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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I'm new to these boards and new to corals. I have a big question, then a little one.

Big - I have a 30 gallon reef tank that's been set up for about 6-8 years. I have a fish, liverock, a few mushrooms, snails, shrimp, etc. I'd like to get into coral so I upgraded my lighting to a coralife setup with 150 MH, and 65 watt actinics with alternating blue moon leds. Filtration is as always, a berlin hanging wet/dry with skimmer. I also have a couple power heads in the tank which provide good water movement. But this leads me to the biggest question of them all, what suppliments to add for corals?

I've talked to several people and everyone seems to have their own opinion. One online coral retailer said they only use Seachem Reef Advantage Calcium and Seachem Buffer, nothing else. One hobbiest recommended B Ionic 2 Part Buffer System with Kalkwasser in the water top off, while another hobbiest recommended Kent Coral Accel, Kent Stron/Moly, Kent Essential Elements, Lugols Iodine, and Kent Calcium A&B. I've narrowed the testing kits that I plan to buy to Seachem, but what supplements should I get. I've been told that just doing occasional water changes should provide everything but enough calcium, and that can be added in my top off water. I plan to have an assortment of corals including softies, LPS, SPS, Clams, etc. What do you recommend?

Now for the smaller question, since I'm new, how the heck to add your own picture as an Avatar without going over the size limitations? I shrunk a pick down to fit the size limitations and it was micro and blurry. Any suggestions?

Thanks!
 

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The Bitter Mod
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1st Welcome to TRT. Secondly don't add anything that you aren't testing for. Most of the essential element type things (iodine for one) will be replenished with water changes. So there is no need to dose those. Two part buffers and Kalk do the same thing. So pick one and try it out to see if it meets your demands. I would go with Salifert test kits over Seachem.
 

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Welcome to TRT. : )

AS far as pics, you need to figure out how to shrink them. If you follow the link in my sig, you can get a free photobucket account, whcih has an option to shrink pics to avatar size once you upload pictures to them.

As far as additives. I agree with Platy. If you dont test for it dont add it.

The first two options you list using either a two part or a calcium and alk combo both work fine. Nothing else is needed besides regular water chagnes unless you have a bunch of sps or clams...then you will need to add magnesium as an additive, but at that point you will hve a salifert test kit to know how much to use.

Happy reefing. : )
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, thanks guys. I'll go ahead and pick up some of the Seachem Reef Advantage Calcium Marine Buffer. I'll get the test kits at the same time.

My plan was to do monthly tests of Alkalinity, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Phosphate, Silicate, Iodide/Iodine, Calcium, Stronium, and Magnesium with bi-monthly tests of PH and weekly tests of Salinity. Does this sound good, how often and what do you guys test?

Thanks!
 

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The Bitter Mod
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Pick up Salifert test kits instead. Some will disagree with me, but I see no reason to spend money on Ammonia,Nitrite,Phosphate,Silicate,Iodine,Strontium test kits. The only time you should ever see Nitrite or Ammonia is during the cycle so just have your LFS test for those. No reason to spend money on something you really should only need once. The rest (except for phosphate,ph,alk,cal) are pretty much just trace elements and they should remain that way. Magnesium can be usefull if you start getting into clams and sps corals. In short just pick up Salifert Nitrate,Alk,Cal, and pH.
 

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Just some guy, you know?
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My plan was to do monthly tests of Alkalinity, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Phosphate, Silicate, Iodide/Iodine, Calcium, Stronium, and Magnesium with bi-monthly tests of PH and weekly tests of Salinity. Does this sound good, how often and what do you guys test?
First get a refractometer if you don't have one, those hydrometers can be off, sometimes way off. When my Deep-6 tests at 1.025 the salinity is really 1.031 :doh:

I wouldn't worry about these, spend your money on water changes insted and your tank will thank you. These are trace elements and the newly mixed water with a quality salt (Like instant ocean) is more than enough to keep them in check:
Silicate, Iodide/Iodine, Stronium

You will only need these in the begining (cycling)
Ammonia, Nitrite

These are the big ones and how often I test:

I maintain 9.0 Dkh, CA 425 PPM, N03 0, P04 0, Sal 1.025-1.026, temp 80 Deg F, Mag 1275.

Salinity (I test weekly, skimming does remove salt water I usually have to adjust every month or so)

PH, (There is no good way to adjust that, but it's a good indacator if everything is going smooth. This is one test that Salifert dropped the ball on and I don't reccomend their kit here.)

