carlykush

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I recently started my first reef tank. We went with a 75 gallon tank and went with the Fluval Fx6 canister filter. We currently have 7 clownfish and about 30 pounds of live rock, as well as 70 pounds of sand. I am completely new to the reef world and am starting from the advice of my local fish store. We have well water so we are unable to mix and make our own salt water and purchased ours directly from the store. After our first couple of initial visits I felt as if they were really helpful just to come home and be left with many questions. These are the following things I need guidance on.
1: My tank began to have a light brown layer of algae on my live rock and also on the top of my sand. What is this, is it okay, how do I fix it, and what caused this?
2: I don't know anything about first time water changes. When do I do this? How often, and how much do I change?
3: Is there any type of chemicals I should be treating my tank with?
4: Cleaning my filter, when do I do this? How often do I do this? And how do I do this since we have well water?

I truly felt confident walking out of the store and felt as if I had all my questions answered and now feel completely unprepared and want to make sure I'm doing everything right prior to adding more fish. Please, no judgement. I'm simply looking for any and all help possible!
 

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I recently started my first reef tank. We went with a 75 gallon tank and went with the Fluval Fx6 canister filter. We currently have 7 clownfish and about 30 pounds of live rock, as well as 70 pounds of sand. I am completely new to the reef world and am starting from the advice of my local fish store. We have well water so we are unable to mix and make our own salt water and purchased ours directly from the store. After our first couple of initial visits I felt as if they were really helpful just to come home and be left with many questions. These are the following things I need guidance on.
1: My tank began to have a light brown layer of algae on my live rock and also on the top of my sand. What is this, is it okay, how do I fix it, and what caused this?
2: I don't know anything about first time water changes. When do I do this? How often, and how much do I change?
3: Is there any type of chemicals I should be treating my tank with?
4: Cleaning my filter, when do I do this? How often do I do this? And how do I do this since we have well water?

I truly felt confident walking out of the store and felt as if I had all my questions answered and now feel completely unprepared and want to make sure I'm doing everything right prior to adding more fish. Please, no judgement. I'm simply looking for any and all help possible!
For #1 increase flow in the tank

#2 20% bi weekly or 10% weekly is good

#3 I wouldn't add any chemicals

#4 if you're gonna stick with a canister filter id open it up weekly. I would get a HOB if you can. Much easier to clean.


Having an RODI System will save you a lot of money in the long run
 

RocketEngineer

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A) I have well water and make my own RODI and salt water. I use a booster pump setup, works amazing.

1) Dinos, a normal first part of the new tank biome forming. We call it the ugly phases and all new tanks have it. Just keep on top of water changes and you’re good.

2) lots of advice out there from 10% per week to 30% each month. Early on, weekly is better as it keeps spikes in check.

3) Those come later, especially with corals. Also, I tend to dose only what I measure for.

4) When you do a water change, use the old tank water to squeeze/rinse the sponge. That way you know the water is good and all the gunk in the sponge leaves with the old water.
 
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CMMorgan

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@carlykush BREATHE.
Sounds like you've got a case of the uglies. This too shall pass.
I started my first reef tank with a canister and a glass bow front tank. Honestly, that canister was great. The garbage protein skimmer that I bought from my LFS literally sucked. It was loud, messy and it was one of the things that pushed me to think I needed to upgrade to a "real" reef tank with a sump, etc.
My advice is to slow down and enjoy the ride. You are rushing a bit. Three weeks in feels a little early to have seven fish. Hopefully you or the LFS tested the water to make sure you had completed the cycle. In either case, yes to a water change.
Invest in a few things ... an ATO, test kits that you can read accurately and a quality RODI (if you cannot get adequate pressure, add a booster). This will keep you from going out and buying water. (I did that, too. It gets old.) Once you can do that, it will be painless to do a 10% water change weekly or 20% bi-weekly. Easy button, do 1.5 - 2 5 gallon buckets once a week, while you clean that canister. The canister will do a great job polishing the water and allow you to use lots of variations of media but it will also hold nitrates and ammonia if you do not stay on it. Be diligent and you will have a healthier tank. A little tip... the first time, take your siphon hose and drain it into an empty 1 gallon container. Time how long it takes to fill it up. For me, it is 1 minute and 50 seconds. So, I can do basic math and set a timer to remove as much water as I have mixed to replace it by water change. (In your case, calculate how much volume is in the canister filter also.) This way, you don't remove more than you have on hand to refill.
I agree with @RWhitt907 ... make sure that you have adequate flow. As that canister gets clogged, you will loose pressure on the returns, so having a good wave maker will be very important. When you do that first water change, attach a toothbrush to the end of a hose to dust some of the brown off of the rock and into the siphon hose.
Stay on top of your testing, look for spikes and swings.
Once again .... BREATHE. Nothing good happens fast in reefing. Enjoy the process. Congrats on the new tank.
 

