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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,
a couple of water questions I need advice on!

I have a 3yr old 220g with mixed reef. I am currently battling GHA due to way overfeeding my corals. (oops) This is my first salt tank and Im def still learning, 3 years in!

My questions are as follows:
1. I use Filter bags. Good idea or bad idea if realistically, Im only changing them 1x a week or every 2 weeks? (Esp as it pertains to GHA removal)

2. My calcium is at 500, maybe even a little higher. The only additive I use is Reef buffer. I use instant ocean reef crystals and the calcium is only supposed to be 400? Where is an increase of 100 mg/L coming from? Could the reef buffer be affecting it?

3. If my values are all normal- is a water change needed every 2 weeks? Im pretty religious about the 2week/20% rule... but if everything is fine do you still change it?

Here are my current values:
salinity: 1.026/35
ph: 8.2
nitrate: 0
phos: 0.05
magnesium: 1320
calcium: 500+
kh: 7.5
Alk: 2.68 meq
Ammonia: 0

I test with Salifert and SeaChem individual tests, except Nirtates and Ammonia, which are old school API.

Thanks for any advice!!!
 

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Hey bud sorry to hear about the gha.

Do you test your tds of your rodi? I know I was slacking on that and when I checked it my product water was 4ppm.

I know reef crystals have elevated calcium and alk over instant ocean regular. Maybe try a bag of that.

Matt
 

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If you make up a batch of water what does it test at?
From what I have just found IO reef crystals should test around 420 cal.

I tried looking on Instant Ocean's website but they don't list the levels of their salt mix.
I really don't think there is any reason to use the higher cost "Reef" salts for their elevated levels of calcium, etc. I just use regular Instant Ocean.

Your water chemistry is out of wack pretty good.
I tried Seachem's website no information on it raising calcium also no information on what was in it, "proprietary blend, proprietary" blah, blah.

Below is a good article on Calcium and Alk. It tells you how to correct the imbalance. For them to be close to balanced (enough to get into the zone, but not really balanced) the alk would need to be over 4.8 to be balance it would need to be some where around 7 meq/l.
I would highly recommend reading the below article.

https://www.advancedaquarist.com/2002/11/chemistry

As for water changes once you get the water chemistry right you can go to changing just enough to remove the detritus from the substrate and rock. You may need to vacuum the substrate more often than you changed the water perhaps weekly, or not depending on what kind of live stock you have.
 

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I’m guessing the filter bags you’re referring to are installed on your drain lines to catch debris, like a filter sock? If that’s the case I would think you’re not changing them often enough, I brought filter socks up and everyone was saying they need to be changed every 3-5 day to actually benefit from them if not what you’re catching is breaking down and being released back into the water before they are removed. Maybe just install them on tank cleaning days to catch what you blow off of the rocks then remove the next day.

Matt
 

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great advice so far.

i change my filter socks about every 4 days. i have so much flow going through them, that it does not take long for the detritus caught in them to start clogging them and the water level in the socks raises noticeably. at that point i change them.

"reef" salts tend to be elevated. some of them are close to 500Ca and 9alk. most of this is to counter the affects of eutrophication. "denial" in experienced reefers.

have you ever siphoned detritus when doing water changes? if not, this will get you the best bang for the buck in getting your nutrients back under control. in a mixed reef this can get tricky. it can be tough sometimes to get the nutrient levels just right to support both the softies and any SPS. they live in different environments in the wild. you will want to find the sweet spot where you remove just enough detritus to keep the SPS happy, but not so much that it makes it harder for the softies to survive.

if the GHA is growing on the rocks, you may need some more random flow on them to get the detritus off of the rocks and onto the substrate, or better yet in the filter socks.

HTH,

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone,

Yes, I did mean filter socks, I like the idea of only using them on water change days. Okay, so Ill switch that up.

Thank you for the article link- I did read it and I think I will try to increase the ALK a bit. My concerns with using more additives is that it will affect other parameters and it will be hard to fine tune it, but worth a try. My RODI output is 0tds, I just changed the filters recently. The last time I tested the IO Reef crystals in my RODI, it tested at 400 for calcium, so thats why I cant figure out such a big increase at all. Water change tomorrow, Ill test the new salt water before and after I add the alk additive.
What is the concern for a calcium level of 500 other than calcium precipitation?

I just changed my pumps to simulate a gyre effect to help move more detritus, but I do blow off rocks and syphon biweekly. Idk, maybe simply switching to regular IO will do it.

