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minipigg

:unsure: My pH is to low....?

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10 Gallon aga

10lbs Crushed Corral

6lbs cured base rock

2 CoraLife 10W Minicompact 50/50 (adding two more next weekend)

AquaTech 5-15 powerfilter

AquaClear 20

No Skimmer yet

Yellow tail Damsel

No cleanup crew

 

Been about a month now..... I have a nice carpet of brown algae on the substrate and bas rock. Damsel is happy and doing well. My chems are as follows:

 

Temp 78

pH 7.8

Nitrate 0

Nitrite 0

Ammonia 0

sg 1.025

 

 

I had the LFS retest the water just incase I was off and they came out the same.

Ive been having trouble keeping my pH up. It goes up then back down. Hoovers at 7.8 - 8.0. I would like to try and stay away from adding chemicals. Is there anyway to add somethign natural to the tank that wont adversely effect the water chems or my livestock? The LFS said they would rather not sale me a cleaning crew un til my pH is at 8.4 and stays there for a few days to show its stable... they also told me to add some baking soda. I did read some on it and it did not seem like it was a good idea to add baking soda and that it would raise it but return back down to 7.8 in a few days.

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what type of water are you using for evaporation/top-off and waterchanges (if you've done any so far)? have you tested your kh/alkalinity?

 

which salt are you using? have you tested a freshly mixed batch of saltwater?

 

how long has the damsel been in there and how often have you been feeding?

 

could be something in your source water throwing things off, e.g. wellwater, hard water source, etc. could be a low buffer value in your salt.

 

could be organic acids from your feedings. remove the crushed coral, that's not helping the situation and may actually be causing it. trapped detritus could be decomposing and creating the organic acids depressing your pH.

 

these are the top 2~3 issues i would investigate. i'd also remove all or most of the crushed coral and replace with sand or just go bare-bottom. hth

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if the tank is not being aerated well the CO2 will build up and lower the PH. the PH will swing from day to night also, highest PH will be at the end of your light cycle and the lowest will be right before your light comes on in the morning.

 

you have probably already heard this but get more live rock.

 

use the search bar!!! you will learn alot form what other people have already gone through.

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Currenty have no live rock in the tank. The only rock I have is that 6# baserock. There is 10# crushed coral and I use Instant Ocean for my salt.

I didnt test a fresh batch of saltwater yet... but the pH for treated tap water was 7.4. I only did a 10% water change this week. I have a filter hanging on the back and the powerhead to move water. Oh I also just recently added a glass hood. Not sure if that would be responsible for depletion of gas exchanges?

Some one also mentioned using ESV B-Ionic to bring my pH up.

 

I was going to remove the crushed coral, then was told to keep it and just add the sand over it. Just earlier tonight I found the first critter in the substate. Something I did not expect being there is no live sand or live rock in the tank. Just the two base rocks. One had been sitting out of salt water for years and the other for a few weeks. It was a bristleworm. One of the good guys from what Ive read. Not sure if there is just the one or others. I really do want to add some LR and LS but have been told to wait until the full cycle has been completed. So Im kinda lost on this one. I am alo going to be modifying the hood in order to add two more CoraLife 10W Minicompact 50/50's.

 

My Damsel is eating the brown algae off the rocks... hmm? Is that ok? There is just a small bit of green algae (not green bubble algae) and some that looks black? The damsel has been in there for 3 weeks and I feed him a pinch of food 1-2 times a day. He eats it very fast.

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...but the pH for treated tap water was 7.4.
that's probaly your first issue. pure water should be pH 7.0. now i doubt we can get it to be exactly that (i think it actually dips below 7.0 for ultra pure water due to H+ interaction) but 7.4 is very high for "purified" water. there's something forcing the pH up that high, buffers not caught by the tapwater filter, which is a pos imho (aq. pharm's?).

 

Some one also mentioned using ESV B-Ionic to bring my pH up.
bionic's great but you could be you'd be fighting an eternal war with your pH/alk/hardness with it. and frankly, eventually, you'll lose imo as you lose control of the input levels because you don't really know what's coming in via the tapwater.

 

very few people in our hobby have good enough tapwater for their tanks, filtered and unfiltered. it's always safer to go distilled, RO, or RO/DI. it can be done with tapwater but again, only a few people/regions have sufficiently clean tap ime.

