New kid on the block

PeacockReefs

New member
Hi everyone!

I'm fairly new to the saltwater fish tank hobby. I currently have a tank up and running. So far so good (though I did have an outbreak of Cyanobacteria recently). I have a 40 gal breeder tank with about 43 lbs (give or take) of live rock. I have two ocellaris clowns, two tiny feather dusters, a spotted mandarin, and a cleaner shrimp. I feed the clowns mysis shrimp and the mandarin eats cyclops shrimp in addition to copepods. Right now I seed the tank with copepods periodically but I'm in the process of setting up a sump with a copepod refugium. I want to add coral eventually but I won't do that until I have the sump up and running. I currently have a canister filter. (I know this is probably the worst thing I could have but I didn't know that at the time of purchase. The LFS that I went to for the first time sold me a bunch of nonsense and I didn't know where else to get a second opinion). The bacteria outbreak is gone. I used chemi-clean and it went away in a matter of days. In the distant future I would like to add a dwarf lionfish (I understand the risks. That's why I'm waiting until all my current inhabitants get nice and big.). In the near future I would like to add a royal gramma and MAYBE a chalk bass (not sure if they will get along). I like the idea of a cherub angelfish but I've heard they aren't entirely reef safe. Same with a six-line wrasse. I really have no clue when it comes to coral. I've been thinking some clove polyps, Kenya trees, a blue sympodium? Idk. And what kind of light would you guys suggest? I was thinking the Fluval marine and reef LED light. Is this a good one? Any thoughts on a protein skimmer? The Coralife super skimmer 65 is what I've been thinking. I'm pretty lost here. I hope you guys can help :)
 

FraggledRock

New member
thats a lot of fish for a 40 Breeder.

especially once the lion-fish goes in.

Sounds like a good start though.

Try to get a handle of the cyano issue you had, it WILL come back IF you don't get to the root. chemiclean and other chemicals are not a good option. they are quick fixes, but potentially are not the right approach.

Try to keep additives and chemicals OUT of the tank as much as possible.

Good Luck!
 

PeacockReefs

New member
thats a lot of fish for a 40 Breeder.

especially once the lion-fish goes in.

Sounds like a good start though.

Try to get a handle of the cyano issue you had, it WILL come back IF you don't get to the root. chemiclean and other chemicals are not a good option. they are quick fixes, but potentially are not the right approach.

Try to keep additives and chemicals OUT of the tank as much as possible.

Good Luck!

Thanks so much for your feedback!!

After the lionfish it was more of an either or type of situation. I certainly don't want to over populate the tank. I mostly listed all of those as the fish I was considering. I guess it would have been better to ask which of those would be suitable besides the lionfish.

I think the bacteria came from my filter (if that's possible). I've read that the bacteria comes from over feeding (which I don't do), poor water quality/not enough water changes (could have been), of bad filtration. When doing research on the canister filters I read that bacteria can build up inside of them and then travel to the tank. That's why I'm trying to install a sump ASAP.

Any other advice? I appreciate what you've said so far!
 

Marchillo

New member
I run a canister filter as a backup mostly. I clean it every two weeks. People say they are nitrate factories, which may be true, but if you are vigilant with cleaning you should be ok. Like I said I do it every two weeks. Same tank - 40G Breeder with a light bioload. I also run a hob protein skimmer rated for 75G (I'm not drilled). Do you plan on adding a skimmer? That will help a ton! I empty mine every 2 days with a small bioload.
 

FraggledRock

New member
Thanks so much for your feedback!!

After the lionfish it was more of an either or type of situation. I certainly don't want to over populate the tank. I mostly listed all of those as the fish I was considering. I guess it would have been better to ask which of those would be suitable besides the lionfish.

I think the bacteria came from my filter (if that's possible). I've read that the bacteria comes from over feeding (which I don't do), poor water quality/not enough water changes (could have been), of bad filtration. When doing research on the canister filters I read that bacteria can build up inside of them and then travel to the tank. That's why I'm trying to install a sump ASAP.

