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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

Just stumbled upon this website while googling aquarium info. - looks like a really good resource for aquarium owners. Never owned a tank before, but have wanted to for a long time. I purchased a 45 gallon IFS reef tank 4 weeks ago and have just finished cycling my tank (have to do a water test, but just did a water change last night.

30 lbs of live rock
algea eaters- 20 snails, 20 hermit crabs, 2 emerald crabs, and 6 other shell crabs (like hermits but a little bigger - I forget the name).
Skimmer
White light/blue light

The water quality is good (as of last water test), but just seems a little dusty (lots of particles floating around and a little collecting at the top of the water near the water return.) The water change yesterday helped a little and I assume it will keep getting better. I also adjusted the skimmer as it was filling up every day or so and I was told it should be thicker liquid and fill slower.

Assuming my next water test (this weekend i hope) is fine, I'm ready to get coral/anemoneas and probably a clown fish (i have been told they are a good fish to start with too make sure water is ok).

Any reccommendations as to how to proceed with stocking my tank past the algea eaters? Any ideas about the particles floating in the water-maybe I am just obsessing, it's not too bad, but the tanks in the store seem to have less particles floating about. The store suggested that perhaps I need another blower in the tank? I know this post is all over the place, but this whole process is a little intimidating and you guys seem like you know your stuff.
 

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When you say algae eaters can you describe that better? There is only about 7 thousand species of reef fish who are herbivore.

In my opinion you are off to a good start, look into getting your hands on a little more live rock if you can it helps with filtering. Also be careful throwing anemones and coral in early. You these species need a good standing tank to be raised successfully....then again what do I know, i cant keep any anemone longer then 3 months.

What kind of lights do you have exactly? Coral and Anemones require very specific light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info-

I have to get specific detials re the lights from the store that installed the tank, but there are 4 total. Two white and two black/purple. They were setup specifically for a reef tank, so they should be good.

I am taking a water sample tomorrow, so I will keep you posted on how that goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh, and by algea eaters - I meant the 20 snails, 20 hermit crabs, 2 crabs, and 6 larger hermit crabs (not actually hermit crabs but I forget the name).

How often should I replace these? I have noticed one snail shell is empty and a couple hermit crab shells empty.
 

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Well, theoretically these guys should live for a while. If a bunch of them have died I'd be a bit suspect of the water quality. You'll need to provide the hermits with spare shells so they can move into a new house when they grow
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, I am going to pick up some spare shells tomorrow for the hermits.

I think only one snail and one hermit crab (at very most two) have died. I will do a water test tomorrow, but my first water test was fine.

I'll let you know how the water test goes tomorrow.
 

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Definitely let us know. Post the actual number values; we like numbers here =) It makes talking about water quality much easier
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey - ok...so I got my water tested (don't be mad - but I didn't get actual numbers) I will purchase my own test kit soon and give you details, but for now, this specialty aquarium store will test my water for free anytime.

They said the water was perfect, just a little low on alkalinity and calcium, so I have increased the dosage of formula to 15 ml and 20 ml of each (was doing 10 of each for 45 gallon).

I have some new purchases:
-Feather Duster: crazy worm creature with basically a feather duster on one end.
-2 Cleaner shrimp
-1 Midas Blenny

Coral:
sarcophyton
cladiella
Briareum
zoanthid

Everything seems to be doing real well...the cladiella opened up real nice the same day I acclimated it to the tank and has since closed up a little, but I have been told that it is perfectly normal and should open back up in a few days. Things seem to be going well, and in a few weeks I should be able to get more coral and a few more fish. Any suggestions at this point?
 

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You are moving too fast and setting youself up for failure and disappointment.
Slow down........
Add things slowly, like one at a time with weeks between purchases and additions.

You are now adding corals like leathers, are you running carbon to combat the chemical warfare that will soon be happening between the various corals?

Do not add an anemone until the tank is at least 6 months to a year old.

The Midas Blenny can be territorial and agressive so choose your next fish carefully.

You need to get some test kits ASAP and do your own testing and record the results. You are adding supplements already which can be a bad thing and throw your system out of balance. Unless you personally have a test kit for every ingredient in any supplement, and most importantly use it on a regular basis, do not add that supplement, trace element or additive to your system period! LFS like to push supplements and additives, they are a profit item for them. Everything you need at this point is in a good salt mix, do regular small wate rchanges and forget the additives until you start testing and know for sure that particular element is first depeleted and second even necessary. They will sell you things like iodine, trace elements, essential elements, strontium, pH buffers etc. which really are not needed.

