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Bendegeit

How are we killing our critters?

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Bendegeit

Hi. Another pair of newbies here, probably doing it all wrong and hoping someone can tell us what our mistakes are.

 

Started a Fluval Sea 13 Gallon tank in January using the supplied pump plus a small wavemaker head to pulse it. Four pieces of live rock, one in the corner and three together to make a kind of an arch in the middle of a bed of Fuji Pink Live Sand.

 

Arranged three little Zoa frags around the rock with, a frogspawn, and a yellow coral that I can't even name but appears very nocturnal. Also a xenia on it's own little island in a corner and three aquaculture cardinals. Cleanup crew was sparse with a cleaner shrimp, and a couple of snails but we were worried of overstocking the tank and didn't know what 'worked' or what was needed.

 

Early on we had a red slime problem but treated it with Chemiclean and that seemed to fix that problem. Still, it took a while before our corals started really growing. They didn't look sickly at all, just not thriving.

 

More research and more changes, including a nano-reef A/B supplement seemed to get the corals happy and they started spreading.

 

Since then we've tried adding a tiny frag of neon pink flowerpot, and assorted other fish at different times, but all of them have died, including 2 of the cardinals. And yes, the LFS people will totally lie to you. I had one tell me that the Fuji Blue Devil was a schooling fish and non-aggressive. The rest of our corals seemed to be doing fine, though, and even thriving. And our shrimp got HUGE.

 

We later added a GSP in the front left corner and it has been a real happy camper too, growing to cover the crown of that rock.

 

Then, in the last months, we started getting a stringy green algae. At first we weren't overly alarmed because it was only in one spot. We added more turbos, a redfooted snail and an emerald crab and, while one turbo died within a few days, the others seemed happy--even if the GHA wasn't slowing in it's drive to take over our tank.  Eventually, though, the stuff was growing alll over, including in the sand and on the emerald crab. Some of it is mushy and comes up by hand easily. In other places it is impressively strong. 

 

As it continues to spread we've become more aggressive, including reduced lighting, multiple water changes, etc. I'd heard about toxins building up in the sand so I tried stirring small areas while vacuuming it out. More recently I added three troica snails and an electric blue hermit crab that was suppose to like dining on GHA. Despite my efforts to acclimatize them well, one snail and the hermit died within a few days. But the other troicas seemed happy if entirely disinterested in helping with the GHA. A week or two later we even discovered some super small baby troicas. 

 

But, with the extra water changes and sand stirring, our corals have begun to look sickly, with the zoas not wanting to open all the way up and the frogspawn sometimes retracting further than ever before.

 

Eventually one of the zoa colonies and the frogspawn started looking better but the GHA continued so I bought Blue Jet's 'reef safe' FLUX RX treatment for GHA at a local aquarists shop and now, with one does, everything is MUCH worse. The zoas have closed up more than ever and we hardly see any color in them. The frogspawn has retracted so much that it looks virtually dead, The emerald crab died three days ago and a cardinal a day or two before that. Another cardinal went yesterday and my red-footed snail died today. up and not looking very happy.

 

My blood pressure is 132/87, and my eyes bloodshot from scouring boards looking for the information that might help.

 

We have no idea what else to test for, let alone how, but we desperately want to save these little beasties

 

Oh, and the GHA, while it seems to have taken a hit, is still there on nearly everything.

 

Please help.

 

BEFORE

 

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NOW:

 

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Bendegeit

Oh. Temp is 80.6 with no heater running. It had been on but another aquarist shop suggested heaters weren't needed in our area during  the summer.

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Seadragon
36 minutes ago, Bendegeit said:

but the GHA continued so I bought Blue Jet's 'reef safe' FLUX RX treatment for GHA at a local aquarists shop and now, with one does, everything is MUCH worse. The zoas have closed up more than ever and we hardly see any color in them. The frogspawn has retracted so much that it looks virtually dead, The emerald crab died three days ago and a cardinal a day or two before that. Another cardinal went yesterday and my red-footed snail died today. up and not looking very happy.


