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I have a few tank questions


psychofireman
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I have looked thru alot of different threads which just makes me question things more... anyways. This is my goal, To have torches/hammers/frog spawn that will thrive (so my wife can also enjoy my tank) This is what I'm running 55gal w/ no sump, octo90 hob skimmer, 2 titanium 300w heaters, 2 canister filters 1 mainly for mechanical filtration . apex, tridet, DOS, not dosig currently. 4 kessil can lights and a retagle led light 18"x6"ish. my nitrites and amonia =0, nitrates around 20ppm . alk 9.4ish, cal 320,  mag 1480.

1) would you recommend me adding a internal hang on refuge like the large cpr refuge?

2) If I got rid of my sand bed cest pool, what should I replace it with to keep the live rock from moving/sliding?

3) should I get a UV sterilizer for the tank?

Not sure of long range plans for this tank as far as sps or other corals.

 

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I saw your original post - glad you're reaching out here to try and generate more specific suggestions.   In reality, there are a bunch of ways to run a successful reeftank.  So you're likely to get (and read) a variety of opinions - you'll have to synthesize out what works for you.

For example, I have to acknowledge I am Terrible on daily maintenance.   So I've had to bias all my solutions towards as automated as possible.  Otherwise I won't do it often enough.  (especially things like dosing)

Original post said you've been at this for ~5 years.   I've had a tank in your shape.   My thoughts, you've got built up organics (including in the sand) and built up nitrates.   My specifics;

  • Focus on organic cleanliness and reducing nitrates
  • clean/change mechanical filtration media At-LEAST once a week, if not twice a week while trying to correct this.  (remove organics as early as possible)
  • I'd syphon out your gravel.   replace with new thin layer if needed.   You'll naturally not be able to reach 100% of the gravel (under the rocks), That's Okay.  
    • I've done this multiple times over the years.   going back and forth of bare bottom vs sand bottom.  (I visually like Something on the bottom of my tank)
  • scrub rocks to knock off algae, syphon as much free floating algae out.  clean/change mechanical filtration media the next day
    • Do this once/twice a week for a month straight
  • Grow Your Cleanup Crew!    (Tangs, Snails, etc) <-- Soon, now, easiest to do.
  • Ca feels low at 320 - I'd want closer to 400.
    • As you increase Ca, I expect your Mag consumption to increase.  So be careful there.   Ca ~>400, Mg ~>1350 long term

Your questions

  1. I don't have any fuge experience.  No comment
  2. see my comment above on sand bed
  3. My view, UV sterilizer is for outbreaks and possible dino algae control.    So I'd say No.  don't put your time/money into UV.

We didn't touch on anything like Strontium levels/etc, or amino additions.  (Acro power, AB+, etc).  I'll let others comment on this one.

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I plan on rearranging my rocks soon once I figure out what to do instead of sand. And will scrub the rocks the mall my shrooms and other coral stuff are not attached to my bigger live rock they are still on smaller rocks. And was thinking of a hang on inside of tank refuge for my monthly copiapod shipment where the would be safe till they get bigger and spread out into the rock

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Just looking at your photos i would say that the main issue is nutrient export.  While a fuge can be a great nutrient export mechanism on a tank that size, regular 10 gallon water changes and a robust cleaning crew would solve all your issues. 

I would NOT advise removing the sand bed.  There is a tremendous amount of bacteria down there.  I would bet good money that if you removed it you are going to have cyano and dino problems.

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2 hours ago, pdxmonkeyboy said:

Just looking at your photos i would say that the main issue is nutrient export.  While a fuge can be a great nutrient export mechanism on a tank that size, regular 10 gallon water changes and a robust cleaning crew would solve all your issues. 

I would NOT advise removing the sand bed.  There is a tremendous amount of bacteria down there.  I would bet good money that if you removed it you are going to have cyano and dino problems.

Fair enough.   Don't touch sand, work on nutrient export/organics control.   

What I can't tell is how dirty/old/Reasonably clean the sane bed is.   

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10 hours ago, pdxmonkeyboy said:

Just looking at your photos i would say that the main issue is nutrient export.  While a fuge can be a great nutrient export mechanism on a tank that size, regular 10 gallon water changes and a robust cleaning crew would solve all your issues. 

I would NOT advise removing the sand bed.  There is a tremendous amount of bacteria down there.  I would bet good money that if you removed it you are going to have cyano and dino problems.

I thought dinos were extinct 

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I really would like to get rid of almost all my sand  and clean enough of it for 1 inch base and while everything is out I was going to diamondpad the scratches out of the walls and scrub the rocks of the algae. Since my water is now almost the same as what my salt water is for alk calc and mag I was going to replace with all new water and then put the rest of the corals and fish back in

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7 hours ago, obrien.david.j said:

Fair enough.   Don't touch sand, work on nutrient export/organics control.   