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A very large part of the hobby is research and reading, its a difficult and expensive hobby and any mistake will cost money.

You have half the rock you need, should be closer to a pound per gallon, so you should have closer to 70 lbs of rock. Rocks are the biofilter of the tank, and they also provide hiding spots for fish, and breeding space for micro organisms.

Should be only 2 clowns per tank, they will usually kill off others until only 2 remain.,. Please research every fish before you buy it, compatibility is very important.

Your question makes me assume you have no test kits, test kits are vital in this hobby. Not the cheap API test kits but good quality kits.

7 fish in 3 weeks tells me you likely did not cycle the tank. Did you track the cycle? Is there any ammonia in the water? Again, testing water is very important

Please take pics of the tank and brown algae so we can see, but likely is diatoms.

Water change should be done weekly or bi-weekly on new tanks. Canister filter should be cleaned weekly. As you see it will not be efficient to buy water from the store cause we change the water so often, so better to get your own rodi unit and mix your own salt water.

Please don't put any chemicals into your tank until you research everything very carefully.

Please use the internet and google, it will save lots of fish lives and save you dollars.

research research research, thats the key to success in the hobby.
 
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carlykush

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@carlykush BREATHE.
Sounds like you've got a case of the uglies. This too shall pass.
I started my first reef tank with a canister and a glass bow front tank. Honestly, that canister was great. The garbage protein skimmer that I bought from my LFS literally sucked. It was loud, messy and it was one of the things that pushed me to think I needed to upgrade to a "real" reef tank with a sump, etc.
My advice is to slow down and enjoy the ride. You are rushing a bit. Three weeks in feels a little early to have seven fish. Hopefully you or the LFS tested the water to make sure you had completed the cycle. In either case, yes to a water change.
Invest in a few things ... an ATO, test kits that you can read accurately and a quality RODI (if you cannot get adequate pressure, add a booster). This will keep you from going out and buying water. (I did that, too. It gets old.) Once you can do that, it will be painless to do a 10% water change weekly or 20% bi-weekly. Easy button, do 1.5 - 2 5 gallon buckets once a week, while you clean that canister. The canister will do a great job polishing the water and allow you to use lots of variations of media but it will also hold nitrates and ammonia if you do not stay on it. Be diligent and you will have a healthier tank. A little tip... the first time, take your siphon hose and drain it into an empty 1 gallon container. Time how long it takes to fill it up. For me, it is 1 minute and 50 seconds. So, I can do basic math and set a timer to remove as much water as I have mixed to replace it by water change. (In your case, calculate how much volume is in the canister filter also.) This way, you don't remove more than you have on hand to refill.
I agree with @RWhitt907 ... make sure that you have adequate flow. As that canister gets clogged, you will loose pressure on the returns, so having a good wave maker will be very important. When you do that first water change, attach a toothbrush to the end of a hose to dust some of the brown off of the rock and into the siphon hose.
Stay on top of your testing, look for spikes and swings.
Once again .... BREATHE. Nothing good happens fast in reefing. Enjoy the process. Congrats on the new tank.
Regarding testing the water levels, we purchased the same water all of the clownfish were housed in and let that cycle for 3 days prior to bringing them home. They are all captive bred actually in house of the fish store we are using! Thank you for the awesome advice. Is there a testing kit you recommend to test levels at home? And also what are your recommendations on cleaning the hosing and making sure the flow is correct? Also to add, I do have two wave makers on each side of the tank. My shipment was delayed and so I was without them for about 5 days? The algae started after I had them installed if that makes a difference.
 
