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Old 07-22-2003, 11:47 AM   #1
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Prep-ing for Coral

Okay sorry for the long post, but here goes! Here is my setup . . .

40 gallon tank
45 lbs of LR
3" of Live Sand

Finished cycling on Friday, July 22nd and added the following . . .

20 blue hermits
10 turbo snails
2 cleaner shrimp
1 serpant star
1 standard (2") red hermit

Live WebCam is here . . . http://www.toddwess.com/todd.html

Currently stats are . . .

Amonia = 0
Nitrites = 0
Nitrates = 0
Temp = 78
pH = 8.2

So, here is my question . . . I told the guy at the LFS that I wanted to begin introducing corals into the tank and he started going down a HUGE list of stuff I had to do first. Calcium, Carbonate, Phosphates, etc . . .

I was totally overloaded with information.

I have purchased the following to get my tank ready for corals . . .

- Reef Builder
- Reef Calcium
- Reef Plus
- Reef Trace
- Reef Iodine
- Reef Strontium
- Reef Complete
- Chemi-Pure Carbon bag (sits in the sump)
- Phosphate Magnet bag (sits in the sump)
- Calcium, KH, GH, Phosphate test kits

So, given what I have, what should be my target to reach before I add corals. I am probably going to avoid the hard corals for right now.

Since I have a relatively small tank, I would like to avoid kilkwasser if at all possible - too tricky and complicated for me, I think.

Thoughts??

Thanks so much!!

Todd
http://www.toddwess.com/todd.html
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Old 07-22-2003, 01:47 PM   #2
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Todd, congrats on the new tank setup!

When did the tank finish cycling? Did you mean June 22nd?

Also, what kind of lighting do you have?

As far as corals go, it is normally recommended that you wait at least 2-3 months post cycling for corals. You want your calcium & alkalinity to be stable for at least a couple months, also, you don't want to hit any of the initial algae blooms while you are introducing corals in your tank.

I'm not going to criticize what the LFS sold you, but IMO, you could have got away with less - or something more simple. What kind (brand) of test kits did you get?

Sounds like you got mostly Seachem Products - we used to use Reef Complete & Reef Plus on our 75g. Did the LFS instruct you on how to use any of these additives? IMO, you would have been much better off with a simple 2-part additive, such as B-Ionic or the Kent Tech CB (2-part additive). Any chance you can return what you got to the LFS? They made things awfully complicated for you.

Here's a quick rundown on what you have...

Reef Builder - raises alkalinity (may not be needed unless your alk is low)
Reef Calcium - Calcium additive
Reef Plus - A combination additive (iodide, manganese, etc.) - most of these components are replenished with regular water changes.
Reef Trace - More trace elements (again, water changes should suffice)
Reef Iodine - I wouldn't supplement Iodine/Iodide unless you have a good iodine test kit. Water changes will replenish iodine.
Reef Strontium - do not use. Most "experts" suggest that strontium should not be dosed.
Reef Complete - Another calcium supplement. Reef Complete maintains calcium, whereas I think Reef Calcium is more of a calcium "boost".

Chemi-Pure - never used it, but I don't believe it's "bad"
Phosphate magnet - you shouldn't need unless you somehow have high phosphates

Quote:
So, given what I have, what should be my target to reach before I add corals. I am probably going to avoid the hard corals for right now.
Read these articles - they explain far better than I ever could - what good calcium/alkalinity levels are, how to recover from problems, etc.

Solving Calcium and Alkalinity Problems

How to Select a Calcium and Alkalinity Supplementation Scheme

HTH!
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Old 07-22-2003, 02:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for the help, Teri!

The tank actually finished cycling on July 18th - last Friday.

I have 200 watts - one white light, one blue light. It's a JBJ system.

These initial algae blooms you mention - are they bad? I do have some green algae on the tops of the rocks (the ones closest to the lights). I'm running the lights for 12 hours per day. Should that be lowered?

The Calcium test kit is SeaChem. The Phosphate kit is also SeaChem. I don't remember who made the KH/GH test kit (but I hate it)

The LFS guy did not tell me how to use the products, but the packages say things like "Add 5 mL for every 20 gallons twice weekly" So, for my 40 gallon tank, I was gonna add 10 mL twice daily. Not really sure if that means EVERY week for all of eternity, or just until you get to a level you want. That is the part that confuses me.

