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Old 05-30-2006, 02:26 PM   #1
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**Improving and maintaining an "Inherited" saltwat

Hello all, and thanks in advance for any and all advice you can offer!

A friend of mine recently gave me his 125g aquarium, along with all his fluorescent lighting (2 coralife 50/50 bulbs), live rock (about 60 lbs), crushed coral bottom (about 1 inch), various tangs and damsels, sump, protein skimmer, etc. The only problem is that, since it appears that he knew nothing about the hobby, the tank was not properly cared for. The live rock isnt in the best condition, the fish are stressed, etc. Obviously I had to replace 100% of the water in order to transport the tank. Since then, I have done consistent water changes (about 25%) every 2 weeks. I also added a small army of crabs (blue / scarlet hermits, emeralds, porcelain, sally lightfoot, etc) and turbo snails to deal with all of the algae on the rocks. The ammonia/ nitrite levels are at 0. The nitrate level is a little high. At times, the fish appear stressed/ jumpy, and evel pale/ lose color. I know that I need to add more live rock, and am considering losing the current substrate and adding live sand. I also want to replace the lighting, as I would like to add corals/ anenomes/ clams, etc once the system is running to my liking. Any advice on how to get this tank under control and in tip-top condition? I also really need some advice on lighting! I plan to expand this to a reef with soft corals, anenomes, and other inverts... Right now it seems like PC might be the best option (needs vs budget)... but I will buy whatever it takes.

Sorry for the long post, and thanks again for the info.

-Tony, the new Reef hobbyist.

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Old 05-30-2006, 02:44 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA.

My first thought is that all the water really should have been moved as well. It may not have been the best, but it's what they were used to. From there, .0ideally, you would have started to replace bit by bit. Did you measure the waters salinity before dumping it? Was the salinity and temperature reproduced as closely as possible? Another concern is that salt should be mixed at LEAST 24hrs before using. I'm surprised you haven't lost many of the animals. That's good at least.

I really wouldn't have added anything more before you got things in check. What are your nitrate levels?

go slow and get your nitrates down and stabalize the system. Scrub the rocks by hand in used SW after a change (toothbrush). What type of substrate is in there now? Crushed coral?

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Old 05-30-2006, 02:45 PM   #3
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Hi Tony,
Welcome to AA!
I think that if you keep doing what you are doing, maybe up the water changes to weekly, change out the substrate to sand, and do your best to manually remove the nuisance algae, you will get control over it. If it had been neglected for a good while, it will take time to get it back into shape.
You might find this useful: http://www.fantasyreef.com/viewtopic.php?t=564

As far as lighting goes, you will find there are as many opinions on what is the "best" as there is hobbiests out there. I think it is pretty much mandatory to go with MH on larger tanks. PC just dont have the coverage or ability to penetrate deeply enough. VHO is also an option for a shallower tank. Length of the tank will also be a deciding factor on the lighting...there are alot of things to consider.

As far as the health of the fish and periodic "paleness", if you are noticing them being pale right after the lights come on, that is normal behaviour.
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Old 05-30-2006, 03:16 PM   #4
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First of all WELCOME!!

The 1st two replys are sound advice.
If you are going to switch to LS, I would suggest 50% at a time (helps to seed the new LS and doesn't stir up the nasties that are in the current substrate). I have a 55G and I did it 1/3 at a time, but that's just me being retentive.
Just hang in there and keep doing what you are doing!

I would suggest a test kit:
awesome price here:
and possibly a refractometer:

Good luck, and keep us posted...
Age is relative, you are only as old as you act....of course, this works in reverse....

Questions loved, heeded advice greatly appreciated!

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Good reading about:
Nitrogen Cycle
Fishless Cycling
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maintain, salt

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