Jestersix

Beginner reefer seeking advice

So here’s what I’m thinking. I was planning to leave the Aiptasia in the tank for a few days to se if the berghia eats it. (Would rather give it back to my friend rather than kill it) If the Aiptasia isn’t eaten in a few days, I’ll manually remove it with tweezers. Would that work?

Also 2 questions

1. What is this purple spot that is growing in the sand?
2. Any idea what this brine shrimp looking thing is?

If your talking about aptasia, removal with tweasers won't work, if the tiniest bit is left it will regrɔw into a full one. (If anything put super glue over the entire thing don't scrap or try manual removal same issue as described above)
They can be so small that you can't see them with your eyes. You pat yourself on the back thinking problem solved weeks later instead of that one you had now you have 5.
What ever you do don't try to remove them inside your tank If you piss them off in the tank they can release tons of spores through out your tank and in stead of 1 a few weeks from now you will awake to find dozens.

What your presently faced with is a tough question is the risk worth the potential rewards? No one here wants to see you just starting out facing a uphill battle. You have just started the tank the easist thing for you to do is just restart it. It gets very diffcult when you have tons of coral and plenty of fish. We would hate to see you get excited starting out only to later give up outta frustration from fighting potentially endless battle in reefing as many do. Just so you know all the imput here is intended to encourage you first and second to ensure you will start with the best chance for success.

There are people here who's probably been reefing longer than I've been alive and they struggle with aptasia. You really don’t wanna start off by dealing with it.

A alternative suggestion for you.
Get a 5 gallon bucket, or container of some kind large enough to fully submerge your rock and keep it in there. Super glue the aptasia. Keep a ɛyɛ on the rock for maybe 2 weeks to see if any more pop up. Meanwhile drain all the water from your tank and refill with rodi.

Leave it that way for 2-3 days. Than you can add salt directly to your tank to mix it. (Fyi Never do that with anything living inside your tank) it won't hurt you as you have no coral or live stock.

The mushrooms you have on the rock, breifly pull the rock out the water so they shink up a little, take a hammer and flat head screw driver or chisel and tap until the rock right under the foot of the mushrooms breaks off. It should give you one or two frags. You can get a seprate container smaller just to cover the frags with salt water, you can float those in the tank of rodi with heater going. Or use one of the little plastic clamps to hold the container they are in so no fresh water gets into that container that's holding the mushrooms. They will be fine for 2-3 days while you let the fresh water take out anything unwanted that may have gotten into your tank. Capture the nudibranch and return it to your friend.

With the size of your tank you can easily get enough live rock from members near you. If you where closer I'd be more than willing to even drop some off to you.

Some of us may respond with slightly different tones but we all wish for you to be successful.

If you want some live rock just ask who's near you that may have some they can spare. You maybe surprised of the response you get.

Good luck!!!
 
Last edited:
Super glue isn’t really effective. Once you pull the rock out of water, the aiptasia will likely retract. Even if you get super glue on it, it may just retract further into the rock (assuming the rock is porous enough) or move.

If this were my tank, since it was just set up, I would dump the rock, dump the sand, rinse the tank, let sit for a few days, new water, new live sand (something less fine, like special grade), and a shallower sand bed, and pest free live rock (or dry rock with a small piece of live rock or pest free media like @newfly has suggested).
 
That little shrimp is good. I've seen them referred to as mysids but I'm pretty sure they have a more correct ID. They kinda run around quickly and are good prey for fish. https://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-02/rs/index.php

Honestly I'd run the tank lights out for a week while it's cycling just to keep any algae from taking hold if you decide to stand pat or go with clean rock. That will cause any cyano to die back.
 
Regarding my nudis comment. Berghia are nudis, so regardless I stand partially correct :).

That being said, if they are berghia, the issues with it killing coral go away. I don't have enough expertise to comment on if that's what they are.

However let's imagine this a bit differently, ignoring who and where.

Imagine I have an aquarium at my house. I'm some random internet dude. My aquarium has aptasia and I got some berghias to help try and get it, but obviously it hasn't gotten all of it.

I send you an offer that I'll stop by your place and for free I'll drop a piece of live rock with aptasia on it, and also throw in some berghia to eat it.

Alternatively you see someone selling rock or you see some dead rock at a LFS/Petco. Maybe $20-$50 for an equivalent amount.

Which would you do? If the answer is the second one, then chip off the mushroom, send the rock back, and do the quick restart after washing the sand with freshwater.
 
