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Pres.Merkin

Moving from FOWLR to Reef, Now what

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Pres.Merkin

Hi all, Failry new here having only posted once when first getting my FOWLR tank set up. That was back in ealry 2020 and things have been going pretty good since then. Im now wanting to take one more step and add some corals. Ive read so much on here nad all over the net that it seems pretty daunting. I was hoping for some straight forward easy to understand advice on how to proceed. Here is what Im currently working with. 

 

Its a 15g coulmn tank with a Aqua Clear 50 HOB Filter. I also added a Koralia Nano 240 powerhead to help with flow.

I did the old fashion 1lb of substrate per gallon when setting up and it seems like a lot of sand in the bottom and im not clear on the whole DSB vs SSB debate, but things seem to be going well as is.

Currently the stocking is 1 Ocellaris Clown (I did have two but lost one and may or may not replace it havent decided), 1 Firefish Goby, and 1 Scarlet Skunk Shrimp.

I dont have a big algae problem but do have some diatoms on the sandbed and the glass.

I do have clean up crew of 2 Astraea Snails, 7 (Well Ive put a total of 7 in, who knows how many there are since I never see them) Nassarius snails, and 1 Emerald Crab

 

I also have a good LED light on the way since I know the stock Flourescent bulb in the hood wont do. I guess my question is what do I need to do before adding any corals, I have some time before actually getting any so I want to use this time to get things as ready as possible. What would everyone suggest.

 

Also do you think my clean up crew is good enough or should I add anything? Id love any and all suggestions. Below is a picture of where things stand now, so again any input is appreciated.

 

20200916_193334.jpg

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Clown79

All you really need to do is ensure your parameters are where they need to be for corals and a good light.

 

Then slowly add corals. Stick to ones that aren't listed as difficult.

 

Once you start adding corals you really want to pay attention to alk levels if you do lps or sps.

 

You also want to have some nitrates and phosphates.

 

A dsb is 4 + inches anytjing under isn't considered dsb.

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Tamberav

That sand will become a debris trap over time if not stirred/siphoned/maintained. 

 

You don't have much algae but depending on parameters/debris, once you had reef lighting, you may get a bloom. 

 

I would get good test kits and test your parameters before adding corals. I would also go slow in case of a bloom. 

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Tired

You either want to have a specially done DSB (which takes effort) or a very shallow sandbed that's just meant for aesthetics. Or no sandbed. You should probably take the majority of that out. 

 

Interesting rockwork. The multiple colors are a good sign for its biodiversity. 

 

Expect an algae bloom. Add some snails as needed (ceriths and/or dwarf ceriths are good and will help stir your sandbed a bit), pull out long tufts of hair algae if that pops up, keep your nutrients reasonable but not zero, and the algae should settle itself out. Just let it happen. As long as it's not smothering any corals, it's just an aesthetic issue. 

 

What water are you using? You'll want RODI, not tap water. Too many impurities and unknowns in tap water. Tap can (but won't always) work for fish and shrimp, but is a massive gamble with corals, and isn't worth it. 

 

Zoanthids and palythoas are nice starter corals. Get frags with multiple polyps, not one-polyp frags. Some are toxic, so don't handle them bare-handed, use gloves or tongs/tweezers. Some can be fast spreaders, so you may want to place them on the sandbed at first (which you should do with all new frags, to acclimate them to your lights) and post a quick pic on here to ask if you have a fast-spreading kind. It's good to isolate the fast-spreading ones somehow so they don't get all over your rockwork. 

 

Ricordea mushrooms are easy to keep, pretty, and will multiply enough to be nice (and eventually give you trading stock) but not usually enough to be invasive. They go on the sandbed or around the base of your rocks, usually, they like lower lights. Other mushrooms are also good, but some can get pretty big, so I like rics. KP Aquatics is a really good online source for them, and some nice, easy zoas. Also for snails. ReefCleaners is good for snails. 

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Pres.Merkin

So It sounds like I need to get a better test kit than what I have, and mayby get rid of some of the substrate for starters.  Since its a small tank Ive been buying premixed saltwater fom the LFS and using that for water changes. I also have a bucket of RODI water i use to top off after evaporation. 

