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Old 01/05/2018, 08:22 PM   #1
SereneAquatic
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A new reefer... a new tank. What could go wrong?

Greetings, wonderful people of Reef Central! I have been considering keeping a small journal of things about my tank as we go forward, just for the fun of looking back on the missteps, fortunate strokes of luck and decisions (both good and bad). This seems like an unobtrusive place to keep my little journal, and maybe occasionally someone might stop me from making a big mistake!

I've been eyeing saltwater creatures for almost a year at our local fish store, envious of the amazing things they could keep in a saltwater tank that I could never hope to have in a freshwater tank. One day, while we were there getting things for my daughters freshwater tank, I said "I think I'm going to buy a crab."

My daughter of 17 years proceeded to tell me no.

"You can't just bring home saltwater fish Mom. You have to set up the tank and then wait." I thought she was crazy, so I asked the store clerk and they said I could buy a tank, set it up and wait "a couple days" before buying fish.

They didn't tell me anything else about the process, and probably knew very little themselves. I thought maybe I could have a tank with those cool fish in it by the weekend! The only thing that stopped me from buying a crappy 40 dollar glass tank that day was the fact that I couldn't think of where I would put it in the house. Thank goodness!

I went home and, at my daughters suggestion, I started watching youtube videos. The rabbit hole was deep... and I was horrified at what I had almost done. Everything would have died immediately, I'm sure of it. I eventually gave up. It seemed way too complex and I was finding out new things and considerations with every mouse click. How could I ever learn enough to get started?

Every time I went to the LFS though, those dang fish were there, taunting me. "Look, high school students take care of me. How hard can this be?"

I kept digging off and on for almost 8 months, wavering back and forth between 'Surely I could do this' to "ARRRGH IS THERE NO END TO THE INFORMATION?"

Eventually, I found BRS TV and the BRS160 series. I had started seriously considering a tank by that time and my husband was increasingly concerned. I told him about these videos I had started watching, and asked him if he wanted to watch them with me.

We binge watched that entire series for a couple of weeks, taking notes and branching out on topics we wanted to know more about... and at the end of it, I felt MUCH more confident that I at least understood how all these things would work together, at least in theory. Even my husband was starting to become curious. (The trap was set! )

Around Thanksgiving, we decided to go to a different LFS further away because they were a Red Sea dealer, and we wanted to see those tanks in person. I thought maybe a small 30 gallon would be good to start. When we arrived at the store, my husband started eyeballing a huge 90 gallon tank with a sump lol My plan was to find a tank with the sump on the back wall so I didn't have to do any plumbing, which I was sure I could not do.

They gave me a giant book... catalog... of all the red sea tanks that I took home and pored over until I understood what it all meant, and all the while my husband is going "I think we should get the big one" He was totally hooked.

At the end of the day, that actually was the tank we ordered. It was the Red Sea Reefer 425 XL Deluxe. I heard people saying they would buy those sizes and immediately regret it... wishing they had gone bigger, but I was already WAY beyond my intended starting size. My husband was confident we could "figure out" the sump, and he is an old pro with plumbing, electrical, etc... which we were determined to do "right". With his help and support, the sky was the limit.

I'm a great planner, and he's terrific with implementation, so together we'd be unstoppable. Plus, now I had the green light to spend money lol.

We have done a few things that I wish we hadn't done immediately. Some items were purchased and then taken back to the store as more research and consideration was had.

1. We initially purchased bio balls for the sump because the rock we chose was not particularly porous. We knew we wanted a certain look to the tank, and were willing to put other media in the sump for the surface area needs... but bio balls were not the way to go.

2. We purchased fiberglass rods and jbwaterweld to build our rock structure, but ultimately decided to use gravity and friction to our advantage instead.

3. We purchased a skimmer and intended for it to go in the sump... but then decided we wanted to dedicate the majority of the sump to a large refugium instead. The skimmer still sits all nice and new, awaiting the day where it might be used. At this point, it would probably have to be in another little 10 gallon tank with pumps moving water to it and back, because most of the sump area is used now. (This is where that regret for not getting the bigger tank with the full size sump kicks in, isn't it? Or maybe it was finding out that a lot of the neatest fish do best in a 120+ tank?)

One thing I do NOT regret was the addition of our clown fish, probably way before people would have recommended they be added.

