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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. I'm Ash. Obviously I'm a new register on here, but I read your threds frequently. I decided to register so that I could actually ask questions rather than google and hope that someone else has asked my question on here at some point. Ha.
Anyhow, here's my story as of right now (as far as my reef goes, that is...heh) Over the passed couple months I set up a 125 gallon reef so that I could upgrade from my 45 gallon (it was getting WAY too packed from all the coral growth I experience with my corals, and I needed a bigger tank for the better of my corals and fish...That's my excuse, anyway! ). :)
So the 125 is all up and running. I have a 35 gallon refugium and another 20 gallon sump that's housing my skimmer and my reactor that I put a bag of chemi-pure in. The two sumps are T'ed to a Mag Drive 24 (which I will soon be replacing with an Iwaki 100 that I purchased because of all the problems I've had with this Mag 24). I have a SCWD (1'' in and outs) going to my dual returns, and because of how I set my rocks up (I made and island/cave setup in the middle, and no rock is touching any of the walls), I have not yet seen any need for power heads. The flow is great, and I haven't noticed any dead spots.
All of my rock and live stock from my 45 has been transferred to the 125, and it's been about 3-4 weeks, and everyone looks VERY happy and healthy (knocking on wood as I type that!). I purchased a couple new fish and a few new corals. I primarily kept soft corals in my other tank...Leathers, frog spawn, zoas, etc. I bought a birds nest once, and it did ok for a bit, but it got knocked over by a crab or turbo snail, and after that, it slowly died off. I also had a nice piece of acro growing on a clam I purchased, but I had an outbreak of tupip anemones and anthellia, and it killed the clam along with the beautiful coral that was growing on it's shell. Needless to say, I have been very reluctant to purchase anymore hard corals.
About a week ago I purchased a frag made of pink, purple, and green cap (they grued together on the plate and are growing together, so it will HOPEFULLY become a multicolored cap). It shows definite growth since then. I also purchased a huge rock of gold zoas. The front is covered with the polyps and the back is covered with green staghorn. The stag also looks to be doing well. I want to add more color to my tank, so I was going to purchase a frag or two of monti. I would like some acro and birdsnests as well, but I'm still reluctant.
My questions are coming up, I promise! hah!
As far as lighting, I know I'm set. I have 3X250 watt radiums running from 3 galaxy ballasts. I have been dosing with Aqua Phillic Calcium/Alkalinity for years, and it's brought me excellent results. I also spot feed with Coral Vibrance and MicroVert, and mix frozen Cyclopeeze to melt into my frozen food on the days I feed my fish frozen stuff. I have read that for hard corals a 10% water change should be done every week, but I test my water regularly, and between the refugium and the skimmer, my water stays at great quality. Is the 10% weekly really a MUST, or is that just if the water quality is off?
Also, are there any supplements other than what I am using or anything else that anyone can recommend to add to increase growth rate and keep hard corals healthy and colorful? If you actually read through all of this, THANK YOU! And if you actually read through it, AND don't hate me already for blubbering about for so long, AND actually send a response, an EXTRA THANK YOU to you! Ha! Thanks in advance, either way!
-Ash
 

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Welcome to TRT!!

:wavey:

on my 125g fuzzy stick system i had over 12000gph of flow. i had a BB system on order to get all of the detritus from the bacterial turgor going on in the LR to the skimmer or the sump for removal. i did not have a fuge (they tend to make keeping the water quality high more difficult, IMO). SCWD suck to much flow from a pump. i would not use one. when you get the Iwaki 100. i would put eductors on the outlets without the SCWD. that should up the flow in the tank by 5 fold easily.

i did not dose the tank much at all. my 10g water changes a week was all that was needed to keep my levels acceptable. i had a kalk reactor for my auto-top off. during my water changes i would completely clean the entire sump of any detritus. because of all of the flow in the system i only had to siphon in the display every 3-4 months if that in order to remove any sand that had developed from bacterial action in the LR.

i fed the tank like crazy. i would feed 2-3 small frozen cubes of food a day. with the amount of flow i had and the strong skimmer i made, very little of the food showed up as waste and therefor did not end up in the system as phosphates. phosphates are your #1 enemy in a SW system, especially those systems with fuzzy sticks.

water changes are a must. from your description i am guessing you have a sand bed in the system. you really need to keep on top of water changes and vacuuming of the sand bed, or you will quickly fill the sand bed up with phosphates causing a need for a complete rebuild of the system. sand beds have a finite useful life before they will need to be replaced. the more aggressively you clean the bed, the longer the time frame between sand bed replacements. if aggressive vacuuming does not occur, your sand bed could fill within 3 years. if you aggressively vacuuming the sand bed you can easily extend that to over 7 years, if not almost limitless. this also holds true for refugiums.

i have a link to my tank build in my sig for more info.

