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Old 03-25-2012, 02:53 PM   #11
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Now that all of the equipment is gone, the temperature has been stable at 76-78 degrees all this weekend. I just completed the first large water change and took a nitrate reading: it looks like it's at roughly 100 ppm. I'll continue to do these large water changes until the reading gets below 40 ppm (and I'll probably update every time I do).

What would you say is the minimum time I can mix saltwater before I can use it for a PWC? I usually start mixing right after a PWC and there's at least a week before I change again, so it's never been an issue, but I'd like to do large PWCs daily if I can, and I only have 20-gallon containers to use...

I don't plan to stop until I get the nitrates down to zero stably. I know I'm going to need something in my refugium to help out with this, and I'm wanting to go with something other than chaeto. I'll probably need a better light as well. I understand that I won't be actually implementing this until the nitrates get below 40 ppm, but if I need to order equipment, I'd like to know what people recommend, especially if they have their nitrates at zero without a ton of maintenance. Does anyone out there have any suggestions?

Once the nitrates are at zero, I'll probably add some fish back in as well.
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Old 03-25-2012, 02:58 PM   #12
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If you are going to be doing large PWC`s I would at least let it set 24 hours. That way you know the new water is stable and thourgly mixed.
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:49 AM   #13
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I finished my second large water change last night, I've been doing 60 gallons every other day. I took a nitrate reading and it's between 40-80 ppm. I'm going to keep this pace up until the nitrates are below 40 ppm.

Also, Buzz (the fish from the picture) is finally looking better than he did previously. Now he's not doing his hide-in-a-cave-all-day-and-only-come-out-to-eat-a-little-bit-then-go-back-and-hide thing anymore, he's actually out swimming with the rest of the fish. The more I watch him, the more he's behaving like he just got put in his place (really badly) by another fish.

At the moment, none of the remaining fish are showing any other signs of stress or disease, and the tank parameters in question (temperature, nitrates) appear to be at stable levels that are somewhat acceptable, though the nitrates are still a work in progress. Temperature has been between 76-80F.

Once I get down to 40 ppm nitrates, I may have some questions about how to get that number down to zero, but I think that's a topic for a different thread. Thanks for all of the help.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:22 AM   #14
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0 nitrates can cause a coral bleach/brown out. How long have you been without a skimmer? I think its something like at 11 months for a tank without a skimmer you start to run into issues, and at 13 you're just asking for trouble. But if you were doing regular water changes of 60g plus I wouldn't imagine that to be an issue. I wouldn't rule it out though. Glad you have one now
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:48 AM   #15
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The tank was cycled in November 2009 using pure ammonia. I moved in December 2010, which involved a nearly 100% water change. I got my skimmer in late January 2012 and it has been running ever since.

Regular maintenance throughout this entire time was a 20-gallon PWC every week, sometimes every other week. As I said above, over the past month, that has slacked off, and it's been just this past week I've been doing 60-gallon PWCs every other day to bring the levels down.

There are no corals right now, but as soon as things settle down and I have everything at acceptable levels, I want to get some. My knowledge of what it takes to care for corals (beyond what is required for fish) is the following:

"nitrates = bad"

Judging by your post, even that may be a generalization. I certainly have a lot to learn about reef keeping, that's for sure.
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:09 PM   #16
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now that you are getting the trates down might want to go to smaller pwc to see if nitrates go up and you have another issue you have to ID.
Definately get some Macro algea into the fuge as well any is better than none. Some are better but... I use a reptile lite with a CFL grow lite for my 30 gal fuge and it does a great job , low heat and lots of lite. Got mine at Petsmart for $30something.
Melosu58 is right at least 24hr after adding salt (as if i have anything near his knowledge)
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:38 AM   #17
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Minor correction....

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamHorton View Post
There are no corals right now, but as soon as things settle down and I have everything at acceptable levels, I want to get some. My knowledge of what it takes to care for corals (beyond what is required for fish) is the following:

"nitrates = bad"
When or if you do decide to put corals into this system, you do need to understand their requirements a bit more as you suggested. The correct phrase is not " Nitrates= bad" it's "Too many Nitrates =bad". The algaes inside the corals (that give them those beautiful colors btw ) need some nitrogen in the water to feed off of. They don't just feed off of the light. They use the light to photosynthesize the nitrogen in the water so if there's no nitrogen (in the form of nitrates) there's no food. That's bad!!!

But you sound like you are on the right track. Keep us posted
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:08 AM   #18
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I did another large PWC on Monday night and took a nitrate reading immediately after. The nitrates are now between 20-40 ppm!

At this point I plan to go back to regular tank maintenance and keep an eye on the nitrates. Also, I'm hoping to get some macro algae back into my refugium to help with keeping the nitrates down.

I got a new refugium light: JBJ Macro-Glo Adjustable Refugium Light

I guess it's a strange thing about my refugium, but the water level can get down to about 6 inches deep, but if I turn off the pump, the water level can get up to 12 inches. This means that the light has to be 8 or so inches above where the water is most of the time, just in case the return pump fails. I don't know if this matters or not, though.

Is there some type of macro algae that would be best for my fuge? I can get chaeto at my LFS, or I could order something else if that would be better.

...I may start a new thread about this, though, since it looks like I'm not losing any more fish and I've taken care of the problems here.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:24 AM   #19
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Here is some decent info on Macroalgaes for your fuge.

Best Plants and Algae for Refugia - Part II "Vegetable Filters" | Reefland

I personally have always been a fan of Chaeto.
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:17 AM   #20
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chaeto is fine. Caulerpa just requires more work, but also is a good choice. I think of chaeto as "set it and forget it" Mangrove tress are my favorite, and I'm trying to nurse one back to health right now...but its a struggle. They aren't really that efficient at removing nutrients with just one, i think you need 1/4g to make any real difference. My eventual goal is to have a little 2 foot mangrove tree living next to my fish tank, kind of like that Spanish guy with the awesome coral operation... or maybe he was from Portugal.
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