I'd read a lot on the cycling of rock, and why to NOT use fish to do the cycle and took it to heart... however I'd watched a small "cycle" occur (meaning I saw the ammonia spike, then the Nitrite, then the Nitrate) twice already... and I swear there was a small diatom bloom once when the dry base rock was 'curing' (it had some organic matter in the holes) and the second cycle occurred after it went into the display tank with some fish pellets. I knew there was already some amount of bacteria breaking down these things and felt like it was ready for the next small step. I added the clownfish with BioSpira to help give the bacteria another jump, and saw a very brief spike in ammonia, followed quickly by Nitrite and Nitrate. It leveled out almost immediately, in about 2 days, leaving a low level of Nitrate in the tank.

At that time, we also added a chaeto ball to the DISPLAY (not the sump) because our refugium light had not yet arrived in the mail. The Nitrate started dwindling slowly... I did not do any water changes since it was pretty low.

A few days later, the Kessil H380 arrived and we installed it and the chaeto into the sump, and it was getting noticeably bigger after about 5 days. (Now, it seems to be growing exponentially) The Nitrate levels dropped to zero, and a small diatom bloom appeared, and then started receding a bit after about 5-6 days. We still have not done any water changes since the rocks and water went into the tank. Today, about a month in, we have finally started to see a tiny bit of what could be hair algae developing on the rock, but the chaeto seems to be outperforming it by a mile. I adjusted the display lights to be off for a few more hours tomorrow and will back them off a bit more still if the algae in the display begins to take a stronger hold.

The clown fish are super happy in the DT, eating well, and braver by the day. I found that they love the garlic soaked frozen foods.

The only part of this that I have regrets about so far... is the quarantine tank.

1. I wish I had purchased the CUC immediately, as soon as we started putting water in the display tank, and put them into quarantine. We knew we wanted to quarantine everything (after the clown fish, which had been held by the LFS for about 3 weeks in copper treated tank before we brought them home) but I didn't think the tank would be ready for them so soon. We didn't purchase them until the diatom bloom was about a week or 10 days old, so now we have a long time to go before they will get into the DT. I'm really relying on the chaeto and upcoming water changes to help keep things under control until they can be introduced.

2. I wish I had known how hard the QT process can be, and how much salt water I should have pre-mixed and ready to go. Everyone makes the QT process sound easy... "All you need is a small tank, heater, water movement and PVC pipe... some live rock or sponge filter from the DT will help too... and vioala! Just do water changes to keep the parameters in check." Yeah right. That little 10 gallon tank has been more stressful than all the rest combined. It doesn't have the Apex, or any of the other nice things that the DT has to help the critters out. I worry about salinity fluctuations, temperature fluctuations, and GODS how do I keep it clean??? The ammonia is constantly high, and I can barely keep up with mixing the salt water or the top off.

3. I wish I had not purchased a fish for quarantine at the same time as the CUC. My logic at the time was that if indeed any of the inverts were carrying any problems, like Ich, a fish in the tank with them would act as a kind of 'canary in the coal mine'. If signs of problems occurred, I would move the fish to a separate QT and begin treatment, and then know for sure that the inverts must stay in quarantine for many weeks to make sure they dont carry it into the DT. I realized that the fish could bring in the problems as well (much more likely, in fact), but this LFS has a good reputation and good practices so I rather trust them (so far). People come from a long distance to this store. The problem is... I really like the new fish... already. Not that any fish or sea life is disposable, that was not my thought, but rather it was that if there was a problem, I wouldn't be as attached to the new fish like I am to the clown fish, who I visited regularly in the fish store for 3 weeks, and have cared for since I brought them home. They are a mature, bonded pair and never leave each others side in this giant tank. However, one look at that shy little flame angel face peeping out at me from inside a PVC pipe and I was smitten. That freaking fish is adorable. For almost a week, he would hide whenever I came into the room, and would peep at me repeatedly from his hiding spot, just enough to see me and make sure I was still there and then hide again. Argh, so darn cute. I dont want anything to happen to any of the CUC or the angel, and I feel like the QT is a disaster most of the time so far... it has to be super stressful for them, which I wish I could avoid.