What I can't tell is how dirty/old/Reasonably clean the sane bed is.   

Sand bed is like 4” of fine sand and have had it since the beginning like 5+ yrs

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Regular water change schedule is a huge help and no sand in the DT is a major help. Although I like the look of a sandy bottom. I hate all the nasty stuff it harbors more. You can keep it KISS and be successful or have all the gear you can get and still fail. At the end it is your maintenance routine that will determine your success. Just like most things in life I guess.  

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15 hours ago, psychofireman said:

 

E4419302-DDBB-4A24-8A07-4626B55985E3.jpeg

A good rinse of that sand would work wonders. Or going bare bottom would be fine too. Assuming you have plenty of live rock in the tank I wouldn't worry about losing the sands bacteria. 

My vote is rinse, rinse,and rinse again then reuse all of the old sand.

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I took all my sand out and saved a half bucket of it, rinsed rinsed rinsed and rinsed again. Didn't realize I had was white sand. scrubbed all my walls and removed most of the scratches. and cleaned the rocks that didn't have shrooms attached to them. my cleanup crew just arrived and will be putting them in shortly. only lost my non spicy noodle goby in the process cause he was looking for a home and I guess tried to take a nap in an anemone. Everything else seems to be adjusting so far. Also got my UV sterilizer today and have it up and running.

IMG_2880.jpg

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what clean up crew can I use with a humu? I know he eats snails and crabs. Gobies aren’t safe. I know tangs would do ok. Not sure what happened to the beanie I had in the tank but he wasn’t there when I cleaned it out today. And other fish or creatures to maintain cleanup?

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On 1/23/2021 at 2:16 PM, psychofireman said:

I took all my sand out and saved a half bucket of it, rinsed rinsed rinsed and rinsed again. Didn't realize I had was white sand. scrubbed all my walls and removed most of the scratches. and cleaned the rocks that didn't have shrooms attached to them. my cleanup crew just arrived and will be putting them in shortly. only lost my non spicy noodle goby in the process cause he was looking for a home and I guess tried to take a nap in an anemone. Everything else seems to be adjusting so far. Also got my UV sterilizer today and have it up and running.

You've been busy, nice job.     

Acknowledging multiple opinions have been expressed here, including "remove sand", "don't touch sand", "wash sand" ...   Since you've  already removed the sand bed and washed it like crazy - my opinion would be to put only 1-1.5" of sand back in.  (my personal choice is 1")   It looks like you're still in the 3-4" range, even after you held back a half a bucket of it.

The sand bed has been disturbed.   So there's nothing wrong with just syphoning out another layer of it.    Simply less to build up junk in it.    While still keeping some of the existing bio that was already in it.

 

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I agree I can get rid of more sand. Currently there is no sand behind the rocks as about 2” in front of the rocks. It keeps moving to in front of the rocks. I’m just worried about my rocks falling if there isn’t t sand to oppose the movement. I seriously am considering trading or getting rid of humu so I can get some gobies and different cleanup crews besides just snails. Apparently it’s kinda difficult to have both a cleanup crew and humu.

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Quick observation here...why do you have so many lights?!? A 55gal tank can easily be lit with 2-3 kessil. 4 would give great coverage (but remember, a single light is meant to cover a 24” square). But adding a whole extra black box led and having them butted up next to each other is kind of crazy and overkill! If I were you I would lose the black box and mount your kessil lights evenly spread apart and much higher off the water. Frogspawn/torches don’t have high light demand and with the current setup I could see them being over lit and not opening up as much and losing the deep colors. I’m not an expert, but I do have like 100 frogspawn heads in my tank...🤣

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51 minutes ago, psychofireman said:

I agree I can get rid of more sand. Currently there is no sand behind the rocks as about 2” in front of the rocks. It keeps moving to in front of the rocks. I’m just worried about my rocks falling if there isn’t t sand to oppose the movement. I seriously am considering trading or getting rid of humu so I can get some gobies and different cleanup crews besides just snails. Apparently it’s kinda difficult to have both a cleanup crew and humu.

I have no humu experience, so can't help there.

It looks like you've just done a ton of work cleaning the sand, and scrubbing the rocks.  Great Job!     I encourage you to stay on it.   Take something out and scrub it again in a week.   Keep the weekly water changes going.   How often can you change your mechanical filtration?  (twice a week?).   Make sure your cleaning your skimmer, at least weekly.     Stay on top of things for a month or two, solid.     

