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Old 04-14-2008, 09:27 PM   #1
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simply need a little better direction and advice

I have been running a 50 gallon marine tank for almost two years. I have some live rock in it. I know i should have more. I am not running a sump or skimmer and i use the standard lighting you get when you buy a aquarium from Wally World. What I am asking is if I am not losing fish and my water quality always seem well should i go and invest in these extra devices. I'm afraid of messing things up by moving into areas that I am completly unfamiliar. I have been reading extensively about the sumps and skimmers but i'm not convinced that they are a must. My 50 gallon tank has a blenny, 2 Damsels and 1 tomato clown, a hermit crab and also crab. I just recently put in an anemone that showing signs of bleaching. and it will not stay in the brightest area of the tank it always moves to the darkest corner. I'm a littleconfused about that. can't wait to read all your responses. Thanks again.
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Old 04-14-2008, 09:57 PM   #2
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Are you planning to go Reef? or stay with FOWLR? ok well to determine what to do first here are a few questions.

1.Are you using RO/DI water Any algae problems?
2. What is your method to mixing Saltwater before adding to tank
3. How are you measuring Specific Gravity
4.Do you have a test kit if so what are you testing for and how often and what are the results.
5. How much live rock is currently in your tank.

On a personal note I love my skimmer it removes lots of nasty stuff on a regular basis and is well worth the 200 dollars IMO

Having a sump with a refugium to grow macroalgae was a blessing for me I have not seen any algae really at all since my Chaeto in the refugium started growing and absorbing nitrates and such. well worth the 350 dollars IMO (can be done a lot cheaper than what I paid)

The intense lighting is a must if you want any corals if its just Fish only than there is no need really. What kind of anemone is it that you have in your tank?
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:31 PM   #3
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Are you planning to go Reef? or stay with FOWLR? ok well to determine what to do first here are a few questions.

1.Are you using RO/DI water Any algae problems?
2. What is your method to mixing Saltwater before adding to tank
3. How are you measuring Specific Gravity
4.Do you have a test kit if so what are you testing for and how often and what are the results.
5. How much live rock is currently in your tank.

I do not plan to go reef in the near future maybe in a couple years. But just maybe I happen to be a sheapskate LOL.

1. I just use tap water that i condition as needed for chlorine etc.
2. I mix saltwater in a a couple 5 gallon buckets and let it sit over nightwith a powerhead running in it .
3. I just use the hydrometer to measure the specific gravity of the water.
4. I have marine test kit that measures the high range PH , Ammonia(NH3/Nh4), Nitrites(NO2),Nitrite (NO3)
I only test when things look a little different when fish seem to be acting different. Maybe ever three or four months.
I for got to mention that I have 40 lbs of crushed coral in the the bottom with some sand that controls the PH perfectly.
I'll have to rung the tests tomorro to give the specs to you.

My nemone is a condylacti

thanks again
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:44 PM   #4
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I bought a condy anemone a while back because it was cheap. after researching it I took it back to the pet store. I wasn't ready. They need prestine water conditions. So testing on a regular basis is a must. They also are photosynthetic so it will most likely not survive with the minimal lighting you have. They can also become aggressive as well. I would imagine with the crushed coral you may have some elevated nitrates as Crushed coral tends to trap waste. anything over 20ppm is not good IMO. With the anemone I would suggest a maximum of more like 5ppm. Definately test your water and post results this will help out./

Also A refractometer for 40 bucks is well worth the investment to test Specific gravity. I found when I bought my Refractometer that my hydromoter was reading 1.025 / 1.030 when tested with the refractometer.
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:48 PM   #5
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You don't need to change anything if you're content just keeping a few smaller, hardy fish, like you have. You won't have success with any soft coral or anemone with that lighting. I would imagine with crushed coral and tap water your nitrates are probably pretty high, which is not good for the anemone.

If you want to start adding coral, then you probably have lots of work to do and lots of changes in the way you maintain the tank.
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:58 PM   #6
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can I just go to petco and buy some new bright bulbs to replace the bulbs in the hood? Or do I have to spend a great deal for new lighting fixture?

I am currently happy with what I have but i do want to grow in the hobby. But with a big family funds are always tight. I really want to give my fish the best I can. But I also do not want to spend more then I have too. if that makes any sense. how about the sump? Is it easy to make one i have a empty 20 gallon long and I also have another 50 gallon that needs to be resealed. i do not know what is the best route.
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Old 04-14-2008, 11:22 PM   #7
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is your tank 36" or 48" wide I bought my 36" Coralife Lunar Aqualight fixture for only $215 dollars. The replacement bulbs are $44 each 1 actinic and 1 10k suggestion is to replace bulbs every 6months. Even with this I am limited on what I can do with my tank. Wish I would have bought the 450 dollar fixture instead than I wouldn't have to worry about lighting requirements.
The 20G long tank can become a sump if you are handy,and do some research with a little patience. I decided to have one built for me since my 46g bow cabinet would only hold a 10" wide sump. most 20L tanks are 12" wide. here is a guide to the DIY 20g L tank. Melevsreef.com - DIY Glass Sump & Refugium Hope this helps.
Oh and If I was in your shoes(which I am not) I would definately save some money and buy a decent RO/DI unit before a sump. Water quality is crucial especially for the anemone. and Macro algae isn't a magic bullet to algae control there are many factors FantasyReef Databases-Viewing item "10 Step Plan for Nuisance Algae Control"
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Old 04-15-2008, 02:01 AM   #8
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Agree with cccapt... except for the anemone, what you have now is fine for your fish. If it's working for you, and you don't have any disease, they I wouldn't change anything. But if you want to keep the anemone, you're going to have to invest in waaaaay better lighting.
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:09 AM   #9
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I would shop around. You can purchase a good RO/DI unit for $100. As far as the anemone, you will definitely need better lights. I am just now adding a few corals to my 75 gallon but I purchased a Aquactinics Solar Flare (a bit pricey) but necessary for having corals.

You may want to join a reef club, you can save a lot of money that way, plus they have pretty cool events. Once you have enough frags, you can either trade them or take them into a LFS for store credit.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:01 PM   #10
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Also, check Craigslist for cheap fishtank parts. People sometimes even give them away!

I agree with everyone else though. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". If you want to upgrade though, I'd definitley look at upgraded lighting to start, then perhaps a skimmer addition.

HTH
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