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Old 03-05-2005, 03:03 PM   #1
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starting corals

I wanted to start adding corals to my tank but don't want to get too far ahead of myself. I upgraded my lights to 6 96w pc's (4 10,000k and 2 actinic). My tank is 125g 72'' long, 18'' wide, and 22'' deep (approx.). I have a 30g fuge, 10g sump with a protein skimmer. The substrate is aprox 3'' deep in the main and in the fuge.

Here are my water parameters:

Amm - 0ppm
Nitirite - 0ppm
Nitrate - 20ppm
Ph - 8.2
Phos - .1ppm
Alk - 125.3ppm
Ca - 400ppm
SG - 1.024
Temp - 75

Are my nitrates still too high? Or am I okay to start adding corals? I was thinking of getting a leather, mushrooms, possibly a hard coral or two. I was also considering a clam but wasn't sure if my lighting was good enough.

Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-05-2005, 05:17 PM   #2
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There is only one kind of clam that can live in your lighting and you will probably have to place it pretty high up. I'm not sure if it's the derasa or the squamosa though. You'll have to check into that. You're nitrates are pretty high for corals but if you start out with shrooms and polyps then see how they react. How much live rock do you have and what kind of filtration? That could have something to do with the nitrates. I would also recommend upping the temp to 78 to 80 degrees. What kind of alk reading is that? Never heard of that type of reading.
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Old 03-05-2005, 05:19 PM   #3
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I agree. NO3 is a bit high so you should work on getting those down. Starting with mushrooms or polyps is a great idea. THey are very hardy and easy to keep. Bump the temp up as well and try to get rid of PO4.
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Old 03-05-2005, 05:56 PM   #4
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I've got about 130lbs of live rock. I was rounding up the po4 (it was reading more like somewhere between 0 - .1). I've been trying to pace myself and allow some of my live rock to kick in (most of it is fairly new) and allow some of the macro in the fuge to grow out. to keep eating up the nitrates.

I would rather deal with the wait instead of killing off anything with my nitrates so I think I'll continue to hold off for now and just keep testing. I had no idea the water temp needed to be that high...glad I included that. But I'm pretty sure I've heard that a reef should be kept at 72-78 (I think I got that from liveaquaria.com). Has anyone had any luck with the lower side of this temp range? It would be nice not to have to increase my evaporation rate if I can help it.

Kat, the alk reading is in ppm's. I think everyone else normally does it as dkh...in which case it would be 7. After the nitrates, this was my next concern.

Thanks for the help!!
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Old 03-05-2005, 06:59 PM   #5
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NO3 of 20ppm is not too bad, but under 10 is more desireable for corals. However, I would think that most mushrooms and zoanthids would be able to tolerate 20ppm of NO3. Do you have sand substrate? What is you current livestock list and feeding schedule? A bit more LR would not be a bad thing. 1.5-2lbs/gal will give you great biological filtration and certainly help with the NO3. 130lbs is a great start though.
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Old 03-05-2005, 07:15 PM   #6
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I do have a sand substrate...which is actually another question I had. I only have about 3'' of sand (approx) but I can see small bubbles form in it. I thought I'd need at least 4'' to get the benefits of a dsb but having the bubbles seems to suggest otherwise....any thoughts on that?

I was planning on getting more live rock but I did 90lbs in one shot from liverocks.com and wanted to see how that looked before I got more...now that I'm happy with the aquascaping I don't have the time to take off of work to order more. I'll get to it eventually. Since I added the 90lbs my nitrates have gone down from around 40ppm to the 20ppm I'm at now...hopefully it will continue to go down as the coraline spreads (which it isn't doing yet) and the macro in my fuge spreads (which is making good progress).

Livestock includes 3 clowns, two damsels, blue dwarf and red dwarf hermits, a serpent star, a horseshoe crab, and a mess of bumble bee snails. The fish get a small pinch of flakes every other day.

Thanks for the help!!
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Old 03-05-2005, 07:18 PM   #7
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I dont know wat the others might say but IMO i would feed the fish enough for every fish every other day

GoodLuck with the water Paramiters
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Old 03-07-2005, 03:17 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for the input. I took your advice and picked up some red mushrooms and some flourescent green mushrooms. They seemed to take to the tank well once I got their placement set.

However, when I woke up this morning the red mushrooms were upside down on the bottom!!! The red mushrooms were on some oysters (i'm pretty sure they're oysters) and one of them burrowed back in between some lr which in turn caused the rest to fall down. I was not even too sure the oysters were alive. Any idea what I can do to ensure the oysters are happy. (in case they aren't oysters, I'll describe what they look like - they are small and oval shaped. approx 1 1/2 - 2 inches long and only about 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch wide. They are black and I have yet to see one open.) Red mushrooms seem to be doing okay...I set them in a more stable spot.

Thanks!!!
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Old 03-07-2005, 03:54 PM   #9
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If I'm not careful with my placement the frags get pushed off the shelf by hermits, snails, etc. I'm forever picking things up off the bottom of my tank. You'll learn how to get things wedged in so that they can't wander off.

Enjoy your shrooms.
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Old 03-07-2005, 04:18 PM   #10
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I am normally pretty good about it since my crabs are so active. I guess I just figured the oysters would act like rocks themselves.
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