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Old 12-14-2004, 09:24 PM   #1
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need advice for starting corals

I have a 29 gallon tank that houses about 30-40 lbs. of live rock, a yellow tailed damsel, and a neon dottyback. I have a skilter 400 of which the skimmer no longer works, it is cracked. I have had a problem with nitrate lately due to human error even though this is an established tank. I have been changing the water at least once a week to lower the nitrate and have nitrate sponge in the filter. Would having a protein skimmer make a big difference in my nitrate levels or am i better to get a better filter. If so what kind is recommended? I want to get my tank in shape for corals and invertabrates, I am tired of a fish only tank. Any suggestions would be really appreciated as far as the filtration or even getting started with the corals & invertabrates.
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Old 12-14-2004, 09:37 PM   #2
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I wouldn't bother with a filter...they really don't serve a purpose on a reef tank other than adding flow. I'd recommend an Aqua C Remora skimmer (MJ 1200 pump...don't get the Rio) unless you want to set up a sump. You'll want to have at least 300gph flow in the tank and I would recommend more. What kind of lighting do you have? Regular fluorescents aren't enough for corals. You can get some nice PC hoods for a 29g that would be enough for all but the most demanding corals. You can also light a 29g with one MH bulb. You might pick up a copy of "Aquarium Corals" by Eric Borneman as well...lots of info there.
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Old 12-14-2004, 09:41 PM   #3
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I see in your profile that you have a chocolate chip starfish. Unfourtunately, these are not reef safe. So they'll probably take a liking to the taste of corals.

A working skimmer can pull down nutrient levels in a tank by removing decaying matter, which can drop your nitrates. The AquaC Remora comes highly recommended. Its a fair chunk of cash, but worth it.

The biggest question when it comes to corals: how much and what kind of light do you have? (and how old are the bulbs)

Do you have sand or crushed coral as substrate?

Zoos (button polyps) are very hardy, and grow fast under the right conditions. Mushrooms as well. Both come in a wide array of colors. Xenia is a fairly hardy set of corals if it has been tank raised (or sitting in your LFSs tank for awhile) - they supposedly don't ship well.

Shrimp such as the skunk cleaner are nice show shrimp. They tend not to hide, and will come up and clean your hand. Hermits and snails are good scavengers to have. I'd add 6-10 blue or scarlet or mexican red hermits.
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