When do I know my tank is ready for SPS coral?

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Uzair Aiman

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Hi. I have a 27gal AIO tank with 2 clowns, a 6 line and a hermit. Its 6 months old and algal bloom is receding and coming to and end. There are also spots of coraline starting to grow at my back wall. I would like to know when my tank and is it ready for SPS corals? I have a clam, a GSP frag, a zoanthid frag, 2 Yuma corals, a bubble tip anemone and a wall variant hammer coral.

Everything in the tank is thriving and growing quick except for my wall hammer which has been finnicky since the day I brought it home. New zoa heads growing, new Yumas growing, GSP growing at my back wall, Anemone puffed up and stable, hermit crab molting its skin a few days ago.

Parameters are as follows and I keep them stable there :
Salinity : 1.025
Nitrate and Nitrites : undetectable
Phosphates : 0.5 (might be quite high and Ive been having this issue for months now, but I heard with stability corals can thrive so I wont change it for now)
Ammonia : 0
Alkalinity : 7 at the end of the week and 8-9 after a water change.

I do weekly 10% water changes.

is it possible to add SPS corals already? If not, what should I shoot for if I wanted to add my first ever SPS coral? I am a beginner and have never bought/cared for SPS corals
 
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Uzair Aiman

Uzair Aiman

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Sounds like you could definitely add some easier ones, green slimmer, birdsnest, stylophora, montis, any easier ora acro. Try some cheap pieces, won’t know til you try
So anything easier than Acros? Really interested in the birds nest and the montis cause it adds so much to the tank. Will try to find some cheaper ones if I ought to try
 
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Your phosphates are high

I second… or third the thought of staring with something less expensive.

sounds like everything your doing is the right path. Make sure you are using a good DI water for your changes and a high quality frozen food as apposed to flake/pellet. Could help with phosphates.
 
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Uzair Aiman

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Your phosphates are high

I second… or third the thought of staring with something less expensive.

sounds like everything your doing is the right path. Make sure you are using a good DI water for your changes and a high quality frozen food as apposed to flake/pellet. Could help with phosphate
Is it really fatal? Because it seems like its not going down soon unless I can find lanthanum chloride (which is hard to find in Malaysia).

Wdym by second or third? sorry English is not my native language. Do you support the idea or the opposite?

And yes I use RODI water to top off and RODI water to mix my salts.
Will try to feed more frozen foods cause I do feed pellets
 

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I don't think .5 phosphates are 'high.' Thats super reasonable territory to grow just about anything. I'd recommend you getting your nitrates up, undetectable isn't a great spot to be.

Go for some Stylos, Digitatas, or Montis. Pretty easy SPS.
 
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attiland

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Hi. I have a 27gal AIO tank with 2 clowns, a 6 line and a hermit. Its 6 months old and algal bloom is receding and coming to and end. There are also spots of coraline starting to grow at my back wall. I would like to know when my tank and is it ready for SPS corals? I have a clam, a GSP frag, a zoanthid frag, 2 Yuma corals, a bubble tip anemone and a wall variant hammer coral.

Everything in the tank is thriving and growing quick except for my wall hammer which has been finnicky since the day I brought it home. New zoa heads growing, new Yumas growing, GSP growing at my back wall, Anemone puffed up and stable, hermit crab molting its skin a few days ago.

Parameters are as follows and I keep them stable there :
Salinity : 1.025
Nitrate and Nitrites : undetectable
Phosphates : 0.5 (might be quite high and Ive been having this issue for months now, but I heard with stability corals can thrive so I wont change it for now)
Ammonia : 0
Alkalinity : 7 at the end of the week and 8-9 after a water change.

I do weekly 10% water changes.

is it possible to add SPS corals already? If not, what should I shoot for if I wanted to add my first ever SPS coral? I am a beginner and have never bought/cared for SPS corals
If your calcium, magnesium and alkalinity is in the right level and stable you probably ready.
your alk is low
your phosphate is not high
Your nitrate is no good at 0. Your hammer probably not doing well because of that and I would say probably something else is off too.
there are other indicators too like coralline. If that is growing you are on the right track.
I would fix the levels, get ready for dosing and add the beloved starter SPS to see how they are doing.
I would even get a 4 head doser but some people would bite my head off if I would suggest that ;)
 

Gedxin

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I forgot to mention, a 2dkh swing over a week's worth, every week is not ideal stability. You're gonna want to get a dosing pump to put in soda ash or something similar. If no dosing pump, gotta do more frequent water changes to keep those params more stable.
 
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Uzair Aiman

Uzair Aiman

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If your calcium, magnesium and alkalinity is in the right level and stable you probably ready.
your alk is low
your phosphate is not high
Your nitrate is no good at 0. Your hammer probably not doing well because of that and I would say probably something else is off too.
there are other indicators too like coralline. If that is growing you are on the right track.
I would fix the levels, get ready for dosing and add the beloved starter SPS to see how they are doing.
I would even get a 4 head doser but some people would bite my head off if I would suggest that ;)
Is that alk considered low? WHat is considered optimal?

I have been trying to feed more to add nitrates and turn my skimming off but it never seems to budge. What should I dose?
 
