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JD9
05/31/2017, 12:12 PM
Hello everyone, I just got my 20 gal tank up about a month ago. I have 4 main pieces of live rock in the tank, one already is covered in coraline algae. I waited for everything to cycle and test the parameters weekly. I use RO/DI water to prevent excess algae life in the tank. I recently purchased my first fish, a blue/green chromis. He is doing well even though i have only had him for 2 days. I was wondering what the next step is for the tank. I have seen beautiful pictures of corals, but I know that I shouldn't rush into buying them as nothing good happens fast in tanks. My plan for the tank is to add a clownfish, royal gamma, and then maybe a 6 line wrasse last. I would love yalls experience on suggestions of when to add the fish and corals. I also need advice on what kind of corals would be good for my tank.

lilyost4290
05/31/2017, 12:34 PM
Just go slow and keep checking params. After a while you'll probably be able to notice if things are off just by looking at it, but check testing for now, especially with a new tank. You may need to shorten your fish list. I think four may be pushing it with a 20g, but I'd wait and see what some of the others have to say. As far as corals, what kind of light and filtration are you currently running?

JD9
05/31/2017, 12:51 PM
I have an aqua clear power filter that uses carbon and sponge inserts. My lighting is LED that runs mainly blue and white light with some red and green.

JD9
05/31/2017, 12:54 PM
Here's a picture of the tank so far

lilyost4290
05/31/2017, 03:53 PM
Any idea what kind of leds? You could probably try some soft corals to start with and see how they do

JD9
05/31/2017, 04:46 PM
It's a full spectrum LED light .5 watts

http://www.ebay.com/itm/262793386487?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

JD9
06/01/2017, 05:56 AM
From looking around the site and other sites I have figured out that I probably need to get better lights for my tank if I want corals to flourish. What lights would y'all recommend. I'd like to get them for under $150. I looked at the ink Orion sl lights, and they looked amazing but they cost $270.

rockhead51
06/01/2017, 08:27 AM
It's all about the water. Keep your water pristine if you want to add that much bioload. Also, have you got a CUC?

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JD9
06/01/2017, 09:03 AM
Yes I have a CUC, I have 5 turbos, a few hermits, and lots of nerites.

rockhead51
06/01/2017, 09:23 AM
Ok. I would add the fish first, slowly, and keep checking params. I might shoot to over filter a bit (although softies sometimes like water a little dirty). Remember mechanical, biological, and chemical all have a place. Just go slow.

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ReefWreak
06/01/2017, 12:29 PM
I'd get rid of the sponge part of the filter, unless you're cleaning (bleaching and de-chlorinating) it religiously. The 6 line sounds like a good idea, but they can be bullies. They're colorful fishes for sure, but just add one knowing that it could be problematic down the line.

You can use that light for a while, it's probably enough to keep some basic softies. You could start adding mushrooms or other simple corals. Just know that most simple corals will end up growing all over your tank after an extended period of time. But not the end of the world.

It sounds like you're off on a good start, recognizing the first and most important rule in the hobby, nothing good happens fast.

JD9
06/01/2017, 09:00 PM
So just take the sponge part out and it will filter better since i only clean it like once a month?

JD9
06/01/2017, 09:02 PM
I also decided to buy the Orbit Marine LED saltwater light to help eventual corals grow better.

ahuaia
06/02/2017, 01:08 AM
If your looking for light I would try brstv on YouTube they have a good video on lighting on a budget you could try a kesla a80 (not sure that's the model​) or a two bulb t5 both are mentioned on the video.

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ReefWreak
06/02/2017, 01:52 PM
So just take the sponge part out and it will filter better since i only clean it like once a month?

"Filter" is the issue here.

In a properly set up tank, most of the filtration is done naturally, not via a filter. Fish poop, there's excess food, etc, and it blows around, until it gets picked up. A protein skimmer is the best way of removing it (IMO). If it doesn't get picked up (you don't have a skimmer), then it breaks down into nutrients (ammonia --> nitrite --> nitrate and phosphate), which get used by algae (nuisance or intentional algae like in algal turf scrubber). There are a lot of ways to "filter" a tank.

My problem with sponges is that if you don't clean the sponge filter thoroughly and frequently, whatever particles left in it will break down, causing the ammonia to nitrate cycle I mentioned above, and what you'll get out the other end is nuisance algae.

