Mayja's 90 Gallon Reef Experience

Discussion in 'Reef Chronicles' started by Mayja, Feb 10, 2013.

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  1. Mayja

    Mayja Social Media Moderator
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    [video=youtube_share;lbVK0s71sL0]http://youtu.be/lbVK0s71sL0[/video]
    This is the video I took of the tank this morning so you can see exactly what I'm seeing. I am not introducing corals yet as I have not decided if that's what I'll do. This plan is currently based on a FOWLR setup. I'll give everyone a rundown on my tank specs/setup, and then I will describe the fish I hope to place into the tank over the next few months. :bigbounce

    Tank Setup
    I've included links to all the manufacturers so you can look-up exactly what I'm using:

    90 gallon Marineland Perfecto tank 48x18x24
    30 gallon Bashsea refugium using grape caulerpa algae 30x14x16
    45lbs Fiji live rock
    40lbs CaribSea Aragonite SeaFlor Special Grade Reef Sand
    Aqua Classic 15 watt UV sterilizer
    Rio Hyperflow 20 pump - 1290 GPH
    Via Aqua 300 watt titanium heater
    T5 lighting for display tank and refugium

    No, I do NOT have a protein skimmer. This was a big discussion with my LFS guy, who does not use them on his tanks either. He said that he will gladly hook me up with one (and install it) should the need arise, but he keeps telling me that if all goes well, the live rock and algae should be able to handle it. This could have been a very easy sale for this guy for an expensive piece of equipment (I had my checkbook out and ready to go!). I'm willing to trust the guy who is willing to forgo the sale of expensive equipment I don't need so I can have a successful tank. Props go to Patrick, the owner of Amazon Stingrays in Clawson, MI.

    RO water used
    Coralife Pure-Flo II RO Unit 50 GPD
    (Coralife's main site does not list their RO units... hmmmm)

    Current Livestock
    2x Percula Clownfish (added 2/5/13)

    Current CUC
    10x Red/Blue Legged Hermit Crabs (added 2/6/13)

    Here's the rest of the livestock that I will be adding to the tank as things progress smoothly (because you KNOW of COURSE they will!!! LOL!):

    Future Livestock (links are to Google images in case other newbies don't know what I'm talking about)
    1x Royal Gramma Basslet
    6x Green Chromis
    1x Yellow Tang
    1x Blue Hippo Tang
    1x Coral Beauty Dwarf Angelfish
    2x Longfin Bannerfish (possible addition depending on space/behavior)

    Future CUC
    Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
    Harelquin Shrimp
    Emerald Crab

    I'm open to suggestions on all of these future livestock and CUC choices!

    Also, I would love Love LOVE suggestions on which corals would be great match-ups for this livestock, and when I should start introducing said corals into the tank.

    If you made it this far in my post, THANK YOU!! :bouncer:
     
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  2. ReefApprentice

    ReefApprentice Well-Known Member

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    Some easy to grow corals are greenstar polyps and xenia.Also it might just be a caution that coral beauty angels might pick at or eat some coral.Its a mixed fish.Some people have had great sucess with coral beautys in a reef tank, while others have not.Also great stocking list but the longfin bannerfish might need a little bigger tank.As for the cuc(clean up crew) adding some snails and more (scarlet and blue legged) hermit crabs.Also have you reaserched that harelquin shrimp Only eat statfish as they have a specialized diet.Most people add a cholocate chip starfish for them to eat .Some other beginner corals include all types:red cap montipora,frogspawn,hammers,zoanthids(depends on how delicate it is).Also very hardy corals are mushrooms(not yuma,unless parameters are good).
     
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  3. ReefApprentice

    ReefApprentice Well-Known Member

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    Also did you cycle the tank because i just noticed you started the tank on 2/2/13 and added the clown fish on 2/5/13.
     
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  4. Mayja

    Mayja Social Media Moderator
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    Thank you for such a quick reply!! I will begin researching the corals you listed immediately. I have read that coral beauty angels can be a hit or miss fish with corals. She would be one of the last fish to add to the tank (which is probably a few months from now) and by then I'll hopefully have decided whether to add corals. In short, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. ;) The longfin bannerfish are indeed a question mark for me as well due to tank size. That's the reason why they're last on my list of fish to add. I'll keep my list flexible as I see how my other fish behave, space issues, corals added, etc. I have researched harlequin shrimp. I would only add one if the asterina starfish became an issue, and then I would make sure to have a supply for them as well as other starfish options (thank you for mentioning that!).

    As I said in the video, my LFS guy gave me live rock that was in that water. Plus, the clownfish were in that water at his store. He anticipated an algae outbreak, but that it should not be an issue since they all came from the same source. We'll see how that flies.
     