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I forgot to mention, a 2dkh swing over a week's worth, every week is not ideal stability. You're gonna want to get a dosing pump to put in soda ash or something similar. If no dosing pump, gotta do more frequent water changes to keep those params more stable.
In actuality its actually usually just a 1dkh swing every week. a 2dkh swing only happened once after I tweaked some stuff with the salinity and water change I had in the past so I just put it in the parameters just in case it happens again. Does a 1 dkh swing mean a big swing?

about the soda ash, do you mean baking soda mixed with RODI water and dosing it into the DT? is it possible to do it manually without a dosing pump? If I were to dose it, do I still need water changes?
 

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A lot of people will tell you to get other easy SPS that aren't acros..........that's poor advice and has just been parroted so often that people think it's the best way to go...........there is no relationship whatsoever.

Encrusing montis are invasive and grow fast. Others like digis, stylos, pocci birdnest aren't acros and end up growing too fast to take a valuable space you will need in the future. Monti caps grow very fast and another sps type coral that take up huge space and they aren't going to give you any type of indication of how acros will do.

All the corals above can be fine in your current setup because they are more forgiving from a light, flow and nutrient perspective.

Get inexpensive acropora that are hardy........ Torts, Aculeas, valida, secale, stag horns, austeras, nasuta. These will give you a good barometer for your system.

P04 of .50 is too high for acros. Get it to .20 or under

You need to get your N03 up.

Right now your nutrients are backwards to where most successful Acropora systems lie.
 
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Uzair Aiman

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A lot of people will tell you to get other easy SPS that aren't acros..........that's poor advice and has just been parroted so often that people think it's the best way to go...........there is no relationship whatsoever.

Encrusing montis are invasive and grow fast. Others like digis, stylos, pocci birdnest aren't acros and end up growing too fast to take a valuable space you will need in the future. Monti caps grow very fast and another sps type coral that take up huge space and they aren't going to give you any type of indication of how acros will do.

All the corals above can be fine in your current setup because they are more forgiving from a light, flow and nutrient perspective.

Get inexpensive acropora that are hardy........ Torts, Aculeas, valida, secale, stag horns, austeras, nasuta. These will give you a good barometer for your system.

P04 of .50 is too high for acros. Get it to .20 or under

You need to get your N03 up.

Right now your nutrients are backwards to where most successful Acropora systems lie.
I can see where youre going with this statement and I agree. Since 0.5 is too high for acros, and my nitrates are undetectable, how shall I flip these two parameters the most safest technique?
 

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Short term you can use GFO for the P04.......just use a small amount and go slow. From there you can work on your nitrates. Your N03 levels may go up once the P04 is lower.

You have to consider more about your system to why NO3 is zero. It may be that your current export system is sucking up nitrates and now the bacteria or algae filter is limiting and why your P04 is high.

Don't think in terms of a week or two. You need to get levels under control and keep them steady for a month or two.

You're going to have problems with creating a flow environment that a hammer coral and acropora can enjoy with such a small tank. It's a watchout and something to consider of what your goals are long term for your system.
 
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Uzair Aiman

Uzair Aiman

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Short term you can use GFO for the P04.......just use a small amount and go slow. From there you can work on your nitrates. Your N03 levels may go up once the P04 is lower.

You have to consider more about your system to why NO3 is zero. It may be that your current export system is sucking up nitrates and now the bacteria or algae filter is limiting and why your P04 is high.

Don't think in terms of a week or two. You need to get levels under control and keep them steady for a month or two.

You're going to have problems with creating a flow environment that a hammer coral and acropora can enjoy with such a small tank. It's a watchout and something to consider of what your goals are long term for your system.
Ive been using GFO for 2 months now and the Phosphates stay at 0.5 still. Even before I used GFO. Ill try to stabilise my tank more soon with the right parameters. Im planning to add a wavemaker soon if I were to add SPSs
 

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Is that alk considered low? WHat is considered optimal?

I have been trying to feed more to add nitrates and turn my skimming off but it never seems to budge. What should I dose?
For alk 8-9dkh is what you should aim for.
what do you do for nitrate export? Depends on your stocking level more feed may or may not work. It Maghreb be as easy as add an another fish.
when a system nitrates deficient can take quite a lot to move it off from that state. Even than you have to go slow as if you just dump in nitrate too much you end up with cyano.

I cave chaeto sometimes works too good. If my nitrates go below 2ppm I dose potassium nitrate. You can pick up food grade of that for literally pences. I bought 500g for about £3-4 enough for years for me.

if you don’t test for magnesium and calcium I would start with testing those and than fixing them than look into alkalinity. If those are off alk will be off too. Based on your hammer is not happy I would say they need to be looked first. Hammers are hardy corals I didn’t manage to really upset it.

SPS burns out quickly if the main 3+2 are off. the water parameters can be fixed in a week or so. Making sure they are stable enough is an another 2-3 weeks but saves you money not killing your corals.

as mentioned before get dosing pumps they are the best way to achieve stability even if you need low amount. I can recommend Kamoer F4. I use it and couldn’t be happier. Easy to use / quiet/ and precise.
 
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