First saltwater tank, 40 breeder

Darth.Daddy12

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Nonsense! The sea hare might be able to do it! If not, I'll get another one!

This is a 0 water change tank with a chaeto refugium. What I've found is that if you don't get enough chaeto it won't really take off and absorb nutrients any faster than the hair algae in your display, or in the refugium for that matter. So partly it's on me cheaping out on chaeto...I thought it would grow faster than it did. I think it takes a while for chaeto to adjust to the tank's water before it actually grows.

It's a pretty ambitious plan for a newbie, though at least I have some freshwater experience. The good thing is, if I'm successful I will have eliminated water changes with virtually no drawbacks. In fact, the plus will be that you will have algae eaters eating for free!

Part of what I'm hoping with the algae eaters, such as the sea hare, is that if they keep the algae in the display low, the nutrients might get picked up more by the chaeto in the fuge. I'm not sure how much I'm gonna need to combat the algae with critters though. It might be silly if I need 4 sea hares to keep the hair algae down, but I do like sea hares!
I read maybe the first 3 lines of your response before I gave up. Cheato will not and can not ever out compete algae for nutrients. This is common well know science that can’t be debated. You can reduce nutrients the algae receives but lets use a little logic not even account for algae vs cheato..

Let’s say you have a tank with cheato in the display and cheato in a fuge.. day one starting out same size.. all things equal. You have a display running 30-40-50 times turn over per hour vs a sump getting 3-4x and a fuge within that sump getting maybe 1-2x per hour.

Which do you think is going to have a greater chance to receive more nutrients?

Let’s look from another view of same setup. You have a main display blasting 100’s of par for corals all day while a fuge is receiving at best the same time amount of light but maybe 1/2 the par if you bought the best of the best for everything for it..

Which is going to better be able to utilize those nutrients?

You can’t use a mild growing macro algae to getting at best 1/10th the lighting and nutrients as a fast growing hair algae with better lighting and more nutrients.

Want proof? Do a search for algae turf scrubber vs cheato fuge.. there is many documented allocations of the fact that algae grows faster under same conditions.

You didn’t solve this with cheato and a few cuc.. you solved this by getting your input under control and more balanced perameters which combines with cheato starved the algae that wasn’t eaten. FYI.. the algea is still in your tank it’s just floating in the water domante waiting for when you make another mistake.. you never get rid of algea onky it’s vids me presence on surfaces..
 
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KleineVampir

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Yes I never said it would work 100%. It's only there to keep the algae managable. The rest is hopefully going to be done with algae eaters.

Speaking of algae eaters, the sea hare has totally disappeared! It's a head-scratcher and a jaw-dropper! Apparently they can eat a lot and then hide away for a while. I'm surprised it's able to completely hide itself. The tank is not that big and there aren't that many blind spots.
 
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KleineVampir

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Ope, he's back! He was under my big fancy rock to the right...but I forget what it's called!
 
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KleineVampir

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Ok mystery solved. He burrows into the substrate. I actually found him with 2 tubes barely sticking out of the sand. (Maybe one sucks and one blows? Like a clam? xD) I guess he's nocturnal and burrows during the day. He may be one of the best guys you can have in your tank! Though you need hair algae to sustain him. He isn't much to look at but he stays out of the way during the day!

Maybe he isn't for everybody but to me, he might represent the key to making this aquarium strategy work!
 
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KleineVampir

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I'm thinking about getting rid of the emerald crab. He has apparently cut off one half of the GSP from the other. I guess he likes eating it, not the polyps, but the purple mat. He likes to pick off the thin pieces. I don't know what the extent of the damage really is, as in if the divided fragments will survive or not, but he seems to be doing more harm than good. Although he does catch algae balls floating around in the water. If a large part of the gsp dies then I'll probably get rid of him. If the gsp does fine despite being cut off from other parts of it, I'll probably keep him. I gotta say, the emerald crab is the only critter I've put in the tank that's given me problems. He has pluses but he also has significant minuses that really detract from the overall value of having him. Sure it's cool to have a crab, and he loves it in the tank; but he isn't the only game in town! I could probably buy a crab with a better overall impact on the tank.
 
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KleineVampir

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That's the bad news. The good news is that I have 12 Trochus snails coming in the mail! I guess I'm hoping that they will keep algae levels down, everything but the hair algae basically. Hopefully that'll force the ceriths to eat the hair algae. Right now the ceriths prefer the very small amounts of what you could call film algae, on the glass. But what I've learned about Ceriths is that although they do eat basically everything, they're pretty small and pretty slow, so they don't really get a whole lot done. Though they definitely do a lot of good things but you'd probably need a ton of them to actually keep up with a lot of algae. Maybe if you're really good at exporting nutrients, Ceriths might be all you need. Pretty soon I'm going to have an entire little ecosystem thriving purely off algae! It's like free food! You guys are working hard throwing nutrients away, I'm putting them to use! Hopefully anyways.
 

