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Old 12-29-2011, 12:23 PM   #1
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Goings on in my 35G Reef (or soon-to-be reef)

Hi all,

Just a recap for those of your who don't know. I am a first time SW tanker and have been overly diligent (my husband calls it anal retentive), to learn all I can and cycle properly. I finished my fishless cycle about 2 weeks ago and just added 4 scarlet hermit, a scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp, 5 astrea snails, a clown, a Kaudern's Cardinal and a two eyed goby.

My parameters were perfect for much over a week, I was dosing to 4ppm and it was back at 0 within 12 hours. I figured I was more than ready to add fish. I added the fish/snail/shrimp on the 26th after doing a 90% pwc the day before (I followed everything BY THE BOOKS). I am feeding frozen brine, I can't remember the exact name, but the one with veggies. The LFS dude told me to feed twice a day, but I knew that was WAY too much so I feed once a day for the first few days and then was going to go to every other once there was enough in the substrate for my goby.

I had decided to check my water every few days in the beginning until everything is running smoothly, to be extra cautious. Thank God I am diligent (anal) because I check last night and my nitrates were SKY high (between 80 and 160 colours). I busted out the bucket and prime and got to work. It dropped to 20, which I'm not happy with still, but I didn't have time to do another large pwc. I'm going to check again tonight and do another pwc if needed.

So, here's some funny things that have happened. First of all, I LOVE my goby! He's so adorable and funny! He has been making a den under a rock for the last few days and last night when I did the PWC he disappeared! I was worried about him because I hadn't seen him in 3 or so hours, so I pulled up the rock and found him...not moving I took the net and gave him a little nudge and saw that he was still breathing so moved him away from the den, replaced the rock and sat and watching him for a bit, contemplating euthinization, and realizing how I adored the little bugger already. Well, after about five minutes of lying completely still, and shallow breathing he swam quickly to the edge of the rock and hid there. I went to put my daughter to bed and when I came back there was crushed coral and sand flying everywhere as usual, as he began to dig out his den again PHEW!

My crabs LOVE to smush themselves between rocks and they end up getting trapped, I let one sit there for a few days to see if it'd move out and it just stayed there, so I reached in to take it out and the SSC shrimp came barreling at my hand!!! I was shocked of the cojones on the little guy but thought "how bad could a bite from that little thing hurt?" and stuck my hand back in to save the crab. The shrimp again barreled at my hand and just started exploring me with him tentacles lol. He's just a friendly, nosey little bugger (Who has already molted BTW )

My lights still aren't on a full 6 hours, I'm working my way up. That was the only thing that I didn't fully research, I thought that I could just turn them on and that's it. So, I'm up to 4 hours a day now. I need more live rock and to aquascape. I need an emerald crab in there to clean up my long hair algae. I need a new filter, so I can move the old one over to a hospital tank, and a new power head so I can move it over too...but those will come in the next few weeks.

Overall, the whole family is loving the tank. Guests come over and sit and stare at it forever and our family has been watching it more than the tele...ok, not that much, but it's getting close (here's some pictures if you want to see: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...-181072-5.html)

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Old 12-29-2011, 12:30 PM   #2
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Everything seems good! I would have gotten an easier goby to care for if i was you, i am also a beginner in saltwater and i dont want to get any difficult fish like the two eyed goby...its a sand sifter, so you need a very established sand bed for him to live.. And if im correct, shouldnt be added to a new tank. Do you feed it frozen foods? Good luck!
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:44 PM   #3
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Everything seems good! I would have gotten an easier goby to care for if i was you, i am also a beginner in saltwater and i dont want to get any difficult fish like the two eyed goby...its a sand sifter, so you need a very established sand bed for him to live.. And if im correct, shouldnt be added to a new tank. Do you feed it frozen foods? Good luck!
Yes, I know, I originally was going to wait the 6 months and get a manderin goby, and still plan to do so, but after speaking with some people I decided to start with this one. The LFS (Big Al's) assured me that he eats frozen brine, and he does, he'll wait until its in the sand and then goes around eating. I'm hoping it works out. I would hate for him to die due to bad advice.

