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Old 04/22/2018, 01:50 AM   #1
Easy E
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Are my KH and NO3 too high for corals?

I've had fish-only tanks for years, but I'm a complete newbie to corals, so I figured I would post here. My alkalinity and nitrates were through the roof when I first started thinking about corals, and I've spent a couple years just trying to get them down to reasonable levels. It has been a very slow process and a real PITA. The KH is now between 10 and 11 (started at 19) and the NO3 is around 7.5 (started at 40+). All the other parameters are within the acceptable range (SG=1.025, CA=460, Mg=1350, PO4=unknown but was really low last time I checked). My light is a Current USA Orbit Marine LED. It provides about 400 PAR at the surface and about 100 halfway to the bottom. I will continue to bring the KH and NO3 down slowly, but I'm wondering if there are any hardy, desirable corals I could start with at this point? It may be a lot to ask for,but I would like something colorful and relatively inexpensive that won't take over my tank. Any suggestions?


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Old 04/22/2018, 02:07 AM   #2
homer1475
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First suggestion if you want to start in corals, get a better light. 100par half way down the tank... What is it on the sandbed like 20? Not a good choice for corals. While it will be fine for softies, most softies are invasive and will take over the tank.


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Originally posted by der_wille_zur_macht:

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Old 04/22/2018, 02:19 AM   #3
Easy E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homer1475 View Post
First suggestion if you want to start in corals, get a better light. 100par half way down the tank... What is it on the sandbed like 20? Not a good choice for corals. While it will be fine for softies, most softies are invasive and will take over the tank.
Yeah, it's probably about 20-30 at the bottom. I'll probably just forget about it then. I don't have the money for expensive lights. I thought maybe there were some soft corals, zoas, or mushrooms that would work and wouldn't be invasive. Thanks.

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Current Tank Info: 55 gal FOWLR w/15 gal above tank refugium, 10 gal nano FOWLR
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Old 04/22/2018, 02:25 AM   #4
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Ricodia mushrooms won't get to plague proportions, Zoas would be fine and won't be invasive, a leather might work up higher on the rockwork.......

But most softies(pulsing xenia, clove polyps, anthelia, etc) are manageable if kept in check, but if not kept in check, they will overrun the tank, and can be grown in less then ideal lighting.

I really hate how they market that light. While it CAN grow corals, typically they have to be within a few inches of that light to be effective. It's more of a FOWLR light then a coral light.


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Originally posted by der_wille_zur_macht:

"He's just taking his lunch to work"
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Old 04/22/2018, 03:20 AM   #5
Easy E
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Would zoas or ricordia be able to tolerate high KH and nitrates? I've seen some really cool specimens of both. I have a huge rock pile that goes all the way to the top, so I could put them right under the light if need be. Most softies have pretty dull coloration, so was inclined against them anyway.

The manufacturer's description of the light does clearly indicate that it's not the best choice for stony corals. The Orbit Pro has double the PAR, but also costs about twice as much. I probably should have waited for a deal on that one. The programmable timer is really nice though, so I'm happy about that.

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“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. ~Mark Twain~”

Current Tank Info: 55 gal FOWLR w/15 gal above tank refugium, 10 gal nano FOWLR
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Old 04/22/2018, 03:30 AM   #6
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yeah read about that issue in the OP. How did your KH get so high? High KH salt?
Easiest solution and since you have no coral ATM, just do a few WC's with lower alkalinity salt.

If the salt your using is high in ALkalinity, then use some muratic acid to lower it before doing the WC. If your going to go that route, make sure you mix the water up for 24 hours after adding the acid to bring the PH back up to acceptable levels(adding the acid rapidly decreases the PH to a level we would not want to put in our tanks).

Simple calculations for the amount of acid to add:

DKH drop x volume x .123 = amount of acid in ml to add

Example:
10dkh on a 25G mixing system. You want the DKH to be 8 so a 2DKH drop

2 x 25 x .123 = 6.1ml of muriatic acid. It's actually 6.15 but I always round down to be on the safe side.

Never, and I repeat NEVER add muriatic acid to your DT!

High nitrates, sure softies love them high(we like to call this "dirty" water). And 10DKH isn't super high, but high enough I would be trying to slowly lower it.


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Originally posted by der_wille_zur_macht:

"He's just taking his lunch to work"
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Old 04/22/2018, 04:11 AM   #7
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I live in Iowa, which sits on a massive sheet of limestone. Plus I use well water, which has filtered through all that limestone. My water comes out of the tap at about 12KH even after it's gone through a water softener. Cichlids love it, but other forms of aquatic life, not so much.

I'm well versed in the use of muratic acid. That's how I've gotten the KH down as far as is now. But it's nasty stuff, so you have to be really, really careful with it. Even if you add it to the tap water before you mix in the salt and wait 24 hrs, you have to make sure you don't add too much acid or change out too much water at once. If you drop the KH more than 1 or 2 points at a time, your fish will be at the top of the tank sucking for air if they survive.

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Current Tank Info: 55 gal FOWLR w/15 gal above tank refugium, 10 gal nano FOWLR
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Old 04/22/2018, 04:19 AM   #8
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Ok that makes complete sense now. I still think your going a little to slow though. A 9dkh drop shouldn't take "years". If you drop 1 DKH a week(that should be absolutely acceptable as were not talking corals here)x 9 DKH = 9 weeks.

FYI 7 to 10 is the typical target range for Alkalinity, so most shoot for the middle of the road around 8. So your 10 isn't super high anymore.

I use muriatic acid on every salt batch, I'm well aware of the precautions. Thank you though.


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Originally posted by der_wille_zur_macht:

"He's just taking his lunch to work"
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Old 04/22/2018, 04:44 AM   #9
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Yeah, I got a little too aggressive at first, then I got a little scared. Plus I wasn't treating the top offs at first either, so that was kind of defeating the purpose. I will go ahead and get it down around 8 before trying any corals.

How high can the nitrate be for zoas or ricordia? I have chaeto growing in my refugium now, so that should be going down too, but I'll probably never get it down to zero. My refugium was packed with macroalgae at one time but it all died suddenly and I couldn't get anything to grow in there for a long time. I never could figure out exactly why that happened, but I bought a new light and things seem to all better now.

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“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. ~Mark Twain~”

Current Tank Info: 55 gal FOWLR w/15 gal above tank refugium, 10 gal nano FOWLR
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Old 04/22/2018, 04:54 AM   #10
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Not sure on how high they can be for softies.

I will say when I ran a softie only tank, they did best in the 20ppm range. Mine got as high as 80ppm and everything was still fine.


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Originally posted by der_wille_zur_macht:

"He's just taking his lunch to work"
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Old 04/22/2018, 05:02 AM   #11
Easy E
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My nitrates aren't nearly that high, so I should be OK. Thanks for all your help.

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“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. ~Mark Twain~”

Current Tank Info: 55 gal FOWLR w/15 gal above tank refugium, 10 gal nano FOWLR
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Old 04/22/2018, 05:07 AM   #12
homer1475
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NP. were all here just to pass on knowledge.


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Originally posted by der_wille_zur_macht:

"He's just taking his lunch to work"
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Old 04/22/2018, 03:23 PM   #13
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My rule of thumb for a mixed reef is nitrate 2-5 ppm and phosphate .02-.04
Now that's a mix reef, a softies and LPS could go as high as 20 ppm for short periods, but 10 a better target....not enough corals won't do well, too much and algaes take over...it's a balance that counts
I run all three of the calcifiers high, my Alk is 11.5....
I think your light wil work if corals are placed correctly.
Let your corals speak for you, they will tell you when too much/ too low light.


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