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Apocalypso View Drop Down
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    Posted: January 04 2011 at 12:17pm
Howdy!
My Name is Shane, and I don't have an addiction to Reef Tanks! (that I will admit)
I will be lurking, and trolling, as I just got turned onto this board by a coworker who used-to, as I learn more and plan my next large setup.

I currently have no up and running tanks. I have a 12 gallon micro-reef in the basement, that crashed when we moved last. It had been setup and stable from 1999 untill 2009, when we moved and it started to crash, I nursed it and babied it untill last spring, when my Royal Gramma disappeared (he was over 4 years, and 4 inches!) and Red slime and Aptasia took over. A 3 inch sandbed and excessive rock  (20# to start, added 12 more over 10 years) made it a very nice starter. The water changes and maintenance were never a issue for me, but salt creep is the bane of my existence. It would seem to get out of hand overnight, especially in the dry Utah winters. I have a nice 60gal/day RO system in my house, so water changes and topoffs are easy. I also learned that acrylic is no way to run a railroad when you have children. I dont know how or with what, but new scratches would turn up almost daily, some even on the inside from something getting caught in the tank cleaner magnets.

I have plans for a 180 or 200 all glass. 6 foot wide, by 24" deep, and 24-29 tall. Overflow, sump and refugeum are a must.
I would like AFOWLR, as I want the activity, beauty, and personality of a handful of triggers and lions.
The wife still wants reef, as she loves the breathtaking beauty of a colorful reefscape and the symbiosis of fish and corals.
You know shes going to win out, so I am stuck finding reef safe fish with high activity, unique beauty and personality =)

If you know anyone with a 180 or 200 all glass sitting in a basement or garage, PM me, I can move it for free! (Move it right to my basement untill I get a stand and hood that is!)

Not to start a pi$$ing match, but at the moment I am leaning towards a 2 inch sandbed, as deep sandbeds are not the latest thing anymore right? Any opinions on deep sand beds for reefs?

I am also leaning towards T5 over MH due to cost, energy consumption and heat production. I can tailor depth of light-loving corals, or avoid those that require strong MH lighting. Any other suggestions?

Thanks for providing the wealth of information already on these boards!
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Chris Scott View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chris Scott Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 1:43pm
Welcome! I think a lot of people on here (including me) still believe that deep sandbeds are beneficial. I'll let some others weigh in though.
55g Bowfront Corner Reef
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Mark Peterson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 4:23pm
Welcome Shane.
I wouldn't let myself get caught up in the latest fads. The latest things come and go. There are principles of reefkeeping that always remain. For example,
Do you want the tank to help feed itself? Do a sand bed.
Do you want a sandbed that allows more room for reefscaping, coral and fish? Use Oolitic sand.
Do you want to save money and at the same time do your part to help preserve the ocean? Use Utah Oolitic Sand, Utah Rock and buy locally grown coral and captive bred fish.

Stick with us and you will discover the Triggers and Lionfish that do just fine in a reef aquarium.
Reefkeeping Tips, & quick, easy setup tricks:
www.utahreefs.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9244
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Apocalypso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 6:34pm
"Butbutbut what if you actually have a critter that stirs up the sandbed down into the anaerobic part it may actually RELEASE NITROGEN INTO YOUR TANK!!!"
I had to stifle giggle this week at a person that told me that.
Personally I am a believer in deep sand beds, not so deep that its 50/50, but perhaps 1 inch anaerobic to 2 inches aerobic.

1> Going to do more research on how local oolitic sand can promise more room for reefscaping/coral/fish.
2> Going to find a source of local live rock and sand, and of course I love local cheap frag starters and captive breds over their much more expensive mail order counterparts!
3> Researching reef safe triggers and lions. Does it entail having a cleaning crew that fights back? I once saw a hermit crab that was the size of my fist... no triggers gonna pick on him!


Edited by Apocalypso - January 04 2011 at 6:37pm
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Mark Peterson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2011 at 12:34am
Were they thinking of SO2/Sulfur Dioxide/rotten egg gas? Don't be silly, that's just a paranoia and I'm one person out of only two hobbyists that I have ever heard of that had the experience where something died because of it and for me it was in my specially set up experimental freshwater tank that I was completely tearing down.

In time you will find that your best research is simply to ask the questions right here on this MB. Smile
Answers to your questions:
1. The smaller size of Oolitic sand offers more surface area for bacteria to grow, so less Oolitic sand is needed to do the same job as larger particle Aragonite sands.
2. Read the thread linked below labeled Reefkeeping Tips. I have Oolitic sand and LBTR here in Murray
3. Niger Triggers are reefsafe, next would be Crosshatch, possibly HumaHuma, others....many beautiful Dwarf Lionfish are available. I had a P. Antennata in my reef years ago. Also read the "How to/Tip" in the linked thread below and ask me more about "fish training". Yep, it works.Approve
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Apocalypso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 20 2011 at 8:43pm
Thanks all. I have read everything on the site and am constantly amazed at the knowledge. I find it hard to believe the state lets us just go fill buckets and tubs of sand for our personal use, without a... sand hunting license or something...

Starting a log, been logging it on my phone anyways.
Tank Established 05 Jan 2011

12 Jan 2011
SG 1.022
Temp 81
PH 7.8
Ammon. .25
Trite 0
Trate ~10
Added PH buffer on recipe to bring up to about 8.2, turned heater down

20 Jan 2011
SG 1.022
Temp 79
PH 8.3
Ammon 0
Trite 0
Trate 15
Added Macro/chaeto, will leave lights on 24/7 for a few days.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 20 2011 at 10:33pm
Shocked The tank was set up this month and you are already doing this
Originally posted by Apocalypso Apocalypso wrote:


Added PH buffer on recipe to bring up to about 8.2, turned heater down
Shocked If the LFS sold you that stuff they ought to be shot for not finding out that the tank is only a few weeks old.