 

I was going to remove the crushed coral, then was told to keep it and just add the sand over it. Just earlier tonight I found the first critter in the substate.
remove the cc. saving a few minor critters ain't worth the hell and hassle. you'll get a hell of a lot more when you get your LR.

 

btw, you can jump right into getting LR/LS (holding off now is still a good idea though because of the other problems) but i'd switch out the cc and switch water sources first. not doing those changes will just compound your issues and make this monumentally more difficult imo.

 

My Damsel is eating the brown algae off the rocks... hmm? Is that ok? There is just a small bit of green algae (not green bubble algae) and some that looks black? The damsel has been in there for 3 weeks and I feed him a pinch of food 1-2 times a day. He eats it very fast.
the brown's probably diatoms and the green is probably cyano (it's not always red/maroon color, sometimes green/black).

 

the damsel may eat fast but i'm sure he also poops fast. i can't reiterate enough, get rid of the cc. you can do a tank with it but it requires a lot more work and very little nutrient input. but imo you've already loaded your system (move the cc a bit, it'll likely kick up a mini-storm of crappie). good luck!

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Water tests out at:

 

Temp 78

pH 8.2

Nitrate 0

Nitrite 0

Ammonia 0

sg 1.026

 

Livestock to date:

One Yellowtailed Damsel

Two+ Bristleworms

Three blue legged hermit crabs

Three micro red tube worms

Five different snails.

 

I put in several small pieces of live rock into the tank. Most are about the size of golf balls. 7 total costing me about 14 bucks. So far Ive noticed a few hitchhiking snails. All rocks are covered in thick corralline algae. Im not sure what the weight is but it has to be at least 2 pounds. I came close to getting a blue crab as one of the hitchhikers but the LFS guy saw him and knocked it off the rock. This was the oldest LR they had in the one tank. The rest didnt have much of anything. These are small pieces that no body wanted and work perfect in a tank my size.

 

Going to add more live rock this week. The live rock I picked out before had been in the tank forever. No one wanted it even though it had allot of growth on it. Im going to grab the rest this week. Might equate to another 1.5-2.0 pounds.

 

Not sure what I need to test for now that I have the hermit crabs and the tube worms.

 

Ive also decided that this tank is going to become a refuge. I am going to begin another tank with 3+ inches of live sand and then transfer some of the live stock over to the new tank. My wife wants me to get an all in one tank because she likes the way they look. Ive got this other ten aga tank I wanted to use and its free.... soooo... what to use? what to buy?

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Edited by minipigg

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I added another 1.5 pounds of LR. One of the LR had what appears to be some sort of muscles? This week I have a decent sized LR that I am going to be introducing into the tank. About the size of a soda can.

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Your PH will change throughout the day. My local reef club just had a discussion about this. Your PH is low in the morning and high at night.

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Your PH will change throughout the day. My local reef club just had a discussion about this. Your PH is low in the morning and high at night.

 

I want to get my refuge up as soon as possible. That way I can alternate the light and hopefully keep the pH somewhat balanced around the clock. Also should I clean the sides of the tank or allow it to go away on its own?

 

 

What are your thoughts on adding more of a cleanup crew? Is there such thing as to much LR?

 

I spoke with my LFS today when I bought the LR. I think I am going to trade the yellowtail damsel in for a Fangblenny. I actually get a credit for the damsel so the fangblenny will cost me about 15 bucks.

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what type of water are you using for evaporation/top-off and waterchanges (if you've done any so far)? have you tested your kh/alkalinity?

 

which salt are you using? have you tested a freshly mixed batch of saltwater?

 

how long has the damsel been in there and how often have you been feeding?

 

could be something in your source water throwing things off, e.g. wellwater, hard water source, etc. could be a low buffer value in your salt.

 

could be organic acids from your feedings. remove the crushed coral, that's not helping the situation and may actually be causing it. trapped detritus could be decomposing and creating the organic acids depressing your pH.

 

these are the top 2~3 issues i would investigate. i'd also remove all or most of the crushed coral and replace with sand or just go bare-bottom. hth

 

 

 

I believe I am having the same problem.

I was using my book as reference and I thought 7.8 were ok for a reef aquarium.

 

I used distilled water to top off, which I just did on Sunday

Since my tank is cycling I haven’t done a water change.

 

I am using tropic marin

My last test readings

 

PH 7.8

Nitrate 40

Nitrite 0.5

Ammonia 0.2

Alk 3.0 meq/L

Calcium 405 ppm

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Well.. since I put in more live rock with coralline... the pH has remained stable 8.2 .