Any other advice? I appreciate what you've said so far!

No problem, glad I could help.

I am fairly new to the hobby myself but like you are expereiencing, its alot of info that must be understand and implemented asap! lol

I dont have experience with canisters but I can see how the closed environment cant harbor a lot of stuff that could cause water parameter issues.

The cyano issue is more than just canister filters and over feeding.

It is nitrates, phosphates and excess nutrients(why over feeding can cause these issues).

Getting a skimmer will help as well with filtration with what is known as DOC dissolved Organic Compounds or DOM (D.O.Matter). and some other chemicals that find their way into the water column.

is your tank still cycling?

how long has it been established?
 

Marchillo

New member
I should have mentioned I haven't had any issues with nitrates with my filter. I also have 40 pounds of live rock and the PSK as mentioned.
 

FraggledRock

New member
I should have mentioned I haven't had any issues with nitrates with my filter. I also have 40 pounds of live rock and the PSK as mentioned.

what are your water parameters?

"nitrate issue" is variable to what you have in teh tank.

FOWLR Fish Only With Live Rock can handle higher nitrates.

Full reefs with SPS need nitrates to be as close to 0 as possible.
 

Marchillo

New member
I only have the API kit but it's always super bright yellow. I'd like to say zero but that might be unrealistic. I've had the lfs test it as well and gotten the thumbs up.
 

FraggledRock

New member
I only have the API kit but it's always super bright yellow. I'd like to say zero but that might be unrealistic. I've had the lfs test it as well and gotten the thumbs up.

API is usually the go to kit when starting out, I urge you to get better test kits asap.

It can get pricey but its worth it when there's so much more at stake.
 

PeacockReefs

New member
No problem, glad I could help.

I am fairly new to the hobby myself but like you are expereiencing, its alot of info that must be understand and implemented asap! lol

I dont have experience with canisters but I can see how the closed environment cant harbor a lot of stuff that could cause water parameter issues.

The cyano issue is more than just canister filters and over feeding.

It is nitrates, phosphates and excess nutrients(why over feeding can cause these issues).

Getting a skimmer will help as well with filtration with what is known as DOC dissolved Organic Compounds or DOM (D.O.Matter). and some other chemicals that find their way into the water column.

is your tank still cycling?

how long has it been established?

I started it in July. Initially I filled it with tap water. A couple of months later I got a RODI system so I drained the tank (had nothing but rock in it) and refilled it with RODI water. So I guess somewhere around 5 months. Maybe a month less. How long does it cycle? I thought it was a couple of months?




I run a canister filter as a backup mostly. I clean it every two weeks. People say they are nitrate factories, which may be true, but if you are vigilant with cleaning you should be ok. Like I said I do it every two weeks. Same tank - 40G Breeder with a light bioload. I also run a hob protein skimmer rated for 75G (I'm not drilled). Do you plan on adding a skimmer? That will help a ton! I empty mine every 2 days with a small bioload.

I'm not drilled either. I was going to get an overflow box so that the water would be able to get into the sump. I don't have a PSK as of yet but I'm working on it. Any suggestions on the brand? I was looking at the Coralife super skimmer 65. Is this a good option?
 

FraggledRock

New member
I started it in July. Initially I filled it with tap water. A couple of months later I got a RODI system so I drained the tank (had nothing but rock in it) and refilled it with RODI water. So I guess somewhere around 5 months. Maybe a month less. How long does it cycle? I thought it was a couple of months?