Last edited:
Hey Reefers - Just an update here on the tank situation. Been getting a lot of help from all of you, but especially big thanks to Will @Turkeysammich.

He and I met up and dispatched any visible aiptasia for now, knowing they'll come back. Also gave me some starter corals. I'll be sure to give them to other beginner reefers some day (assuming I can keep them alive long enough)

Known animals in the tank:
3 Brittle Starfish
2 white starfish (Let me know if anyone knows what species this is. Uploaded a photo of it)
1 Berghia (last seen Thursday)
1 Bristle worm

Coral:
Ricordea Yuma
Red Discosoma Mushroom
Steve Tyree neon green Toadstool
Green Hairy Mushroom
Pulsing Xenia

Plan is to let the tank continue to cycle for now. Will chime back in a few weeks when I'm starting to think about fish!
 

Attachments

  • IMG_7985.jpg
    IMG_7985.jpg
    102.9 KB · Views: 34
  • IMG_7984.jpg
    IMG_7984.jpg
    107 KB · Views: 29
  • IMG_7983.jpg
    IMG_7983.jpg
    111.6 KB · Views: 33
  • IMG_1267.jpg
    IMG_1267.jpg
    26.2 KB · Views: 33
Hey Reefers - Just an update here on the tank situation. Been getting a lot of help from all of you, but especially big thanks to Will @Turkeysammich.

He and I met up and dispatched any visible aiptasia for now, knowing they'll come back. Also gave me some starter corals. I'll be sure to give them to other beginner reefers some day (assuming I can keep them alive long enough)

Known animals in the tank:
3 Brittle Starfish
2 white starfish (Let me know if anyone knows what species this is. Uploaded a photo of it)
1 Berghia (last seen Thursday)
1 Bristle worm

Coral:
Ricordea Yuma
Red Discosoma Mushroom
Steve Tyree neon green Toadstool
Green Hairy Mushroom
Pulsing Xenia

Plan is to let the tank continue to cycle for now. Will chime back in a few weeks when I'm starting to think about fish!


White starfish is called asterinas stars, I would honestly remove and flush them. You will most like get more in the future. But if you only have two now you will not want 50 in 2 weeks. So easy to remove as your just starting out.

Bristle worm, they can be cool and part of clean up crew if you have one chances are you have a few more they are fine as long as they don't become huge. To where they can become predatory. Just be careful when putting hands in tank you don’t wanna get stuck by their bristles. Gloves would help you avoid this but they arent a major concern exlcuding what I refrenced above them getting really big where they could eat your fish.

You have good bit of time before you add fish, you will be limited by tank size what fish you can get so be sure to get the actual fish you want. Ie. be very selective if that makes sense. Best not to grab the first ones you come across.

Maybe in a week add a few small hermits or trochus snails maybe a few Nassarius snails as well for your sand bed. Avoid the scarlet hermits they get pretty big and readily eat each other and sleeping fish giving the opportunity to catch one. Red leg and blue leg ones are good choices for hermits. You may need to drop a few pellets every few days if you dont have any alage growing yet. For them to munch on just don’t over feed very little will do.
 
Last edited:
Hey reefers.

I think I need another round of advice. My coral started rapidly dying 2 days ago, and I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.

On the Discosomas, and green hairy mushrooms, I am noticing these white fleshy pustules appear. The Zoanthids have closed up very tight for over a day. The Toadstool hasn't extended its polyps since Tuesday and seems very dried out. Only the pulsing xenia seems to be doing well.

I did a 25% water change 2 days ago after I noticed the first symptoms. Water is clear but there's still a lot of detritus stuff growing on the sand. Brittle sea stars and asterina stars are still alive.

I heard I could have been blasting the corals with too much light, so I've decreased the power on the 12' AI blades to no more than 50% at any time. Not sure what the par levels are in the tank (I am in line for the Par meter) but the light is 6 inches from the water line and all of the coral is close to the bottom 9 inches below that. See screenshot of the lighting schedule.

Measurements:
Tank age: 16 days (Coral added 1 week ago.)
Gravity 1.025
Temp 80.8F
Ammonia - ~.25 - .5ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: - ~0 -.5ppm
Water: about 60% primed tap water and 40% reverse osmosis water

I'm considering the following:
1. Getting clean up crew (10 Nasarrius, 3 Trochus snail, peppermint shrimp)
2. buying a mini controllable dc powered wavemaker for increased flow

Any other advice?
 