Tomorrow we are making some changes to our QT process... namely adding at least 1 additional tank that we can move the fish and CUC into every couple of days, and then clean out and dry the first tank. We'll rotate them like this every few days going forward so the tank can be properly cleaned and the critters all get essentially 100% water change every few days without the tank getting completely nasty. I do my best to clean up the stuff that collects on the bottom, but it is still not great. We'll take water from the DT for each iteration of the QT refresh and add new saltwater to the DT, which needs water changes anyway. The DT is more capable of handling the adjustments in temp and salinity than the small tanks are, and so the QT will get consistent temps and consistent salinity, only needing top off of fresh water. We're also mixing up a LOT of saltwater in a brute trash can to use for the new salt water so I'm not struggling to keep up with 5 gallon buckets.

Yesterday, little peeping angel finally started eating a tiny bit of frozen food soaked in garlic, and today she ate more heartily, which makes me happy. The fire shrimp molted yesterday, probably from stress, but hopefully his days will look a lot brighter soon. Who knows, maybe it was just molting time....

The emerald crab mostly hides, but I do see him come out from under the very small live rock I placed in the QT. It looks like a little 3 inch millennium falcon (the rock, not the crab). I suppose technically the live rock is also in quarantine, so there's also that to consider in all of this. I probably shouldn't have purchased the rock, but I had hoped it might have some bacteria on it that would help with the ammonia.

All in all I'd say the number one problem right now is too many variables, especially in the QT. I didn't think that part through enough and regret most of those decisions. I'll know better going forward I guess, but it has been a hard lesson. For all the researching I did, there was a lot taken for granted in that QT process. It makes me not want to buy anything else for the DT after this... ever! At least, not until I can find a way to do it better. It has invaded my bathroom, my kitchen, a bedroom, the garage, etc. Nothing is set up where it is convenient or accessible. Next week, the plumbing company is coming to install a water line for the RODI unit in the garage so we dont have to keep it on the kitchen counter any more (thank goodness), and when we start this 'tank rotation' business, it will not be on the bathroom counter. It will be on its own table in an area where I can keep everything I need at hand. It has been so much work just to try to get the salt water made and mixed in time to change the QT water before ammonia levels are awful that I have barely had time to fill the ATO on the DT. How can one 10 gallon tank be so consuming? I'm glad the DT is doing well and holding its own, and the Apex has already paid for itself in the monitoring it does. It was one of the best purchases we made, and I'm sure as I figure out more of its programming it will be better still.

That is a lot of stuff for a single post, but now we're up to speed and small entries can begin!

If anyone does stop by to read this, dont be too harsh. I know I make some mistakes here, but I do promise not to make the SAME mistakes twice. I'm a fast learner, and I really do want the best for my little inhabitants.


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Old 01/05/2018, 09:44 PM   #2
JUNBUG361
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I just read a novel . Just remember everyone make mistakes, we’re humans


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Old 01/06/2018, 05:35 AM   #3
SereneAquatic
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I just read a novel . Just remember everyone make mistakes, we’re humans
Thank you. A couple days ago I was really kicking myself. That regret was a powerful motivator though, and made us sit down to rethink our strategy.

If there is one thing my husband and I do extremely well, it is to make processes and tasks efficient. I have high hopes that the longer we do this, the better we will be... And maybe we can find some clever tricks for making this easier that we can share with others?

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Old 01/06/2018, 07:21 PM   #4
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Wow, that was long. I wish you luck with your mom QT and your display tank. It’s always good to see new reef aquarists join in this community. By the way, Welcome to Reef Central!


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Old 01/06/2018, 07:22 PM   #5
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Sorry for that stupid auto correct.


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Old 01/06/2018, 07:30 PM   #6
SereneAquatic
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Today, we moved the QT inhabitants to a fresh 10 gallon tank. This time there is a better air pump, in addition to the HOB filter to help move the water more, and I added 1 mL of Prime to help keep the ammonia in check, but other than that everything else is the same for them.

It seems we had planned this just in time, because this morning, the QT was suddenly very murky and cloudy looking. Up to this point only the bottom was frustrating me with all the detritus I could not remove with a siphon, nor a net. Today, it was difficult to see even the fish very clearly, despite his bright colors. It happened very quickly.

We moved the snails first, and noticed immediately that one of them was not emerging from his shell when placed in the new QT. All the others went merrily on their way as soon as they were set down, but this one never did. After about 30 minutes of no response, I took him out and put him into a little container for closer observation. An hour later, he had still not come out or shown any signs of life. I will leave him in the container tonight in case he was simply traumatized (heh) but I'm pretty sure 1 of the snails did not make it.