HTH,

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey. Thanks for the reply. I've actually had reef tanks all my life. I'm only 24, but I've been keeping them since I was at least 7 or so because my father always had one, so my brother and I started young, and completely surpassed my father as far as the quality of our tanks. The reason I have only kept a 45 for so long is because of the fact that I've just been in Orlando since 2003 for college. I've decided to stay longer and take more classes even after I finished with my BS in psych so that I can go to PA school. So since I'll be here for at least a few more years, I NEEDED a bigger tank...I was going to go with a 90, but I knew I would fill it up too fast, so I figured if I'm gonna upgrade, better go as big as I can fit in the space I had!

Anyhow, what I'm running in circles AGAIN getting at(I talk a lot. ha!) is that I know WAY more than just the basics(by basics I mean things like water changes, keep phosphates, nitrates, ammonia at undetectable, siphon the junk off the sand bed as needed, etc.). I recently did a 30 gallon water change (from my main tank...From now on I'm going to be taking the water from the sumps so I can siphon the fuge and clean as much from the sumps as I can), and when I went to turn my Mag back on, it wouldn't start. After messing around with it for hours, I took it apart and found that my impeller was shattered. Thankfully I had a fairly local aquatic supply place that had 7 impellers left in stock. I told the lady I wanted two, just in case because Mag 24s are no longer being made. I asked them to replace the impeller, and they shattered the first one because the dang magnet is so strong, it sucked it right in and SMASH! (now I was down to only 6 mag 24 impellers available! I was freaking out that they were going to break them all!).

Anyhow, they got the impeller in and tested it while I was there, and I decided to still take an extra impeller, but I also bought an Iwaki 100 while I was there (there prices are outstanding) since Iwaki's are known for running for decades without issues and once I figure out a way to plumb that so I can just undo my pvc unions and swap in the Iwaki, but still have it so if the Iwaki acts up, I can just slap on the Mag 24 as a backup, I'll be set. Right now, though, my flow is EXCELLENT. I absolutely LOVE my SCWD, to be honest. Because of the increments that it switches, I'm estimating that I've got AT LEAST 1900 gph, and I imagine once I replace the Mag with the Iwaki, the flow will increase. If there were MUCH more flow in my tank, it would be WAY too much, honestly, and I think I'd need to dial it back with my ball valves. I know some people think "the more flow, the better", but in my experience, there's always a "JUUUUUST right" point. You know? I mean like, when the sand bed stays nice and white, with no build up of waste, none of the rocks have sediment settling on them, corals are clean of waste as well and am not shriveled to avoid the intensity of too much flow, and the fish just swim swim swim. That's how my tanks have always been, and with the SCWD, it's even better because it alternates. I always used power heads for flow.

<O:pAnyhow, knock on wood, I'm happy with my setup, and it's been months now. The main reason for my post was to ask about recommendations for hard coral upkeep. I've mainly kept soft corals, and have had much success with what I dose my tank with and what I spot feed with, but I'm interested in getting into some of the more touchy hard corals like acros and birds nests, and such. I bought a frag of multicolored caps, and it's growing nicely, but they are hardy. I'm going to grab a frag or two of monti today, but I am told they are also pretty hardy. It's the other stuff I'm worried on losing. Do you have any advice as far as keeping hard corals? And you said you don't like fuges, no? Why is that? I had never used one, but I love it! I might at some point run into trouble, but my tank cycled in a matter of days, and I have little to no nuisance algae growth in my main. I've attributed that to the chaeto and other algae in my refuge keeping my phosphates down. Usually when I start up a new tank, I have signs of some sort of algae bloom within at least the first couple months. Nothing much as of yet. A little bit of brown algae, but only so much that I need to lightly scrub every 4-7 days because it's not even noticeable until then. Maybe I've just been lucky, but I'm going to tell myself it's the fuge. :thumbup: HEH! Anyhow, thanks again for your response!
-Ash
 
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