FAQs on Reef Set-Up 13
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Related FAQs: Reef Set-Up
1, Reef Set-Up 2, Reef Set-Up 3, Reef Set-Up 4, Reef Set-Up 5, Reef
Set-Up 6, Reef Set-Up 7,
Reef Set-Up 8, Reef Set-Up 9, Reef Set-Up 10, Reef Set-Up 11, Reef Set-Up 12, Reef Set-Up 14, Reef Set-Up 15, & Reef Tanks, Reef Lighting, Reef Lighting 2, Reef Filtration,
& Reef Livestocking, Reef Livestocking 2,
Reef Feeding, Reef Disease, Reef Maintenance, Marine System Plumbing, Marine Aquarium Set-Up, Live Rock, Live Sand,
Set-ups, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems,
Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large
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Algal Filtration in
General, Mud Filtration
Small Marine Aquariums
eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
Book 2: Fishes
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Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Reef Setup Critique -- 06/08/10
Hey guys love the site. I'm planning for my first big tank
and I made a VERY advanced CAD drawing for you to critique.
It's a 240g Starphire tank. Can you lend a hand and tell me
if there is anything you would change? I really appreciate any
help you can give me knowing how busy you guys are.
<<Well Mike (or Dr. John? [name on drawing]'¦ or
Cyrus? [name on email addy]'¦), I'm more than
happy to offer my opinions. If I don't mention something
it's likely because I thought it to be okay as is, but do
feel free to specifically question anything later on if you wish.
Let's start at the top and work our way down'¦
Your choice of lighting looks fine, though I would make mention
that a pendant system for the halides, utilizing a high quality
reflector (my vote goes to the CoralVue 'Lumen Bright'
reflector'¦I use these over my 96'x30'x30'
reef display), will make the most of your selection in this
relatively tall tank. I also very much suggest a 10K bulb over a
higher Kelvin temperature bulb for the increased
intensity/penetration and overall 'more natural'
appearance, especially considering the presence of the VHOs which
will presumably be Actinic'¦ Moving to the display, I
see you have the Tunze controller but don't specify which
6100 series Stream pump you'll use. My vote goes to the newer
model 6105, just cus I like new toys [grin]. I also suggest you
research and configure these flow pumps to provide a
'gyre' like flow within the display. Doing so, you will
also find the 'educators' on the returns to be
unnecessary. Do also reconsider the amount of rock you plan to
use. Unless it is very dense, 350lbs is just too much if you plan
to leave any room for corals to grow and for fishes to swim and
grow. A 'low profile' with some open space all around
will not only look better but will also 'function' better
re overall water movement/elimination of detritus
accumulation/etc. You'll still need to provide adequate
hiding/territory for your fishes based on your stocking plan so
it will take a bit of thought, but all will appreciate the open
water above the reef'¦and this will be especially
attractive to your fishes/corals with an alternating Gyre flow
pattern. As for the oxygenator (SÃ¶chting Oxydator),
you can use it if you wish, but personally I wouldn't bother
(here in the display, or in the 'fuge). The use of a good
skimmer coupled with good water movement will be more than
adequate'¦ Moving on to your plumbing I want to state
that I 'do not' like valves on gravity drain lines. Your
1.5' drains will safely gravity drain about 750gph each. The
addition of any type of valve greatly reduces this and also
increases the likelihood of an obstruction at some point. Control
your flow rate with a gate-valve on the output side of the return
pump (as you show in the drawing), and remove these from your
drain lines... Looking at your sump/refugium and the equipment
within I think the overall layout and equipment placement is fine
though a somewhat larger vessel would be a plus, if this is a
possibility. I feel with the use of the vegetable and mud
refugium the denitrator is not needed and system would be better
served by a phosphate reactor. I also feel the UV sterilizer to
be a benefit not worth the maintenance hassle, and even
counterproductive to a plankton-generating refugium. Your skimmer
is 'ok,' but my choice would be a quieter and less power
hungry needle-wheel model. Suggest you 'split' your
heater in to two 250w models for reasons of redundancy and to
reduce the chances of cooking the system in the event of a
problem with a unit. As for your top-off controller; while the
air-pressure switches (I use one to control my RO unit to fill my
50g FW reservoir in my garage) are much more reliable than a
float-valve, for the investment here I very highly recommend the
Tunze Osmolator for keeping your sump topped up. Now for that
check-valve on the return pump'¦remove it and position
your standpipes to control how much transient water volume drains
back to the sump. I assure you that sooner or later that
check-valve will fail'¦and it is also robbing much
efficiency from your return pump. I think that about does
it'¦ I'm not sure what that 'backup pump'
is about, but the 'float switch' causes me a little
concern. And you will also be better served by an
'in-line' chiller over a 'drop-in' model, but I
think it a small matter here. Boy, there's a heck of a lot
going on in this drawing but I think I've touched on
everything I wanted to mention. Be chatting, I'm
sure'¦ Eric Russell>>
Re: Reef Setup Critique -- 06/09/10
Thanks for the quick reply.
For aquarium gods you guys respond very quickly.
<<Ha! Speaking for myself, I think you give more credit
than deserved re your comparison to deities'¦but
thanks much for the vote of confidence [grin]>>
I (Cyrus Michael) am putting this together for Dr. John.
Made notes on your lighting recommendations. It's
retro-fitted into the canopy and yes VHO will be actinics. As for
the rocks, for a 240 do you think 275lb's is the right
<<That's hard to say as it depends much on the
type/quality of the rock'¦but it will likely take less
than you imagine. I would suggest starting with a couple boxes
(120-160 lbs total) and see what it looks like and go from there.
My own 500g system (375g display, 75g sump, 55g refugium)
probably has no more than about 200lbs of rock'¦but I
do also employ 1500 lbs of live sand via my DSBs in both the
display and the refugium>>
The SÃ¶chting Oxydator in the display was a
redundancy, in the event of a catastrophic failure it would
supply vital oxygen to the water; do you think it will work in
<<I honestly don't know, but it also can't hurt.
Having suffered a wipeout myself due to a failure (caused when a
GFCI tripped) of the recirculation pump'¦with
extenuating circumstances'¦I found it easy and
comforting to simply build in some redundancy (i.e. -- a second
pump on a different circuit)>>
I have the denitrator already and it worked wonders on other
tanks I've had, I can run it in a heavier phosphate removing
I removed the valves on the drains as per your
and doubled down on the heaters.
The reason I didn't go with the Tunze top-off is that I am
running the top-off for evaporation straight off the RO
<<Yikes! Not recommended my friend'¦ Keeping up
with bio-mineral content can be difficult enough on a large
system without putting yourself in a hole by adding the
'stripped- out' water directly from the RO filter. I
recommend filtering in to a storage vessel and then either
treating this water before using as top-off water (can be as
simple as placing a large filter bag full of fine aragonite sand
in the reservoir)'¦or my preferred
method'¦running the filtered water through a
Kalkwasser Reactor on its way to the sump for use as top-off
(this is where the Osmolator would come in). You could utilize
the SpectraPure device to keep the top-off 'reservoir'
The check valve was another level of redundancy,
<<But doomed to fail'¦sometime>>
the standpipes will be adjusted for the sumps water holding
<<A much more reliable alternative>>
I also am drilling a small anti-siphon into the LocLine return
pipe at its highest point in the display tank,
<<Also not a good idea, in my opinion. While a popular
solution, these 'holes' often become
plugged'¦usually right before you need one to
'work.' It's much better to simply position the
return outlet so it, like the standpipes, will not drain/siphon
more water from the display when the pump(s) is off than the sump
can hold. Some will argue that this limits the returns ability to
provide good water movement within the display. My reply to that
is'¦ Don't rely on the sump return for this. There
are many devices/flow pumps available today that provide much
better/more useful water motion than the return. Besides, keeping
the flow rate from the sump to a 'minimum' helps greatly
with plumbing issues>>
but I removed it for better flow.
I did add a redundant backup return pump activated by a float
switch in the event the primary goes down, is there a better way
to serve this purpose?