I wonder now, since I've not been closely watching all the snails (they are hard to tell apart!) if he has been dead for a few days... which was why I was struggling so much to get the ammonia under control. Perhaps his death is why the tank very quickly became a nasty, murky place. I will have to be on the lookout for such things in the future.

On a brighter note... getting the Prime and needing to measure out 1 mL of fluid and not having any more syringes I was willing to sacrifice, I was able to use my little 10 mL graduated cylinder I purchased. Once I had it in my hand, it occurred to me that I could use it to 'calibrate' the 5 mL syringe that came with my Red Sea test kit. It has been annoying me, trying to figure out where I'm supposed to stop the plunger. Which of the 3 black lines of the rubber was I supposed to use? I'd been consistently using the first line, but after comparing the amount to the graduated cylinder, I found that it is actually the MIDDLE black line of the rubber stopper that I need to line up with the measurement lines. Go figure. I've probably had slightly too much water in each of my measurements up to this point.

I dont think I am going to feed the QT tonight. Perhaps in the morning, after they have had time to settle into their fresh new tank I will add a little something. I'm going to try hard not to overfeed, but when they all eat something a little different it's kind of hard to know what to leave and what to take out. After all, most of them are 'scavengers'.

Another day, another small lesson or two learned.


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Old 01/07/2018, 07:47 AM   #7
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Wow, that was long. I wish you luck with your mom QT and your display tank. It’s always good to see new reef aquarists join in this community. By the way, Welcome to Reef Central!
Thank you!


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Build Thread: "A new reefer... a new tank. What could go wrong?"

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Old 01/07/2018, 12:21 PM   #8
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Wow that was long.

Welcome to RC, and remember to just learn from your mistakes.

I wouldn't worry to much about being precise with prime, I don't believe it can be overdosed. I always just use a cap full in my 10G QT should I need.to.


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Old 01/08/2018, 08:09 AM   #9
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Serene,

Yes, I read this thread completely because I saw your post on macro forum. Welcome to the community, it is an eclectic group. I for one have been doing captive marine tanks for 45 years. I don’t subscribe to QT. Over the years, I have found that fish immune system health and elimination of stress are the most important aspects to address. I assure you, that getting put in a QT tank is stressful to a fish that is already stressed during shipment.

As Michael suggested you would be well served if you got a good book. I recommend John Tullock’s book “The Natural Reef Aquarium”. Two major themes in his book was a theme tank of compatiable inhabitants or a most have pivitol species. The most important point to come out of his book was less technology/more biology.


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Old 01/08/2018, 08:15 AM   #10
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I reread your thread again. For the little time that your tank has been set up, it is in great shape. My first suggestion for you is to relax and enjoy. Stress does not mix well for anyone.


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Old 01/08/2018, 10:02 AM   #11
SereneAquatic
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I reread your thread again. For the little time that your tank has been set up, it is in great shape. My first suggestion for you is to relax and enjoy. Stress does not mix well for anyone.
Thank you for the kind words, and encouragement. I am going to check out that book, a few different people have mentioned it.

Even though I am new, I completely agree that reducing the stress on these animals is a huge priority. I am taking small steps in that direction wherever I can, but moving slowly so I don't do more harm than good.

I may someday subscribe to the zero QT idea, but right now my goal is to quarantine with as little stress as possible for them.

1. I am reducing the lighting in the room where the QT tank is. I don't think they liked the overhead lights where they were previously.

2. I am trying to disturb the tank as little as possible, only reaching in as absolutely necessary.

3. I will be doing a tank transfer every 3 days. I am adding Prime and considering a PH buffer with each new tank. Salinity and temp will be matched, and I will keep them all in water, no net lifting. I will also arrange the tank to be laid out exactly like the previous tank.

4. I will feed them on a schedule with predictable types and amount of food.

5. I will be slowly converting each new tank to have more water from the DT and less freshly mixed saltwater so the ultimate transition will be easy. My DT will be happy to get its first water changes, ever, I'm sure. Right now the DT is holding its own thanks to the Chaeto and the H380. It is finally turning a little yellowish, but the hair algae that appeared recently isn't getting any bigger.

I know all that is probably overkill and not necessary... But I will consider it an experiment in husbandry. Lol

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Build Thread: "A new reefer... a new tank. What could go wrong?"

