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additives for mushrooms, polyps, live rock

3334 Views 21 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  MiddletonMark
What would be a good cocktail and routine fo a fish and reef tank with live rock, live sand, mushrooms and polyps, various algae critters, cleaner shrimp?

I have been adding the two-stage B-Ionic calcium/buffer most days, Iodine once a week, Strontium/Molybednum twice a week, and alternating MicroVert and Phytoplex twice a week (once each).

Is all this too much? Anything important missing?

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Molybednum is very slowly absorbed by the tank. I would use caution on using this. Too much Molybednum can cause a cyno break out in the tank.

How is your water testing out?
How old is your tank?
How big is your tank?

Info man, info LOL
56 gal, 5 months old....the Molybednum is in the same solution as the Strontium...Kent Strontium/Molybednum
I understand where the Molybednum is, I am just cautioning you....some of the custmers at the store couldn't get rid of their cyno, after tryiing everything else, they stopped using this and added just the strontium and cyno pretty much went away.

It's just a heads up, that's all.

Have you tested to see if you need to add ALL these items? If not, then why are you adding them? I don't mean to sound mean, but if your tank doesn't need the additivies, I would suggest you not add any of them.
Sorry, I have only tested for salinity, PH, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, all of which have been excellent.

I have heard of calcium and, is it, KH tests, but haven't used them. Are there also specific tests that relate to Iodine, Strontium, etc?

I was going on advice of LFS. Got what I am using from LFS, who described them as "essential". They mentioned one other thing called Kent Coral-Accel, as strongly recommended, but I laid off that thinking it was like a Miracle-Gro hyper-fertilizer.

I appreciate your advice.
I add strong MH lights and kalkwasser for top off thats it tank looks great:)
I hate to say this, but most stores will sell you anything they can. Especially a newbie. Since most newbies don't have a clue, the rely on the LFs to give them good advice.

I'm glad you are here at TRT, cause we can help and guide you.

Yes there are specific test for EVERYTHING you can think of in a tank. I would suggest you not go the "inexpensive" route, you will regrea it. I would strongly recommend stop adding all that sfuff, get some good test kits (Salifert) and wait to add anything until your tank tells you it needs it.

Casey I add strong MH lights and kalkwasser for top off thats it tank looks great
Some tanks don't required any additivies.

Don't be sorry, you would be sorrier if TRT wasn't here to
Thanks. I am hoping to find a good balance between perhaps the ideal, and something that is manageable more so within the constraints of time as opposed to budget. Not that budget is unlimited, but additives are really the least of the costs involved with the hobby!

I am not looking to cut corners costwise, but I do want to establish a routine that is as simple as possible. I am not surprised to learn there are tests for everything. On the other hand, I understand, from reading as well as talking to others with experience, that with the advent of live rock, live sand, superior equipment, and other advances, that the need for some of the tests has been lessened. Also, I am trying to keep my tank relatively simple from both a fish and reef perspective, trying to stick with easier-care, relatively hardy choices of livestock.

So, please help me simplify, if possible.
Test Kits Salifert

Those are your basic's. MOST of the time once your amonina cycles, you shouldn't have a NEED, but you might want to add to the list just in case.

Some people test for Strontium, but I bet we only sold 3 of these a year at the shop. Same with Iodine. Very exensive test for as many times as you will use it.

As for the additivies, I would hold off until I ran the test and see what the quality is like. Accurate testing will help with alot.

Once you know what you're dealing with, things become much easier.
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Water change now and then and some good ole home made "mush" works for my reef tank just fine!;)

Thanks, though I am still confused. I gather the things you list, and possibly ammonia, are the things you suggest I test. But, where do things like Iodine, Strontium, etc., come in...what test is it that indicates whether those things are needed?

So far, as I said, my ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, PH, salinity have all been excellent and stable. I use an Aquarium Pharm dry-tab master kit.

