Brand new to reef tanks

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by billiebob, Jul 2, 2005.

  1. billiebob

    billiebob

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    Hello everyone. My husband and I are new to the saltwater reef tanks. We had an established chilid tank (20 yrs), but lost everything with hurricane Isabel - so since we had to start over, decided to try saltwater. We have a 180 gal. tank, 1200 gal/hr. wet/dry trickle filter with bio-balls, magnum flow 1800/hr. pump; approximately 4 inches of marine sand and crushed coral, and 140 lbs. of live rock on top of the sand. We have been getting bad advise from out local pet store owner - who, we thought was supposed to know what he is doing!! He told us it was alright to put fish in our tank, after the live rock had been in place for a couple of weeks. We put a molly, yellow tang, queen angel, flame angel, and some damsels, a cowfish, a tomato clown - all on his advise. Well, now we know that we overstocked the tank and of course we lost all of the above except for the molly - a very expensive lesson to learn the hard way. The last water test we did, everything was okay except for the phosphate, so we have added phosguard, and I need to check that again today. Then someone else told us maybe the copper level is too high - well, what else do we need to check and where to we get all the kits we need to check everything? We have the basic testing kit that checks nitrate, ammonia, nitrite and ph, then we picked up the kit to check the phosphate. Whew - we just want to get this stuff right! Oh yes, we are wondering now if our "pet shop guy" gave us good live rock - it is supposed to be from figi and he cycled it in his shop before bringing it to us - so all we did was place it in the tank - but I can't tell if anything is growing?? Right now we have the brown/reddish algae on it. We had a cleanup crew consisting of hermit crabs and astrae snails. We still have the hermits, but all of the snails died. Sorry this is so long, but as you can see, we are getting quite frustrated and just need some "real" help from someone that knows what they are doing.

    Thank you so much and again, I apologize that this is sooooo long.
     
    billiebob, Jul 2, 2005
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  2. billiebob

    Chris

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    Wow, what a shame to loose so many. I will default this message to some of the experts but I wanted to say welcome aboard and hopefully we can give you some better advise. Could you post all of the levels your test kits are showing you? Also what temp and salinity you are keeping your tank at. Thanks!
     
    Chris, Jul 2, 2005
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  3. billiebob

    billiebob

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    Thanks for your reply Chris

    I have just completed water testing and here are the results:

    Nitrite 0
    Ammonia betweetn 0 - .25
    Nitrate between 0 - 5.0
    PH - 8.2
    Phospate - 1
    Saltinity between 1.021 - 1. 022
    Water temp - 79

    Thanks in advance for any help you can give us.

    billiebob
     
    billiebob, Jul 2, 2005
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  4. billiebob

    fishman

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    All your parameters look good .The salinity needs to be a little higher for a reef tank 1.025.That is what the ocean will read and you what to match conditions of the ocean as close as possible with a reef your salinity is OK for a FO only tank. The cow fish could have been your problem .Your lfs should not have sold you a cowfish without telling you the special care that they need .If a cowfish gets stressed at all he will release a toxin that will poison the entire tank.The LONGHORNED COWFISH is infamous for poisoning a tank.But do not give up that is the most important thing.I had several bad problems when i first started .After I got things right and talking on the chat and asking questions and fixing some of the problems I had it was smooth sailing .Research a fish or coral on the net to see if it has special needs before you buy .Lfs is there with his hand out to get your money for a item that has no guarantee. .So If he makes the sell he is home free . GOOD LUCK
     
    fishman, Jul 2, 2005
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  5. billiebob

    billiebob

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    Wow, thanks for that information on the cow fish!! Needless to say, we no longer put our trust in our Lfs, and are doing more of our own research on the internet. That's how I found you guys and it is nice to be able to chat with someone who has "been there" and "done that". We will add some more salt to the tank to bring the level up too.