 

I am going to buy 5 more pounds from another SW LFS. These two rocks have well establish coralline and attached hitchhikers. He wants 10 bucks a pound. He also had some nice deco lr but it was way more.

 

I dont know... maybe I can buy it cheaper and better quality online lfs but this was much better then the LR I had already purchased from the other SW LFS. We only have two saltwater lfs's in this town so I dont have much of a choice.

 

I also added more blue leg'd hermit crabs and the LR I put in the other day has some nice tube worms hiden inside the rock. Saw them waving in the current when I got home today. There are some copapods in the water but I really am not sure if they are going to survive in the tank the way it is. There was also some plant life that came with the rock but I dont know what kind. the lfs said it was good plant but who knows. Its peagreen and stalky like thick tree twigs.

 

Also some conflicting info on the skimmer. One LFs tells me I need to get a skimmer now... the other told me today that I dont need a skimmer for another 2 or 3 months. I was thinking about making a cassette skimmer but Im not sure where it goes... plus it seems like an enclosed box with some slots in it... doesnt make much sense on how it works and so far no one in teh diy forums has answered my Q's. I dont have anyone here I can talk with about it as they have 55+ aga sw tanks and look at me like im some sort of weird freak when I tell them I have a sw tank and its a 10aga.

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I am going to buy 5 more pounds from another SW LFS. These two rocks have well establish coralline and attached hitchhikers. He wants 10 bucks a pound. He also had some nice deco lr but it was way more.
that's highway robbery, plain and simple. screw that guy. maybe if it was $5~$8 for uber-live but $10+? fergetaboutit.

 

wait until you get corals. most frags will have some rock base and that rock will usually be uber-live rock quality because it has been handled so delicately (because of the coral sitting on top of it). btw, this is the basis of my recommendations for 'soft cycling' rock.

 

Also some conflicting info on the skimmer. One LFs tells me I need to get a skimmer now... the other told me today that I dont need a skimmer for another 2 or 3 months. I was thinking about making a cassette skimmer but Im not sure where it goes... plus it seems like an enclosed box with some slots in it... doesnt make much sense on how it works and so far no one in teh diy forums has answered my Q's.
the 'cassette skimmer' is for surface skimmer. completely different concept than protein skimming, which is likely what your lfs's are talking about.

 

surface skimming, of some sort, is near-mandatory imho and should be done from day-one. this allows proper gas exchange to occur, better aeration, more effective protein skimming, better light transmission, etc.

 

protein skimming is more optional imo (depending on your filtration/feeding). if you're vigilent on those other issues than you could avoid protein skimming, but i figure ps'ing doesn't hurt.

 

although, admittedly i don't run protein skimmers on 3 of the 4 tanks i currently have. but that's more space and aesthetic issues than my not believing they're effective waste extractors (i run a mrc-2 skimmer on my 72g display, overkill? maybe, but i sleep well at night with it running. ;) ). hth

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tinyreef.... thanks... I really appreciate you answering my Q's.....

 

I do have a nice clean 8mm cassette that is still in the plasitc... I was thinking about making that into a surface skimmer. But like I admit earlier... Im not sure were to place it in the tank or how an enclosed box with some lines cut in it is going to fliter out surface junk. Also how wide do you make the cuts into the plastic? Can you make it like a comb or do they need to be wider?

 

tinyreef.... thanks... I really appreciate you answering my Q's.....

 

I do have a nice clean 8mm cassette that is still in the plasitc... I was thinking about making that into a surface skimmer. But like I admit earlier... Im not sure were to place it in the tank or how an enclosed box with some lines cut in it is going to fliter out surface junk. Also how wide do you make the cuts into the plastic? Can you make it like a comb or do they need to be wider?

 

oh... what about buying rock from these folks?

 

http://www.tbsaltwater.com/

Edited by minipigg

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tinyreef.... thanks... I really appreciate you answering my Q's.....
np, everyone started at the beginning at one time. ;) and your questions show you've done some research/reading. kudos!

