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New tank (Big Pics) & Could always use advice

This is a discussion on New tank (Big Pics) & Could always use advice within the Beginner Saltwater Aquariums forums, part of the Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef Tanks category; --> First thing I caught here is that you said test results come out at 0 for anything bad... what exactly did you test for? ...

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New tank (Big Pics) & Could always use advice
Old 01-07-2008, 02:30 PM   #11
 
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First thing I caught here is that you said test results come out at 0 for anything bad... what exactly did you test for?
If nitrates are at 0 then your tank is not cycled... also, have you tested for calcium yet? That should be between 400 - 500, especially if you are keeping corals. When you said your coral looked sickly, that was the first thing that jumped to my attention.
A new tank is really, like the others said, not the place to put any animals... but, since it is done... the best thing to do now would be to wait a while yet before adding more of anything outside of live rock.
Yes, live rock can spike ammonia, which will then spike nitrite and nitrate as it breaks down. There is typically an amount of what is called "die off" that every piece of rock can/will go through when it has been moved from one environment to another. The differences in water quality will affect things growing in and on the rock, and some things will likely die each time it's moved. This should always be expected to be safe.

If you post test results here, we can help you to learn how to read them and what each type of balance means.
In all my years of fish keeping and working in the store, and now independent of the store... the biggest problem I've seen with saltwater aquariums is lack of patience or impulse buying. A 10 gallon is not the easiest thing to keep stable, and the faster you jump into it the more out of control it is likely to get as time goes on. Once out of control, it won't take much to crash it and risk losing everything... not to mention the mess of cleaning it up to start over. Patience is so very important.
Without live sand at the bottom you have less biological filtration going on in there. That is something that can still be fixed when you do a water change, and from years of keeping many different sizes and using both substrates and combination of the two, the smaller the tank the more important it becomes to use sand. As your tank matures the crushed coral will require gravel vacs to get the muck out. There are stages of algae that every saltwater tank will go through during the cycling process... have you experienced these yet?
Also, if waste levels or nutrients build too high, or if circulation isn't enough, cyano blooms can/will hit, and can be a lot harder to get rid of with the crushed coral substrate.
If you consider replacing it with sand, it's easily done with a water change, and you can use the crushed coral in your filter to help keep calcium levels up. I've done this many times, never had a problem in any size tank. If you do a manual siphon, suck up the coral until most of it is gone and drained into the bucket. If water fills the bucket too quickly, simply put it back into the tank to continue. Slowly pour the live sand into the tank, but don't spread it around as you pour. Pour it all into one place then use your hand to push it where you need it, and if you do this around those base pieces of rock it will help to anchor them. (few people add rock before sand, not realizing that you can anchor your bottom rocks to make building easier and more stable) The tank will be cloudy for about 12 - 24 hrs, but let it settle on its own. This won't hurt any of the animals in the tank, but watch for any type of ammonia spike, and simply do a small water change to help if needed.
Many options for animals in that size of a tank will need sand at the bottom. The typical fishes safe for a 10 gallon tank tend to be things like shrimp gobys, snails, crabs, and other inverts. Crushed coral can cause major injury to any bottom dwelling animals, and shrimps, crabs, etc will have a harder time finding food in it.

It seems to me that your boss should be here learning this stuff too. I hope you are at least able to teach her what you learn. The store I worked at didn't have the issues with uneducated staff, they required us to attend seminars and training sessions on everything, and it was constant. I have noticed that over the past 2 years a lot of senior staff members have quit due to lack of pay and unbearable hours... and since they've hired a lot of new people, their knowledge base is way down. I've even helped some of my former customers when I've heard one of the newbies giving bad or inaccurate advice since I left. There are 2 problems why the stores employ such uneducated people... #1 and foremost, it takes a very long time (years) to train someone to be able to handle it. The time at work is split 3 ways between helping customers, taking care of what's there, and learning to answer all of the important questions they should be able to handle if a customer asks. This isn't stuff that's learned overnight and it costs too much to hire someone already educated. #2, many stores don't have the time or the money to spend on this type of education, and there are way too many out there owned by people who they, themselves, don't know it either. If the owner knows little or nothing, then anyone who knows anything knows more... so makes a good employee for a small wage. A good way to tell what you're dealing with is to study this stuff yourself first, then ask those same questions to the people you will rely on for help. If they can give you accurate answers, you will know how much to trust... if they can't... then you know who's just after your money or blowing smoke!
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Old 01-10-2008, 10:11 PM   #12
 
No, im sorry I wasn't clear, My nitrates did spike, but everything is at acceptable levels for a fully cycled tank, and now that my tank is even older (by like 1 week, lol) Its doing very well.

