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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, so I've been reading on here quite a bit since setting up my Red Sea Max 250 reef tank almost 3 weeks ago. I've been asking a couple LFS about what I need to be doing and they sort of have conflicting opinions. I've kind of been leaning towards the one that does fish only, rather than the one that is a general pet store + fish/coral. I'm new to the fishkeeping hobby and this is the tank they recommended for 'ease of maintenance' and cost effectiveness.

We (my wife and I) put live rock and live sand in along with pre-mixed saltwater from the LFS on day one, nothing was really happening and our levels were all 0, and I was waiting for the algae blooms that I've read are typical when setting up/cycling a new tank.

Long story short, I have 3 green chromis fish in there (added 1 in the second week and the others a few days ago) and just added a small CUC consisting of a few snails, 10 or so hermit crabs and 3 red crabs.

I'm having quite a bit of green algae going on.. film building up on the glass only a few hours after cleaning with the magfloat. I also have the hair-like algae on most of the rocks.

The LFS suggested not changing the water until we were at the one month mark, but I went ahead and changed 10gal today. I think it went well with matching up the PH and SG.

I had the tank setup for 12hrs of lighting for the past week, which may contribute to the bloom of green, I also was not running the protein skimmer as I had not been running it from the start because I didn't get any foam coming up no matter how I adjusted it (apparently you need live stuff in the tank to get it to do something.. go figure!) I HAVE been running the skimmer for the past week though.

I dialed the lighting back to 10 hrs starting today, and was just wondering if I should give the CUC time to catch up on the algae, if I should buy another CUC to help the mess out, or buy a lawnmower blenny to help take care of the problem.

Here are my levels as of this evening:
PH= 8.2
SG= 1.023
Nitrite=0 (haven't registered a value higher than this since starting)
Ammonia=0 (haven't registered a value higher than this since starting)
Nitrate= 50+
Alk= 3.6meq/L ~ 10.1dKH

I bought a small 20gal tank to setup as a QT tank for fish and wasn't wanting to just throw the chromis fish and CUC in there before QT but the LFS said they would be fine.

Basically I'm asking for some experienced advice as to what my next steps should be, as we would like to start acquiring some coral and fish to start their QT process. I've been reading and it seems a dip is sufficient for coral, whereas the fish should start in the QT for 30-45 days.

Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
A couple more specs, we've been using RO water from the LFS for top-offs. One of the Red Sea coral salts mised with RO for doing the water change. Have been feeding the chromis flake food a few times a day (now dialing back to once a day after reading this can contribute to algae)
 

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Water changes will help with the green stuff on the glass. Unlike the LFS, I say once you have livestock pooping in the tank time to do weekly water changes and vacuum. They really don't care about your livestock, they want to sell more fish. We however care about your fish and want them happy. I don't QT too much stress for the fish for me, so I will leave that for others.
 

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WOW.. that is a lot of algae. Looks like it came from a tank with VERY high phosphates. I think I would continue with the water changes, go with some good frozen food. Flake is high in phosphate. Cut your lighting to 6 hours or less for now, the fish won't care they just want to eat. Don't add anything else you have to feed for a while, so you can keep the feeding to a minimum, and remove anything that is not eaten very quickly.
 

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hey and welcome to trt!

first things first. id suggest you start reading through the reef keeping made easy thread. it is a looooong, but must read that will give you some great insights into what is going on in our little oceans! it is the "easy" link in my sig.

good to see you are using ro/di water. water is the number one most important ingredient in a reef tank. ro/di is the only way to fly here. id suggest looking into getting a unit of your own, as it will be much more convenient and itll be cheaper in the long run. www.spectrapure.com is the gold standard and the 90gpd is the one ya want.

as tlynn suggested, start with weekly water changes. there is no reason not to do them. some people suggest not doing them during the initial cycle, but that is just not good advice. yreat the tank as you are going to treat it a year from now. do regular water changes, siphon detritus, etc...

also, as tlynn suggested, i second the frozen food. i started feeding twice a day when i first added fish. am was pellets and pm was frozen. i had a mess of red algae and cyano. ive since started feeding once a day with frozen and my algae has all but disappeared. as tlynn suggested, any dry food is high in phosphates, thus fueling algae.

again, as tlynn suggested(she knows her stuff!), i don't usually suggest quarantining. i believe a stable, stress free tank is a much better "cure" for the usual fish ailments like ich. keep a stable temp, pH, and sg, with fish that get along, and you should be ok.

all your tests look great! the nitrate at 50 is fine for fish, but may be a bit high for corals and inverts. for corals and inverts, is suggest a nitrate level consistently under 25-30. when you start acquiring corals, which id suggest waiting a couple more months for, id grab a calcium and magnesium test as well. ca, alk, and mg are the important tests for corals.

also, id turn the skimmer on and let it run. usually, they require a break in period while they build up a bacterial coating before they start skimming efficiently.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Any particular brand of frozen food I should be looking for, or should I just ask the LFS what they have for the chromis? I wish they would've told me to do frozen in the first place rather than the flake :( I downed my light timer to 6hrs starting today and gonna get the frozen starting tomorrow and feed once a day. I might do another 5gal water change in a few days to help things along.

On quarantining, I guess this is a 50/50 split on people that say.. 'No, you're fine with just drip acclimating' and those that say 'QT everything.. even rock, CUC, sand, coral, etc!' I just wanna be sure I'm doing the best practices so I don't have problems down the road when the tank is fully stocked. You guys are sure about not QTing anything?
 

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QT is a personal choice, there is a member on here that has added fish with ick to his system on purpose. Stress plays a big part in disease. I buy only the fish I observe eating and look healthy to my eye. My LFS is good about holding new fish for a week or two. Not everyone will do that though. I guess my line of thinking is that if you take a already stressed fish and move them into another stressed situation it is a recipe for disaster. Start with the less aggressive in your list, then to the next, and so on. Keep in mind that the fish don't read the books and you can get aggressive anything.

Now the rock I can understand to a point, a few unwanted hitchhikers, and if you want a pristine tank ridding it of high phosphate content. Dip corals, sand (why??).. CUC again why? I think a lot of people get stuck in trying to create almost a sterile environment in their tanks. Have you ever see those people that use hand sanitizer constantly, and wipe down their carts at the grocery store? We need a little exposure to have a immune system, that is how it works. Those people are a recipe for disaster.
 

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ive read of people doing fresh water dips with new live rock, and even coral. the purpose of that is that the fresh water (supposedly) forces any mobile hitchhikers out of the rock(crabs, mantis shrimp...etc), then you can pick and choose what you wanna put in. I don't rally see that as quarantining, though. like tlynn said, unless your quarrntine and treat every single thing that goes in your tank, you can still get some unwanted things. the main thing is to buy fish that look healthy, are eating, and come from a well maintained tank. if you have any doubts, ask to see the fish eat in the store.

I use the san francisco bay brand at the moment, and my fish really dig it. they like the squid the best I think, but id try the multi pack and see which variety your guys go for.
 
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