TL;DR - I have never registered a reading above 0 for nitrates, phosphates or ammonia (including when I cycled). My SPS
colors suck. What do you think of my plan to "dirty" up my water just a bit?
The title says it all. I have two nano tanks, the problem is similar in both. However, for the focus of this thread, I'll focus on one, as I'm seeing the same issues in both tanks (setup and params are close to similar).
Was born (became wet) Feb of 2013.
About 21-23 total gallons of water after rock/sand/etc.
36" wide by ~8" deep by ~9" tall (12 gallons)
20 gallon sump with a huge ball on chaeto
MP10 - dialed about 3/4 the way up
Koralia nano 425 on the other side
Return pump -- don't remember the GPH
One (1) full "unit" of ChemiPure. I also have a carbon filter pad I'll change once a month, as I decided to remove the filter from the return pump since it is a pain to clean.
I have not used a filter sock in probably 8 months.
AquaC Remora Nano skimmer
T5 Lighting. Bulbs were changed in the last month.
39W - 36” T5 ATI Coral Plus
39W - 36” T5 ATI Blue Plus
Temp: 76-77 (kept in check by an Apex)
I dose two-part as well as magnesium as needed.
- Two (2) clowns
- One (1) Banggai cardinalfish (was born in a tank in my city)
- One (1) small goby (can't remember the name)
- One (1) Maxima clam (it's about three inches now, and I know it will out grow the tank in the next couple of years. But it's happy as a "clam" now)
- 6-8 SPS corals - Mostly acros, but I have a small chalice & a pocillopora in there.
- One (1) RBT anemone (recently split and looks amazing)
- One (1) Maxi Mini anemone
Have a good sized cleanup crew as well as a few sexy shrimp & a pistol my goby never decided to pair up with.
I completely overfeed marine cuisine. Most of what I feed the fish ends up in the sump. They are fat and really happy.
2-3 times a week I will target feed reef chili. Other days I'll give a capful of ZooBlast or Phyto.
I've been pretty religious about doing 5 gallon a week or every two week water changes, depending on time. I do use RO
water and Red Sea Pro salt.
My skimmer pulls very very little simmate, even if it's on the most aggressive setting. At this point, it takes 2-4 weeks for it to fill up.
I do not think I have adequate room to add another fish, as I'd worry about territorial aggression issues. I see pods
running rampant all over the tank day and (especially at) night. Stomatellas that I never added to the tank on purpose are everywhere. I don't have GHA in the tank, and got over the early cyano
issues with one dose of chemiclean 5-6 months back. However, my acro colors totally suck. I will occasionally get some STN. I've lost a few small frags to RTN. My anemone's look amazing.
I've been talking with my LFS
owner, and we're both thinking my water is ****ed near "sterile" and my SPSs are starving. Here's the plan we've come up with, and I'm curious if any of you have had similar experiences, and what you think.
1.) No water changes for at least a month. In a month, I might do a gallon or possibly two to replenish some trace elements. Basically, until I read any nitrates at all, I'm not going to worry about it.
2.) Keep feeding my fish the same, but up the phyto/Reef Chili to daily target feedings until I start to read phosphates and/or nitrates.
3.) Pull the carbon filter that is in my sump to catch junk before going back into the display. I'll replace that with a simple filter that contains no carbon.
4.) In a month, if I see no 'trates or 'phates, I'll pull the chemipure to see what happens.
What do you think? I've read studies that show some phosphates are good for coral growth. My growth isn't anything to write home about either. I feel like I'm doing everything right. However, spending lots of time reading, it seems like everything is pointing to my water being way too clean.
Thanks in advance!