Also, what do you think of MicroVert and Phytoplex...I understand those are, essentially, foods for corals. My corals are mushrooms and polyps. Does adding either of those twice a week make sense?
105man said:
Also, what do you think of MicroVert and Phytoplex...I understand those are, essentially, foods for corals. My corals are mushrooms and polyps...
In a system such as yours, all you need to put into the tank is top off water, Calcium and alk (your B-ionic 2 part) occasional food for the critters, light, 10% water changes and TLC on your part. The specimens that are in your system will not need anything more than what will be resupplied in a biweekly 10% water change. All that other stuff is just potential food and nutrient amplifiers for nuisance algal blooms. Yes, stony corals will need these items, but the majority of aquarists keep huge tanks of stony corals and never supplement more than the weekly to bi-weekly water change and the additives for Ca and Alkalinity to meet these needs. They are not rate limiting nutrients in our home aquaria unless you have a system that doesn't have a regular WC regimen.

Not only do I not own test kits for the supplements listed, but I do not own any of the supplements either. As listed by Squid above , Ca and Alkalinity once a week, salinity, a pH meter to run continuously, and the nitrogen test kits (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) to test if you suspect problems or during startup of systems will be all you need. If I were to add any others, it would be Magnesium if you can't keep your Calcium levels up and copper if you have a used tank or are suspicious of mains water. Especially with the creatures you have, it is unnecessary, even detrimental, to use supplements, especially in view of the fact that you are not testing your systems to see if you need these items.

These "trace element" supplements are a carryover from the time when you had to talk to a pharmacists to get the things you needed to make your ASW from scratch. With the quality of ASW mixes available today, there is no need for all this other ... ...stuff.

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tdwyatt and squid,

Thanks, again. Taking all your advice together, along with my desire for simplicity and routine, how does this sound:

stop using Iodine and Strontium/Molybednum
use the B-Ionic 2-part Calcium/buffer once a week
stop MicroVert
use Phytoplex once a week

The one Im most puzzled about is Iodine. Could have sworn I read (eg, Paletta, Fenner books) that for some reason an Iodine additive was generally recommended.

Anyway, what do you think?
Not to beat a dead horse, but, Don't add additives for things you do not have a test kit for.

Without testing, you could very well be doing more harm to the tank than if you were just leaving it be. I have from personal experience seen this play out and I could only kick myself int he butt for not getting a test kit sooner. The culprit was Calcium. I was dosing the tank with calcium and not testing. I was following the instructions on the back of the bottle, and when I finally got a test kit, I was shocked at the level of calcium in my tank.

Anyways, the best practice is to not dose anything you are not testing for.
105man...A lot of 'experienced" hobbiest make their own food. As for me, I used to make it and sell it to our customers. What we made had 33 different ingredients. I mean everything under the sun and more. If you want I can post the ingredients. This feeds EVERYTHING in the tank. Will also eliminate the use of Phytoplx
I make my mush from the following;

Cocktail Shrimp
Squid Strips
Concentrated Garlic Extract
Seaweed Selects
and anything else I can find... ;)
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To address the iodine question. I was in the same state of mind as you about adding iodine for a while. My perception is that this element is somewhat debatable. I will standback and let the chemists debate its necessity, but my personal experience is that if you do regular water changes with a quality salt mix. It will provide all the iodine, strontium, Mb, misc. trace elements that you need, especially with the livestock that you listed. Thankfully I did not see any ill effects of adding iodine for about 1 month(without testing for it), and I have certainly seen no ill effects since I stopped adding iodine. You are definitely asking the right questions in the right place. My vote is regular water changes, test for (and maintain) Calcium and Alk, and add lots of patience!!!

Good Luck:) :) :) :)
Remember, this was made in large you will have to scale it down. IF YOU CAN LOL

Recipe for Gumbo:

