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Old 03-18-2006, 05:09 PM   #1
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My tank itches.

After lurking about for a few weeks I decided I might as well jump in and get an account!

Thanks to all of you who provide advice and articles, all have been a big help.

I currently have a 29 gallon setup for a first time salt water tank. Have a penguin biowheel (i know, not the best) and a power head and just a plain florescent bulb on it while the quad power compact is on order. No heater at the moment, live in Florida with a nice 75-80 ambient house temp.

At the moment I have about 26lbs of live rock that was cured at my LFS but still has a fair amount of white dead coraline algea which I have debated about scrubbing off. I went to it with at toothbrush but I guess I really needed a wire brush. Good/Bad idea?

The tank has been cycling about 2 and a half weeks now.. went for a week with LR then put in three damsels which have been doing fine with about 4 hermit crabs (before I read about the shrimp method, I know this is a bit unpopular)

My readings at the moment with a liquid test kit:

Nitrites and Nitrates seem at pretty much 0
Ammonia is at about .4

Im a bit confused however, I thought algea only grew off of excessive nitrates in the system and I have a "healthy" amount of orange/brown algea that has started growing on the front glass and over spots on my gravel and LR.

I'm open to any helpful suggestions and should I be worried about this algea or will it go, and I suppose I still have another week to let the ammonia balance out? I am thinking about doing a water change today for the damsels sake.

Thanks for reading over a long post!
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Old 03-19-2006, 03:46 PM   #2
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29 tank

Quote:
At the moment I have about 26lbs of live rock that was cured at my LFS but still has a fair amount of white dead coraline algea which I have debated about scrubbing off. I went to it with at toothbrush but I guess I really needed a wire brush. Good/Bad idea?
I don't think it's coraline algae if it's white. Is it hard? If so, just leave it. If it's soft, most likely dead sponge and that can be taken off easily.

Quote:
The tank has been cycling about 2 and a half weeks now.. went for a week with LR then put in three damsels which have been doing fine with about 4 hermit crabs (before I read about the shrimp method, I know this is a bit unpopular)
The live rock itself will establish a cycle. Don't need fish or shrimp. Right now with the damsels, I suggest you feed very sparingly (two minutes worth of food per day about two to three times a week). You should also be practicing tank upkeep right away too...water changes...about 15% once every two weeks under optimum conditions. With ammonia starting to show, you may want to do 10% water changes once a week until the nitrogen cycle is established and stable.

Quote:
I currently have a 29 gallon setup for a first time salt water tank. Have a penguin biowheel (i know, not the best) and a power head and just a plain florescent bulb on it while the quad power compact is on order. No heater at the moment, live in Florida with a nice 75-80 ambient house temp.
Get a heater ASAP. Doesn't matter much if the air temps are nice for you. Stability is important and without a heater, you risk temp fluctuations that can stress the system. You also live in an area that experiences hot summers, so make sure you have a means of cooling the tank. A 29 gallon may only need fans, so don't worry too much about a chiller. Generally tanks larger than 40 gallons, depending on lighting, would need a chiller for the warmer months.

Here's a little info. on marine temperatures...

http://tricitytropicals.com/index.as...on=Custom&ID=1

You also need to get a protein skimmer or refugium. The HOB does little to nothing for a reef set up and is not good to run carbon 24/7 in a tank with live rock. Reef grade carbon for a week once a month is enough. Carbon can absorb too many of the system's need trace elements making a need for constant replenishment which would mean spending more money on more chemicals.

Quote:
Im a bit confused however, I thought algea only grew off of excessive nitrates in the system and I have a "healthy" amount of orange/brown algea that has started growing on the front glass and over spots on my gravel and LR.
Light and phosphates are also responsible for algae growth instead of just nitrates. It can be one or a combination of these elements to spur on algae growth. You will experience different growths at different stages of the reef tank's maturity. Read about marine algae growth and control. It's a constant maintenance in a reef, so you might as well educate yourself on the subject.
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We, as a people, know so much more about outer space than we do about our own oceans. This lack of knowledge can very well spell the dangers that lay in wait for us.

The oceans surely would swallow us before a rock comes down to smite the planet of it's life.
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Old 03-19-2006, 11:46 PM   #3
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A thousand words.

Thank you for the suggestions!

Below is a picture of what I suppose is the dead coraline algea.. you can see just a bit of live purple to the left of the photo for contrast. (hope it posts right)

You mentioned trace elements, etc. that the reef needs.. can I start adding these supplements to the tank for the benefit of the coraline algea (calcium for example) before the end of the cycle? LFS recomended just leaving the tank be until after it finished cycling, and that included leaving water changes out.

Protein skimmer is on order after my quad power compact gets in, which is this wednesday. I almost want to do a fuge though because I get paranoid about the skimmer removing so many water elements. Also, I'll probably pull the carbon insert on my HOB and find reef safe carbon to put into the "media" part of it.

Thanks again. Wicked addicting hobby.
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Old 03-20-2006, 01:08 AM   #4
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can I start adding these supplements to the tank for the benefit of the coraline algea (calcium for example) before the end of the cycle?
Test calcium and alkalinity before putting in additives. Calcium should be at 450 and alkalinity should be between 2.5 and 4. When these elements are below the required levels, then you should add calcium and alkalinity as needed. B-Ionic is perhaps one of the more popular calcium/alkalinity additives I know of. Coralife carries a similar product and a bit less expensive. Add these elements in only if the readings show it needs.

Quote:
LFS recomended just leaving the tank be until after it finished cycling, and that included leaving water changes out.
The water changes are important right from the beginning...especially if the protein skimmer isn't on yet. The ammonia will eventually all turn into nitrate. Waiting to start water changes can make the nitrates go up higher than you want to start with. Nitrates in a reef system should be maintained below 10 ppm. Preferrably .05ppm. It's enough to keep macro algae alive and yet not too much to choke up any coral you plan on having.

The photo looks like the white is just bare spots of where coraline algae use to be. I wouldn't worry about scrubbing the rock unless there's dead or dying soft tissue like sponge.
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We, as a people, know so much more about outer space than we do about our own oceans. This lack of knowledge can very well spell the dangers that lay in wait for us.

The oceans surely would swallow us before a rock comes down to smite the planet of it's life.
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