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  5. ReefApprentice

    ReefApprentice Well-Known Member

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    Sounds good.You might not need a protein skimmer if you are able to add alage (other types of refiguium alage)and if you get a good enought cuc.The emerald crab is a great idea for the cuc but they are also a hit or miss.Some peoples emeralds will only look at bubble alage and other types of alage while others might eat a prized coral or injure a favorite fish.If you decide agnist the longfin bannerfish, a blenny or goby might do fine.another easy coral is a kenya tree(colt coral)or acan(these might be very easy.It was my first coral).Also its a first that i`ve seen someone set up a tank like that .Seems very interresting and cool.The hitchhiker clam is a filter feeder and should do fine.I have several of these hitchhikers on a rock and they filter goodies out of the water.If your lighting can support it some other corals(sps) could do fine but i wouldnt add those as your first coral.As for the clown fish are you planning on getting a anemone for them?If so what type?
     
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  6. Mayja

    Mayja Social Media Moderator
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    The two clownfish I have are actually a mated pair that were residing in an anemone before being moved to my tank. Unfortunately, I do not recall which type of anemone they were in. I absolutely want to get it back for them! I was so sad that I evicted them in the first place.

    I do have grape caulerpa algae in the fuge right now. I may add some chaeto as well, depending on how my water parameters shape up.

    I was checking out the pistol shrimp and shrimp goby partnership duo. They look pretty sweet! I just have to make sure they're compatible with everyone else.

    I don't think I have the right lighting for SPS. I just have T5 (one white one blue) for now. I'd move up to metal halides or LEDs before adding those.

    I plan on adding many MANY more CUC to the tank. I just don't know how fast this should occur. I've been asking my LFS guy to help guide me with this timeline. He says to keep him posted with updates weekly (or daily if I'm freaking out - he gave me his cell # for emergency panic attacks :help:) and he will advise me as to when/what should be added. Love that guy!

    I know, right??? I've always done my freshwater tanks the classic way: set it up, start with a piece of filter from an established tank, wait to cycle, wait some more, and wait even more, THEN add a fish. This is totally off the wall for me too. I am putting a lot of faith into my LFS guy, but I've seen his tanks and I've seen his store. They're gorgeous. They're perfect. He's done this for years. I have to trust that. He told me that he will not sell me any fish if he thinks my tank is not ready for them. I need to clone this guy.
     
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  7. ReefApprentice

    ReefApprentice Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you have a great LFS nearby(local fish store).Shrimp gobies might do well but i would watch out for the rock crushing them with your rock scape.A good, commonand easy to care for (still recommend for the tank to be 6months-1 year old) anemone that most clowns will host is a BTA(bubble tip anemone.They mostly range from a green or red.
     
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  8. Mayja

    Mayja Social Media Moderator
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    If anyone else has suggestions, please jump in!
     
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  9. Smooth

    Smooth New Member

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    For that stock your gonna need a skimmer. You may get some aggression out of those tangs in a four foot tank. Highly recommend you buy them as juveniles and add at the same time. They will compete for food so keep algae sheets in your tank at all times.
     
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  10. Mayja

    Mayja Social Media Moderator
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    Thanks for the reply! Yes, definitely will purchase young tangs so they can sort themselves out. I've already checked out the cool magnet clips you can use to hold nori for feedings. The tank is so young - we'll see if I need a skimmer. If I do, it will be done!
     
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  11. Smooth

    Smooth New Member

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    I only say that you need a skimmer because I have a similar setup (90 with a 30 sump). I only have 5 small fish in it but my skimmer is rated for 160 gallons and it still pulls nasty stuff out of the water all the time. It's a godsend for getting rid of those excess nutrients by over feeding (which I am guilty off because I keep seaweed sheets in the tank 24/7) and will decrease the time needed for water changes. If you are a busy person you will get sick of weekly/ bi-weekly water changes, which is what you may have to do with that many fish. It can be done though. Good luck
     
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  12. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    I'd say that your initial setup isn't bad, but there are some things I would change.

    Now I don't know your LFS, but from them not recommending a skimmer and having you set up the tank and stocking it right away, I'd say they were in a big hurry to get you to spend money. Waiting a few weeks wouldn't have hurt anything and given you a chance to have a stable system with no risk to the livestock. One thing you going to find out really fast is the most LFS are either clueless or trying to sell you something you don't need. I highly recommend you do what you have done, and run anything LFS tells you by the group here first. That way you get different opinions on what your trying to do.

    I would highly recommend a skimmer, especially with the amount of fish you plan to add. This is going to help solve a lot of problems before they start. You will not believe how much glop one can take out of the system. All the glop removed by the skimmer is material the biological filtration does not need to deal with. Beware of low end skimmers. Like a lot of other products, there is a lot of junk out there. Do not necessarily go with what your LFS recommends. Often there are much better choices.

    Get the grape caulerpa put of your system. This algae easily gets out of control and can become a major problem. Use algaes such as cheato which give much better results.

