Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated,,

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by apprentice reefer, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. apprentice reefer

    apprentice reefer

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    I have an Aqua one 980,, ( with a sump tank below and protein skimmer,(about 70 odd gallons in total), i started to cycle the tank about 5 weeks ago,, with some live rock from my local aquarist shop,, about 3 weeks into the cycle i noticed the brown algae,, this has never gone away fully,,, about 2 weeks ago i was advised to introduce my clean up crew,, 6 micro hermits, 2 trocha snails and 2 strom snails,, the stroms eat like pigs,, always moving around the tank, appearing happy, ive since lost one of my trocha snails,, and 4 of my micro hermits since died,, i water change about 10% every 5 days, warming the water first to the temp of the tank, and make sure the salinity is as close to perfect as i can get,, this weekend i introduced 3 small soft corals,, and my first fish,, a damsel,, the poor guy lasted 3 days before swimming upside down,, my soft mushroom coral showed all its colour in the first day,, putting out its small tentacle things to feed, but since then he hasnt showed colour since,, my other small soft coral sticks his tentacles out to feed most days, appearing happy,, i also introduced a nanostream 6045 this weeken as i felt there wasnt enough water movement in the tank,, even though i have to delivery pipes into the top of the tank,, i felt the bottom of the tank wasnt recieving enough water movement,, i added 3 more hermit crabs this weekend also, and within 24 hours 1 had died, and one left his shell,, my water tests have showed 0 amonia, nitrite, and 8.2ph, for a few weeks now,, but i feel i am struggling to get my nitrate to zero,, usually its between zero and 5ppm,, could any of you great people tell me what i am doing wrong? any direction or advice would be greatly appreciated,, i am doing my best to keep the water temp around 25/26 degree,,, and water change every 5 days, about 10%,, was gutted to loose my little fish, and want to get this right, but without rushing things,,, all what i have done so far has been on the recommendation of my aquarist who i feel is very knowledgeable on aquariums,, a big thanks to anyone who reads this,,, its very much appreciated :D
     
    apprentice reefer, Jul 13, 2011
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    Smitty

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    Hello and welcome to the site...glad to have you aboard. This hobby can be a bit frustrating, but I'm sure we can get you in the right direction.
    Now, you said you cycled youre tank before adding any livestock, did you acclimate your crabs, snails and fish to the tank...best way to do this is with a slow drip.
    Your nitrate aren't bad at all, so continue to do your water changes...that's not what's killing your livestock. When you do water changes, are you using tap/sink water, if so, switch to r/o water instead.
    That brown dusty algae in the tank are diatoms, and are natural...they'll go away after awhile.
    What type of light do you have over your tank...corals need intense lighting, which is why the corals may not be as vibrant any more.
    Don't get discouraged, and feel free to ask questions...that's why we're here. :)
     
    Smitty, Jul 13, 2011
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    little_fish Moderator

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    Hello and Welcome!

    Smitty has you covered with the questions, we will get you sorted out.

    Also, soft corals shouldnt have feeder tentacles. If you post pictures of your corals we can help you properly identify them.
     
    little_fish, Jul 13, 2011
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    ErinCahir Sausage Wrangler

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    Hello and welcome!
     
    ErinCahir, Jul 13, 2011
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    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    Welcome to the site!

    +2 smitty

    How did you acclimate your damsel? Again, like with the inverts, a drip acclimation is the best route. I usually take 2-3 hours to acclimate my fish. It could also have just been a sick fish to begin with. It happens.

    What are you using to test? Dropper test kit, or strips? And how are you checking your salinity?
     
    wontonflip, Jul 13, 2011
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    Sir Alex Dragon the eel (below)

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    Hmm, I guess acclimating my birttle star for an hour wasn't as long as I thought. Live and learn I guess. :-?

