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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello I started a salt water tank about 6 months ago and have taken it slow. I have a 46 gallon bow tank and used crushed coral for the bottom and currently have about 30 pounds of Tonga live rock. I am using an Emperor 400 bio wheel filter system, stealth shatterproof heater, and a Satalite duel bulb lighting system that runs blue and white light as well as a moon light at night. I have been running the light for 9 hours a day and seems to make a big difference from the other light that I used. I have 7 fish in the tank at the moment they are 2 clowns, 2 yellow tail damsels, 2 domino damsels, and another blue damsel. I thought I was all set my lvls looked great although the calcium seemed a little high running over 500 not sure if that is good or not. Thinking everything was great I added a peice of green tree soft coral and within a day it started to look bad and within 4 it was dead. After this happened I retested my tank lvls and Nitrate 3 was running well above 100. Please could someone look at the things I listed in my tank and give a little advice on what I should do from here and maybe some insite to as why the coral would have died so quickly or even at all thank you.
 

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Jeremy,
To start, I would definitely not add any more fish if you plan to keep coral.

You'll also need greater water circulation than the power filter if you want corals to grow and thrive - I would recommend replacing the emperor 400 with a protein skimmer, I like Aqua C Remora brand skimmers for around $175 (see www.marinedepot.com for example), and add 3 Maxi Jet 900 powerheads on a wavemaker (about $100).

The protein skimmer will remove wastes that would normally accumulate in a tank and filter pads, helping keep Nitrates lower. Regular water changes at least every month, will do wonders as well.

HTH
Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you very much for your reply I was told I needed a bio wheel system in my tank I didnt know I could go with just a protein skimmer. I do have 1 power head at the moment it is a 1200 though I think its a little too strong I will look into the skimmer and the wave maker with power heads tomorrow thank you very much.
 

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The biowheel filters are great for controlling ammonia and nitrite, but, they turn all that ammonia being produced in the tank into nitrate which is released back into the system. Most reefers now avoid using mechanical biofilters such as the bio-wheels (or any media with oxygenated water flowing through it including sponges, floss, bioballs, ect) because those systems do nothing to remove the nitrate that they produce. Instead, biological filtration is accomplished with liverock and deep sand beds (4" or deeper) where the nitrate is exposed to anaerobic zones (no oxygen) as it is produced and converted to nitrogen gas. Removal of the biowheels will reduce the buildup of nitrate being produced, however, another area of concern as a nitrate factory is the crushed coral substrate. All sand substrates absorb detritus which decays releasing ammonia and phosphates. Because crushed coral is so coarse and open it will trap large amounts of detritus which can seriously affect the water quality of the tank. Because of this it is real important to vacume the entire gravel bed at least monthly if you plan to keep the gravel bed. As to the demise of the green tree coral- the high nitrates may well have been the cause. I think the green (Nepthea sp.?) may be more delicate than many of the more common soft corals. I have not had luck with them either. If you decide to lose the biowheels, your live rock should be able to handle the bioload, however it might help to either add some extra fully cured liverock to the system (either in the tank, sump, or hang-on filter) and/or increase circulation over the rockwork to increase oxygenation. HTH
 

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No problemo.

If you position the 1200 powerhead in a back corner and aim it diagonally towards the front glass, this should lessen the flow intensity. One 900 and one 1200 on a wavemaker power strip (such as Aquarium Systems brand) should be enough flow for most corals. Once you've added the skimmer, and test water to be sure nitrates are down (for a period of several weeks), I would suggest starting with some of the more tough corals, such as button polyps, green star polyps, zoanthids, mushrooms, etc.

Best of luck
 

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OodleyBoodely, nice mix of fish. It seems like everyone has regal tangs and clowns, nice to see some variety (in your sig). (no offense to anyone who has oci's and regals, they're beautiful fish too).

Post some pics sometime !!
 

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Oops! Beat to the post, again! :doh:That's what I get for trying to write a manuscript! :lol: I didn't notice that you did not have a protein skimmer.:eek: I would also highly recommend the Aqua C Remoras. The maxijet 1200 is not too much in my opinion. I run 2-3 maxijet 1200 in my 55 with a 900gph sump return and a bout a 500gph cls in my softy/lps tank and I don't think it is enough! What you might do with what you have is place the maxi so that it pumps across the surface from one side to the other for oxygenation. Remove the biowheel from the Emporor and add big pieces of liverock rubble (2-3" diam) to the body of the filter. Remove any filter pads or sponges. If you use carbon, replace completely on a weekly basis to prevent it becoming a nitrate producer, and, do add a good protein skimmer. Just my 2 cents.:beer:
 

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Andrew3 said:
OodleyBoodely, nice mix of fish. It seems like everyone has regal tangs and clowns, nice to see some variety (in your sig). (no offense to anyone who has oci's and regals, they're beautiful fish too).

Post some pics sometime !!
:lol: We must be typin' at the same time! My tank ain't fit to be seen right now, so unless I get my butt in gear and give it some badly needed tlc, it won't be seen. :arg: However I will see if I can't link you to a previous post showing my tank in better days. I still have the fish listed, minus one chromis, but recently added a last fish (really!) a gorgeous supermale Lubbocks wrasse. If I can get the tank cleaned up adaquately this weekend, I'll post some pics.
 

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Andrew, here's that link.

removed link as it was not the correct one. sorry.
 

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Agh! I just went through that link I posted and it is not the right one. Can't find the pics I had in mind, guess I'll just have to take more pics and post later in a new post. Sorry about hijacking your thread, Jeremy. I'll try to get back on topic.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks a millon it helped alot. I added the protein skimmer to said would be best and it is working awsome. I also did a decent water change about 15 gallons out of my tank and gravel vacumed the crushed coral also added a better power head and works so much better. anyway thanks again.
 

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OodleyBoodley is right about ditching the bio wheel and adding some more LR. LR will take the place of the Bio wheel and do a better job at it. Glad you got the skimmer and a another powerhead.
 

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If your calcium levels are consistently above 500.. you need to stop dosing or re-design your dosing habits. A 500 level reading is too much to be honest. 400-450 is safe range.
 

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AriZonaD54 said:
A 500 level reading is too much to be honest. 400-450 is safe range.
500, while a little high, will be fine as long as Alk is maintained. Some salts are 500 or more out of the box so he may not be dosing.
 
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