Attachments

  • IMG_1301.PNG
    IMG_1301.PNG
    37.1 KB · Views: 44
  • IMG_1298.jpg
    IMG_1298.jpg
    67.5 KB · Views: 44
  • IMG_1297.jpg
    IMG_1297.jpg
    78.5 KB · Views: 42
  • IMG_1296.jpg
    IMG_1296.jpg
    81.2 KB · Views: 43
  • IMG_1299.jpg
    IMG_1299.jpg
    60.3 KB · Views: 42
  • IMG_1295.jpg
    IMG_1295.jpg
    99.2 KB · Views: 45
  • IMG_1302.jpg
    IMG_1302.jpg
    100.4 KB · Views: 43
  • IMG_1300.jpg
    IMG_1300.jpg
    120.4 KB · Views: 45
I would recommend not using tapp water at all unless through a rodi filter, I still buy my rodi water for a local fish store, since I don't have a rodi system. If you can't get to rodi, than I would use distilled water.

Important to note, reverse Osmosis water (ie the water you get from the drinking water machines per gallon )is different than rodi water. I could go into much more detail about water, but recommend utube the subject or google it for sake of time.

Your ammonia should read zero. And 16 days your main issue is tank isn't cycled yet. Solution more patience.

* highly recommend against adding a shrimp it will most likely die. You need more time for those think 2-3 months. They should be added after fish (my thoughts anyway though I'm no expert)

Get some frag plugs, rubble rock, or frag tiles to glue those zoas on they will be much happier off the sand.

I would think you also need a little more rock as well. From the picture you look a little light on it.

Biggest things again is patience,
What I would do.

Don't add a shrimp, and add only 1-2 snails see how they do. Give it time before adding more creatures.

use rodi water, do a massive water change 50% a week for 2-3 weeks. Than 20% each week.

I'll add pictures of my nannos so you can see how much rock and coral I have and how I have things in my tanks.

The one with screen top corals on sand bed 15 gallons 2 months old, taking it slowly, I've lost nothing in that tank.

The rectangular one is a 10 gallon 2 years old, breaking this one down slowly.

The one with all the coral 32gallons is just under 3 years old it didn't get like that over night. Takes patience.

Just a few examples of smaller tanks for you. I am discplined with them in terms if maintaince and water changes I don't slack off at all. Skip a week here and there you risk it becoming a bad habbit. Larger tanks you have more Liberty with water changes. Not so with nanos in my experience.

Patience repeated 20 times for it’s importance.
 

Attachments

  • 20240405_200423.jpg
    20240405_200423.jpg
    71.1 KB · Views: 30
  • 20240405_200500.jpg
    20240405_200500.jpg
    163.1 KB · Views: 33
  • 20240405_200544.jpg
    20240405_200544.jpg
    85.1 KB · Views: 30
Last edited:
The water quality/tap water seems to be a key issue to resolve ASAP. Also, since the question was why your corals are dying, I am not seeing a phosphate test result - which I feel would be more interesting to see than the (low) nitrates. Maybe too low values? Do you feed this tank at all. There are no fish in there I assume?
 
The water quality/tap water seems to be a key issue to resolve ASAP. Also, since the question was why your corals are dying, I am not seeing a phosphate test result - which I feel would be more interesting to see than the (low) nitrates. Maybe too low values? Do you feed this tank at all. There are no fish in there I assume?
I don't have a phosphate test but does there's algae and diatoms in the tank so I would guess there would be at least some phosphate, if not too much.

I haven't fed the tank other than a pinch of fish food a week ago and there's no fish.
 
Those are mesenterial filaments coming out of the soft corals (basically their guts) due to irritation of some sort.

SF tap water is fine assuming that you're using enough dechlorinator (maybe try adding some extra). AI blades don't put out much PAR either so I doubt that's the issue.

Try dropping your temperature a bit to like 78-79.

How did you calibrate your refractometer?
 
Sounds like since you are planning to buy a wave maker you don’t have one now? Any surface agitation of the water?

Agree with @Darkxerox your water and lighting probably is not the issue. Unless some chlorine made it. Definitely double check salinity, and I am curious about flow.
 
