

Generally the main elements, Ca Mg and Alk are handled in your salt and/or dosing schedule if you do enter that part of the tank's life cycle....this kinda jumps back to the coral conversation.

 

Do you have certain corals you have in mind or are you a blank slate?

 

Hey man,

 

I have now also just dumped my whole bacteria bottle after reading up on some threads, HA.

 

The Emerald Crab was just because I do like them but will hold off and add that if needed.

 

I'm leaning towards black Ocellaris I think.

 

Yes running stock lighting, flow is strong as far as i can tell with no dead spots. I only have what came with the tank, nothing additional.

 

With regards to corals I am on a blank slate, and want to find the balance between looking good and being easy to keep healthy.

 

Thanks

 

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Clown79
2 hours ago, Riddex said:

Sorry for the late response, but thanks for the reply.

 

What is best to dose for the corals? 

 

I got my salt water pre-mixed from my LFS and it was @ 1.023 on my refractometer, is that OK?

 

So what I'm getting from this is stability with stability and then some more stability surrounding most of the water parameters? 

1.025 or 1.026 is best for corals.

 

As for dosing, this should be done to maintain target levels. In the beginning its often unnecessary because you don't have many corals consuming alk but down the road as more corals are added, it becomes a must.

 

Before ever dosing, a lot of testing needs to be done.

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Diamonds x Pearls

Aesthetics is totally subjective but soft corals are generally the choice of any new coral keeper. They're really tolerant, rather prefer, nutrient rich waters where they dominate over their stony counterparts. Soft corals include zoas/palys, leathers, clove/glove polyps, pulsing/pom pom xenias. I have one certain toadstool leather that has expanded in size in about two weeks probably in part that I have my nitrates between 10-20ppm and I dose Aquavitro Fuel. A lot of people keep zoas and palys for their colors. Whole gardens can be dedicated to them. They are also entertaining to feed a fine pelleted/powder food. (Reef roids, BRS reef chili, etc.) Soft corals can grow pretty quick when there's sufficient nitrates and phosphates present in the water column especially so when proper lighting and flow is given in a tank. One consideration is that these corals will emit organics to limit the grow of other corals...you know to compete for limited space on a reef. If you have a lot of these, run appropriate amounts carbon or purigen.

 

There are a number of LPS corals that are pretty forgiving to new keepers. To name a few, Candy Cane (Caulastrea furcata), Acans, Blastomussa, Micromussa lordhowensis (these were categorized as Acans but genotyping has led scientists to move them to a different genus), Euphyillia (Torch, Hammer, Frogspawn), and Favia/Favites genuses. Owning stony corals will make you look at Calcium and Alkalinity more on a regular basis. I will test those parameters once a week minimum, sometimes more. LPS also feature sweeper tentacles they utilize at night to ensure there's enough growing space for them.

 

Overall, when looking at corals to purchase consider their lighting and flow needs since that will give you an idea where to place your corals. Those that need greater light requirements closer to the surface. Those that need greater flow requirements in an area where water moves quicker (not directly in front of a powerhead maybe...). On top of those, whether or not additional needs are required like I mentioned before dosing, feeding, etc.

 

If it helps check out the journals on the forum to see how coral selection and arrangements work. I wrote my journal to be pretty in-depth...meaning there's a lot of words.

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bruinhd
On 2/27/2020 at 9:17 AM, Clown79 said:

Hello and welcome

 

Congrats on the new tank.

L

 

When a tank cycles, nitrates don't convert to 0. Nitrates are reduced by a  waterchange.

 

With certain corals, weekly waterchanges will not maintain parameters enough long term, that's when dosing becomes necessary.

 

Parameters wise the numbers you have posted are guidelines but stability is very important. You don't want fluctuations of salinity or alk, ex you don't want alk to jump from 8-12.

 

You want your target numbers to stay stable, target numbers are the numbers that salt mixes at.

 

Your salinity for corals should be 1.025 or 1. 026

 

You don't want to maintain very low to no phos and nitrate. That's very old school method which actually leads to many bigger problems.

 

As for the additions of livestock.

 

Only add cuc that you need and add more as the need for them grows. In a new tank, only a couple snails and hermits are enough.

 

Adding 3 fish at once isn't recommended 

 

You want to add livestock slowly, especially just after cycling.

Amen to what this guy said. All of it. I had so many problems 10 years ago due to pushing phosphate to zero. Corals would either:

A. Not grow.

B. Brown out and die (LPS).

 

Keep your phosphates greater than zero but less than 0.2. I picked up a Hanna Test Kit. I assume this is worth the money for this. Also, most people on these forums say to add X number of each CUC for X gallons. I actually disagree with that, and I agree with what this guy above said. You want to slowly build your CUC up to goal levels. When your tank is brand spanking new and not dirty enough, CUC will cannibalize each other. If you throw more than 1 or 2 hermits in a fresh 5 gallon, get ready for them to murder snails or each other. Doesn't matter if you throw 10 empty shells in there. Just my two cents. Not everything is 100% in this hobby so people here will disagree with me.

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schudini

Welcome.

 

A lot of good info already in this thread. The only thing I can add is to avoid (or strongly think before you buy) corals like GSP and mushrooms, because they take over and are hard to get rid of. Like the coral equivalent of a blue damselfish.

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