Unplanned Coral! Question

Discussion in 'Corals' started by AZL, Apr 19, 2019.

  1. AZLValued MemberMember

    Hi, hope you don't mind me joining this section of the forum. I set up a FOWLR tank for a pair of puffers who are being homed with me and currently in full marine, a reef tank was never the intention. Three weeks on I have good coralline algae growth on the live rock and it is teeming with hitchhikers such as tube worms and bristle worms. There is a red mushroom coral that's grown well over these three weeks as well, it's now nearly 1" in diameter and showing the central dimple and striation. There are other growths which look more like coral than algae to me but I cannot ID them. It's a 130 litre tank with 7 kg live rock, 6 kg dry rock which is being colonised by all the organisms in there now, and coral sand substrate. I will be upgrading to better than double as the puffers grow, this is a starter tank for them as they're only little at the moment. I don't have a sump or refugium, currently running a mechanical filter that would do double the tank capacity in freshwater and agitates the surface. I packed it out with ceramic media as well. There is also a smaller sprayer type filter contributing to flow and aeration. I will get a hang on skimmer if need be and don't mind water changes when needed, I actually enjoy the maintenance and have a good source for seawater. As I have coral that clearly wants to be there I'm keen to keep it healthy and encourage it to spread, maybe even to try introducing other types that don't need UV light or something else I'm not equipped to provide. Any advice? Thank you! :)
  2. stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    Hi :) You are very welcome here on the salty forums, as is anyone. :)

    Sounds like your tank is coming along well. Not a fan of bristle worms myself so I would just say, be wary when your hands are in the tank.;)

    The mushroom sounds happy.:D You don't mention the light you're currently using but it seems enough for low-light coral. Would you mind sharing the tank's dimensions and the depth at which the mushroom coral is growing? This will help me advise on future corals to add to your tank... because it sounds like you want some, though I don't think corals are safe in a puffer tank. Be sure to read up on that before you invest much in corals.;) What kind of puffers do you have? We'd love to see pics of them.:)

    As for filtration... if you'd like to share specifics or pics of your filter, we can talk about the best way to keep the filter clean. Detritus build up within mechanical filtration can be one of the biggest causes of elevated nitrates and phosphates, which are algae's favorite foods.:eek: I'm sure you don't want a garden on your hands, and your shroom sure wouldn't like getting smothered.

    FYI... I don't actually think that corals need UV. I haven't researched this specifically but I do know from my own research into my lighting, that most reef lights, even the newest, shiniest, best and most expensive, lol, do not include true UV. I don't have one of the top brands but one of the differences between my light and most others is, (and this is not me bragging), that it does provide real UV. However, some of the finest reef tanks I know of are run without true UV. Anyway, I'm wondering if you mean blue lighting, which also isn't totally necessary, but it looks nice... and maybe assists in growth and coloration?? I'm not actually the best to talk to about lighting but you do have a coral open and sounding happy. Keep in mind that mushrooms are typically low-light corals, as are many other beautiful softies... but let's not forget that those puffers might have a taste for corals and softies make for easy pickings.

    Skimmers and refugiums work differently but serve the same purpose, and that is the reduction of nutrients. Many smaller tanks run just fine without either but I do think it's fairly simple and worth it to run one or the other. Not all HOB skimmers have the best reputation, so my choice for nutrient reduction on my 20-gallon reef tank is an HOB refugium, which was DIY'd using an Aquaclear 70 HOB filter. You have nearly twice the water volume I do, so I would recommend a bigger refugium as well. If you're interested, we can talk more about this. :)

    Congratulations on the new salty tank! Hope we get to see it and your puffers soon.:)
  3. AZLValued MemberMember

    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply and all of the useful information. This tank is a starter home for two 1" green spotted puffers who have been raised in full marine - 3 feet long, 12" wide, 15" tall and around 30 g. It will be upgraded to a 60 or 70 g as they grow. At that point I'll look at a refugium if it's necessary, I realise that I may well need to add a hang on the back skimmer soon. This tank shouldn't have a massive bio load though. The bacteria and the hitch hikers are already clearing things and keeping ammonia and nitrite at 0 and nitrates 5 max. I've put in some blue ochtode macro algae and have some chaeto that came with the rock so that will help with keeping nutrient levels down as well I hope. I'm going to try some neon cleaner gobies as well as they are less likely to be harmed by the puffers due to their symbiotic relationship with larger predatory fish and as the rock and sand gives them plenty of hiding places. As far as the shrooms that are growing already, is it a case of the puffers harming them or them harming the puffers? I would like to try more corals but want to stay away from any that will be predated by puffers or have the ability to fatally sting them. I'm also not keen on having corals that could poison me while I'm messing about in the tank lol. thanks for the heads up on bristle worms lol I like creepy things and they are doing a good clean up job so I'm pleased to have them but I will watch my hands, maybe not do tank maintenance right before I'm gigging as that sting sounds like the kind of thing that would make playing guitar difficult. Lighting is an Aquael sunny retrofit 16 w so bright enough for algae and hopefully for some corals but not eye searingly bright for fish and for us (my spouse likes the dark lol). Many thanks for any advice you can offer :)
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
  4. AZLValued MemberMember

  5. AZLValued MemberMember