<<Nothing is completely foolproof, but running
'two' return pumps (e.g. -- two smaller pumps vs. one
large pump) on separate circuits is a more reliable
Are you a fan of flexible PVC for the plumbing?
<<I am...the gentle curves (where space allows) are much
less constricting than elbows. Some will argue the interior
surface has more 'drag' than standard smooth
pipe'¦but with properly sized throughputs and
matched-up pumps this shouldn't be an issue>>
Also is there any benefit to running both drain pipes into one
pipe that goes into one sock?
<<Sure, for the obvious simplicity/maintenance
re'¦but this will also reduce overall drain flow
capacity somewhat and will need to be considered/allowed
I appreciate your help on this very much.
<<Is truly my pleasure>>
Cyrus Michael "Mountain Dew" Julius Zafaranloo III
<<Now that's a name! Cheers my friend'¦ Eric
R2: Reef Setup Critique -- 06/10/10
So Eric, we are down to one issue, the RO
Demineralization would be an issue even with the Ca reactor on
<<Can be, yes'¦depending on coral species and
stocking densities. I find on my heavily stocked SPS
(predominantly) system that even with a Calcium reactor
'and' a Kalkwasser reactor I often have the need for
So if I understand you correctly, could I run the RO directly
into the Kalk reactor, then have the top-off system trigger the
pump for the top-off?
<<Pump? If the RO is hooked up to the Kalkwasser reactor
wouldn't the water be pushed to the sump via the mains water
pressure?...thus, why the need for a pump (or does the RO utilize
a pump to boost said water pressure?)? At any rate, yes, if the
air-switch in the sump is controlling a solenoid that turns water
on/off to the RO units then it is feasible to route the RO to the
Kalk reactor and then on to the sump>>
On another note are you a fan of the Tunze Wavebox 6212 (I give
that model because I am not sure if the 7095 will control the
<<Not especially, though I've not used
one'¦mainly because I don't like the size/bulk of
it'¦even in my 8' display>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>
R3: Reef Setup Critique -- 06/10/10
I forgot to ask, since you're a fan of needle-wheel
skimmers is there a brand that stands out for you?
<<Several, actually'¦ I currently employ an
'old' Euro-Reef CS12-3 upgraded with ER modified Eheim
pumps, and love it. Euro-Reef has changed their name and are now
called Reef Dynamics. Royal Exclusiv (Bubble King/Vertex) and
H&S also provide some very nice high-quality
skimmers'¦other options worth considering are the
offerings from Deltec, AquaC (though this is not a needle-wheel
model), Reef Octopus, and of course the Aerofoamer driven Tunze
Also, how about having two pipes drain into one 7" filter
sock, can you think of a disadvantage to that?
<<Should work fine'¦ EricR>>
R4: Reef Setup Critique -- 06/10/10
Oops, I know that you guys appreciate good grammar so please
replace my "your" with a "you're" or a
"you are" in case you are not a fan of
<<No worries, mate'¦was taken care of.
R5: Reef Setup Critique -- 06/10/10
I say pump because it seems most top-off units are some type of
low water detector that triggers a pump that's in a top-off
reservoir to fill the sump, no?
<<Yes, indeed you are correct'¦but you were
talking about plumbing the RO directly to the Kalkwasser reactor
in which case the mains water pressure would do the
Anyway, if I am going to be dosing vitamins, Coral Vite and stuff
like that isn't it a moot point?
<<Depends again on the stocking/health, and the rate of
growth you are shooting for>>
I will have mostly softies with some LPS and fish, really no SPS
besides monti's. Now for something completely different. For
aquascaping I will be getting some nice 20 - 30 lb pieces of rock
that will need securing. My plan is to drill a hole and insert
nylon bolts and nuts, is this ok?
<<Should be, yes'¦though 'bolting' may
not be necessary. You will likely find that much of the rock can
be secured by simply drilling/inserting rods of inert material to
secure (nylon, acrylic, PVC, etc.)>>
Thanks again Eric
<<Quite welcome Mike'¦ Eric R>>
R6: Reef Setup Critique -- 06/13/10
It's been a couple hours since I have emailed you guys so I
guess it's time to bug you again.
<<No worries Mike>>
Onto the lighting...the tank has a canopy with 2 VHO's
(I'm going to run actinics on this) and 3 mogul sockets for
400W metal halides.
<<I hope there is some means of venting air/heat from this
What brand bulbs do you guys like?
<<Often, what you pay for is what you get'¦ Some
bulbs worth looking at include offerings from Ushio, Hamilton,
Phoenix and Aqualine-Buschke (not necessarily in that order).
I'm currently trying out the CoralVue ReefLux 10K bulb and
thus far consider this my fave among 10K bulbs'¦but it
is still early in the testing>>
Being that I have actinics would you recommend 14k or 10k?
<<A multitude of factors at play here (do peruse WWM re),
not the least of which is the planned stocking of this system.
Generally my preference would be 10K'¦more natural
appearance, better PAR/penetration'¦but if this tank
is not going to house 'high light requiring organisms'
the 400w 10K may prove to be too much; considering the close
proximity of the bulbs to the water's surface
determined/limited by the use of the canopy, in which case
'less potent 14K bulbs' may prove more appropriate for
the organisms being kept>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>
R7: Reef Setup Critique -- 06/14/10
Eric, Should I downgrade to 3 x 250W MH's or maybe just 2 x
400W on each end of the canopy?
<<Hi Mike'¦ I would keep the number of bulbs
over this 6' tank to three. And if I recall accurately this
will be a 'mixed reef' so 250w bulbs should be plenty
strong enough (again, many factors can affect this e.g. -- bulb
type/brand//color temperature, water clarity, reflector quality,
etc.), even with the less than optimum reflectors I would expect
to find in a canopy installation. Organisms with high light
demands can be placed higher up in the water column and or more
directly beneath the bulbs. The lower wattage bulbs would
certainly help with energy consumption, and may also help with
heat gain. EricR>>
Re: Setup Critique, thru hull diameters mostly
<Mmm, he's out with a medical issue.>
Attached a photo of the tank with newspaper rock to think of
aquascaping ideas. Any downsides you can think of or any
improvements u would implement to this?
<Am not a big fan of such rock stacking m'self... How
about bommies instead?>
Also, buying the PVC parts and I forgot to ask you- I was
thinking of putting disconnect unions at the drain lines by the
sump and by the tank just in case I need to remove the sump, is
that a bad idea?
<A good idea. True-unions>
I don't remember if we discussed this but BOTH my drains and
returns are 1.5" bulkheads.
<I'd make these 2" ID>
I am going to keep the 1.5" to the drain and reduce the
return PVC to 1", are you OK with that setup?
Hope all is well and again
thank you for helping me.
<Read here Mike: http://wetwebmedia.com/SystemPIX/PlumbingPix/Oneinchart.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Setup Critique 6/17/10
GEEZ sorry to write you so many times but that is the burden of
being a genius, is it worth it to you guys?? Anyway, I have
attached 2 schemes.
Being that all the holes drilled in the tank are 1.5"
bulkheads (weird isn't it???),
do you think I should do the standard one drain one return per
overflow (scheme 1) or both drains in one and both returns in the
other overflow (scheme 2)??
<Two larger drains one return per overflow>
Scheme 2 would reduce head length on the pump and be a joy to
plumb. What do you think?
<Scheme 2... and bump the inside diameter of each to 2".
|Re: Setup Critique
Hi Bob, I hope Eric is OK. SO you don't like the 1.5" for
drainage even thought they do 1500gph which is 7 times flow for
Upgrading the holes will be a nightmare, there is not enough room
in the overflow to put the 2 2" bulks in.
as far as the returns are you against doing the 1" ( I know
the article said not to use it for drain but didn't mention
<Whatever the pump discharge ID is... is what I would
Also, do you think I could plumb the sump with 2 drains in one
overflow and both returns in the other?
