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Old 12-29-2011, 12:23 PM   #1
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Goings on in my 35G Reef (or soon-to-be reef)

Hi all,

Just a recap for those of your who don't know. I am a first time SW tanker and have been overly diligent (my husband calls it anal retentive), to learn all I can and cycle properly. I finished my fishless cycle about 2 weeks ago and just added 4 scarlet hermit, a scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp, 5 astrea snails, a clown, a Kaudern's Cardinal and a two eyed goby.

My parameters were perfect for much over a week, I was dosing to 4ppm and it was back at 0 within 12 hours. I figured I was more than ready to add fish. I added the fish/snail/shrimp on the 26th after doing a 90% pwc the day before (I followed everything BY THE BOOKS). I am feeding frozen brine, I can't remember the exact name, but the one with veggies. The LFS dude told me to feed twice a day, but I knew that was WAY too much so I feed once a day for the first few days and then was going to go to every other once there was enough in the substrate for my goby.

I had decided to check my water every few days in the beginning until everything is running smoothly, to be extra cautious. Thank God I am diligent (anal) because I check last night and my nitrates were SKY high (between 80 and 160 colours). I busted out the bucket and prime and got to work. It dropped to 20, which I'm not happy with still, but I didn't have time to do another large pwc. I'm going to check again tonight and do another pwc if needed.

So, here's some funny things that have happened. First of all, I LOVE my goby! He's so adorable and funny! He has been making a den under a rock for the last few days and last night when I did the PWC he disappeared! I was worried about him because I hadn't seen him in 3 or so hours, so I pulled up the rock and found him...not moving I took the net and gave him a little nudge and saw that he was still breathing so moved him away from the den, replaced the rock and sat and watching him for a bit, contemplating euthinization, and realizing how I adored the little bugger already. Well, after about five minutes of lying completely still, and shallow breathing he swam quickly to the edge of the rock and hid there. I went to put my daughter to bed and when I came back there was crushed coral and sand flying everywhere as usual, as he began to dig out his den again PHEW!

My crabs LOVE to smush themselves between rocks and they end up getting trapped, I let one sit there for a few days to see if it'd move out and it just stayed there, so I reached in to take it out and the SSC shrimp came barreling at my hand!!! I was shocked of the cojones on the little guy but thought "how bad could a bite from that little thing hurt?" and stuck my hand back in to save the crab. The shrimp again barreled at my hand and just started exploring me with him tentacles lol. He's just a friendly, nosey little bugger (Who has already molted BTW )

My lights still aren't on a full 6 hours, I'm working my way up. That was the only thing that I didn't fully research, I thought that I could just turn them on and that's it. So, I'm up to 4 hours a day now. I need more live rock and to aquascape. I need an emerald crab in there to clean up my long hair algae. I need a new filter, so I can move the old one over to a hospital tank, and a new power head so I can move it over too...but those will come in the next few weeks.

Overall, the whole family is loving the tank. Guests come over and sit and stare at it forever and our family has been watching it more than the tele...ok, not that much, but it's getting close (here's some pictures if you want to see: Step by Step)
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:30 PM   #2
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Everything seems good! I would have gotten an easier goby to care for if i was you, i am also a beginner in saltwater and i dont want to get any difficult fish like the two eyed goby...its a sand sifter, so you need a very established sand bed for him to live.. And if im correct, shouldnt be added to a new tank. Do you feed it frozen foods? Good luck!
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:44 PM   #3
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Everything seems good! I would have gotten an easier goby to care for if i was you, i am also a beginner in saltwater and i dont want to get any difficult fish like the two eyed goby...its a sand sifter, so you need a very established sand bed for him to live.. And if im correct, shouldnt be added to a new tank. Do you feed it frozen foods? Good luck!
Yes, I know, I originally was going to wait the 6 months and get a manderin goby, and still plan to do so, but after speaking with some people I decided to start with this one. The LFS (Big Al's) assured me that he eats frozen brine, and he does, he'll wait until its in the sand and then goes around eating. I'm hoping it works out. I would hate for him to die due to bad advice.