I'm not drilled either. I was going to get an overflow box so that the water would be able to get into the sump. I don't have a PSK as of yet but I'm working on it. Any suggestions on the brand? I was looking at the Coralife super skimmer 65. Is this a good option?

technically speaking, without an ammonia source, a tank will never cycle =/

the way to cycle is to get an ammonia source. this will triger bacteria to feed on it which will expell NITRITES, this will also trigger a nitrifying bacteria for bloom, they will secrete wastes as nitrates which is the END of the nitrogen cycle and when your ammonia stays at 0 and nitrates stays at 0 your cycled. but without a new ammonia source Fish, food or ammonia additive, the beneficial bacteria will not fluorish and you will have die off.

but as you said you weren't overfeeding i am guessing you are far beyond cycling.

ahh the root of the problem.

the tap water may have left behind some traces of elements that is now feeding the Cyano, or will continue feeding.

Rock can absorbed phosphates and slowly release it called leaching.

this will keep happening for a while dependant on how much is / was absorbed. ( again i am just speculating)

also copper from the tap could have gotten into some of the tank equipment and substrate. Chelated copper. i am not trying to scare you, just things I am reiterating from research i have done with, experience i have.
 

PeacockReefs

New member
technically speaking, without an ammonia source, a tank will never cycle =/

the way to cycle is to get an ammonia source. this will triger bacteria to feed on it which will expell NITRITES, this will also trigger a nitrifying bacteria for bloom, they will secrete wastes as nitrates which is the END of the nitrogen cycle and when your ammonia stays at 0 and nitrates stays at 0 your cycled. but without a new ammonia source Fish, food or ammonia additive, the beneficial bacteria will not fluorish and you will have die off.

but as you said you weren't overfeeding i am guessing you are far beyond cycling.

ahh the root of the problem.

the tap water may have left behind some traces of elements that is now feeding the Cyano, or will continue feeding.

Rock can absorbed phosphates and slowly release it called leaching.

this will keep happening for a while dependant on how much is / was absorbed. ( again i am just speculating)

also copper from the tap could have gotten into some of the tank equipment and substrate. Chelated copper. i am not trying to scare you, just things I am reiterating from research i have done with, experience i have.

So...ok I'm trying to keep up. Do I need to get an ammonia source or am I ok? I use the API test kit and my ammonia and nitrates usually reads 0 unless I'm overdue for a water change.

Hmmm...I never thought that the tap water would have been the cause...but it makes sense. Especially since when I drained it I didn't drain all of it....

So what do I do? Do I drain the tank again? Just clean the filter (because in sure that there is still some trace of the tap in there.)?
 

FraggledRock

New member
Well what you can do is get some shrimp from the fish market.

put a piece of it in there in a little net or something for easy removal.

leave the piece in there.

leave it there a day or two then test ammonia.

if your ammonia went up (5 - 10 ppm or so) take the shrimp out.

test again the next day or two and test for ammonia AND nitrite.

if you see ammonia go downto 0 or close and nitrite go up you have ammonia eating bacteria..

if you see nitrite go up and never fall you don't have nitrifying bacteria. however if you see ammonia go up and then go down, and then nitrite go up and then down you have all the bacteria you need to be considered a cycled tank.

after this process happens Nitrates will be present in the water. nitrates will not go down on their own unless you have other types of filtration which i am sure you don't right now. nitrates are handled with water changes primarily.

in regards to the tap water issue you can go and get copper and phosphates tests to see where they are at in your tank. then a decision can be made.
 

Marchillo

New member
Fraggle - what test kit do you reccomend. With all I have invested already I don't mind spending $ to upgrade there.
 

PeacockReefs

New member
Well what you can do is get some shrimp from the fish market.

put a piece of it in there in a little net or something for easy removal.

leave the piece in there.

leave it there a day or two then test ammonia.

if your ammonia went up (5 - 10 ppm or so) take the shrimp out.

test again the next day or two and test for ammonia AND nitrite.

if you see ammonia go downto 0 or close and nitrite go up you have ammonia eating bacteria..

if you see nitrite go up and never fall you don't have nitrifying bacteria. however if you see ammonia go up and then go down, and then nitrite go up and then down you have all the bacteria you need to be considered a cycled tank.

after this process happens Nitrates will be present in the water. nitrates will not go down on their own unless you have other types of filtration which i am sure you don't right now. nitrates are handled with water changes primarily.

in regards to the tap water issue you can go and get copper and phosphates tests to see where they are at in your tank. then a decision can be made.

