29 Gallon Saltwater Aquarium
1. Tank size. 29 Gallon. 30x12x18 approximately.
2. What type of tank and how long has it been running? FOWLR. 1 month.
3. Water parameters. Salinity: 1.025, Temperature: 78 degrees, Nitrate: 20, Nitrite: 0, Ammonia: 0, Alkalinity: 180 - 300, pH: 8.0 - 8.4. Last water change was done one month ago, about 3 - 4 gallons.
4. Set up. Live rock. 30 lbs. White sand. 30 lbs. SeaClone 100 Gallon Protein Skimmer. AGA 30" 17-watt fluorescent bulb.
5. Livestock. 2 True Percula Clownfish.
Looks and sounds good! How did you deal with the diatom bloom? Any hair algae? What are your future plans?
When I see a new setup, i always look for the little things that might not stand out as obvious. That being said, here are a few things to consider for long term success.
I think you need more water movement. For a 29 gallon tank you could get away with adding a MaxiJet 250 to MJ500.
With the SeaClone skimmer, the sponge needs to be cleaned EVERY day to remove organic wastes. If not, these wastes break down, introducing nitrate and phosphate into the water. Over several months you can have serious algae problems. Cleaning this sponge will be one of the most important parts of your routine.
I can not tell from the picture how deep of a sand bed you have, but I suspect it is not deep enough. Sand beds need to be between 4-6'' in depth to provide effective denitrification abilities. The other option is to keep less than 1'' of sand. Anything between 1'' and 4'' tends to trap nutrients, leading to long term algae problems. In your current setup, you could syphon out some sand reducing the level to under 1'', or you could add more to reach 4''-6'' depth.
I think you need more live rock. When I say "need', i'm not talking about filtration. I think you need rock for the fish to feel secure. As you begin to add more small fish, they will seek out safety and hiding inside the live rock display, especially at night. Conflicts are more likely to arise when there is not enough rock. Plus, the additional rock will allow for more life to spread, such as copepods and amphipods, which are natural food sources for the fish. If money is an issue, you could order dry rock from Marco Rocks The finest aquarium rock available, base rock, live rock, reef rock, marco rock, reef tank saltwater fish, live corals, Marco rocks, Fiji live rock, Tonga Live rock. I ordered nearly 200 pounds of dry rock for my 180 from this site and have been very pleased. You can see pictures on my 180 build thread, under the Saltwater Pictures & Video area of this web site. I suggest the Fiji Dry rock.
Finally, you mention that you are testing for alkalinity, but you do not mention calcium. You need to add a calcium test into your routine and replace calcium as needed. This will help to stabalize alkalinity, and provide the calcium needed for coraline algae to grow and spread. Coraline growth is imporant to help minimize the risk of problem algaes. Plus, coraline algae growth is a great sign of the overall stability of your aquarium environment. For a FOWLR aquarium, I recommend Kent Marine LIquid Calcium supplement, which is Calcium Chloride.
Yeah, the rock does look a little sparse but I do think it looks good...... looks kinda like my tank :) haha. But yeah, about the sand bed... I had the same problem, and I endd up adding 30 lbs more of sand to increase my sand bed depth to about 5 inches.
The sand bed is a little above 3". I did it according to the 1 lb per gallon rule. About the sand, I bought it from Petco before joining this forum, I thought it was live sand. As I researched and researched, this white sand that I bought is just a substrate. I guess you can call it artificial? So if I was to add another 10 lbs of sand, which will be live this time, I'm sure of it! The remaining substrate will eventually become live as well correct? And how do I add the live sand without harming the 2 fishes I now have in the tank?
If I was to add more live rock for the fishes to hide, should I place it in a separate container and let it cure? Or should I place it in the tank directly? I ask this question because if I was to do this I would probably end up buying the same live rock I bought from Petco. And they keep their live rocks running in a tank with water movements and water filtration. Your thoughts?
The reason I did not put Calcium up was because I bought my supplies from drsfostersmith and they have yet to arrive. I emailed you regarding supplements and foods that you use. As of now, I'm using the Ocean Nutrition (the blue one) for my clownfishes and they love it. I did go out and buy a temporary Kent Marine Starter Kit. It contains Essential Elements, Pro-Ammonia Detox, and the Pro-Buffer dKH I told you about in the email. What you think?
I clean my collection cup every few days, when the neck area starts to cover with gunk.
Your existing sand is probably "live" already, as it was seeded by the live rock. I would add additional substrate, and give it a very good rinsing first to ensure it does not cloud the tank. Another option is to add an aragonite grade live sand... just be sure it is not actually sand, but is aragonite. The aragonite sand I added to my 180 did not cloud the water at all. Unfortunately I can not recall the brand name. sorry. I search my 180 thread and did not see posting it anywhere.
If you add additional live rock, I would suggest placing into a curing container first to ensure you do not get an ammonia spike in your display.
By the way, I do not think you are cycling. I think your cycle is over. After 1 month of live rock, you will probably never see an ammonia or nitrite reading.
Here is the Hydra Koralia Nano I just received in the mail. Now I'm thinking if I should get another one to push the water that's being skimmed back into the tank to prevent sand movement. What you guys think?
Pasfur. I think you're right about the cycle. The rock is brown and has a little bit of red hair algae.
As for adding live rock and sand, I will probably go back to Petco and purchase the same type of rock I purchased before since I had no problems with those. But I will put the rock in a container just to be safe. Since I previously purchased the wrong type of sand as a substrate instead of live sand, I will probably go with this one: Bio-Active Live Aragonite Natural White #0 to blend in with my white substrate. Another 10 lbs should be more than enough right?
Another 10 pounds sounds about right. Just measure your sand depth currently and calculate how many pounds makes an inch. Add from there.
If you raise your water level to the black rim, does the return water from the protein skimmer still disturb the sand bed?
Maybe if you position the next ten pounds of rock under the skimmer outlet, that will diffuse the flow created by the skimmer. That should stop the movement of the sand...
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