Thanks again all!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I fed probably a teaspoon or more of reef roids, + 1 tsp of marine snow, + dosed with 80ml of phyto plankton probably every 3 days for several weeks, in addition I had several anthias at the time before trading them, so I was feeding the tank several times a day.

right now the tank is on a diet. Fish are getting fed 1x a day a tsp of frozen or nori, spot feeding the anemones 1x a week or so (bta and some rock flowers), the corals are not being fed, and Ive just been on blue light for a week. I will post a photo of the tank tomorrow when the lights are back on =)
 

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I fed probably a teaspoon or more of reef roids, + 1 tsp of marine snow, + dosed with 80ml of phyto plankton probably every 3 days for several weeks, in addition I had several anthias at the time before trading them, so I was feeding the tank several times a day.

right now the tank is on a diet. Fish are getting fed 1x a day a tsp of frozen or nori, spot feeding the anemones 1x a week or so (bta and some rock flowers), the corals are not being fed, and Ive just been on blue light for a week. I will post a photo of the tank tomorrow when the lights are back on =)
My tank is about the same size, probably a little smaller. I spot feed the corals reefroids 1/2 tsp about every 2 weeks. Feed fish 1/2 to 1 cube various frozen 5-7 days per week. I have a filter sock that I clean every week and do semi-weekly 4 gallon water changes (RODI with reef crystals) that equate to about 30% per month.

Do you run carbon, phosban, and a clean up crew? I think you would benefit by starting an aggressive manual removal campaign of the hair algae.

The 500 calcium is strange. Do you have calcium reactor or are you adding CA or ALK supplements?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here's my tank, I did a water change today and manually removed a bunch of the GHA but if you zoom in (if you can) you can see that its still pretty present on most of the rock work.

I retested the Ca on my rodi water with IO reef crystals, it is coming in at 490 so it is the salt mix, so Ill prob just switch to IO when I run out.

After a week of only blues on in my tank, the GHA was much depleted, but one of my acropora frags completely bleached. Which is odd because I have 3 frags from the same piece and thats the only one that looks like its a gonner. Bummer.

My tank is a 220 + sump so I do about 50 gallons every 2 weeks. I run gfo and carbon- gfo i change every 2 weeks, carbon 1x a month. I dont use additives other than a reef buffer (probably just soda ash I over pay for) to increase my ph from 8 to 8.2. Yes clean up crew about 30 hermits, a dolabella sea hare that I havent seen for a week so IDK, and some snails that survived the herrmits, and a few emerald that I never see.

Im open to all suggestions for changes. thank you!
 

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It is also possible that the mix settled some and there is more calcium in what you are using now then there was before.
I would still just use regular IO salt. I don't see any point in paying extra for the elevated levels. They grow fine in Natural sea water, so that is the levels I would try for.
As for the GFO and carbon I have never run either so can't really comment on that.
 

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Nice tank. Similar in start up stage as mine (I just rebuilt my 18 year old tank). Since you have reduced your nutrient import (feeding), You just need to give the tank time to get back to specs. I wouldn't make any drastic changes. Just continue doing manual removal, water changes, and keep the filter sock, carbon and phosban fresh.


I think you should add more clean up crew. I have about 100 snails, hermits, and starfish in mine and there is no algae, other than green on the glass I wipe every 3-4 days.


What kind of skimmer do you have and what is your lighting schedule?


Also try another CA test kit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What kind of starfish do you have and how long have you had it? I had a sandsifter but it was starving so I rehomed it. Id love to get one but want it to be healthy- and the serpent stars creep me out-they get HUGE!

I can beef up the clean up crew- some of everything? the hermits seem to take out the snails though.

The skimmer is an Eshopps X350 (for up to 350gal tank theoretically)
The lighting is 3 165w Led Viparspecta black boxes, 30 min just blues then 8hrs 30% blues/1% whites then 30 min just blues.

So, Ill increase the CUC, switch to regular IO instead of Reef, and just keep to a stricter feeding schedule and my usual maintenance and see if things are balanced out... maybe in a month or 2?
 

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I have had 2 Fancy Tiger Striped Serpent Sea Stars for about a year now. I had about 30 in the CUC and recently added 70 including Astraea Turbo Snails, Scarlet Reef Hermit Crabs (Caribbean), Margarita Snails, Dwarf Red Tip Hermit Crabs, Turban Snails - Asia. From liveaquaria.com. I also have small conch in there somewhere.
 
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