Welcome to the Nano-Reef forums!  Yeah, I wouldn’t have dosed that.  I’d probably do a bunch of water changes to get that “bottle of snake oil” out of your tank as much as possible.

 

How long of a photoperiod were/are you doing?  What kind of lights are you using?  How often do you feed now/were?  Do you also spot feed your corals with something?  What and how much?  What kind of water are you using to mix for the saltwater and for top offs? (RO/DI, distilled or tap water)

 

You’d be amazed how easy it is to fix simple issues without using any chemicals or “magic bottles”.  Usually you just need to stop overfeeding, use the proper photoperiod (may need to blackout or lessen initially to bring back balance to the system if it was way out of whack to begin with), don’t use tap water, use a quality salt mix, and do regular water changes and siphon the sand.

 

After all that, buy the proper CUC and if corals are still unhappy and the minerals and trace elements are within a proper range, may need to change placement if there’s too much/too little light and/or too much/too little current.

 

The whole thing is like a balancing act to get it working just right, but we’re here to help! 🙂

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Bendegeit

Thanks, Seadragon.

 

I'll do a water change tomorrow.

 

We have the stock lights that come with the Fluval Sea--which means only white and blue light and no timers, clocks, or gradual changes. It's all white, all blue, or all off. As a result, some of our photo periods have been a bit long and none of them have been especially well synchronized. I've considered buying lights but we're a little daunted in not knowing exactly what  potency or type to look for and would love to not have to spend more than $200 if it can be helped.

 

For nutrition we were doing Coralife's Nano Reef Part A and Part B--aprox 28 drops each, up to twice a week and Reef's Phyto Plankton--about a 5th of a capful up to twice a week. We also added Copepods early on, which I'm not sure count as food except that our shrimp loved them and ate every one it could find. Don't know if any survived.  We didn't even know about spot feeding until about 2 weeks ago and have used Reef Roids a couple of times since then. We also from time to time gave the crab a small slice of dried algae which it seemed to like.

 

Regrettably, we did not research before jumping into this so we don't know if we're feeding too much or not enough.

 

We have never used tap water and get our stuff premixed from a local aquarist shop 5 gallons at a time and have neither had nor heard of any issues with their quality before. Another aquarist shop sells the RO water and the Instant Sea (or Instant Ocean?) but their limited hours make it difficult for us to visit them with any consistency. We use the API Reef Master test kit to check our water but don't know how to test anything beyond those four parameters (alkalinity, hardness, Nitrates, Phosphates).

 

We're interested siphoning the sand but feel pretty confident that we don't know how to do it and are probably doing it wrong. The little siphon we use for water changes actually sucks up some of the sand if we're not careful but I worry that my stirring the during siphoning only made things worse. It's certainly not keeping the GHA down.

 

Also, I'm afraid we've not seen before and so have no idea what a CUC is.

 

In all of that I did change current flow because the little power head was beating on the rock at the left and so we couldn't put any coral on it, which was frustrating. Even things the aquarist shop said shouldn't mind the heavy pulse didn't look happy there.  At the time of the change everything still seemed to be getting jostled around a bit, if slightly less in some cases.

 

Thanks again for the help!

 

We have a lot of pink hard bacteria growing in the tank, particularly on the back and side walls and I've heard that is good. We also have a few splotches of a deep crimson stuff that is quite pretty but I wonder if it is okay--especially since some of it is growing on the base of our dying frogspawn. Is there much of a chance that this will come back? It was just starting to spawn some tiny new shoots at its base.

 

We saw elsewhere on Nano-Reef.com that Gwoardnog posted a list of things for newbies that recommended a cleanup crew member per gallon. We're definitely on the lite side of that so I'm also wondering if I should be getting some more and what will be best.

