Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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ThalesthePearsei 01-27-2009 02:44 PM

Need help with my reef
I have a 14g biocube stocked with about 20 pounds of live rock, many different corals, and one ocellaris (about 1 1/2 inches) I do a 1 gallon water change once a week. I use Distilled water and Oceanic Sea Salt. I Dose With Kent Essential Elements and Kent Nano A/B as directed. I have a problem with hair algae. As much as i scrub, it always comes back. :-?
I feed my clownfish frozen brine shrimp every day (about 5-10 shrimps) Am I overfeeding?
I have never discussed my reef with anyone who actually knew anything, so i assumed i was doing everything good, but i am not sure.

Oh and, there is only about 6 gallons of actual water in the tank. (Yes, i actually measured it, i was curious)

Kellsindell 01-29-2009 12:08 PM

I have a 55g SPS dominate tank and a 2.5 Picotope with softies in there. Things change really fast in the tank, while you only have 1 fish in there, if you don't have any sort of filtration other then LR then you may have high nitrates. Can we get an exact reading of the NO3, PO4, CL, MG, and SG for starters. How long has the tank been up?

IMHO you may be over feeding the tank. I've been prone to doing it, he's still at the front of the tank so he's still hungry, but you need to eyeball how much food you're putting into it especially because the water volume is so small.

onefish2fish 01-29-2009 10:26 PM

your putting excess phosphates and possibly have high nitrates which is feeding the algae. your prob. not going to be able to read either one on a test because the algae is absorbing these nutrients but that doesnt mean they arnt present.
are you using a protien skimmer? brand/model? flow in the tank?
the water that frozen foods come in is extremely high in phospates its disgusting. pre rinse the food in either a fine mesh net with RO water or in a paper coffee filter.
i have a total of 4 fish (and a good amount of corals) and i feed a cube every 3 days sometimes every 2 and sometimes ill even hold off longer.

another issue i see is that your dosing trace minerals and A/B per bottle instructions. this is setting you up for disaster. you need to test your water prior to dosing ANYTHING. salt mix will have cal/mag/alk buffers in them so you dont know what the levels are in your tank. test first, dose second.

ThalesthePearsei 02-01-2009 05:19 PM

I haven't tested my reef since August of 08'. I used to have my reef water tested on a weekly basis at my favorite LFS, and every time all my parameters would come out perfect. Since Aug 08' I moved from Texas to Manhattan and cannot find a decent fish store around here. There are only Petland Discounts and a Petco. :roll:
I have kept my dosing and water changes consistent when that of my water parameters were great. I know its stupid to just assume that parameters are the same as then because I have not changed my dosing routine since then but my corals and clown fish are thriving and even growing.

I do not dose according to the instructions on the supplement bottles. If i did that I know i would be overdoing the calcium big time. I dose the A/B once a week and the Essential Elements bi-weekly. This is the dosing that has worked well in the past, and for what i assume, works now as well.

So, if frozen foods add significant amounts of phosphates to the water, would I be better off feeding with just a quality marine flake food?

Cody 02-01-2009 06:30 PM

As long as you de-frost your frozen food in a seperate container, and use like a turkey baster or the like to feed the tank, you should be fine. The water the food is defrosted in has a ton of phosphates, but the food itself does not. However, uneaten food will become nitrates, which means hair algae.

You may want to try bigger water changes as well vacuuming the sand.

ThalesthePearsei 02-01-2009 06:43 PM

I tried doing bigger water changes in the past. It was when I was having my water regularly tested. I remember the guy at the LFS giving me a funny look and asking how many fish I have. My big water changes were causing huge ammonia spikes. So I am reluctant to change more than I am (1 gallon). Although it is a 14 gallon biocube, there is only 6 gallons of actual water in the tank, so I would think changing a gallon per week would be more than enough.

Cody 02-01-2009 07:00 PM

Hmm, makes sense.

onefish2fish 02-01-2009 09:58 PM

i see a very big problem here. you need to test the water yourself with a quality test kits and a refractometer. first off even a quality fish stores tends to tell you your water is "ok" to get to you purchase more of their live stock. even if their testing is accurate (which you dont know) testing yourself will save you time from weekly (atleast) trips to the fish store.

dosing without testing=failure

ThalesthePearsei 02-01-2009 10:14 PM

I am planning to buy a test kit in the future.
I would have my water tested at Aquarium Designs. A reef and saltwater fish store run by a very well educated family. They would always tell you the facts whether it meant a sale or not. The same day my water was tested and had crazy ammonia, I was planning on buying a couple of expensive corals. They were already bagged up and ready to go when my ammonia reading came back as being really bad, and they advised me not to get the corals anymore- and gave me some advice on ammonia reduction, and to cut it out with the massive water changes. They would also write down the exact readings of the tests on a card and give it to me, they wouldn't just day "your water is good." They even held and shipped my ocellaris and purple firefish from San Antonio to me in NY for free when I was moving.

Kellsindell 02-02-2009 11:50 AM

You really do need to get your own test kits. That way if there's anything going on in the tank around 1am, you can check out the params if you feel the need. I would check out it'll be the local club in your area. They'll have much more info about LFS that'll be more suited to answering your questions and the'll help you themselves.

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