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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to "put my tank out there" for abuse. I am new to reef tanks and would like to hear some constructive criticism about how I could improve my tank. I apologize for my mangling of the English language and mispellings and assumptions made through out in this posting, as I am trying to get a lot of information posted quickly. In future postings, I will find the actual names (spellings too) and provide better information. I would love to post pictures of my tank, but cannot seem to get my pictures under a meg. I posted one picture, but I had to crop about 90% of the borders away before it fit. I have pictures of everything (present and past) listed below, I can post for anyone interested if I can figure out how to get my 5.1 meg camera shots reduced down.

CURRENTLY HAVE:
75 gallon glass tank

75-100lbs of LR

6 - 48 inch T5's daylight, blue, and actinic blue

Prism protein skimmer with upgrade to pull water from surface

9 watt hang on UV sterilizer with a small powerhead (with filter)

3 small stand alone powerheads

1 huge 802 powerhead with filter

Emperor dual bio-wheel hang on filter (440 I think)

Large heater

cooling fan to keep tank at or under 80 (dialed in about 78)

12 inch hang-on refugium (I wasted a seahorse by putting it in this probably
because of lack of water flow)

10 light moonlight system with CPU to control moon cycles (Not as cool as I thought it would be)

Huge yellow leather coral.
two bubble corals.
Brain Coral (not an open brain).
Two large clams (ones growing very fast. survived the crash and very hardy).
Two bubble tip anenomes (I will have to start another thread soon to discuss these strange creatures. Very fun to hand feed!).
I flat "leaved" looking grogonian with many branches (doing quite well).
Many mushrooms of different sizes and colors (spreading like weeds).
Some hitchiker zenia I believe (also spreading like weeds).
Cabbage coral (comes and goes into dormant states, turns dark purple for days at a time).
Some brownish purple tree looking soft coral (pieces are breaking off and starting new "trees" all over the place.
Huge and very fast growing colony polyps (looks like a purple rubber mat with green and brown flowers. I cut a small piece off and that small piece is spreading like a wild fire as well).

3 Clown fish (that hang out in the anenomes)

1 large yellow tailed damsel (first fish, and boss of the tank, I cannot get him but he's the leader of the tank now and doesn't bother the others)

2 6-lined wrasse fish to keep my bristle worms in check

2 new dragonnets of some kind (male and female white with red checkerboard type patterns)

2 arrow crabs (I will watch these close, my last one got to be about a foot in diameter if you stretched his legs, and started wasting my hermits)

Probably 20-30 snails: Nas., turbo's, cone shaped ones, 1 red foot, misc)

10-20 Hermits, getting bigger by the day, and slowly harvesting my snails for their shells

Some sort of sand star thing with super long arms, hangs out in the dark and cleans up the garbage at night.

6 large feather dusters

Christmas tree looking hitchiker (very slow moving with cone shaped symetrical shell) I will have to post a picture of this freak.

6 peppermint shrimp (mowed down my glass anemones like a lawn-mower)

1 Cleaner shrimp (last one died and was the tank clown)

2-4 Emerald crabs (rarely seen and dont appear to eat bubble algae as advertised)

I HAVE LOST (most when my tank crashed due to low ph by way of poor buffering):
3 Open brain corals (they hate my tank so I hate them now)
Tiger cucumber
Spotted damsels
Two arrow crabs
Cleaner shrimp
Emerald crab
Two plate corals (one short one long tent.)
Orange tree sponge I think (they called it a grogonian at the store, but I am doubtful)
Purple tree grogonian (grew fast and was a favorite until the crash)
Sea Fan (I thought the algae on this was benificial - DOH!)
Yellow tang (damsel food, don't know what else to say)
3 Percula clowns (never go to Disneyland for a week if you own a reef tank)
yellow tailed damsel (He had it coming, so I assisted)
"un-killable" glove coral (turned purple and I ripped it out. When I ripped it out it turned white almost instantly, so I am pretty sure I murdered a dormant animal here =( )
Sea horse "he will do great in your hang-on refugium" - SIGH!
Probably a handful of others that I am either forgeting or in denial about.


WATER QUALITY
1.25 salt water reading (apologize for missing units)
0 nitrates
0 ammonia
0 nitrites
8.3-8.8 PH
1.60+ Hardness (this is suppossed to be less than 1.25 but I only read about punishments for having this too low??? Was over 200 when I couldn't get my Calcium above 300 - have to take more chemistry classes I guess)
400 ppm Calcium. This level is super high for having such a high hardness I gather (assume).
Tens of thousands of bubbles appear in the water as the day wears on. In the morning it is clear and by the time the lights go out at night the tank is thick with tiny bubbles?? (hopefully just part of the natural breakdown cycle)

I am looking forward to sharing stories, advice and frags with people. Sorry if I am slow, innapropirate or awkward in my replies, as I am new to the posting world and have a lot to learn.

Thanks
 

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I've got the REEF rash!
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Welcome to TRT.It sounds good the only thing I see is the bio wheels can make nitraes and people take them off but you say you don't have any.I didn't see anything about Phoshates? and I don't like the part about many bubbles that increase threw the day.That doesn't seam right.But it sounds like a nice tank,hope you can post pic.But I can't figure it out either and mines 8mp.
 

