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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The short version of this will be at the bottom.

My wife and I have a few tanks already, though they are all fresh water tanks. We have a 75 g Lake Tang cichlid tank, a 90 g Lake Malawi cichlid tank, and a 20 g mollie tank.

Nothing has prepared me for what I have experienced so far with my brand new birthday present, a 3 g marine tank. It sits on my desk so I can look at it while I do homework for classes and various other internet related tasks. I wouldn't say that I am entirely novice at fish keeping, but this reef tank sure is something else.

With my 3 g tank, I got a aqua clear filter, some special carbon (chemipure?) to replace the one that came with it, some live sand from the Caribbean, some LED lighting, a heater, pretty much all the essentials.

I killed the sand by adding it without reading any instructions, since there wasn't any water it dried out overnight due to it being in the high 80's. I learned that lesson though, pulled all the sand out rinsed it with Prime treated water, and mixed up some salt water using marine salt from my local fish store as they directed me.

I got everything up and running, added some live rock, and here we are at the present.

I've found one aiptasia, which I very reluctantly killed, mainly because I was told it was bad, and all the information online said it was bad, but I grew the little bugger from live rock! I wanted to keep it as a pet, but alas, it needed to die. Poor aiptasia, all it wanted to do was take over the world...

I am in the nitrogen cycle now. The ammonia spiked higher than my API test would test for and now is almost gone. Nitrite spiked higher than API wanted to test for, understandably, given the ammonia, but now is on the decline. I think it's down between 5 and 2 ppm.

And the algae... oh the algae. I've got more brown algae all over the live rock and the sand at the back of the tank, even the spout from the filter has algae growing. Right now, I've kept the light on basically the whole time I am awake, which is about 15-16 hours a day. Should I turn it off sooner?

And the last bit, so much life is already going on in the tank and I don't really know what any of it is or if it's good or bad.

--Most notably, there is what appears to be some kind of worm that has not yet fully exposed itself, so I don't know if it's attached to a rock or what is going on with it.

This worm type creature (from what I have seen) extends at most 1.5 inches from the underside of one of the rocks. The top third looks kind of similar to pictures I saw of the fireworms, emphasis on kind of similar. It's tiny, its sluggishly slow, and it doesn't move anywhere near like the fireworms, it just looks similar, with white down the center, reddish coloring on the sides, and what looks like white hairs sprouting off the sides. The rest of what I've seen looks very much the same except it's white and black, instead of white and red. Any clue what this wormlike tendril might be? I've tried taking pictures of it but it's really, really small, and even with a magnifying lens, I'm not able to see it well.

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I have lots of little 'bugs' crawling around. I kindd of think they are amphipods, but again, they are pretty small. I found some crawling around the tank at the fish store and they said they thought the little bugs were amphipods as well, but weren't sure and said they were good for the tank either way. Is there a good way to identify the little live rock hitch hiker bugs?

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I've noticed several things that can only really be described as tubes growing off the rock that appear to be made of sand. Th sand in the tank now is crushed aragonite. I think these tubes might be some kind of corals forming, but that is probably just me being overly optimistic about my ability to not catastrophically destroy my tank with the most unsightly pests live rock can bring.

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I have noticed three different places on the rocks where little tendrils of what appears to be hair have been waving around. I can only confirm one still exists due to the location of the other two, but the one I can still see is... well, creepy. I managed to get a picture that isn't as terrible as the rest I've taken so I'll put a link here. Any idea if this is bad? or if anyone can identify it? or have an idea and need more information?

(I'm brand new to the site so it wont let me link... I can provide a link to anyone who feels inclined to look at it)

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Also, the specific gravity is floating around 1.025-1.026 ish. If the water level drops, it gets a little higher, but I try to top it off with prime dechlorinated water. My water quality is fantastic, so there is really only a trace amount of cloramines in the water.

I think that's it... so here is the short version

HAAALP

I got a tank for my birthday, I messed things up. I think I fixed it. Live rock is in the tank and now there is a bunch of algae. Do I need to run the light less than 15 hours a day? What are all these bugs? My poor aiptasia needed to die. What is this strange thing? (I have a picture, but this is my first post so it won't let me link it.) I tried to get more pictures, but it's really hard to do on my phone :(

So happy to be in this new world of marine wildlife,

Horadell
 

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most likely a bristle worm, which is a good think. It helps keep things clean. Biggest challenges you are going to have:
1. Keeping parameters stable. evaporation is going to cause drastic swings in parameters. if something dies in a 3g tank, it can kill off everything with the change in parameters, unless noticed and removed immediately. Typically, the larger tanks are more forgiving and easier to keep consistent parameters. The flip side is a major mistake can be much more expensive.
2. Finding things that can thrive in a 3g tank. Most fish will require larger spaces, but there are likely a few that can do ok in a 3g. Some smaller corals, such as zoas may be ok, but they will outgrow a 3g pretty quick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It looks like it is a bristleworm. I did a bit of research on them and found that they certainly fit the bill for what I am seeing. He was actually crawling around the top of his rock home when I got home today and I got a much better look at him.

I am still a little worried about the amount of brown algae growing though. Should I restrict the lighting to only daylight hours? Or at least, not much more beyond natural daylight? The tank does also get a little natural sunlight each day through the window.

I think at this point my most pressing question is...

What should I watch out for, besides aiptasias, which I have already killed one, that is most certainly not something that should be in the tank?

And my second most pressing question is, how can I tell if the stuff that is moving around already is good or bad for the tank?

I've had a few talks with the local fish store about what I can keep in there and I'm already prepping to be limited to a few small frags that I can pare down if they get too out of control and sell some back to the store and a crab or watchman of some small variety. Though bummed about it, I'm not planning on getting their ramora any time soon.
 
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