The other Reef products I may not need, but they were only $3.95 per bottle, and might come in handy one day. I'll probably just hang on to them. Unless you want 'em!

Thanks for the tip on Strontium - I was a bit leery about that one.

The article links are great - thanks a ton!!

Todd
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Old 07-22-2003, 02:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
These initial algae blooms you mention - are they bad? I do have some green algae on the tops of the rocks (the ones closest to the lights).
Not so much bad, as normal, but a nuisance. It can become bad, if allowed to get out of control. The nuisance algae should (provided you are not introducing phosphates/silicates, etc. to the tank) go away with time. You want to get past this before you add corals - as you don't want nusiance algae overgrowing/smothering the corals. Also, it's a lot easier to manually yank out algae, or remove a rock & scrub it if need be, if there aren't corals attached to the rock.

Tis leads me to ask - are you using an RO/DI system? Tap water is the biggest contributor to nuisance algae issues.

Quote:
but the packages say things like "Add 5 mL for every 20 gallons twice weekly" So, for my 40 gallon tank, I was gonna add 10 mL twice daily.
I would do this. Test your water to see what your ca/alk levels are (without any additives). That will give you a baseline. Then, providing your ca/alk is not where you want it to be, add the Reef Calcium and the Reef Builder until those levels are where you want them. Once you have them at a desired level, use the Reef Complete to maintain the calcium (stop using Reef Calcium), and Reef Builder as needed. I would not use any of the other additives at this point. During the time you are trying to raise your ca/alk, I'd try to test these levels around every other, or every third day.

Quote:
Not really sure if that means EVERY week for all of eternity, or just until you get to a level you want. That is the part that confuses me.
You'll likely always need something to maintain your calcium & alkalinity levels. As far as other additives are concerned, always hold these thoughts close:

(1) Most trace elements can be adequately replenished by water changes.
(2) Do not dose anything you do not test for.
(3) Be very very leary of any additives. It's very easy to skew the water chemistry, and to put your water in an unbalanced/unstable condition. Always try to correct a problem with water changes if possible, and if changes are still necessary, make sure to go slowly.

Quote:
I'll probably just hang on to them. Unless you want 'em!

Thanks but no thanks! I dose pretty much nothing - use a calcium reactor, and kalkwasser. Other than that, my homemade tank food is it.
8)

Once you've got your ca/alk to the levels you want, you may, at that point, want to look into a different way to maintain these levels. Some of the 2-part additives are very good, and very simple to use.

Quote:
The Calcium test kit is SeaChem. The Phosphate kit is also SeaChem. I don't remember who made the KH/GH test kit (but I hate it)
I'm not familiar with the SeaChem phosphate kit. If I remember correctly, you must use the Seachem calcium test if you are using the SeaChem products. Something about the way that Seachem's caclium is put into solution - other test kits may show inaccurate results.

I don't know if the same holds true to alk testing. If not, definitely look into the Salifert alk test.

HTH,
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Old 07-22-2003, 02:52 PM   #5
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Thanks again! Wonderful information.

I tested the Calcium of the tank last night using the SeaChem test. It is a titration test where you have to drop in titrate from a syringe until the color is blue.

My Calcium is at like 500 and I have added nothing at this point. Just finished cycling Friday and calcium tests at 500. Isn't that a bit high?

Also, when I am testing my GH (General HArdness, I think) I can't get the titration to happen. I add like 40 drops which is equivelent to a hardness of 800. Can my water be that hard?

My KH is at 270 (or mabie it is 110 - I think I'm only supposed to multiply the drops by 10. I had 11 drops, so that would be 110 for the KH).

It seems all of my numbers are way too high, so I am going to do a 25% water change this evening and then re-test. Does this make sense? (I say 25% because that is all the water I have on hand)

I initially used a DI system to fill the 40 gallons of the tank, but I believe I ran the water through the filter too fast so the filter was not that efficient.

I have two of those 5 gallon filtered water jugs that they use for drinking fountains and water-coolers and have treated them with salt. They are both registering SG of 1.022 and zeros on amonia, nitrites, nitrates and phosphates. The calcium of the water is 425. I am going to use that for tonights water change. Is there any problem using bottled water for water changes?

Once again - you are being far too kind to take the time to help me here! I really appreciate your effort!!!

Todd
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