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Seadragon

So if it was me with your tank:

  1. Water change.
  2. Buy a cheap indoor electric timer (for the light) and set it for 7 hours to stay on, rest is off.
  3. CUC stands for Clean Up Crew.  I’d get a large Zebra Turbo Snail or 2 to chow down on the GHA on the rocks.  That’s what I use in my tank and the GHA is scared to show itself now.
  4. As far as all of that food that you’re feeding (not the copepods, but the phytoplankton, Reef-Roids, and I’m assuming some sort of Fish Food), I’d probably cut down.  So, I have a clownfish, Yellow Watchman Goby, 2 Tail Spot Blennies, Cleaner Shrimp, Hammer coral, and a few other critters.  I feed on Mon, Wed, Fri, and either Sat or Sun.  I’m just feeding once on those days just some Frozen Brine shrimp with Spirulina variety to the Clownfish, the 2 Blennies, and sometimes to Goby if he wakes up.  Otherwise the Goby filters the sand looking for copepods, the blennies pick at algae all day long.  Sometimes I’ll add a few extra pellets for Nemo.  Once my Frogspawn coral arrives, I might squirt some brine shrimp into its mouth as well.  Otherwise these corals are photosynthetic and don’t require much spot feeding.  I own Reef-Roids, but I don’t use it anymore because it can cause Cyanobacteria outbreaks.  I also don’t dose phytoplankton anymore, not sure what my copepods are eating, but they’re always in the sand and back glass moving around.
  5. If the current is too strong, aim your circulation pumps toward or near the water’s surface and about a 45 degree angle towards the side glass wall so that that absorbs much of the force to lessen the strength of the current.
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seabass

There's a lot to unpack.  And to be honest, I kind of skimmed through some of it.

 

We have all gotten caught up in buying stuff that looks like it should help our tanks.  Some of it actually has a purpose where it might provide some benefit in certain circumstances, but are marketed like every tank could benefit from their use.  The reality is that you are wasting your money at best, and doing real harm at worst.

 

From looking at your pictures, I doubt you need to be dosing anything.  Water changes are probably enough to replenish consumed elements at this point.  But we can get back to this later.

 

I have a rule that I personally like to adhere to and has served me well: don't purchase any new livestock (besides additions to your cleanup crew) while you are dealing with any problems.  Additional livestock only complicates things, adds more wastes, changes the parameters, makes things harder to clean, costs money, and subjects them to less than ideal conditions.

 

We need to see your parameters using what you have now for testing.  I want you to first test the saltwater you are using for water changes (this will be the baseline/target for alkalinity and calcium).  Stability is usually more important than the actual number (as long as they are in the recommended ranges).  You don't want to dose elements in an attempt to raise these parameters higher than your water change parameters.  If you are dosing elements, do so only to replenish the consumed elements (verified through testing).

 

That said, you need a better phosphate test kit.  I'd probably get a better alkalinity test kit too.  You should be testing for the nutrients, phosphate and nitrate.  These are required for photosynthetic life, so contrary to what some say, these are not bad.  I'd like to see phosphate at around 0.05 ppm (but up to 0.10 ppm is usually alright).  I'd like to see nitrate around 5 ppm (but up to 20 ppm shouldn't be causing you problems).

 

Since you have some stony corals, you should be monitoring alkalinity.  This parameter changes quicker than calcium and magnesium, so it it will tell you when you need to dose elements.  I notice a lot of coralline algae growth on the glass.  That too will be consuming alkalinity, calcium, and magnesium.  Coralline is considered good because pest algae doesn't tend to grow on it, but corals will.  You can scrape it off the walls or just embrace the purple, if you like that look.

 

For test kits, I use Salifert for alkalinity, calcium, and magnesium.  Like I said earlier, monitor alkalinity.  However, should you need to dose alkalinity, you'll also need to monitor and dose the other two.  Again, target your water change parameters for alkalinity and calcium.  For magnesium, just make sure it's within a safe range.  If magnesium is too low, adding alkalinity will push calcium out of suspension (and vice versa).

 

You can use Salifert for phosphate as well, but it's hard to read at low levels.  Phosphate is really the only parameter where I recommend a different kit.  I use a Hanna ULR Phosphate Checker.  Its digital readout makes it easier to determine your water's inorganic phosphate level (especially when it's low).