On the blades led which one do you have the grow? Or glow? Each one has a different spectrum so most combine the 2 lights which AI recommends. If only one you should be using the grow model which is fine for softies.
That light schedule looks like 15 hours? Cut it down to 7-8 hours max and go from there and drop down to 35 percent. Those corals are mostly low light. You can then slowly ramp up the intensity if needed depending on how the corals look! I do run two primes on a 40 breeder softy bare bottom tank which are only at 35~40% seven inches above water.
Add a little bacteria and keep ghost feeding since you got no fish poop!
Beneficial bacteria can die then your starting over cycling again. Grab some old school beginner reef books that science has not changed!
Not sure if your AIO uses a sponge most toss it out since its a pain to keep cleaning and use media or floss.
Honestly for such a small tank go grab a few of those 5 gallon white containers we all use and buy natural sea water or premix from High Tide Aquatics or a shop in SF. Drain all that water out putting the rock and corals in a bucket with that old water. Refil tank with natural sea water or premix toss in an extra heater to get temp up faster or best to preheat the sea water ahead in a bin. Your not loosing any beneficial bacteria nor will it set you back. Most all your bacteria is on the rocks/sand/filter media. Top off evaporation with distilled or RODI not TAP. This will give you a headstart vs headaches! Then make plan on making saltwater using RODI or just doing small water changes with natural sea water. Do 100% not 60/40 or something the more you eliminate potential issues it becomes alot easier finding the source or solution. Toss in some cucs so they help ya stir up the sand they will be a good friend which eat sinking pellets . Best of luck
 
Those are mesenterial filaments coming out of the soft corals (basically their guts) due to irritation of some sort.

SF tap water is fine assuming that you're using enough dechlorinator (maybe try adding some extra). AI blades don't put out much PAR either so I doubt that's the issue.

Try dropping your temperature a bit to like 78-79.

How did you calibrate your refractometer?
It came pre calibrated, but I tested it against tap water and it showed 1.000. Pretty sure it’s correct.
 
On the blades led which one do you have the grow? Or glow? Each one has a different spectrum so most combine the 2 lights which AI recommends. If only one you should be using the grow model which is fine for softies.
That light schedule looks like 15 hours? Cut it down to 7-8 hours max and go from there and drop down to 35 percent. Those corals are mostly low light. You can then slowly ramp up the intensity if needed depending on how the corals look! I do run two primes on a 40 breeder softy bare bottom tank which are only at 35~40% seven inches above water.
Add a little bacteria and keep ghost feeding since you got no fish poop!
Beneficial bacteria can die then your starting over cycling again. Grab some old school beginner reef books that science has not changed!
Not sure if your AIO uses a sponge most toss it out since its a pain to keep cleaning and use media or floss.
Honestly for such a small tank go grab a few of those 5 gallon white containers we all use and buy natural sea water or premix from High Tide Aquatics or a shop in SF. Drain all that water out putting the rock and corals in a bucket with that old water. Refil tank with natural sea water or premix toss in an extra heater to get temp up faster or best to preheat the sea water ahead in a bin. You’re not loosing any beneficial bacteria nor will it set you back. Most all your bacteria is on the rocks/sand/filter media. Top off evaporation with distilled or RODI not TAP. This will give you a headstart vs headaches! Then make plan on making saltwater using RODI or just doing small water changes with natural sea water. Do 100% not 60/40 or something the more you eliminate potential issues it becomes alot easier finding the source or solution. Toss in some cucs so they help ya stir up the sand they will be a good friend which eat sinking pellets . Best of luck
Thanks for the advice!

I have the coral grow. Will cut down on the light exposure time.

The AIO uses a filter floss pad which I replace every 3 days.

I’m gonna pick up rodi this Sunday and just use that going forward.
 
Sounds like since you are planning to buy a wave maker you don’t have one now? Any surface agitation of the water?

Agree with @Darkxerox your water and lighting probably is not the issue. Unless some chlorine made it. Definitely double check salinity, and I am curious about flow.
There is minimal surface water agitation with the pump, but I also purchased an Jebao slw-3 for extra flow. Right now there’s a lot of diatoms (I think) and other detritus just sitting on the floor.

Salinity is 1.025. Pretty sure it’s correct if tap water is reading 1.000 right? I did have to increase it this past week. 1 week ago it was 1.019 so I raised it by .001 per day
 
if you are going to calibrate something, anything, you need a known reference of some type. If you have distilled water you can use that, but ideally you should use something that is close to the specific gravity you want to measure. Tap water may contain salts and various since many chemicals are added before it reaches your house..I would just buy a calibration solution/ refracto juice 35 ppt salinity / 1.0264 SG specific gravity.. now if brewing some home brew I wouldn’t sweat tap!
 
i'd say at this point don't add anything, and let your tank cycle for good 1-2 months. wait it out. dont buy any fish/corals. just sit on your hands wait it out.
 
Back
Top