 

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8 minutes ago, obrien.david.j said:

I have no humu experience, so can't help there.

It looks like you've just done a ton of work cleaning the sand, and scrubbing the rocks.  Great Job!     I encourage you to stay on it.   Take something out and scrub it again in a week.   Keep the weekly water changes going.   How often can you change your mechanical filtration?  (twice a week?).   Make sure your cleaning your skimmer, at least weekly.     Stay on top of things for a month or two, solid.     

 

I changed out my filtration yesterday( like it was recommended to me after sand and tank work sat). But I planned only do it every other week on a rotating basis( I am using 2 canister filters). Is there any other option than taking rock out and scrub? I don’t like having to restack the rock. Later today I’m going to suck out more sand

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10 minutes ago, Blue Z Reef said:

Quick observation here...why do you have so many lights?!? A 55gal tank can easily be lit with 2-3 kessil. 4 would give great coverage (but remember, a single light is meant to cover a 24” square). But adding a whole extra black box led and having them butted up next to each other is kind of crazy and overkill! If I were you I would lose the black box and mount your kessil lights evenly spread apart and much higher off the water. Frogspawn/torches don’t have high light demand and with the current setup I could see them being over lit and not opening up as much and losing the deep colors. I’m not an expert, but I do have like 100 frogspawn heads in my tank...🤣

Probably cause I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m running them at half intensity and 1/4 turn off blue. My thought is using the outside ones on at 09-18:00 inner 2 same setup, to come on 12-16. The middle one is set to ch1 1 ch 2 0 from 08- 20:00. In my mind that would simulate the sun around here. Only thing is I’m not sure what par to shoot for and how long at different pars. I could hook my kessil up different and use controller. But since I had the lights I thought to just use them all at half intensity 

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On 1/22/2021 at 8:57 AM, obrien.david.j said:

My specifics;

  • Focus on organic cleanliness and reducing nitrates
  • clean/change mechanical filtration media At-LEAST once a week, if not twice a week while trying to correct this.  (remove organics as early as possible)
  • I'd syphon out your gravel.   replace with new thin layer if needed.   You'll naturally not be able to reach 100% of the gravel (under the rocks), That's Okay.  
    • I've done this multiple times over the years.   going back and forth of bare bottom vs sand bottom.  (I visually like Something on the bottom of my tank)
  • scrub rocks to knock off algae, syphon as much free floating algae out.  clean/change mechanical filtration media the next day
    • Do this once/twice a week for a month straight
  • Grow Your Cleanup Crew!    (Tangs, Snails, etc) <-- Soon, now, easiest to do.
  • Ca feels low at 320 - I'd want closer to 400.
    • As you increase Ca, I expect your Mag consumption to increase.  So be careful there.   Ca ~>400, Mg ~>1350 long term

 

So you're likely to get (and read) a variety of opinions - you'll have to synthesize out what works for you.  For example, I have to acknowledge I am Terrible on daily maintenance.   So I've had to bias all my solutions towards as automated as possible.  Otherwise I won't do it often enough. 

 

18 minutes ago, psychofireman said:

I changed out my filtration yesterday( like it was recommended to me after sand and tank work sat). But I planned only do it every other week on a rotating basis( I am using 2 canister filters). Is there any other option than taking rock out and scrub? I don’t like having to restack the rock. Later today I’m going to suck out more sand

I copied my original thoughts above, You're Doing Great!    I'm sure Rocks and Sand were a royal Pain.  (or at least a lot of work)   Great to jump start on your journey to reducing organics and all the yuck that goes with them.   You need to figure out what you can do on a 1/2 week and weekly basis for the next month+.    

  • Cleaning mechanical filtration weekly (or 2x/week) is the really big improvement.   This Physically removes organics out of your water Sooner.  This is what you want.  
    • If cleaning your canisters is too painful, then start researching other mechanical filtration options you Can afford the energy to do.  
  • You don't have to remove rocks from your tank to do maintenance scrubbing.  Use a HARD toothbrush (not soft, not medium stiffness.)   Scrub them in place, even blowing the scrubbed spots with a spare power head, or turkey baster.  
    • best way to make visible progress on algae is to keep it knocked down
  • Glad you're figuring out your Tang and cleanup crew options.   Keep going
  • Have you started any research on increasing your Ca levels yet?  <-- Anyone want to make suggestions

Re-read the last two lines of my quote above here.  Lots of opinions, you've got to figure out what works for you. 

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I haven’t figured out what to do with my ca lvls. I don’t have really any idea how to go about dosing it. I do have a DOS but aren’t currently using it. I was hoping I could control my ca lvls by water changes. Not sure how much I should do now or wait for things to settle from this last weekend changes 

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