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Old 02-05-2005, 04:23 PM   #1
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I don't know what to do next.

Let me apologize in advance for what I’m sure will be a very long post, however I’m hoping that some of you who seem so wonderful about helping others will see this as an opportunity to give some quality advice and really get me moving in the right direction in this hobby.

I’ve had my aquarium up and running for a short time. It has been a couple of months since cycling completed and I added the fish. I am now looking for the next 1, 2, or 3 things I can do / add / change to improve the potential health of the system and my enjoyment of the hobby. My ultimate goal for this particular tank is so have a colorful, fun to watch system with lots of interesting life. I have no more specific goal than that at this time (I realize that makes answering my question more difficult, sorry). Realistically, I need to keep things manageable for a beginner. I do not think I am ready for corals or any difficult to maintain livestock.

Below is a thorough description of my system. What should I be looking into next? Can I add more livestock to this system? If so, what kind would be a good mix and relatively easy to maintain? Are my practices good? Should I buy additional test kits? Additional equipment? A power head? Live rock? Different lighting? Airstone? RO/DI? Additional additives? Different foods? Less carbon?

In other words, what jumps out to you experienced folks when you look over this list as being most important or valuable for me to change or add?

My aquarium:
-29 gallons
-regular fluorescent lighting, on 8a – 11p
-artificial aquascaping only; no live rock. artificial rock is very limited but seems to supply enough hiding spaces for my gramma. false perc acts totally uninterested in hiding, opting instead for the open water near the surface.
-80 degrees F, +/- 1
-2” sand

Livestock:
-1 false perc
-1 royal gramma
-1 bumblebee snail
-3 small nassarius snails
-1 tricolor hermit with plenty of empty shells available

Filtration:
-small skimmer, removes ½ to ¾ cup skimmate per week, color ranges from tea to light coffee
-canister filter, rated at 160 gph, but I believe it moves slightly less than this because I’m using 5/8” tubing instead of the ¾” for which it is designed. canister holds coarse and fine sponge, ceramic, and carbon
-HOB power filter with biowheel. holds floss and carbon.
-an additional small HOB power filter with sponge, carbon, and ceramic, which I can move to the QT when needed

QT:
-10 gal, stored empty and dry, set up with above-mentioned filter when needed (only once, so far)

Practices:
-feedings once per day, rotated between the following:
Nutrafin max marine flake food
Hikari marine S
mysis shrimp frozen
San Francisco Bay Brand multipack frozen:
marine cuisine: artemia franciscana, krill, mysis, etc
emerald entrée: artemia franciscana, mysis, krill, plankton, spinach, romaine, red leaf, spirulina algae, etc
brine shrimp
squid
-Vita Fish twice weekly
-Stress Coat with water changes
-proper Ph 8.2 with water changes
-Ammo, nitrite, nitrate tested twice weekly
ammo: 0
nitrite: usually 0, occasionally bumps to 0.25 for a short period then drops again
nitrate: 15
-previously used tap water (I’m guessing the source of the nitrates?), very recently started using distilled water for changes
-10 – 20% water change every 1 or 2 weeks.

Other:
-Some brown algae developing on sand and glass, not overgrown (yet?)
-9w UV

What should be next for me?
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Old 02-05-2005, 04:48 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA, lots of great people and info here.

I would say if you want to add some color and want easy to manage you might want to start with some live rock. You also may want to think about an ro system because in the long run it's a lot cheaper than buying distilled. You can even find one of those ro machines at the store and bottle your own. You can probably fix the brown algae problem with a variety of snails, but it also could just be from the newness of the tank. I've heard that the bio wheels are not so great for marine tanks, I don't use them myself. Sounds like you're doing alright, and you probably have room for one more fish if you'd like, but give it some time and choose well, depending on size that may be the last fish you can fit space wise. You may also want to think about a feather duster worm or some mushroom corals to liven things up. Both are really easy to keep and can even be kept in low lighting conditions. Good luck. I'm sure everyone will soon have some great ideas for you.
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Old 02-05-2005, 06:08 PM   #3
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The only thing that jumps out at me is that every time you move that filter to the qt and back you risk cross contamination. You have more than enough filtration on your tank. You don't need that extra hob on the 29. Just clean it up and store it with the qt tank. The nitrates are probably higher due to the bio wheel. Also if you don't change or wash the floss in the filters frequently the nitrates will build up in them. When you feed the frozen foods (marine cuisine etc) be sure to thaw them and remove the excess liquid. The frozen foods are a bad source of phosphates and possibly nitrates. You could make your own fish food with a mixture of all the things you have, fresh seafood, vitamins, garlic etc. It will save you a lot of algae(green and cyano)problems in the future. Do a search on this site for "blender mush" for a simple recipe that saves a lot of money and time and cyano problems.
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Old 02-05-2005, 06:32 PM   #4
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I was under the impression that keeping the extra HOB running in my main tank would provide for instant biological filtration when I moved it to the QT. Is this not neccessary?
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Old 02-05-2005, 08:08 PM   #5
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It will provide filtration but like was just mentioned, Why qt a fish only to have the same water used in both tanks cross contaminated. If you have a parasite in the qt tank and move the filter back to the main after using on the qt then you just introduced the parasite to the main.
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Old 02-05-2005, 08:34 PM   #6
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Not to mention that if you actually have to treat the qt with meds they will also be transferred to the main.
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Old 02-05-2005, 08:35 PM   #7
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Instead you can take some of the filter floss from the main and put it in the hob whenever you need to use it for qt. That will provide your bio filter.
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