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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been reading all the past messages and articles on this site for the past several days. I have been into several books lately to try and learn as much as possible and I'm still confused. I am sold on the DSB and have gone ahead with adding a 3-4 inch bed to my existing tank which had regular/colored gravel, which I removed prior to laying the DSB. I also seeded it with 5 pounds of live sand. I've also gone ahead and added about 50 lbs of live rock. I'm trying to make the transition from a fowlr to a reef, which has always been my ultimate goal when starting this hobby about 4 years ago.

That said, I still can't get the clear answer to a couple of questions I have and would appreciate any input any of you may add.
My current setup is this:

55 gallon with a Eheim canister, Aquaclear 500, UV and heater. Tank temp is steady at 79. One power head for circulation. Also have an AMiracle 22" PS lying in the closet not being used.

1 common clownfish
1 scooter blenny
1 blue damsel

Cleaning crew:
12 turbo snails
10 scarlet hermits
1 beige/brown starfish that stays under the sand(forgive me I do not remeber what it is called)
1 brown spotted cucumber
2 cleaner shrimp
1 arrow crab
(I also have a brittle star and abalone on order at my lfs)


My questions:
1. I read some opinions not to use sand sifters, some say do? s my starfish doing more harm than good for my new dsb? Is there anything I should add to my sand at this point or take out as far as cleaning crew go?

2. I have a protein skimmer but do not use it. I know there are many arguments over my next question, but I have asked 2 pretty good lfs in my area and get 4 different opinions. After reading everything I could, it seems to me that I'm still confused. Is my ultimate goal to not use a UV and protein skimmer, and even perhaps get rid of the Aquaclear 500 at some point? And just go with the LR/DSB and the eheim for mechanical filtration, or is the eheim also not necessary down the road. I ask because I have always had a nitrate problem -cherry red. I have tried many things-bio wheels, thin layer of ls to name a few and nothing works. I think the filters are harboring the trates. Are any of you successfully running without a protein skimmer, UV and mech filter?

Thanks and regards,
Mike.
 

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hey there Sandman...I have the same problem with nitrates in all my tanks... and it is due to the Emperor's I use. I am going now with the live rock/live sand/skimmer (berlin method) now, as this is the way to go to get rid of the nitrates I am told. Your problem is most likely with your filter, and will continue to grow. I've found with most of my LPS and on here that a canister WILL NOT work with a reef tank. In my opinion it would be better for you to go with the skimmer, live rock/live sand as this would be the best for the reef tank.


WAGZ
 

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Mike, you are off to a good start as far as LR and sandbed. Is this something you just recently added? My concern is you have an awful lot of animals in such a new setup. What really sends up the flags are a scooter blenny, which has the same feeding issues as its cousins the mandarin dragonttes, and the sifter star fish. These guys will deplete the infauna in your sand bed faster than it can establish at this point and cause the scooter to starve. You need to add the detrivore and copepod assortment such as sold by ISPF or inland aquatics. You can also add sand cultures from established reef tanks if you have some reefers nearby who will share. Joining a reef club is worthwhile for the hands on experience and opportunity to trade.
Ditch the Ehiem and use the skimmer, you can keep the aquaclear for circulation only and a place to run carbon if needed but no sponge. That should help keep the nitrates down, but keep in mind its gonna take about 6 months before the tank goes through its various cycles and starts to settle down. I would recommend not even considering the scooter till then and adding a refugium to the system will improve its odds off having enough to eat, FWIW

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I dont advocate holding marine creatures for ransom but......since you asked:)
Doug, plank owner
http://hellreef.homestead.com/index.html
www.thereeftank.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000001.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks to Doug and Wagz for the advice.

Doug,
The tank is a 55gl that has been an established FOWLR for around 3 years. I have always had a high count of trates though. 2 Weeks ago, I removed the colored gravel that was put in the tank about a year and a half ago and I replaced it with 3-4 inches of Aragonite. Course to sugarsized to super fine. I then seeded the tank with a total of 5lbs of live sand from 2 different LFS. I have also added about 50lbs of cured LR, some really nice stuff too. About a week ago, I purchased the "cleaning crew" on the advice of my LFS. They included the hermits, snails and cleaner shrimp as well as the star fish and brown spotted cuke. Thier easoning was to have the crew in there now so they would stir up the sand and promote bio growth -true? This weekend, I removed the UV I've been running. I am now looking at pulling the Eheim off this week. It sounds like the advice your giving me is:

1. Go ahead and pull the Eheim this week, the bio should stay stable enough?
2. Return the starfish and scotter blenny and cuke? All 3? or just 1/2?
3. Run the PS asap.
4. Add detrivore/copepod assortment. In other words, just seeding with some LS from a LFS isnt enough, I should go ahead and get these kits as well?

Thanks in advance for the help/time-
Mike.
 

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Hi Mike;

I'd return the scooter blenny and the star, both of which are going to deplete your sand bed of the very things you were trying to get by adding the live sand.

I'd never put another star in your system, no need, but I think Doug is saying that if you would at some time down the road like to get another scooter you will have to provide more of a food source (copepods, amphipods), via a refugium, than your tank can provide on it's own.

The detrivire kits provide you with a wide range of critters for your sandbed health: spaghetti worms, bristle worms, mysis shrimp and mini brittle stars to name a few. You *can* get all these things from established tanks if you can find someone who will share, but often it's hard to find other reefers in your area and a kit is the easiest way to go. Make sure you get a look at the tank or trust the reefer that's doing the *sharing* though; you may get more than you bargained for in the form of some nasty like planaria, for example.

I try to remember to ask this question whenever I talk to someone who's converting a tank: Have you ever used a copper-based medication in the tank to treat the fish? Copper is death to inverts. It sounds like you've read enough to have thought of that but sometimes the basics hang us up.

HTH,

~Alice



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Reefkeeping is my life; I can't afford a hobby too! My specs: www.thereeftank.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000029.html
 
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