    I didn't acclimate my cc sea star. I'm glad he was fine. :|
     
    Sir Alex, Jul 14, 2011
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  7. apprentice reefer

    apprentice reefer

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    i have the tv5 lighting,,,(3 lights in total, a blue one, white one, and one that looks slightly pink to me, all in the top hood) i bought the whole system together so,,, am on a very steep learning curve but doing my best,,, i acclimatised my damsel for only an hour, and slowly introduced water from the tank to his bag that he came in,, he seemed fine for a couple of days,, i am using the API salt water master test kit, i have been using tap water for my water changes but was also advised to add the correct measure of "Seachem" "Prime",,, so felt i was doing the right thing,,, i want to get this right before adding anything else now so,, could anyone advise me if i should be looking to go down the route of getting myself a reverse osmosis filter, so, increasing my chances of good water quality??? i live in south australia where the tap water i am assuming comes direct from the artesian basin,,, but also feel there are a lot of naturally occuring minerals here,, so felt maybe the revers osmosis filter may be the way to go,,, i am not worried about the price of my set up,,, i just want to make sure all the little fellas are ok,,, and i certainly dont want to loose another fish,, so would rather do what ever i have to first to increase my chances of success,,, so any advice on the water filter would be highly recommended,, thanks ever so much for all your help so far,,, i am sure you will be hearing from me again,,, and as soon as i get time i will post a couple of pics of the four soft corals i have got in the tank,,, thanks once again,, and look forward to hearing from you :)
     
    apprentice reefer, Jul 14, 2011
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  8. apprentice reefer

    apprentice reefer

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    sorry but i cant actually work out how to post a few pics of the soft corals,,, i try to add pic, but it asks me for the http://,,, and i am not sure then how to attach them,, thanks once again for your help, its appreciated
     
    apprentice reefer, Jul 14, 2011
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    cms722

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    I am quite new to the hobby as well so I will let everyone else chime in as far as the r/o unit. But everyone has told me that it is a must to at least use r/o water. Even if you are buying it from your lfs. As for the pics. You can create a photobucket account and upload whatever pics you want to post on there and then copy the image/html code right into here and it should work just fine. Its what I use. Let us know if you have any other problems.
     
    cms722, Jul 14, 2011
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    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    I can't vouch for your water, but I certainly don't trust MY tap :) When I first started the hobby, I had nitrates of 120pm...kept doing water changes, it wouldn't go down. So I tested my tap and it had I think 20ppm of nitrates in it DOH LOL Getting an ro/di unit would at least ensure good water quality, since you don't mind buying one.
     
    wontonflip, Jul 14, 2011
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    Northstar24 The Tang Herder

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    Welcome to the site.

    It sounds as though you have finished your cycle, especially since you have been able to keep some inverts and corals at least somewhat successfully.

    I would suggest taking some of your water to your fish store and have them test it. I had to do this after purchasing TWO bad API kits during my cycle. I would see if they get the same results that you do just to be safe. Most good fish stores will run basic water tests free of charge (The ones I frequent do anyway) and if not free, a for a nominal charge.

    Its possible that the fish you purchased could have already been sick or stressed. When looking at fish, ask to see them eat before purchasing. You also want to make sure they are alert and interested in thier surroundings. Some baseline reasearch on the fish your interested in will help you determine what to look for. You can ask for advice here, look up the fish species on wet web media (www.wetwebmedia.com) or LiveAquaria (www.liveaquaria.com)

    I would double check the water readings and look into a hardy fish to add, when you add it, follow the instructions for drip acclimating found here:
    Acclimation Procedure for Aquatic Life: Welcoming Home New Arrivals

    Acclimate slowly, I'd say 1-2 hours minimum to reduce the chances of system shock

    Keep your head up, I think all of us have run into issues at some point in this hobby ( i know I have)

    You can post photos here, but first you need to upload them to a site like photobucket or shutterfly, then on those sites it will give you a http:// link that you can copy and paste here
     
    Northstar24, Jul 14, 2011
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    apprentice reefer

