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What’s your opinion of my overall setup? Suggestions? Advice?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DLesan, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. DLesan

    DLesan Inactive User

    +0 / 0 / -0

    OK – first of all I am not made of money so keep that in mind when making suggestions.

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    Aquarium:  92 gallon oceanic corner tank with corner overflow.

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    Sump:  I believe it is an Ecosystem “miracle mud” system (bioballs on intake and prior to return with refugium in middle).  Refugium has caulerpa algae and I just started a black mangrove.

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    Lights:  Coralife Compact Fluorescents (10000K and Actinic both 96W new bulbs) – I have an additional fixture for 65W bulbs but need to replace bulbs.  Should I add the other fixture or can I get by with the one.

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    Substrate:  Crushed coral ~ 2 in

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    Live Rock: ~40 pounds.  I know that eventually I will need more and will add over time.  I do have a lot of old “dead” decorative coral from previous aquariums.  Is there any advantage to adding some or this other than it will provide additional hiding places?

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    SG:  1.022

    Ammonia: 0 ppm

    Nitrite: 0 ppm

    Nitrate: 5-10 ppm

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    Fish:  Domino Damsel, Azure Damsel, Keyhole Angel

    Cleanup:  20 Nerite snails, 50 Dwarf Cerith snails

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    I purchased this setup 2 ½ months ago.  The nitrogen cycle was never an issue (there must have been adequate bacteria left in the sump).  I am working on lowering the nitrates (caulerpa, mangrove and partial water changes).  Everything seems to be progressing as expected – short period of diatom bloom, then hair algae (appears to be dying off now?) and now good coralline growth on the live rock.

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    I just added the angel and a small cluster of green mushroom coral.

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    I have seen (although not lately) a couple 1” white bristle worms – should I be concerned about these?

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    The mushroom coral that I added appears to be doing fine, I’m not positive but it looks like some new polyps are developing on the rock.  When can I start adding other corals and what kinds are appropriate for my existing setup?

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    Does anyone have suggestions for inexpensive live rock or corals?  I plan on coming to the Fall Fest in November, what can I expect to find there?  Are there generally some good deals to be had?
    Thanks in advance - Dave Lesan

  2. xroads Veteran Reefkeeper Vendor

    La Porte City, IA
    +1,014 / 6 / -0
    Hey Dave,

    Welcome to the wonderful world of reef keeping!

    Sounds like you are on your way, I have a few small suggestions.

    Bio balls are usually a bad idea as they can be a nitrate factory. Same with crushed coral. I would replace it with aragonite sand.

    I wouldnt add any fake coral, however alot of people add dead skeletons to their fuge. It will act as a buffer for your PH & calcium & give pods & such a place to hide & breed.

    Bristle worms are good 95% of the time, dont touch them though or you will learn a painfull lesson.
    What do you want your tank to be like. If you want stuff like Green Star polyps, shrroms, kenya trees, zenia, and zoas your lights will be fine. It wont be able to sustain SPS.

    Keep an eye on the forums, you can usually find LR for $1-$2 a pound.

    The Fall Fest usually is full of good deals, post in the forum if you are looking for some specific items. I filled my first 125 up from a swap with the softies mentioned above for under $100.

    There is alot of advice out there with alot of different methods that work
  3. RobynT

    RobynT Inactive User

    +0 / 0 / -0
    All great advice from Xroads and I agree with everything he said. Most reefers "cringe" when they hear crushed coral because it holds onto detritus and causes problems down the road.

    Yes, you will find great corals of all kinds at the Fall Fest. Not only will be be able to buy corals, you will get a free demonstration on coral fragging or propagation and invaluable information from the various speakers. I have several of Anthony Calfo's books and I can't tell you how excited I am to be getting the opportunity to hear him speak!
  4. glaspie69

    glaspie69 Experienced Reefkeeper

    +41 / 2 / -0
    just curious is sg suppose to be salinity? if so you might consider raiseing that slowly to around 1.024-26. Crushed coral can be a pain if you let it, most of the tanks i've seen with it looked good but the owns had to vac it once a month or so to keep things clean, this could also be why you have trace nitrates. As for the fall fest....if you cant find a deal there you are doing something wrong.
  5. phishcrazee Experienced Reefkeeper

    +0 / 0 / -0
    I agree with xroads........ decide what type of tank you want and go from there. If you want SPS or LPS you will need better lighting, metal halides. If you plan on softies, your current system will do. I'm concerned that you don't have a skimmer or am I missing something? If you don't have one, spend some money and get one asap, it is a necessity. Also, there's no mention of water flow..... do you have any power heads to move your water around? That can help to keep detritus (gunk) from settling onto your substrate and rock.
  6. Travis

    Travis Well-Known ReefKeeper

    +0 / 0 / -0
    Crushed coral is not "evil" it is fine and is a great pod factory if it is maintained. Sand that is not maintained can be more trouble in my opinion and is too fine to be a breeding substrate for anything besides bacteria and burrowing worms.

    Your nitrates are possibly due to Bioball useage and your "miracle" mud if it is not healthy. With saltwater tanks nitrates are the water parameter we fear the most. They can be hard to control if they get away from you. Nitrates are also caused by low flow tanks allowing junk to settle in the live rock, dirty filter pads, or any other collection of decaying material.

    Keyhole angels can be coral nippers so watch him.

    As for equipment I would suggest a Quarantine/Hospital tank be your first purchase. No animals should be added to your tank until it has been QT'd for at least 4-6 weeks. That ensures the new critter is healthy and hopefully bug free. This keeps you from infecting your display tank and possibly killing all of your current fish or corals.

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