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Old 07-10-2007, 02:03 AM   #1
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Hey all! New guy needs help!!!

I'm new to this site and also relatively new to the hobby. I have a 55 gal reef tank that I started about 10 months ago. I have a few questions that I keep getting different answers to depending on which fish store I go to. I figured I should ask the masses.


1. I have been told by one store that it is good to do the water changes as often as once a week to keep the water quality high and that this would be good for my fish. Another store said that was way off, and that I should not even do it more than every three weeks. This store also said to not clean out my filters with in the sink and to just squeeze them out in the water that I take when I do my change. They said that it was better to keep some of the stuff in the filter to help maintain the ecosystem. Any ideas on this?

2. I have a 48' 65 watt 4 lamp dual satellite lighting system made by Current. This is what the store suggested to me when I told them I wanted to build a reef tank. I am feeling stupid now because I think my lights can't handle certain things that I want in my tank, like frogspawn and clams... I don't want to have to buy a whole new lighting system if I do not have to. My questions are 1. is this light sufficient for some hard corrals, namely the ones I mentioned and 2. if this is not sufficient, is there a less expensive way to use the light system I already have to set it up to support hard corrals? ( like can I just put more powerful bulbs in my system?)

I think this is enough to ask in one post. I have other q's but I think this post is getting very long. Thanks in advance for any help you may offer.
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Old 07-10-2007, 05:19 AM   #2
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I have the same lighting, on a 55. My frogspawn is the only coral in my tank besides a rock anemone, after my tank crashed, that survived. The frogspawn has actually multiplied rapidly after I did an overhaul. U most likely won't be able to keep SPS, but u keep other corals. I use 1" LS, LR, and aqua-c remora PS. I care for a black ocellaris, blue neon goby, spotted mandarin, and a PBT. Every tank is different, you need to pay attention to your tank. Once a week would be good, it can't hurt, for the WC. I don't have much experience with filters other than the emperor 400. I stopped using it. The same setup might not work for two different people, there are too many outliers. My aquarium is 5 years old, I was also fortunate enough to find such healthy fish. I have had a blond naso, which was eaten by a giant mushroom cup coral, which also consumed the coolest YT I had out of three. You keep learning as you go, I believe that each individual fish is different, you luck out and you don't. My spotted mandarin eats any prepared frozen food, I had two before this one. I have had this one for almost three years, after seeing two die before this. I know I got off the subject, but you will be alright with that setup. Take the biological filtration from the filter and use LR, get a skimmer, keep up with WC. That is what I learned and my tank still looks good, despite major setbacks! I also had a whitecheek tang for a year. It would eat anything and nipped at my corals regularly. I had to give him away for the coral nipping.
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:22 AM   #3
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As far as the PWC They can be done based on your bio load. If you have a medium to heavy bioload then you might want to do a weekly or bi weekly PWC. If pretty light load then you could get away with every three or four weeks. I personally do them every week because not only do they dillute excessive nutrients and promote cleaner water but they replenish trace elements that are needed in your tank.
As far as corals you would be able to do most soft and LPS corals. You should be able to handle frogspawn easily. I dont have any SPS corals so I cant help you there.
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Old 07-10-2007, 10:24 AM   #4
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Welcome fishyfoofoo!
PWCs are dependant on your bioload, if you have messy eaters (puffers, eels, lionfish and others) you should do more frequent PWCs. If you have a lot of fish you should also do more frequent PWCs. If you have a low bioload, you can probably get away with monthly PWCs. I would suggest at bare minimum, every three weeks, just to be safe. How frequently you do PWCs also depends on the size of your tank. The real key it to test for ammonia, nitrItes and nitrAtes. Checking your water parameters will tell you a lot about when you need to do a PWC.
When I clean my filters (I took out all the sponges) I rinse the ceramic rings out in my old SW. This will rinse out the gunk and preserve the nitrifying bacteria (if you washed it out in FW, it would kill it off).
I can't help much on corals, but I don't think that will be enough light for a clam, but I will deferr that to the more experienced folks.
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Old 07-10-2007, 10:47 AM   #5
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Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com!!!
All great advice given so far.

Many do a PWC every two weeks but, as mentioned, it will also depend on your bioload. If you have any filter media like pads and sponges it is a good idea to rinse them in the water you take from your tank at PWC time instead of the sink. This will preserve the beneficial bacteria on the media.

The light you have listed will allow you to keep a very wide variety of soft and LPS corals. Clams are a different story but depending on placement and species it may be possible.
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Old 07-10-2007, 05:19 PM   #6
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I make sure to do my PWCs every other week, I have a healty bio-load and a lot of coral so I like to keep my trace elements up and the nasties down. Like everyone has said the amount and frequency of your PWCs will depend on how many animals you have in your tank.
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:17 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone!!! This is very helpful. I think I have a rather light load, but I will tell you what I have:

1 blue tang(about 2 inches)
2 perculas
1 pearly jaw
1 mandarin goby
an anemone(which my percs still have not gone into and I have had it for about a month)
some crabs and snails and 2 sandsifting starfish

A litlle bit of mushroom coral and a xenia.

I would think every other week would be a good time frame for PWC's. Waddaya think?
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:18 PM   #8
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We ran that same light over 120 for a while. We kept hydnophora, digi, montipora cap, along with some other stonies, but they didn't grow as fast under the PCs as they did once we switched to MH.

As already suggested, water changes do more than just dillute pollution, but play a large part in replenishing essentials.

If you back off on your water changes be sure to keep track of what your nitrates are doing as this will be your indicator that you're either overstocked or under-maintaining.
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:04 AM   #9
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You may want to use some eggcrate to cover the top of the tank, the jaw fish might be a jumper.
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:24 AM   #10
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I would recommend getting rid of the sand-sifters. THey can devistate the sand bed very quickly and your dragonette will be completing with them for food. It will need a very healthy pod population and the stars will keep that from happening.
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