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Old 03-26-2010, 01:10 AM   #1
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Question on how many corals

In another thread, someone mentioned to me about adding some mushrooms to cover up some areas on my rock. I was told that water changes would provide the necessary nutrients to feed them. I was wondering about some other corals. Does the need to add supplements only come about when you have more corals than what the salt mix can replenish with water changes or are there certain nutrients that water changes just do not provide? I use IO salt mix and it says it provides amounts of calcium and other trace nutrients. Just wondering. Say I have a 180gallon tank and change 60 gallons every 2 weeks. If I only had 10 corals, would that be enough to feed them as opposed to having 20 corals? Or do different corals require different nutrients. I don't have any yet, but would like some feedback before trying to venture down that road.
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:34 AM   #2
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If your changing 60G every two weeks you have no probs even if you have 50 corals. If you search around there are people that have heaps of corals in a tank and they only do PWC's. Additives aren't needed IMO.
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:42 AM   #3
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It really depends on the corals. All corals that have skeletons will use the calcium, alklainity, and magnesium out of your salt mix to grow. Corals with and without skeletons will use a bunch of other elements out of the salt mix. How much they use depend on the type of coral, and like you mention, how many you have.

I would say that for the very large majority of folks, the only supplementation they will need (if any at all) would be calcium/alk/magnesium. And this is easily done with any of the "2-part solutions" that are out there on the market. Or you can save $$ and do-it-yourself with kits like those sold on bulkreefsupply.com

You're doing a 30% change every other week, which is a lot... but good! Depending on how many corals you have, you *may* not ever need supplementation. Only way to know for sure is to test your calcium and alkalinity levels on a weekly basis. You want your calcium between 380 and 420 (in my opinion) and your alkalinity levels between 8 and 12 dKh. If your levels drop below those targets before a water change rolls around, then water changes aren't probably going to keep up for you.

Your IO salt will be a little low on calcium, so you *may* need to supplement it right from the box/bucket/bag to get those levels. Instant Ocean's "Reef Crystals" has higher calcium and might work better for a reef. But again... only way to know for sure is to test.
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Old 03-26-2010, 03:13 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kurt_Nelson View Post
It really depends on the corals. All corals that have skeletons will use the calcium, alklainity, and magnesium out of your salt mix to grow. Corals with and without skeletons will use a bunch of other elements out of the salt mix. How much they use depend on the type of coral, and like you mention, how many you have.

I would say that for the very large majority of folks, the only supplementation they will need (if any at all) would be calcium/alk/magnesium. And this is easily done with any of the "2-part solutions" that are out there on the market. Or you can save $$ and do-it-yourself with kits like those sold on bulkreefsupply.com

You're doing a 30% change every other week, which is a lot... but good! Depending on how many corals you have, you *may* not ever need supplementation. Only way to know for sure is to test your calcium and alkalinity levels on a weekly basis. You want your calcium between 380 and 420 (in my opinion) and your alkalinity levels between 8 and 12 dKh. If your levels drop below those targets before a water change rolls around, then water changes aren't probably going to keep up for you.

Your IO salt will be a little low on calcium, so you *may* need to supplement it right from the box/bucket/bag to get those levels. Instant Ocean's "Reef Crystals" has higher calcium and might work better for a reef. But again... only way to know for sure is to test.
Well said. If I didn't dose Alkalinity my tank would probably crash because of how much alk and calcium my corals suck out of the water. I have a 180-gallon and change out 15-gallons per week with a saltmix that tests 9-alk, 1350-mag and 500+calcium(a little high) Then I still dose Alkalinity and Calcium daily and Mg when needed. It all depends on what type corals you are keeping and how many, whether you need to dose and how much. And what YOUR test kit says.
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:05 PM   #5
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Oh yeah, I would definitley test before adding anything. Test, test, and test again just to be safe. I'd rather lose $75 on test kits than lose what very quickly can amount to alot of money in coral. I was just wondering if there was a rough amount of coral that you have aquire before you need to start checking trace element levels. Which in my case, if I ever decide to get any coral, will be the first coral I buy. I figure keeping an aquarium is like making barbeque,(low and slow is better than hot and fast.) Besides, seeing something wither away is not an indication to check something. Kinda like the smoke alarm is not a kitchen timer.
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:28 PM   #6
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There's really no set amount, or even rough estimate, of amount of coral before you start to see issues with your water parameters. Sometimes it's not coral that makes the difference. When I started my tank, I think I only had one coral in the tank.. It definitely wasn't growing enough to suck up a bunch of calcium. But my calcium levels were lower than they should be, and drifting lower each week, and my coralline algae was starting to bleach. I had a TON of coralline algae. Turns out, my coralline algae was such a calcium hog that IT was depleting my calcium levels faster than my water changes could keep up. I had to start dosing with a 2-part solution, just because of my coralline algae!

Of course, as I've added more corals, and as they've started putting on new growth, I've had to increase the amount of 2-part solution I'm using each day. But the initial supplementation didn't even have anything to do with the corals!
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:02 PM   #7
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In regards to the bio-load however they don't add a thing so you can keep adding and adding and adding.
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