(30 Gallon) Starting First Saltwater Reef Tank, Need Some advice on what is going on with my tank.

jacobupnext

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Hello Reefers,

I'm new to this hobby and it is definitely pretty cool to see everyone's setup. Mine is pretty simple so far, here's some insight to my tank for context.

I have a 30 Gallon tank, RedSea RL50, Profin Hang on the back filter w/ Protein Skimmer, Nano Skimmer.

Starting out I mixed my own saltwater using a 3 stage RODI filter, and the specific gravity averages around 1.025.
The tank has 25LB of live sand and two live rocks, I added API quick start when the tank just starting cycling waited about a week then stocked with a breeding pair of ocellarius clownfish. Another week went by and then I stocked two Nsarius snails, a leather coral from Petco, and an emerald crab as I started having a brown algae bloom which I believe is from overfeeding.
Currently there is only a little bit left of the brown algae.
I've noticed a little black dot on my coral and am concerned if it is a worm or pest and if I should dip the coral to be cautious. I've taken a video at 10 minutes long and sped it up about 100x if you guys can tell if it is a pest or not, would be super helpful as I am panicking!

I've been using a free aquarium app to keep track of my levels as well as doing weekly 30% water changes to try to get my nitrates under control.
I've considered getting some macro algae to help with these excess nutrients, let me know if this is a good idea.

Any advice is super helpful, and I am new so please try to be constructive so I know what to do better.

Happy Reefing :)


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Koconnor15

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I have a few pointers I hope will help :)
You need more rock. 30g tank means 25-30 pounds of rock, ideally. Rock is super important as your bacteria colonies live there. Décor like the little house thing you have in there isn't really good for saltwater tanks. Saltwater breaks down entire ships so it will break that down and leach those chemicals into your water column.
Now the API quick start. It's absolute trash, from experience. Something along the lines of Microbacter7 or Dr. Tim's are absolute must haves. I keep Microbacter7 on hand as it helps if I start getting some excess nutrients causing some algae it's amazing at knocking it out. Using one of these 2 will help seed your bacterial colonies and get your tank cycled. Just follow directions on the bottle.
Water changes aren't going to help *that* much with your issue, not that you shouldn't continue to do them weekly since you have livestock. Your tank is cycling. Look up Nitrogen cycle. You can get some Seachem Prime to help your inhabitants. Luckily Clowns are very hardy fish and can withstand the toxic water conditions that come with the nitrogen cycle. During this we all go through the 'ugly stage' where we get the brown dusting on the rocks and sand. This is normal, leave it alone and as your bacterial colonies multiply they'll clear it up.
Your tank is nowhere near ready for coral. You picked a great starter coral, but you need to be at *least* 30 days past your cycle. You're still in cycle so definitely not ready yet. Down the road when you do add coral it's best to always always always dip them before they go into your tank. Even then I still put some in a QT tank to watch them for things dips miss, because they do miss things!
Macro algae is great but you don't need it yet since this isn't really a nutrient issue. Once you get cycled and add more coral you're going to want to keep nitrate around 10-20ppm to keep them happy. Having zero nitrate and phosphate is not a good thing! So you want to wait to add macro until your parameters are stable and you know what your nutrients actually are.
Also, I can't see anything in the video because of the blue light. You could either use white light more intense for video or picture purposes only or you can get some filters for your phone/camera on amazon for around $20.
 
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jacobupnext

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I have a few pointers I hope will help :)
You need more rock. 30g tank means 25-30 pounds of rock, ideally. Rock is super important as your bacteria colonies live there. Décor like the little house thing you have in there isn't really good for saltwater tanks. Saltwater breaks down entire ships so it will break that down and leach those chemicals into your water column.
Now the API quick start. It's absolute trash, from experience. Something along the lines of Microbacter7 or Dr. Tim's are absolute must haves. I keep Microbacter7 on hand as it helps if I start getting some excess nutrients causing some algae it's amazing at knocking it out. Using one of these 2 will help seed your bacterial colonies and get your tank cycled. Just follow directions on the bottle.
Water changes aren't going to help *that* much with your issue, not that you shouldn't continue to do them weekly since you have livestock. Your tank is cycling. Look up Nitrogen cycle. You can get some Seachem Prime to help your inhabitants. Luckily Clowns are very hardy fish and can withstand the toxic water conditions that come with the nitrogen cycle. During this we all go through the 'ugly stage' where we get the brown dusting on the rocks and sand. This is normal, leave it alone and as your bacterial colonies multiply they'll clear it up.
Your tank is nowhere near ready for coral. You picked a great starter coral, but you need to be at *least* 30 days past your cycle. You're still in cycle so definitely not ready yet. Down the road when you do add coral it's best to always always always dip them before they go into your tank. Even then I still put some in a QT tank to watch them for things dips miss, because they do miss things!
Macro algae is great but you don't need it yet since this isn't really a nutrient issue. Once you get cycled and add more coral you're going to want to keep nitrate around 10-20ppm to keep them happy. Having zero nitrate and phosphate is not a good thing! So you want to wait to add macro until your parameters are stable and you know what your nutrients actually are.
Also, I can't see anything in the video because of the blue light. You could either use white light more intense for video or picture purposes only or you can get some filters for your phone/camera on amazon for around $20.
Definitely super helpful advice. I went ahead and removed the house and will be stopping by my LFS for some more live rock. I've seen a lot of super good reviews for the Microbacter7 so am going to pick some up as well.

And since you said water changes won't help that much it seems I'm just wasting salt doing 30% changes. Should I just do a 30% bi-weekly?
 
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Koconnor15

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Definitely super helpful advice. I went ahead and removed the house and will be stopping by my LFS for some more live rock. I've seen a lot of super good reviews for the Microbacter7 so am going to pick some up as well.

And since you said water changes won't help that much it seems I'm just wasting salt doing 30% changes. Should I just do a 30% bi-weekly?
One thing I forgot- your test times are very erratic. Our water changes throughout the day so in order to get the absolute best idea of what your parameters are you need to pick a time of day and stick to it. It doesn’t matter what time as long as it’s the same each time. I test mine between 7-8pm every time. I also dose at the same times daily.

I think right now since you have livestock doing weekly 10% changes is going to be a must, and dose prime mid week along with daily microbacter7 if that’s what you get, until your cycle is complete and your bacteria colonies are able to keep the nutrients stable.

Dont freak out when you add that new rock and things look worse for a few weeks. It’s part of the ugly stage and over treating the natural process causes problems where there are none.

Hang in there. The beginning is the hardest part but it’s very rewarding down the road
 
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