Current Tank Info: Red Sea Reefer 425 XL Deluxe and Nano Max
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Old 01/08/2018, 11:08 AM   #12
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Welcome to RC and to the adventure I only started in September!

I remember having rather similar conversations with my girlfriend. Though I shared both the implementation AND planner perspectives, and she was the 'I want that fish, its cute' perspective

But its a great thing to get into with your S.O on board, and I'm glad to hear you did your research and been learning.

Experiment, learn from mistakes, and move forwards. Good luck!


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Old 01/08/2018, 11:22 AM   #13
SereneAquatic
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Welcome to RC and to the adventure I only started in September!

I remember having rather similar conversations with my girlfriend. Though I shared both the implementation AND planner perspectives, and she was the 'I want that fish, its cute' perspective

But its a great thing to get into with your S.O on board, and I'm glad to hear you did your research and been learning.

Experiment, learn from mistakes, and move forwards. Good luck!
Thank you! Good luck to you as well!

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Build Thread: "A new reefer... a new tank. What could go wrong?"

Current Tank Info: Red Sea Reefer 425 XL Deluxe and Nano Max
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Old 01/08/2018, 11:37 AM   #14
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I wanted to add one more tidbit for future reference, in case I come looking for random things...

A couple weeks ago, prior to getting the chaeto installed, we were having the expected PH swings each day with the light on/off cycle. As soon as we got it, and the H380, installed, the swings leveled out and there were no more hourly alerts from the Apex complaining of the injustice every night.

After almost a week of stable PH, it suddenly PLUMMETED, and I mean, in the course of about 8 hours, during the DAY, it fell like a stone to a point beyond what it ever reached before. I was perplexed, and was starting to think that the probe had gone nuts, but forgot about it for a bit, since it was getting really warm in the house. I went to the kitchen, about 10 feet from where the kerosene heater had been running all day, and turned it off.

When I got the next Apex alert, to my surprise, even though it was still very low... It had started to rise.

It took me about 10 seconds to make the connection.

While correlation does not equal causation, the chemistry made sense.

Note to self... Electric heaters only from now on?

I eventually added a small dose of PH buffer to the tank because the alkalinity was on a constant downhill slide and PH was staying in the lower of the OK range.

For the sake of science, I think I am obliged to run the kerosene heater again, just to replicate this little event... and to see how well the PH buffer holds up...

Maybe just for an hour this time... Not 8+.



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Build Thread: "A new reefer... a new tank. What could go wrong?"

Current Tank Info: Red Sea Reefer 425 XL Deluxe and Nano Max
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Old 01/08/2018, 12:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by SereneAquatic View Post
I wanted to add one more tidbit for future reference, in case I come looking for random things...

A couple weeks ago, prior to getting the chaeto installed, we were having the expected PH swings each day with the light on/off cycle. As soon as we got it, and the H380, installed, the swings leveled out and there were no more hourly alerts from the Apex complaining of the injustice every night.

After almost a week of stable PH, it suddenly PLUMMETED, and I mean, in the course of about 8 hours, during the DAY, it fell like a stone to a point beyond what it ever reached before. I was perplexed, and was starting to think that the probe had gone nuts, but forgot about it for a bit, since it was getting really warm in the house. I went to the kitchen, about 10 feet from where the kerosene heater had been running all day, and turned it off.



When I got the next Apex alert, to my surprise, even though it was still very low... It had started to rise.

It took me about 10 seconds to make the connection.

While correlation does not equal causation, the chemistry made sense.

Note to self... Electric heaters only from now on?

I eventually added a small dose of PH buffer to the tank because the alkalinity was on a constant downhill slide and PH was staying in the lower of the OK range.

For the sake of science, I think I am obliged to run the kerosene heater again, just to replicate this little event... and to see how well the PH buffer holds up...

Maybe just for an hour this time... Not 8+.



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As you will find out, I don’t march to the information that mandates your course of action. Let me expound on pH fluctuations with lights out. It is normal and it is beneficial.

First, it is normal: The reefs of the world, fluctuate .2-.5 pH units between day and night.
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=2652653

Second, it is beneficial: You mentioned adding a pH buffer and hoping your pH alarm on your automatic monitors would not wake you at night. Truely, this is unnessary and in some cases could be harmful to maintain steady state pH. I use pH fluctuations during lights out to dissolve aroggonite in sandbed. This adds calcium and trace minerals as well as increases alkalinity to provide for increased buffering automatically with no equipment involved. There is no opposite light cycle in nature.