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carlykush

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A very large part of the hobby is research and reading, its a difficult and expensive hobby and any mistake will cost money.

You have half the rock you need, should be closer to a pound per gallon, so you should have closer to 70 lbs of rock. Rocks are the biofilter of the tank, and they also provide hiding spots for fish, and breeding space for micro organisms.

Should be only 2 clowns per tank, they will usually kill off others until only 2 remain.,. Please research every fish before you buy it, compatibility is very important.

Your question makes me assume you have no test kits, test kits are vital in this hobby. Not the cheap API test kits but good quality kits.

7 fish in 3 weeks tells me you likely did not cycle the tank. Did you track the cycle? Is there any ammonia in the water? Again, testing water is very important

Please take pics of the tank and brown algae so we can see, but likely is diatoms.

Water change should be done weekly or bi-weekly on new tanks. Canister filter should be cleaned weekly. As you see it will not be efficient to buy water from the store cause we change the water so often, so better to get your own rodi unit and mix your own salt water.

Please don't put any chemicals into your tank until you research everything very carefully.

Please use the internet and google, it will save lots of fish lives and save you dollars.

research research research, thats the key to success in the hobby.
Do you have suggestions on RODI systems? Our water at home is insanely hard. We do not drink the water and have never been able to. We also do not treat our water with anything but salt softener. Regarding the levels, we did purchase the exact same water our fish were housed in as the fish shop we use breeds all their clownfish in house. We allowed it to cycle for 3 days prior to bringing them home as their instructions permitted. I'm beginning to feel as if I was a little mislead there. They told me that the clownfish would help me to cycle my tank and create beneficial bacteria in order to house other fish. I will attach photos once I get home!
 
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carlykush

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The question is why have you got 7 clown fish?? Don't think that is going to end very well tbh. Did the lfs recommended you to get them ? If so take 5 back and keep a pair . And then change lfs!!!
Their recommendation was either 2, 5, or 7. Said they were hardy and would be good for starting beneficial bacteria in the tank. We used the same water that all the clownfish were housed in as they were bred in house.
 

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Do you have suggestions on RODI systems? Our water at home is insanely hard. We do not drink the water and have never been able to. We also do not treat our water with anything but salt softener. Regarding the levels, we did purchase the exact same water our fish were housed in as the fish shop we use breeds all their clownfish in house. We allowed it to cycle for 3 days prior to bringing them home as their instructions permitted. I'm beginning to feel as if I was a little mislead there. They told me that the clownfish would help me to cycle my tank and create beneficial bacteria in order to house other fish. I will attach photos once I get home!
Bulk reef supply get a 5 stage or 7 stage and a booster pump. I am also on well water 14dkh and like 12ph so its very hard as well. I got the 7 stage. I burn through di resin as my silicates are high but it works much better then buying water.

Did you use live rock that was at lfs in water or dry rock?

As for getting the same water the fish are living in thats fine for base parameters but you still need to test. The water wont stay the same which is why you need to test.

Are you planning on corals?

7 clowns is insane. I have heard of people trying a harem but it rarely works out. Clowns are very aggressive. I think the lfs did you a disservice telling you that.
 
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carlykush

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Bulk reef supply get a 5 stage or 7 stage and a booster pump. I am also on well water 14dkh and like 12ph so its very hard as well. I got the 7 stage. I burn through di resin as my silicates are high but it works much better then buying water.

Did you use live rock that was at lfs in water or dry rock?

