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Old 03-15-2006, 02:31 AM   #1
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Is it over yet? lol

Not really sure how many days i've been cycling... i think around 2 weeks now, but on saturday I added 40lbs of Cured Marshall Island live rock. I have a total of 70lbs with the base rock, and i'm planning on adding about 15 more lbs of base rock to the sump. I am around 5 days after adding the live rock, and my test results before adding the rock were at around 1.5ppm ammonia, around 0.1ppm nitrites, and 0ppm nitrates. I am now at 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrites, and 10ppm nitrates. The test results are the same as yesterday. I will test again tomorrow and see, but I still have one whole shrimp in the tank deteriorating as I type. It's been in since I got the rock. Theres about half of another shrimp in there, and one has already totaly deteriorated. My tank is a 65 gallon with about 25gallons in the sump. 2 maxi-jet 1200's, and a quietone4000 pump for the return pump from the sump. I have a ball valve on the return pump, and I have it turned down to probably around 400gph. So, if my levels stay the same ammonia and nitrites by thursday.... Could I add a couple of clowns? My salinity im keeping at 1.022, because thats what the store keeps theirs at that im getting them from. I'm going to start out with 2 small clowns. Black false percula if they have them in. Otherwise I might go with 3 banggai cardinalfish. So... what do you all think?
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125gallon - 3 Giant Danios - 1 7" Jack Dempsey - 1 5" Green Terror - 1 9" Lutino Oscar
65RR - SW - 30g Sump w/fuge - 40lbs MI LR 30lbs Base - 4-5"Sand Bed - 2 false black perculas, 1 six line wrasse, 1 peppermint shrimp, 6 zebra hermits, 6 blue leg hermits, 6 nassarius snails, 6 astrea snails
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Old 03-15-2006, 04:10 AM   #2
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It would be best to take out the rotting shrimp, do a water change (10% to 15% to keep nitrate from going up) and retest. Do you have a skimmer or refugium? If ammonia and nitrite remain zero, then get a cleaning crew in there before adding ornamental fish. Start off with like a dozen Reef hermits, a dozen cerith snails, an algae blenny and a skunk cleaner shrimp or two. Wait a couple of weeks. Let things settle and will give a chance for you to observe the water parameters at this time. Let natural growth start to take and offer the blenny some food two to three times a week what he can eat in a three minute time period (best divided into two or more feeds throughout the day). If you don't have a skimmer or refugium, get one before getting more livestock. Then you should be ready for a pair of clowns.

You may want to QT the algae blenny for a week or two and any other fish you purchase before introducing into the main tank.

Take your time populating the tank. You can cram corals and inverts without much of a dent in the bio, but once you start adding fish, the waste load increases quicker. Try keeping nitrates below 10 ppm, especially if you plan on having coral.
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Old 03-15-2006, 04:40 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. Yes I have a fuge, and a skimmer. I'm not skimming yet. The fuge is about 8 gallons sectioned in my sump. Im not going to have corals for probably 6-8 months.I wasn't planning on having an algae blenny. From what I read they need a more established tank anyway. I was going to go with 2 false perculas, 3 banggai cardinals, 1 small reef safe wrasse(maybe a fairy of some kind or a six line) and a royal gramma. I was planning to get some Trochus snails, a couple of turbo snails, and some Nassarius snails. No hermits. I might add some later, but I don't know about getting them because of them being known for killing so many snails. I guess I could add shells, but I don't really feel like it.
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125gallon - 3 Giant Danios - 1 7" Jack Dempsey - 1 5" Green Terror - 1 9" Lutino Oscar
65RR - SW - 30g Sump w/fuge - 40lbs MI LR 30lbs Base - 4-5"Sand Bed - 2 false black perculas, 1 six line wrasse, 1 peppermint shrimp, 6 zebra hermits, 6 blue leg hermits, 6 nassarius snails, 6 astrea snails
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Old 03-15-2006, 08:52 AM   #4
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The list of fish you have are fine, but what do you plan on having for algae control? Just snails? Algae blennies...aka Lawnmower blennies seem to do just fine in a new reef. I've never had any problems. Just acclimate properly and don't over feed. Even if it's not the first fish you get, by far they are very beneficial in working at algae that you would need to take care of otherwise. Reef hermits add diversity and can get to places the snails cannot and can keep snail populations healthy as well as everything else in the system healthy of disease from decaying matter. They are natural scavengers and are attracted to weak, sick, dying and dead things. I've never seen a hermit attack a healthy snail. Shells would need to be added, but that just goes with basic maintenance of a successful working reef system.

Just as in a wild reef, there are a number of different animals that cater to the same thing, but are equipt differently to access different areas. Then there are specialized critters like skunk cleaner shrimp which will naturally help protect the tank from external parasites. Caribbean peppermint shrimp will control aptasias. The six line wrasse you're thinking about will naturally control any flat worm populations in the rocks.

