Complete newb 30 gallon reef - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 233 Old 01-31-2010, 05:52 AM
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You are actually a little different case than most, because your biggest concern is coral. If you are satisfied with soft corals, then the CoraLife model will be fine on a 30 gallon tank. But if you really want to expand your selection of corals you might want to consider a more efficient skimmer. Soft corals are not overly sensitive to organics in the water, but as you advance into SPS and others, the rapid removal of organics becomes important. Increased lighting is also necessary in most cases.

This being the case, lets get OF2F, Wake, or someone with more coral experience to jump in here on the lighting conversation. If we can create an acceptable stocking list of corals based on your lighting, then we can at that point make a final skimmer decision. I will reach out to those guys and watch for their response.
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post #12 of 233 Old 01-31-2010, 06:33 AM Thread Starter
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Cool man, thanks for all your help. As Im sure you have probably noticed, I am on a fairly tight budget. At least right at this very minute. Income tax will be in soon and then I should be able to do what I want. Based on my lighting RIGHT now, I would say coral is out of the question. BUT, I will be upgrading lighting.

I was thinking that maybe for a starter light upgrade I would go with something like this so I can get my feet wet into the world of soft corals, Coralife S/W T-5 Double Strip Light - 30" -

With plans for something like this in the future after I gain more experience, Aquaticlife T5 HO Aquarium Lighting System 4 T5 HO 2 Lunar - 30 in. | T5 Lighting | Lighting Systems | Aquarium - Mind you, these arent decision but rather examples for you, or anyone else who views the thread who can help me out with my goal. A DIY canopy with a MH could actually probably be done cheaper than the last light I listed. Once again, these are just ideas that Im throwing out there.

Also a recommendation for a protein skimmer would be great.

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post #13 of 233 Old 01-31-2010, 07:47 AM Thread Starter
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Alright heres what I came up with during testing...

SG 1.022 (I will be raising this today to 1.025)
Temp 77F
PH 8.4 with liquid test kit from Red Sea Marine Lab - 8.21 from digital test pen I have....

Alkalinity - Normal 1.7-2.8
Ammonia - 0.25 ppm
Nitrite - 0.1 ppm
Nitrate - 2.5 ppm
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post #14 of 233 Old 01-31-2010, 08:41 AM
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When using the Red Sea alkalinity test, you should consider a "normal" reading as a time to add buffer. It is frustrating that this kit does not give an exact number, but if you look at the color and see a hint of green, then I personally consider this under what I'm aiming for. I aim for a light blue to solid blue color.

Keep in mind, you have to test calcium in order to understand the alkalinity result. Knowing your alkalinity alone does not give enough information to make proper adjustments. You want to keep Calcium between 400 and 460ppm.

I posted more detail on alkalinity and calcium here:

For a skimmer, I think the Coralife skimmer would be acceptable if you are on a tight budget. You will probably find that you want to upgrade in the future, and I would prefer to see you start with something alone these lines:
AquaC Remora Protein Skimmer with Rio 800 Pump
You should add this prefilter box for surface skimming:
AquaC Surface Prefilter Box

The prefilter box is what makes the Remora much more efficient than the Coralife, so do not spend the money without buying the prefilter box as well. I think you will be happier with this unit, and for the extra $100 in the long run it will really pay for itself.
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post #15 of 233 Old 01-31-2010, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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Very cool. Then thats what I plan to get! Yeah Im not nearly satisfied with this test kit. A link to a proper test kit available online that you would suggest using would be much appreciated. I may be wrong with my understanding of this here but it sounds like the Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate test kit that I had for my freshwater setup would have sufficed? Either way, I think we can both agree I wasted some money here on this cheap test kit. Ill work on improving this as well as picking up a calcium kit.

They have another companion kit that went with this one, for testing Calcium and some other elements that I cant quite remember right now. But yeah, what do you use for a test kit? Cheers

Oh BTW, there was a 'buffer' that came with the test kit, should I add some as per directions? This stuff is called success buff and says to use 20 drops per 15 gallons. Should I go ahead and add some 35 drops to aquarium thats 29G High (less sand and rock)?

