Advice as I move to the next phase of my tank (adding SPS)

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beesnreefs

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tl;dr: If nutrients (nitrates, phosphates, alkalinity) are stable in a "good" range without a fuge and/or skimmer, OK to continue on this way while adding SPS or is a skimmer/fuge a necessity?

Full story: My 65 gallon JBJ AIO is coming up on a year old. I've got plenty of healthy LPS and a handful of happy fish in there. Over at least the past two months nutrients have remained stable, consistently testing as:
  • Alk: 7.7 - 8.0
  • Calcium: 480 - 500
  • Magnesium: 1250 - 1300
  • Nitrates: 5 - 10
  • Phosphates: 0.02 - 0.03
I have never run a skimmer on this tank. I do have a Santa Monica Drop 1.4x algae scrubber but it really grows very little algae.

Tank was started with Aquaforest dry rock and sand and seeded with a variety of beneficial nitrifying bacteria products. A few months in I also ordered a package from IPSF including Live Sand Activator and Wondermud.

I've also heavily seeded the tank with Algaebarn pods and amphipods from IPSF in addition to a variety of snails, spaghetti worms, and bristle worms.

Fish are fed twice daily a mix of frozen food such as LRS Fish Frenzy, mini mysis, and R.O.E. fish eggs all mixed in Aquaforest fish vitamins.

Corals are spot-fed with pumps off 2-3 times a week with a combination of Benepets Benereef mixed with Brightwell Aminos.

For maintenance, I change 10% of the water once a week and add a capful of Microbacter7 every Saturday and a capful of Ecobalance every Sunday.

I've followed this feeding and maintenance schedule religiously for almost the entire time the tank has been up.

It is lit by a Kessil AP9X and one ReefDelight Nico Bar (the UV Pop, 24 inch). PAR at the center sand tests out around 70-100, corners in the sand at 50-75, mid-rocks 150-200, top of rocks in the 300-350 range.

I have a Focustronic Alkatronic and Dosetronic I'll be setting up in the next couple of weeks as I prepare to add some SPS to the top of my rock work.

My question is this - am I crazy for not running a skimmer and/or fuge when I add SPS? Given my nutrient stability (even with my bioload and feeding schedule) I kind of thought I'd just not add the skimmer.

A thought I had is this - the AIO chambers are open top and the Kessil does put some light into them.....maybe I just order some clean chaeto from Algaebarn and toss it one of the chambers?

Anyway, curious on people's thoughts....am I OK to move forward with this minimal active export setup? Or should I really add the skimmer for the SPS?

Here's a pic of my tank (circled spots are where I'm looking to put some SPS in the next few weeks/months). Please don't mind the aiptasia....I've recently added some berghia nuibranchs and am getting a few more from Reeftown soon.

IMG-3497 (1).jpg
 
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mdb_talon

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No i dont think you are crazy. I am someone who always runs a skimmer, but if current setup is working and nutrients in check go with it. In any case i would start with a couple frags on the cheaper side, but would say that about adding sps to tank for first time in any case.
 

Billldg

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No, you are no crazy for not running a skimmer. We run a skimmer to help lower nutrients, in which you don't need to. As above said, I would start out with some tester frags, aka cheap frags to see how they react. If they keep their color and start to grow then your tank is ready for SPS and congrats!!! IMO, I would bump up the Alk to 8.7 and lower the Cal to 450. I would also raise the Mag to around 1400. These are just my opinions, for SPS. I just feel it would give you a little more room as the SPS start to consume the elements. :)
 
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Dkmoo

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As someone who have added SPS to my mixed reef about 3 months ago to a 4 year tank, the biggest takeaway for me is - lighting lighting and more lighting.

To a degree, it also depends on what sps you want to add - montis, stylos, birdsnests will be a lot easier and has a higher chance to be fine with your current lighting. Acros are a whole other story.

Before SPS, my 29G is on 2 AI primes. My top sections is between 200 - 250 PAR. The montis/stylo did fine and flourished, but the acros struggled - they grew, but turned brown and lost a lot of color. When I asked the LFS what par they keep their acro, I realized how inadequate my lighting was - the Acros were growing in a 500PAR dt in the LFS.

