To the next level - Corals, Water chemistry, and beyond

BarIzoN

Member
Hello!

I have had my fish tank for about six years now. It's been an adventure and lots of learning. This mix between science and art fascinates me and with this mixed reef it's been the fulfillment of a childhood dream.

Now, I feel it's time to bring it to the next level.

First and foremost, let me introduce the tank:
55 gallon (yes, from Petco) standard tank (I'm about to upgrade but not too soon).
Reef Brite 2 T5HO and one LED 48 in strip
Maxpect Gyre for flow
Live rock
I recently added a 20-gallon sump on my basement
In the sump area, I have:
Protein skimmer - HOB
Carbon reactor
Mixing station - 2 30 gallon brute - one for RODI and another for mixed salt-water
Heater
Filter sock

I upgraded the tank with the sump right after my worst crash: I lost all my corals - and unfortunately all my fish, with exception of 4 hermit crabs (these guys are true heroes!)

The tank passed by a full re-cycling period where I removed all the detritus, cleaned up everything, and with the sump things became much better.

For this next-level project, I want to reconnect with the tank in a different way: not as that newbie as before, and I want to endeavor more challenges. I think I'm ready and it's time.

So with that said, my definition of the next level is:

1. Introduce Acropora corals / SPS
2. Introduce Anemone
3. Introduce LPS (if possible)

On the water chemistry, I understand that I need now to have more control and stability. Also, I know that I have to supplement and start the dosing process.

That's exactly where I need some advice.

I think I'm OK as a beginner (sure I failed fewer times) and now I'm ready for that challenge.

So, in order of importance, I'd love to start growing some Acroporas/ SPSs. What do I need?


Thanks in advance!

_BarIzoN_
 

reefing102

Who Am I Here?
Premium Member
So I have a few SPS, but I am by no means an expert.

My first recommendation would be to get an auto top off. This will stabilize any possible salinity issues.

Second, you may need more light. Do you know your par levels? Usually as long as you’re hitting around 100 par on the bottom of the tank, and 300-400 or so on top, you should be fine

I would caution you with LPS and anemones. Anemones can walk at anytime and destroy your SPS with stinging. LPS is definitely a possibility, however be aware most have sweeper tentacles and will sting other corals that are too close

If it was me, I’d start out with easier SPS such as montipora digitata or maybe a green slimer stag.
 

JohnL

RC Staff
Staff member
Admin
So I have a few SPS, but I am by no means an expert.

My first recommendation would be to get an auto top off. This will stabilize any possible salinity issues.

Second, you may need more light. Do you know your par levels? Usually as long as you’re hitting around 100 par on the bottom of the tank, and 300-400 or so on top, you should be fine

I would caution you with LPS and anemones. Anemones can walk at anytime and destroy your SPS with stinging. LPS is definitely a possibility, however be aware most have sweeper tentacles and will sting other corals that are too close

If it was me, I’d start out with easier SPS such as montipora digitata or maybe a green slimer stag.

Excellent advice!
 

BarIzoN

Member
Yes, I already grew a montipora, and other corals with success. In fact, because I had no sump in the past, it was quite difficult for me to clean the filter I had before. So, now it's a new time for me after 6 years.

I don't know about the PAR on my tank. I may buy or rent a PAR meter to make sure I'm in the standards of lighting. Any suggestions on lighting for that? I really like the mix on T5's and LED (for the shimmer).

This is how my tank was with the big monti on the right side.

Below is how my tank is now.

Again, this time I want to do things in the right way - before my upgrade.

Thanks a lot for the advice!


2022-01-24 11_35_27-Photo - Google Photos - Brave.jpg

2022-01-24 11_10_46-Synology Photos - Brave.jpg
 

reefing102

Who Am I Here?
Premium Member
You can definitely mix T5 and LED. It’s actually quite common. For lighting, it’s all going to depend on budget. You have your cheap Chinese black boxes (like Viparspectra) or the PopBloom fixtures. A newer light getting a lot of accolades right now is the SmatFarm 95 watt LED from Amazon. I have no experience with it but I’ve heard a lot of great things. There are systems out there as well that are “hybrid” fixtures where you mount the LED in the fixture and you can also run T5 with it (aquatic life is one option), Noopsyche has another option.

As for a par meter, if you can front the cost, it doesn’t hurt to buy a par meter, you can also rent one (check Bulk Reef Supply or you local LFS), then theres also the Photone App (used alot by growers) where you just have to water proof your tablet/ phone (ziplock bag) and buy the LED package or subscribe (I haven’t used this but alot of people have)

That was a beautiful tank and is still a great tank in progress!
 

Sugar Magnolia

Mother of Dachshunds
Staff member
RC Mod
Wow, you have a beautiful blank canvas to start fresh! Sorry for your losses, so many of us have been there. Make sure you get brand new test kits for all of your important parameters and a good refractometer with calibration fluid to keep salinity stable. Best of luck to you going forward, I'm looking forward to watching your progress!

BTW, I loved my Maxspect Gyre, great flow!
 

BarIzoN

Member
You can definitely mix T5 and LED. It’s actually quite common. For lighting, it’s all going to depend on budget. You have your cheap Chinese black boxes (like Viparspectra) or the PopBloom fixtures. A newer light getting a lot of accolades right now is the SmatFarm 95 watt LED from Amazon. I have no experience with it but I’ve heard a lot of great things. There are systems out there as well that are “hybrid” fixtures where you mount the LED in the fixture and you can also run T5 with it (aquatic life is one option), Noopsyche has another option.

As for a par meter, if you can front the cost, it doesn’t hurt to buy a par meter, you can also rent one (check Bulk Reef Supply or you local LFS), then theres also the Photone App (used alot by growers) where you just have to water proof your tablet/ phone (ziplock bag) and buy the LED package or subscribe (I haven’t used this but alot of people have)

That was a beautiful tank and is still a great tank in progress!

Thanks for the tips on the lighting.

I'm on this debacle for a long time. I looked in the Noopsyche and it seems a good alternative. I'll do more research on that. I think I'll buy a PAR meter - that will also be useful when I upgrade: I'm planning a custom setup - 300+ gallons, but the idea is still in the initial phase. I'll have to do some construction at home, but with this COVID time, it's not a good time - at least for now.
 

BarIzoN

Member
Wow, you have a beautiful blank canvas to start fresh! Sorry for your losses, so many of us have been there. Make sure you get brand new test kits for all of your important parameters and a good refractometer with calibration fluid to keep salinity stable. Best of luck to you going forward, I'm looking forward to watching your progress!

BTW, I loved my Maxspect Gyre, great flow!

Hi!

Thanks for the kind words.

This is exactly how I envision this:

A blank canvas.

This hobby opens up a lot of thinking: not only about nature, life itself - how life can overcome death, and if we care about something we can be reborn from the ashes. I assume I didn't take the correct care so that I could avoid the super crash I had, but as we wake up every morning, we have a new opportunity to make things differently.

I think I'll do a better job now - especially with the sump on my basement - which makes the maintenance easier than the canister filter I had before.

I'll also plan ahead of the corals positioning - and what I'll buy. I'll avoid for example the green star polyps that took over a big portion of my tank previously.

I'm excited, but at the same time, not in a hurry at all.

Thanks and I'll keep you posted here!
 

JohnL

RC Staff
Staff member
Admin
This hobby opens up a lot of thinking: not only about nature, life itself - how life can overcome death, and if we care about something we can be reborn from the ashes.

Well said. Please keep us updated. Good luck.
 
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