<Could... if there's room, yes>
It would make plumbing so much easier , is would reduce head
pressure and would equalize return outputs....Please say this is
<Head?! Who said head!?>
HAHAHH, anyway take car <care?> of yourself Bob good to
finally get the legend himself. I want to thank you for the years
of education you have given me.
<Glad to have contributed... B>
Re: Setup Critique, pb 6/24/10
Hi Guys. Ordered all the parts I need now I just want to make
sure I have covered my PVC basics. I have attached the plans for
the plumbing. Please expose any follies I have made. I know you
guys aren't ball valve fans on the return but I only kept it
because I have the bleeder line in.
I was thinking of removing the bleeder line and if I do I would
pull that other ball valve as well. I could have sworn I saw that
bleeder setup on your site somewhere, why exactly do people
<To divert/use water flow that they consider excess, rather
than just restricting the discharge>
I was thinking water changes but that makes no sense because it
will only release a little water out of the tank before the
overflows will stop pulling water down. Thanks again for ALL of
<Well... I'd use the "diverter line" to service
the UV rather than sharing the ETSS Red Dragon pump... the
skimmer needs the flow, and slightly higher pressure that the UV
would be better run w/o. IF the UV is not fitted with true union
connections, I would make sure and provide these, for easy
removal of the unit for periodic checking, servicing, replacing
of the germicidal lamp/s. Lastly, the general circulation/return
pump... IF the FIP/MIP fitting on the discharge is 1" (or
even less) there is no benefit in grading up to 1.5" ID
through a wye on the return... Either use a reducer bushing of
1" to the 1.5", or just keep the discharge at 1"
all the way. BobF>
Re: Setup Critique, pb follow-up 6/25/10
Hi again. So I was thinking that since I am running the drains at
one end and the returns on the other end of the tank that I
should just forget the wye splitter on the return all together
and just run my return pump straight to one return bulkhead and
cap off the other hole.
I mean what really is the point to split one pump to two returns
anyway, if its flow I have 3 Tunze 6100's which should be
enough. What do you guys think?
Thanks so much,
Converting to a reef system 6/2/10
Hello again Bob and crew or whoever gets this,
<Hi Jill, Simon with you this afternoon!>
I have severe frustration's regarding my FOWLR tank that I want to
convert to an anemone/reef friendly system.
After not being happy for a while with my saltwater LFS I decided to
just take matters into my own hands before I finally just give up all
together. Here is my system info:
125 gallon, 80/100 lbs live rock, Marineland protein skimmer (not
producing enough skimmate), two BioWheels (removed one and replaced
with live rock), Harlequin Tusk, Foxface, Copperband Butterfly, Flame
Hawkfish, Diamond Goby.
<Hmm, a difficult fish by all accounts>
Ammonia/Nitrite 0, 1.024 Sg, <low> KH 10, PO .5ppm, <high>
Nitrate 80ppm, <High> Calcium 520, <Also high> I use RO/DI
water with Seachem Reef Salt. This is after a 35 gallon water change
this week and a 15 gallon water change last week. I use Chemipure in my
filters (replaced one a month) and foam pads replaced weekly.
<I would just remove these>
I also clean the skimmer weekly. I recently (within the last couple of
weeks) got rid of my two puffers. I also just recently found out I have
been way way overfeeding my tank so have reduced my feedings to two
cubes a day.
<Ok. It may take some time to get this nitrate down. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm
The phosphate should come down with it>
I, of course, am fighting some hair algae and lots of that red turf
algae I believe. It's covering my live rocks.
<Do you mean BGA or Cyanobacteria? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm
I'm wondering what my best course of action should be to get my
tank reef ready. How aggressive can I be with my water changes until I
get things back in line?
<As 'aggressive' as you like really. Just make sure that it
is pre-mixed, aerated, heated first. Also make sure there are no areas
in your system that are harbouring build-ups of waste (such as filter
I have been fighting this protein skimmer for 9 months now, I'm
lucky to get 1 cup of icky stuff a week, and am looking into getting an
<I've heard good things about these>
I just need to see if it fits into my sump.
<Do you employ a refugium as well? A great tool in this fight
I have always had high nitrates, hence the removal of one Biowheel. Do
you think I would be fine removing the other Biowheel?
<I would, yes, but I doubt that this is the source of your issues..
these do not trap debris>
I also read lots and lots of FAQs about the red turf algae and am
wondering if I should remove the live rock that it's on and replace
this with some new "live" rock?
<I would rinse it in some water that you remove from the system..
perhaps blow debris out of it using a turkey baster.. this could be a
source, especially if you used to have two puffers in there>
I have two corner overflows into my tank but think I still might need
to increase my water flow.
<Good water flow is essential.. if you have the money look into
Vortech pumps -- superior to every other method of providing flow
I do not add any chemicals to my water unless needed, my magnesium
levels have been good ( I didn't test them tonight though) and
since I switched to reef salt my calcium is high. How do I lower
<have you tested the make-up water for Ca before adding it to the
Is it a danger to anything?
<Can cause a precipitation, and irritate animals>
I do have trouble keeping the KH high enough but it has gone from 7.5
to 10 now as I have been using Seachem Reef builder.
<Ahh! This is a 'three part' additive'¦ contains
ca & mg as well, probably why your calcium is high. You want to
fins a method of raising dKH without raising calcium
I brought my water into my LFS to be tested and he said my Sg was high
at 1.027, he used a refractometer and I just have one of those plastic
tested it at 1.025 that same day so I'm now a little leery about
going above 1.024 on my hydrometer.
<These can be inaccurate'¦ best to purchase your own
refractometer -- good ones can be found cheaply.. try D&D aquarium
I was lucky enough to have a finger leather coral come in on my live
rock with some star polyps, how these haven't died yet is beyond
They do seem to close up when I do water changes but all lights are off
so I'm assuming that's normal?
<They will close up yes>
Basically, I'm just not sure where to start to correct this all. 40
Gallon water changes every week? I don't want to stress my fish out
anymore than I already have with my in-experience.
<Once you get the nitrates down they will thank you for it..
especially that Copperband>
Thanks once again and take care.
<No problem Jill.. do research here on WWM and write back if you
have any more questions. Simon>
Re: Converting to a reef system 6/3/10
Hi again Simon and thank you for taking on my questions.
<No problem Jill>
About my calcium levels. This was high (in the 500 range) before I
started using the buffer to raise my KH levels.
<Have you tested your test kit? Might be worth getting your results
verified, perhaps by a different brand>
I tested my source water mixed with the Seachem reef salt and the
calcium was around 320.
<Are you sure? I have used this salt and found it to be much higher
Could it be possible that old baby clam shells are leeching calcium
into my system?
<No.. you would have to have a very low pH in the system to dissolve
these to any extent that they contributed>
My Goby uses them to "decorate" his cave so I have left them
in there for him. The clam shells were left over from the puffers.
<There is no problem with these>
After reading the link you sent me too, I'm figuring I should use
baking soda to raise my KH instead of the buffer.
<Food grade can be used, yes, until your Ca & dKH are balanced.
Mg is important in this relationship as well -- needs to be balanced
Maybe a decent skimmer will help?
<With the nitrate? Indirectly by removing more waste from the
system, yes it will>
When all is said and done, I would like to invest in a calcium
reactor at some point but not until I get it under control.
<Do you have much/ many Scleractinian corals? If not, then such
apparatus is not really necessary>
As far as the red algae, it isn't BGA, I went through that hassle
and my LFS had me use ChemiClean. I'm wondering if that wasn't
the start of
all these other issues,
<Mmmm.. other issues? You mean the Calcium? No.>
outside of the nitrate/phosphate problem that I take full
responsibility for. After looking at the pictures on this site I have
confirmed its the red hair algae stuff.
<Standard algae control methods apply here.. including the nutrient
control that you are working on, as well as lots of elbow
I checked out the Vortech pumps. That is now added to my
"shopping" list. I really like the idea of the motor on the
outside of the tank. I figured I would have to go with the model MP40
for my size tank.
<Yes -- The best pump available>
Ouch!! But I bet it will be worth it.
