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Question To Any And All Marine Aquarists/Hobbiests

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posted on Oct, 4 2006 @ 08:45 PM
I currently own a thirty gallon salt-water tank. I have a yellow tang, sailfin tang (not sure if Pacific or Red Sea species), and two Green Chromis in it as well as two skunk cleaner shrimp.

I never have problem with keeping those fish, but I do have issues keeping sustained coral health. The only coral I have kept alive in there are a finger leather and some green star polyps. I will be upgrading to a 72 gallon bowfront this November for my B-day, and i would like to know if the lights I plan on purchasing are adequate for coral sustainability. 48 inch one 130 watt 10k white light and one 130 watt blue actinic moonlights included. Thats a total of 260 watts divided by 72 gallons equals 3.6 watts per gallon. Is that sufficient lighting for coral such as: Xenia, Brain coral, and other hardier coral?

also, what test kits do I need to maintain what chemicals and trace elements that should be kept at certain levels?

Any response would be gratefully appreciated.

posted on Oct, 5 2006 @ 02:58 PM
Actually, you will find that the bigger the tank, the easier it is to maintain. I've found that a 90 gallon is a perfect size.
The first question I have is do you have live rock in the tank? The formula that works for me is approx 1 lb. of live rock per gallon of water. Now I'm speaking of live rock, not live sand. You want to find live rock that has nice purple coraline algae growth. Find it in various shapes and sizes, so you can arrange it so that you have nice little, tunnels and caves for maximum water circulation.
Make sure that your salinity is good - use a good brand of salt, it may cost a couple dollars more, but it really does make a difference.
As far as light goes. For a 90 gallon tank, I have 4 - 48" VHO lights. I use 3 fifty/fifty bulbs, and 1 blue actinic. I have great success with this combination. I have it on a timer, which has the lights on for approx 14 hours a day.
You have to stay on top of salinity, phosphates, nitrates, alkalinity, and iodine levels. Water temperature is also very important. Try to have the aquarium placed where actual sunlight doesn't directly hit it.
Now when you have your new tank, make sure you let the water "Cure" before introducing any animals. Live rock helps the curing process immensely!
Now for filtration, in a 90 gallon tank I use 1 wet dry filter, and I remove all of the bio balls. In addition I use 2 Magnum 500 canister filters. I have 3 minijet pumps inside the tank (They suction cup to the inside of the tank.) and they are attached to a wavemaker. A wavemaker has the three pumps go off individually at various times to make a "current". This helps to stop all of the detritus from accumulating.
Never use tap water to top off your tank. Your fish store will more than likely have reverse osmosis water that you can buy. Just go out and get a couple of 10 gallon gas cans, and your set. Tap water almost always contains phosphates, and this is very bad for your tank.
Now for supplements. I use a 2 part solution called B-Ionic. You add the 2 parts - it's liquid and really easy to use - right to the water every day. At the same time every day. I add it around 7:00 am or so every day, about an hour before my lights come on. The first part is for calcium, and the 2nd part is for alkalinity. I also add a good Iodine supplement occassionaly. Now if ANYTHING dies in the tank, get it out immediately. If you don't it will drive the nitrate level up to lethal levels within a short amount of time. When you do your water changes, get a length of hose and use it as a siphon, get as much of the detritus as you can with the siphon.

I have a yellow tang, 2 clown fish, a flamehawk, royal gramma, a wrasse, 2 clams - they're bright electric blue when they open on the inside, and very beautiful. An arrow crab - you have to get one of those, they're inexpensive, hearty, and fun to watch. They don't hide like most crabs do. Several cleaner shrimp, a couple peppermint shrimp. I have 11 types of corals, and 4 kinds of polyps. You have to be very careful not to have too much bio-load, which is a fancy way of saying don't have too many fish, as this will make keeping the water pure that much harder due to their waste. DO NOT overfeed!!!!!! Waste = nitrates and phosphates, and that is bad bad bad!

My tank has been up and running for 9 years now, and my formula works, at least for me anyway. If you have any questions, do not hesitate. I will try to help you as best I can. Welcome to the world of reefkeeping!

posted on Oct, 5 2006 @ 04:46 PM
first off, thanks for the information. Now of course, my primary quesion to you lombozo, is the lighting. Will 3.6 watts per gallon be sufficient for my corals survival?

posted on Oct, 6 2006 @ 08:52 AM
No Problem. The general rule of thumb is between 3 - 5 watts per gallon. What are the dimensions of your new tank? Is it long and shallow, or narrow and deep? That will effect the lighting obviously, and different corals don't like being deep.
It's good that you're focusing on the lighting, as it is so very important. Here check out this link.

Hope this helps you.
Also I see that you are interested in Xenia. I have a beutiful little colony of Pink Fiji Pulsing Xenia. It is absolutely beutiful, and it is hypnotic watching it pulse. It also divides pretty frequently. I started out with two little cuttings, and in a years time I have over a dozen pieces which have grown.

Let me know how you're doing with it, and if i can help, let me know!

posted on Oct, 6 2006 @ 05:26 PM
Cool. I will not even be cycling this tank until at least November before Thanksgiving, because I wont have the lights until my B-day. I will definetly keep you posted here though. I would like to use some large lava rocks I umm, souveniered from a national monument for the base rock. It is super porous, lightweight, but large, and some are cavernous. Real cool you know. I think the best way to cure it right is to boil it in freshwater to kill anything that may be in it, spray it down, then leave it in some saltwater. What do you think as far as the lava rock for the base, and then pile on some other live rock ?

posted on Oct, 9 2006 @ 01:20 PM
Alot of people put live rock on top of a base rock. I personally didn't, but that was only due to the fact that I bought the live rock over the course of some time and I wanted every piece to be as nice as possible. Back when I was putting my tank together live rock was $15.00 per pound!
One point I forgot to bring up is the need for a really good protein skimmer. I use a sump type with it's own pump - I've had 3 or 4, and this one is made by SeaQuest, and works extremely well.

posted on Nov, 15 2007 @ 11:34 PM
I just decided to upgrade my lighting. It will have a moon phase. What the heck does that mean? It means that rather than total darkness at night, there will be a very tiny amount of light which mimics moonlight in the tank.
So how is YOUR tank coming along?

posted on Nov, 16 2007 @ 10:25 AM
Have you set your tank up yet? Do you have any more questions?

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