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Old 12-29-2003, 11:28 PM   #1
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Too many fish?

I keep thinking I have too many fish but everyone seems happy and I haven't lost anything in at least six months. Here is what I have in a 55g tank.

3 Neon damsels
1 Yellow Tang
1 Six line wrasse
1 Tomato clown
1 Mandarin Goby
1 Coral Beauty

Additionally, I have a rock anemone, a pink tip amemone, a coral pollup, a flame scallop, about 5 turbo snails. For lighting I have 240W PC lighting, a protein skimmer, a power filter, a canister filter, 2 power heads and approx. 65#'s of live rock. I also have a ro\di system for water but I continue to get algae that doesn't appear acceptalbe. How can I better control algae?
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Old 12-30-2003, 02:05 AM   #2
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You might have too much light for this type of setup. A 55g may be 4' in length, but is a bit shallow for 240w of light. How many hours do you cycle your actinics & daylights? Maybe you can consider lowering the actinics to 10hrs & the daylights to 8hrs. Your RO/DI should provide you with a silicate/phosphate free water, have you checked for these levels? You might also want to consider a broader clean up crew package.
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Old 12-30-2003, 09:14 AM   #3
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You're definitely heavily stocked, but with the exception of the Tang/Mandarin, the remaining fish should be ine in a heavily stocked enviroment.

A 55g, IMO, is too small for the Tang - which will need a lot of space for swimming/grazing. I'd consider removing both the Tang and the Mandarin (which is a fish which should be kept in no less than a 75g tank, and with a refugium to reproduce pods if possible).

Quote:
but I continue to get algae that doesn't appear acceptalbe. How can I better control algae?
Well, my first thought is that 5 Turbo snails is nowhere near enough of a cleaner crew. You need (again, IMO) a good mix of approx. 40-60 snails (Turbo, Trochus, Margarita, Astrea, etc.). Some people would also suggest a couple hermits, though I don't like them. A brittle or serpent star for detritus removal would also be good.

As far as the algae, there are a lot of things to consider. Other than an insufficient cleaner crew, your bioload comes into play. The filtration/LR you are using might not be able to keep up with the wastes produced.

Feeding is another factor - what, how much, and how often?

Another thought is the canister filter. IMO, I would ditch any mechanical filtration, and replace it with a good skimmer.

I can't really comment on nuisance algae without knowing full tanks specs. Salinity & temp, cal & alk levels, nitrates, phosphates, etc. Those readings will give us a better idea of what is happening in the tank.

How often (and how much at a time) are water changes done?

As I said, there are many causes of nuisance algae, and most often it is a combination of several factors. What type of algae is it that you are seeing? Any pictures?

HTH,
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Old 12-30-2003, 11:01 AM   #4
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Thanks Reeflady! I understand the need for the tang to have space, he's probably my oldest inhabitant at this point but I've never heard anything on a Mandarin's need for a larger tank. He does feed off the algae on the LR. I also understand that I need a bigger cleaner crew, currently I'm doing a 20% tank clean about every two weeks. I do have a testing kit and my water levels are always good. I feed once per day and try to make sure I don't over feed. I've heard pros and cons regarding canister filters, I purchased this one shortly after I started the tank up (about a year ago) and I hadn't found Aquarium Advice yet, so I was trying to find the best filtration I was familiar with.
I also have a 10 gal tank I keep in my office with 2 damsels and a choc. chip star, I moved the star to this tank because he was always on top of anything that didn't move in the larger tank. In the 55g I also have a sea apple and a coral banded shrimp. Are the bristle or serpent star OK to have with corals, in case I want to start adding more to my tank? I've attached a pic of my tank, the algae on the LR is kind of clear and you really can't see it in the picture. Thanks Again!!
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Old 12-30-2003, 11:21 AM   #5
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The problem might be that the canister filter media is producing high levels of nitrates which could cause the algae. I would remove any filter meida and use the canister for water flow. The LR will take care of the ammonia and nitrites.
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Old 12-30-2003, 11:27 AM   #6
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Hi again ...

