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Old 03-25-2004, 08:13 PM   #1
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New 29g hope-to-be Reef Tank

First post, lots of questions:

I've got a 29gal tank with LS and ~35lbs of cured LR. I run a Fluval 340, CPR BakPak skimmer, and a Hagen Aquaclear 301 powerhead. My lighting is provided by 2 20W GE Aquarays (embarrassed to say I have no idea if these are NO or VHO or what). I've been using RO water and cycling for almost 4 weeks now.

Do I need better lighting if I plan on getting some beginner corals? Also, should I be leving the lights on all day and night, or should I turn them off at times.

I am also considering adding a second powerhead. Is this necessary?

My levels as of yesterday: 0.25ppm NH4, 0.0ppm NO2, and 5.0ppm NO3.

I am a bit confused as to why my ammonia hasn't gone down much after all this time. Any insights?

Also, my phosphates and alkilinity are high and my calcium low, pH and salinity ok. I started using C-Balance supplement to bring the calcium up and hopefully the phospahtes down. Should I use a phosphate sponge of some kind at this point? I read that I wasn;t supposed to mess with anything until the cycling finished.

I have a few hitchhiker snails, as well as three polyps. Brown algae has begun to cover the equipment and tank walls. I have been scraping the tank walls where I can, but should I be worried at all about this?

Long post, but the first of many, I'm sure. Questions abound, and I've spent so much time/money/effort I don't want to screw up.

Thanks much.
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29 gallon tank
40 lbs of LR
1.5 inches of LS
Fluval 304
CPR BakPak skimmer w/ preskimmer
Aquaclear 201 and 301 powerheads
Tronic 100W heater
2 20W NO lights
5-stage RO filter

Snail crew, Peppermint Shrimp, 2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, Percula Clown, Watchman Goby
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Old 03-25-2004, 10:21 PM   #2
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Welcome

Quote:
Do I need better lighting if I plan on getting some beginner corals? Also, should I be leving the lights on all day and night, or should I turn them off at times.
For a reef tank you would want PC lighting at the least. MH would be better. A single 250 watt MH would allow you to get just about anything you want but heat could become an issue. Your 20 watt lamps are NO. For PC's you could get something with like 3 or 4 65 watt lamps or a configuration of 96 watts depending on tank dimensions.

Quote:
I am also considering adding a second powerhead. Is this necessary?
It depends on how much flow you have right now. With a Fluval, a bak-pak, and a PH you may have enough. Look for dead spots in the tank and if you see any add another PH.

Quote:
I am a bit confused as to why my ammonia hasn't gone down much after all this time. Any insights?
You may have some die off on the LR still producing ammonia or your tank may just not have finished cycling yet. Patience patience patience.
Quote:
Also, my phosphates and alkilinity are high and my calcium low, pH and salinity ok. I started using C-Balance supplement to bring the calcium up and hopefully the phospahtes down. Should I use a phosphate sponge of some kind at this point? I read that I wasn;t supposed to mess with anything until the cycling finished.
Don't add anything until the tank has finished cycling and you have done some water changes. Without any livestock in the tank there should be no need to add Ca or ALK unless your salt mix is deficient in them. I wouldn't worry about any other parameters being out of whack until the tank has cycled and you're sure that water changes will not take care of them.
Quote:
I have a few hitchhiker snails, as well as three polyps. Brown algae has begun to cover the equipment and tank walls. I have been scraping the tank walls where I can, but should I be worried at all about this?
New tanks always go through stages of algae blooms, unless you have excess phospates or nitrates that keep feeding the algaes they usually go away on their own.

I'm not sure what you run in the fluval, but with that much LR you may want to use it mainly for GAC and flow and let the LR do most of the biological filtration. This can lead to more stable water chemistry and less nitrate headaches down the road. HTH
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Old 03-25-2004, 10:56 PM   #3
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Much obliged.

