View Full Version : Just a few tips and tricks for those new to reefing....

03/31/2009, 07:35 AM
These are just a few things off the top of my head to aid new reefers. If you experienced reefers out there have anything to add PLEASE do so. :D

I expect some good tips out of some of you. You know who you are! ;)

1. Place a powerhead in sump. The powerhead will help keep detritus waste in suspension making it easier for skimmer and corals to take up. You should also make it a habit to stir up any detritus that has settled in sump at least once a week. People often neglect this simple chore and it creates problems down the road as the waste builds up. I have a Tunze 6045 in my sump and it keeps all waste and particles in suspension.

2. Keep your lighting systems as clean as possible. You should make it a habit to clean your reflectors, bulbs, etc at least once a month. Even a little salt spray can reduce lighting but up to 30%!

3. Carbon. I highly recommended that everyone run carbon, either in a mesh bag in the sump or in a Phosban reactor. If you run it in a mesh bag replace it once a month, in a reactor replace it every 2-4 weeks. Carbon is the simplest and easiest way to maintain a healthy and thriving reef system. Without carbon, Compounds such as yellow phenol can build up. Yellow Phenol is great at absorbing light, thus reducing the amount of PAR reaching your corals. Carbon is also good at removing compounds released by corals. Corals can and will release compounds to fend off other corals in the tank, the carbon will help keep all stress and damage to a minimum. Carbon is also a good insurance policy as it will absorb any harmful chemicals and contaminants that can enter the tank, such as aerosol air fresheners.

4. Create a routine and stick with it. Once a month you should clean out any detritus in the sump, clean ALL powerheads, pumps, probes, and inspect all equipment for defects. A dirty power head has been found to reduce performance, in some cases up to 40%+.

5. Account for everything that you put into the system. Chemicals and compounds build up over time and need to be accounted for. You must find a proper method to export the food and chemicals that are put into the system. Water changes work well and are probably the simplest method of halting the build up of harmful compounds. A refugium is also a good idea and it will aborb and process nutrient and may give off compounds that are benifical to some corals. Bacterial driven systems such as Zeovit, Prodibio, and Fauna Marin are also good methods for keep parameters in line. Personally, I do daily additions of bacteria and a carbon source(Vodka). I have found a bacterial driven system along with a large skimmer to be the most efficient and cost effective means of keeping nutrients in line.

6. Get the biggest skimmer you can accommodate. I believe that a protein skimmer is one of the most important parts of a healthy reef system. The skimmer I have on my system is rated for 3-4 times more then my system volume. With a larger simmer you can keep a higher bio load and effectively keep the nutrients down. The skimmer will help add oxygen to your system and is a good insurance policy against unforeseen events in the system.

7. Plan ahead when purchasing and placing corals in your system. All to often, people pack more corals into their tanks then they can support. In the beginning this fine but corals soon grow and problems arise. Corals can chemically detect the presence of surrounding corals, and if corals are too close this will stunt their growth. I found the best success with giving corals ample space to grow stress free. when considering what corals to put in your tank, take the time to look up what they will look like as they mature. Do you really want a monster montipora cap. taking over your reef? This brings me to coral placement. By knowing what a coral will look like when it matures you can place it accordingly. obviously you would not want a Montipora cap. placed high up in the tank, as this will only lead to corals beneath it to eventually die due to lack of light from the shade.

03/31/2009, 09:12 AM
Good advice. I just cleaned my reflectors and bulbs over the weekend. I couldn't beleive the amount of buildup on them.

Last night I soaked and cleaned all my power heads. It really is amazing how much of an increase in flow I noticed. It had been about 3 months since the last time I did this and I really didn't think it would do much.

03/31/2009, 09:13 AM
Test for everything that you put in the tank
Whether you are dosing two-part, iodine, strontium, Potassium, or anything else; make sure you are testing the levels of your additions on a regular basis.

Keep A Maintenance Log Book
Keep track of when you change your light bulbs, when you clean your pumps and powerheads, and when you replace the filters in your RO/DI. You DO have a RO/DI don't you?????

Always have some fresh Saltwater on hand
You never know when you may need to do an emergency water change, or set up a temp. quarrantine tank.

03/31/2009, 10:51 AM
Good stuff.....Keep 'em coming. I am setting up a 75 as we speak, and am trying to do it right the first time.

03/31/2009, 11:04 AM
Keep backup equipment, especially if you only use one of something in your tank.

I like to have at least one extra lightbulb, powerhead, heater, and thermometer on hand always. You should have the powerhead and heater for mixing water anyways, but in case you don't mix your own water, they're good to have in case the one in your tank quits on you when you can't get to a store to buy a new one.

Also buckets, you can never have too many buckets w/ lids.

03/31/2009, 11:15 AM
good idea on powerhead in the sump. i never thought of that!

03/31/2009, 11:16 AM
is there any negative to running carbon?

03/31/2009, 11:49 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14730924#post14730924 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by GW81
is there any negative to running carbon?

The only negative I am aware of is if you don't change it out on a regular basis. It can accumulate organic waste over time, which can break down and release undesireables (nitrates) back into the water column.

03/31/2009, 11:50 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14730924#post14730924 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by GW81
is there any negative to running carbon?

Using too much of it can cause bleaching by clearing up the water too fast , thus shocking the corals with light. Although, your water would have to be pretty dirty for something like that to happen.

03/31/2009, 12:20 PM
Running carbon in a bag in the sump is passive right? Can I put it in a bag where the 1 1-2" drain empties into a small 3 X 3 inch bubble trap. Would that help more than just hanging it in the sump.

Great thread, has helped me out a lot.

03/31/2009, 12:27 PM
A logbook IMO is a great thing, but I never keep it... I always wonder when I get fish or how long I have had things. It's nice to know info. At least keep track of all purchases, and water quality would also be smart.

03/31/2009, 12:30 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14731294#post14731294 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Cbravo212
Running carbon in a bag in the sump is passive right? Can I put it in a bag where the 1 1-2" drain empties into a small 3 X 3 inch bubble trap. Would that help more than just hanging it in the sump.

Great thread, has helped me out a lot.

Yes, placing it is a mesh bag is running it passively. Ideally, you will want to place the carbon at the very end of your sump, after the skimmer, GFO, and other filtration has done its work.

03/31/2009, 01:38 PM
Double check everything you hear from anyone about reefing. It never hurts and is a great way to learn for yourself.

03/31/2009, 01:42 PM
Some advice, don’t always take the word of your local fish store. Before you buy any thing for your aquarium do some research and read up on it as much as you can before you jump into something.

03/31/2009, 05:59 PM
how do you guys/gals clean your bulbs? I took off the plexi shield under my bulbs for about a week, and the bulbs were really coated with thick spray.

03/31/2009, 06:48 PM
Research BEFORE you buy, especially on livestock.

03/31/2009, 06:56 PM
Don't buy a Seaclone

03/31/2009, 07:52 PM
Great info, thanks! I just realized that I should clean my sump. I'll go slowly because I've never cleaned it. Powerhead is a great idea

03/31/2009, 08:01 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14733778#post14733778 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Blown76mav
Don't buy a Seaclone

:lol: :lol: :lol:

I dont think you will have earned your keep UNTIL you have purchased a Seaclone only to realize it is useless. LOL

03/31/2009, 08:56 PM
some helpful stuff, thank you. :)