First of all, thank you Betababy for all the help, But in my bosses defense however, she had been helping monitor my tanks water quality all week before she sent me home with the zoo, and, as someone said, zoos are super hardy, and she made sure thats what I grabbed, not a candy or anything crazy like that. She is very good at what she does, and the polyp is doing much better now. It's wierd, polyps dont need a huge current, right? Well mine wouldn't open until I put it right under my filter, and in the stream of my Koralia?!? Looks great now but WTF?

But I do have a few questions If you are in the mood to answer.
1. My sand bed insn't that deep, so could I add a finer sand type sand over my crushed live? Im thinking non-living sand that my live florida crushed will seed. Would that work out?
2. I have read up on what to feed corals, but I would like to know, what do people here feed THIER corals, I read a really weird recipe on about.com, but I want to know what you think first. Also, I have being giving a half cap full of Reef Builder Reef Plus, by Seachem twice a week, so three total time now. I now that soon I will need to start adding Ca especially because I have a few people offering me some unwanted frags
Thanks again

:edit:.
I forgot, I have had my algae problems yes, they were not terrible, but I got some greenish brown algae all over the sides, plus detritus on the crushed coral. I have done one water change so far, last sunday, 25% and I used my siphon to get the detritus from the bottom.
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Old 01-11-2008, 01:36 AM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrewprime1
No, im sorry I wasn't clear, My nitrates did spike, but everything is at acceptable levels for a fully cycled tank, and now that my tank is even older (by like 1 week, lol) Its doing very well.

First of all, thank you Betababy for all the help, But in my bosses defense however, she had been helping monitor my tanks water quality all week before she sent me home with the zoo, and, as someone said, zoos are super hardy, and she made sure thats what I grabbed, not a candy or anything crazy like that. She is very good at what she does, and the polyp is doing much better now. It's wierd, polyps dont need a huge current, right? Well mine wouldn't open until I put it right under my filter, and in the stream of my Koralia?!? Looks great now but WTF?

But I do have a few questions If you are in the mood to answer.
1. My sand bed insn't that deep, so could I add a finer sand type sand over my crushed live?
That would be fine, but be aware that the finer sand will eventually settle to the bottom leaving the larger sand at top.
Im thinking non-living sand that my live florida crushed will seed. Would that work out?
It would work but it would take a bit for the new sand to seed, so you can't rely on a fully functional biological filtration until that happens. Expect it to take up to a few weeks. Adding more live sand would be better, and you'll end up with better stuff growing in there overall. Introducing new "life" from a bag that came from somewhere else will add to the diversity and be the most beneficial and also later, the best chances for cool stuff to show up in/on your rock.
2. I have read up on what to feed corals, but I would like to know, what do people here feed THIER corals, I read a really weird recipe on about.com, but I want to know what you think first.
The food will depend on the coral specifically. Different species have different food types. Some will feed on micro planktons, some will feed on coral plankton mixes, and some will even need phytoplex types of foods. If we know what kinds of corals, we can then suggest proper foods.
Also, I have being giving a half cap full of Reef Builder Reef Plus, by Seachem twice a week, so three total time now. I now that soon I will need to start adding Ca especially because I have a few people offering me some unwanted frags
Thanks again

:edit:.
I forgot, I have had my algae problems yes, they were not terrible, but I got some greenish brown algae all over the sides, plus detritus on the crushed coral. I have done one water change so far, last sunday, 25% and I used my siphon to get the detritus from the bottom.
Keep in mind that with the crushed coral, you're not going to get the same biological function as in a sand bed, so it will need to be gravel vac'd regularly wherever you can reach. Even adding a bag of actual live sand, it will still make the bio function weaker, and the substrate harder to clean. I really try hard to discourage people from using crushed coral in a reef tank... for all fish it's ok, but reef gets to be problematic later once the tank is established. Long term, it tends to result in tank crashes. Nitrate levels get out of control, algae blooms, and drop in pH are common. If you want the crushed coral for the Calcium benefit, it's much safer to add a small pouch of it to the filter instead.
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:28 PM   #14
 
Ok so I have decided to add 10 more pounds live sand, nothing to fine, but not Florida Crushed, I don't think I will have any problem with it. I have also added some plant material to my hang on back sump to remove phosphates.

I did a water change today and all went well, my levels are perfect, 0 nitrate and nitrites, Ca fine, but will start adding some more soon, ammonia 0 as well. So I added a Zenia frag. Will post pics soon, when it inflates.

Question, Why do my Zoos need so much flow?
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Old 01-15-2008, 01:19 PM   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrewprime1
Ok so I have decided to add 10 more pounds live sand, nothing to fine, but not Florida Crushed, I don't think I will have any problem with it. I have also added some plant material to my hang on back sump to remove phosphates.