If you have an appropriate clean up crew, and/or siphon your sand bed (and rear chambers) when doing a water change, then you'll be removing that waste manually, without giving it much chance to break down. Also, waste that sits at the bottom of the tank is much less agitated and aerated than waste caught in a sponge, and since the bacteria that convert waste to ammonia and so on are aerobic, they will convert the waste much faster. This is a benefit in fish-only systems, where you have a lot of waste and don't care about nitrates (for the most part), but in a reef where all nutrients are "bad", you have to be much more careful. In a reef tank, it's better to have waste settle somewhere and sit silently than have it sit in a sponge and quickly converted into nitrate.

I hope that makes sense. Sorry it's so complex.

JD9
06/02/2017, 04:55 PM
Would you recommend filter floss instead of the sponge then? OR will the floss hold bacteria as well.

ReefWreak
06/03/2017, 08:08 AM
Floss will hold waste too, but if you buy cheap filter floss (I think people buy craft "batting" for stuffing blankets and pillows with?), you can just throw it away every 3-5 days, and know that you're starting with a clean filter again.

My recommendation would be no filter media at all. Just siphon your sand bed and rear chambers (use a gravel vac) with water changes, and you'll get all of the waste while doing good maintenance activity as well.

homer1475
06/03/2017, 11:21 AM
I like having some sort of mechanical filter(sponge, floss, sock, etc) just to catch large particles before they break down. As reefwreak pointed out though, you need to change them every couple days or they eventually become nitrate factories.

Yes cheap old poly-fill from walmart or any craft store is the same exact stuff you buy at the LFS for 10x the price. A big bag of poly-fill from walmart is like 5$.

JD9
06/04/2017, 05:18 PM
Ok, I added some polyester stuffing for filter floss, so just change it about every 3-5 days? Also, does anyone have any tips about spreading the coraline algae. I have one live rock covered in it, but it doesn't seem to be spreading to the other rocks.

JD9
06/05/2017, 07:29 PM
I am having problems with my dKH. It is at a constant 16-20. I have done 2 water changes, but it hasn't seemed to lower the level. All the other levels in the tank are spot on and the fish and snails are going strong. I don't know if this is a case of chasing numbers, but I feel that a dKH this high is very bad. Does anyone have any ideas to lower it?

Timy10110
06/06/2017, 02:42 AM
I used to have a 5 gal that grew coraline algae and to a point where it covered my heater, but the truth is that I didn't really do anything special rather than weekly water changes of 10%, check my calcium, and alkalinity.

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ReefWreak
06/06/2017, 08:32 AM
Coralline algae is a maturity issue, you can buy a million dollars and spend all of your money on supplements, but the best thing you can do is keep parameters in the range they're supposed to be in, and let the tank settle. It'll spread as the tank matures, I promise. I wish my coralline didn't grow as much as it does!

If your dKH is really 16-20, that's a big problem. I would double check the units on the test kit, and if that is correct, then I'd try another test kit. Corals will start to burn around 11dKH, so 16-20 dKH would be kinda catastrophic. If it really is that high, you can use A FEW DROPS of white vinegar to lower the alkalinity (and pH). In a 20g tank, I wouldn't do more than 0.5mL of vinegar between alkalinity tests, and waiting 15-20 minutes after dosing to test the water.

JD9
06/06/2017, 09:34 AM
Ok I'll try that.

JD9
06/06/2017, 03:17 PM
Not sure if it was the vinegar but today the dKH was about 13, so ill dose it again tomorrow to see if the levels go down again. I'm planning on adding a mushroom coral and a clownfish to go with my chromis sometime this week as well.

JD9
06/08/2017, 02:32 PM
Is there anything in the tank that would be causing the high alkalinity? It is a constant 13-15 now. All I add to the tank pH buffer about once a week and rarely calcium as it seems to be pretty sustainable with weekly water changes. I think ill buy another test kit to make sure it is actually off.

JD9
06/09/2017, 01:58 PM
Got my new clownfish and mushroom coral today!

JD9
06/14/2017, 08:47 PM
I am starting to see some green algae growth on some of my live rock. Is here anything I can do to reduce the algae besides water changes?