Can anyone tell me how I can get pods? I know I can buy them, but how do they grow naturally in the tank? Should I buy some and they will grow from there? Also, is there any corals or even an anemone that would prosper now in the tank? I'd love to get one for the clown.
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:19 PM   #4
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Pods will grow naturally, but the mandarin goby will eat them all within a few days, because a 35 gallon tank wont have enough pods for hom to live on. If you want a mandarin you will have to buy pods, which is expensive to do every week, and even then the mandarin might not eat them. Its hit or miss
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:23 PM   #5
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Oh goodness! What the heck are pods anyways? And how many do they need? How expensive are they? I mean, people said it was 'expensive' to buy frozen brine (with veggies and vitamins) but I think it's cheap, only 10/month!
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:24 PM   #6
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Haha lots of questions! I dont own one, but Carey does.... im sure she will pitch in
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:27 PM   #7
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Haha lots of questions! I dont own one, but Carey does.... im sure she will pitch in
Thanks Nu-Nu! How is Nu-Nu anyways? Have any recent pics? I was looking into eels after hearing about him. I might still go that way eventually, but I think I need a bigger tank. Is he a predator?
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:29 PM   #8
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The one suggestion I would make is that you NOT completely disassemble your tank looking for a fish who may have died. Generally speaking, if the fish is to the point that it's unable to move, finding it won't allow you to help it.

You have a new tank, so thankfully you haven't had a pile up of pollutants, but you need to keep in mind that as your tank gets more "seasoned", pulled up all your rocks, disturbing all the substrate etc will both kick up detritus and any trapped 'trates or 'trites, and also cause stress on fish or inverts that may have found themselves a little home in your tank.

Generally speaking you can actually cause less damage to a tank by letting a deceased fish go its own way and letting the clean up crew do what they're designed to do - its an unfortunate part of the hobby, but it is what it is.

As for pods and the mandarin - most good LFS will sell pods in big bags and/or bottles...however pretty much all fish will gobble the little buggers up as fast as yo ucan add them (whenever reefs2go has a free shipping special I buy a bag of pods, primarily so I can get free shipping on other stuff too). Without a refugium odds are good that you wouldn't be able to really propegate the little buggers. As someone new to the saltwater world I would heavily not recommend the mandarin - if you read through some of the articles out there (and even the postings on this board), for every success story about one you'll see a bunch of posts about failures. Even on liveaquaria they're rated as "difficult" - primarily because of their passion for pods.

Just a suggestion, you can take it or leave it of course as you see fit

As for new additions, I would settle out your lighting, filtration, and powerhead situation before adding anything else. You need to keep in mind that the reason for cycling a tank is to build up beneficial bacteria: both in your tank, on your rocks, and in your filter. When you remove the filter, you are also removing all of that beneficial bacteria - which could theoretically cause your tank to cycle again (which I can more or less guarantee that, at the least, the goby and mandarin wouldn't survive).

Finally, as far as the alge goes, unfortunately that's a big part of starting a new tank...I think everyone here can confirm that you'll have at the very least a diatom outbreak and a green hair outbreak before the tank really gets cooking and looking good. It's frustrating, but be diligent with your water changes and you'll get through it.

Anyway, just some advice from someone who has made plenty of mistakes. Take a good long pause where you are, get your equipment sorted out, and then see where you've landed.
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cox82

Thanks Nu-Nu! How is Nu-Nu anyways? Have any recent pics? I was looking into eels after hearing about him. I might still go that way eventually, but I think I need a bigger tank. Is he a predator?
Lol i love nu-nu! My brother has some great pics of him... Maybe he will post a few! He has tons of personality, hes a great fish! Latly he has been kinda lazy just "sleeping" all day hes not a predator at all, but he doesnt like it when the tetras take his blood worms haha
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:31 PM   #10
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Oh goodness! What the heck are pods anyways? And how many do they need? How expensive are they? I mean, people said it was 'expensive' to buy frozen brine (with veggies and vitamins) but I think it's cheap, only 10/month!
Here's all you could want to know and then some about copepods
Copepod - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The short answer is that they're teeny tiny crustaceans that live in virtually every body of water out there. They're in our drinking water too, albeit on a microscopic level by the time the water comes out of our taps. As for expense...well...define expensive. If your local fish shop stocks them, it might not be so bad...if you have to mail order them, the shipping alone will drive you bonkers
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:37 PM   #11
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The one suggestion I would make is that you NOT completely disassemble your tank looking for a fish who may have died. Generally speaking, if the fish is to the point that it's unable to move, finding it won't allow you to help it.

