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I have a 40 gallon fowlr currently. im using a hang-on bio-wheel pwer filter, sea clone protein skimmer. not anytime even close to now, but what would have to be done/bought to convert my tank to reef?
I belive my basic aquarium light would need to be upgraded.
i test for nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, and ph, are there more tests for a reef?
is the addition of corals the only difference?
are all fish ok in both settings?

just wondering for the possibility in the future

thanks
 

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Ughhh.. Dinoflagelettes..
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What fish are you keeping int he tank now?? Also, what cleanup crew is in there??

Some things are not reef friendly and will munch on your corals...
 

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How much rock do you have? If you only have a little you will want to add more before you start the reef.

Yes lights lights lights.....your corals best friend, you pocketbooks biggest enemy.

Water movement...if you don't have it...get it! Your corals need water movement to move waste away from thier bodies, and bring plankton through thier polyps.

Lastly if you have ever EVER EVER used copper in the tank, turn back now...you will want to start over from scratch.
 

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You are goin to need to go through all of your livestock and make sure it is "reef compatible". Sometimes this only refers to stony corals but you are going to need to check. One good way I have found is to go to ffexpress.com and looking through there listing. but beware they are only a retail source and should not be fully trusted on their reliabilty, when in doubt ask someone you trust
 

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Little fish in a big pond
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The chocolate chip will have to go. Eats corals like nobody's business! Your fish are fine.

Refer to the earlier comments about medications in the tank, esp. copper. If you are unsure, get yourself a Poly Filter Pad (made by Poly-Bio Marine, Inc.) This is a white absorbant pad, you can place it in your biowheel filter (cut it in half...one piece in each chamber) and see if it changes colour. If it turns blue at all, there is copper in the tank, and you'll be best off starting from scratch.

If there's no copper or heavy metals, increase your live rock volume to about 1 lb per gallon (not an exact science here....), take the bio wheels out of the filter (rock is your "bio wheel" now...) and perhaps add a couple of powerheads for some more flow. I should also note that if you are adding rock to a tank with fish in it - make sure the rock is CURED -- your nose will tell you if it is really cured or not. Cured rock smells fresh and salty - uncured rock STINKS. Adding uncured or partially cured rock can cause an ammonia spike and harm your fish, so if you must, cure the rock in a separate vessel with saltwater, powerheads, and a skimmer if possible. You can add small amounts of cured rock to your tank at a time, until the desired amount is achieved.

Do upgrade the lighting - that's a MUST for photosynthetic animals, and S-L-O-W-L-Y start adding your corals and inverts.

Most importantly - research the animals you buy before you buy them. Often the "prettiest" ones are the toughest to keep (Goniopora sp, Cataphyllia sp and Tubastrea sp. come to mind - pretty but often a waste of money if you aren't up to their challenges, and some just don't seem to fare well no matter what).

Have fun! ;)

Jenn
 

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Little fish in a big pond
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OH and one more thing - testing can be done for calcium, phosphate and alkalinity, in addition to the parameters you are checking now.

Jenn
 
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