<When you're on your on your way home with it sitting on the
front seat, you are not quite sure. As soon as you plug it in, it
becomes clear why this SO worth it>
I have only live rock, live sand, and some macroalgae in the tank. I
really can't figure the reason I am
getting such high Ca when it use to be on the low side. The clam shells
are the only thing I can come up with that has changed.
<No.. not this. You have added it somewhere. You write well and with
intelligence.. use the articles by RHF, I give you good odds that you
should be able to solve this>
One more question on calcium reactors. My understanding is that will
help keep the Ca / KH in balance correct?
<Only once they are balanced. At the moment you are unbalanced.
Calcium reactors are an automated method of adding two (sometimes
three) part solutions to your system. They will not help with your
Would it add to my high calcium problem at this point?
Thank you...Clueless Jill
<No prob.s'¦ Knackered after moving house and ripping
walls down Simon>
Thank you...Clueless Jill
Reverse osmosis...? 5/19/10
Dear Mr. Fenner,
I have been raising freshwater Angelfish and African Cichlids for about
a year and a half as a hobbyist in South Florida.
I feel like I want to try a reef tank. I purchased a 120 at an auction.
I need to put about $100.00 in the pump and miscellaneous items to put
it together. I have been using a sediment=large carbon block=small
carbon block for some time now. I very rarely have to use Prime to
adjust my water. Right now I have a new 150 gallon a day reverse
osmosis system I've been thinking of setting up for my Angelfish
babies and the reef tank. If you would be so kind as to advise me of
your opinion of my ideas.
<What, which ideas?>
I would really appreciate it. After reading your article on the net;
Sea Water, Natural or Synthetic? I believe you know what you are
<? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm
New Tank Setup And A Clownish Situation 4/27/10
Hello WWM Crew,
Okay so here is the deal. I just got an amazing new 200 gallon tank
given to me by a doctor who no longer wanted it in his office.
It is a complete setup with a stand and canopy, T5 HO lighting, as well
as filters. It was a African Cichlid setup but he gave those away. I
plan to go reef but here is the catch. It comes with 2 filters a Fluval
FX5 and the Rapids Pro 3 Plus w/ Protein Skimmer witch
<no witches here, just whiches>
I am kinda getting the hint from reading your articles that these would
be nitrate factories
(the canister filter at least).
<Canister filters can become nitrate factories if the pads are not
cleaned/changed regularly and the waste on the pad is allowed to
denitrify. The Rapids Pro 3 is actually too small for a 200 gallon
tank. They are rated for 150 gallon max.>
I am not overly experienced in Reef Setups as this will be my first. I
have however had a predatory FOWLR 90
gallon marine setup before so I'm not new to the marine
requirements. Now I would like to do this right the first time so if
you could give me some start up tips that would be great. I have 150
pounds of Texas Holey Rock that came with the tank. First question is
can this be used in marine setups
<You could use this, is basically limestone which will aid in
keeping you pH stable as this rock is soluble and will slowly leach
calcium, magnesium and carbonates into the water.>
and question 2 will I be able to seed the tank with LR and have
eventual coraline coverage on this rock?
<Should, the limestone would be a good base for coraline
Also should I get a sump and do a refugium and try to sell the filters
<I would, they will improve water quality by reducing
Then there is the maintenance schedule I have never had a tank this big
but have always battled with high nitrates.
<Excess nutrients need to be exported efficiently to prevent high
nitrate levels. Stocking level also comes into play here. An efficient
protein skimmer is most beneficial here.>
What would be an effective water change amount in gallons per week to
keep nitrates as close to zero as possible
and of course I'll have to avoid over feeding... Also the tank has
already cycled and inside it I have a Maroon Clownfish (starting
slow)... wanted a clown of decent size lol even though its quite a bit
more aggressive. However I noticed a small white cyst looking
protrusion on his mouth this morning. I don't have a picture but
its only on the
mouth so I think I can rule out a parasite. Could it be just a possible
injury from something inside the tank?
Anyways if you can give me any tips or thoughts you have I am sure they
would be beneficial. Also I will continue to read on and continue
learning as I go with hopefully very few mistakes.
<I think at the stage you are in, it will be better to provide you a
link to our marine index. Topics/articles found
here should answer all if not most of your questions. Do read, then
write if necessary.><<James... where is this link?
Thanks in advance for the words and wisdom.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Brand New Reef, Stocking Questions/Marine Set-up
Hello guys & gals
<Hello Chris, and please...all the double spacing is not
The set up of my tank is fully complete and is currently going through
the cycling process Tank is 155 gallons and has approximately 150 lb of
Filtration is a sump with a built in refugium along with a monster
Calcium reactor is in place
Lighting consists of 2 VHO Actinic and 3 x 20,000K MH.
I have 3 crabs that came along for the ride and 2 baby star fish about
the size of a dime
My question is in regards to stocking
I'm thinking to get an anemone first so that it can establish its
location in the tank..once there, I'll start to load with corals
(primarily softies to begin with)
<You run a risk of the anemone stinging corals and/or other sessile
invertebrates should it decide to move.>
Fish will probably begin with a clown or a mated pair if I can find
them and then go from there.
Clean up crew will be introduced as soon as I can find a local
Can you offer any suggestions regarding stocking order or am I on the
<Future fish selected should be compatible with each other and timid
fish should be introduced first. Do read/learn about desired fish as to
compatibility, requirements/needs before buying.>
Let me know
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Brand New Reef, Stocking Questions/Marine Set-up
The Reason for introducing the anemone first was so that it could
establish it's location in the tank and then add the corals
afterwards in an effort to reduce this possibility. I was told that
once settled in a spot, they generally don't move.
<No guarantees here.>
Another question is in regards to powerheads. I am purchasing a Koralia
4 and a Koralia 8. From the FAQ it was stated to have them at opposite
sides of the tank pointing in to each other. Question is, how important
is a wave
maker in all this and can I get by without as they are pretty
<If you are referring to the Koralia Wavemaker, this unit was
specifically designed for use with the 12 volt Koralia Pumps. I'm
thinking you are getting the standard Koralia 115 volt pumps which are
not designed for use with Wavemakers. I feel a wavemaker better
simulates current on the reef rather than a laminar flow. Actually, a
decent wavemaker can be had for about 38 bucks. The Aquarium Systems
Wavemaker is the one I am referring to and the inexpensive MaxiJet
pumps work best with this unit. I've been using one myself for
about two years with no problems. See here.
Other current comes from my 2 returns in the corners.
Let me know
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
New Start Up (Last Chance)/Marine Set Up, reef
Hello guys, <and gals>
I am finally in the position to build my reef (must be a valentines
<Must be a sweetheart of a tank.>
Waiting for just such an occasion, <occasion> I have been stock
piling hardware to change my 155 bow from a cichlid tank and as this is
my last shot, I am trying to do it perfect.
<Last shot as in drinking or attempt?>
I have secured a larger sump, skimmer, built in refugium.
Picked up a Tunze nanowave and am looking to pick up another controller
to assist with the water flow.
<You may find the nanowave is all you may need.>
Calcium reactor is on the side, just waiting to go (yes, I've been
planning this for a while).
Substrate is already approx 2.5" of crushed coral.
Lighting is 2 VHO Actinics, with 3 MH
1) Can I continue to use my glass lids as this will reduce evaporation
and cut some of the noise in the tank.
<Certainly, and will also protect the lamps>
2) I am planning to use a deep sand bed in my refugium portion of my
tank...From what I have read, it should consist of approx 6" of
sand, some live rock rubble and Chet...<Chat>. Can I use silicon
sand as the base or
would additional crush coral be better.