 

For now, stop using Reef Roids.  It's a fine product, but it's not usually necessary and can cause more problems when used inappropriately.  Your LPS corals should be target fed a little chopped mysis shrimp (or other frozen fish food, or even flake) maybe once a week.  Your soft coral will petty much survive a decent reef lighting and inorganic nutrients in the water.

 

That brings us to lighting.  This can be crucial to coral health; but unfortunately, is one of the bigger purchases to make.  IDK, maybe a AI Prime 16HD?

 

Siphoning detritus off of the top of your sand bed should be part of your weekly maintenance.  If you happen to siphon out some sand, just rinse it off with tap water and return it.

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Jungle_v_i_p

I read and mostly skimmed through the large amounts of info for you. Lots of good advice and that’s what it is. A lot of info lol. @Seadragon @seabass will steer you right. Def stop feeding the reef-roids as suggested. It is very concentrated and should only be used by an an experienced aquarist. You need to be monitoring KH, PH,  nitrate, phosphate, calcium, salinity (with a refractometer. Cheap), and stable temp. Turn that heater back on. Whoever told you not to worry about it has no idea what they are doing. Unless your tank  is over heating but you need stable temp. You can also change out too much water so water changes are not always the solution. You can make it too clean to speak. From this point forward focus on maintaining water quality. Spend $75-$150 and invest in tested, tried, and true kits. Salifert, Hanna, Red Sea, NYOS off the top of my head. The API just don’t test in the ranges needed for success. Your next post should list your your parameters. List them like bullet statements at the top of your post before any other info. Without those tests we have no idea what’s going on. You can post with the API results just to give a somewhat range for now. Don’t forget to test your premixed saltwater as well. This process will take you 1-2 hours so keep that in mind. In the end it’s going to be all good. list like this.

 

PH

KH (Alk)

Phos

Nitrate

Salinity (if using hydrometer throw it in trash. Get a $12 refractometer from Amazon)

 

As for lights if you can spend $200 then you can afford the best of the best for your tank. AI prime HD or sol, Kessil A80, aqua knight or hipargero 30w to name a few. You might have to get creative and do some research on how to mount. The ai has a built in timer so you wouldn’t need to purchase one separate. Light schedule should run 6-10 hours but variables will dictate that.
 

don’t give up and keep asking questions. 
 

also don’t feel bad about being duped by companies or a LFS to purchase things you shouldn’t. It’s happened to just about everyone in the beginning. You’ve come to the right place and your tank will turn around for the better. Let’s get that water quality in line and don’t add anything else except for CUC. Just don’t add any until the water is right. I killed many things in my first year of reefing. You are not alone.

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Xj reefing

For lights I would 100 percent recommend a ai prime 16hd. Even thought are a bit more than what you would like to spend they are awesome. If you plan on ever upgrading to a larger tank yo7 could use it and it is incredibly easy to operate and turn down the intensity.

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Bendegeit

Thanks, @Seadragon, @seabass, @Jungle_v_i_p and @Xj reefing

 

On your advice we picked up the Hanna for phosphates and the Salifert for magnesium. We'll have to pick up the others as we go, as we're going to try to get that AI 16HD.

 

PH            -  (I overlooked getting this one and will have to find it this weekend.)

KH (Alk)  7.5 (API - Calling it 7.5 because the color has a noticeable shift at 7 but doesn't go all yellow until 8

Phos       0.6 (Hanna)

Nitrate    0  (API but very, very yellow)

Salinity    1.027 (ATC Refractometer that we splurged on early--honestly, its still kind of hard to tell since the blue line is a bit fuzzed)

mag        1380 (Salifert - tested twice)

temp       79.7 - 80.6 (I've checked it at night and don't see it going down below that.)

 

Also got another emerald crab and two tiny blue-legged hermits (hoping that isn't too soon for them but they are CUC).

 

I actually wonder if we weren't starving them as 1 - 2 times per week with A+B and food (we never fed them phytoplankton and reef roids at the same time.)

