IS FOWLR a Reef Tank??????
Went to a new Aquarium store today to try and pick up additional members of my clean up crew. Discussed my tank, it's current state and future plans. Like most of the shops I've been to, I met Hubris, Arrogance and condesention. Should I treat a FOWLR like a Reef tank? I have a 90 gallon tank w a Mega Flow 3 Sump + 540 gph Rio 2500 watt pump (Bio Balls REMOVED). a Coralife needle wheel protein skimmer (upto 125 gallons) and a 9 W UV Filter in the sump. In the tank is about 80 lbs of Carib Alive sand (4 inch base) and 80-90 lbs of Live rock from established tanks plus another Powerhead moving 294 gph. Never had an Ammonia/Nitrite or Nitrate spike. I used prime when I initially put the water in, and Stability daily for the first week. Today's readings
Salinity 1.020, pH 8.3, temp 78 F, Calcium 460, dKA 7, Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate 0ppm
1. Do I need to test my dKa and Calcium if I don't have coral?
2. Is this a "Reef" tank if it's FOWLR?
3. Do I need to test for Phosphates?
4. Slowly added fish over the last 2 weeks and still no Ammonia, Nitrite or Nitrate.
5. After over a month w LR present and the slow addition of fish followed by invertabrates is it possible the tank cycles without an Ammonia spike being that the LR was from established tanks w almost no transit time.
5. Should I be placing a Calcium or Alkilinity buffer?
Welcome to the forum!
Very good questions. First off, no a FOWLR is by no means a Reef. Mg, Ca, and Alk along with trace elements, aren't going to matter as much as a to a reef.
It sounds like you're getting started in the right direction. you do need to test for PO4 just as much as you do need to check for NO3 (nitrate), but on the otherhand, you may be correct and will not get an ammonia spike because of where you recieved your LR and sand you won't get a cycle that test kits will pick up, which is perfect! I'd check for just one more week and if nothing, i'd stop testing for Ammonia and Nitrite (NO4).
With a FOWLR tank, you can have lower Alk, and SG. I really wouldn't worry about them being low too much. You may want to raise the alk, but because you don't have any corals, you can do this with simple 10% water changes.
Any other questions you may have please feel free to ask! That's why the forum's here!
welcome to the forum. so far it sounds like your doing everything great.
1. even with fish and esp. with inverts you should have a stable alk and cal (which includes mag) levels.
2. reef means corals, FOWLR means fish only with live rock. although some live rock is dead coral skeleton it is only considered live rock.
3. the issue with testing for phosphates is that it usually gets consumed by bad algae before your able to get a reading on a test kit. if using RO/DI that was tested with a TDS to insure puriety and pre-rinsing frozen foods in RO water you shouldnt have issues with phosphates. you may alway want to consider running carbon/phosphate reactors.
4. what fish?
5. using live rock from an established system is very likely you will not have a cycle. this does not mean you can go out and add all the fish you want right away, your going to want to slowly add to slowly increase your benificial bacteria.
6. some with say no in a FOWLR but in my opinion, i say yes. cal, alk and mag all work together so you will need to dose all 3. seeing that it is a FOWLR you shouldnt have to dose much/often because nothing will be using up these additives. using a reef salt will also include buffers for this.
what are your plans with this tank? plan on adding corals? what kind of lights do you have?
Right now I have a Flurescent light. I hope to eventually upgrade to a Halide. Once the tank is established add coral and maybe some Bubbletip anemones (Provided my fish are compatable). I currently have some Nassarius snails, Blue hermits, Turbos, a Red leg Hermit a Large Maroon Clownfish, Yellow Tang and a Dwarf Lionfish. Don't intend on adding anymore fish at this time (Maybe more inverts).
I really think you should choose now, rather then later, if you're going to go reef or not. A plan is the best way to ensure your chances of success. If you go into a tank wanting fish only and then decide, i'll throw in a coral and upgrade the lights, you'll find that it's a bit different, as you begin to learn that your salt isn't working quite the same, and that somthing is dying.
If you do plan on going reef, then you're going to need to look into:
Spectrum of light
There are so many different things you'll need to look in to, and winging it just really isn't the way to go.
How about Anemones? Do they require Halide lighting? My pump for the sump is about 6X/hr and have a powerhead that moves about 3.5X/hr. The third powerhead (for the UV sterilizer) resides within the sump and assume this doesn't count toward flow. Want to definitely go coral, but everyone keeps telling me that's for experiences hobbyists. What else would I need for Coral besides the lighting?
i strongly strongly suggest no anemones. they need reef setups.
OK. What is a 50/50 bulb? Can it be used in place of a Halide lamp for Reef setups? Can it be put in the Flurescent lighting?
A few comments. Also, i want to offer a disclosure. Kells and OF2F are both experienced and successful. You are about to receive a different viewpoint. This does not mean that anyone is wrong, it just means that we have found different methods that work well for us.
I would rather run my aquarium without electricity that try to be successful without testing Alkalinity. If I could only have 1 test kit, it would be alkalinity. The entire stability of everything important can be in some way judged by alkalinity. Yes, PLEASE, for the love of Rick Pitino basketball, test for Alkalinity.
The result you receive can be greatly enhanced if you also test for Calcium. For example, your currently Alkalinity of 7dkh and Calcium of 460ppm would be a call of action for me to do a partial water change. If Calcium was also low, I would simply add a buffer and a calcium supplement. But your Calcium is within the normal range, which suggests that you have a magnesium shortage causing the Alkalinity to drop. Hense, a partial water change with a good salt mix to replenish magnesium and I add a buffer.
My method is this. I keep Alkalinity between 8 and 12 dkh for a reef, 10 and 14 dkh for fish only. I keep calcium between 360 and 460 ppm. If Calcium and Alkalinity are both within range, no action is necessary. If calcium is low and alkalinity is low, I buffer and add a calcium supplement. If alkalinity is high and calcium low, I dose calcium. If alkalinity is low and calcium is high, i do a partial water change and add buffer, for the reason in the above paragraph.
I have used this method for over a decade with great success in maintaining a stable system. I find that hobbyists who neglect alkalinity testing struggle greatly in having long term success. The daily pH swings are greater and the water chemistry is never quite right. The fish notice this and are accustomed to having a perfectly stable system (the ocean).
Over a period of weeks of testing, you will notice patterns in the tests. I know that my current systems needs a buffer on Wednesday, daily addition of calcium, and buffer & water changes on the weekend. This works and keeps my system perfectly within the ranges I am looking for. In a fish only system, you will not dose calcium nearly as often, but it will be needed on occassion.
On the subject of reef, I agree that you need to get your feet wet in the marine hobby first. Enjoy the fish and gain some experience. Spend the next year reading and learning. If you want to go reef down the road, you can. But the expense is FAR greater and knowledge requirement is significant.
One last thing, anemones are for experts. I am hesitant to purchase one, due to their difficulty of care. I only have 20 years experience in the hobby, so I'm being patient.-)
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