JD9
06/17/2017, 04:59 PM
Overall this week has been decent. My red mushroom coral seems to be growing well even though my dKH seems to be hovering around 13, but this just may be a faulty readings. The fish have been doing well together a little chasing the chromis around by the clown, but he doesn't disturb the chrois while eating. I had a small algae bloom along the some of the live rock, so i did about a 25% water change. Because of the water change the ammonia, nitrate, and phosphate levels all read 0 so hopefully the algae all goes away after this week. I also dropped my light control panel in the water:headwally:. So the control panel was fried and I will have to buy a new one after only just getting these lights last week. Any tips y'all have is greatly appreciated as I am still a newbie with all of this

bcb577
07/03/2017, 11:09 PM
Your tank is very new and it's normal to have times of algae growing sometimes up to about the first year of it maturing.Add fish slowly and be careful not to overstock your tank. Make sure you develop good husbandry practices,and monitoring your tanks parameters is very important, just stay patient while your tank matures and things will be great,hell I actually like cleaning my tank weekly,I find it relaxing,but algae isn't fun to fight lol.

fishdip22
07/04/2017, 06:15 AM
Overall this week has been decent. My red mushroom coral seems to be growing well even though my dKH seems to be hovering around 13, but this just may be a faulty readings. The fish have been doing well together a little chasing the chromis around by the clown, but he doesn't disturb the chrois while eating. I had a small algae bloom along the some of the live rock, so i did about a 25% water change. Because of the water change the ammonia, nitrate, and phosphate levels all read 0 so hopefully the algae all goes away after this week. I also dropped my light control panel in the water:headwally:. So the control panel was fried and I will have to buy a new one after only just getting these lights last week. Any tips y'all have is greatly appreciated as I am still a newbie with all of this

Why is the water level so low? Also how is the tank doing its been a little bit of time since your last up date.

LuizW13
07/06/2017, 09:40 AM
"Filter" is the issue here.

In a properly set up tank, most of the filtration is done naturally, not via a filter. Fish poop, there's excess food, etc, and it blows around, until it gets picked up. A protein skimmer is the best way of removing it (IMO). If it doesn't get picked up (you don't have a skimmer), then it breaks down into nutrients (ammonia --> nitrite --> nitrate and phosphate), which get used by algae (nuisance or intentional algae like in algal turf scrubber). There are a lot of ways to "filter" a tank.

My problem with sponges is that if you don't clean the sponge filter thoroughly and frequently, whatever particles left in it will break down, causing the ammonia to nitrate cycle I mentioned above, and what you'll get out the other end is nuisance algae.

If you have an appropriate clean up crew, and/or siphon your sand bed (and rear chambers) when doing a water change, then you'll be removing that waste manually, without giving it much chance to break down. Also, waste that sits at the bottom of the tank is much less agitated and aerated than waste caught in a sponge, and since the bacteria that convert waste to ammonia and so on are aerobic, they will convert the waste much faster. This is a benefit in fish-only systems, where you have a lot of waste and don't care about nitrates (for the most part), but in a reef where all nutrients are "bad", you have to be much more careful. In a reef tank, it's better to have waste settle somewhere and sit silently than have it sit in a sponge and quickly converted into nitrate.

I hope that makes sense. Sorry it's so complex.

Basically, this happens due to mechanical filtration, correct? But technically, if you're diligent and frequently change or clean your mechanical filtration on a regular bases (before those trapped organic materials turn into nutrients), then you're good?

I'm asking because i'm setting up my first aquarium next week and i don't have any mechanical filtration yet. All i'll have is carbon and biological filtration. I guess i'll buy a couple of different mechanical filtration to experiment with and cycle on a weekly bases.

ReefWreak
07/06/2017, 09:46 AM
Basically, this happens due to mechanical filtration, correct? But technically, if you're diligent and frequently change or clean your mechanical filtration on a regular bases (before those trapped organic materials turn into nutrients), then you're good?

I'm asking because i'm setting up my first aquarium next week and i don't have any mechanical filtration yet. All i'll have is carbon and biological filtration. I guess i'll buy a couple of different mechanical filtration to experiment with and cycle on a weekly bases.

You are correct, and understood the giant wall of text I posted :p

Just remember that a visual inspection of the outside of mechanical media doesn't mean that the inside isn't chock-full of crap.

That's why filter socks are able to be used as mechanical filtration long term and sponges aren't - there's no depth to socks, so basically the particulates are stuck on the outside. With sponges, they can get further into the media, as well as are worked in through biological means (i.e. bristleworms and other fauna can move the detritus around and get it deeper, as they would a sand bed or liverock).

I can't recommend enough that people just don't use mechanical filtration. I see very little, and usually no, particles floating around my tank. It usually settles down eventually, and you should be siphoning it out. Mechanical filtration is a lot of work to maintain, and the only reason I can understand people using it is to keep their sump (or rear chambers in our tanks) clean so they don't have to siphon those. Otherwise, there isn't much benefit IMO.

LuizW13
07/06/2017, 10:07 AM
Mechanical filtration is a lot of work to maintain, and the only reason I can understand people using it is to keep their sump (or rear chambers in our tanks) clean so they don't have to siphon those. Otherwise, there isn't much benefit IMO.