 

Thanks again for all the help. Any chance our frogspawn (or hammer?) isn't dead? We really liked that one.

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Xj reefing

I think that with time the hammer could come back but it might also not.

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seabass
On 8/4/2021 at 10:26 PM, Bendegeit said:

A/B supplement

I thought this was the Red Sea two part additive (I think they call it Foundation).  That's why I was discussing dosing alkalinity, calcium, and magnesium.

 

6 hours ago, Bendegeit said:

I actually wonder if we weren't starving them as 1 - 2 times per week with A+B and food (we never fed them phytoplankton and reef roids at the same time.)

So now I think you are talking about Red Sea Reef Energy.  All these damn names. :rolleyes:

 

You shouldn't be dosing Reef Energy either.  Off the top of my head I'm not sure what is in there, amino acids and other stuff that sounds really helpful.  Again, these products were made for a purpose.  I suppose this was made for people who are carbon dosing, which by the way, you shouldn't do either).  However, they can really mess up your tank too.  Reef Energy and Reef Roids is enough to cause all kinds of havoc on a young reef tank.

 

Phytoplankton is OK.  I wouldn't necessarily consider it food for corals.  It is food for pods, and might be adding to your phosphate issue.  Actually, I'm not really sure what you are trying to feed, and with what. :unsure:

 

Most coral are photosynthetic.  You need to be feeling them light.  While I'm not sure of the spectrum, PAR output, or wattage of your current lights, I'd guess they are off on just about everything.  It sounds like they are to display fish.

 

LPS corals do need fed, but it should be with meaty food. Like a small mysis shrimp (per polyp) a couple of times a week.  Heck, a lot of people don't even feed them as long as they are getting some stray fish food every now and then (and have good lighting).

 

When you get your light.  You'll have to put it in acclamation mode.  Meaning that you set the intensity very low and work it up slowly (like 5% a week).

 

Soft corals want light, phosphate, and nitrate.

 

Seems like your water chemistry is all sorts of messed up.  You'll want to correct it with water changes. However, since stability is also very important, I hesitate to recommend large water changes.  It's like your new light will be; you need to make small changes towards a positive position.  IDK, maybe change out 10% of the water twice a week.

 

7 hours ago, Bendegeit said:

Nitrate    0 

That's a potential problem.  Some people will feed their fish more to try and raise this up.  I might normally recommend dosing nitrate, but you need to stop dosing crap into your tank and hoping for the best.

 

The problem is that you need to do water changes, but your tank is nitrate deprived.  IDK, maybe NeoNitro wouldn't be such a bad idea while you are doing water changes.  I might not even dose enough to raise nitrate up to 1 ppm.  I'd just like to relieve the limiting factor with small doses.

 

7 hours ago, Bendegeit said:

PH            -  (I overlooked getting this one and will have to find it this weekend.)

I rarely test pH.  Primarily because I don't recommend trying to buffer pH.  You can get the test if you want.  It's interesting to see pH fluctuate throughout the day, but I feel it serves a limited purpose.  Occasionally, people discover they have a CO2 issue in their home which they can resolve; but normally, we don't mess with pH.  However, if you are doing anything that can alter pH, then monitoring pH becomes necessary.

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Bendegeit

It is actually CoraLife 'Nano Reef' but I wouldn't be surprised if it's actually the same as the Red Sea product in a different skin. So many things are that way these days. It is a 2-part application, waiting 5 minutes between but I'm kinda curious what the 5 minutes is all about, especially since I see that others now offer a similar product with the 2 combined already. So many tests and other things talk about waiting 2, 3, or 5 minutes between steps and I wonder how critical that is as well? Do the chemicals keep changing the water so that if you're off by half a minute your results might not be accurate at all? Even the Hanna Phosphate tester, which gives an electronically generated, easy-to-read precise number, still uses 3 different reagents and 2 minutes here, 3 minutes there and I can see all kinds of ways human error can screw it up. Like reagent 2: one scoop. but is that a level scoop or a heaping scoop? And what happens if either the scoop is not quite full or you have a little extra powder on the haft of the scoop? Does either condition seriously throw off the test?