Alk (KH) (I test weekly sometimes more)

CA, (I test weekly)

Mag (I test monthly)

Nitrate (I test monthly but it's always 0)

P04 (I test monthly but it's always 0)

Your tank setup really looks like a FO setup, but I bet with the extra light softies will do really well in it! The only thing I am worried about is algae, mainly due to the Berlin wet dry/skimmer combo.

If it were me, I would put the light on top of the tank, and some softies (Leaters, pylops, mushrooms, etc) in the tank and see how things go, if algae starts croping up then you may have to get rid of the Wet/Dry and evaluate how well that skimmer is working.

Of course this was all written assuming you don't want to try the really hard corals right off the bat.

HTH,
Whiskey
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, I tend to jump in with both feet and see what happens. The few softies I have already (mushrooms) get huge when the MH kicks on, so I know they're loving it. I'm planning to get a couple SPS and Polyp frags and see how they do.

What is a "FO" setup?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I tried the Avatar suggestion and used Photobucket to upload my photo as an Avatar. But when I try to link it to this forum, it says the file is too large. I even adjusted it to a square shape, uploaded as an Avatar, then attempted to link, again too large. Anyone else have a suggestion as to how they were able to upload one of their own photos as an Avatar?

Thanks!
 

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Welcome to TRT!!!

:wavey:

what kind of substrate do you have? do you have some hair algae growing near the bottom of the LR at the substrate?

i ask these because you say your shrooms are growing so big. after 6-8 years you may need to replace your substrate. over time it absorbes phosphates and can lead to algae problems. also SPS do not do well with phosphates in the system it really hinders their growth.

do not want you to get started than find out about the phosphate problem. testing for phosphates does not help, they all say 0.

could you post a pic of your tank? not many people in this hobby can say they have had a tank up and running for 6-8 years!!! that is impressive!!

G~
 

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Human grounding probe
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Wouldn't the over abundance of Phos inhibit the "MASSIVE" growth of the shrooms????

BTW... Welcome to TRT.

I agree with the adage of "never dose what you can't test for". That is 100% true. I disagree with foregoing the test kits for ammonia, nitrate and nitrite. When things begin to nose dive for no apparent reason, you'll be happy you have them. Having a critter or two croak behind the rock work, out of view, can funk up your params in a hurry. I am some what of a minimalist when it comes to additives. Aggressive water changes, top off with kalk and two part Alk/Ca badditives are all I use.
 

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shrooms and zoas actually like higher nutrient water. they are loving the phosphates and other nutrients in the water column. SPS on the other hand do not like a lot of nutrients in the water column. they just can not compete with shrooms/zoas/algae in this biotope.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sure, I'll post some pics of the tank, I just need to take a couple, then figure out how to post them!

My substrate is/was 100% live sand. When I originally set up my tank (many years ago) I went with 100% live rock and live sand. I wanted to go 100% natural and it ended up working out great. It's easy to do that when you have a little tank like mine, I wouldn't be able to afford it if I had a 55 or larger.

As far as hair algae, I don't have any, I get some normal algae on the acrylic sides which the snails love, and anything else probably gets cleaned by the tangs. As far as my tank being primarily a FO tank, that's pretty much the case, but I'm hoping to change that. Current fish list is:

Yellow Tang (my buddy, had for at least 6 years, survived 2 moves and several disease outbreaks), Clown Tang, 3 ocellaris clowns (my wife's favorites), 3 damsils (blue on top, yellow on the bottom, not sure what kind), and 1 cleaner wrasse.

So if I can't test for Phosphates, how do I know if I have a problem? Dumping my sand and replacing it would be a major undertaking, and I was kinda under the old school assumption that old sand = good sand.

If this helps as a water quality gauge, my one non-mushroom coral is a small frag of Sun Coral (added last weekend). In this past week, it opens up each evening during fish feeding and it appears that it's already starting to bud new polyps. That surprised me a bit so I decided that I'm going to take 1 digital photo of it each week and gauge it's change over time to see if I'm right. Would a sun coral thrive in a high phosphate tank?

And last, to answer all the helpers with my Avatar, I figured out how to add one with the Thumbnail trick from the other post, but it ends up being smaller than I'd like. I'm currently trying Dobejazz's suggestion of www.ifranview.com. I think my true problem is that I take huge photos (7mp) and they're hard to reduce and keep clear. I'll keep ya posted!

Thanks!
 
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