After Temperature and Salinity, the next most important things to test are Alkalinity and Calcium. The stuff you used to increase pH has probably increased the Alkalinity too far. It is completely unnecessary and actually dangerous to add chemicals to increase pH. It should never be done.

The Alkalinity and Calcium of the water needs to be determined ASAP.


Edited by Mark Peterson - January 20 2011 at 10:40pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Apocalypso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2011 at 5:35am
Going to pick up a alkalinity and calcium test kit today, just havnt had the time to stop and shop for one.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adam Blundell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2011 at 10:16am
Nice to have you here!

Adam
ps- my vote, 3 inches of crushed coral
Next Meeting: REEF TOUR!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Apocalypso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 23 2011 at 1:22pm
I will move my log to the tank builds thread after this. Just wanted to follow up with Mark on the CA and ALK tests =)
First of all, a LFS only had alk and ca tests that were individually $40-50 each. Holy crap, I'm glad I didnt pay that. I remember browsing petco with my kids last weekend and saw a API "reefmaster" kit for $30, which is different than the saltwater master kit I allready had. Now that I have both of those, I'm testing SG, temp, PH, Ammonia, trites, trates, Phosphorus, Alkalinity, and calcium.
and without stalling further...

23 Jan 2011
SG: 1.022
temp: 83 (??!!??)
ph: 8.2
Amonia: trace -.25 (??!!??)
Trites: 0
Trates: 0-10
Phos: 2 - color was real light, but matched between 1 and 2
Alk: 11 drops = 11 degrees, or 196.9ppm (tested twice)
Ca: 440 ppm (tested twice)

I understand that optimally, phos should be zero, and sources of them are water source, and waste buildup. How dangerous are they, to who?
Going to check my water sources for phos. I get some from "the aquarium" on 90th south, and i get some from my own inhouse RO system.
Turning down heater again, monitoring closely.

Considering a small water change to drop the phos if it is an issue, but with an ammonia spike, dont want to interrupt a small mini-cycle.


Edited by Apocalypso - January 23 2011 at 1:24pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 23 2011 at 2:54pm
The heater needs to be unplugged right now.

Is there a glass cover or hood over this tankQuestion

Most likely the PO4 is not as high as the test kit shows.Take my word for it. It's probably nothing to worry about.
PO4 cannot come in the RO water in a high enough concentration to cause that kind of reading.
What kind of sand and rock did you useQuestion In your new tank PO4 can only come from that, but still it is nothing to worry about and rarely does it become an issue in the hobby.

The best thing you could do for that tank right now would be to add some macroalgae. That would be a better thing than a water change. It will reduce the pollution to almost zero in a day. A water change can only reduce the pollution by the percentage of the water change and doing anything more than a 10% water change is a waste.

Feel free to call and come visit to see my tanks, to discuss all of this and to take home some free LS, LR and macroalgae.Smile


Edited by Mark Peterson - January 23 2011 at 3:02pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Apocalypso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 23 2011 at 4:49pm
So, phos not an issue. Ill retest again in a few days and see what it looks like.

I removed biowheel and mechanical filter. Filled the channel where the filterpad was with about 1.5 pounds LR rubble. Put a small filterpad, just to temporarily catch particulates, in the well where the wheel was. Will pull it when the tank clears up / settles a bit. Now that I look at it, I can see where there were microtunicates and worms growing in the channel under the filterpads. When I think about it more, I may somehow plug the bottom of the biowheel well, and drill holes to make it more of an overflow-type, that could probably hold another half-pound of rubble.

Hopefully, I'll be able to stop by one night this week and have a look and a chat.  I could always use a little LS, Rubble, or macro, just to load up on diversity of the little stuff that makes a great tank. Ive got some macro in it, but of course could use some more. Perhaps some grape caluerpa or actual cheato, the stuff I have is the ribbon-type.

Made sure the heater was operating properly. All the way up, all the way down, adjusted to where it should be 3 degrees lower than this morning, and unplugged it. will try again when the temp comes down a bit.

Tank is partially covered. Its an old eclipse12 system. Ive modified the hood that used to contain the lights and be completly covered, and  removed the oem (completly insufficient) lights and custom cut it to hold a marineland LED set. So there is open ventilation of any heat that could build up, from the lights, but it is LED, and the set isnt warm to the touch.

Thanks for the help Mark!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Apocalypso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 23 2011 at 4:55pm
And for the record it is a new tank, but not really. It had been setup as a saltwater FOWLR before. But for the past year or so, had been sitting in a cold dark basement with just enough water to cover the sand and half of the rock.

One last  about the whole thing in general: It seems to have alot of.. silt? Very very fine dust settling on the rocks and sand. Thats the main reason I started running the OEM filterpads again, was to clear that up. Should this be "vaccumed" off or filtered out? The water is crystal clear when Im not in there mucking around, or when the fish isnt digging hisself a deeper den.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 23 2011 at 10:34pm
A vacuuming during the next water changes is a good idea. Now that you have described the set up, I'd say there is a chance that PO4 needs to be reduced. That's where algae comes in. Algae is misunderstood. It should be used a lot more than it is. When algae is used properly, there is less need for water changes. It would be better to place Chaetomorpha in that chamber than LR rubble.

And just for the record, Many of us do not use heaters, especially in small tanks because when a heater goes bad, it can cook a small tank in an instant. Reefs do very well at room temperature. I'll be happy to show you mine.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Apocalypso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 24 2011 at 5:23am
looks like the heater was fine, it was my thermometer.
new thermometer says 79.3
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