New Tank

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquarium Setup' started by DebsR, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. DebsR

    DebsRValued MemberMember

    Could anyone tell me if these levels are ok?
    Ammonia & Nitrite 0ppm
    Nitrate 10/20ppm (hard to tell between the two)
    Salinity 1.020
    Calcium 410ppm
    Phosphate 5ppm (I think this is too high have some phosphate remover on route)
    pH 8.3
    kH 6 dkH

    The tank is 500l, over 10 years old but recently moved. Current inhabitants soft corals, Clean up Crew and 2 Clown fish. Also waiting for testing kit for Magnesium, anything else I should be testing for?
    My father in law gifted me the tank when he moved house.

    Thanks all :)
  2. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember


    The parameters you listed is not ideal from my point of view.

    The tank is cycled, so you should not see Ammonia/Nitrite, so this is good.
    Nitrate is o-kay. Ideally, aim for the 5-10 PPM range.
    Salinity, I'd recommend 1.025 to 1.026 (If you are using a hydrometer to measure, ditch it and get yourself a Refractometer off amazon for $20. Otherwise you'll have very inaccurate measurements)
    Calcium: 410ppm is okay. What test kit are you using? 450'ish is ideal.
    Phosphates: ideally you want less than 0.02 PPM, if you are indeed testing for 5PPM. Can you see any issues with algae of any sort? What are you using to test? and what phosphate remover are you using?
    PH: 8.3 is on the money
    dKH of 6 is a little low. Anywhere from 8-11 dKH is better, especially if you get into LPS corals.

    So, before you start to correct any parameters. Keep in mind that all the tank inhabitants has gotten used to those parameters. So, if you do plan to raise the values up. Spread out the changes and only raise 1 parameter at a time and/or only drop 1 value slowly at a time.
    For example: if you choose to raise your Salinity, I personally wouldn't do it more than 0.005 per week. After several weeks you reach the desired salinity, move on to the next parameter and so forth. Do not perform big water changes on an old tank either. Drastic changes in a tank this old could do more harm than good.

    @ryanr might have better advice in this field than I do.
  3. OP

    DebsRValued MemberMember

    Many thanks for the advice it's much appreciated.

    I do have a nitrate reactor that isn't currently plumbed in but will probably do that. My father in law said he's had nitrate issues ever since he had the tank.
    I have a refractometer so providing I calibrated it right (I'm fairly sure I did) that should be accurate.
    I have the API phoszorb on order should be here tomorrow.
    I am using the API master test kits (both salt water and reef)
    How do I raise the dkH?

    Thanks again
    Debbie :)
    ps here is the tank


  4. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    You're very welcome.

    So I think your father in law struggled with nitrates/phosphates issue because of all the rocks just stacked up like that. Over time detritus (fish food/poop) builds up in areas where there's not a lot of flow.

    In my opinion, I wouldn't start trying to dose to fix the issue with excess nutrients. What I would do is slowly clean up the rock work by removing a few rocks to clean every few days in old tank water. Till you get to the bottom of the tank. Do you have sand as the substrate? Did your father in law leave the sand in the tank or how did he transport the tank and everything else to you?

    I think you'll be able to raise values of your tank by slowly doing water changes as you clean the tank every week till you get the entire tank back on track
  5. OP

    DebsRValued MemberMember

    Moving day was an absolute nightmare!! Luckily it had no live stock at the time but we had to siphone all the water into a huge plastic bath tub on wheels and drive everything over keeping all the live rock in the tub (corals all boxed separately in tank water) then lots of big burly men helped carry the tank and set it up in it's new home. In fact we were only supposed to be caring for it for 2 months until their new house is ready but the move was so stressful he has decided to get a new tank and give me this one :-D win for me haha.

    The rocks were much more delicately placed before, they do need rescaping now. Though have been slightly moved since that photo.
    We did have sand before but a lot of it got lost in the move (there was a spillage) so the remainder has gone in the sump to maintain the dsb, the tank is almost bare bottomed (less than a cm)
    I will follow the advice on the rock cleaning and water changes, well on the rocks I can we have star polyps on almost every rock! The things have spread like wildfire.

    Again thanks for the advice, I have 2 fresh water tanks so not totally new, I just wasn't fully prepared for how much I had to learn haha.
  6. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    Ahh understood now.

    Umm, I still have quite a few questions. The sump, what's in it exactly and how big?

    It looks like that tank just needs some good ol cleaning and water changes to get it back on track.
  7. OP

    DebsRValued MemberMember

    It was easier to take a photo lol, so it's an old fashioned set up I think, so it goes through a set of sponges then trickles through the mass of bio balls, into the dsb/algae refugium type thing, then protein skimmer, then return.

  8. OP

    DebsRValued MemberMember

    The sump is 100l, yeah i agree good ole fashioned elbow grease :-D good job I love this hobby haha
  9. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    Have you considered filter socks in place of the sponges? Filter socks you can buy two and rotate each week in cleaning in the washer with some bleach (look into what others use to clean their filter socks). My understanding of sponges is that no matter how much you clean them, there's still a good amount of detritus in it. May I suggest growing chaetomorpha in that sump? Of course, if the sump allows without accidentally clogging anything. It's hard to see what's going on, but since you're not entirely new to the hobby, you probably get what I'm trying to say.

    But yeah, I really think a good few months of cleaning and water changes should get that tank looking good.
  10. OP

    DebsRValued MemberMember

    I didn't photograph it will but there is chaeto in the end chamber. I will look into filter socks, I would be tempted to replace the bio balls with live rock rubble and expand the refugium, but obviously that will seriously affect everything that's been balanced (well almost) for 10years +

    Thanks for all your help I will get started on it all asap. I'll post more pictures once its all shiny and beautiful and restocked :-D
  11. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    What you can do is toss in bio-media in a bag as well and let that cycle. And then slowly start removing a little bit of bio balls at a time.

    Sounds good. I'm excited
  12. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Good looking tank.
    I don't have much to add, other than I would try to bring up SG to around 1.024 - 1.026 (salinity ~33ppt). As suggested, do so slowly over a period of time. By bumping up the salinity, you should find that Alkalinity (KH), calcium, magnesium and pH rise as well. Just the way SW chemistry works, I'd sort out salinity first, then see where everything comes up to, you may not need to adjust other parameters.

    However, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. If everything seems to be going well, corals are growing etc, then maintain what you have. If corals aren't really growing, or are doing poorly, then sure, try to adjust parameters.

    For phosphate and nitrate, I agree, both are a bit high, but unless you're having algae issues, there's no real need to alter them. If you choose to, do so very slowly, and if you're going to use a phosphate reactor (e.g. Rowaphos and the like), be very very careful. They work real fast, and a little goes a long way.
  13. madams87123New MemberMember

    Just moved my 70gallon salt tank. Ph is 7.8 and ammonia is .25, nitrite is 0,nitrate is 50. Is my tank trying to recycle from the move. Believes maybe removed too much water
  14. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    How much water did you move? Maybe a mini cycle?

    But I think it's the old tank syndrome, possibly from the trapped detritus being kicked up from the move.

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice