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Old 10-07-2011, 05:34 PM   #1
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from fowlr to reef

I'm going to be starting my reef building soon. My current tank has sufficient lighting and stocking for corals.

What additional things do I need to test for (other than salinity, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and ph)? I have a dKH test kit but I am sure I will need the others.

I plan on getting some zoanthids and mushrooms to start off with.. I hear they are good beginner corals. I also read zoa's are poisonous. Do they make the water poisonous to put your hands in or just if you touch them? I should get some latex gloves, but is there any other hardware I will need? What about pruning? Scissors or.. ?

What are some other good beginner corals?

Do corals need to be fed or are they photosynthetic? If so, what do I feed them? Do they need to be target fed?

How can a coral be listed as "semi-agressive"? lol seems like a dumb thing to me at this point.

Why would I want to buy a frag? It seems so tiny when I could just get a larger one. Seems like a frag would take a really long time to grow out.

Lots of questions! Any good articles I can read as well?

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Old 10-07-2011, 05:52 PM   #2
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I`ll answer a few. IMO you dont need to feed the corals. They get all they need from the water column and lighting. I`ve never target fed mine except the orange sun polyps and they are low light corals. As far as the water testing it`s important to test for calcium.
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:25 PM   #3
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frags are cheaper compared to full grown.
zoas when they squirt you is poisonous
watch your phosphates
semi-aggressive - not sure what you're asking but basically some corals sting and send out tentacles at night that sting or send toxins like some leathers
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:28 PM   #4
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To start off keeping corals is not that hard. You don't need to be testing calcium or magnesium until you have huge amounts of sps. Frags tend to grow better in tanks then adding large colonies. This gives the coral a chance to grow and adapt to your own tank , and also they are a lot cheaper. You will not need pruning things till around the 2 ish year mark. Corals are aggressive meaning they can sting and produce chemicals in the the tank to kill near by corals. Feeding you really don't need to if the coral is photosynthetic, although filter feeders can benefit from zooplankton or phytoplankton.
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:51 PM   #5
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thanks a lot!
so i'm going to go pick up calcium and phosphate tests and some latex gloves and i should be good until i get some corals
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Old 10-07-2011, 11:25 PM   #6
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they only had calcium test kit at the lfs
my calcium is 440

so i'll need to get the phosphate test online. what about magnesium, silicates, iodine
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:49 PM   #7
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Unless I want to watch things grow rather than having an impressive tank I should buy larger corals instead of frags, right? I mean, do corals grow slow?
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:52 PM   #8
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Depends on lighting, but IME corals grow relatively slow. Green Star Polyps and Xenia are the fastest growers in my tank.

Iodine is important for everything, magnesium is mainly for SPS, and I have never even heard of silicate testing (probably have, just do not remember it)
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:14 PM   #9
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Didn't I read somewhere hat you treated your tank with copper? Maybe I'm wrong, but that could mess up your plans.

:-(
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartachris
Didn't I read somewhere hat you treated your tank with copper? Maybe I'm wrong, but that could mess up your plans.

:-(
Yeah you will need a new tank and whatever was inside the tank. Including the pumps running.
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:28 PM   #11
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I've never used copper in the tank, that was in the quarantine tank.
I did however use quick cure, which has malachite green and formalin as it's active ingredients. Any problems with those?
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Old 10-09-2011, 02:28 AM   #12
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One small correction. Corals that have algae in their tissues can produce sugar for energy without consuming external food. This can maintain the size of the coral, but not grow it as sugar gives energy but does not grow tissue, that takes more complex organic molecules. Your corals will be eating even if you don't intentionally feed them. The small particles that come from the fish food, or when you clean the glass on your tank will introduce tiny bits of material the corals will catch and devour.

So when it's said that they live with just light hitting them using photosynthesis, that isn't the full story. But the problems introduced by flooding the tank with clouds of filter feeding coral food, while it can increase coral growth, it js often at the cost of water quality. That's why most people keep corals that do fine with bright light and the leftovers from fish feedings. As said earlier, there are corals like sun corals that grow in darkness, like the insides of sunken ships, that depend entirely on captured foods.
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:49 AM   #13
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Good! I'm glad I was mixed up. Lol. But I don't know anything about the stuff you used.
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Old 10-10-2011, 12:26 AM   #14
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Well, looks like i'm moving towards my goal!

I just bought some more salt, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate test kits, a phosphate reactor, pump, and some tubing.

I'll run some carbon and GFO in the reactor just cause and get started on my reef build soon!
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Old 10-10-2011, 12:33 AM   #15
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It's a real pain to grow a reef, a real pain. Lots of work, expense, constantly checking on everything. But it is sure fun when it works.
And you get a honorary minor in chemistry.
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:47 AM   #16
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I got my media reactor today and put some activated carbon and GFO in it.

My test readings as of now are:

Amm: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: ~20
pH: 8.0
SG: 1.023
ca: 470
mg: 1500
phosphate: 0

I think I have a bad nitrate test kit or something. I can never get it below 20 and I am doing everything right. And I am doing weekly 30% PWC. Maybe I'll bite the bullet and get one of those pen nitrate readers.

My calcium and magnesium seem high, don't they? Are they within acceptable ranges?

I am hesitant to add any corals, mostly because of the nitrate.
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:08 PM   #17
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Wait a few weeks for the gfo to kick in. It takes about 3 weeks. Your nitrates will drop
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Old 10-15-2011, 03:42 AM   #18
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gfo will lower the nitrates?
i have some chaeto in the sump, thinking of adding some caluerpa
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:26 AM   #19
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you really dont need gloves unless your fragging. Your not gonna have your hands in the tank constantly playing with the coral...
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:58 AM   #20
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Your SG looks a bit low to me. I have been told it should be 1.025-1.026. Some keep it even a bit higher.
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