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juke

Schooler
Joined
Jan 26, 2004
Messages
75
Location
Everett
Okay, so I am about 5 weeks into the cycle. My Nitrates are low, ammonia and nitrites are 0, alk = 10. I have been using Calxmax A&B twice a week to raise my Ca, it was 420mg/L yesterday, and also using Reef Buffer twice a week to improve the pH, it was 8.0 yesterday. I have a cleaning crew thriving and my zo's on a nice pice of live rock are very active as well as the feather worms that are popping up on various rocks. I have 2 96w PC retros, (1 10k/1 actinic), being shipped now. I don't have a skimmer yet and I have yet to plumb my 15g sump.

My question is what corals/inverts would be good for me to get started with? Which should I stay away from until I am more seasoned? Any other advice that you would give at this stage is welcome!

Mahalo,
Josh "juke"
 

ScottT1980

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2004
Messages
129
Location
Raleigh, NC
Good starter corals:
shrooms
zoanthids/button polyps
green star polyps/brown star polyps
perhaps even a leather (although I might wait a bit)

What to stay away from:
SPS

HTH

Edit: Just saw you don't have a skimmer. Personally, I still think the starter corals will work but I would get that skimmer ASAP (again, just my personal opinion).

Take er easy
Scott T.
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Great post, Scott! I agree - skimmers are so important, IMO. You may want to hold off on adding corals and other livestock until you get your skimmer. It will create a much happier environment in the long run. Also, hooking up your sump will provide a larger water volume, which will help keep your system stable. What types of snails do you have in your clean-up crew? Also, how many pounds of LR, and what type of substrate do you have (if any)? Scott has made some great recommendations.
 

juke

Schooler
Joined
Jan 26, 2004
Messages
75
Location
Everett
I have about 40# of LR and 40# of substrate, 20 crushed coral and 20 sugar fine. I am planning on getting more LR, in the near future and use some in my sump as well. I have been working to get a skimmer. That is my next purchase. I will definitely have one before I get any corals or other live stock.

thanks,
Josh
 

ScottT1980

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2004
Messages
129
Location
Raleigh, NC
Nikki got to the details, I skip over those, a Y chromosome thing for sure. BTW, how big is the tank? That might have some bearing on some of my reccomendations. Also, I would stay away from fish for another month or so. I tried to speed up the process of adding fish on my tank and it caused more heartache than I would have liked.

Also, you play the ukulele, very nice ;)

Take er easy
Scot tt.
 

juke

Schooler
Joined
Jan 26, 2004
Messages
75
Location
Everett
I have a 50g 36X15X20. I am not planning on going to fish or corals until after we take a brief Disneyland trip at the end of this month.

Yup! I am taking on a 2nd hobby with the reef. My true love is the 'ukulele! What could be better than sitting in a rocking chair playing a tune on my uke and watching life bloom in my tank.
 

juke

Schooler
Joined
Jan 26, 2004
Messages
75
Location
Everett
Nikki,

In answer to your question about what type of snails that I have. Right now I have 5 nerite and 5 astrae. I want to get about 5 nacissis (sp?) as well
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Juke, sounds like a good plan - working toward the skimmer. One bit of information I'll give you on the substrate combo you have....eventually you will start seeing the sand settle and more of the crushed coral on top. What you will need to remember is crushed coral has a greater propensity to accumulate detritus. Some people note issues with nitrates. I just wanted you to be aware of this. Nassarius snails are good for sand substrates. You might consider adding (when you can) a few others for variety....cerith, trochus, tiger trochus, and margarita.

And Scott....no problem with the Y chomosome....how could the world go around without it?...lol
 

Ray Pollett

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
196
Location
Blaine, WA
As for snails, Stay away from the margaritas. The are cool water snails and have a high likely hood of dieing in a tank kept at 78 or higher. Some may survive due to seer stubonus; but with so many other types why take the chance.

As to the Skimmer. More and more hobbyist are seting up tanks without skimmers. They find tanks set up with proper live sand and LR do just as well without them. Especially those keeping BTA from what I've heard. I have one set up for over two years that is doing very well and I have to remove the cloned BTAs from the tank.

Ray
 

B-Random

Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2004
Messages
23
Location
Spokane, WA
Also, in a newer tank, you wont have hardly any waste build up to be caught up in a skimmer. I have a 46 bow that has been set up for 6 weeks and I have Xenia (pom pom and elongata), Soft club finger, star polyps, zoanthid polyps and cabbage coral. I am running no skimmer, but I do have a good amount of macro algae, and these corals are doing just fine. Some people keep some of these heartier corals even under regular flourescence in nitrates in the range of 20-40. After a while you may want to get a skimmer, but for the mean time, I think you can deal with waste by adding macro algae to both your tank and sump.

-Brandon
 

CarlaW

Scarlet Begonias
Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Messages
7,670
Location
Columbia Falls, MT.
I am skimmerless in my 80, have been for about 2 years now. I am running an ecosystem (oops, said the E word:D ) sump,yes complete with MM and caulerpa, and 24/7 lighting.
Seems to be working, Nitrates seem to top out @ between 5-10.
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
For anyone that has or will be keeping macros, I suggest reading this thread - some good information:

Basic Refugium Maintenance

Macroalgaes are a great way to get rid of excess nutrients in a system, but it is important to note they can also be detrimental to a system if not properly cared for.

There are numbers of people that can make a skimmerless system work. IMO, skimmers remove far more DOCs (dissolved organic compounds) than Macroalgaes. If you want to go skimmerless, then try to pay attention to the quality of food and additives you introduce.
 

CarlaW

Scarlet Begonias
Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Messages
7,670
Location
Columbia Falls, MT.
Agreed!!!
I've just recently started using a homemade brew for food, and only use Kalk, baking and washing soda for topoff. Maybe a little iodine if i remember:razz: :D
 

Ray Pollett

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
196
Location
Blaine, WA
Charlie this is a question not a flame.

