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Done things wrong for so long, I'm an experienced Noob


psychofireman
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Hi y'all, 

Currently reside in Salmon Creek area. New to this forum. Been really successful at reefing unsuccessfully for a really long time (about 5 yrs). Have a lot of patience issues so have killed more things than I care to remember. My main goal is to be able to have frog spawn, hammers and torches thrive in my 55 gal tank (cause those are my wife's favorite). Wife got me the Apex (which I'm sure i'm not using to its full potential), PH and Temp probe, Par Meter thingy, trident and DOS (not currently DOSing) for Christmas. In the past I have been really successful growing unwanted hair algae. Funny thing Is I got a salt water tank to help with my depression/anxiety issues, which it has....but not in a good way. So, hoping to learn more in these forums and be able to grow corals my wife would love to have. Also, any advice is welcome.

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Sounds like you have a great attitude to find the long term success. Sometimes you gotta roll with the punches. If you can do that and press on, you'll be able to make some progress. 

You mentioned wanting to keep some torches and frog spawn. What's your setup like? Sump? Protein skimmer? How are you with water changes, testing, and dosing?

The Trident and DOS should certainly introduce a new arena of stability you may not have experienced before, but I'd still recommend having a real thorough understanding of parameters (what they should be, why, how best to maintain, etc.). 

5 years in the hobby means you have to have some level of patience, or at least commitment. Post up any questions. Welcome to the club!

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15 minutes ago, Higher Thinking said:

Sounds like you have a great attitude to find the long term success. Sometimes you gotta roll with the punches. If you can do that and press on, you'll be able to make some progress. 

You mentioned wanting to keep some torches and frog spawn. What's your setup like? Sump? Protein skimmer? How are you with water changes, testing, and dosing?

The Trident and DOS should certainly introduce a new arena of stability you may not have experienced before, but I'd still recommend having a real thorough understanding of parameters (what they should be, why, how best to maintain, etc.). 

5 years in the hobby means you have to have some level of patience, or at least commitment. Post up any questions. Welcome to the club!

I have a octo 90 hob skimmer. No sump. I’m trying for 8.3 ph, around 8.5 alk, 1350 mag, calc is 330ish. Never used to wc, just topped of with rodi. Am thinking about getting a hang in tank refuge. Run 4 kessil cans(2 on each side of a rectangle led (around 2’x 1’)in middle of tank giving 250-360 par currently. Have been doing 10gal changes once a week. Everything looks good but have more hair algae than I would like to have. Not dosing currently since I mainly have fish and mushrooms/Zoas 

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Welcome to the club!

I'm the resident Apex guru and have written extensively on the subject.  (see https://www.reef2reef.com/ams/authors/suncrestreef.93940/)

While the Apex will help you to monitor your temperature and pH, and the Trident and DOS can help you maintain stable alkalinity, calcium, and magnesium, it sounds like your current issue with algae is more related to nitrate (NO3) and phosphate (PO4) levels.  The Trident cannot test or monitor those parameters, so your best bet is to get some reliable test kits for NO3 and PO4, and if those numbers are higher than recommended then use a combination of water changes, mechanical filtration, and possibly chemical additives to reduce the nutrients that are causing the algae to thrive.  Additionally, be sure you have enough cleanup crew members (snails, hermit crabs, emerald crabs, conchs, algae-eating fish, urchins, etc.) to peck away at the algae to keep it under control.

Post some photos of your tank when you have a chance.  We love photos here!

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Suncrestreef, 

you’re  the reason I found this forum I saw a post from or replied by you about some lighting thing or something on I think it was r2r and while trying to find out more about it and I got to your YouTube and then ultimately this forum. I’m going to be getting a Hanna pho’s meter( sounds easy, and I like easy) so right now I honestly don’t know my pho’s or nitrates. Currently I am running 2 canister filters with 2little fishies pho’s filter pads in them and other filter media. 

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6 minutes ago, psychofireman said:

Suncrestreef, 

you’re  the reason I found this forum I saw a post from or replied by you about some lighting thing or something on I think it was r2r and while trying to find out more about it and I got to your YouTube and then ultimately this forum. I’m going to be getting a Hanna pho’s meter( sounds easy, and I like easy) so right now I honestly don’t know my pho’s or nitrates. Currently I am running 2 canister filters with 2little fishies pho’s filter pads in them and other filter media. 

I'm glad I helped you find us!

I use the Hanna ULR Phosphorus HI736 for my Phosphate testing, and the Red Sea Nitrate Pro kit for Nitrate testing.  Your goal of keeping frogspawn, hammers, and torches is less demanding on super low nutrients than keeping SPS corals.  But the nutrient levels will definitely contribute to algae problems. Another thing to consider is what kind and how much food you're feeding your fish.  What's your current feeding routine, and what's your fish population?

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14 hours ago, SuncrestReef said:

Welcome to the club!

I'm the resident Apex guru and have written extensively on the subject.  (see https://www.reef2reef.com/ams/authors/suncrestreef.93940/)

While the Apex will help you to monitor your temperature and pH, and the Trident and DOS can help you maintain stable alkalinity, calcium, and magnesium, it sounds like your current issue with algae is more related to nitrate (NO3) and phosphate (PO4) levels.  The Trident cannot test or monitor those parameters, so your best bet is to get some reliable test kits for NO3 and PO4, and if those numbers are higher than recommended then use a combination of water changes, mechanical filtration, and possibly chemical additives to reduce the nutrients that are causing the algae to thrive.  Additionally, be sure you have enough cleanup crew members (snails, hermit crabs, emerald crabs, conchs, algae-eating fish, urchins, etc.) to peck away at the algae to keep it under control.

Post some photos of your tank when you have a chance.  We love photos here!

