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Old 07-14-2003, 04:34 PM   #1
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Newbie questions: fish compat, LR, water changing, inverts

We are SW tank newbies; had a problem a while ago with fish dying. Got advice from this forum (thanks!); redid tank, cycled, jump-started with shrimp. A week or so after seeing the nitrite spike subside, we introduced 3 small damsels & a 2" puffer. They have been thriving ) Yesterday we added 2 angels and a clownfish. The puffer kept nibbling on the clownfish, and we had to take him out. I wonder if there's some known incompatibility there, or if maybe the clownfish was sick and the puffer sensed it and went after him as an easy target. We thought he looked OK, but the puffer obviously picked on him.

At this point, our 40-gal tank has only a 2" substrate of crushed coral, and several dead corals providing hiding spaces. We have no LR, no invertebrates. We have a Fluval filter of appropriate size, and a protein skimmer, and just added two fluorescent lights, full length, one white, one blue (not sure wattage).

I'm wondering about adding some live rock, and/or some snails & crabs. I don't know if we could safely add LR with the fish in the tank. If not, what about getting some kind of neutral rock, and adding it? Would it eventually become "live"? What does that really mean? I.e. is LR just rock populated with bacteria like in the sand/coral, or does it harbor other critters? Would it be beneficial for our tank?

Also, I've read that snails & small crabs are good for keeping tanks clean. Could we introduce them safely to our tank as it is now?

I know this is a lot of questions for one note, but I'd be very grateful for any advice, even if only pointers to articles.

Thanks.

Bob Peitzke
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Old 07-14-2003, 04:51 PM   #2
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If you add cured live rock there should be little if any die offs which result in ammonia spikes. LR is the best form of filtration for a SW tank.

It does often harbour small corals, shrimp, crabs etc...though this is mostly the uncured that contains a lot of new life. The cured contains less.

You can introduce crabs and snails anytime now. Introduce them like fish, slowly and carefully so you won't have die off.
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Old 07-14-2003, 05:17 PM   #3
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The only problem I see is that many puffers see shrimp, snails & hermits as snacks.

Brian
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Old 07-14-2003, 06:45 PM   #4
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Your tank is overstocked and that is the problem with the fish being picked on. The fluval is not going to be able to handle the load of what you have imo. and you may very well start having other issues soon.
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Old 07-14-2003, 09:03 PM   #5
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You mean 7 small fish are too many for a 40-gallon tank?
Guess I'm going to have to read up on cured vs uncured live rock.

Thanks for the advice.

- Bob
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Old 07-14-2003, 09:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
cured vs uncured live rock.
The amount of fish doesnt actually have to do with the amount of fish in this case. You just have too many fish for the tank. An angel is gonna be big, the puffer is gonna be big. I just read you have 2 angels, man thats a double no. I would do some more reading. Anyone remember the person with the username Len? he had a 40 gallon tank and it was way over stocked. Now, you would do much better getting a DSB and some LR. I am sure the LFS told you some things that lead you to believe you are fine with what you have, which is not your fault. I would recommend some, well a lot of some reading. I think that is the best thing. I also recommend the book "the conscious marine aquarium" i hear that is a great book
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Old 07-14-2003, 09:30 PM   #7
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Great advice so far. If you're at all used to FW, the stocking considerations for SW are quite different.

Quote:
You mean 7 small fish are too many for a 40-gallon tank?
In a nutshell, more than likely yes. Seven fish @ 3" each is roughly equal to the fish capacity of a 100g tank. A very loose/general rule of thumb is 1" of fully-grown fish per 5g of water. This depends a lot on the fish's swimming habit (ie: - any Tang is a no-no in a tank less than 4' long), and also how much the fish will contribute to the bioload. Certain fish like Puffers, Triggers, Lions, Eels, etc, are voracious eaters, and contribute heavily to a tank's bioload. Other fish like Clowns, Gobies, and Blennies don't require a lot of swimming/grazing room, and are not heavy eaters, so you can "ease" the rule of thumb a bit with these fish.

A lot of ppl do "FOWLR" tanks. You'd have to watch for compatibility with the fish and some mobile inverts, but the LR itself is a very good idea.

Also, try to keep to adding one, or maybe 2 (small) fish at a time. Adding 2 Angels and a Clown at the same time in a 40g is likely to cause an ammonia spike and a small cycle.

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Old 07-14-2003, 10:14 PM   #8
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Adding 2 Angels and a Clown at the same time in a 40g is likely to cause an ammonia spike and a small cycle.
I forgot to address this, thanks for jumping on it. I would do one big fish, although you should not have any big fish, at a time or two small fish. You did two big fish and a small fish
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Old 07-14-2003, 11:39 PM   #9
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HI all. Interesting conversation. I have a problem battling cyano right now and in my search for some reasons and cures, it has been mentioned that maybe I have a bio overload. How do anemenes and coral figure in the bio confines of a 55g?
also, I have a shallow LS base of about 1.5". If i were to add regular, or southdown sand at small intervals, will that help to build a better filter to help combat the cyano problem? Or is that scenario even plausable?
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Old 07-15-2003, 10:07 AM   #10
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How do anemenes and coral figure in the bio confines of a 55g?
Corals shouldn't effect the bioload at all, unless you are heavily feeding LPS (Hammer, Anchor, etc.) chunks of meaty foods. Anemones - ditto ... the animal itself does not contribute to the bioload unless offered supplemental feedings - then that waste would contribute to the bioload.

Quote:
If i were to add regular, or southdown sand at small intervals, will that help to build a better filter to help combat the cyano problem? Or is that scenario even plausable?
I'm not sure if it would help the cyano issue, though it would definitely be a good idea t increase the depth of your sandbed for denitrification purposes. I'd add a 1/2" at a time, so that the sandbed fauna can easily migrate to the surface area.

I've been battling cyano (currently in "remission") for the last 6 months or so. One of the toughest battles I've ever fought in 13 years of reefing. IME, a major contributor to cyano is phosphates, which can be h*ll to get rid of. Do you test for phosphates? I'm assuming you know all the "standard" cyano ammunition - replace old bulbs, increase water flow, reduce feedings, etc. etc. If you find a miracle cure, let me know.
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