Collectively as a whole, the diversity of livestock will keep the system healthy and balanced with less interference from you. This would allow one to kcik back and enjoy their tank without having to cater to it all the time.

Have fun building
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Old 03-15-2006, 04:23 PM   #5
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Thanks a lot for all the advice. I'm not sure when the LFS is getting any black percs in, so it might be a while. Now that I've thought it over I will probably follow your advice. Would also having the algae blenny be too much for my bioload once im fully stocked? I'm going to do another test tonight and then in the morning if its the same I'll go pick up my clean up crew, and maybe the algae blenny. They do look like cute little guys I guess. lol I'll let you all know.



*update*
Just thought id give a quick update. Im going to the good LFS (30 minute drive) and see if they'll test my water. I think they tets everyones water and make sure they are cycled before they will sell them a fish. I will pick up the algae blenny. Hes got small ones in today that hes holding one for me. They are $14.95 a piece. Is that a good price? Well I would rather get one from him for that rather than saving $5 and getting a sick one in a crowded nasty tank. I'll also probably get a few snails, and ask him what hermits he has and what he recommends. Thanks a lot for the help.
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125gallon - 3 Giant Danios - 1 7" Jack Dempsey - 1 5" Green Terror - 1 9" Lutino Oscar
65RR - SW - 30g Sump w/fuge - 40lbs MI LR 30lbs Base - 4-5"Sand Bed - 2 false black perculas, 1 six line wrasse, 1 peppermint shrimp, 6 zebra hermits, 6 blue leg hermits, 6 nassarius snails, 6 astrea snails
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Old 03-16-2006, 12:34 PM   #6
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The price on the fish is typical for a store that is inland. The store I work for though sells them for $10. Online they are $7. We're on the California coast. Fish become more expensive as the fish on the market move away from the ocean.

The fish you've listed in the other post, adding the blenny would fit in fine without disrupting the system's chemistry. Take your time acclimating. Use an airline hose as a drip. Tie one end into a loose knot to control the flow of water and the other end should be anchored in the QT. Let the blenny out into a bucket with the water he comes in with and let the drip go for about an hour. Put an airstone in the bucket or swish the water around every so often. As the water level rises in the bucket, take some out and continue the drip. Once that hour is over, gently place him in the QT. Avoid putting any water from the bag into the QT. This is the basic acclimation for any livestock you get. A slow introduction to a new environment will ease the stress level of the animals and lessen risks of disease and illness brought on by acclimation and transfers from one tank to another. Fish kept in a QT, when ready to go into the main tank, should be acclimated in the same manner.

There are a lot of different hermits for the reef. The most typical you'll find are red legs, blue legs, and scarlets. Scarlets, though very attractive, are sensitive and generally get beaten up by the other hermits. They're always getting their shells stolen...LOL. If you want scarlets, wait on them.

When it comes to figuring out how much room you have to accomidate fish and inverts, instead of the rules of thumb guides of so many inches per ainmal per so many gallons of water, I go by the available territory and bio load. My little 18 gallon reef has been crammed with livestock for over 4 years without a single incident of anything dying from being over populated. Everything has it's own space and most maintain the tank. For the bulk of these 4+ years the following animals have lived quite well together (except a swap from the cardinal for the angel)...

Pajama cardinal, algae blenny, filament goby, 2 neon blue gobies, candy stripe bass, dusky jawfish, yellow watchman goby, pair of purple headed coral banded shrimp, a boxer crab, a few peppermint shrimps, skunk cleaner shrimp, fire shrimp, harlequin shrimp, several reef hermits, small cowry snail, a bunch of nassarius snails, and a bunch of coral. The coral get sold out of the tank so it's always changing. At one point in time the pajama cardinal was taken out so we could put in a tiny Imperator angel. Thing was less than 3" when she went in there. She sold after growing up a few more inches. She had all the sponge and polyps to nibble on and grew up strong. She's now living in a larger reef. The 18 is a perfect little nursery for such a tender infant stage of life for such a tender animal. You can check out pictures in my gallery here at AA. All the photos are of the 18 gallon reef. All I have on there for filtration is an Eco-System 40 refugium. The tank continues to flourish and is the most successful tank I've ever contructed, even with all those animals in a small space; defying what the majority recommend. The maintenance only requires a small water change every two to three weeks and feedings two to three times a week. Oh and clipping excess macro algae from the refugium. That is it and it's a happy tank

Reef animals live abundant like that naturally. So long as no one has to fight for a territory, are size appropriate, bio load is good and stable (plenty of live rock and a good sandbed), and plenty of oxygenation (good water flow), they'll thrive.

Enjoy your tank
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We, as a people, know so much more about outer space than we do about our own oceans. This lack of knowledge can very well spell the dangers that lay in wait for us.

The oceans surely would swallow us before a rock comes down to smite the planet of it's life.
Nov/2004
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