I did a water change today and all went well, my levels are perfect, 0 nitrate and nitrites, Ca fine, but will start adding some more soon, ammonia 0 as well. So I added a Zenia frag. Will post pics soon, when it inflates.

Question, Why do my Zoos need so much flow?
How much plant material did you add? Is there a light source over it? Don't expect plant matter in the hang on filter/sump to remove all phosphate... it would take a large amount of plants and a small amount of phosphate in a small tank before the plants would make much difference.

As for the water flow with zoa's... higher circulation helps to clear waste away from the animal (and from between the polyps) and also ensures that food flows over/past them.

If your nitrates is reading 0 then your tank is not cycled. Anytime you have a cycled tank with animals in it, there is going to be some trace of nitrates. If CA level is where it should be, then there is no need to add it unless it begins to drop. Too much CA is just as bad as not enough. Optimal would be 400 - 500.
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Old 01-15-2008, 04:37 PM   #16
 
Yeah, of there is light, its about a baseball worth of chaeto. Im not expecting it to remove all my Phos. but i'm not having to much of a problem with it yet anyway.

My tank's cycled though, I have had nitrates & nitrites in the past and they dropped to very low levels, and usually stay there, I had just done a water change however. Even MattD says he's N's are zero... Mine barley register on the test, so around 0 at least.

For the Ca, I'm not terribly sure exactly where it is in my tank, but between 300-400. Nothing is really using up Ca that fast so I am sure ill be fine for a while.

Now the one question I do have is this, It may be because my tank is still to new or my params are off, which I doubt because my params are reasonable. Today my new Zenia decided to commit suicide. It popped off from its stem. Any tips, I think I may be able to revive it...? I have it trapped underneath of a small piece of LR that I was fragging it on, and the bottom of the tank in hopes of getting it to stick to that. I bet it was my tank.
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:54 PM   #17
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrewprime1
Yeah, of there is light, its about a baseball worth of chaeto. Im not expecting it to remove all my Phos. but i'm not having to much of a problem with it yet anyway.

My tank's cycled though, I have had nitrates & nitrites in the past and they dropped to very low levels, and usually stay there, I had just done a water change however. Even MattD says he's N's are zero... Mine barley register on the test, so around 0 at least.

For the Ca, I'm not terribly sure exactly where it is in my tank, but between 300-400. Nothing is really using up Ca that fast so I am sure ill be fine for a while.

Now the one question I do have is this, It may be because my tank is still to new or my params are off, which I doubt because my params are reasonable. Today my new Zenia decided to commit suicide. It popped off from its stem. Any tips, I think I may be able to revive it...? I have it trapped underneath of a small piece of LR that I was fragging it on, and the bottom of the tank in hopes of getting it to stick to that. I bet it was my tank.
I would strongly suggest checking to find out for sure where your calcium levels are. A reading of 300 or even 350 is going to wipe out corals quick. It needs to be maintained between 400 - 500, and if it's off "for a while" your animals will struggle and/or die because of it.
Ad for the N's... remember, any trace of nitrite is toxic, and will mean that the tank is nearing the end of the cycle, but isn't quite there yet. Any nirtites combined with low calcium can do a horrible amount of damage, and the worst part is that without the water testing, there is no way to know! This isn't something you can "see" just by looking into the tank.
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Old 01-15-2008, 07:45 PM   #18
 
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Andrew, I know it can be disheartening sometimes to find out that you may not have been doing things the right, or best, way. Dawn is a wealth of information and has a solid background in the hobby. It will behoove both you, and the future of your reef, to give her advice strong consideration.

If I might add a suggestion. You are investing in a hobby that is not only very rewarding, but can also be very tempermental, and can be quite cost prohibitive. Please, for the sake of the animals you are trying to keep, heed the advice of those seasoned hobbyists that are willing to help. Take the time and consideration to do things properly, so that your experiences may be fruitful, and not riddled with frustration and disappointment.

As a first step, I would like to see you invest in all of the reef necessary test kits (if you haven't already) and rather than posing adjectives to describe your tank params, post solid figures. It shows that you are serious about the hobby, and serious about wanting to see your reef succeed. Trust me, None of us here want to see anyone here fail. We're here to help you all succeed.
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:39 PM   #19
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SKAustin
As a first step, I would like to see you invest in all of the reef necessary test kits (if you haven't already) and rather than posing adjectives to describe your tank params, post solid figures. It shows that you are serious about the hobby, and serious about wanting to see your reef succeed.
And it shows us that you really want our help and that we're not wasting our time in writing details for someone who isn't really interested.
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:46 PM   #20
 
You guys are right, I will pick up a test kit tomorrow. Thanks so much for your help.
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