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Tamberav
7 minutes ago, Pres.Merkin said:

So It sounds like I need to get a better test kit than what I have, and mayby get rid of some of the substrate for starters.  Since its a small tank Ive been buying premixed saltwater fom the LFS and using that for water changes. I also have a bucket of RODI water i use to top off after evaporation. 

Test the LFS water too and ALWAYS check the salinity. I have seen MANY tanks crash/suffer from LFS water because they screw up and give RO instead of salt or they don't change the filters often enough so its not well filtered or a contaminant gets in their container and so on.

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Pres.Merkin

So what if I take out about half of the sandbed. I like the look of a sand bottom, and if I place a coral on the bottom of the tank wouldnt it need something "root" in. Let me ask this, I see a lot about flow when talking about reef tanks, and I understand the basics of it. I think between the filter and the powerheard I have enough water movement in the tank, but do i need a type of powerhead that rotates or moves in order to mix up the flow patterns in the tank?

 

I usually do test the salinity of the water I buy, but thats all. I usually test the water weekly as i get ready to do any water changes. 

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Tired

You either want to have a specially done DSB (which takes effort) or a very shallow sandbed that's just meant for aesthetics. Or no sandbed. You should probably take the majority of that out. Corals don't root into the sand, they either sit on top of it or grow on solid surfaces. Some seaweeds root into the sand, but not ones you're likely to grow.

 

Interesting rockwork. The multiple colors are a good sign for its biodiversity. 

 

Expect an algae bloom. Add some snails as needed (ceriths and/or dwarf ceriths are good and will help stir your sandbed a bit), pull out long tufts of hair algae if that pops up, keep your nutrients reasonable but not zero, and the algae should settle itself out. Just let it happen. As long as it's not smothering any corals, it's just an aesthetic issue. 

 

Mixed-up flow patterns are good, but not required for most colors. 

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Pres.Merkin

ok everyone, it took a little bit of doing but I finally got around to adding a couple of corals. I took your advice and removed quite a bit of sand out of the bottom, and honestly I think I could have taken more out. I may do that down the road. I also got a good LED light added, a Fluval Marine Nano. After playing with things for a couple of weeks, i felt i had the water parameters in the right place, although you can see by the ugly thermometer in the pic I am trying to dial in the temperature. 

 

20201018_155329.thumb.jpg.cb596e9b0c7b18e0b320914c38f7929b.jpg

 

I wanted to start small and simple, so I went to the LFS and came back with 2 frags. One zoanthid which you can see kind of lower left. Im not sure im happy with the placement. I made a real rookie mistake placing this one. I had the tank filled up to the top and when I reached my whole arm down I underestimated the water displacemnet and sent water flowing over the sides so i just kind of dropped in place in the area I planned and cleaned up the mess. Overall after only two hours it looks prety good.

 

I also ended up with a Green Star Polyp. I have to say, again cause this is my first experience I didnt want to spend a lot of money in case this is a spectacular failure so I just got a small frag. The problem is with it closed up and being small I dont think i did a good job placing it. I got it pretty much where I wanted but, Im not 100% sure I actually placed the glue on the bottom of the frag (this one did not come on a plug) and I think I placed it too vertical. I know it is tough to tell, but I think that mountain peak shape should maybe more horizontal, since the few green dots I have seen since placing this are all pretty much 180 degrees from that peak.

 

20201018_155420.thumb.jpg.cbeb01052ea5a9eb4478c14816bf8d26.jpg

 

So now I have a couple of questions. One, I read Green Stars can be placed pretty much anywhere and grow vertical , but do you think I overdid it. Two, for both of the se frags, i did glue them based on the LFS recommendation, so how difficult is it to moe these guys if Im not satisfied with the palcement. Three, about how long until the green star opens up. I can be patient but at somepoint I will start to wonder. The Zoa seemed to open up within a few minutes. As before any advice or words of wisdom are greatly appreciated. If there is anything I need to be doing please let me know.

20201018_155420.jpg

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