I know patience is the key. I'll hold off on my additives for a few more weeks and look into better lighting. Probably gonna add a small PH, too. Can't hurt.
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29 gallon tank
40 lbs of LR
1.5 inches of LS
Fluval 304
CPR BakPak skimmer w/ preskimmer
Aquaclear 201 and 301 powerheads
Tronic 100W heater
2 20W NO lights
5-stage RO filter

Snail crew, Peppermint Shrimp, 2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, Percula Clown, Watchman Goby
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Old 03-26-2004, 01:00 AM   #4
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Any recommendations on upgrading my lighting to PC (not ready for MH and all that cooling)? How much do I need? 3-5 watts/gal, so ~120 watts?
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29 gallon tank
40 lbs of LR
1.5 inches of LS
Fluval 304
CPR BakPak skimmer w/ preskimmer
Aquaclear 201 and 301 powerheads
Tronic 100W heater
2 20W NO lights
5-stage RO filter

Snail crew, Peppermint Shrimp, 2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, Percula Clown, Watchman Goby
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Old 03-27-2004, 11:25 AM   #5
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How long is your tank? 55 Watt bulbs are about 22" long. Are you planning to buy a ready made canopy, build one yourself or just retrofit an existing canopy? I used to run 2x 55 watt PC lights over my 20(just upgraded to 175 MH) 110 watts was good lighting and I had a Sinularia, some shrooms and polyps that did well. If space and budget permit I would try for at least 2 65 watt PC or even better 3 or even better 4x65w. You could also look into something that has like 2 96 watt powerquads. You would be able to keep a good range of soft corals, mushrooms and some lower light hard corals. HTH
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Old 03-27-2004, 01:18 PM   #6
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I don't have at true canpoy, per se. Just a glass hinged top with the lighting fixture that sits on top of it. Length is 29''. Looks like two 55 watts is very feasible for me, but I would like to get the best wattage I can (for more challenging livestock in my distant future).

In exploring a little on line, looks like the two 55watts are the only things that will fit, but I'd love to be wrong and be able to get at a few more watts up there if anyone knows how I could do it.
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29 gallon tank
40 lbs of LR
1.5 inches of LS
Fluval 304
CPR BakPak skimmer w/ preskimmer
Aquaclear 201 and 301 powerheads
Tronic 100W heater
2 20W NO lights
5-stage RO filter

Snail crew, Peppermint Shrimp, 2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, Percula Clown, Watchman Goby
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Old 03-27-2004, 04:21 PM   #7
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If you can build, or someone you know is carpentry saavy you can order a kit like this http://hellolights.com/4x55wretrofit.html And then you just have to install it into the canopy or hood you build. I think if you look around you can find some places that have prebuilt hoods with more lamps in them that would give you more light. If I find any I'll post back.
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Old 03-27-2004, 06:02 PM   #8
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i previously had a 20l and my younger brother has a 29. i have to say 30" tanks are difficult to light properly, in so much as most bulbs/fixtures are 24" or 36". i will never own one again lol.

your ge aquarays are NO 9325k bulbs and good until you decide to go reef. since i didnt see it already addressed, you should leave your lights on for a maximum of 12 hours/day.

as far as new lighting, it all depends on what you want to keep. starter corals like shrooms and a leather would most likely do fine under 2 55/65w pc bulbs

HTH
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55g: 1 black angel, 1 koi angel, 1 marble angel, 3 blue rams, 2 bolivian rams, 5 diamond tetras, 5 gold tetras, 3 leopard corys, 1 bristlenose pleco
55g: gouramis: 2 pearl, 1 blue, 2 dwarf fire, 2 dwarf honey , 1 dwarf powder blue; 5 tiger barbs, 5 golden barbs, 3 zebra loaches, 1 SAE
30g: 1 miss. map turtle, 5 blue spotted sunfish
10g: 7 cardinal tetras, 7 black neon tetras, 5 pygmy cories
10g: 3 leopard geckos
a yellow lab, a bichon frise, and a grey tabby cat
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