    Hope everyone has a nice 4th of July!!

    billiebob
     
    billiebob, Jul 3, 2005
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  6. billiebob

    Chris

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    Chris, Jul 3, 2005
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  7. billiebob

    jhnrb

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    Sorry to hear of your losses. your tank is not cycled yet. takes about 3 months minimum, and 8 months to a year for the system to completely stablize. so, in the mean time, test and tweak. if you still have ammonia, see what the cause is and correct it. same with other parameters. when you add something add slow and take your time and be patient. best to make a list of the aminals you want, read on each one and add the most aggressive last. freshly mixed salt water is not acceptable to add to your tank and if live animals exist do not add salt directly to the sump or tank. salt mix should be mixed and airiated for at least 24 hrs preferably 48 to 72 and be brought up to the same temperature as the tank. Temperature will affect salinity so always test salinity at tank temperature. you can purchase a container (rubbermaid etc) to mix up your fresh salt water and put in a pump and heater. after up to temperature, mixed 24 to 72 hours and airiate as well, you can then safely do a water change. you can increase your tank salinity gradulally by adding new mix at 1.026 in gradual amounts until the tank reaches between 1.024 and 1.025, then all you need to do is top off your tank in future changes with water before doing a water change. do not use salt water for makeup as that will increase the salinity. you may do it this way to increase your salinity initially but after adjusted always top off with regular water (ro or di 0r other) and then use the prepared seasoned mix to do a water change. cleanup crew first, detritus eaters and sand stirrers next, maybe a harty few fish next. wait between each addition and test. if you are reading any ammonia do not add any new animals. careful on the snails, a food source must be available for the number added and so with the crabs. if too many are added they will tend to attack the snails and each other also if is not enough shells available for the crabs to move on and grow will kill for better shell. finally go slow and build up the bio load slowly to give your system a chance to adjust to each new addition. hope something here helps.. im adding a couple pictures of my system which has Hawiian rock on bottom and figi on top. pics not good but you will be able to see the figi well enough maybe to comepare to what your bought. good luck with your system and welcome to the forum. come join us in the chat room as you can.
     
    jhnrb, Jul 3, 2005
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  8. billiebob

    minireefer

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    Sometimes the lfs will give good info but most the time they just want your dollars I hope he was willing to give some credit for the fish if not you report him to the better business bureau.Try get your Salinity alittle higher(1.024-1.025). PH(8.2-8.3) will not be consistent till the tank is fully cycled.You put some cheap damsels in your tank for a month to finish the cycle out.They will survive most any thing.They are a pain to get rid of though when your ready for the tanks permanent fish.Your live rock will be fine it just takes time to mature.I agree that cowfish can be dangerous if they die but not all the time.I would keep them with peaceful fish so they are not picked.I had a yellow box cowfish it was a fun fish.Pervious replys have covered everything else so I will close.Good luck to you
     
    minireefer, Jul 6, 2005
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  9. billiebob

    billiebob

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    Thank everyone for all of your advise and information. We have not added the salt yet, so I am glad to read how to add it to the tank !! Tried to print it out to keep on hand, but for some reason my printer isn't working ....

    Anyhow - will try to keep you posted on our success/ or otherwise. Our rock has some brown colorations, which I assume is algae, and there is also some purple color on some of the rocks - so I hope that is good :)

    billiebob
     
    billiebob, Jul 8, 2005
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  10. billiebob

    jhnrb

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    Purple is very good
     
    jhnrb, Jul 8, 2005
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  11. billiebob

    minireefer

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    agreed Purple is good brown algae is common in new tanks.Keep an eye on the phosphates.also a good clean up crew will help out (differant snails and hermits).Is the algae slimy it could also be red slime bacteria.
     
    minireefer, Jul 11, 2005
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  12. billiebob

    billiebob

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    The parameters are the same as my first posting on them - the phosphate is still at 1, but we have ordered something that is supposed to help with that. Our local shop doesn't have much to choose from so we have to order most things. We have tried the phosguard and it did bring it down a little, but we have ordered a liquid this time - I can't think of the name of it right now. We did have a cleanup crew of astrae snails and hermit crabs, but all of the snails died after about 3-4 days - so we need to get a few more snails now.
     
    billiebob, Jul 13, 2005
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  13. billiebob

    minireefer

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    minireefer, Jul 14, 2005
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  14. billiebob

    Apestyler

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    Apestyler, Jul 15, 2005
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