Ok So I have had my Orcal Tl-550 setup for quite a while (2 months+) and been testing regularly although not everyday.
I have 13Kg of Live rock and quite a bit of live sand al;most 2" all round but not sure if it is too much.
Just added two small clownfish 4 days ago which brings my stock level to 2 fish, 3 hermit crabs, 2 Turbo snails and a cleaner shrimp. I feed the fish on mysis shrimp once a day and dry pellets once a day. Is this sufficient for them?
Also I have not really noticed any spikes since adding/feeding the fish. Is this normal since the mysis the fish dont eat plus general waste must be breaking down. DO I need a more sensitive tes kit?
I need to sort out the protein skimmer because the stock one I have does not seem to work properly. Should I replace it and if so can anyone recommend a good one?
Also went to local fish store and was asking about what is an ideal starter coral and she told me that my tank is not suitable for coral and I should just buy fish...Confused as this is a reef tank.
I am sure this is not true since I have seen so many examples of great looking reefs in orca tanks many of which are on this forum...???
any advice and help on any of these questions would be appreciated.
What test kit are you using and what are the results? If you want to see if your test kit (or your methods) are up to scratch get a test done by www.tanktests.co.uk for comparison. Many serious keepers get an occasional test done by a third party like this just to be sure.
Standard tanks normally only have enough light for soft corals to do well but you can have corals. I think there are a few lps corals that are not too bothered about light as long as they're target fed. God knows what the lfs was thinking. Mushrooms and leathers (soft) would be a good place to start. Don't rush out and fill your tank but try one and see how it gets on. Once it's well settled you can add another.
hello before adding the fishes, you definitely need to add the cleaning crew and the corals first! for the cleaning : snails for algae on glass ( astrea sp., tectus sp., Stomatella sp.), hermit crabs both for algae on rocks and waste of food, serpent star such as Ophiaderma superba, if you have sand think also to sand snails such as Cerithium sp. and also shrimps from Lysmata family or even the smaller thor amboinenesis. this is the first step then add the corals. You have wonderful soft ones, small or big, such as sarcophyton sp. Nephtya sp., mushrooms, zoanthids, or even symbiotic gorgonia. but also some Large polyp corals who will need to be fed sometimes with larger pieces of food. If you feel like keeping the discipline, you may try to keep the non symbiotic Tubastrea sp. (suncoral ?) but theu will need to be target fed every two/three days with mysis and artemia. This is discipline but otherwise they really are easy animals. When all is placed, check your parameters, wait for a couple of weeks and add the fishes, but then really think over the population. Sorry for the tank dimension, as we don't have these here in France.
Wow thanks for the replies. I am using the API saltwater master test kit.
Actually I had the tank running with live rock and live sand for 6 weeks. At which point the ammonia and nitrites were reading zero and the nitrates was reading 5ppm. I did a 25% water change and then went out to the local marine store where I think I spoke to someone even less aware of marine stuff than me. I bought 3 red leg hermits, 3 turbo snails and 1 cleaner shrimp. 1 week later I bought 2 clown fish.
Things seem to be going well and the water quality is good.
Protein skimmer is doing nothing though. May have to fork out for a new one but thats something I have not budgeted for because I figured the stock one would be good for a while.
5 ppm? I know of many that would be most happy with 5 ppm!
do not worry, add corals as most of the corals, even though they are photo synthetic for their algaehosts, also rely on external sources of food for growth, colour and reproduction. One of these sources is the absorption of dissolved elements, one of which is nitrogen under different forms- here nitrates-. or you could also cultivate higher algae such as caulerpa, you hav to keep checked- or others as they will use nitrogen and phosphorus for their growth. Then you take some of the growth away and export these polluants. but 5 ppm is really nothing to manic about! effective water changes should be on a 10/20% weekly basis.