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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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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stickaforkinit said:
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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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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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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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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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I have used it it called reef carbon, but I dont use any type of carbon anymore no need to.
 

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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.

Supplements:

B Ionic (highly recommended)
KalkWasser
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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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks caferacermike! Your post will be the most helpful.

I knew corals would take nutrients from the water so I was planning to add STRONTIUM, CALCIUM and IODINE supplements according to the bottle directions.

We are told to maintain the levels of PH and ALK in freshwater tanks too but I've never had buffer either before. I always believed that if the water is clean, correct substrates are used, the tank is cycled and ammonia/stock levels are controlled that the natural bacteria would take care of the rest. Carbon would take care of toxins, chlorine and anything else that MIGHT go wrong and give it that sparkling drinking water quality!

At the LFSs, they're always pushing chemicals and test kits to noobs and it drives me nuts when my friends add stuff to their tanks when THERE'S NOTHING WRONG!!! Buffer, buffer, buffer... I go to the LFS and I see the salesman selling a brand new tank to a noob with test kits, additives and buffers.

Now with my marine tank, I know the water parameters are very specific and I'm not going to take any chances so I'm going to monitor everything. What would cause PH, ALK, and MAG levels to rise and fall? Could they be indicators of something? I will monitor them and buffer them as to your instructions.

The tank is and All-Glass 110X (110 gal extra-tall), the dimensions are 48x18x30 so the T-5 strip is 48" long and the tank is 30" deep. I don't believe my lighting is suffice so I will have to add or switch.

Does a deeper tank require more powerful lighting per gallon? The Liveaquaria.com catalog has coral light requirements of low, moderate, and high. If a coral that can't move is placed on a rock near the top of the tank, is it possible that that coral might get burned or over exposed by light that is too powerful?

Thanks again for the super helpful post!
 

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250w MH are rated for 24". Anything deeper than that 400w. BUT I would not recomend you run out and buy 2 400w bulbs. I'd stay with your budget and plans. If SPS corals, anemones, or clams are in your picture then I'd try to set up 2x 250w 10-14K MH with 200w of T5 or PC lighting in 20K full actinic. Just plan to support your corals higher in the tank. You'll still be able to grow plenty of low light corals like leathers and mushrooms down low. You should still be able to run a few LPS down there. My only concern at this point is gas exchange. Get a reall ygood power head or 2. I'd recommend Tunze Streams for your application. They come in many flavors a 1,600 GPH would be a good place to start. Your tank is so deep that CO2 and ammonia can stay trapped under the surface. CO2 can react with the elements in sea water creating carbonic acid. This is what will cause your PH to suddenly swing out. To help stabilize PH use a 2-4" pure aragonite sand bed and plenty of live rock. As they decompose they will help elevate all of your levels and help prevent sudden PH swings. You were accurate in assuming that the proper set up can help maintain PH levels, but unlike freshwater the PH can change much more rapidly. Generally most fresh tanks are kept at 7.0, some African tanks are kept around 7.8 and some S American tanks (like my pleco tank) are kept in the sixes. A huge piece of driftwood will generally neutralize PH in freshwater and keep it at 6.0. A lot of limestone in an African tank will keep the PH higher than normal. But in reef tanks the PH is so high that it takes a lot of buffer to stabilize it. When it swings out it drops fast and there isn't mucht hat natural scaping can do to help. Water changes contain buffers put directly in the salt mix so you can either do frequent water changes and/or additioonal supplements. If you ever add a CA reactor to the tank the dissolved CO2 in the effluent can drive down the PH quickly if not monitored.

Things to consider for an easier running tank.

Tunze Turbelle stream maker to create massive currents and tank turnovers.

Sump set up to help churn over your water and allow gas exchange. Ammonia tends to release itself when combined with O2 in the falling pipes leading the sump. Sumps can help lower the tank temp as well. Sumps allow for direct placement of skimmers.

Skimmer. To help permanently remove organic wastes. Completely different then any canister filter you've ever used. Can virtually elimnate any need for carbon.

refugium. Allows seperate place for algaes and microfauna to grow without fear of predation. By allowing nuisance algaes to thrive in ideal conditions they will deplete teh water of excess nutrients. This will really help prevent algae from growing in the tank. By having a revers lighting schedule it will also prevent the build up of CO2 at night when the lights go off and the photosynthetic corals and algaes stop intaking CO2, therebby creating an excess of CO2 in the display. What did we learn about excess CO2 and high PH?
 
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