No problem. As far as the Mandarin goes, these fish feed solely on (or at get 90% of their food) from copepods and amphipods found in LR/LS. Some can be trained to accept prepared foods, but this is unlikley, and they will still ned live pods to thrive. What you probably see the fish picking at is the pods on the rock/substrate. The reason for the large tank recommendation is given that this is usually the Mandarin's sole source of food, they need a tank large enough (with enough LR) for the pod population to reproduce faster than the fish can consume it.

Here are a few links which will hopefully explain a bit better:

Care and Feeding of the Mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus) ~ Tom Lang

Mandarin Dragonet - Reefcorner

Psychedelic Fish (Synchiropus picturatus) ~ John Rice

The Mandarin Fish: Synchiropus splendidus (Herre) ~ J. Charles Delbeek M.Sc.

Mandarins, Psychedelic "Gobies", Dragonets, Scooter Blennies....YAH! Family Callionymidae - WetWebMedia

Mandarin Survey, by Nathan Cope, courtesy, OZReef
Quote:
I do have a testing kit and my water levels are always good
Mind if I ask what they are? I find so many people who are told by their LFS that their levels are "fine", when they are running salinity at 1.022 or less, have phosphate levels of over .06, etc. etc. If curiosity killed the cat, I'd definitely need more than 9 lives.
Quote:
In the 55g I also have a sea apple and a coral banded shrimp.
Watch that Apple - for a couple reasons. If they're not fed a heavy diet of phytoplanktons, they typically starve to death. Also, if they are injured, or severly stressed, they can release toxins that can wipe out fish (they won't hurt inverts/corals, but the toxins can kill fish). I can give you more info. on these critters if you're interested.
Quote:
Are the bristle or serpent star OK to have with corals
We have had reef tanks for many many years, and have always had Brittle stars. The two we have now are huge (about 17" from tip to tip), and are very well mannered. We've had them almost 5 years now.
Don't buy the Green/Olive Green Brittle - Ophiarachna incrassata -- these are noted fish predators. All other Brittles/Serpents are reef safe. FWIW, the distinction between a Brittle & Serpent star is a hobbyist distinction - they are biologically the same.
Quote:
I've attached a pic of my tank, the algae on the LR is kind of clear and you really can't see it in the picture.
To be honest, I really can't see any nuisance algae in the pictures. Nice tank, though!
If you get a chance, post all your tank parameters, and we'll try to go from there.

HTH,
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Old 12-30-2003, 11:35 AM   #7
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240W for a 55 isnt that big of a deal IMO. I have a 65x4 PC which equals 260W or 4.7WPG.

Just like a sunny day at the reef.

Some guys run well over 10WPG with the big halides.
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Old 12-30-2003, 12:32 PM   #8
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It's been a while since I tested the water so I thought now would be a good time, below are the results.

Ph 8.2
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
Ammonia 0
Salinity 1.021

The LFS where I purchased the apple didn't really tell me too much about him, I did some research and found that he does have a sour side. I've had him since August and feed him and the scallop phytoplankton, probably not as often as I should. What would you recommend for a feeding schedule and do you just put some in the tank or do you try to feed directly? I've also found that he likes to have some current.
Thanks for the info on the Mandarin, I'll visit those sites. He does seem to be grazing most of the time. A correction on my lighting, I miscalculated a little, I have a 4 x 65 CustomSealife with the moon lights.
I'm attaching pics of my polyp and anemone, I need help identifying their names. The anemone has probably doubled in size since I first got him, he loves krill.
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Old 12-30-2003, 12:34 PM   #9
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Looks like the anemone didn't make it, I'll try again!
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Old 12-30-2003, 12:39 PM   #10
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The pic of the polyp you posted is a Ricordea, and a nice one at that!

I'd definitely try to bump up your salinity level, though very slowly. Inverts (inlcuding corals and mobile inverts) should be at approx. 1.025 at 79F - 81F 1.021 is very low.

HTH,
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