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6 Month Update

Discussion in 'General (Hobby Related)' started by Cameron, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. Cameron New User GIRS Member

    15
    Urbandale
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0
    Well, I've been at it for 6 month. Soooo many lessons to learn, but fortunately my loss rate haven't been over the top in terms of cost. KIA: 1 Fire Goby, 2 peppermint shrimp and 2 emerald crabs. Current inhabitants: 2 clowns, 2 astraea and 2 margarita snails. Live rock has some corraline, but also a bit of bubble algae.

    Had a recent crustaceans kill off . Lots of possible reasons, but I think it boils down to my aversion to water testing. I don't mind changing the water, but I get bored of testing... until something goes lethal. I'm trying to move towards coral, but I know I've got to up my game. One thought was getting a Seachem's Ammonia Alert. Anybody have experience with them? Any other thoughts, either behavioral or mechanical on improving my saltwater practices?

    Current Configuration:
    FOWLR, 14 Gal Biocube, Bioballs, Protein Skimmer
     
  2. Dave Experienced Reefkeeper Premium Member GIRS Member

    Des Moines Area
    Ratings:
    +307 / 1 / -0
    I wouldn't waste money on one. Once a tank is cycled ammonia will always be 0 unless something drastic happens.

    Honestly, the best thing you can do to "up your game" is to test frequently (at least nitrates, phosphates and salinity for FOWLR and then add calcium and magnesium testing after you add corals). It can be tedious but having a good discipline up front pays dividends down the road. Once you get comfortable with your tank and inhabitants you can go a week or two without testing but early on it is important.

    Honestly, If you've had water quality issues that killed inverts you really were suffering from a case of LARS ;-)

    I would suggest you really assess how badly you want to move to a reef and if you're willing and able to make the commitment before adding corals to the equation because it can become very disheartening to have them die if done prematurely.

    Just my $.02 worth (and probably not worth 1/2 that!)

    Good luck with whatever direction you go.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
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  3. Bud Loves Bacon Website Team Board of Directors Leadership Team GIRS Member

    West Des Moines, IA
    Ratings:
    +1,443 / 14 / -0
    Also, remember that the first 6-12 months of a reef tank can be volatile, the Nitrogen Cycle is only one aspect of tank maturity.

    Favorite link: #15 www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-01/eb/
     
  4. Cameron New User GIRS Member

    15
    Urbandale
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0
    Oh boy, I'm living myth 15. I especially like the quote, "Life will return to some degree... but not until death and more death have occurred." :eek::ninja::cry:

    I started knowing patience is the key and I guess the role of the community is to supportively remind us of this ironclad fact. So I laugh (respectfully) at the face of death and shoulder on. Nitrates have recently been difficult to control, so built a media basket (filter floss & charcoal) over the week and pulled the bioballs, but upon inspection I don't think that they were the problem. Ordered a new membrane for my RO system. Cut back my feeding schedule to once every two days. My next thought is perhaps is that it's my live sand, which is about 2.5 inches deep. I'm thinking about pulling an 1" leaving an 1.5", though I can't imagine what I'll release as I stir up that much sand. Thoughts?... or should I leave well enough alone and just let it cycle some more? Thanks for the support during the all too challenging 6-7 month point.
     
  5. clown man Well-Known ReefKeeper

    364
    West liberty,iowa
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0
    Pulling out sand will cause a issue I learned the hard way unfortunately cut done on feeding. water more frequently should work and help out run carbon and let it run its course
     
  6. Bud Loves Bacon Website Team Board of Directors Leadership Team GIRS Member

    West Des Moines, IA
    Ratings:
    +1,443 / 14 / -0
    You can also siphon the sand with a gravel siphon, but this has to be done carefully and over time. The reason is that unlike freshwater gravel/etc, reef sand is much more bio-active. One recommendation I heard was to only clean 25% or less at a time, I would recommend 10-15%.

    The issue with disturbing the sand too much is that it can release hydrogen sulfide into the water, but this can be accounted for, here's a great article by RHF about it: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-12/rhf/
     
  7. Actuary Well-Known ReefKeeper GIRS Member

    560
    Adel, IA
    Ratings:
    +95 / 1 / -0
    How bad are the nutrient levels? API test kits aren't exactly top tier but they are pretty quick and easy to use.. in my mind they are superior if they get used vs a complicated test kit which you avoid using. So I'd encourage you to give these a try.

    You aren't dosing anything are you? What's your water change schedule look like?
     
  8. Cameron New User GIRS Member

    15
    Urbandale
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0
    Hey, sorry for my late reply. Wow, in regards to nutrient levels, I just realized that I almost never test for Nitrites. I really should check. What I also realized last week, was the I never testing for Ph., which I thought would be buffered by my substrate and rock. Well, it might be, but my Ph was at 7.6'ish. Corrected that in conjunction with changing my RO filter and nitrates have finally fallen and seems stable. In regards to water changes, I think I'll settle into a 2gal./10days. Agreed, I'm using Red Sea and they are a bit of a time consumer. Next step is to clean off all the bubble algae and I think we're ready to reintroduce the invertebrates. Yay [for now]
     

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