I still claim, it is not nice to fool Mother Nature.


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Old 01/08/2018, 01:10 PM   #16
SereneAquatic
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As you will find out, I don’t march to the information that mandates your course of action. Let me expound on pH fluctuations with lights out. It is normal and it is beneficial.

First, it is normal: The reefs of the world, fluctuate .2-.5 pH units between day and night.
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=2652653

Second, it is beneficial: You mentioned adding a pH buffer and hoping your pH alarm on your automatic monitors would not wake you at night. Truely, this is unnessary and in some cases could be harmful to maintain steady state pH. I use pH fluctuations during lights out to dissolve aroggonite in sandbed. This adds calcium and trace minerals as well as increases alkalinity to provide for increased buffering automatically with no equipment involved. There is no opposite light cycle in nature.

I still claim, it is not nice to fool Mother Nature.
Interesting... What you are saying makes sense. Do you do any buffering at all? How wide of a range is too wide, in your opinion?

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Old 01/08/2018, 01:39 PM   #17
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As I already said, the data shows normal fluctuations to be between .2 and .5 pH units. This value is on thriving reefs in the wild.

With respect to buffering, aroggonite supplies all that I have needed for 45years.

This is my oldest tank. Set up for 25years. It is a 75G Jaubert Plenum with a 30G EcoSystem mud macro refugium. Three months ago, I turned out lights and converted to a cryptic sponge refugium.


PS: I applaud your move to not use foam fractionation, protein skimmer. If not running a protein skimmer on tank, there should be a mechanism to provide good gas exchange between air and water when lights go out. I always maximize surface flow to promote good gas exchange. This will cause some evaporation to be dealt with. If you have a sump or refugium, then the surface skimmer removes scum that interferes with surface tension and gas exchange.


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Old 01/08/2018, 07:03 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Subsea View Post
As I already said, the data shows normal fluctuations to be between .2 and .5 pH units. This value is on thriving reefs in the wild.

With respect to buffering, aroggonite supplies all that I have needed for 45years.

This is my oldest tank. Set up for 25years. It is a 75G Jaubert Plenum with a 30G EcoSystem mud macro refugium. Three months ago, I turned out lights and converted to a cryptic sponge refugium.


PS: I applaud your move to not use foam fractionation, protein skimmer. If not running a protein skimmer on tank, there should be a mechanism to provide good gas exchange between air and water when lights go out. I always maximize surface flow to promote good gas exchange. This will cause some evaporation to be dealt with. If you have a sump or refugium, then the surface skimmer removes scum that interferes with surface tension and gas exchange.
Wow, sorry... I did look at this earlier and got so distracted looking at that photo I actually forgot to respond That is a beautiful tank! How did you get the greenery to grow along the back wall like that? Was it a faux rock wall initially? I'd love to have a tank that looks like that some day. Do you actually have coral and plants both growing in the tank together? I think that's what I'm seeing, unless it's just really green corals. Do you have to trim the back wall often to keep it from going elsewhere? This seriously sent me into a tailspin of so many questions lol.

I'm not sure I follow the very last thing you wrote. Do you mean that the skimmer helps with gas exchange, or hinders it? My intuition says that with a skimmer there would be MORE gas exchange, since the skimmer is creating tons of air bubbles. Is that right? If so, then that would mean that I need to continue finding ways of breaking the surface of the water to assist with that exchange.

We turned up our return pump very early on so that there was A LOT of water coming from the return in the DT... almost enough to send it over the edge of the tank lol. It creates a lot of air bubbles in the tank, but I haven't been able to convince myself to back it off yet. The bubbles don't look pristine... but the tank has a lot of surface area breaking, and I'm constantly filling the top off tank. Until I get some additional power heads in there to help keep the water breaking, it will stay turned up. I may even leave it like that.


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Old 01/08/2018, 07:20 PM   #19
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The tank has been up for about a month... and if it wasn't for QT needing water and the slight yellowing of the DT water, I may have waited longer still to do a water change. Things being what they are, I did a 10 gallon swap out... enough to fill the QT.

