First saltwater tank, 40 breeder

Discussion in 'Member Tanks' started by KleineVampir, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. KleineVampir

    KleineVampir Active Member

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    Welp, looks like one of my clowns died and was eaten by the emerald last night. It was looking a bit pale. Not sure if the crab killed him before he died on his own or if he died and then the crab came and found him. Probably the former, because wouldn't he float if he was dead? Either way, it sucks. The other clown looks fine...I hope there's nothing wrong with my tank.
     

  2. KleineVampir

    KleineVampir Active Member

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    Well I tested for ammonia, nitrite, and even nitrate. All levels are apparently at 0. I put in some paraguard as a measure against disease and parasites in the tank. The remaining clowns behavior is a bit odd, not that I know a ton about clown behavior in the first place.
     
  3. Fotocha

    Fotocha I have nightmares of jumping fish R2R Supporter CTARS Member Build Thread Contributor

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    How long did you have the clown? What were symptoms? How long did you have the other clown?

    Before this happened did you see any odd behavior (flashing) like aggression from the other clown?
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  4. LilElroyJetson

    LilElroyJetson Well-Known Member R2R Supporter AZ FRAG Member Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

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    Hey there, welcome to R2R!! I read your entire build thread. It sounds like you have a grasp of certain things from your freshwater experience which is great but there are differences in keeping a successful saltwater tank that will differ from that experience. My friendly word of advice is that you are moving much too quickly, and a lot of this is apparent from your timeline. You joined R2R a month ago and already put fish and coral in your tank, which using bottled bacteria to jumpstart your cycle isn't unheard of, but certainly for your first saltwater tank and without keeping tight track of your parameters, much too quick.

    You don't have to spend a ton of money to be successful in this hobby, that is for sure, but there are certain things you absolutely do not want to skip out on. The most important example of this I found in your thread was your initial cycling of your rock. It is important to do it in saltwater (kept at appropriate temperature 70-78 F) and with a powerhead to keep the water moving in order to let the saltwater bacteria pre-populate your rock and begin to reproduce in order to establish your tanks first natural bio filter. So "soaking" the rock in freshwater would not actually do anything for you in terms of establishing a bacterial colony to process the ammonia after the bottled stuff dies. It is evident by the photos that the tank has not cycled (white rock, white sand, clear water). Fish should NEVER be added to the tank until ammonia is consistently reading 0. Then you know that very initial cycle has completed (the tank will continue cycling for many months to come). Though I saw that you added a couple montipora, I would advise not to add any coral until your tank is at least 6 months old or purple coraline algae begins to grow on your live rock. Keeping any coral will be particularly hard if you are not keeping stable water parameters (either by way of weekly water changes of ~10-15%) or automating dosing and auto-top off and still doing some water changes. Having a highly successful tank without water changes is do-able but unlikely for the average reefer. Bleaching the rock and putting it into the tank without de-chlorinating, rinsing and allowing it to completely dry could have easily contributed to the death of the fish and everything else, but at the very least, it killed off any bacteria that may have been established by bottled bacteria (if it was added before/shortly after bleaching the rock) and probably restarted your cycle.

    I think people stopped replying to this thread because things are progressing so quickly and there's so much to unpack in terms of giving you advice and pointing out some crucial missteps that it is just a lot to address. I was not able to get to everything but I wanted to address a couple of what I remembered were important points. Everything may seem like people are over-doing it in this hobby but they're typically not. The show tanks you see are a result of years of research and accumulated knowledge as well as trial and error. But all the research you do up front will save you a lot of wasted time due to error and ESPECIALLY wasted money.

    Here are a couple very helpful and important threads to help you become fully informed moving forward (I also suggest reading all the "pinned threads" on this website that relate to keeping a tank). The Bulk Reef Supply (BRS) 52 Weeks of Reefing series on Youtube is also an extremely valuable resource.

    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/the-supreme-guide-to-setting-up-a-saltwater-reef-aquarium.138750/

    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/cycling-an-aquarium.306554/

    I say all this in hopes of helping steer you on your way to a successful, stable tank so you can properly enjoy keeping a saltwater tank rather than endlessly trying to correct beginner's errors your entire time owning this tank or worse killing more fish/coral or potentially crashing the tank. Good luck! :)
     
  5. KleineVampir

    KleineVampir Active Member

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    I greatly appreciate that you read my entire thread and formulated as helpful of a response as you could; so thanks for that. Yes I realize my methods can be pretty nuts and I lack patience. However, this is a low bio-load tank that apparently did cycle. I tested for ammonia, and I think both nitrite and nitrate and came up with none. I did the same thing last night with the same results.

    Now, the cycling of the rock you might be right on. Honestly I didn't really understand why I should "cure" the rock in saltwater. That said, I let the rocks sit in my tank for a while. I don't see why I should cure it in separate water when it's going to be sitting in my saltwater tank anyways. One thing I disagree with you on is that I did not adequately dechlorinate the rocks. When I dried them out over night with a fan on them, I believe they were adequately dechlorinated because, to my understanding, chlorine will 'gas off' when it's dry. Also you said I put them in freshwater...well, the idea was to bleach them and destroy as much leftover organic material on the rock as possible. Then hopefully I dechlorinated them well enough.

    Another thing I should say is that I am a bit of a mad scientist! I try not to be so wild as to expose my animals to unacceptable levels of risk, but I like to do things and learn for myself what happens. If I did everything the totally slow and sure way, I wouldn't learn anything and neither would the reefing community at large. This way I'm making it a bit of an experiment to see what we can get away with in the future. So yeah I am pushing the limits as to how fast you can set up a tank and how little you have to maintain it.