You have a new tank, so thankfully you haven't had a pile up of pollutants, but you need to keep in mind that as your tank gets more "seasoned", pulled up all your rocks, disturbing all the substrate etc will both kick up detritus and any trapped 'trates or 'trites, and also cause stress on fish or inverts that may have found themselves a little home in your tank.

Generally speaking you can actually cause less damage to a tank by letting a deceased fish go its own way and letting the clean up crew do what they're designed to do - its an unfortunate part of the hobby, but it is what it is.

As for pods and the mandarin - most good LFS will sell pods in big bags and/or bottles...however pretty much all fish will gobble the little buggers up as fast as yo ucan add them (whenever reefs2go has a free shipping special I buy a bag of pods, primarily so I can get free shipping on other stuff too). Without a refugium odds are good that you wouldn't be able to really propegate the little buggers. As someone new to the saltwater world I would heavily not recommend the mandarin - if you read through some of the articles out there (and even the postings on this board), for every success story about one you'll see a bunch of posts about failures. Even on liveaquaria they're rated as "difficult" - primarily because of their passion for pods.

Just a suggestion, you can take it or leave it of course as you see fit

As for new additions, I would settle out your lighting, filtration, and powerhead situation before adding anything else. You need to keep in mind that the reason for cycling a tank is to build up beneficial bacteria: both in your tank, on your rocks, and in your filter. When you remove the filter, you are also removing all of that beneficial bacteria - which could theoretically cause your tank to cycle again (which I can more or less guarantee that, at the least, the goby and mandarin wouldn't survive).

Finally, as far as the alge goes, unfortunately that's a big part of starting a new tank...I think everyone here can confirm that you'll have at the very least a diatom outbreak and a green hair outbreak before the tank really gets cooking and looking good. It's frustrating, but be diligent with your water changes and you'll get through it.

Anyway, just some advice from someone who has made plenty of mistakes. Take a good long pause where you are, get your equipment sorted out, and then see where you've landed.
Thanks so much! That was very helpful. I am going to wait for more fish, although I do need to substantially add to my CUC. I promise to never go looking for another fish again! I didn't really think about the consequences. I will have to re-aquascape here soon though, so maybe I should do that ASAP. Buy the LR and cure it (btw, if I buy it from a trusted LFS only 10 mins from my home, do I have to cure it?) and then add it and scape. I only have to add about 18lbs, so it's not too bad.

I plan on being WAY more established by the time I get the mandarin, hopefully there will be a sump by that time. The lights, I'm going to leave as is, I'm not planning on going all out with my reef on this one, maybe a few years down the road I'll do a huge reef and get everything then. For now my 50/50 LEDS will be enough for some easy soft coral.

Is there a way of setting up a seperate tank just to harvest pods?
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:40 PM   #12
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Lol i love nu-nu! My brother has some great pics of him... Maybe he will post a few! He has tons of personality, hes a great fish! Latly he has been kinda lazy just "sleeping" all day hes not a predator at all, but he doesnt like it when the tetras take his blood worms haha
So he's fresh water then? I have to get the tank I have 100% established before adding anything else, but I may make plans for the future. I light fish with personality!
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:41 PM   #13
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Ugh...ok. So what's in the tank now, liverock but not as much as you want? The problem with adding liverock to an already established and cycled tank is that it can, once again, cause another cycle depending on what's on the rock. Would def. suggest curing it in another tank if that's an option.

As far as a separate tank for the pods, what you really want is a refugium - but you're talking about some more advanced aquarium keeping in that case. A refugium is, generally speaking, a little sub-tank that lets you keep some macro algae, micro-critters, and other stuff that will help keep your tank junk free and also let the microcritters grow without getting feasted on.

My suggestion, since you're kinda stuck at a halfway point, would be to add whatever rock you need to - slowly, a couple smallish pieces at a time. For the moment, I would definitely write off the idea of a mandarin. They're gorgeous, but regretfully very challenging and should only be kept in a VERY established aquarium with a refugium etc

Hope that helps!