<The later, silica sand is likely to introduce silicates into the
system which can lead to excessive diatom and/or nuisance algae
3) I have been told to remove the bulk of the crushed coral from
underneath the rock and have it sit on egg crating...If I do this, I
will then have approx 4" of crushed coral in the tank...is there
any pro's or cons to this or should I move some of it to the
<I do not see any long term pros to the use of eggcrate unless the
eggcrate itself is supported slightly above the bottom glass which aids
in siphoning up detritus during water changes, but going this route
also requires no substrate which is a con, as crushed coral/sand is an
aid to maintaining dKH/pH.>
4) The tank currently has 2 returns pointing into the middle of the
tank... I was considering plumbing them along the back and then along
the braces having the returns shoot down at 45s from there... Other
than having to cut the power when feeding will there be any benefits or
disadvantages to doing this... On the same tangent, with the addition
of the 2 Tunze devices, will this be enough movement.
<The Tunze Nano Waveboxes should handle close to a 300 gallon system
if set up properly. Have you been here yet?
5) I have a Little Giant 4mdqx sc running those returns, so am looking
at 1225 gph....is this too much? Should I be reducing the
output...I'm thinking to restrict the flow going through the
refugium, but how about the overall flow?
<The Waveboxes should provide all the water movement you will need
tank itself. I would plumb a true union with a ball valve on the output
side of the Little Giant which will allow you
to experiment/control additional flow into the tank. You may want to
look at our plumbing information
Sorry for all the questions, but I want to do this right the first
<I hear you. James (Salty Dog)>
Patch Reef Planning/Stocking/Marine Set-Up
Hey WWM crew!
I'm in year 4-5 (suffer from sometimers, can't always
remember when I start things)
<Just wait until you get older and see what happens.>
of my planning for a saltwater tank. It's going to be a few
more years yet before I can implement things, but was just
wanting some input on my ideas to make sure I'm on the right
track. Have been reading and researching so much I fear I'm
suffering from information overload. Not a bad thing, but hard to
keep it all straight some days. There are times I've begun to
wonder if I haven't over thought this whole thing.
<The extra time researching/planning before diving in will be
a plus for you.>
I'm planning some odd little version of a Pacific patch reef
biotope (I started out planning a FOWLR), or at least as close as
I can possibly get. Will be setup in a 40gal breeder, with a
planned 50gal sump (run capacity of 34gal with how I have the
baffles setup) and a separate 6gal PodFuge to reside on a shelf
above and behind the main tank. More on this at the end of my
ramblings here. I'm looking into LED lighting setups, and
hopefully in another 4-5 years when I'm ready for setup
they'll not cost an arm, leg and
other various body parts.
<I look forward to that as well.>
Basically looking for a few areas to save on power consumption,
as with 10+ computers running in our house we already use quite a
bit right now.
<Yikes! I'm developed quite a vocabulary using just
Though, I might get the husband more involved with letting me do
this if I add a reef computer to the mix (ha ha).
<Ah, a computer geek in the household, a valuable asset these
My patch reef is going to be rather selective and probably
minimal stocking compared to most. I don't want every coral
imaginable, nor umpteen million fish, so I've narrowed down
my wish list accordingly. I'm down to the "either
or" part of livestock planning I guess. Here's my
1 Entacmaea quadricolor - haven't sold myself 100 percent
just yet on adding
one of these. It's my one "impulse" item on the
<Corals or an anemone, both do not mix well, especially in
Very small selection (no more than 4 types I've picked out)
of Palythoa, Zoanthus and Clavularia.
Some Chlorodesmis (Maiden's Hair) and Red Gracilaria in the
main tank as well - maybe.
Looking for different colors/textures with what all I'm
putting in the tank. Probably getting a little artsy here, but I
can't help it.
Planning for future addition of Playgyra, <Platygyra>
Favites, Dendorphylliidae, <Dendrophylliidae,
and some members of this group can be difficult to keep.>
Acanthastrea lordhoweensis frags
as well (just one of each and probably not all I have on my
Would love to add one T. squamosa or H. hippopus to the list, but
I'm not sure on adding a clam to the mix with everything else
and my planned LED lighting path. Know my coral selection is
probably going to be okay, but still iffy on the clam.
<These species will require moderate to high light
1 (or two?) Lysmata amboinensis (Scarlet Skunk Cleaner
10 Trochus sp. snails
5 Calcinus laevimanus (Dwarf Zebra Hermit - I like crabs, so must
avoid the urge to have too many of them)
And now for fish:
1 pair Amphiprion perideraion (Pink Skunk) or Amphiprion
sandarcinos < sandaracinos> (Orange Skunk) clowns
As far as I can tell from my research, these two are the least
aggressive of the clownfish. One book I have even says Orange
Skunks don't do well in the home aquarium without a host
anemone and that they're timid and will be bullied by more
boisterous tank mates.
<I would ensure plenty of shelter is provided for these
clowns, yes, they are rather timid.>
Not quite sure I buy the whole "must have anemone"
thing, but then I'm no expert either.
<This specie may very well do better with an anemone due to
3 Sphaeramia nematoptera (Spotted Cardinal)
<If you are going to have an anemone, do not mix non-immune
species of fish with the anemone, they will be at risk.>
5 Apogon cyanosoma (Orange Lined Cardinal) - leaning more towards
<I like these, a little smaller than the above cardinals, a
for your system.>
1 Nemateleotris magnifica (Firefish Dartfish)
1 Ptereleotris zebra (Zebra Barred Dartfish) - though I have read
these should be kept in small groups???
<Yes, they do better in groups.>
For a final fish, I'm stuck on one of the following four. No
matter how much I read, I just can't seem to decide which one
would be a better addition to the above stocking list.
Amblygobius rainfordi (Rainford's Goby)
<A beauty and another requiring an abundance of hiding
Valenciennea wardii (Tiger Watchman Goby) - really like the look
<Will fight with others of the same specie unless a mated
pair. I would not recommend these fish for your system/tank
Ecsenius stigmatura (Tailspot Blenny)
Ecsenius midas (Midas Blenny)
<Needs rocks to hide in, eats food out of the water column, so
you need to feed it things that will slowly sink in the tank.
They need to be fed quite a bit otherwise they'll die of
Not going to be too many fish is it? 1 pair clowns, 3-5
cardinals, 1 Dartfish and 1 goby or blenny.
<Much so if you planned on putting all of these fish in.
I'd stick with four or five smaller fish
in this size tank. Make up the difference in coral with
attractive easy to keep corals.>
I can skip the goby/blenny addition and just go with the others.
Would rather have less "happy" fish than one too
Stocking order should probably be cardinals, Dartfish, clowns,
My setup/stocking plans are rather long term as well. If all goes
according to plan, I'd be looking at 9-10 months minimum from
initial start up to cycle and get a maintenance schedule setup.
Then I'll start with the BTA if I get one, or the corals
first if no anemone, then start adding fish slowly after a few
months or the next summer unless I can get from LFS.
<Let your tank age at least three months before adding corals.
Shipping livestock to Wyoming in the middle of winter seems crazy
even to me - so plenty of time between livestock additions as we
wait for winter to pass
<Good idea >.
Planning for 40-45 lbs live rock setup in little patch islands in
the tank instead of one wall-o-rock. Extra rock in the fuge with
Chaeto in the sump.
Probably go with a shallower sandbed of about two inches or
Sorry this has ended up so long - didn't mean to ramble on so
much. One more thing before I forget though, just to make sure my
crazy idea sounds ok.
I'm wanting to avoid powerheads in the main display - but I
also don't want too many different pumps running. So I
planned for a return loop in the style (sort of) of a closed loop
- run off a Mag12 pump (or something similar/better? Pump choice
still confuses me) placed in the sump. Going with a Glass-Holes
overflow with 2 - 1.5" drains rated at 1500gph total - will
this all be too much or not enough?
<A good flow rate for your system would be around 400-500
Fuge will be fed either from the return line, or a second smaller
pump in the sump. I want as little equipment in the main tank as
I can possibly get away with. Just worried that my return loop
won't give the tank enough flow with how I've designed
<I'd consider adding a Sea Swirl to your return line. Will
give you flow to all areas of the tank and minimize flow related
equipment in the tank.
Link to the image I attached in case it doesn't come through
with the email.
Just a quick planning model I threw together.
<Nice to have a geek in the house, isn't it. Well done.