 

To be fair, we started using the CoraLife Nano Reef because, after the first several months, we had seen no new growth from the frags we'd bought and it seemed like a brilliant solution at the time. The frags looked happy enough on their little rock coins--open and vibrant--but sparse with zero growth. Once we started dosing nano-reef between one and two times a week, everything started to grow.

 

We'll definitely up to the better light but I'm confused that Fluval would supply an inadequate aparatus for an aquarium specifically marketed for coral and saltwater fish? Especially since both coral, and now GHA, have grown so wonderfully well in it? Honestly, the biggest reason I want the newer light is because this one is not programmable and so at the mercy of family activities. Everyone is out unusually long means the light is either on too long of off a lot, depending on if anyone even remembers to turn it off. 

 

@Seadragon your cheap timer idea, though a great idea and truly the most cost-effective is, unfortunately, not an option because this Fluval thing is touch operated and defaults at 'Off'. So the timer would never actually turn it on but only enable the on.

 

My daughter has fed the fish flakes and I think she does that twice a week. Other than that we didn't know to feed the coral anything. Some people convinced her that Salt Water tanks were easier than fresh. Yes, gullible, but then people are getting scammed in worse ways every day. And coral are so much more interesting to look at anyway.

1 hour ago, seabass said:

LPS corals do need fed, but it should be with meaty food. Like a small mysis shrimp (per polyp) a couple of times a week. 

Probably why the flowerpot died. We weren't feeding it anything. Ironically, I even took in pictures back to the Aquarium store to try to figure out what to do to save it and the guy argued with me and told me it wasn't a flowerpot (because they don't look like that) and it was fine. Funny part is I bought the flowerpot from him only weeks before. He never once asked 'what are you feeding it?' Unfortunately, he seems to be the best informed of my local options. My other aquarium store is staffed with younger people who are more en Iwilling to talk (I think that other guy avoids me when I go in now) but they also think that everything on their shelves is your current fix (hence the Reef Roids).

 

I'm very grateful that I have better-informed people like y'all to reach out to.

 

Thank you.

 

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Bendegeit

Other quick question: does anyone here have experience with Usfullar.com? They're offering the AI 16HD for half what anyone else is asking.

 

Of course, "if anything sounds too good to be true, then it probably is" but I'm wondering if they could be legit? Or could theirs be refurbished? Or a fake? Or might Usfullar be like a Ross or TJMaxx, or Overstock?

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seabass
10 minutes ago, Bendegeit said:

It is actually CoraLife 'Nano Reef'

That's not as bad as dosing amino acids.  Sounds like a two part alkalinity and calcium (plus magnesium and trace elements).  Maybe you need to replenish these elements, maybe you don't.  With all that coralline algae, I suspect that you might need to dose some form of two part to maintain (freshly mixed saltwater) levels.

 

15 minutes ago, Bendegeit said:

I'm kinda curious what the 5 minutes is all about, especially since I see that others now offer a similar product with the 2 combined already.

You can't mix the alkalinity and calcium parts or they will precipitate.  Try it out, take a little tank water and mix in a small amount of each right after each other.  It'll look like snow.  There are products out there which supposedly work in time release fashion so this precipitation doesn't occur.  There is nothing special about the 5 minutes (that's just the minimum amount of time they recommend between dosing the two products).

 

27 minutes ago, Bendegeit said:

My daughter has fed the fish flakes and I think she does that twice a week.

Does your cardinalfish eat flakes?  That's pretty unusual.  Mine are much more fussy and want mysis shrimp.  Your fish should really be fed at least once per day.  They should get a variety of foods (including frozen food, like Rod's Food).

 

32 minutes ago, Bendegeit said:

Probably why the flowerpot died.

That can be a hard coral to keep.

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seabass
42 minutes ago, Bendegeit said:

I'm confused that Fluval would supply an inadequate aparatus for an aquarium specifically marketed for coral and saltwater fish? Especially since both coral, and now GHA, have grown so wonderfully well in it?