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Premium Member
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7,654 Posts
Hey CN,

Might want to have a moderator move this to GRD to get a little more exposure (PM on of them), this forum is more for suggestions and all that on how this site is set up and running :)

Some suggestions, read through the archives and past threads on this site -- a lot of helpful info -- also, www.wetwebmedia.com (one of my favorites) has even more info on marine life. From how it sounds it seems like you may be buying inhab's based on LFS advice (not *always* a good thing), seahorses require very adapted environments to prosper. Read about the things in depth before you buy them, will save you a lot of headaches.

Ask every question you may have; there are a lot of reef smart people here.
 

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Tang Lover
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7,326 Posts
I 2nd the removal of the Bio-wheel. Your Live Rock will provide all the filtration you need (once you have a good husbandry).

as for the bubble that accumulate during the day...are you sure they are bubbles? or are they solid specks?

My guess is that your tank is precipitating Calcium as a result of your hardness. But I could be wrong.

so lets take a step back...what hardness are you testing? GH (General hardness)? or KH (Alkaline hardness)?

If it's the 1st, stop. That test has NO value with saltwater. ALL saltwater is going to be VERY VERY hard, and your results will have no bearing.

If it's Alkaline hardness...I need units. (mg/L, ppm? dK°?) 1.6 is not a number I'm familiar with when it comes to kH.

anyways...search this forum for threads on Alkalinity levels and Calcium levels. There are LOTS of threads (including one I started just a few weeks ago.....sigh).

But in general...the two levels (calcium and Alkalinity) are VERY related. And actually tie into your pH (which also seems like it can go up a bit high, as you said 8.8 at the high end. That's a little high).

In any case...it sounds like you have a pretty good idea what you're doing, and the tank set-up sounds good. Just read, read, read, research, read...and you'll be good!

But I definitately recommend looking into the Ca vs kH thing. VERY important to understand if you're going to keep corals, and want them to be healthy.
 

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Premium Member
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24,599 Posts
I am not going to really add much that has not been said . But to start I think You don't need to add anything else to Your tank as far as livestock, It looks like You have already had alot of livestock lost, sorry to hear that. For the livestock and Your wallet.I think You have a large Bio load for a 75 Gallon tank.
 

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CoralNerd said:
Prism protein skimmer with upgrade to pull water from surface
Does this pull out lots of gunk? People seem to be hit or miss with this skimmer so I'm just curious.

Emperor dual bio-wheel hang on filter (440 I think)
Do you run it with the Bio-Wheels in? Most will remove the Bio-Wheels & just run it without them for fear of the Bio-Wheels causing Nitrate issues. It'll give extra circulation & a handy place to run carbon & stuff.


Post some pics if you can, it'd be nice to see a full tank shot.
 

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CoralNerd said:
...will find the actual names (spellings too) and provide better information. I would love to post pictures of my tank, but cannot seem to get my pictures under a meg. I posted one picture, but I had to crop about 90% of the borders away before it fit.
Don't worry about the total English thing, we don't grade papers here, although it is much easier to read if it is close ;)
Check the photo forum, there are many threads on "how to" reduce the image size through reducing resolution and physical resizing of the photos.

CoralNerd said:
Emperor dual bio-wheel hang on filter (440 I think)
dump this device, as already mentioned, it converts ammonia into nitrate for the tank to compete for its acquisition (this means algae throughout the tank) rather than being formed in the rock or sand beds where it can more readily be used by the denitrifying bacteria to convert it into nitrogen gas.


CoralNerd said:
Two large clams, Two bubble tip anenomes, I flat "leaved" looking grogonian with many branches, Many mushrooms of different sizes and colors, hitchiker zenia, Cabbage coral, purple tree looking soft coral, fast growing colony polyps (looks like a purple rubber mat [note by tdw: prolly Pachyclavularia spp. ] ...spreading like weeds).
This is indicative of a good source of nitrates in the tank. This could be bad, could be good if the tank is a lagoonal biotope, but still a good idea to keep nitrates down to avoid the potential for nuisance algal outbreaks.


CoralNerd said:
...Some sort of sand star thing with super long arms, hangs out in the dark and cleans up the garbage at night.
Prolly some type of Ophiuroid sea star, usually either a Serpent star or a Brittle star, see this site for some more info on these sea stars



CoralNerd said:
...2-4 Emerald crabs (rarely seen and dont appear to eat bubble algae as advertised)
many very similar crab spp. to these Mithraculus spp.. These crabs were once included with the Mithrax spp., but have been separated out due to their small size relative to the true Mithrax crabs. The species we actually want are Mithraculus sculptus, which has a shiny green carapace and furry legs, and the tips of the claws have small flattened spoon-like tips for pulling and consuming bubble and filamentous algae. A few other useful spp. are the M. cincinctimanus, which has purplish banded legs usually associating with anemones but may be found in Acroporid corals, and the M. forceps which is very similar to the M sculptus but is of brown to orange coloration. Species desirable to us for algae consumption will have the specialized flattened tips. Keep in mind that although these crabs are specialized algae consumers, they are opportunistic scavengers and do get to some size in aquariums, big enough to catch an occasional small sleeping or sick fish.