Why would you add something you can not measure accurately that can be deadly if too much is added ; Iodine?

Ray
 

Ray Pollett

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
196
Location
Blaine, WA
Nikki,

"There are numbers of people that can make a skimmerless system work. IMO, skimmers remove far more DOCs (dissolved organic compounds) than Macroalgaes. If you want to go skimmerless, then try to pay attention to the quality of food and additives you introduce."

One of the reasons people are going skimmerless is because they remove too much DOCs in their minds. My opinion here, most people would be surprised by the amount of DOCs some corals will use.

I use no additives on my tanks. Unless you are running high Calcium users like clams and stonies, there is little need if you do regular water changes in my opinion. With them a Calcium reactor of additives for calcium may be needed.

Quality of food is an issue that is hottly debated. What are good quality foods? What is the right amount? People may be surprised here at my opinion. I feed only flake and pellet foods, except for adding fresh seafood ( Shrimp, Squid, Scallops or Fish) once or twice aweek to fed the anemones, crabs, starfish and certain corals. My tanks are feed 3-4 times daily and in quanities almost everyone would say is excessive. The tank that stays the cleanist is a 125 gallon with two emperor 400 filters, a very old skimmer that does not work very often. They feed 3-4 teaspoons 3-4 times a day. It has two anemones ( started with one it cloned itself), Kenya tree coral, Bubble coral, 2 Leather coral, Botton polyps and assorted mushrooms. They had a great colt coral till they lost most of their lighting. It took them a while (12 weeks) to fix it. The Colt slowly died durring that time. I do a 10-15% water change every other week on their tank. I change the emperor media cartrides on ratation, about 1/2 of them; every 6 weeks.

Ray
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Charlie, supplementing with Iodine can be a tricky thing. Here are a couple of articles for you:

Iodine in Marine Aquaria Part 1

Iodine in Reef Tanks Part 2

Ray, I agree there are some corals that do prefer a "dirtier" system than others, however, without proper export of nutrients - the system is set up for happy nusiance algae growth. The introduction of phosphates through poor quality food is one way to fuel algae. In response to "good quality foods"....personally I feel there are better quality foods than others. Homemade mush, in which the ingredients are presoaked in RO/DI water for at least an hour to wash away excess phosphates, is a better choice than flake, IMO (and the food strained from the water). How do you perform nutrient export? Refugium with macros and/or DSB (not export, but sink)? How long has your system been running?
 

Ray Pollett

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
196
Location
Blaine, WA


Ray, I agree there are some corals that do prefer a "dirtier" system than others, however, without proper export of nutrients - the system is set up for happy nusiance algae growth. The introduction of phosphates through poor quality food is one way to fuel algae. In response to "good quality foods"....personally I feel there are better quality foods than others. Homemade mush, in which the ingredients are presoaked in RO/DI water for at least an hour to wash away excess phosphates, is a better choice than flake, IMO (and the food strained from the water). How do you perform nutrient export? Refugium with macros and/or DSB (not export, but sink)? How long has your system been running? [/B]


I do not use sumps and have no ref., But I agree with the idea of REf. I rarely have nusiance aglea growth. I do use DSB and have a number of tanks that are about 4 years old. I do know of some that are over 15 years and going strong. Dr Ron sometimes throws out half baked ideas in my opinion; and this is one of them IMO.

Quality foods is subjective. The end result is what counts. My tanks are mostly nusiance algea free. Of course you have to decide what is a nusiance algea first. I tell my clients to decide for them selves what they think looks good or bad. I have some who like the look of some Buble algea, so for them I let some grow and keep it from covering the tank. Remember some people love mushrooms, other consider them a pest. My fish spawn in a number of tanks, that would indicate good quality of food. Corals grow and anemones grow and multiply, that would indicate quality. My fish are fat (full bodied) and good color, that would indicate good quality. People lump all flake the same they are not. Do you know who Mike Reed is? He was the editor of TFH for years and has always had an interest in fish nutrition (SP?). He puts old high quality foods flake and frozen. Real nice person also.
I buy some of my food from him: www.mreed.com I buy from www.brineshrimpdirect.com also. Another maker of high quality foods. Just like people who can not survive for long term with out health problems on one type of food, fish need varity. I carry about 20 different foods and rotate my customers thru them. Maybe how easy it is to clean the tank once every week or every other week is an indication of food quality. I spend 35 to 90 minutes on 180 gallon tanks. That is cleaning the glass or arcylic front inside and outside, Changing filter media and cleaning the filter if needed, Refilling the autofeeders, Clean the protein skimmer if it has one, checking water pumps and other equipment, and doing a 10-25% water change.

Ray
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Gotta love debates!

I do know of some that are over 15 years and going strong
Wow, I only know of one tank that was up that long, Rob Toonen's. It is my understanding that this tank had a very low bioload, which in my mind is why the DSB lasted as long as it did.

Of course you have to decide what is a nusiance algea first. I tell my clients to decide for them selves what they think looks good or bad
True.

As for Mike Reed's food, I will check out the site you linked, as I am not familiar with his product. It sounds like it is probably a better choice for a flake food than many out there.

Just like people who can not survive for long term with out health problems on one type of food, fish need varity
I agree a variety is important, and homemade food will provide that variety with the proper mix. I look at what humans eat - for example, eating fresh vegetables and fruits is healthier than processed foods. The same would be true for fish - all the preservatives and additives to keep the food from decomposing would fuel algae growth once in the tank. My personal preference is to not have algae growing in my tank, but some may prefer the look (just as the aesthics of a DSB), and that's fine - no argument from me.
 
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