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Critique new SW plan please
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KDodds
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Joined: 05 Apr 2005
Location: Suffern, NY

PostPosted: 2005.04.12(Tue)11:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your plan looks good to me, as long as your livestock remains within the realms of the capabilities of this system. For instance, if you'll be mixing hard and soft corals at all, a skimmer will probably be necessary, especially in such a small tank.

As far as cycling is concerned, I prefer to cycle as if there were already occupants within the tank. This will give ALL organisms a chance to become established as they would while the tank is stocked. The reasoning for this is simple. The micro-eco-systems within our tanks can be fragile things when there are huge and drastic shifts in parameters (including not only photoperiod, but intensity, and even spectrum) of the system. You could conceivably find that upon "lights on" you have a "sudden problem" that "explodes into being" only a day or two after the lights are run at normal photoperiods. Cycling will take as long as it takes. I haven't tried "dark cycles", but from what I have heard, they're no quicker than "light cycles". Be that as it may, one of the most important tenets in this hobby is something that should be heeded: "Nothing good ever happens quickly in a reef tank". This is one of the ultimate truths and adjusting your practices to "speed things along" will often result in problems, even odd and unexpected ones, days to weeks to months later. Soooooo... I would look more towards creating the environment/eco-system that will exist for the planned livestock BEFORE it gets there. This way, you can work with what you have and work through any problems that arise (including algal blooms which are, IMO and IME, inevitable) within the parameters that will exist for those ultimate occupants. One last consideration is that even tho a tank is cycled (capable of handling the waste products of its intended occupants), it is not necessarily MATURED. There's a big difference between the two, and immature systems are always less stable and more apt to experience problems than equally maintained mature ones. The maturation process will also, quite likely, take you through a series of blooms of nuisance algaes and/or bacteria.
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aurther_dent2001
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Joined: 11 Apr 2004
Location: NJ

PostPosted: 2005.04.14(Thu)10:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Everyone, Thanks for all the advise.

I do not plan on getting any live stock anytime soon. My guess on the time table is that, the tank will have just live rock as long as ammonia/nitrite is above zero. I may get some cleaners after that. Then I will wait till nitrates get to zero before adding any corals (soft only at this point. Is my lighting enough for hard?) And fishes if any will only come after I see that corals are healthy and nitrates under control. So I forsee having fishes (if any), at least 4-5 months away. So I have plenty of time to judge if I need a skimmer.

Also I am planning to have a plenum. Have read a lot of good and bad things about it. But decided to go for it. For one thing, I will give an outlet to the water under the gravel which I will close off. If the plenum looks like crashing I can open that outlet and carefully pump out the water from inside. But most places I read that plenums crash after something like ~6 years, and my aquarium will not be set up for that long (I will have to move before then).

As for lights while cycling. I am still not sure. The reasoning behind no lights is not that its faster, but that it lets coralline algae to grow without any competition from green algae. For now I am going to start with lights on, I find the idea of killing the life that comes on the live rock un appealing, but if they die anyway because of ammonia/nitrite spike, I will switch to no lights.

Thats about it I guess. Waiting for my equipment to arrive. Will keep you all posted.

wish me luck Smile

-nikhil

PS: Planning to get about 15lb of live rock.
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KDodds
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Joined: 05 Apr 2005
Location: Suffern, NY

PostPosted: 2005.04.14(Thu)10:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see how that's possible. Coralline algae is still algae and still photosynthetic. Perhaps the reasoning is prevention of all algae during the ammonia and nitrIte spikes in the hopes that lower nutrients after the cycle will help prevent algal blooms?
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aurther_dent2001
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Joined: 11 Apr 2004
Location: NJ

PostPosted: 2005.04.14(Thu)11:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I was reading this stuff from this book: Marine Reef Aquarium Handbook. by Dr. Robert J Goldstein. (I like the book). And according to it coralline algae can grow in much less light than normal algae. So the ambient light is enough for it to propagate.

Also one of the sites from which I was planning to buy live rock also recommended unlighted period while the live rock cures.

anyways, as I said I am going with lights
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KDodds
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PostPosted: 2005.04.14(Thu)12:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

IME, you won't get any appreciable coralline growth until after you have the regular lights on. Yes, coralline will grow a tiny bit with just ambient light, usually, but not enough to make the difference appreciable, IMO.
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The Old Salt
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Joined: 01 Apr 2003
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: 2005.04.16(Sat)12:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few things:

1-- tampabaysaltwater has most excellent rock. So does floridaliverock. Frankly, I can't imagine ever using pacific rock again.

2-- Soft corals have problems that hard ones don't. Soft ones exude chemicals into the water contantly, and they "shed" occasionally, making a huge mess. Putting soft corals into a nanoreef is just plain foolhardy, but I guess some masochists like that sort of self-torture.

3-- Skimmer. You WILL need one. Period. Between the curing rock and the soft corals, you won't stand a chance without one in a small tank. By the way, live rock IS bioload, even though we think of it as anti-bioload ( filtration .)

4-- Curing the rock is different from cycling. Cycling does occur during curing, but not as well as it should. The rock rots faster than the bacteria can keep up, and the toxicity can be damaging to the bacteria which are supposed to be cleaning up the mess. If you use rock from either of the two places I mentioned above your curing problem will be minimal.
During curing you will have much better results if you make lots of water changes and worry about cycling after it's cured. This will also keep your undesirable algae retarded while allowing your desirable organisms to survive and thrive. Curing is dangerous to your desirable organisms, so you have to give them intensive care during this time. Again, a skimmer will prove VERY handy.

5-- Refugium vs sump.
A sump is, as you surmised, a place to hold extra water volume and provide a place to apply skimmers, heaters, dosers, etc... so they are out of the main tank. A refugium is a lot more than a refuge for sick and injured canimals, though. In fact, we rarely use it for that anymore.
Today's refugium is a place for small organisms to grow without predation. This allows the production of amphipods, for example, which can then be fed to fish. Even smaller organisms will grow which will eventually be flushed into the main tank where they'll be eaten by the corals.
A recent trend is to make the refugium the filter for the main tank. This is called the Ecosystem Method, and it works astonishingly well. Tanks which employ this system have a success, health and growth rate far, far better than those using any other system. It's almost foolproof, and perfectly compatible for use with any other system. If you want soft corals in a small tank, you would do yourself a huge favor by using this system.
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aurther_dent2001
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Joined: 11 Apr 2004
Location: NJ

PostPosted: 2005.04.17(Sun)7:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that long reply old salt.

You gave me interesting info on soft corals. All my research till now pointed to soft corals being easier and better for beginners.

I had figured out the part about refugium/sump. planning on adding a 10G refugium. easy to do, not much addition to cost... so no reason not to do it. Will add it soon.

I already ordered live rock from liveaquaria.com. will also add a few pounds of GARF grunge, so D-Day is set for thursday Very Happy

Protein Skimmer, after the cycling is done and before any corals are added, if the levels are not getting under control I will add.

thanks all for the advise.
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KDodds
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PostPosted: 2005.04.17(Sun)7:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

Justa point. The "hardiest" of corals are all non-scleractinian, so you were not led astray there. They grow faster, usually, spread faster, and live longer I beginners tanks. Yes, there is "chemical warfare", but it can be kept in check enough by a protein skimmer to make the tank suitable for a variety softs/corallimorphs/etc. and fish. Mixing LPS or SPS and non-scleractinian corals, tho, can become a problem, even with PS use, especially if the non-scleractinian populations are high and/or the tank smaller. I believe what Old Salt is trying to say is that hard corals are easier to maintain on a day to day basis than soft corals. Here I would agree.
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