 

I do have a nice clean 8mm cassette that is still in the plasitc... I was thinking about making that into a surface skimmer. But like I admit earlier... Im not sure were to place it in the tank or how an enclosed box with some lines cut in it is going to fliter out surface junk. Also how wide do you make the cuts into the plastic? Can you make it like a comb or do they need to be wider?
the concept with the cassette skimming is if the setup doesn't have a cascade/waterfall effect already built-in, i.e. overflow box, sump tube, etc.. the cassette skimmer 'creates' a small waterfall-effect that allows the watersurface's proteins/scum/dust/cat hair to re-mix into the body of water to be either filtered out by a protein skimmer or a particulate filter cartidge (e.g. floss) or a chemical filter medium (e.g. carbon). if the waterfall/cascade-effect didn't exist, then all that crappie just stays and builds up at the water's surface. blech.

 

i believe there's a thread in DIY for this cassette project though. that would detail it step-by-step and go over the why's more than i did. i think undertheradar or reeferbuddah(?) was the first to make it waaay back. your best bet is to dig that thread out and read it over. some of the pics might be gone though but you could contact the original poster and get them maybe.

 

oh... what about buying rock from these folks? http://www.tbsaltwater.com/
while i've never personally used them, friends and commentaries have always been good for their rocks ime. that speaks volumes imo as you'll always get an occasional flub or disgruntled customer/vendor but afaik tbs's has a 100% record.

 

there, i just jinxed them for you. :P

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Ive been testing my water almost everyday. Now that the tank has cycled somewhat.... at what intervals should I be testing now? 1 time a week? 2 times a week?

 

I have also been doing at least 10% water change everyday with a large water change at least one time a week (30-60%). Should I continue with this or slow it down a bit?

 

Do I need to feed the tubeworms special diet?

 

I have 6 blue leg hermits in the tank. They have almost stripped the substrate clean and the large base rock is now being cleaned off. Do I need to worry about them having enough to eat? Same with some of the tigerstripped snails that hitchhiked on some LR.

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i'd test once a week for now. if after a month or so you see no changes you can scale back and so on until you just watch the livestock for changes. by then, you should be able to spot differences in the water conditions based upon the reactions of the livestock (body changes, coloration, growth speed, presence or absence of certain organisms, etc.).

 

i'd also start scaling back on your waterchanges to a 10%~25%/week schedule. imo, 10%/week is sufficient. just make sure your source water and salt are fine and you should be good to go.

 

i don't bother with the hitchhiker tubeworms (itty-bitty ones). i let them fend for themselves and they easily proliferate. if you're talking about the bigger ones they're too gross for me to want to rear and frankly i'm not good with them (i had 10 sent to me once by accident). maybe someone with better/more experience with them can chime in.

 

you could feed the blues if they've scoured the tank clean. if you don't meet their requirements, they'll just take it out on each other or the snails! i'd give them little bits if they're that efficient. if there's still stuff on the ground, i'd let them rummage thru that but keep an eye on their aggressiveness.

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Well I found out today that one of the animals I thought was another tubeworm is actually a non reef friendly anenome. I forget the name of it...

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Well I found out today that one of the animals I thought was another tubeworm is actually a non reef friendly anenome. I forget the name of it...

Cerianthus?

 

i'm not sure about non-reef friendly but they definitely aren't hosting types of anemones.

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Cerianthus?

 

i'm not sure about non-reef friendly but they definitely aren't hosting types of anemones.

 

That looks like the animal. I havent killed it yet.

 

On another note..............

 

The blue leg hermit crabs have just about picked the tank clean. There have been a few fights between them but I just thought it might have been ,"Hey! I want your shell!" type fighting.

 

 

When I arrived at home today I was greeted by my wife. She is giving me a heads up on a fish my young daughter bought. Hmm? Fish? Seeing how I've been working so hard getting this nano tank established I rush to the tank to see whats the fuss. What I find causes me blood pressure to elevate. Im not upset with my daughter or wife and I let them know. The fish was a domino damsel. Which is not a big deal for the most part. The issue is whats on the domino damel. The damsel appears to have gross amounts of necrotic tissue falling away from its mid to distal dorsal and top forward to rear section of the rear caudal. Same with the tips of the front pectorals. I can see parasites in some of the dead tissues. The damsel looks like the living dead. I am not very pleased with this LFS. As mentioned before we only have two SW LFS's in the area. This one has completely displaced any confidence I carried for them.

 

My daughter is young and tiny for her age. She was very excited to have just received her ceriticate for graduating the 2nd grade and this was a present to herself. I only wish I had been home to help her. It was heart breaking knowing that the owner of the LFS had just taken my daughter for her money that she had been saving for a fish. I handled her with care and explained our next step. I then collected the damsel from the tank and continued to keep my toughts to myself as not to weight in on her sadness.