While we had the return pump off we pulled it out to clean it and discovered something that I'm glad we found early. I swear, there is one guy at the LFS that I am never asking a question of again. Everything he has suggested and told me has been wrong. The rest of them all seem to know which way is up.

When we bought a flex hose for the return pump to the display, he handed us POND flex tube and the stainless steel clamps to hook it to the pump. I gave him the raised eyebrow at the store and told him I'd never heard of anyone using that for the return line, but he insisted it would be 'perfect'. My husband and I took his word for it and installed it once we got home. I will say that the dark hose probably inhibits bacterial growth... but that's where the good ends I think.

1. When we pulled out the return pump tonight, we found that even though the actual clamp itself is stainless steel... apparently the SCREW that comes with the clamp is not. It had already started rusting, after 1 month. Since the fitting is really tight even on its own, we used a strong, large zip tie tonight to get the pump up and running again, but we're going to need a better solution by this weekend. I dont want to risk having the return pump hose come off.

2. I know that this hose, with its corrugated shape, is going to collect scum in the extended areas over time and that will reduce flow and cause issues, not to mention the build up of all the crud.

I'm not sure who I'm more irritated with... the store clerk, for suggesting something completely inappropriate, or myself for ignoring that voice in my head that said to ignore him and move on.



At least we found the rusting piece before it sat in the tank too long.


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Old 01/08/2018, 07:23 PM   #20
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Wow! Great read Welcome to the forum. You will find answers to your questions by doing a search and if not just ask. There are some very knowledgeable folks here. Congrats on your new tank.


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Old 01/08/2018, 08:29 PM   #21
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I think I know why your PH plummeted. The CO2 coming off from your heater was in the air and was dissolved into your tank through surface exchange. When CO2 is dissolved in water, it creates carbonic acid, it’s very weak, but lowers PH. That is why people struggle with PH in the winter time because they don’t have lots of fresh air free from CO2 in their house (versus the summer with windows open). Also with the lights cycle, when the lights are on, algae in the tank can photosynthesize, absorbing carbon dioxide thus not lowering PH, when the lights go off, there is no photosynthesis and more CO2 in the water, thus lowered PH.


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Old 01/08/2018, 09:07 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by SereneAquatic View Post
Wow, sorry... I did look at this earlier and got so distracted looking at that photo I actually forgot to respond That is a beautiful tank! How did you get the greenery to grow along the back wall like that? Was it a faux rock wall initially? I'd love to have a tank that looks like that some day. Do you actually have coral and plants both growing in the tank together? I think that's what I'm seeing, unless it's just really green corals. Do you have to trim the back wall often to keep it from going elsewhere? This seriously sent me into a tailspin of so many questions lol.

I'm not sure I follow the very last thing you wrote. Do you mean that the skimmer helps with gas exchange, or hinders it? My intuition says that with a skimmer there would be MORE gas exchange, since the skimmer is creating tons of air bubbles. Is that right? If so, then that would mean that I need to continue finding ways of breaking the surface of the water to assist with that exchange.

We turned up our return pump very early on so that there was A LOT of water coming from the return in the DT... almost enough to send it over the edge of the tank lol. It creates a lot of air bubbles in the tank, but I haven't been able to convince myself to back it off yet. The bubbles don't look pristine... but the tank has a lot of surface area breaking, and I'm constantly filling the top off tank. Until I get some additional power heads in there to help keep the water breaking, it will stay turned up. I may even leave it like that.
For certain, a protein skimmer will help gas exchange. That is where I stop endorsing them. They are ok as a back up for insurance. I much more prefer GAC and UV sterilizer, but I feed heavy and push tanks hard to grow things.

The back wall and half of right end is covered in Green Star Polyps. In some places, it has no room to grow but out, which is when I take cuttings. Once, I scraped a razor blade wide path thru the thickest mass of it. I would use a 16” strip at 1.5” wide to transfer to another tank back wall using crazy glue under water. More often, I use natural rubber bands to attach to anything. My favorite aquascaping with GSP frags is to wrap it around an upflow tube to hide it and grow coral. In 60 days the rubber photo disintegrates or you can cut it after frag attaches well, which is less than 10 days.

