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Old 09-24-2003, 04:27 PM   #1
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Optimum temp & salinity for our fish?

We have 6 fish in a 40-gal SW FO tank, no live rock (yet), CC substrate. Lost our Emperor Angel to fin rot (we didn't treat soon enough, I think), but remaining 6 appear to be thriving. But I'm not sure whether our temperature and salinity are optimal for them. We have 3 damsels and a dwarf angel (coral beauty), a maroon clown, and one fat 4" puffer (topaz/spotted green). All but the puffer are from Indo-pacific/Fiji area, I believe.

We've been keeping the tank at 78F and SG at 1.020. I got some advice that these are both too low for these fish, and that they would thrive more in temp 82-84F and SG 1.023-1.025. But I also got advice from LFS guy not to keep temp > 80F, and that SG > 1.023 would encourage parasites.

I read Dr. Shimek's paper on environmental conditions, and it made sense to me, but like I said, LFS sources differ.

Where should we be?

Grateful for any advice.

Bob Peitzke
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Old 09-24-2003, 04:45 PM   #2
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I keep my reef tank (been running successfully for over a year at this temp) at 1.025 sg @ 82*F.
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Old 09-24-2003, 04:46 PM   #3
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1.025 and 82* to 84*
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Old 09-24-2003, 05:29 PM   #4
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Agrees with Shimek; makes sense to me. Bummer is the LFS guy our daughter (who dragged us into this hobby) trusts is saying lower. Maybe I can leverage your advice to convince her to edge it higher. It's "her tank" but we are maintaining it(sigh).

We do love & enjoy the fish. They all have names.

Thanks.

Bob
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Old 09-24-2003, 05:37 PM   #5
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It's "her tank" but we are maintaining it(sigh).
Why not get her to read through the site and see what she thinks.
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Old 09-24-2003, 06:52 PM   #6
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Forum vs LFS advice

I've printed a lot of advice from these forums, & given it to her. She reads it and respects it, but seems to have more trust in the LFS guys she has met and discussed her tank with. She seems to feel that they are more qualified b/c they are working in the business. But I get the impression that some of the people in these forums know more than most LFS experts. She is an adult, and it is her tank. We are mere custodians.
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Old 09-24-2003, 07:53 PM   #7
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Although I always recommend temps in the 80F - 82F range, and a salinity of 1.025-1.026 for reef tanks, I do believe that FO tanks (without invertebrates such a hermits, snails, etc.) thrive at lower temps and salinities.

Quote:
78F and SG at 1.020
IMO, these parameters are fine for a FO tank. Although I'd tend to bump up the salinity a bit - probably to at least 1.022 or 1.023, I really don't think you're that far off.

What is more of a concern to me is the bioload you are attempting to maintain in a 40g tank. To the best of my knowledge, no less than a 100g tank is recommended for the Emperor Angel. I'm not very familiar with Puffers, but afaik, most get quite large.

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We have 3 damsels and a dwarf angel (coral beauty), a maroon clown, and one fat 4" puffer (topaz/spotted green).
This is the maximum fish capacity for approximately a 60g tank, without the Emperor. If the LFS is recommending these fish choices and numbers for a 40g tank, then, IMO, they are not to be trusted.

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But I also got advice from LFS guy not to keep temp > 80F, and that SG > 1.023 would encourage parasites.
A parasite dose not magically appear in a system due to salinity levels or temperatures - it is introduced via a new fish. All new fish should be quarantined, wiithout fail, and if this is done, parasites are not a concern.

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She seems to feel that they are more qualified b/c they are working in the business.
How is it that someone who's ultimate goal is profit is considered more knowledgeable than the hobbyist - aka - "caretaker" of these creatures?

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She is an adult, and it is her tank. We are mere custodians.
This is my opinion only, but you cannot properly *care* for this tank, if you are not allowed to determine the tank conditions. If she chooses to have the final *say* with these types of decisions, then she should care for the tank.

Sorry if I sound argumentative ... this post isn't intended to be that way.
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Old 09-24-2003, 08:28 PM   #8
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Fish politics

>>argumentative<<

Not at all. I appreciate your advice, and will be compiling it in a summary for our daughter to read.

I agree with your comments on parasites. To me, the LFS advice to keep SG low to discourage parasites sounds like his shortcut b/c he doesn't want to quarantine all his fish. It seems like it's stressing both fish & parasites at SG below their optimum, but it kills the parasites before it kills the fish.

Shimek recommends SG 1.025 +, and you say 1.022-1023, Tim & Kevin say 1.025. I think at least 1.023 would likely be better for our fish than 1.020. Maybe 80 would be a good compromise for temp.

>>How is it that someone who's ultimate goal is profit is considered more knowledgeable than the hobbyist - aka - "caretaker" of these creatures?<<

I agree. I've gotten a lot of good advice from people on these forums, and many of you seem as knowledgeable or more so than most LFS people. But she trusts this one LFS guy (not the one who uses low SG to kill parasites) a lot. She's in Germany now, and we are the caretakers of her tank. I have to respect her wishes and try to convince her, not dictate to her. The fish overcrowding is another example - this LFS guy says we can have more fish in our 40-gal tank. I believe you.

We're still trying to learn how to manage a SW FO tank. Getting small nitrite spikes even after cleaning filter & new charcoal - wonder why?

Hope it settles down to a more manageable time commitment soon.

Cheers,

Bob P
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Old 09-24-2003, 08:38 PM   #9
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Shimek recommends SG 1.025 +, and you say 1.022-1023, Tim & Kevin say 1.025. I think at least 1.023 would likely be better for our fish than 1.020. Maybe 80 would be a good compromise for temp.
Let me clarify my above statements. I haven't had personal experience with FO tank for almost a decade now, though I've kept reef tanks since 1990. If I remember correctly, Shimek's recommendation is a reef tank recommendation, rather than FO. Personally, my tank runs at 80F - 82F at 1.025, but it is a reef tank. I would suggest that you take the experience of someone with FO experience tank over my recommendation.

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She's in Germany now, and we are the caretakers of her tank. I have to respect her wishes and try to convince her, not dictate to her.
Kudos to you for doing your best - her tank is definitely in good hands.

Quote:
Getting small nitrite spikes even after cleaning filter & new charcoal - wonder why?
No LR, CC substrate, med-heavy bioload - I don't think you'll get away from small nitrate spikes given these factors. However, small nitrate spikes, or even continual nitrate readings, as long as they are not exceptionally high are not uncommon in FO tanks, and don't usually present a problem.

Best of luck!
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Old 09-24-2003, 09:00 PM   #10
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nitrite spikes

>>nitrate spikes <<

No - nitrite. We do have a CC substrate, just no LR yet. Ammonia has been consistently zero, but NO2 has started small spikes every few days, only one color bar up from the zero reading on our Tetra test chart. We've been treating with Amquel + that neutralizes it. Nitrate have been steady at 5 mg/l, not a worry level as I understand it.

Would adding some LR stop the nitrite spikes? We have a Fluval 204 filter with one basket full of the biohabitat cylinders and two of charcoal.
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