Moving an Existing Reef Tank / Establishing a New Tank
Hi all - Yes, I'm another newbie to the saltwater tank world! I've kept tropical fish for several years and I am now taking the plunge into saltwater. My boyfriend has lost interest in his reef tank and I'm attempting a rescue. I have LOTS of questions and trying to get specific information on the internet is a bit overwhelming! So here I am.
His tank is a 46 gallons reef tank with live rock, live sand, some corals, some snails and only 3 remaining fish. The live rock has been overcome with green furry looking algae and I'm trying to figure out if the rock and corals can be salvaged. The corals (bullseye mushroom, button polyps, and leather) and in a pretty sad state as well. The fish (clown fish, chromis, and a colbalt blue, yellow-tailed unidentified fish) seem to be okay - for now. The tank in general has been on the decline for a few months now. He first set it up about 2 and half years ago. In GENERAL, a quick test strip shows that the water quality is OK, but obviously with the algae explosion going on, it can't be that great. (I can provide more specifics on this once I retrieve the reef test kit from my house.)
I've set up a 29 gallon tank at my house with live sand and mixed saltwater, some rocks (not live) as a temporary home. I just set this up on Friday and am attempting to cycle it with fish food.
I'm now trying to figure out what my next steps are and if I can salvage the live rock and corals in his tank. I'll need to completely break down his tank and give it a thorough cleaning before setting it up in my house, but this is where I need some advice on what my options are. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated!!!
Here are some details that might be helpful:
1. Tank size - SeaClear 46 Gallon Bowfront System II Aquarium, 36"L x 16.25"W x 20"H
2. Tank type - For the most part, this is a reef tank, except there appears to be only fish, soft corals, and some snails.
3. Water parameters - I'll have these as soon as I have my test kit and can determine proper readings. A quick test strip shows acceptable levels. The tank has been running for about 2 and half years, but water changes have not been done on a regular basis and the last water change was within the last 3 months. The filtration is a the integrated wet/dry system that is built into the tank. A protein skimmer was in use for the first few months of operation, but hasn't been used since. The tank is currently experiencing an algae explosion. Not sure what kind. I can post a pic if that would be helpful.
4. Set Up - 50 lbs of live rock (Figi?) Substrate is live sand (about 2 to 3 inches) but not sure what kind. As mentioned earlier, wet/dry filtration with a 350 gph water pump. Lighting is a Coralife - one fluorescent bulb and one actinic. This is on a timer - on every 12 hours.
5. Livestock - As mentioned earlier 3 fish, no invertebrates that I can seen (there were some hermit crabs and a cleaner shrimp, but I think they died), no clams, 3 soft corals, no anemones.
Here's the first round of water testing results:
Nitrites 0 ppm
Nitrates 0 ppm
Ammonia 0 ppm
As soon as I'm able to get my hands on the reef testing kit, I'll post those as well...
What time of day were these tests taken?
The tests were done in the late afternoon / early evening time frame.
Your pH looks a little low. It's probably related to your Alkalinity. Test Alk and Calcium. Alk should be 8-12 dKH, and calcium should be 450-500 ppm.
I asked the time of day because the pH level is at it's lowest right before the lights come on. That's why it's best to test after the lights have been on for a a few hours. It looks like that's what you did.
Help with Plan of Action Please!
I’ve taken some to time to think about and document a plan of action. I have to move pretty quickly as I am leaving for vacation on Oct. 23rd and will not be returning until Nov. 3rd. Because of my vacation, I’ve had to think about a phased approach to this plan. The plan I've outlined below represents the steps I must take before I leave on Oct. 23rd. My brother is staying at my house while I’m gone, so I need to be able to give him explicit instructions on what he needs to do to help keep things stable until I return. Any feedback, comments, or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.
1.) I will be transporting the 3 remaining fish from the 46 gallon tank to the 29 gallon tank.
a. QUESTION – There are a few remaining snails and maybe a crab or two in the 46 gallon tank. What is the best method of transporting these creatures to the 29 gallon tank?2.) With the fish, etc. removed from the 46 gallon tank, I will then begin the process of scrubbing down the live rock and moving it to a large plastic trash bin. (The bin has only been used for mixing saltwater.)
a. QUESTION – Can I put the live sand from the 46 gallon tank in the same bin as the live rock?3.) I will then transport the bin of 50 lbs. of live rock (and 20 lbs. of live sand?) to my house. (It’s about a 30 minute drive.) Once I arrive at my house I will start mixing saltwater and fill the bin. I will also be placing a power head in the bin along with a heater.
a. QUESTION – How much water is needed in the bin? Just enough to cover it?4.) I will also ask my brother to monitor the 29 gallon tank with the fish in it. Besides checking the water quality with test strips and emptying the protein skimmer cup daily, are there any other things that he should be on the lookout for? Any tips that I should pass on?
To raise the pH levels, you are going to want buffer. Have you tested your Calcium and Alkalinity yet? You want your pH to be 8.3, your calcium to be 450 ppm, and your alkalinity to be around 8-12 dKH.
Why exactly are you scrubbing the rocks?
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