    I did this with freshwater and now I'm keeping and breeding mystery snails and dwarf shrimp without doing water changes. The only problem is the hair algae, but probably only because I have java moss floating so close to the light. Imagine if I could eliminate water changes from this hobby. Especially with saltwater! I think it's something that's worth a try!
     
  6. KleineVampir

    KleineVampir Active Member

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    I think I've had the clowns for about a week. The aggression seemed to happen at first but then seemed to stop after a day or two. The one that died was considerably bigger and more dominant than the remaining clown. However, it was turning clear. I could tell because of the light from the refugium shining through it. I thought their behavior was weird since they seemed to go to the top of the tank and turn sideways a bit. Seems like it's always worrying when fish turn sideways.

    Last night I observed my remaining clown swim to the top and float down sideways like a dang leaf! Not sure if I should be worried or if he was just playing.
     
  7. KleineVampir

    KleineVampir Active Member

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    I bought both clowns at the same time and put them in the tank at the same time.
     
  8. ngoodermuth

    ngoodermuth Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Reef Tank 365 Hospitality Award Build Thread Contributor

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    I agree... and don’t want to sound like I’m lecturing, but my most friendly advice is to SLOW DOWN... like a lot.

    I think your tank may not have actually been fully cycled, the person who was helping you even said that there was no evidence of a cycle... just that “0” is what you are aiming for.

    Even when the tank *is* cycled... you add something, wait 3-4 weeks, see how it does... then add something else. Until you’ve had the tank up and running for 6-month to a year, it’s not fully established. Everything you add, your bio-filter will need some time to “catch-up” after.

    Once established, you don’t have to worry as much about adding things too quickly... but you still have to be mindful of bio-load and what your tank can manage.

    Otherwise you start having issues... ammonia spikes, nutrient issues, nuisance algae etc.

    Patience is so, so, so important to be successful and not burn yourself out before you truly get started.
     
  9. ngoodermuth

    ngoodermuth Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Reef Tank 365 Hospitality Award Build Thread Contributor

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    What type of flow do you have in the tank? Is the surface of the water agitated?

    Low ph and fish hanging near the surface are both signs of low oxygen content. If you have a window in the same room you can leave open a crack, that might help. Also, make sure your powerhead is aimed to the surface to break the surface tension.
     
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  10. KleineVampir

    KleineVampir Active Member

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    I know...I'm impatient...I can't help it! I'm trying to be happy with 2 clowns and an emerald crab. I am gonna be adding snails soon though.

    There is one powerhead in the tank. You should be able to see it in some of the pictures..should be around here somewhere. It's not aimed up, but I do have the refugium pumping water into the tank. I thought that would be enough. I could aim the powerhead up a bit if you think it'll really help with the oxygen.
     
  11. ngoodermuth

    ngoodermuth Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Reef Tank 365 Hospitality Award Build Thread Contributor

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    I would, make sure as much of the surface is moving and agitated as possible. That should help bring up your ph also.

    To put it into perspective, my tank is 4ft long and there is only a section of maybe 6-8 inches that is still enough to collect dust. The rest is all moving.
     
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  12. KleineVampir

    KleineVampir Active Member

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    Ok. My other question is this: I got calcium, magnesium, and soda ash all in separate bags. I can test for Kh, and I did, and the results are about 7 apparently. The pH according to my meter is a bit low, like 7-7.5 or so. I could test for calcium again, I kinda messed it up last night since I was getting tired. But I think the results point to having around 400 ppm. Now I'm thinking I should get a magnesium test kit. I'd appreciate any advice on this since this kind of thing pretty new to me. Obviously I don't want to add a ton of anything out of nowhere without knowing what I'm doing, so I'll hold off for the time being.
     
  13. KleineVampir

    KleineVampir Active Member

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    Also I did aim the powerhead up as much as I could. It appears to be disturbing the surface of the water, so I guess that means it's working?
     
  14. sstanley223

    sstanley223 Active Member

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    You should only dose based on consumption. Plenty of time for that later. If you want to learn keep testing and make a log/journal and study the trends. Doing a water change replenishes elements. That is the first progression of "dosing" a low consumption tank so to speak. http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-06/rhf/index.php
     
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  15. ngoodermuth

    ngoodermuth Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Reef Tank 365 Hospitality Award Build Thread Contributor

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    ^Yes, plenty of time for that later. For now, regular water changes is all you should need. I do small changes weekly to bi-weekly, many people do a larger change monthly.

    Ph should be somewhere between 7.5-8.4. Your alk and calcium are both a tiny bit low, what is your sg and how are you measuring it? Do you have a refractometer? Was it calibrated?
     
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  16. KleineVampir

    KleineVampir Active Member

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    You guys seem to be forgetting that this is a 0 water change tank! That's why I got all the minerals... so I could replace them directly.

    Yes I have a refractometer, and yes it was calibrated. I'm at about 1.025 salinity right now.
     
  17. Hemmdog

    Hemmdog Valuable Member R2R Supporter Hospitality Award Build Thread Contributor

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    0 water change tanks don’t become that till after the first year in 99% of 0 water change tanks.
     
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  18. KleineVampir

    KleineVampir Active Member

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    Why would you say that is? Algae blooms?
     
  19. sstanley223

    sstanley223 Active Member

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    I'm gonna step back and listen. I just did a 12 gallon water change on my 120 gal system and am busy making water for this weekend lol
     
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  20. KleineVampir

    KleineVampir Active Member

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    Wouldn't it be so much cheaper and easier to NOT do that? Join the dark side.... :cool:
     
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