Originally Posted by austinsdad
P.S. - give us some more info on your setup. May help. Size tank. Lighting specs, inhabitants, kinda coral you're having the most trouble with. What died. What wilted. What didn't.
Hmmm..I've got most of that info in my profile but I must be doing something wrong since it doesn't seem to be showing up...sorry
OK, here's a brief summary:
Tank is 110 gal
. and was fish only with a 3" bed of live sand and 100lbs of live rock when I bought it. It came with 4 96w compact fluorescents, protien skimmer, sump, UV
filter, fluidized media bed, 3 filter media cannisters which all had activated carbon, and an ozone generator (set to 330). The main pump was an 1100 (I think) gph
little giant. The seller was adamant that he never used copper medications (I believe him, he's a good guy).
Since buying it I've been converting it to a reef tank (doing my best anyways). I was told the 1100gph provided insufficient circulation so I added 2 950 gph
mag drive recirculating pumps (plumbed them in a closed loop each). I've added another 50lbs of live rock and 50 lbs of live sand (about a 4" bed). I was told the activated carbon will filter out a lot of nutrients so I replaced one with a media that's supposed to promote denitrifyling bacteria (can't remember the name of it), and left the other 2 alone for now but turned the water flow down to a trickle, just enough to prevent the water from stagnating.
Critters- corals: a torch , a flowerpot, a rock of purple mushrooms, a green brain, a hammer, and a Xenia (I think). Inverts: 2 longspine black urchins, an orange and a burgundy starfish (linkia?), a green brittlestar, a handful of cleaner shrimp and fire shrimp, lots of snails and hermits. Fish: Royal Gramma, a mated pair of Clownfish, a pair of Yellow Tangs, and a Goby. These are all new to the tank since I bought it, and all have been doing well until now. We got a little carried away at first (too much too soon) and had a few short term failures (namely a green leather and an elegance coral, and 3 anemones (read the end of the post abut that)), but learned a valuable lesson and are much more cautions with adding new residents (none since the first 2 weeks). The current inhabitants have been stable and seem to be thriving until now.
As for the lighting, I bought a 2x400w MH
system w\ 10000K bulbs. I pulled one of the CF
fixtures to make room and left the other 3. I continue to run the CF
's on their normal schedule, and ran the MH
's for an hour a day for the first 2 days I had the cooler, but then the cooler broke. I had planned to run them 1 hour\day for 3 days, then 2 hrs for 3 days etc, while continuing the CF
's on their normal schedule. So- I didn't just suddenly switch over to a MH
system- I tried to acclimate the system slowly, so I don't think that was a factor. I have not run the MH
's since- I want to make sure the system is stable again before making any changes.
As for who's suffering. One fire shrimp died (and he was a beauty too!), the flowerpot is toast- the polyps all contracted and didn't come out again, and it developed an ochre-ish colored film. The shrimp feasted on it a few days later, now it's just a rock. The mushrooms were all puckered up for several days and their color is a little pale. Their undersides look slightly discolored (a tiny bit brownish), and the shrimp seem more interested in them than usual (although they haven't eaten or damaged them). They're also a little "floppier" than usual in the current. They seem to look better every day, but I don't think they're out of the woods yet. The xenia has been hit hard. It covered the whole upper surface of an approx. 4"x9" rock. It has about 1\2 died off, and there are several broken stalks amongst the remaining population. However, about 1\3 of the original population seems to be looking better every day- all of them were tightly contracted for several days, but 1\3 seem to be getting back to normal, although their color isn't as "vibrant" as it was. Everybody else seems OK, and the torch and hammer corals are doing great.
On another note...
Do you think replacing the activated carbon w\ the denitrifying bacteria media is likely to help get the nitrates down a bit more? I have one local shop telling me yes and one saying no. I don't know what to think because I'm not sure what to make of the local shops here- I think I've gotten some very bad advice from one of them. I went to them whe I first started converting to a reef, and on their recommendation they sold me (amongst many other things) a long tentacled anemone and 2 others (I can't think of the species). It sounded great at the time- a mated pair of clownfish w\ a choice of 3 anemones, how cute. From what I've read online since then that was an enormous error, both for the health of the anemones (all dead now) and the health of my reef. Needless to say I don't shop there anymore, but that kinda shook my faith in getting advice from shops who profit from my purchases. I've now turned to forums like this for info, but 8O it can be overwhelming (and humbling- I've made a lot of mistakes). Anyways just venting I guess, but I'd like to get the nitrates down that last little bit.
Thanks for the help, and I'm open to any other comments or suggestions you may have!