NY_Caveman

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That's the bad news. The good news is that I have 12 Trochus snails coming in the mail! I guess I'm hoping that they will keep algae levels down, everything but the hair algae basically. Hopefully that'll force the ceriths to eat the hair algae. Right now the ceriths prefer the very small amounts of what you could call film algae, on the glass. But what I've learned about Ceriths is that although they do eat basically everything, they're pretty small and pretty slow, so they don't really get a whole lot done. Though they definitely do a lot of good things but you'd probably need a ton of them to actually keep up with a lot of algae. Maybe if you're really good at exporting nutrients, Ceriths might be all you need. Pretty soon I'm going to have an entire little ecosystem thriving purely off algae! It's like free food! You guys are working hard throwing nutrients away, I'm putting them to use! Hopefully anyways.
My favorite snail combo, Trochus and Cerith. Quite a complete team.
 
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KleineVampir

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Yeah I'm pretty psyched. Apparently they have long life spans, and they breed in a moderate way. It just doesn't get much better than that! The only way they could be better is if they ate hair algae. That's their only short-coming. They should be here tomorrow.
 

NY_Caveman

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The Ceriths will go after hair if it is not too long I find. They are cleaning my tank of it as I write.
 
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KleineVampir

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Yeah I've seen them mess around with it by jumping into it and just sitting there eating it. I think they like that they can hide in it and eat at the same time.

I know this is a site for saltwater, but how should I raise my freshwater pH? It is insanely acidic in there and there are a lot of mystery snail babies. They won't survive in the acidic water. I have soda ash, and probably baking soda too, up in the kitchen! The question is, which one? Soda ash or baking soda? I see a site saying baking soda so I should probably go with that. Apparently soda ash is sodium carbonate and baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Different but I'm not sure what the difference is.
 
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KleineVampir

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Ok never mind about the freshwater pH. I think the answer is the soda ash. A lot of hobbyists on forums are saying that baking soda (bicarb) doesn't change the pH but it does change the kH or something like that. I'm just gonna add a spoonful of soda ash every day and keep testing the water until it's at 7 or so.
 
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KleineVampir

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Well I poured in them Trochus snails today. They are a little different, as snails go! But good. I already observed them eating the film algae off the glass which is part of why I bought them. My dream is to see a trochus eating hair algae!

Anybody know any good detrivores? Something big that can get through a lot of detritus. A conch maybe? Something like that? Somebody once said detrivores will help your algae because they'll reduce the nutrients in your water, of course...because there's rotting food in there. Some of my fish food does hit the bottom unfortunately. And it's very nutritious fish food, which is good for the fish but also good for the hair algae.

What I've found is that ceriths are great on paper, probably the best. But in practice, they're pretty small, especially the dwarves which honestly I don't recommend, and small snails really just don't eat very much. I think the better approach is to put in the biggest clean up crew you can. Bigger critter = Bigger appetite = getting more done! So I guess I'm looking for the biggest possible detrivore, but not a fish.
 
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KleineVampir

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Actually a good Goby would probably be cool!

Edit: Eh nah it wouldn't. They're too much. I just want a sand sifter, not something that could conceivably eat my fish.
 
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NY_Caveman

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I had low pH issues in a planted tank before. I added some ocean crustacean shells in my HOB filter to offset the driftwood and it seemed to work pretty well. Maybe rubble rock would work too.

For detrivores, bristleworms would be perfect.
 
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KleineVampir

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Aren't bristleworms pests though? I guess those aren't bobbit worms at least. Still, sounds pretty ugly!

Speaking of pests, looks like I got a hitchhiker on the trochus snails. Looks to me like a small black star with very long legs in relation to its body. Heck maybe I already have the detrivore I was looking for! Is it a brittle star? Do I really need to take a picture of it? I mean how many creatures really fit that description?
 

William Robinson

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I have built a couple tanks around 40 breeders and they are fantastic. One is drilled peninsula style with a 20L refug and custom made cabinet and the other is a all HOB system predator tank. The shallow depth gives a lot of flexibility in the lighting. Good luck!
 
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KleineVampir

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Nice. I guess that's one reason to have 2 tanks instead of 1 uber tank: You can have critters that don't get along with each other in separate tanks.

Well looks like I spoke too soon about that brittlestar. He jumped into the fuge intake for no reason and died. Lol. I was thinking about taking him out but looks like he made up my mind for me! If he lives he lives, if he dies he dies. I'm pretty neutral about them so that works for me! I guess there's a possibility that he'll be able to survive in the fuge and then come back into the display; albeit a remote one.
 

NY_Caveman

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Aren't bristleworms pests though? I guess those aren't bobbit worms at least. Still, sounds pretty ugly!
There are some bristleworms that are undesirable (like fireworms), and yes they can be nasty looking, but the common ones are excellent at clean up.
 
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KleineVampir

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I dunno guys, I see that the sea hare is eating some kind of algae but I doubt it's gonna be enough. Then again we can wait and see if the trochus snails eat enough film algae to force the ceriths, and the hare too actually, to eat the hair algae rather than the film. A common trend amongst algae eaters I find is that even if they can eat hair algae, they prefer to eat film algae before hair algae. The 12 trochus snails are meant to lock down that film algae so the hair algae eaters will get desperate enough to eat that. And yes the sea hare is eating film algae instead of the hair, I'm pretty sure.
 
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