I'm guessing it would take me a week of Sundays to accomplish
Doesn't have all the plumbing done yet since I changed a few
things, but enough to show the general idea.
Green box is my skimmer placeholder (wasn't going to model
everything down to the smallest detail). There will also be a
20gal QT with a sponge filter
I can keep in the sump and just bring out when needed.
I had better stop before I end up with some multi-page essay
<Yes, my fingers are stiffening up:-)>
Sure I'll be back when I actually get to set this all up.
More reading and research for me over the coming years though.
May have to write up a guide on how to survive long term tank
<All part of the hobby, enjoy.>
Thank you all so much!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
|Re Patch Reef
Planning/Stocking/Marine Set-Up 2/8/10
Thank you James!
<You're welcome, and in future queries, always respond to
the original thread so I can refresh my mind. I can be difficult to
remember every queriors content.>
I have people telling me I'm too young to forget as much as I
do, must be too much time spent zoning out in front of the computer
(haha). Sorry for all my typos, I didn't double check as good
as I thought with my slightly funky keyboard here. I press a letter
but it doesn't always want to cooperate and my brain reads it
and says it's okay. Doh!
<Is best to type out your query as a Word document where a
spelling and grammar check
can be done. Then copy/paste to the email and send.>
Gives me some more thought on stocking - either an Orange
Skunk/Anemone setup, or a polyp garden with Pink Skunks and other
fish. As I said I'm more than happy to cut down on what fish
and how many knowing a 40gal breeder doesn't leave one with a
lot of room. Will need to see what all fish I can get in through my
LFS (only have one, and it's a chain store). They have a pair
of Orange Skunks in right now that I go drool over about once a
Poor little guys aren't selling, probably due to
"Nemo" popularity (and not the James Mason Nemo
unfortunately). A macro algae/anemone tank might look interesting,
but then there were all those Zoanthids calling out to me (that
list was harder to cull than my fish list).
Thanks be to the fish gods I have some time to think about things
My husband already thinks I'm crazy, what's a few more
years muttering about fish and corals? Pretty sure though that
I'm going to be cut off at one tank, only reason I'm so
back and forth on stocking right now. Could very easily see myself
with an office full of reef tanks eating Ramen for the rest of my
<Alternating/supplementing with Spam will create a much better
culinary experience for you.>
If I do go the anemone route, what other families of fish should I
research for another possible addition? Would this be an okay tank
for one of the blennies? Or just stick to my clown pair and call it
good with a few other inverts (shrimp, hermits, snails)?
<No blennies, but if I were determined to have a couple of other
fish in an anemone/clown system, I'd likely go with the
Yellowtail Damsel (Chrysiptera parasema)
Is one of the better mannered damselfish and will add some color to
your tank. I would introduce the clownfish first in this
I am planning to make sure my pod population is good and stable
before introducing any fish to help supplement feedings since
I'm at work all day.
<A good idea.>
Of course, this is probably one of those things that looks good on
paper and who knows what will happen when I get my system up and
<Your refugium plan should provide a good stock of pods. Several
etailers do sell pod cultures and is a good way to initially stock
On the Sea Swirls - would two placed at opposite sides of the tank
be enough? Or do you think just one with a few other stationary
outlets on my return loop work fine? Plumbing/flow is the one area
I still confuse myself on a great deal. I know it's relatively
simple, but I start getting into all the numbers, rates and such,
and my brain just runs off to the hills.
<I believe one Sea Swirl would do the trick in your tank coupled
to a MagDrive 950.
There will be a flow drop using the Sea Swirl and with this in
mind, a Mag 950 should give you a good flow rate for your 40 gallon
3D modeling is one of my other hobbies.
<Ah, so you are responsible for the graphics and not
I've tried to sketch out diagrams on paper, but modeling is
just easier for me - not to mention you can look at it from any
angle quick and easy. Have been thinking about doing up various
aquarium models and props to help people plan out systems as there
is free downloadable software for rendering/viewing. If I ever get
that up and running (one of those too many projects, not enough
time things) I'll be sure to let you all know.
<Yes please, and a link to this software may also be useful to
Kept it shorter this time, since I gave you a bit of a workout with
email. I tend to ramble on occasion when my brain fills up.
<Detailed queries are generally more helpful in providing better
Thank you again,
<You're welcome, and allow me to provide you with an index
to our marine articles/FAQ's. I
believe it will aid you in searching.
James (Salty Dog)>
Stocking, set-up questions sans searching... reef --
Well previously I asked you about the lighting on my hexagon tank. I
have decided to start over. I am getting a 90 gallon tank. I want to
have fish with some soft corals. I have live rock, sand, tang,
Ocellaris, clown goby, two crabs, banded shrimp, and a serpent starfish
in my hexagon now.
I want to start out with mushrooms, finger leather, polyps, and love
the rose bubble tip anemone.
<... please read re all these species... and a workable approach at
their mixing. Here:
and the linked files above>
. I have read that maybe the anemone shouldn't be in there with
other stinging mushrooms.
Since I am spending around 3000$ I want to get the best light and set
<Invest your time in study ahead>
I like my LFS? ( is this right for local fish store) but they recommend
I get the wave point light, total of 216 watts, 2:54watt actinics and
What do you recommend for a new set up...
<That you read>
I would like to have the capability to do more than the starter corals
once I get comfortable. It seems once I got the fish, then I wanted
live rock and sand and invertebrates, and now I want soft
corals...etc... I know with the 90 gallon you should have 270-450
watts. I also know that the corals can go higher up in the tank and
some can go lower according to what they need..
But I also know that if I'm doing this I want to do it right and
not be disappointed that I didn't know more and buy a different
light., protein skimmer, refugium..Please help and recommend what you
would do.. Thank you so very much.
<Please learn to/use the search tool and indices on WWM. You can get
on how to use our resources where you found how to write us. Bob
Bio-load and wrasse compatibility 1/11/10
Hello WWM crew!
I have been keeping freshwater aquariums for 10 years. Most recently
I've had a 180 gallon planted community tank that I had to take
down when I moved and a 50 gallon planted discus tank that remains one
of the highlights of my day.
Last year, my partner and I purchased property to build what I can only
describe as the house of our dreams and since a salt water aquarium has
always been something I dreamed about, I couldn't resist including
a fully built in, two sided, wall mounted tank as a focal feature of
the main floor to the plans.
If construction stays on schedule we should be in in 9 months. However,
I didn't want something that elaborate and expensive to be my first
marine aquarium and began collecting the parts to construct a
'practice' tank in the mean time. I've read more than a few
books and have logged more hours than I can count researching the hobby
online. I regularly use your site as an awesome resource but I'm
hoping I can get some specific advice on my current set up.
<Will offer what I can>
Here's the set up:
- 90 gallon main tank
- 750 watts of lighting (2x 250watt metal halide, 250 watts actinic,
<Mmm, will likely have to run a chiller to keep water temperature
- 25 gallon refugium with live sand and 15 pounds of macro algae
covered live rock, fed by drilled in overflow
- Coralife 220 superskimmer (finicky and prone to over flow, but
effective if attention is paid) hanging on refugium
- Fluval Fx5 on it's own water circuit (not connected to refugium)
- some people think canisters are evil I know, this one came from my
180 and it's always worked beautifully for me. Depending on how
nitrates track I will probably use something else on the big tank -
it's filled with mechanical, bio and phosphate absorbing media
<A fine component here>
- 80 pounds of live rock in the display
- 2.5 inches of aragonite fine grain sand in main display, inoculated
with live sand
<I might add an inch or so>
- 600gph after head loss return pump on refugium, about 800 gph flow
rate from Fluval
- 2 Vortech MP10s set opposite each other on reef crest mode ( very
random, ever changing flow patterns in the tank)
- The tank is grounded with a titanium probe just to be safe
<Mmm, do read on WWM re... these "grounds" are almost
always unnecessary... some induce current themselves...>
I don't have an RO system yet so the tank is filled with treated
Thankfully I live in Calgary, Canada so our drinking water travels
about 150km between the glacier it melts off of and my faucet, is
naturally very clean and has an outrageously high natural calcium
level. There will be an RO system in the next tank.
tank was cycled first with dead sand and cocktail shrimp (a smell I
hope to never experience again ever), then cured live rock and live
sand was added.
specific gravity: 1.025
NO3: around 5ppm
Calcium: 540 - 550 ppm (if I'm reading the test right)
<Mmm, magnesium concentration? You want/need this to be about three
times [Ca]... I would mix in some RO water to lower the latter>
phosphate: undetectable on my test
Corals: Still pretty sparse.
