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Old 07-04-2010, 02:32 PM   #1
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FOWLR TO REEF: Where to begin?

So here it goes. I have a 40 gallon Jebo R375 tank with a standard powerhead with drip filtration the upper back of tank. I also have an Ehiem canister filter running. I have very good water movement on 45 lbs of live rock. Tank has had the live rock for a month. I have had the water tested several times and water is perfect. I also have a protein skimmer that has been up and running for two days now.

I have 1 blue damsel, 2 clowns, and one royal gramma, 1 blue tang (yes I know I may need to get rid of him due to size of tank), one cleaner shrimp, one crab and 10 hermit crabs.

I did have a brief explosion of brown algae (diatoms), but I have cut down on light (150 watts) to about 5 hours a day and the brown algae has subsided. All in all things are running smoothly. I hope to add no more than one additional fish (maybe a yellow watchman with a pistol shrimp).

Bottom line: I am interested in going from FOWLR to Reef. So now where do I begin?

Happy 4th!
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Old 07-04-2010, 03:00 PM   #2
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You can start by slowly removing the bioballs from your drip filter, the lr is all you will need and one will work against the other. Then take out the filter from the ehiem and fill it with LR rubble. Check and recheck your parameters and make sure that ammonia and nitrite are truely at 0. Then add some corals. I would get a liquid test kit and test your own water.
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Old 07-04-2010, 03:49 PM   #3
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+1 to TC's advice
Your own set of test kits is crucial, also make sure you have a refractometer. What kind of light do you have? You'll probably want to start with some zoanthids or some mushrooms.

Also, its good you realize that the tang is too big, but its not a question of may have to come out. They can stay small in smaller tanks, but it is actually stunting their growth, while their internals continue to grow. needless to say this will become detrimental to its health before too long.
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Old 07-04-2010, 04:22 PM   #4
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I do not have bio balls in the drip filter...perhaps I did not describe it correctly. The drip filter is water from a power head that drips out of a long clear plastic tube onto a fiberous white material. One chamber also has ceramic half inch tubes/media. The canister filter has little bio media (balls the size of bee bees) along with the same fiberous materials and a blue hardened sponge like filter. Am I to get rid of all the filter media?
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Old 07-05-2010, 12:31 AM   #5
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If you have enough LR you won't need the other filter. It will work against the LR in competing for organic material and would greatly slow down the ablilty of your LR to convert your waste material to less harmful nitrates.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:48 AM   #6
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When moving to a reef tank you need to get the final stage of the nitrogen cycle completed. This is converting nitrate back to nitrogen. Cannister filters, wet/dry filters are great at breaking waste down and converting amonnia to nitrite and nitrate to nitrate. They do not convert nitrate back to nitrogen. There are two ways to do that. Large regular partial water changes or material that has oxygen free (anoxic) areas. There are bacteria that thrive in the absence of oxygen and presence of nitrates that use the nitrates for energy and convert it to nitrogen (harmless). This can be done via a deep sand bed and/or lots of vey porous live rock. LR has deep areas where only a slow trickle of water can flow through creating these anoxic areas.

There are other methods (bio-pellets in a fluidized bed cannister), macro algae that thrive on the nitrates and phosphates, etc.

Removing the 'nitrate factories" is the first step, but don't remove all of it at once. Remove no more than a 1/4 of the material per week.

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Old 07-05-2010, 12:00 PM   #7
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buy a coral.. *poof* reef
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:13 PM   #8
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Sure I could buy a coral...but does my water need to have certain elements in it? Should I buy a reef test set? Based on results will I have to add things to the water to feed the corals/reef?
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:11 PM   #9
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Give us some water test results including Calcium and alkalinity.
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