Monitor the various reef forums, ask a lot of questions, do a lot of research, buy some books like Fenners The Concientious Marine Aquarist, its old but still very good. Research up and down before purchasing anything to eliminate having to go back and buy the right thing the second time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the feedback...I have a contact at the store that I trust a lot, but maybe you are right. I will definitely slow down, but I was assured that the corals I put in the tank were fine to start with. I specicially chose those corals because they are supossed to be ok for tanks not very mature. It's been about 6 weeks total now.
As far as the supplements, the only thing I am adding right now is the calcium and alkalinity solution, as I was told that the coral need these.
Thanks for the book rec, I think I will definitely do some more readng and it looks like a good choice.
 

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Calcium and alkalinity are important for LPS or SPS stony corals, not so much for soft corals like you have. I cannot imagine you need to supplement anything if you are using a good salt mix and do a weekly 10-20% water change.
The inhabitants in this picture have been set up for 20+ years and nothing has ever been supplemented or added, in fact I am lazy about water changes too. Softies are not demanding. The sebae anemone in the middle is 20 years old, I purchased it from a LFS in 1990 that is long gone but the anemone is thriving.




About 18 months ago I had to transfer everything into a 16G bowfront when my tank decided to crack in the middle of the night. This pic is right after the transfer, I need to get one of it today, the zoanthids and palys have covered everything and the anemone is still right in the middle happy as a clam.



Get the test kits, use a good salt mix you make up yourself using RO/DI or distilled water and a good refractometer or hydrometer, and use the test kits to determine if you have a demand. Never ever depend on someone else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
THanks for the info/advice. I will keep you posted. I will continue to go real slow (slower than my last purchase).

Do you recommend cutting out the supplements completely? I did a water change at week 4, and was planning on doing one week 8 ? Should I do a small change before that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Any rec for a good refractometer or hydrometer? Right now I'm just using the type with a plastic needle...the salinity has been very stable thus far.

-Scott
 

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I pretty much do 10-20% every other week. Some suggest weekly but that is more work and time than I want to invest.

I would discontinue supplementing at this point, you have little or no demand for the supplements so they are accumulating at this point. Until you can start a testing program and establish a baseline and demand its not wise to supplement.

Get the test kits, do a couple water changes then boost your levels to the recommended level and start testing every day or every other day to see if there is a measurable demand. That establishes how much you need to add if any. Without the recommended baseline and testing for demand you have no idea how much to add if any and can be catastrophic when levels get out of balance.

If I can't test for it, I don't add it, it's that simple.

Eventually you will want a refractometer, they are more reliable than a hydrometer but yours will do for now. Take it to the LFS and have them compare it to their refractometer or floating hydrometer to check its accuracy. If its off, mark the error or correction factor on the side with a Sharpie so you know the true salinity. Salinity will only vary due to evaporation, salt creep or skimming wet, other wise its pretty steady.
 

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All really good advice from AZDesertRat. I completely agree that you shouldn't need to be supplementing other than the cal/alk buffer system. Regular water changes will give you everything you need. I do 20-25% weekly water changes, but that's mainly because I have a pretty high bioload in my tank (plenty of fish) and have several non-photosynthetic coral that require daily feeding. This sort of thing fouls up the water quicker, so I change water every week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks Ladyonyx - I'm just doing the calcium/alkalinity buffer right now, and will hold off on anything else. I really appreciate all the advice, I will keep updating you as I progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks again for all the helpful info...just wanted to give a quick update on the aquarium.

I got some more live rock, added a few corals, and got 2 LED stunner strips. I also added a borbonius anthias which seems to be doing quite well.

I am cotemplating getting an anemone in a week or so. I was told the tank needs to be mature for anemones, I am going on about 9 weeks right now -think I should hold off? Alos, my LFS told me that if I ever was planning on getting a clown fish, to hold off until I get the anemone first, as the clown fish will have a much better chance pairing with the anemone if the anemone is in the tank prior to the clown fish arrival.

Any thoughts on this?

Current stock: Fish: Midas blennie, Brobon Anthias
Sacrophyton
Claudiella
Biriam
Zooanthid
Green striped mushroom
cynarina pink
neon green trumpet
green clove
 

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Wait 6 months minimum for an anemone. Being through its initial cycle is in no way mature, it is still adjusting to the bioload and will do so every time something is added or changed. You need a very stable system to be successful with most anemones, I have kept that Sebae anemone for over20 years now and it has seen very little change over those 20 years. The current pair of clowns that host it are like 11 and 7 years old and i have had them since they were very small.
 
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