My comments were based on:

On 8/4/2021 at 11:55 PM, Bendegeit said:

We have the stock lights that come with the Fluval Sea--which means only white and blue light and no timers, clocks, or gradual changes. It's all white, all blue, or all off.

Either all white or all blue doesn't sound like a reef light.  But without the specs, or doing some research, I can't say for sure.

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Seadragon
3 hours ago, Bendegeit said:

Of course, "if anything sounds too good to be true, then it probably is" but I'm wondering if they could be legit?


I’d be careful with unknown websites, especially when spending a lot of money, and there’s little to no reviews of the site.   Not only do you want to make sure it’s legit and you actually get the item ordered within a timely manner, but there should be a customer service # and they should handle returns if the item is defective or broken upon delivery.  Best to play it safe and use more popular websites like Amazon, eBay, or any number of popular online fish stores.

 

About the stock Fluval light and the manual operation of it defaulting to off when plugged in, that sounds awful that there’s no on/off toggle switch.  I can’t imagine having to manually turn on and off my tank lights each day at specific times and having a tank sitter do the same when I’m on vacation.  It’s like you’re a slave to the tank rather than just sitting back and relaxing and having the whole thing be somewhat automated.  🙂

 

Yeah, I’d definitely do some homework on what light best suits your needs.  Also read all of the negative reviews on Amazon, especially the recent reviews.  I noticed some of these tend to have problems at later stages and start to melt plastic according to some reviewers, but that’s why it’s good to have great customer service and return policies.

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seabass

So I had a couple of minutes.  The stock light appears to be:

14,000K light spectrum (which is fine)

16W (which is pretty minimal; as a comparison, the AI Prime 16HD is 55W)

 

It's true, that you could probably keep some low light corals.  However, it's roughly about ⅓ of what it should be for a reef tank.

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DevilDuck

See my fluval evo journal in my signature. I added supplemental blue strip light and was able to grow most coral and keep the stock hood. Unless they changed the design the stock light does not default to off when power is cut at the plug.

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Jungle_v_i_p

Not sure where you live but there might be a reef society around you. There are always good deals to be had. Especially for dry goods. You could find a used light for a great price. You can also meet some really awesome people that can help out from time to time. Not to forget about purchasing local tank raised corals and fish. You could even start a post on here as well. As @devildick said look at his journal and see what he did. You might be intrigued to DIY and retrofit some additional lighting. As for your stock light you should be able to set your timer and have the light set to the intensity you want. The timer will then become the OFF/ON switch. That’s how mine is. Different fixture but same concept. I’m sure @devilduck will be able to help you as he has the same tank and set up. 
 

I also agree with not dosing anything. Just feed your fish once a day and do water changes for now. I’d recommended being present with you daughter feeding fish. All food should be gone in 2-3 mins. Not settling on bottom. Turn your filter off when feeding for ten mins as well. Then turn back on after feeding.

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DevilDuck
20 hours ago, Bendegeit said:

Thanks, @Seadragon, @seabass, @Jungle_v_i_p and @Xj reefing

 

On your advice we picked up the Hanna for phosphates and the Salifert for magnesium. We'll have to pick up the others as we go, as we're going to try to get that AI 16HD.

 

PH            -  (I overlooked getting this one and will have to find it this weekend.)

KH (Alk)  7.5 (API - Calling it 7.5 because the color has a noticeable shift at 7 but doesn't go all yellow until 8

Phos       0.6 (Hanna)

Nitrate    0  (API but very, very yellow)

Salinity    1.027 (ATC Refractometer that we splurged on early--honestly, its still kind of hard to tell since the blue line is a bit fuzzed)

mag        1380 (Salifert - tested twice)

temp       79.7 - 80.6 (I've checked it at night and don't see it going down below that.)

 

Also got another emerald crab and two tiny blue-legged hermits (hoping that isn't too soon for them but they are CUC).