My tank ain’t purdy, but I still enjoy watching it. Not pictured are 3 fire fish, engineer goby( aka my none spicy noodle) and a recent addition a lawnmower blennieBA2E2542-9C20-4805-9B60-58523ED2472D.thumb.jpeg.1477b2b9e4e18de409c281f3e18a19f6.jpeg

854B9DC8-80BB-4235-BF0C-ED7241C978EA.jpeg

3E8F9BBA-8FE9-4934-894A-4456EA76DEC5.jpeg

E1D63E60-3726-4866-9903-450D6CE37ADD.jpeg

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Welcome to the group.  You've come to the right place for help, or at least moral support.  I've killed my share of things, and crashed my tank a number of times.

 

19 hours ago, psychofireman said:

I have a octo 90 hob skimmer. No sump. I’m trying for 8.3 ph, around 8.5 alk, 1350 mag, calc is 330ish. Never used to wc, just topped of with rodi. Am thinking about getting a hang in tank refuge. Run 4 kessil cans(2 on each side of a rectangle led (around 2’x 1’)in middle of tank giving 250-360 par currently. Have been doing 10gal changes once a week. Everything looks good but have more hair algae than I would like to have. Not dosing currently since I mainly have fish and mushrooms/Zoas 

I'm a huge fan of skimmers and nutrient export.  I like to Feed My Fish (not starve them), but it means I need to pull the breakdown back out of the water.   Not having a sump makes other mechanical removal methods tougher.  I have sump, and ran without filtersocks for a long time.  Just couldn't get the tank up to full snuff.  Added them, change them weekly.  And for Me, there's a differences.   But, keep reading feedback below.

 

19 hours ago, SuncrestReef said:

While the Apex will help you to monitor your temperature and pH, and the Trident and DOS can help you maintain stable alkalinity, calcium, and magnesium, it sounds like your current issue with algae is more related to nitrate (NO3) and phosphate (PO4) levels.  The Trident cannot test or monitor those parameters, so your best bet is to get some reliable test kits for NO3 and PO4, and if those numbers are higher than recommended then use a combination of water changes, mechanical filtration, and possibly chemical additives to reduce the nutrients that are causing the algae to thrive.  Additionally, be sure you have enough cleanup crew members (snails, hermit crabs, emerald crabs, conchs, algae-eating fish, urchins, etc.) to peck away at the algae to keep it under control.

John's feedback here is spot on.   Basic nutrients of Nitrate and phosphate are in your system.  I killed a bunch with my nitrates too high for a long time.    Water changes will help/etc.  

Tank pictures helped.  I'm also a huge fan of algae eating clean up crews.   Couple different tang species, (your lawnmower blenny is excellent too), bunch of snails needed, conch is a good idea, hermit crabs, etc.   I'd add like 10-20 snails.    Tangs don't even need to be fancy.   Yellow eye Kole tang, Scopas tang, Blue tang, ... I consider them utility tangs.  

Maybe I missed a comment, Do you have NO3 and PO4 test kits, what level is in your water?

 

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I don’t have a test kit. used to but got lost in the move and was too lazy to get another one for it. Going to get a Hanna one soon. Been just doing water changes and monitoring what I can. Been judging by growth on my walls. Also have those stick thingys to measure what ever the measure and my nitrates are almost on the white box. My water level is near the top... I know that’s not what you meant.

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Unfortunately with that humuhumu fish you won't be able to get any hermit crabs and small snails. You may get by with some turbo snails, but it'll still try and flip them over and eat them.

To be honest I'd consider ditching those canister filters in lieu of some other kind of filtration. HOB refugium is one option and/or HOB skimmer. I suppose you could add some good media in the canisters to reduce your phosphate levels. And just make sure to not overfeed. Additional nutrients can only come from dirty top off water or your food. Make sure neither is adding unnecessary phosphates and nitrites. 

 

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I totally agree about adding some mechanical bio export. Without a sump I’d recommend more live rock, or a bio block or something. A lawnmower blenny is a good help, and agree with others about adding a tang. 
 

A good skimmer is a must. Read up on the options, HOB are riskier than in sump bc if the overflow they’re dumping water out of your tank which gets the floor wet but also causes your ATO to keep pumping and then you have a salinity drop. For me, these are the type of things that happen when I’m on vacation lol

 

Also- what food do you feed? Sometimes that can make a huge difference in algae growth

 

if argue almost every reefer has to battle algae at some point, so we feel your pain!

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46 minutes ago, reefrun said:

I totally agree about adding some mechanical bio export. Without a sump I’d recommend more live rock, or a bio block or something. A lawnmower blenny is a good help, and agree with others about adding a tang. 
 

A good skimmer is a must. Read up on the options, HOB are riskier than in sump bc if the overflow they’re dumping water out of your tank which gets the floor wet but also causes your ATO to keep pumping and then you have a salinity drop. For me, these are the type of things that happen when I’m on vacation lol

 

Also- what food do you feed? Sometimes that can make a huge difference in algae growth

 

if argue almost every reefer has to battle algae at some point, so we feel your pain!

I don’t use an ato and is the octo 90 hob skimmer and have a drain line now hooked up to the cup( have had overflows in the past) and the has remedied that). I had to tangs, but they died due to lack of o2 during last issue when skimmer over filled and shorted out outlet on wall below it. For food I am going to be making my own following directions for fish food from brs Sunday. Until them I’m using a few different frozen cubes.

would bio plates be a good base instead of sand?

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11 hours ago, Higher Thinking said:

Unfortunately with that humuhumu fish you won't be able to get any hermit crabs and small snails. You may get by with some turbo snails, but it'll still try and flip them over and eat them.

 

 

I get bulk small cith snails for cleanup and food for him and when they run low I get more. 

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