ideal conditions to start a reef

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by wiggy69, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. wiggy69

    wiggy69

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    Alright i have had fowlr tanks for a while now and they do fine minus the brown cynobacteria that i get from time to time. I put some yellow button polyps in the other day and they dont seem to like my water i know they are usually a pretty hardy coral but they arent coming out near as far as they were at the LFS. I have been adding calcium and essential elements by kent marine for a bout a month before i bought them and my conditions are as follows i have 110 watts of lighting using 50/50 daylight/actinic lights, salinity 1.025, temp about 78 Fahrenheit, nitrates about 30, ph about 7.8, nitrites ammonia 0, running a penguin 400 and a penguin 150, and a cpr backpak 2 skimmer, any help would be great
    Thanks
    Eric
     
    wiggy69, Jul 4, 2008
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  2. wiggy69

    dustin_P74

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    nitrates are too high and your pH is to low
     
    dustin_P74, Jul 4, 2008
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  3. wiggy69

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Hi and welcome!

    First off, your lights are not strong enough to sustain any corals, even the low light ones. 110 watts of lighting over a 125 gallon tank is not even 1 watt per gallon. You should aim for at least 4 watts per gallon, and that is just for the corals with the lowest lighting needs (zoanthids, mushrooms and softies). If you want to keep LPS corals, you should aim for more than that, while clams and SPS require even more. Anemones need the most, and usually need around 8 or 9 watts per gallon at least.

    Next, your nitrates are high. Understandable for a fish only tank. Fish can tolerate high nitrates, but corals and inverts can't. 30 is in the area where they will start to harm your inverts. For corals, you need to keep nitrates as close to zero as possible, but under 20 is okay.

    In order to keep corals, you will first need to upgrade lights. If yours is a standard sized 125 gallon tank, you could go with either T5s or metal halides. In the meantime, you will need to work on improving your water quality -- do regular water changes of 10 to 20% weekly of RODI water -- not tap water, which can lead to major algae problems and can contain things that will harm your animals. If your nitrates don't come down, up the amount or the frequency.

    Certain types of equipment will lead to high nitrates also. Penguin filters tend to do this unless the media inside of them is cleaned very thoroughly once a week or once every other week. Same with canister filters and wet/dry filters. If you are wanting a reef tank, I'd get rid of the Penguins and buy a better protein skimmer. If you have 1 to 2 lbs of live rock per gallon and a good skimmer, that will take care of your filtration.

    Also, you do not need to be adding calcium and essential elements. That's just wasting your money right now. For easy corals (like the button polyps you picked up), they will get any elements they need from your salt mix. They also do not have strict calcium requirements. You shouldn't be adding anything like that unless you have tested your water first and determined a deficiency (which I doubt you have).
     
    Bifferwine, Jul 4, 2008
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  4. wiggy69

    wiggy69

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    its a 46 bow sorry about the confusion. haha
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2008
    wiggy69, Jul 5, 2008
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  5. wiggy69

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    That's still just over 2 watts per gallon, still not enough. Sorry...
     
    Bifferwine, Jul 5, 2008
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  6. wiggy69

    Doc I don't work for anybody

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    as Biff pointed out, the lighting will be your biggest challenge. Lighting choice should be determined by the types of coral you want to keep. Most people here like T-5 lighting because none of us are rich (cough, except Biff, cough)and they get good results with all coral and are cheaper to run than MH.

    Your nitrates are a bit high, but still within what soft corals will tolerate. SPS will not like them much higher than they currently are. Increasing water changes will help to lower them as well as reducing the amount of nutrient in the water (too much food, dirty filters, etc).

    I would also recommend running a phosphate remover such as phosguard. High phosphates wilt corals pretty quick. Good luck.

    -Doc
     
    Doc, Jul 5, 2008
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  7. wiggy69

    poolshark181

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    t5's can get expensive as well, i opted for a metal halide pendant for my 40g.
     
    poolshark181, Jul 5, 2008
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  8. wiggy69

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    Everybody already has you pretty well covered.
    So,Welcome to the reef.
     
    yote, Jul 5, 2008
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  9. wiggy69

    dustin_P74

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    if your a diy person then you can go for MH retro kits and that will be your cheapest and best option
     
    dustin_P74, Jul 5, 2008
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  10. wiggy69

    wiggy69

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    where do i find one of these retro metal halide kits at? Thanks for the info been told alot of different stuff i kinda already knew the lighting wasnt sufficient i though i would ask first. What are some good get what ya pay for lighting systems?
    Thanks
    Eric
     
    wiggy69, Jul 5, 2008
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  11. wiggy69

    Piggy

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    Welcome to the reef.
     
    Piggy, Jul 5, 2008
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  12. wiggy69

    RyanG ^*Eternal Dumbass*^

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    RyanG, Jul 5, 2008
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  13. wiggy69

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    I agree -- for a 46 gallon tank, metal halides will cost twice as much as T5s, and have the potential to heat your water up a lot.

    What is the length of your tank?
     
    Bifferwine, Jul 5, 2008
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  14. wiggy69

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    T-5s are the way to go on anything less than 90 gallons IMO.
    Enough light for your corals,without the heat.Plus the bulbs last longer.
     
    yote, Jul 5, 2008
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  15. wiggy69

    wiggy69

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    its 36 inches, long im gonna start doing water changes on Mondays until nitrates go down.
    Thanks
    Eric
     
    wiggy69, Jul 6, 2008
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  16. wiggy69

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    A 36" T5 fixture won't be TOO expensive, and will allow you to keep pretty much anything you want to keep.
     
    Bifferwine, Jul 6, 2008
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  17. wiggy69

    wiggy69

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    any recommendations on brand? I looked at the currents briefly but i havent really researched it much yet? Asking you guys first to get an idea
    Thanks
    Eric Wiget
     
    wiggy69, Jul 7, 2008
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  18. wiggy69

    dustin_P74

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    the nova extreme pros are fairly inexpensive and the best t-5's for the price, plus they have individual reflectors
     
    dustin_P74, Jul 7, 2008
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  19. wiggy69

    wiggy69

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    alright ill check it out any other recommendations? What does everybody think about the orbit systems with the metal halides?
     
    wiggy69, Jul 7, 2008
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  20. wiggy69

    dustin_P74

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    metal halides on your tank will make you have to get a chiller because it will heat your tank up too much, stick to t-5's, it will save you money for other things on your tank.
     
    dustin_P74, Jul 7, 2008
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