Yes, I have several tanks set up strictly as lagoon biotheme with ornamental macros, leathers, mushrooms and sponges as well as LPS. When I operate a captive reef tank, I feed it heavily. Corals and algae need the same thing; sunlight and nutrients. Without herbivores, the reefs of the world would be algae dominated. That is how I operate my reef tank. I feed it. When I don’t like what is growing, I weed it out or as the Master Gardner, I hire janitors. It is as simple as that. For certain, mymtanks have some unsightly algae. I prefer to enjoy it without the need to continually clean. Unless something like a cynobacteria bloom demands more immediate attention.

Please note this picture. Even with cynobacteria bloom, I could have this tank immaculate in 20 minutes.

Sorry about my picture posting skills.

Same tank five years ago.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FDt8QTAp0Cs


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Old 01/08/2018, 11:38 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by SereneAquatic View Post
Wow, sorry... I did look at this earlier and got so distracted looking at that photo I actually forgot to respond That is a beautiful tank! How did you get the greenery to grow along the back wall like that? Was it a faux rock wall initially? I'd love to have a tank that looks like that some day. Do you actually have coral and plants both growing in the tank together? I think that's what I'm seeing, unless it's just really green corals. Do you have to trim the back wall often to keep it from going elsewhere? This seriously sent me into a tailspin of so many questions lol.

I'm not sure I follow the very last thing you wrote. Do you mean that the skimmer helps with gas exchange, or hinders it? My intuition says that with a skimmer there would be MORE gas exchange, since the skimmer is creating tons of air bubbles. Is that right? If so, then that would mean that I need to continue finding ways of breaking the surface of the water to assist with that exchange.

We turned up our return pump very early on so that there was A LOT of water coming from the return in the DT... almost enough to send it over the edge of the tank lol. It creates a lot of air bubbles in the tank, but I haven't been able to convince myself to back it off yet. The bubbles don't look pristine... but the tank has a lot of surface area breaking, and I'm constantly filling the top off tank. Until I get some additional power heads in there to help keep the water breaking, it will stay turned up. I may even leave it like that.
I just looked up the specs on your tank. Is that 450 liters? You have very good taste in equipment.

On a somewhat advanced topic, you are carbon dosing your tank with the high flow at the surface. Carbon dioxide in air equalizes with carbon dioxide gas saturated in the water which contributes to alkalinity with co2 in water combining to make carbonate and bicarbonate, both of which contribute to alkalinity. So there is your buffer. It is automatic and is controlled “Dynamic Equilibrium”. Now for the biochemistry magic. During photosynthesis, alkalinity coupled with photosynthesis equals glucose which is a carbon source to your tank.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_pump


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Old 01/09/2018, 06:34 AM   #24
SereneAquatic
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I just looked up the specs on your tank. Is that 450 liters? You have very good taste in equipment.

On a somewhat advanced topic, you are carbon dosing your tank with the high flow at the surface. Carbon dioxide in air equalizes with carbon dioxide gas saturated in the water which contributes to alkalinity with co2 in water combining to make carbonate and bicarbonate, both of which contribute to alkalinity. So there is your buffer. It is automatic and is controlled “Dynamic Equilibrium”. Now for the biochemistry magic. During photosynthesis, alkalinity coupled with photosynthesis equals glucose which is a carbon source to your tank.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_pump
Ha... Here's a crazy thing. I have read that wiki before about two years ago, when I was reading about reverse combustion. I would probably have never made the connection to think of that in terms of an aquarium... Probably because it relys on the ultimate 'storage' of carbon at the ocean floor. Is this where your mud comes into play? I would question if that kind of thing can work in such a small, closed system... But your tanks speak for themselves.

You have definitely given me a lot to ponder as I go forward. Thank you!

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Old 01/09/2018, 06:37 AM   #25
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I think I know why your PH plummeted. The CO2 coming off from your heater was in the air and was dissolved into your tank through surface exchange. When CO2 is dissolved in water, it creates carbonic acid, it’s very weak, but lowers PH. That is why people struggle with PH in the winter time because they don’t have lots of fresh air free from CO2 in their house (versus the summer with windows open). Also with the lights cycle, when the lights are on, algae in the tank can photosynthesize, absorbing carbon dioxide thus not lowering PH, when the lights go off, there is no photosynthesis and more CO2 in the water, thus lowered PH.
This is kind of where my brain went... But maybe slightly different. I think essentially removed too much oxygen from the room and was suffocating the tank. Lol

At do have a carbon monoxide detector... But nothing that says that we are much lower on oxygen.

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