I NEVER thought of that before. I ordered a IM 25g AIO aquarium and never once thought of being in a situation where I would have to clean the sump area in the back on the tank! I wonder if there is a solution I can come up with that can test how much organic matter is making it to the sump area, and how much I can clean it out through mechanical filtration:idea::idea:

by the way, I grew up in Astoria; I absolutely love how live 30th ave is now! :beer:

ReefWreak
07/06/2017, 10:15 AM
by the way, I grew up in Astoria; I absolutely love how live 30th ave is now! :beer:

It's a fun place for sure. 30th, Broadway, and Ditmars have all really blossomed even in the 4 years I've been here. So much great food and culture in the area.

If you're ordering stuff anyway, I'd highly recommend picking up a piece of rigid tubing that fits into/with your normal water change tubing so you can siphon the bottom of the sump easily. You can test how much by shining a flashlight down from the top and seeing how much is back there. Even with filtration media, you'll still end up getting some back there, so you'll probably have to (or want to) siphon anyway.

LuizW13
07/06/2017, 10:29 AM
If you're ordering stuff anyway, I'd highly recommend picking up a piece of rigid tubing that fits into/with your normal water change tubing so you can siphon the bottom of the sump easily. You can test how much by shining a flashlight down from the top and seeing how much is back there. Even with filtration media, you'll still end up getting some back there, so you'll probably have to (or want to) siphon anyway.

Awesome, thanks!

JD9
07/10/2017, 12:52 PM
Hey everyone, haven't check in in a while. I don't think my water level is low, an inch off the top. Still general algae places but no hair algae and it calms down a lot when I do my weekly water changes. All my lvls are good and pretty consistent hardly ever add any chemicals except the occasional pH buffer. My main problem now is that my clown fish is attacking my chromis. He does not let the chromis come out of his spot in the rocks without chasing him all the way around the tank back into his place. Any tips for this, my clown is about vigger than my chromis, about half an inch bigger. My coral is doing great so far. Want to add another one soon. What coral would you suggest adding? All I have right now is a red mushroom.

JD9
07/10/2017, 01:01 PM
Also are you suggesting I do away with my mechanical filter? I have no siphon or any knowledge regarding the siphon so I would need a lot of help with that.

Troublekitty
07/17/2017, 07:05 PM
If you choose to keep your HOB I would mount it on the side walls. I have a HOB and found I had better flow and less micro bubbles in my tank. Do i like seeing it on the side - No. Does the life in my tank and water look better - Yes.

JD9
07/20/2017, 07:19 PM
Had my first casualty. I guess the clownfish bullied the chromis to death; clown is still fine. Algae growth is still constant, can't get it to go away.

JD9
07/28/2017, 12:23 PM
Hello all, time for another update as my tank has recently grown. As you know my chromis has died, but it was bullied off by the clown over the month they were together. I bought a royal gramma and a small 6 line wrasse to go with the clown. So far they all mind their own business. If anything the gramma put the 6 line in check in the first few hours by nipping him when he swam past. Hopefully this hierarchy stays in place as I have read many stories about rouge 6 lines. My red mushroom coral has already split so now I have 2 of them. I have also purchased a frogspawn. I put it on the sand bed for now as I am not sure where to place it yet. Any tips on placement would be appreciated as I have read that the frogspawn's tentacles sting other corals, and I want to put it in a place where I can add more corals around it in the future. Most of my algae has subsided for now since I am back in town and can take care of the tank everyday rather than only once a week. The only main problem I have is that the sand bed is full of diatoms. I'd like to purchase some more snails and blue hermit crabs to farther help diminish the algae growth. Are there any specific snails that would be best for cleaning the sand bed? I ordered a lot of snails in the initial setup of the tank but about 50% died off in the first few days due to the shipping process. Also, what are some other good corals to buy to add more color and life to my tank. Are the 3 fish I have now, clownfish, gramma, and 6 line a good limit to the amount of fish I can have in a 20 gal or is one more fish fine too? As always I would love advice as I am still very young in this hobby.

Ejb
08/04/2017, 03:50 PM
Not sure if that is diatoms on the sand bed, looks kinda like cyano to me. Id watch out for that creeping up on the frogspawn since its in the sand as well. I personally wouldn't add another fish, but that is all up to you

JD9
08/05/2017, 02:32 PM
Not sure if that is diatoms on the sand bed, looks kinda like cyano to me. Id watch out for that creeping up on the frogspawn since its in the sand as well. I personally wouldn't add another fish, but that is all up to you

How should I get rid of the cyano?