Last edited by n1zjd; 01-31-2010 at 11:10 AM.
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post #16 of 233 Old 01-31-2010, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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I did a small but significant upgrade earlier (at least for appearance that is), I replaced the junk incadescent bulbs that come with standard cheap aquarium hoods with 13W CFLs. They arent the color spectrum I want but they will work until I get better lighting.

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post #17 of 233 Old 01-31-2010, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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OMG OMG OMG! I found LIFE in my tank! I mean, I knew there was life in there, just not THIS kind of life. I can see right now that saltwater is going to become a complete obsession! I have no idea what it is, but at least there is something in there that I can keep an eye on! Ive been staring at this tank literally all day, and I just found it. My eyes are cross-eyed from trying to focus so hard. There are a few other spots in question as well, but nothing as obvious as this. What I would give to have money to go buy 21 more pounds of liverock tomorrow. Im trying to be patient as best I can! It will all come together soon I hope. Here is a picture,

Yup, Im addicted already! Cheers.
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post #18 of 233 Old 01-31-2010, 09:53 PM
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What are the dimensions of the tank? Is it the 36" X 12" X 16"H, or is it the 24" X 12" X 24"H? This question will help determine your light source.

I run this model on my 150 gallon reef tank: Nova Extreme Pro T5HO. I have a 27" depth, so with coral selection, LPS and SPS have to have a high seat in the tank. I don't really keep any SPS at the moment; I keep mainly LPS and Softies.

If you are using the 36" X 12" X 16"H tank, then I would suggest either the Nova Extreme SLR T5HO (the four bulb model) or the aforementioned Nova Extreme Pro. The number of bulbs allow for good penetration and color variety. If you are using the 24" high tank, I personally use the Pro, but some others would lean towards Metal Halide. I am a big fan of the AquaticLife HID/T5HO w/ Lunar Lights. it supposedly runs cooler and has a nice light output, also it is a gas discharge lamp. That allows for more UV light output and better light penetration in deeper tanks. Any Metal Halide light will run hotter and more expensive than T5's or PC's, but you can keep anything alive under it, at any reasonable depth.

As far as corals go, I would probably start with softies and zoas. Leathers, toadstools, kenya trees, and also zoa polyps (you'll hear names like green giants, purple people eaters, red hornets, etc.). These types of corals rely more on particulates in the water column for food and use light as a secondary food source.

LPS corals, such as frogspawns, torches, hammer corals, brain corals, duncans, etc, will be a good step up once you feel comfortable with softies. These require more light than the softies, but also feed off particulates in the water column. Water quality is more important than softies with these corals as they do calcify to construct their skelotons. Alkalinity and Calcium must be in appropriate levels.

SPS corals, such as birdsnests, monti caps and acropora, are much harder to keep than the other two. Light is vital to the survival of these corals and water quality must be pristine. Nitrates must be undetectable and Alkalinity and Calcium must stay in levels of dKH=8-12 and Calcium=400-450ppm.

Nothing good happens fast in an Aquarium

My 30 Gallon Long Marine Tank
My son's 20 gallon FW Community

Last edited by wake49; 01-31-2010 at 09:55 PM.
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post #19 of 233 Old 01-31-2010, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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wake49 - I had originally though the tank was a 30g, Ive since found out that its a 29G Tall. Its 30 x 12 x 18. Would a 250W MH be too much for my tank? Im not really concerned with the heat as much as I am being over 8W per gallon. If its an acceptable lamp then I will make a DIY hood with great cooling. Thanks for the info on some beginner choices. If the lamp isnt too much for the aquarium its what I would prefer to do personally. Cheers.
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post #20 of 233 Old 02-01-2010, 07:10 AM
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I personally have used Red Sea kits for years, and not unsatisfied. I recently tried API and plan to switch when my next purchases are made. With API the results are easier to read.

As for live rock, you are right, it becomes an addiction! Now you need to go to the store and buy a magnifying glass. You will think you are looking at life on another planet.
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