 

As we enter the LFs the owner looks to the floor. So do you think he "knew" what he had done? I sense he did. He did not even argue with me. I told him the fish was being returned and he just opened the register up and handed me the refund. I told him I was not the buyer, so he passed it over to my daughter. No words, no sorry, nothing.

Well she was very heart broken. So I have a dilemma at hand. I feel my tank is completely tainted now, as well as my daughters feelings. I do not want to add any more fish to the tank after what happened. I would rather sit and wait to see how things develope. I also want to make my daughter happy. So against my better judgement we head over to the other SW LFS. She looks at the current stock and asks some questions to the salesman. I follow up and she decides on a juvenile Maroon Clown Fish. Looks as if we have a large reef tank in our future. For now the clown is doing well.

 

Now I need to watch over the tank......... feedback?

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don't kill the tube anemone, trade it into the lfs. i'm sure they'll pass it on to some poor unsuspecting beginner or sell it for a lot to a another reefer.

 

as for the fish and daughter, maybe you can get her an eclipse setup, e.g. 3g explorer, 3g, or 6g as a fowlr or fo. the biowheel process in those setups is very efficient for fish only's. that way your daughter can have nemo and it's not encroaching your tank.

 

some people might bark at that but i've done far worst and far smaller with very happy fish. once they outgrow the tank, a couple of years from now, either upgrade or trade in.

 

i'd hesitate to put another type of clownfish in those small setups (i.e. maroon, tomato, etc.). percs and ocells are fine imo though. for your (20g?) it's going to be tight depending on that maroon's temperment.

 

get some extra shells for the blues. go to a craft store and check out their seashells. clean them up and put 'em in.

 

at least now you have a junior reefer research assistant with your daughter! :happy:

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I have her helping me with the tank. She aids in testing the water and doing water changes. I figure when the time comes and I set a tank up for her... well she will more then likely be setting her own tank up.

 

Here is my tank set up to date:

 

10 Gallon aga

10lbs Crushed Corral

6lbs cured base rock

3-4lbs of LR

2 CoraLife 10W Minicompact 50/50 (adding two more next weekend)

AquaTech 5-15 powerfilter

AquaClear 20 powerhead

No Skimmer yet

Yellow tail Damsel (going to be trading him in this week)

Maroon Clownfish

6 blue leg hermit crabs

5-7 tiny snails (not sure what kind)

5+ bristleworms

 

I started getting these white spots all over the tank. They looked like small clumps of white ash. I tried to see if they would wash off with a few jets of water. Today I noticed they are getting bigger. I counted them and gave up at 45. They are all over the LR and base rock. I moved a small rock next to the glass and then later in the day checked it out. They are tiny tubeworms. Which I think is cool as it tells me I must be doing something right. Then again Im still new so maybe It's normal.

 

I move the powerhead to different parts of the tank. My mindset in doing this is the ocean dosnt just flow in one dirrection. I normally place it in a different place each day.

 

Anything else I can do to make the tank better?

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even worse news.

The folks over at wet web media, who I usually believe more than anything else say that 8.4 is best. Seems high, but everything I own is doing SO much better since I bumped it up to 8.4.

Good luck.

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even worse news.

The folks over at wet web media, who I usually believe more than anything else say that 8.4 is best. Seems high, but everything I own is doing SO much better since I bumped it up to 8.4.

Good luck.

\

 

Im sure with a bit more time the pH will continue to go up.

My daughter named her Clownfish Mr. Waffle. She wants to know what is the best anemone to buy? And are there any stationary ones or do they all wounder around the tank?

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the anemone seems to be like the pitbull question.

I have friends with beautiful pitbulls that wouldn't hurt a flea.

NOT A FLEA.

I have friends with beautiful anemone's under PC lighting for 3 years.

 

I also have friends that have anemones that die, are huge jerks, or kill everything in the tanks and only the anemone are alive.

 

Risky.

Thats what I say.

 

risky.

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Ok, here are some new pics of the tank. We traded the yellowtail damsel in and now just have the maroon clown. Ive added some snails and plants. Also added another zoa and fraged the larger colony. I am still going to add some more live rock and then transfer everything over to another tank. Looking at a 20aga long.

 

 

 

 

few more pics

 

pics

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Edited by minipigg

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