The tank is anchored on either side by a branching frog spawn and a
gorgeous Australian elegance coral. 3 kinds of Zoanthid frags, 1 stag
horn leather, one mushroom leather, 1 Acropora frag (unknown sp.) and
one shelf form SPS that I'm still trying to get an ID on. it's
green and glows under LED light. I plan on adding more corals very
slowly so I can track calcium level changes.
<I would add all that you intend to soon... to reduce allelopathy.
We can talk about this later if you'd like>
The tank finished cycling 4 months ago.
in order of addition I have:
1 neon Dottyback
2 cinnamon clowns (a male/female pair I believe)
1 female lineatus wrasse
1 yellow spotted sand sifting goby (though I haven't seen it since
it went in)
1 cleaner wrasse
<Labroides? Not likely to live long>
1 medium sized sohal tang (6.5-7 inches).
<This last will likely get too big, perhaps mean here>
The tank isn't big enough for an adult sohal tang, so I only
purchased it knowing that it will have a 240 gallon aquarium to move to
as it grows.
The cleaner wrasse is the first time I didn't extensively research
a fish on my own before purchase, taking only the LFS attendants word -
and as a result my first major error (I hope). Since the damage is done
and it comes down to whether it starves here or somewhere else, I'm
going to keep it. I've been taking care to chop Mysis shrimp and
krill pieces extra small for it and so far it's been eating
ravenously twice a day, so we shall see how it goes. I won't buy
I also have about 30 blue legged hermit crabs (which the Dottyback has
developed an unfortunate taste for), about 25 various sand sifting and
algae grazing snails and two peppermint shrimp. I get a few more
custodians each time I go to the store. I would very much like to add
one more wrasse, though I'm afraid with the big, dirty tang in
there I might be approaching my bio load/space limit.
<Look to Labrid/wrasse species found in the same geographic range...
Red Sea into the Gulf of Aden>
I'm hoping to acquire another lineatus wrasse, either a male, or
another female if mine changes sex (which apparently they can do when
before I track one down. I've been able to find lots of info on
wrasse compatibility between other species of wrasse and with other
fish, but I don't know if conspecifics of different sex will be an
acceptable combination in this tank, or if that is too many fish for
<You have good odds that another medium sized species will go fine
I am ok with waiting till they have a bigger home, but lineatus wrasses
are so uncommon and are sold so quickly I would be inclined to jump on
the right one if it becomes available. I was initially concerned about
the lineatus being to peaceful for such an active and typically
aggressive tang, but in the 2 weeks since he came out of quarantine the
only aggression I've seen from him has been to his own reflection.
He was also at the LFS for 6 months before that with many less
aggressive tank mates with no problems - I know because I have been
admiring him for months. I certainly won't be adding another tang
to a tank he's in however.
Any input you have would be greatly appreciated!
<Read on my friend. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Stocking/Setup/Am I Doing This Right?/Help With Coral --
Thank you in advance for your help/advice/2 cents etc.
<<Is my pleasure to assist>>
I've read so much information and misinformation at this point I
don't know what is right and my eyes are starting to cross from the
glare of the computer screen, but I seem to find a lot of good advice
on your site.
<<Mmm, indeed'¦though even among the crew there are
many differences of opinion. It is up to you weigh the answers and to
use your own good judgment to come to a decision>>
I'm hoping someone might be able to answer some questions for
<<I'm happy to try'¦>>
I have a 55g reef. The tank is a SeaClear System 2 with built-in
filtration. Right now it's running with the SeaClear protein
skimmer (crap, but better than nothing) that I am replacing in the next
couple of days with a CPR Bak Pak 2.
<<Hmm, a likely improvement'¦but for only a bit more
money, I would recommend you have a look at the AquaC
I have mesh bags of Purigen and carbon for chemical filtration. I am
running 2 Koralia1's, 1 Koralia Nano and an Aquabal with a rotating
Koralia 'wavemaker' attached.
The Koralias are aimed at the sides and front respectively and the
'wavemaker' diagonally across the length. My light is a 24'
CF with 1 65w 12000k and 1 65w Actinic (It's shorter than the tank
because I upgraded from a 30g, but I keep it to one side and the low
light corals to the other and it seems to work for them.).
<<Mmm'¦I would consider this as 'low' lighting
for this tank'¦period. If you plan to keep more than some
Corallimorphs, Zoanthids, or azooxanthellate species I suggest adding
'at least' another Daylight bulb to this mix>>
There is approx. 50lbs of live Fiji rock in the main tank and about
3lbs in the compartment that was designated for the bioballs. I plan on
adjusting some things back there so I can have a slow-flow-thru fuge
section that will have Chaeto and hopefully lots of copepods. Oh yeah,
and there is 50lbs of live sand. Taking into account the dimensions of
the tank 36x15x20 and subtracting for acrylic thickness, displacement
from rock and sand, and the fact that the tank is narrower in the
middle to allow for the built in filtration compartments, I calculated
that I'm only working with roughly 30-32 gallons in the main
display and 5-6 in the back filter area.
<<Likely so, yes>>
I know there are inches of fish rules
<<Useless, in my opinion'¦ Each fish/fish species must
be evaluated against the system/setup>>
but there are 3' long skinny fish and 3' wide fish.
<<And there are some 3' fishes that would do fine in this
tank (e.g. - Some Cardinalfishes)'¦and some 3' fishes
that would not (e.g. - Dwarf Angels).
They have widely diverse feeding habits and it's all making my head
<<Ah but careful research on your part is key'¦do read
here and among the associated links in blue:
I would like to know if my tank could comfortably accommodate a Blue
Spot Jawfish or a Coral Beauty or both'¦?
<<A Blue Spot is possible in this size system given suitable
tankmates and environmental conditions (e.g. -- a suitable substrate
for digging)'¦please read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm . The tank is a bit too small
for the Coral Beauty in my opinion>>
The fish I already have get along great. They've turned this one
pile of rock into fish condos and they each have their own
'apartment'. With the exception of the Mandarin who cruises all
over the tank feeding, they don't really seem to like to go to the
darker side of the tank. Is that odd?
<<Not at all'¦unless a generally nocturnal species,
they will tend to gravitate to the brighter side of the
The current residents are as follows:
2 Ocellaris Clowns (Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy) 3' &
1 Firefish Goby (Roxie) 3'
1 Lawnmower Blenny (Teddy) 4.5'
1 Mandarin Dragonet (Matilda) currently 1.5'
1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
1 Emerald Mithrax Crab
<<This crab may prove troublesome to your smaller fishes as it
2 Scarlet reef Hermits
4 Blue leg Hermits
1 Electric Blue Hermit
1 Sand Sifting Star
<<Aside from the tank being too small already for this animal,
these Echinoderms are extremely efficient at removing 'all' the
beneficial biota from your sand bed>>
7 Nassarius Snails (4 are .5' babies)
4 Astrea Snails
4 Margarita Snails
1 Branching Hammer with 10 heads
1 Chili Coral
1 Sun Coral cluster
1 Dendrophyllia with 5 various sized heads
1 small field of Daisy Polyps
<<Wow'¦a low-light and/or azooxanthellate mix for
sure'¦I do hope you are direct-feeding>>
My next question is concerning my Branching Hammer (which I've had
for about 6 months). Over the past two weeks I noticed the polyps on 2
of the heads receding so that the mouth in the center was visible.
Prior to this I didn't even realize it had one because it was
always so full you could barely see the branches. I searched the web
high and low to figure out what was going on and read that they need
supplemental feeding and can't rely on zooxanthellae alone.