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    Thanks so much for all your help, as far as my little fish goes,,, he was feeding no problem for the first 2 days,,, then i felt he had a little graze appear just behind his head,, like he had bumped into a bit of the live rock in the tank,, and started to swim slightly erratically after that, but still feeding,,, and then he just kinda,, laid flat on the bottom,, and i couldnt save him,,, i have today ordered a reverse osmosis filter from my normal aquarium dealer,, so hope to have that here by monday or tuesday,, i actually live about 600kms north of adelaide,,, so getting the sample to him is always a problem, even though he has always offered to test it for me for free,, but it takes me 6 hours to drive to adelaide which is my closest "serious" aquatic specialists,,, i am also looking into maybe a "chiller" in the next month or so,,, as,, to be honest, in the summer here the temps can reach up to about 48 degree,, so i would rather give my tank the best chance of success,,, and on the advice i have been given, the chiller would be a good bonus to have attached to my set up,,, ive also slightly changed my sump tank today,, again on the advice of my local aquarist,,,,, the return was into the centre compartment of my sump,,, so now i have the return into the left hand side,, where the protein skimmer also is,, and then the sandbed and live rock in the centre,,, and then the return pump in the right hand side compartment,,, so, just hope now i am heading in the right direction,,, one thing i did notice today was,,, my levels were all as usual,, nitrite o,, amonia 0,, and nitrate 0/5 ppm,, but i did notice for some reason my ph had dropped,,, to what i could see about 7.8/8.0 ,,, and usually it has always been 8.2,, with no problems ever maintaining that,,, so, not sure what ive done but it did drop,,, so ive now done another water change this afternoon,,, hoping to find some correction in this,,, and i think i now get the idea of how to do the pics,,, i will search for this photo bucket thing on the net,, and then give it a try,,, and once again, thanks to all of you for being so helpful,,, its very much appreciated from an eager novice very happy to learn, and take on board all your advice to achieve some success,,, cheers to you all :) john
     
    apprentice reefer, Jul 15, 2011
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    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    Hehehe...someone just posted about his PH swings, too. I told him that you should check PH at the same time everyday. PH is lower after the lights have been off fora while, and higher after they've been on for a while. Having a fuge with lights running 24/7, or opposite the main tank lights will help keep the PH stable.

    The graze on his head -- had you noticed him scratching on the rocks a lot? Maybe he really was already sick, or someone was bullying him.
     
    wontonflip, Jul 15, 2011
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  14. apprentice reefer

    apprentice reefer

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    he wasnt scratching on the rocks at all, but i had watched him like a hawk for a few days after i got him home, but he was darting about the tank, and always eating,,, and then he appeared to have got the graze,,, which i assumed was from bumping into a rock or bit of sharp stone ,,, so i really am not sure,,, i understand the ph can move slightly,,, but for some reason mine had moved in the last 7 days, from its usual 8.2 in the tank, to close on 7.8,,, so really am not sure what went on,,, but ive now done another water change, and will test again in the morning,,, and a big thanks for your comments,,, its all a great help to me,, cheers :)
     
    apprentice reefer, Jul 15, 2011
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    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    Again, make sure you test the PH at the same time each day to get a better grip on the reading.
     
    wontonflip, Jul 15, 2011
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    little_fish Moderator

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    I highly doubt you will need a chiller, just clip a small fan to your tank. The evaporative cooling works much better. A chiller is going to heat your up house, so unless you are venting it outside your house is going to be hotter, making your tank hotter, making the chiller work more, heating up your house more etc. Or you end up with an enormous AC bill.

    Also, did you ever cycle your tank?
     
    little_fish, Jul 15, 2011
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    Sir Alex Dragon the eel (below)

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    :shock:

    I don't know if a fan is going to help in 118 degree weather.
     
    Sir Alex, Jul 15, 2011
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    apprentice reefer

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    yes,,, i cycled the tank for 4 weeks,,, and after that time i had tests of 0 nitrite, 0 amonia, and ph of 8.2, all after 2 weeks,,, and then after the four weeks i was then seeing continuous test of nitrate at 5ppm or less,,, on the "fan" idea,,, we are in the middle of the desert here,, and in summer the inside of the house is always about 35 plus degrees during the day until i get home and stick the air con on,,, so i am kinda a bit sceptical that a fan would actually be sufficient,, its nothing new to find the temp hitting 40 inside the house without air con on, but thanks for your reply,,, i am taking it all on board and will try anything you all recommend if its the difference between success and failure for me,, cheers :)
     
    apprentice reefer, Jul 16, 2011
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    AmberSunrise

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    Have you considered maybe a predator in your tank? Have you heard any strange popping noises? Mantis shrimps are famous for killing snails and hermits.

    Or possibly stray voltage could also kill critters you can get a tester from the local hardware store.

    Make sure you shake your test kit bottles very well I have had readings be off when I was lazy and didnt shake them really well.
     
    AmberSunrise, Jul 16, 2011
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    little_fish Moderator

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    Re: Very new to reef keeping,,, a few questions ,, any advice very much appreciated

    +1 Amber


    But you should try the fan trick before discounting it. It will be even more effective in the desert where there is less humidity.
     
    little_fish, Jul 16, 2011
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