Since I still have LPS that can't take on too much light, I realized my corals' light needs has at least 400PAR range. If i just add more light,, i risk burning the LPS, if i don't i have VERY limited places to put SPS that need those extremely high PARS. So I had to basically redesign my tank's light map to make sure there are good spots for all the corals. 1 extra AI Prime and 2 more reefbrite strips later, was finally able to get what I needed. The 2 strips provide even spread base spectrum for the whole tank at about 75 par bottom and 200 par top. The one AI Prime dialed down to add pop color on half the tank so that half has 100 - 250 where most of my LPS stays. The other half has two primes angeled and pointed to it, plus the 2 strips, provides 300 - 500 PAR where most of my acros are

Its only after this that my brown sticks started to return color.
 

N3mo

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I would say add some tester sps pieces. Montipora and birdsnest are 2 easy ones.

If you can keep these alive, you can move on to other sps pieces.

Apart from nutrients being in check, also make sure that there is no drastic swings with alk as that will cause some die off. Use the tester frags to get this rhythm in tune and then use it with other sps..
 
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beesnreefs

beesnreefs

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Thanks all for the great advice so far. Much appreciated!

Was going to start with a piece of Digitata first to see how it goes. Nice thing about the Alkatronic is it will test the alkalinity every few hours (multiple times a day) and micro-dose alkalinity to keep it stable.

With the Dosetronic I can tie them together and have it add calcium and magnesium as well, when I want. In theory it should keep things ultra stable, even as the sticks grow
 

chrisgold

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tl;dr: If nutrients (nitrates, phosphates, alkalinity) are stable in a "good" range without a fuge and/or skimmer, OK to continue on this way while adding SPS or is a skimmer/fuge a necessity?

Full story: My 65 gallon JBJ AIO is coming up on a year old. I've got plenty of healthy LPS and a handful of happy fish in there. Over at least the past two months nutrients have remained stable, consistently testing as:
  • Alk: 7.7 - 8.0
  • Calcium: 480 - 500
  • Magnesium: 1250 - 1300
  • Nitrates: 5 - 10
  • Phosphates: 0.02 - 0.03
I have never run a skimmer on this tank. I do have a Santa Monica Drop 1.4x algae scrubber but it really grows very little algae.

Tank was started with Aquaforest dry rock and sand and seeded with a variety of beneficial nitrifying bacteria products. A few months in I also ordered a package from IPSF including Live Sand Activator and Wondermud.

I've also heavily seeded the tank with Algaebarn pods and amphipods from IPSF in addition to a variety of snails, spaghetti worms, and bristle worms.

Fish are fed twice daily a mix of frozen food such as LRS Fish Frenzy, mini mysis, and R.O.E. fish eggs all mixed in Aquaforest fish vitamins.

Corals are spot-fed with pumps off 2-3 times a week with a combination of Benepets Benereef mixed with Brightwell Aminos.

For maintenance, I change 10% of the water once a week and add a capful of Microbacter7 every Saturday and a capful of Ecobalance every Sunday.

I've followed this feeding and maintenance schedule religiously for almost the entire time the tank has been up.

It is lit by a Kessil AP9X and one ReefDelight Nico Bar (the UV Pop, 24 inch). PAR at the center sand tests out around 70-100, corners in the sand at 50-75, mid-rocks 150-200, top of rocks in the 300-350 range.

I have a Focustronic Alkatronic and Dosetronic I'll be setting up in the next couple of weeks as I prepare to add some SPS to the top of my rock work.

My question is this - am I crazy for not running a skimmer and/or fuge when I add SPS? Given my nutrient stability (even with my bioload and feeding schedule) I kind of thought I'd just not add the skimmer.

A thought I had is this - the AIO chambers are open top and the Kessil does put some light into them.....maybe I just order some clean chaeto from Algaebarn and toss it one of the chambers?

Anyway, curious on people's thoughts....am I OK to move forward with this minimal active export setup? Or should I really add the skimmer for the SPS?

Here's a pic of my tank (circled spots are where I'm looking to put some SPS in the next few weeks/months). Please don't mind the aiptasia....I've recently added some berghia nuibranchs and am getting a few more from Reeftown soon.

IMG-3497 (1).jpg
Isnt your calcium to high or is that just a myth?
 
Zoanthids

chrisgold

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I don’t know. But it’s been stable around there for months and everything seems to be doing well.

Open to advice on that, though. I’m no expert
Yeah same mate a was looking for advice also as i could do with running my alk higher but if i do it puts my cal past 450ppm Everything seems fine aswell just seems to say everywhere 400-450
 

HB AL

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Just add a few different types of inexpensive sps corals and see how they all do. I would start with a few different types of acro frags, monti digitata, and encrusting montis and see how they all do. If everything does great slowly add more types of sps you like.
 
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