Can anyone tell me how I can get pods? I know I can buy them, but how do they grow naturally in the tank? Should I buy some and they will grow from there? Also, is there any corals or even an anemone that would prosper now in the tank? I'd love to get one for the clown.
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:19 PM   #4
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Pods will grow naturally, but the mandarin goby will eat them all within a few days, because a 35 gallon tank wont have enough pods for hom to live on. If you want a mandarin you will have to buy pods, which is expensive to do every week, and even then the mandarin might not eat them. Its hit or miss
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:23 PM   #5
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Oh goodness! What the heck are pods anyways? And how many do they need? How expensive are they? I mean, people said it was 'expensive' to buy frozen brine (with veggies and vitamins) but I think it's cheap, only 10/month!
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:24 PM   #6
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Haha lots of questions! I dont own one, but Carey does.... im sure she will pitch in
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:27 PM   #7
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Haha lots of questions! I dont own one, but Carey does.... im sure she will pitch in
Thanks Nu-Nu! How is Nu-Nu anyways? Have any recent pics? I was looking into eels after hearing about him. I might still go that way eventually, but I think I need a bigger tank. Is he a predator?
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:29 PM   #8
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The one suggestion I would make is that you NOT completely disassemble your tank looking for a fish who may have died. Generally speaking, if the fish is to the point that it's unable to move, finding it won't allow you to help it.

You have a new tank, so thankfully you haven't had a pile up of pollutants, but you need to keep in mind that as your tank gets more "seasoned", pulled up all your rocks, disturbing all the substrate etc will both kick up detritus and any trapped 'trates or 'trites, and also cause stress on fish or inverts that may have found themselves a little home in your tank.

Generally speaking you can actually cause less damage to a tank by letting a deceased fish go its own way and letting the clean up crew do what they're designed to do - its an unfortunate part of the hobby, but it is what it is.

As for pods and the mandarin - most good LFS will sell pods in big bags and/or bottles...however pretty much all fish will gobble the little buggers up as fast as yo ucan add them (whenever reefs2go has a free shipping special I buy a bag of pods, primarily so I can get free shipping on other stuff too). Without a refugium odds are good that you wouldn't be able to really propegate the little buggers. As someone new to the saltwater world I would heavily not recommend the mandarin - if you read through some of the articles out there (and even the postings on this board), for every success story about one you'll see a bunch of posts about failures. Even on liveaquaria they're rated as "difficult" - primarily because of their passion for pods.

Just a suggestion, you can take it or leave it of course as you see fit

As for new additions, I would settle out your lighting, filtration, and powerhead situation before adding anything else. You need to keep in mind that the reason for cycling a tank is to build up beneficial bacteria: both in your tank, on your rocks, and in your filter. When you remove the filter, you are also removing all of that beneficial bacteria - which could theoretically cause your tank to cycle again (which I can more or less guarantee that, at the least, the goby and mandarin wouldn't survive).

Finally, as far as the alge goes, unfortunately that's a big part of starting a new tank...I think everyone here can confirm that you'll have at the very least a diatom outbreak and a green hair outbreak before the tank really gets cooking and looking good. It's frustrating, but be diligent with your water changes and you'll get through it.

Anyway, just some advice from someone who has made plenty of mistakes. Take a good long pause where you are, get your equipment sorted out, and then see where you've landed.
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:29 PM   #9
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Thanks Nu-Nu! How is Nu-Nu anyways? Have any recent pics? I was looking into eels after hearing about him. I might still go that way eventually, but I think I need a bigger tank. Is he a predator?
Lol i love nu-nu! My brother has some great pics of him... Maybe he will post a few! He has tons of personality, hes a great fish! Latly he has been kinda lazy just "sleeping" all day hes not a predator at all, but he doesnt like it when the tetras take his blood worms haha
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:31 PM   #10
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Oh goodness! What the heck are pods anyways? And how many do they need? How expensive are they? I mean, people said it was 'expensive' to buy frozen brine (with veggies and vitamins) but I think it's cheap, only 10/month!
Here's all you could want to know and then some about copepods
Copepod - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The short answer is that they're teeny tiny crustaceans that live in virtually every body of water out there. They're in our drinking water too, albeit on a microscopic level by the time the water comes out of our taps. As for expense...well...define expensive. If your local fish shop stocks them, it might not be so bad...if you have to mail order them, the shipping alone will drive you bonkers
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