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Old 10-23-2008, 01:20 AM   #1
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new to saltwater new tank cleaning help

Hi all,

i just came across this site, and am probably going to spend the rest of the day browsing it :P

Ok to the question.

I am new to saltwater and just bought a Aqua Mercury Barrier Reef 400 (you all will probably not know what the **** that is since i cannot find ANY info on the internet, and the fact i am in australia!)

Anyway it is a All in one reef tank like the biocubes. actually, ill give you the specs as it may help, or help in the future.

Tank = 37L (around 14g?)
hood lights = 2x 24w TC-L (one blue, one white) VERY BRIGHT!
refugium light = 5w TC-D
Filter water pump = 420L/H, max water head : 0.7m (i dont know what the last part means)
skimmer pump = 420L/H, max water head : 0.7
moon light = 3x 15mA LED
fan = 1.9w
Substrate is just very fine crushed coral, and i have 1 live rock in there.

ok NOW to the question

I was at the aquarium shop, and got a REALLY good deal on this tank (just under half price) which ended up costing me $180au instead of $330
because this tank was just sitting there EXTREAMLY filthy with water in it and everything. (you couldnt even see in the glass as it was covered in a brown algie)

so i bought it, he gave it a quick clean and i took it home.
I put new water in it (bought from the shop) waited for all the crap to settle and it looked awesome!
but after a few days the algie (i cannot spell algie i am guessing) started to form again, over the top layer of substrate like a blanket. starting over the glass and now my rock also has ALOT of brown stuff all over it too.

i was wondering if it would be trying to cycle some more or some thing (this tank was running for a few months before i got it so should be setup ready to go)
or is it just absolutly filthy and need a really good clean?
if so what would be the best way to clean it, and ways so the bacteria stay there? (i.e cleaning the filters and ceramic rocks in the filters?)
and what about the substrate. would i just get a gravel cleaner to get all the crap out of that?
and also how would i clean the live rock so it doesnt have as much brown stuff all over it?

any other tips for a brand new first timer would be also really helpful.!

oh another thing i am fighting is heat issues. its just getting summer here and getting very warm. i have read ALOT on chilling tanks, and am going to give fans ago (cheaper!)but my tank gets up to 30 celcius!! then down to 24 at night (i just bought a heater so now it sits on around 26.7 and 27.2 at night) would fans get it from 30 to the required temp for a few clown fish and live rock (also a shrimp or something?)
if not what would be another cheap alternative?
i looked at the ICEPROBE but you need to drill a hole in your tank, and make it look kinda ugly!

anyway, sorry for the REALLY long winded first message, it was just the easiest way for me to explain hahah.
also sorry, i like to use (brackets) alot haha

thanks guys.


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Old 10-23-2008, 08:20 AM   #2
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Did you keep the crushed coral that was in it at the store? That may be a source for the algae to have begun such a strong bloom, along with the water. One thing I found out the hard way, is that my water is horrible, and in no way ok for my sw tank. I have to by r/o water every week for my pwc's. The phosphate reading in my water was way high. If it is near a window, obviously that could be another source for the algae, as well as overfeeding, if you have put any food in the tank yet.

I am sure someone soon will ask you for your water readings, so you might want to get them ready for some better ideas ; )

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Old 10-23-2008, 09:02 AM   #3
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I agree let`s see some water test results and we can go from there.


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Old 10-23-2008, 06:51 PM   #4
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Welcome to the site!
I agree, can you give us some test results like, ammonia, nitrItes and nitrAtes?
Right now we can really only (and not very accruately) guess what's going on. It sounds like a possible diatom bloom. You may also want to rethink the crushed coral substrate, but that is for another thread.
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:54 PM   #5
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hey, thanks guys,
I will get some readings either tonight or tomorrow and post them.

So what about my pump and skimmer? is that enough water flow for that tank?
also the skimmer makes a whole lot of tiny bubbles through the tank, is there a way to stop this?
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:44 PM   #6
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Any critters in the tank? Keep the lights off except for the prime time you view it too. 9hrs max IMO, but might want to go less and see if any growth slows.

Depending on what live stock there is in the tank, it might be easier to replace that crushed coral with fine sand.

Can you get light bulb replacements too?

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Old 10-23-2008, 09:22 PM   #7
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what livestock is in the tank? How old are the lights?

I'd start to think about changing the gravel to sand. What are those ceramic rocks for? Could be a problem also. Can you get small pieces of live rock to replace'm?

Edited: time to go to bed.I thought my previous post was lost in cyberspace. Logged on later and thought I had to send it again. OOPS!

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Old 10-23-2008, 09:36 PM   #8
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No there are no critters in the tank yet.
I did ask the guy for live sand, whatever is in there is very small but to me it looks like crushed coral to me.

The tank is in my bedroom so its only really for my viewing pleasure (greedy i know)

also with temp, what is the maximum fluctuation that i can have? as i am finding it hard to keep a very constant temp.

just another question. maybe a stupid one haha, but with live rock, the longer its in the tank, does it grow more stuff on it? like little critters that live in it, and strange plant type things. or does it just have what it came with from the ocean?
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Old 10-24-2008, 02:23 PM   #9
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I agree water parameters. Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, PH and SG.

You want to shoot for stability. Most would say no more then a 2 degree swing in 24hours. I try and keep my tank between 79.5 and 81. Now that winter is here I'll be more successful in doing that.
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Old 10-26-2008, 12:18 AM   #10
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Hey all, I finally got to test my tank. paramaters are:

p.h 8.2
ammonia = 0,
nitrItes = 0
nitrAtes? = 0
SG = 1028
current temp = 27.5c

it looks like its good to go. the only thing i am not sure about is the P.H?

the temp was to much of an issue so i took the tank down stairs into the lounge. its a bugger because i really wanted it next to my bed but cannot afford over $300 for a chiller just yet. maybe ill move it when i get one.

also the brown alge has gone now. maybe it was just from moving the tank (from the shop to my house) could it have just gone through small cycle or something?

the temp is ALOT more stable now. its a pretty hot day and its sitting on 27.5c with no fans on it what is the best temp for it to be?

p.s i still have no fish or critters. i just want everything stable first.

ill try to get some photos tonight.



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