 

I actually wonder if we weren't starving them as 1 - 2 times per week with A+B and food (we never fed them phytoplankton and reef roids at the same time.)

 

Thanks again for all the help. Any chance our frogspawn (or hammer?) isn't dead? We really liked that one.

 

Ok, I think your on the right path. Forget about any additional hardware your fine with the stock light. Go pick up a simple timer for it and start with an 8 hour lighting period.

 

For the hair algae, the hard part will be to manually remove as much as your can. If you can take the rocks out and scrub them, do that. 

 

You’ll need to get your Phosphate down below .1 ppm ideally with a few water changes. Next increase your nitrates up to detectable levels. I suggest either the Brightwell or Seachem nitrate products to do it. Go slow aim for about 5 ppm of nitrate.

 

Use your current 2 part and keep your KH/ALK stable, pick a number 7.5 or 8 or 8.5 and try to keep it there. Test ALK daily at the same time of day and make your adjustments very slowly.

 

Stop feeding the coral as other suggested and just concentrate on feeding your fish and inverts. Don’t buy anything else until you can keep whatever is in there alive. No fish, no coral. Maybe a snail or two for the hair algae.

 

Do small 10-15% water changes weekly and observe.  Give it a little time, this is a hobby of patience 🙂

 

Start a journal and keep it updated even if no one is commenting, it will serve as your  aquarium log.

 

 

 

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ninjamyst

Lots of great info from other reefers so I won't repeat.  Not sure if someone already mentioned this but 3 banggai cardinals in such a small tank will absolutely cause fighting.  So its expected only one survived.  Be sure to research your fish choices as you are limited to selected fish for a small tank.

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rough eye
Seadragon
10 hours ago, rough eye said:


That device is really nice considering the cheap price and you got it working as intended!  Instead of spending a few hundred dollars like I did, you can make do with the basics if you’re only keeping corals that don’t require a high PAR.

 

I just love the idea of ramping up actinic lights then the stock lights and then ramping them down later and having it all on a schedule for only a few bucks!

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Bendegeit

@sea bass Sorry. There are blue diodes that turn on with the white, and vice-versa, but the effects are blue and white and not dimmable or programmable (not stock anyway). Don't have the tools to meter the color temperature but it certainly looks 52-55Kish in white. No idea what the Kelvin is for something that blue. 77K, maybe? Or did someone say that already?

 

And yea, flowerpots get even harder to keep when we don't actually know what we're doing.

 

@Seadragon I agree. After a small amount of research looking for  'scam' and 'reviews' of the Usfullar website there's literally not enough information to call it safe. Apparently they mostly do jewelry and their customer satisfaction isn't extremely high. So I'm going with the 'too good to be true.'

 

@DevilDuck I stand corrected, having worked on assumptions. Most touch stuff default to off so I expected that of this but, after I played with it the other day I found that you are correct. It defaults to On-White when power comes back on so a timer would work. And - to be fair - several of my animals seemed to be doing fine for quite a while. The snails (another Troika yesterday) and the emerald crab only died recently. The red banded (or collared or footed or whatever) snail has been with us since at least April and the Crab since almost the same time. So I feel like the frequent heavy water changes, along with the Flux Rx, and any other knee-jerk reaction I was having at the time is likely what's taking the toll on the creatures. But again, that's me speaking without real experience or knowledge.

 

@sea bassBTW, you said you added some blue strips to your tank, secured with' automotive' tape. Which did you buy? Are they on Amazon by chance? I feel impelled to help fund Bezo's mediocre attempts in the new commercial space race.

 

@rough eye Thanks for that link. That looks like an excellent choice.

 

@ninjamyst The cardinals were my daughter's (17yo) choice as she is adamant about not giving in to the cliche of having a clown fish in a reef tank. And since technically the tank is hers, she gets to say.  and, once again, the LFS said they were schooling fish. They seemed schooling, too, as they were kept in a tank of about a dozen. That said, they neve seemed to  bother each other though they did like to find their own private part of the tank.

 

 

 

 

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seabass

What is your cardinalfish eating?

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