The Steve

Adding a second HOB filter?

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So right now I am running a 20g reef aquarium with a tetra whisper ex30 HOB filter and no protein skimmer. I also have an empty 10g tank with a aqua tech 20-40 filter. I'm kicking around ideas of what to do with my spare tank. I'm contemplating hanging both filters on my 20g tank for extra filtration or possibly using one to grow micro organisms like a refugium and the other as a filter. I've never done a refugium before so I'm not really sure how that would work. also thought of setting up the 10g as a quarantine tank, but I can't really justify keeping a whole empty tank just for the occasional sick fish- I also don't have a ton of extra money for that either. Any ideas? Would two filters be a good idea? Would 1 filter and 1 refugium work? How would it work and how would it benefit my tank and how do I get it started?

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Too small to be an effective fuge. I say put it on the 20g with some media in it. Ether filter floss, bag of carbon, etc...

BTW, Welcome to the site.

Edited by Phatboy

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Thanks! So just add the second filter as a backup filtration system? How should this help my tank? I'm thinking it would help lower my nitrates? Would this help keep algae growth down? Also, what would be more effective, another filter or a protein skimmer? Or both? Keep in mind, I have a limited budget and my tank is in my living room so aesthetics must be taken in to account.

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If you dont have a HOB skimmer, that would be my next addition. I know Coonassaint has a thread on here selling his current setup. Im pretty sure he had a HOB skimmer. Maybe he is willing to part with it.

Are you having issues with your tank?

How old is this tank?

What is in the tank?

What are your parameters?

Whats your goal for the tank?

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I'm thinking my tank is about a year old right now (maybe a little older, but no more than 2). I have about 7 pounds of real reef rock and 11-12 pounds of base rock which are all covered in coralline algae now. I am running a Tetra Whisper ex30 HOB filter, a koralia 425 powerhead, a cheap automatic heater, and the stock lights that came with the tank set up. I replaced the bulbs with 2 coralife screw in flourescent 12w 50/50 bulbs.

It is stocked with a black ocellaris clown, an orange ocellaris clown, a starry blenny, and a royal gramma, an electric blue hermit crab, about 8 hermits and 4 snails... next time I go to the LFS, I will pick up a few more snails (probably the bumble bee snails)

It also has a small green hairy mushroom and a small zoanthid frag... both are doing pathetic (I'm assuming due to lighting)

My only problems are I have a small breakout of both cyano algae and green hair algae, but neither are very bad yet. I also realized I did a poor job of acclimating my royal gramma and I believe he got stressed and caught something because he lost a hefty amount of scales. About a week after I got him he was swimming around without fear and eating like a champ, but I'm still waiting for the scales to grow back. Any suggestions on the algae or fish?

I just measured my water and I have >5 nitrates, about 8 ph (i know i need to bring that up), and about .1 amonia. those are the only 3 test kits that I have, am I missing any other vitals ones for me right now?

Thanks to this website, I was able to find a light fixture, so I will soon be upgrading to a current usa 150w MH sunpod, and I will be buying my friend's coralife super skimmer 65

I'm hoping that once I get the new lights and the skimmer that I will be set up for success and can start taking the reefing aspect more seriously?

Here is what I would like it to look like in the long run:

Also, the colors in this one inspire me, even though I know the tank is much larger

Any thoughts?

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this gives you the idea. at the top left you see some of the cyano. On the upper middle purple rock you see some GHA. and you can also see the royal gramma's scales missing.

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The last pic didn't work.

The issues you're having are due to your high nitrates, ammonia (should ALWAYS be zero) and your lighting. Do some water changes immediately to get ammonia down and continue to do them as needed to get your nitrates down. Fish don't seem to mind nitrates but corals won't do well with levels that high. You may also want to look into getting some more test kits, ALk, Ca, Mag, Phosphates.

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Also, I don't think the fish missing scales is due to poor acclimation, it could be due to the ammonia. Any idea why you have ammonia in your tank? Did you have a few fish die recently? Ammonia is toxic to fish and inverts in small doses so I would double check your test kit, and if you do have that high of a reading you need to add some amquel or other ammonia neutralizer.

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I had a coral that seemed dead that I took out right before I tested the water. That could be it. I never had any before. How do I upload pictures? also, I just realized I used the wrong symbol. Nitrates are <5... Almost non-existant according to the chart. So I need a neutralizer and that should bring my ammonia down? Will the protein skimmer aid in that as well? Once I get my lights, skimmer, and bring my ammonia down, is there anything else I should need before I start spending some serious coin on corals?

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A 2 year old tank should be able to process a dead coral without showing any ammonia on a test kit, unless it was a monster coral that was left to rot and decay for a while. I would double check your test kit before doing anything. Bring some tank water to a LFS or a buddys house and get them to check it for you. If you do have ammonia, the amquell will neutralize it and bring it down. A protein skimmer won't do much for ammonia, it will get rid of organics in your water, which will make everything in there happier.

Lights, skimmer, test kits, maybe more flow and you should be on the right track. Take things slow, don't go buy a tank full of frags or you're asking for failure.

How to upload pics:

http://www.bayoureefkeeping.com/topic/6294-how-to-post-photos-to-brk/

What test kits are you using? <5 ppm nitrates isn't very useful info for a reef tank.

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It wasn't a big coral at all. I may just be reading it wrong. I will bring some to the LFS and also try again after a water change and see what we're looking at. Trust me, I wish I had the money to buy a boat load of frags haha. by default, I MUST go slow. I'm using nutrafin tests. it tests nitrates 0.0-110.0 mg/L. The lowest color block it has is 5. So the <5mg/L is me saying it doesnt even register as the lowest, which is a 5, on the chart.

haha sorry if i sound like such a newb, but I know the skimmer also has a return on it, will that give me the additional flow that I'm looking for, or should I start thinking about a second powerhead?

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Don't worry about sounding like a newb, we've all been there. The skimmer will likely not be enough flow but flow is one of those things you just have to play around with. You may be fine with just the one powerhead if you have no dead spots, but I would think you'd need another one at some point, especially once you get corals growing and taking up space and blocking flow paths. To keep corals I would definitely suggest some better test kits, Red Sea, Salifert, API are all used with success. I've always used Salifert but have recently been trying other brands. I'm about to get the Red Sea Combo that has Ca, Alk, and Mag, it's around $45. Knowing your levels is very important when you start adding corals. Along those lines, have you thought about how you're going to maintain your levels? Dosing pumps, water changes, etc.?

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right now, water changes are my only line of defense. I'm hoping, however, that there are alternatives. I only have so many 5 gallon buckets to hold my salt water and my fresh water. what else should I know along those lines?

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You may be fine with just water changes if you stay on top of them and depending on what kinds of corals you want. More than likely though, you'll need to dose 2 part to maintain Ca and Alk. It's easy to do with 2 dosing pumps and a couple of timers or, better yet, an aquarium controller. Another option is adding Kalkwasser to your ATO or using a Kalk reactor.

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