Questions With A Twist

AJ Tudor

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Okay so I have a 12 gal (UK) that's been set up for around 6 months, I've had some problems (hermit mass die off) and some successes (anemone, chiton, and snail breeding) but I want to push a lot which I haven't tried yet. My set up consists of; 12 gallon saltwater, 6 inch air stone, internal filter, and a single T8 light. I have a number of questions but as the title implies, there is a twist, my tank is coldwater (19C) so please take this into acount with any answers.

1. I have a lot of rock in my tank, is it live? After being run for 6 months or so I figure there must be some bactera on it, problem is a few are quite smooth compared to ocean/tufa rock so it's a question of if they could take hold. I ask because I'm thinking of setting it up for a berlin system (I want powerheads anyway for the anemones).

2. Phosphate, my levels are quite high and I've heard phosphate can affect calcification levels. Could this have contributed to my hermits passing to the great rock pool in the sky?

3. Can anyone suggest a good chiller? My current method of keeping the temp down won't be very useful when Summer comes round.

4. I'm getting some really nice lithothamnia growth but other algae, particularly the Phaeophytes (Browns) are struggling, any ideas on how to increase growth without increasing lighting?

Hope someone has a few ideas, cheers guys :)

AJ
 

Colin_T

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Any rock that has been in the tank for more than 6 months will be considered live rock and can be used as a biological filter.
If you have power heads in the tank then put a sponge over the intake to prevent the anemones getting sucked up.

High phosphate levels can kill hermit crabs and other crustaceans. High nitrates and any reading of ammonia or nitrite will also kill any invertebrate in a marine tank. Low calcium levels are unlikely to be a problem to hermit crabs as they don’t need much and absorb it from their skin before they shed.

There are heaps of chiller units around but it depends on where you are located. Try to get one with a reasonable warranty and a reputable name.

I had success encouraging macro, micro and zooxanthellae alga by adding iron chelate. You can buy it from a nursery or garden centre and you add a very small amount on a regular basis. In a small tank you would be better off using a proprietary brand of aquarium iron based plant food to encourage alga. Sera Florena is good and was what I used before going to iron chelate.
 

SkiFletch

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Phosphate is a trouble with coldwater tanks. The lower temp means lower metabolism and energy for most things and thus high nutrients in our little closed systems. We don't have fields of plankton swimming about in our tanks scrubbing nutrients out of the water like the Ocean does ;) While high phosphates CAN kill hermits, it has to be HIGH! I've seen hermits doing fine in a tank with 3ppm of phosphate which is a lot. What kind of hermits do you have? MOST of those sold in the aquarium trade are warmwater creatures, too much cold could kill them too.

Most importantly with chillers, make sure you set it up so that the chiller itself is outside or exhausts warm air outside. Chillers are heat pumps and work by making the water cold and the air around them hot. So if they're in the same room as the tank, the air will be sweltering and the chiller will work constantly. Very electrically inefficient. Moving it outside or exhausting the hot air outside makes it work much better :)

TBH, I wouldn't bother trying to add any kind of suppliment or fertilizer. Right now, light (or lack thereof) is your limiting factor. Don't want to jack up nutrients too high if the plants don't have enough light energy to use it.
 

pica_nuttalli

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nmonks has mentioned modifying a mini-fridge for use as a chiller. something about drilling holes into the sides and coiling up pipes. might be a decent DIY option.
 

SkiFletch

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nmonks has mentioned modifying a mini-fridge for use as a chiller. something about drilling holes into the sides and coiling up pipes. might be a decent DIY option.

Ummm, well, it CAN work, but you have to make sure you coil the pipes on the freezer coil itself, not just out in the middle of the mini-fridge. Also in the end, a mini fridge is NOT a very powerful chiller. Sure they're cheap and readily available but you get what you pay for ;)
 

xxBarneyxx

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A fridge is not a good idea, they are designed to keep cold things cold, not cool warm/hot things and you will likely find that they run constantly and will burn out fairly quickly.

With the algae I would agree with Ski, you really need more light on there (espeically for the brown/red algaes). I would stick a couple of power compacts over it and once it gets growing you will fidn your phosphate levels will start sorting themselves out as well.
 
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AJ Tudor

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Phosphate is a trouble with coldwater tanks. The lower temp means lower metabolism and energy for most things and thus high nutrients in our little closed systems. We don't have fields of plankton swimming about in our tanks scrubbing nutrients out of the water like the Ocean does ;) While high phosphates CAN kill hermits, it has to be HIGH! I've seen hermits doing fine in a tank with 3ppm of phosphate which is a lot. What kind of hermits do you have? MOST of those sold in the aquarium trade are warmwater creatures, too much cold could kill them too. All my specimens are collected locally, they were Paguras bernhardus so there was no chance of being too cold, a creep up of nitrates I think is my main suspect at present! :(

Most importantly with chillers, make sure you set it up so that the chiller itself is outside or exhausts warm air outside. Chillers are heat pumps and work by making the water cold and the air around them hot. So if they're in the same room as the tank, the air will be sweltering and the chiller will work constantly. Very electrically inefficient. Moving it outside or exhausting the hot air outside makes it work much better :) Unfortunately I can't really place it outside, I need to find a very small chiller to drop the temp by a couple of degrees so hopefully the effect of warming shouldn't be too much

TBH, I wouldn't bother trying to add any kind of suppliment or fertilizer. Right now, light (or lack thereof) is your limiting factor. Don't want to jack up nutrients too high if the plants don't have enough light energy to use it. I figured light may be my biggest downside, luckily the North sea is low in light so to replicate the conditions I shouldn't need more than a couple of T5's with reflectors. I'm glad I won't be using fertiliser, didn't want to mess around too much with chemicals in th tank

nmonks has mentioned modifying a mini-fridge for use as a chiller. something about drilling holes into the sides and coiling up pipes. might be a decent DIY option.

Ummm, well, it CAN work, but you have to make sure you coil the pipes on the freezer coil itself, not just out in the middle of the mini-fridge. Also in the end, a mini fridge is NOT a very powerful chiller. Sure they're cheap and readily available but you get what you pay for ;)
Agreed, nice idea but this would not only be very inefficient, it'd more than likely be more noisy than a chiller as well.

A fridge is not a good idea, they are designed to keep cold things cold, not cool warm/hot things and you will likely find that they run constantly and will burn out fairly quickly.

With the algae I would agree with Ski, you really need more light on there (espeically for the brown/red algaes). I would stick a couple of power compacts over it and once it gets growing you will fidn your phosphate levels will start sorting themselves out as well.
Looks like I'll def be boosting my light levels, I'm thinking two T5's with reflectors should be plenty.


Cheers guys :)

AJ

Any rock that has been in the tank for more than 6 months will be considered live rock and can be used as a biological filter.
If you have power heads in the tank then put a sponge over the intake to prevent the anemones getting sucked up.
That's good to know, I was thinking I'll definately cover the inlet a bit, my anemones keep having babies and they float around until they find a nice spot :)
 

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