    In looking your tank. that sure doesn't look like 45 lbs of live rock. I'd guess about 15 - 20. In any case this you typically want about 90 to 130 lbs of live rock in your system. Live rock is the major component in your biological filtration. Don't skimp on it.

    Personally, I'm not a fan or Rio pumps, due to some bad personal experiences with them. I'd say that if you have any problems with it replace it with a different brand. Having a main pump fail can easily create a disaster in a reef system.

    You lighting is fine for a FOWLR. It's very low for corals. When you get to the point of wanting them, Either add another identical fixture or replace the one you have with a 4 or 6 bulb fixture.

    In your video you show a couple of Asterina starfish. Get rid of them now. They will get out of control very fast, and it's then a tremendous amount of work to control them. While we are on the subject of starfish, harlequin shrimp, while they look great require a diet of starfish to stay alive. This makes them difficult to keep. Even so, they can not be depended on to control Asterina. In other words, you don't want either of them in your tank.

    As for the other fish, I would just get one longfin bannerfish. They get big. Also consider carefully if you want 6 green chromis. They are a good fish, but you might find other fish that you'd much rather have. The tangs are great fish but also get big. I'd say you'd be ok with the two your planning, but there is a chance you might have to remove one later.

    Consider a couple of circulation pumps in the main tank. The better random flow will help everything. You need not run out and get them right away.

    Good luck.
     
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  13. Tjr1992

    Tjr1992 New Member

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    I don't think anyone else has actually noticed that you said you're getting an Ammonia reading of 0.25. Any ammonia is too high. I would suggest getting something such as Seachem Prime or AmQuel Plus. Ammonia burns the gills of fish.
     
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  14. Mayja

    Mayja Social Media Moderator
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    So, I retested my tank and I got .25 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0-5 nitrate (inconclusive color), 8.2 PH. I've been adding RO freshwater for dilution/top off daily (a gallon or two per day), but the ammonia wasn't going down!! I grabbed some tank water and raced over to my LFS (5 min from my house). The water was still warm (I keep it at a steady 78 degrees). They tested it with the same API kit. She tells me that my ammonia is zero (along with nitrite/nitrate - PH 8.2 - salinity 1.022 - used refractometer this time), which is why it's not going down. :confused: I don't get it. It still looked like a murky yellowish/bright green to me, not pure yellow as it says on the test. I'll be doing a water change tonight or tomorrow to bring up my salinity. I mixed up my first batch of saltwater last night (heaters and powerheads are in the buckets) and it should be ready today, after more testing, of course. :banghead:

    This is the part I hate about keeping a tank. Testing is such a PITA!
     
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  15. AJ REEF

    AJ REEF New Member

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    Pat should do you well. I have heard lots of good stuff about him over the years.

    I too have had poor luck with a rio hyperflow. Nothing that caused disaster, but I did not get the longevity that I am used to with a Mag / Danner pump.

    Circulation pumps will help the tangs, later on when they have grown some. Gives them something to swim against, and promotes oxygenation of the water.

    Sounds like you have a great start going!
     
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  16. PSU4ME

    PSU4ME JoePa lives on!!!
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    Get Salifert tests........you cannot mistake the ammonia one and that's your biggest concern no since you didn't cycle the tank.

    Also, if you don't have a refractometer then i'd highly suggest that be your next purchase......they are worth their weight in gold considering how important a constant salintiy is in a tank.

    +1 to what Dave said, you are going to need a lot more LR. When you look at other people's tanks you always see LR stuffed in there, that's on purpose! It handles your bioload and considering your fish selection, you're going to have a heavy one.
     
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  17. Mayja

    Mayja Social Media Moderator
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    Pat's the one who chose all of my equipment. He ordered the entire setup and plumbed it for me. I love him to death! So, if he chose a poor pump, he'll know about it. ;)

    I plan on adding some powerheads (either Maxijet, or Hydor Koralia or Tunze) once I get my bigger swimmers in the tank. I'm just pacing myself due to budget constraints. One thing at a time. :D
     
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  18. Mayja

    Mayja Social Media Moderator
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    My next purchases are more live rock and a refractometer. They have a refractometer at my LFS that I can use, so at least for now I have a backup that's 5 min from my house. The live rock I'm purchasing is Fiji and it's already cured.
     
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  19. Mayja

    Mayja Social Media Moderator
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    All right... I'm gonna switch gears a little bit and turn the discussion towards livestock. I'd like to hear opinions regarding Emerald Crabs. I've heard great things about them joining the cuc, and I've heard horror stories of them eating other fish!

    Thumbs up or thumbs down? And why?
     
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  20. AJ REEF

    AJ REEF New Member

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    I have one. I can't say much about it. I rarely see it. When I do it's munching algae.
     
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