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Reef Discuss the aspects of Reef Tanks .

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Old 01-19-2013, 04:53 PM   #1
IndyFishFan
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Default Phospate Remover in Cycling Tank

Hey Everyone -

I'm cycling my 125 right now (filled it with water and fired everything up on 01/12/13) and I'm wondering if I should use phospate remover since I filled the tank up with tap. Right now in the tank I just have 12 lbs of live rock, 120 lbs of sand, and 90+ pounds of misc rock (mostly texas holey and lace). I'm getting brown diatom algae like crazy (probably because the Beamswork Green Evo 3w LED lights are on 16 hours a day) so I'm wondering if I should use phosphate remover.

Also I used to have cichlids and so I have some supplies left from freshwater. One of which is a carbon/ammonia remover. Should I use this in my saltwater set up?

Finally, I have no money right now and so it works out that I'm cycling my tank for the next couple months, but I'm wondering if it would be ok to add some hermit crabs or snails to the tank just so I have something to watch

I have kept SW fish only and all manner of freshwater in the past but this reef stuff is new to me.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:59 PM   #2
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I would recommend using a phosphate remove (such as granular ferric oxide/GFO) in a reactor on a cycling tank. Additionally I would also recommmend not illuminating the tank right now.

Using GFO removes any phosphate that has entered your tank via the tap water or potentially leached from any of the rock you may gave. This removes a 'fuel' that feeds nuisance algae, cyanobacteria and diatoms.

Light also fuels this stuff. Having the lights on now while there are no desirable photosynthetic life forms in the tank grants nuisance algae, diatoms and cyano a strong hold. This stuff typically assails newly set up tanks, but if there is no need for the light you can kill most of it off (while the GFO removes the phosphate.

16hrs of lighting is too much. Most reef tanks are illuminated for 9-12hrs, giver or take.

By the time you are ready to add corals and fish the system will be starting out algae/cyano/diatom free with (ideally) undetectable levels of phosphate, hopefully limiting the severity of an algae or cyano outbreak when it occurs.

If aiming for establishing a reef tank you may what to consider using RO/DI water instead of tap water.

Hermit crabs are hardy but I'd advise adding inverts after the tank has cycled. Snails are sensitive to ammonia and nitrite levels in a cycling tank (and if they die as a result of it, their decomposition adds to it).
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:58 PM   #3
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You're not cycling if you only have 12 lbs of live rock in a 125.
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:26 PM   #4
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Well I'm also adding fish food everyday to give it something to break down. Why wouldn't it be cycling? Doesn't any amount of live rock have nitrosomonas bacteria on it? And could I culture this amount to make more bacteria in the tank by supplying a steady food source like fish food or raw pieces of fish?

I've never done fishless cycling before and I'm hesitant to add any fish to the tank because I really don't want some hyper aggressive damsels in there. I suppose I could use a few green chromis but I rather save the space for fish that I really want in there.


Thanks Kay for that response! I had some SeaChem (maybe can't remember the brand) pellet phosphate remover that I added to the sump in a media bag. I'll wait on those inverts then. I turned the light off and I suppose I'll just have to regrow the caulerpa and purple calcified algae after cycling the tank. At one point I had a timer for this tank, but I moved and it got lost in the shuffle. I'll look through my stuff again and see if I can find it.

Last edited by IndyFishFan; 01-20-2013 at 02:31 PM. Reason: Forgot to thank other user! :)
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:43 PM   #5
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Tap water is a big no-no for saltwater. Do you have a RO/DI unit? If not - get one. Tap water have too many harmful contaminants for saltwater.

I don't advise on cycling tank with fish. I consider it inhumane.

Cycling of SW tank can take upwards to a few weeks before anything is ready for fish, corals, inverts.

I would strongly reccomend you invest in A book called "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" before getting yourself in further trouble.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:02 PM   #6
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I have that book! It's just packed away somewhere :/. I've read in other places that tap is ok for setting up and then gradually shifting over to RO/DI is preferred. This is what I was planning on doing. I really don't have the space for an RO unit so I'll most likely have to go buy water when doing water changes and top offs.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:28 PM   #7
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Default Phospate Remover in Cycling Tank

I think it's 2 lbs per gallon for live rock. I don't run SW tanks, so the info I read could be wrong. The live rock will seed the sand with the organisms needed to cycle the tank.
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