Well now that you mention that it has happened that I tested for ammonia and it was 0. I skipped a water change or two and it went up. Way up. I did a decent sized water change and it went back down to 0. So would it be safe to say it has cycled?
 

gone fishin

New member
I would not intentionally add any ammonia or dead shrimp into the tank now. You got fish and inverts in the tank. Your tank is young you will get all kinds of different things Cyano being one, others would be green hair algae, bubble algae. They will more than likely come and go.

Since you don't have a skimmer yet, weekly water changes are your friend. I would assume you have done quite a few WC's since you started so I doubt the initial tap water is causing anything.

The skimmer you mentioned IMO is on the low end. I had one when I first started and was not very happy with it. It did not pull much and was pretty touchy.
 

PeacockReefs

New member
I would not intentionally add any ammonia or dead shrimp into the tank now. You got fish and inverts in the tank. Your tank is young you will get all kinds of different things Cyano being one, others would be green hair algae, bubble algae. They will more than likely come and go.

Since you don't have a skimmer yet, weekly water changes are your friend. I would assume you have done quite a few WC's since you started so I doubt the initial tap water is causing anything.

The skimmer you mentioned IMO is on the low end. I had one when I first started and was not very happy with it. It did not pull much and was pretty touchy.

Currently having a hair algae bloom. It's weird because it only stays on one rock. It won't spread anywhere else which I guess is a good thing. Currently I do weekly water changes. I forgot to mention that I have a red banded trocus snail in the tank as well who is currently working on it. Not entirely sure where the algae bloom came from. Still figuring that out.

Which skimmer would you recommend?
 

gone fishin

New member
A lot of people like the reef octopus brand, I am happy with the Bubble Magus I have. It has been along time since I needed a skimmer for a smaller tank so I don't feel comfortable recommending a specific model.

your algae problems are more than likely from being a new tank. Your tank is still maturing and your chemistry is probably still a little bumpy. But excess nitrates plus phosphates and light is the recipe for algae. As mentioned above it is not uncommon for rock to leach out some phosphate. Also, it is not uncommon for newer folks to overfeed, being unaware that they are. Feeding is kind of a learned thing over time.

I saw that you used chemi-clean for the cyano. Don't be surprised if it comes back.

I don't think you mentioned what kind of flow you got in your tank. But cyano likes low flow to dead spots areas.
 

PeacockReefs

New member
A lot of people like the reef octopus brand, I am happy with the Bubble Magus I have. It has been along time since I needed a skimmer for a smaller tank so I don't feel comfortable recommending a specific model.

your algae problems are more than likely from being a new tank. Your tank is still maturing and your chemistry is probably still a little bumpy. But excess nitrates plus phosphates and light is the recipe for algae. As mentioned above it is not uncommon for rock to leach out some phosphate. Also, it is not uncommon for newer folks to overfeed, being unaware that they are. Feeding is kind of a learned thing over time.

I saw that you used chemi-clean for the cyano. Don't be surprised if it comes back.

I don't think you mentioned what kind of flow you got in your tank. But cyano likes low flow to dead spots areas.

I'll have to look into both brands.

I usually feed until they can't or won't eat anymore and then I scoop the rest out with net. I do this with the mysis shrimp. It's much harder to do with the cyclops shrimp because I can't scoop out the shrimp that the mandarin doesn't eat. I always just hope that the inverts and the clownfish will eat the rest. They all seem to enjoy the cyclops.

I went and got a power head after the outbreak so that there won't be as much water stagnation as before. I'm working on getting another power head as well as setting up a sump and overflow box etc so that I can increase the water flow.
 
Top