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Old 02-28-2010, 10:35 AM   #1
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Coral startup limits

I'm getting my first corals this week and I was wondering what, if any, stock limitations there are. What I want to know is, is it kinda the same thing for adding corals as adding fish, meaning I have to wait 3-4 weeks to add new ones? Tax refund season is here and I wanted to dip in to some of mine before my wife decides she needs more clothes,shoes, etc.

The corals I'm getting this week are 2 blue mushrooms and one colony of of blue zoas. Since I received this refund, I wanted to step it up to include a toadstool leather and maybe some LPS. I know that calcium and magnesium levels will be key as well as PH and alk (I have test kit for calc, gotta get mag still) and I will be using the B-Ionic 2 part buffer system once I get the corals in and figure out how much they are consuming.

I don't know if my tank params are relevant to my question but I'll post them anyway just in case.
Current tank params:
amm: 0
nitrite:0
nitrate:10
ph: 8.4
alk: 6.72 KH (using red sea alk test kit with reading of 2.4 then mult by 2.8 to get KH, reading taken approx 30 mins before lights out)
calc: 400
phos:0.05 ppm (currently running phos sorb to get it to 0)
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Old 02-28-2010, 11:08 AM   #2
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Corals don't really add any bioload to your tank. pretty sure you can add everything you mentioned with no problem. I would get calcium up in the 450-480 range
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Old 02-28-2010, 11:16 AM   #3
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The water parameters for corals are much tighter than for fish. You have both phosphate and nitrate in your tank.
The mushrooms and zoas might not mind and the toadstool will be fine (come to Jersey and I'll give you one), but I would say NO on the LPS.

Forget the supplements. These corals are not using calcium to build shells, skeletons, etc. They use light and whatever is in the water column for their needs.

Get the test kits (I recommend Salifert for Ca, Mg, and Alk) and don't worry about dosing untill you find that regular PWCs can not keep up with the demand of your corals (lps and sps). Then look into maknig your own two part solutions. Hmm just reminded me to take the baking soda out of the oven (I'll let you research why <g>).

Having said that, once your tank is pristine and runnng that way for several months, corals have a very low bioload on the tank. You can add many at once, though I would recommend that only to experienced reefers.

Grab the tax refund $$$ and put it in a secret aquariumn savings account (kinda like a holiday club at the bank). Add funds when you can and soon you will be able to buy the stuff you want.
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Old 02-28-2010, 11:42 AM   #4
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Follow Cmor's advice....it's all very good.
Your alk is a little low, but your calcium is perfectly fine at 400. You basically want to follow the water parameters in this article.
Reef Aquarium Water Parameters by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com
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Old 02-28-2010, 01:08 PM   #5
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Awesome guys, thanks for the info. I'll have to look into the making your own solution thing. I didn't even realize that was possible. Looks like I got some more studying to do. I'll take your advice cmor and stay away from the LPS for now until I get a better grasp on the params.
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Old 02-28-2010, 02:57 PM   #6
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In my opinion cmor's advice is good I just want to add a few things which I believe. You can save some of your tax return $$$ and buy the API alkalinity kit.... it works just as good as the expensive Salifert/Elos kits. However, for the other kits I would definitely get the Salifert as Cmor suggested.... or the Elos.
As ccCapt said your alk is a little low, you may want to get that up to at least 7 or better yet 8 this way you have a little buffer/wiggle room for error.
I think that 10-nitrate is perfectly fine for most LPS coral. You can probably pick up a cheap single head of a hammer or torch to try it out and see how it does. With that said I think 10ppm of Nitrate would be the limit. Having a true 0-nitrate is not always good, especially in a SPS tank, sometimes the colors will start to get pale. Some corals do use nitrate as phosphate as a nutrient/food source. You just can't have too much or the coral will brown out or die.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:34 PM   #7
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How does the API alk kit work? Does it have a sharp color change like the Salifert?
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by cmor1701d View Post
How does the API alk kit work? Does it have a sharp color change like the Salifert?
Yes, it has a very obvious color change going from blue to yellow. I think it is the only "cheap" kit which is actually pretty good. Check it out, let me know what you think. You'll save about $8-$9 per kit.
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:17 PM   #9
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I will. My current Salifert kit expires in July and my Lamotte kit has gone missing <g>
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Old 02-28-2010, 08:58 PM   #10
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Another vote for the API alkalinity kit. Good value there.

As far as advice for you, Krypt... just chiming in to say that cmor and cccapt have you covered! No need to do the 2-part until testing shows you need to. For me... it wasn't corals, but coralline algae that made me start dosing! Now it's both!
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