<<Mmm, yes'¦though most do well with only
incidental/light feeding given adequate lighting, in my
experience'¦but can be fed small/diced bits of meaty
I did not know this so I figured it to be the problem.
<<Maybe'¦or possibly environmental (e.g. -- water
quality, pestered by fishes, etc.)>>
I squirted some Mysis and Cyclops on them and all of the heads
shriveled. They haven't opened back up since (this was 3 days ago).
They've been ejecting brown stringy stuff from their mouths. I
haven't introduced anything new to the tank in at least 3 months.
The light bulbs are 5 months old and the coral heads are between 6 and
8 inches from them. I have no idea how to proceed. Any advice?
<<Hmm...hard to say, but this could be the expelling of
zooxanthellae'¦and not a good sign if so. Naught to do but
wait for the moment and see how this coral responds'¦but do
check and correct your water params as/if needed>>
Lastly, my pH is at a steady 7.8 and I can't seem to get it to
<<Have you tested your saltwater mix? Perhaps buffering is needed
(I recommend Seachem products for this)>>
My other test results are as follows and hold pretty steady. How do I
get the pH up and the KH down a bit? I do a weekly 5g water change.
KH - 15 = 268.5ppm
<<Hmm'¦perhaps you need to 'test' the test
Calcium - 440
Phosphate - 0 to trace
Nitrate - 10-20
<<This 'may' be what is troubling your Hammer Coral after
6-months. I would strive to keep this below 10ppm>>
Nitrite - 0
Ammonia -- 0
<<Do test the parameters of your freshly mixed saltwater batches
(aerate for 24hrs or more first to allow all chemical reactions and gas
exchange time to stabilize/complete'¦you should also be
doing this before each water change). And with the corals you have and
the resultant heavy feeding required I suggest you increase the water
change volume to 20g, but done every other week. Give this a try and
then check your water parameters for any change/improvement and make
adjustments as necessary>>
Thank you so much for your time and expertise! I know this was a long
<<No worries Heather'¦happy to share>>
Heather in CA
<<Cheers'¦ EricR in (chilly!) SC>>
450 reef display, set up, stkg. 11/17/09
Greetings WWM Crew,
<Hey Jim! JustinN here!>
I'm setting up a 450 gallon reef display (6' x 4' x
32") and had a few questions:
<Quite the display! Lets see what we can help with..>
Do you think a 100 gallon sump is large enough ? It is actually a
Eco-System brand but, I wasn't intending of using Miracle Mud.
Unless you recommend otherwise ? I was thinking of using a extra 40
gallon tank as a gravity fed refugium. Do you think a 4-8" deep
sand bed will be enough to denitrify the 450 display ? or should I get
a larger tank for the refugium ?
<100 Gallon sump + 40 gallon refugium sounds about right -- am I to
assume that you are going to be utilizing both refugiums for their
algal scrubbing abilities? I would forego the Miracle Mud as well --
oolitic grade sand is cheaper, and does just as well (if not better)
for denitrifying purposes in a DSB.>
For circulation, I was thinking of going with 4 Vortechs on the back
wall and Tunze wave box and streams in the rock work.
<Seems somewhat excessive -- have you looked into closed loop
configurations? This may achieve your desired goals with less
investment/power usage/over-time maintenance:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm Otherwise, this configuration
would work, just seems like a lot of work to repair in the case of
I will most likely be using 2 Reeflo dart golds for the returns going
into two separate manifolds w/penductor outlets. The goals is 30-50x
<Mmm, I would aim for a lower turnover through the sump and refugium
tanks -- the longer the water contact here, the more filtration that
Closed loop configurations benefit this by allowing the flow you're
seeking, while still allowing a slower draw through the sump.>
The rock layout will be similar to Steve Weast's tank in Ultimate
Marine Aquariums (2 separate islands with caves, overhangs, & a
canyon down the middle). I will be using roughly 400# of Key Largo rock
from Marcos Rock. It will be a primarily sps and a few LPSs to give
some "motion" in the tank.
I want to go the Steven Pro route and go fishless for 6 months. I want
to give the refugium a chance to build up the pods, mysis shrimp, etc.
<A good plan, always wise.>
I'm also a fish guy and would love to have a good mix of fish. A
school of various anthias is on the desire list(any recommendations
<Any of the commonly available anthias would do just fine in this
setting -- get a good sized harem would be my suggestion (5 or more
I also would like various wrasses (mystery, solar, Scott's, etc.)
and tangs (chevron, purple, Kole, etc.). I don't want any large
fish with maybe the exception of blue cheek angel and blue throat
trigger (I know they aren't always reef safe).
<At least in the case of the Blue Throat, they are some of the more
timid/acceptable in a reef setting.>
Could I mix various pygmy angels together (flame, potter's, &
my favorite Japanese) ?
<Mmm -- yes and no -- the Centropyge angels will likely
'mix' (in that they'll co-habitate -- in a setting this
big, they'd likely never/rarely come in contact with each other) --
the 'no' portion comes from the Centropyge interruptus -- this
fish is exceedingly rare, historically fares very poorly in aquaria,
and is actually of a colder water species than most our reef specimen
we keep... Won't comfortably live in a reef temperature tank for
long. Reef Culture Technologies has managed to succeed in breeding of
many Centropyge angels, one of which is the interruptus -- as time goes
on, the possibilities of adding this stunning fish to your tank will
increase, but as of now, its not a high likelihood,
Any advice you could impart would be appreciated,
<Glad to help! -JustinN>
New Tank Set Up, reef -- 11/17/2009
<Hey Steve! JustinN here!>
Thanks for having such a wonderful site!
<We're glad to provide.>
I have a couple of questions/concerns on the new tank I just set up
this past weekend. I had a DAS 75 gallon tank w/ the old H39 filter
that had the air stone skimmer and spools. I have since transferred all
the contents of that tank to a new 90 gallon aquarium.
Here's a list of all that was moved. 60lbs of live sand, 100lbs of
live rock, Finger Leather, 2 open Brains, Mushroom rock, Red Flowerpot
Coral (has spread 1-1/2" in 4 months!)
<Mmm, is not typical of Goniopora sp. -- usually don't fare well
in aquaria.. Do keep an eye.>
Zoanthid rock, Xenia, Clove Polyps, Green Star Polyps, Frogspawn,
3" Yellow Tang, 3" Blue Throat Trigger, 2" Tomato Clown,
3 - 1" Green Chromis, 3" Bicolor Blenny, Long Tentacle
Anemone, Cleaner Shrimp, and misc. snails and crabs.
My new set up is a 90 gallon (48x18x24) aquarium w/ dual overflows,
Current 6x54 watt T5 light, 20 gallon tank underneath that houses a DAS
BX-2 skimmer, and a Mag Drive 7 return pump (very very loud,
suggestions on new return pump will be appreciated).
<Perhaps the problem isn't the pump itself -- many have used
items such as spare computer mouse pads or other such inert rubber
materials to 'pad' the underside of the pump -- largely
silences the vibration action. I am somewhat partial to Eheim pumps
My question is, is this enough filtration for my tank?
<Sounds about right -- perhaps adding a refugium area to your sump,
if you have the space -- just a light and a ball of Chaetomorpha
There's nothing but live rock in the main tank and a huge skimmer
underneath. I do a 15 gallon water change every week and all of my
levels are great (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5ppm nitrate). I just want to
make sure this tank wont crash on me in a few weeks.
<I see no reason why it would.>
I would also like to add some SPS in the future and wanted to know if
the light and filtration I have will support them.
<Lighting MAY be a bit inadequate for some of the more advanced SPS
species -- as much great light as T5's put out, they definitely
don't have the same overall intensity as Halides. Perhaps a single
Halide pendant, down the line, used in addition to your T5 lighting,
could round out your lighting needs (and provide a central spot for
your SPS colonies to grow).>
Thanks in advance for your help! You guys are the best of the best!
Small Marine Aquariums
eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
Book 2: Fishes
eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner