I've converted from fresh. Carbon? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-04-2007, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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I've converted from fresh. Carbon?

Hello everyone. This is my first post. I've been cycling my first marine tank for about 3 weeks now but I just realized that I have 8 pounds of new carbon in a triple canister filter system (bio, carbon, and UV/mechanical). Will that affect the cycling by absorbing the ammonia from the live rock? Do I need carbon in a marine system? I have a friend that is just running a wet-dry.

I've been cycling 100 pounds of live rock in the middle of 100 pounds of dead rock and there has been no color change in the dead rock (really white) and the live rock has remained the same (brown in some areas).
Also, I purchased the live rock from a LFS's display tank so I think the live rock's die off had already died off.

Thank you for any help. I like this forum.
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-04-2007, 06:32 PM
I do not use any carbon in my system. My system filters itself from the live rock, skimmer and algeas that I have growing in the sump. Now the live rock that you bought from the display tank. How long has the tank been up and running? The LFS I live around cure they live rock before they let custumers by it. I dont know if that apply's everywhere else. It could be possible that they was die off from the live rock. How long has the tank been up and what are the water parameters now?
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-04-2007, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response. I wish I received more replies.

I only know that the salinity is correct. I've never checked the PH and alkaline levels with my fresh water tanks because I don't like to use chemicals and I've never had any problems. I will test the alkaline and PH tomorrow when my friend comes over.

The 2 pieces of live rock I purchased from the LFS are beautiful with green, red and purple everywhere and a brown bottom. I think they're already cured.

What I want is to have that beautiful color spread to the dead rock I placed next to them. The dead rock was from an uncle's previous tank that had been rinsed and dried out. Also, I don't know if the tank has cycled since I don't see the color changes and it has been running for three weeks.

I think the carbon is cleaning out the ammonia and stopping the cycle. And since you don't have any carbon I think I'm going to take it out and put more bio-glass.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-05-2007, 06:11 AM
Originally Posted by stickaforkinit
What I want is to have that beautiful color spread to the dead rock I placed next to them. The dead rock was from an uncle's previous tank that had been rinsed and dried out. Also, I don't know if the tank has cycled since I don't see the color changes and it has been running for three weeks.
Well it will take a while for the batceria and color to grow on the dead rock. We have had live rock, dead rock, and lace rock in our tank, and some lace rock pieces still havent had any color added. Our dead rock took several months to become alive again. So just be patient and it will happen with time. :)
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-05-2007, 06:24 AM
Like usmcwife said it will take a while to spread to the dead rock, unless it was live rock at one point or a chuck of dead coral. Also I would dose with B-Ionic everyday. This will keep your calcuim and Alk levels good so the coralline algea will grow. I had dead rock in my tank and its been in there for about a year and just now started taking on the coralline algea but I have moved my tank 4 times in the last year. If you see the ammonia getting to high then place the carbon back in it. Also whattype of lights do you have? Coralline algea thrives off of the 10K or higher spectrum.
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-05-2007, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Ah! Several months... good info usmcwife, thanks. I will be patient.

The light I'm using is a Nova Extreme with 4-54 watt T-5 bulbs (2 of which are actinic). I have to look up the exact kelvin. I hope this is enough for a reef tank??? Or do I need more? I know light is very important for corals.

Would it be cruel to add a small fish yet? Maybe a damsel?
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-05-2007, 03:03 PM
For coral(Depending which kind) The minium I would go is 5 watts per gallon. On my 120 I have 6.3 watts per gallon. I would make sure you want to keep the damsel because they can get mean. Go with the blue/green chromis I have a school of them in mine. If you were to add one, Do just one.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-05-2007, 03:04 PM
iv seen marine carbon that are suposed to leave the good stuff in the tank and only obsorbe the smelly stuff.
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-05-2007, 03:05 PM
I have used it it called reef carbon, but I dont use any type of carbon anymore no need to.
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-05-2007, 07:38 PM
The only time to run carbon in a marine tank is in fish only systems (whenever you want) or in a reef when something crashes. If you have a poisonous fish or invert die you'd run some carbon to absorb the toxin.

Your rock will definitely take a long time to color up, maybe even years. I have rock that has been in my tank for 1.5 years that is only now coloring up. Colorful sponges will take a long time and will only grow in pristine tanks. Coraline grows very slowly that is why encrusted rock costs more.

You say you don't know your PH or ALK. You must know it. It is crucial in a marine tank. You say you don't wish to add chemicals but want a reef. You'll have to get over that. Doing weekly water changes will keep your levels stable for the most part, but if you ever get heavy into coral then your coral will deplete your levels faster than you will replace it. You'll come to call it "dosing" instead of adding chemicals. It will become an important part of your reef success. PH should stay constant between 8.2-3. At 8.5 ammonia becomes deadly toxic. CO2 exchanges can quickly compromise PH causing to to crash out below 8.0. Your water will need buffers to keep it up at the required level. If your ALK falls below about 8DKH your corals will suffer. 9-11 is ideal. Calcium, CA, can be depleted by growing corals as well. CA should remain at 440-60ppm. Now we can get into things like magnesium levels. Mag and ALK work together to stabilize CA levels. It's a balancing act. You'll need to test the tank often to understand your tanks rythyms. After about 6 months of testing you can make educated assumptions as to how your tank runs, until you make more changes. Again many of these levels will stay constant with frequent water changes but due to the cost of salt mixes and or the time it takes to do a proper marine water change they are often neglected, and/or your tank may deplete certain aspects at different ratios and it will need additional supplementation to keep the ratios at proper levels. I hope I explained it well enough for you.


B Ionic (highly recommended)
marine buffers to stabilize PH when needed
magnesium flakes (may never need them)
Reef Advantage Plus from Sea Chem to replace amino acids.

As for lighting demands, you did not state your tank size. I can state that I run 10wpg over my 75g tank but that is only a relative figure. Wattage is a comparison based upon the amount of electric use, not efficieny. I, like USMC, really like my metal halides for the main lighting with power compact supplemental actinic. T5's are more efficient than MH and are great for small tanks. Only drawback is that you need many of them. Almost as much wattage as MH. So it takes several more ballasts, bulbs, reflectors, etc.... to compare them to MH. IMO for larger tanks they cost more than MH. For comparison, I'd like to see 500w on a 50g. Ok 2 250w DE mh would really do it up nicely. I'd add a single full length tube of T5 actinic for color. Cost, about $500. Now I'd be really hard pressed to fit 10 54w T5 bulbs into a 50g tank, but I did say they are more efficient so lets try 6 of them at 300w. Now to get a good quality 6 T5 bulb set up I'd be looking at about $450 or so. To me apples to apples, I'd rather spend an additonal $50 for the mh set up as I'd be getting more beneficial lighting and additional PAR (useable light) to my corals. Keep in mind that you'd probably run a few full actinic bulbs int he T5 set up for color, thereby reducing your useable Kelvin spectrum and lowering your actual wattage or Par value to the tank. Plus Mh have a pulsing effect to them that is considered life giving to the corals. It's a feeling of natural sunlight. Sure you can walk into a brightly lit room full of T12 flourescent bulbs but you can't get that feeling that you can lying around a park on a sunny day. That's the feeling your corals get under MH. The pulsing triggers growth. Mh also causes a shimmer effect in the water that also simulates natural sunlight and causes reef keepers to ooh and aahh in ways that flouro lighting does not. Now I'm not trying to talk you out of T5 as I did say that smaller tanks (60g and smaller IMO) they can do a terrific job.
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