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Originally Posted by Cox82 View Post
Thanks so much! That was very helpful. I am going to wait for more fish, although I do need to substantially add to my CUC. I promise to never go looking for another fish again! I didn't really think about the consequences. I will have to re-aquascape here soon though, so maybe I should do that ASAP. Buy the LR and cure it (btw, if I buy it from a trusted LFS only 10 mins from my home, do I have to cure it?) and then add it and scape. I only have to add about 18lbs, so it's not too bad.

I plan on being WAY more established by the time I get the mandarin, hopefully there will be a sump by that time. The lights, I'm going to leave as is, I'm not planning on going all out with my reef on this one, maybe a few years down the road I'll do a huge reef and get everything then. For now my 50/50 LEDS will be enough for some easy soft coral.

Is there a way of setting up a seperate tank just to harvest pods?
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:47 PM   #14
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Ugh...ok. So what's in the tank now, liverock but not as much as you want? The problem with adding liverock to an already established and cycled tank is that it can, once again, cause another cycle depending on what's on the rock. Would def. suggest curing it in another tank if that's an option.

As far as a separate tank for the pods, what you really want is a refugium - but you're talking about some more advanced aquarium keeping in that case. A refugium is, generally speaking, a little sub-tank that lets you keep some macro algae, micro-critters, and other stuff that will help keep your tank junk free and also let the microcritters grow without getting feasted on.

My suggestion, since you're kinda stuck at a halfway point, would be to add whatever rock you need to - slowly, a couple smallish pieces at a time. For the moment, I would definitely write off the idea of a mandarin. They're gorgeous, but regretfully very challenging and should only be kept in a VERY established aquarium with a refugium etc

Hope that helps!
Actually, curing it in another tank is an option! I wanted to cycle a hospital tank anyways, so why not do it in the smaller tank. Hmmm, let me see what I can do, I may just use your suggestion of adding the rock piece by piece over the next 3 or so months.

I want a fuge, and even have the plan laid out as to which one I want built. I just don't want to spend all of the extra money at the moment. I was hoping to hold off on that for a year or two, seeing how this tank goes and then going all out on a doozy of a tank.

Thanks again for your advice!
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:08 PM   #15
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Haha yes he is freshwater! I wish there was a small saltwater eel! I would totally get one for my 30!
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:23 AM   #16
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So I went home and checked on my goby, he's still doing fine. I fed last night and he was eating the brine directly out of the water as well as sifting for them. Here's to hoping he'll survive

I adore my Cleaner Shrimp! He's so gossipy! LOL He makes me laugh. Anything that goes on in the tank, he's gotta be right there checking it out. We call him chismosito (the little gossip).

I'm wondering if he'll get along with other shrimp though, I need to get more of a CUC this weekend and was hoping to get a peppermint or a blood red fire shrimp.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:39 PM   #17
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Glad your goby is eating, thats a great sign. You should try some other foods now like mysis shrimp which are more nutritious than brine.

Cleaner shrimp should get along with almost any other shrimp, the coral banded ones are the one that might cause a problem, they can be aggressive and nasty to other shrimp from what I have heard and read.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:41 PM   #18
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Glad your goby is eating, thats a great sign. You should try some other foods now like mysis shrimp which are more nutritious than brine.

Cleaner shrimp should get along with almost any other shrimp, the coral banded ones are the one that might cause a problem, they can be aggressive and nasty to other shrimp from what I have heard and read.
Thanks! Would that be just for the goby or for all the fish? The brine that I'm feeding is vitamin and veggie induced.

BTW, I just read that you can feed the gobies fish roe, have you ever done so?
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:43 PM   #19
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Which reminds me LOL, last night when I fed the shrimp was trying to chase and catch the WHOLE floating frozen cube lol...it was hilarious, we were all watching and laughing at him. He was climbing the tallest rock and trying soooo hard to get the whole cube, didn't care less for the pieces that were breaking off in the water....greedy little chismosito hahaha
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:45 PM   #20
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All your fish should enjoy the mysis. They even have baby mysis if the regular size is too big.

Never heard of feeding fish roe, might be worth a shot. Basically anything they like to eat is good lol
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