1. Angel Formula
2. Baby Brine Shrimp
3. Beef Heart
4. Bloodworms
5. Brine Shrimp
6. Brine Shrimp Plus
7. Clams
8. Cuddle Fish
9. Daphnia Cube
10. Formula 1
11. Formula 2
12. Glass Worms
13. Golden Pearls (Brine Shrimp Direct)
14. Green Seaweed (dried)
15. Garlic Xtreme
16. Krill
17. Mosquito Larve
18. Mysis Shrimp
19. Nori Sheets
20. Plankton (Tahitian Blend from Brine Shrimp Direct)
21. Prawns
22. Prime Reef
23. Purple Seawead (dried)
24. SF Marine Cuisine
25. SF Emerald Entrée
26. Mussels (finely chopped)
27. Selco (Brine Shrimp Direct)
28. Sea Urchin
29. Silversides (San Francisco Bay Co)
30. Spirulina Flakes
31. Squid
32. Octopus
33. Vitamins (liquid)

Chop all seafood except clams and blood worms to a VERY course texture. Add formula 1, formula 2, Angel formula, Nori Sheets, Plankton. Chop to a course texture.

Chop the clams until very very small minced pieces. Add to above mixture

Add to this mixture the Selco and liquid vitamins and bloodworms.
Slowly add Spirulina flakes mixing after each addition. Continue to add Spirulina until you have a thick mixture almost clay type thickness. To this add garlic extreme. If not adding garlic xtreme, then stop adding the Spirulina flakes when mixture is the consistency of lumpy thick gravy. Place 1 cup of mixture in sandwich size zip lock bags and freeze.

It’s hard for me to tell you how much of each for small batches. When I make the food, I make enough for about 100-150 bags. We sold the bags for $11.00 per bag and couldn't keep it in stock. All fish, inverts, corals were fed.
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"What would be a good cocktail and routine fo a fish and reef tank with live rock, live sand, mushrooms and polyps, various algae critters, cleaner shrimp?"
The stuff you have listed really don't need anything they cant extract from a good salt water mix, the exception being calcium, which is essential for coralline algae growth as well as some minor use by the corals you have in mind.
So to reiterate what the others have said, a regular water change routine is simple and cheap maint. The B-ionic is a good additive to keep calcium and alkalinity levels in line, but you need a decent (Salifert) test kit for both and a pH meter is really a better choice than test kits for pH, I tried several and I never fould one that showed a discernable difference in readings taken late nite before lights out, and first thing in the morning before lights on. Also its worth investing $50 on a refractometer to monitor specific gravity. The cheap swing arms ar notoriously innacurate and a good floating type hydrometer is almost that much, esp if you get a glass cylinder in which to float it for a reading.
I gather from your user name you have a 105g tank? If so buying a meter and refractometer is cheap ins,
Water problems in that volume of water can get expensive and frustrating to deal with after the fact.
HTH, Enjoy :)
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Big tank can = big problems. Like the man said the bigger the tank the bigger the problems can be. But the good news is a bigger tank can also leave ya room for error ;)

I got roped into all those additives also, and had beautiful red algae all over. Stopped using it and poof gone. Red algae loves Iodine BTW. From what I have read certain species of fish ( not sure about coral ) need the added Iodine. You'd have to do your homework on that.

I had no luck with the B-ionic products but people here seem to love them. But to B-Ionics credit I was probably using the product wrong. I admitted those mistakes in another thread.

I can't begin to tell you the wealth of knowledge I have gotten from the folks around here. So I feel compelled to pass some along to you. Newb to newb :)

Food.. Any of those mixtures will work. But what I do is break off a few pieces and put it in a paper cup and let it thaw out. Then I kill the power heads and with a syringe I take the fluid that has become part of the thaw out and I pump that directly on to the poylops. It kinda stands like a smoke cloud in the water. My polyops are to small to eat like the other corals but this seems to work.I also do this with my striped mushrooms and spotted mushrooms. All my other corals get fed directly.

I have a gren open brain that eats pieces of shrimp, fish clams muscles and black worms. I feed the same way to my Candycanes, hairy mushroms, fungia,and anemones but most of the time the clown will feed him, sometimes to excess.

Someone said here that all our tanks are experiments. I find this to be very true. Silly as this may sound I had no idea that my larger corals could eat worms and such. I figured thy were all flter feeders. I found out by saying WTH and feeding them. I sat amazed watching them eat. Now it's a family thing when I feed we all watch :) Long and the short of it is dont be afraid to experiment.

Enjoy the tank and welcome to TRT.

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