As for getting the same water the fish are living in thats fine for base parameters but you still need to test. The water wont stay the same which is why you need to test.

Are you planning on corals?

7 clowns is insane. I have heard of people trying a harem but it rarely works out. Clowns are very aggressive. I think the lfs did you a disservice telling you that.
It was dry rock. I bought 40 lbs and put about 30 lbs in. They told me bring samples in to have it tested so I planned on doing that but also want to have my own test kit at home. Do you have any recommendations as opposed to the crazy cheap petshop ones? And eventually yes we would like to add coral once we're properly educated because clearly we are extremely under prepared. I'd like to just get this tank healthy and make sure everyone stays healthy.

I also thought that was extreme but my husband was extremely happy to hear we could bring 7 home. I've been monitoring and thus far everyone is getting along but will be extremely mindful of that moving forward.
 

twentyleagues

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It was dry rock. I bought 40 lbs and put about 30 lbs in. They told me bring samples in to have it tested so I planned on doing that but also want to have my own test kit at home. Do you have any recommendations as opposed to the crazy cheap petshop ones? And eventually yes we would like to add coral once we're properly educated because clearly we are extremely under prepared. I'd like to just get this tank healthy and make sure everyone stays healthy.

I also thought that was extreme but my husband was extremely happy to hear we could bring 7 home. I've been monitoring and thus far everyone is getting along but will be extremely mindful of that moving forward.
Well I'd defiantly add more rock.
As for test even though api gets a bad rap Ive used them for years prior to leaving the hobby 14yrs ago. They work just not pin point precise. Follow the directions to a "t". Most test are the same titration style so results depend on you adding the correct amount of reagent. The next hurdle is actually matching the colors if you dont have a keen eye for color these test are not going to work for you. Hannah checkers do the color matching for you but they are expensive. You pretty much can buy both api test kits like 7 different parameters for the price of 1 hannah meter to test 1 parameter. And still with the hannahs you have to make sure to add the correct amount of reagent and follow all instructions. Petsmart has the api kits on sale buy 1 get 1 50% off right now also.
 

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I would definitely recommend more rock, live rock if possible optimally to cut down on the time your cycle will take and make life better for your clownfish harem. If possible, could we get a picture of your setup? What are your long-term goals and desires with this tank, what are your hopes and plans, and do you have a stocking list of things you want to add? Best of luck, and welcome to the hobby!
 
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carlykush

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Well I'd defiantly add more rock.
As for test even though api gets a bad rap Ive used them for years prior to leaving the hobby 14yrs ago. They work just not pin point precise. Follow the directions to a "t". Most test are the same titration style so results depend on you adding the correct amount of reagent. The next hurdle is actually matching the colors if you dont have a keen eye for color these test are not going to work for you. Hannah checkers do the color matching for you but they are expensive. You pretty much can buy both api test kits like 7 different parameters for the price of 1 hannah meter to test 1 parameter. And still with the hannahs you have to make sure to add the correct amount of reagent and follow all instructions. Petsmart has the api kits on sale buy 1 get 1 50% off right now also.
I actually went and bought the test kit last night and my levels seem to be perfect. The only thing that was a little high was my nitrate. It was sitting around 9-10.
 

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I actually went and bought the test kit last night and my levels seem to be perfect. The only thing that was a little high was my nitrate. It was sitting around 9-10.
9-10 isnt high thats ok especially with no coral. You checked ammonia and nitrite? What about alk, ph?
What test kits you get?
 
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carlykush

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9-10 isnt high thats ok especially with no coral. You checked ammonia and nitrite? What about alk, ph?
What test kits you get?
I checked ammonia it’s at 0, checked nitrite and it was fine as well. I did not test PH or alk. I just grabbed the API kit to have something quick and handy in case I was dealing with some sort of outbreak. I also went back to my fish store yesterday and conveniently forgot to bring a water sample but the owner reassured us that the bloom was diatoms and a healthy bloom. Sent us home with some snails to help clean the sand. Hoping we are doing things correctly here haha!
 

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