CoralNerd said:
WATER QUALITY
1.25 salt water reading (apologize for missing units)
0 nitrates
0 ammonia
0 nitrites
8.3-8.8 PH
1.60+ Hardness (this is suppossed to be less than 1.25 but I only read about punishments for having this too low??? Was over 200 when I couldn't get my Calcium above 300 - have to take more chemistry classes I guess)
400 ppm Calcium. This level is super high for having such a high hardness I gather (assume).
How do you measure your values for the water column? Have you tested for magnesium? Your values for zero nitrate really may not mean that there isn't nitrate being produced in the system, as your comment on bubbles forming during the day are an indication that algae is growing and producing oxygen during the day (prolly the small bubbles you are seeing). This and the Octocorals, Corallimorphs, Zoanthids, Pachyclavularia, etc. are taking in the nitrates as they are formed, so you may not be able to measure any nitrates or phosphates, but the indications are present that they are in the system. Changes in your husbandry regimen will help reduce the nitrates before they become a problem for your system.


Overall the tank sounds to be operating well, some small tweaks in your husbandry to reduce the production of nitrates and export some phosphates will contribute to your system's stability and your ease in care of the aquarium.


HTH
 

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Crazed Fish Whisperer
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CoralNerd said:
Prism protein skimmer with upgrade to pull water from surface
I am curious on this, I would love it if my skimmer pulled from the surface to help keep a cleaner surface. :)
 

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Tang Lover
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AnemicOak said:
Does this pull out lots of gunk? People seem to be hit or miss with this skimmer so I'm just curious.
I used to think it depended on your level of patience....as you have to tweak it quite a bit. But from what I hear...this is the case with all skimmers.

I have a prism...and I can pull out a full cup of stuff every day (not mud, but thicker than tea).

SO I'd have to say yes...I like it. Nowhere near as good as an MRC or Euro skimmer, I bet...but my tank seems in good shape...and I can pull out quite a bit of skimmate. I just have to futz with it a few times a day to make sure it's set right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks A Million

Thanks for all the useful information! I think I will do much more reading and less typing, now that I realize that most of my questions have been answered many many times over.

I plan on ditching my bio-wheels today. I always assumed that the process they perform is desired in ANY system, but I hear quite a few nays, so they will be gone soon.

I am getting high readings of Carbonate Hardness (HK). I am using a test kit that states"105-125mg/L - The ideal range for saltwater conditions", and it says this about being too high "> 125 mg/L KH is unusually high. Conuslt your aquarium care specialist (umm O.K.)". Mine has gone from 200 down to 150 by cutting back on the amount of buffers I add (I use Osmo-prep, Kent Liquid reactor, Seachem Marine Buffer, and Sea-Lab No. 28 supplements). I noticed the seemingly linear relationship between Calcium and this KH level. When my KH was near 200 it was very difficult to get the Calcium above 300 (and I probably overdosed it and still no Calcium increase). Now that my KH is around 150 I can keep the Calcium at 400, but no higher. One of my clams is growing awesome, so I am relying on instincts that a low Calcium level is O.K. if the KH hardness is proportionally high.

My protein skimmer works well if I tweak it every changing (1-2 times a week). The small amount of build-up inside leads me to tweak it weekly for best performance. I just kind of feel that Prizm may be a little to entry-level for a 75 gallon, heavily loaded reef tank. SOunds like some people have not had any problems though, so I will not upgrade that until the next tank (which will have a sump and require a "real" skimmer). The upgrade kit was 25 bucks for a small cup attachement, but has improved my skimmers performance by at least 50%. It seems like a crime to pay $25 for a small piece of plastic, but I am glad I finally bit the bullet and did.

I have never tested for Magnesium or Phosphates. I only test the following levels: Salinity, Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, KH hardness, and Calcium. The guy at the LFS said that Strontium testing is a bit much, and recommended just using FORM once a week for that (but not for Calcium which he said FORM is not adequate).

I agree that my bio-load is large for the tank, which is why I bought the upgrade kit for my skimmer, the uv sterilizer, and started running Kent Carbon in my skimmer constantly (change it once a week).
 

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Tang Lover
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CoralNerd said:
I am getting high readings of Carbonate Hardness (HK). I am using a test kit that states"105-125mg/L - The ideal range for saltwater conditions", and it says this about being too high "> 125 mg/L KH is unusually high. Conuslt your aquarium care specialist (umm O.K.)".
Do you have the Hagen test kit? Mine says the same thing, and I find myself confused. Here's why

to convert mg/L to dH°, that kit says to multiply the number by 0.056.

so at 125 mg/L you would have a reading of 7 dH°. But from what I've read here, a carbonate hardness of 8-10 dH° is ideal. Which would mean you'd need 143-179 mg/L reading.

I'm not sure if thier conversion is wrong, or my concept of what the ideal carbonate hardness is. Anyone care to let me know?
 
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