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spiffish

Our first marine tank: 34 Gallon Solana

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spiffish

(Pictures below)

 

Hello all, my first thread on these forums was very helpful.

Buying a 34 gallon solana

 

Well, last night I finally had a chance to set 'er up. I spent my evening working on the tank, while my wife decorated for christmas; a good time was had by all.

 

After much research and window shopping, we decided that the 34 gallon current-USA Solana would be perfect. We didn't really have much space in our small living room, so this was the biggest that would fit well.

 

Earlier this week, I made a 2hr trip to That Pet Place in Lancaster, PA. They had an unused Solana on display for sale for $400 for the tank and stand. I thought that was a real good price, but upon further inspection, the stand had some serious scratches, and the tank was missing the instructions and packaging. Hmm.. Well, the folks there were kind enough to provide a 15% discount on the tank + Stand to make the sale. That of course, made me happy to make the purchase.

 

 

So, here's what I got:

 

34 gal solana

Stand

150 watt Sunpod

1 bag live sand

1 bag dead sand

19lbs live rock

17lbs dead rock

Mag-Float

50 gallon salt mix

 

Also, I had bought a huge rubbermaid box full of misc. Saltwater stuff from craigslist.

From that I got and used:

 

MJ1200 + Clear tubing to use to fill the tank and assist with water changes.

Powerstrip/Electronic timer.

Test kit.

Hydrometer/temperature

 

 

Back to That Pet Place... So there I was, cart load full of stuff, with a problem. How do I get the tank filled in time to keep the live rock.. uh. live? The folks there were kind enough to cover the LR in my rubbermaid tub with plenty of saltwater to keep em going. One problem solved.

 

For water, I went back home, and yesterday started shopping. I want to Order an RO or RO/DI, but until that time, I want to get the tank running so it can cycle. Well, at my first stop at my LFS, the guy had some nutri-seawater in big jugs/boxes he was trying to clear out. The dates on them were still good, and I got all of them for a steal. With a 5 gal. bucket of RO and salt mix, plus the nutri-water, I had enough to fill my tank. All of that was cheaper than the cost of buying enough five gallon buckets to mix my own!.

 

I took the tank and stand to my garage and filled it with freshwater to check for leaks, etc. I also checked over the stand, tightening bolts, etc. Everything checked out, so I emptied the tank, and set it up in our living room. I tested the light. Holy bawls that light is bright!

 

First, I emptied my 5 gallon bucket of saltwater into the tank. Then, I used it to rinse the dead sand. It was rather a pain to get the sand from the 5 gallon bucket and into the tank without making a huge mess. Next, in went the live sand. Then dead rock base, then the live rock. Finally, filled er up.

 

The MJ1200 and tubing was a great way to fill the tank without having to lift the huge and heavy water containers. Only problem is the tube slipped out while filling... whoops. I got a bit of saltwater on the carpet

But, I get things under control quickly.

 

The water started clearing up a bit, and by the morning, things were much more visible. Overall, the tank is pretty quiet, with exception to the air hose for the skimmer... maybe someone knows how to silence that?

 

Anyways, its cycling time, and my hope is that with the live rock, live sand, and live water, my cycle time will not be tooo long.

 

Finally, to the pics:

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Edited by spiffish

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Maeda

so far so good!

 

You might want to take out some of that sand. It looks a might bit deep(aka potential nutrient trap).

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geekreef_05

Congrats!

 

Tip and Hints:

- Tad heavy on the sand, but you can make it work. Just make sure to get enough critters to stirr up your sandbed.

- Try to aquascape your aquarium so that you maximize the surface area of your rock, therefore getting the most outta its filterting capacity.

- Make sure your rock structure is solid and sturdy; dig it nicely into the sand. Having rockwork fall over in an established reef can be brutal.

 

And welcome to NR.com!

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spiffish

Thanks for the comments!

 

Yeah, I did realize the the sand was a bit heavy. I'll probably scoop some out before long.

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debbeach13

Welcome to NR. Nice tank. Did you get a test kit?

We love pictures so keep posting them.

Happy reefin

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spiffish

Ok, I added a 3lb piece of LR 2 days ago. The tank now has been up for a week.

 

Cycling question:

 

With ~21 lbs of partially cured live rock,

a bag of live sand

and "live" ocean water,

 

How is my cycle going?

 

I just tested last night,

and got low readings on ammonia, nitrite, trate.

 

Off the top of my head, I don't remember the exact figures, but readings on all 3 tests matched the 2nd or 3rd color down on each card. I do remember ammonia was .50

 

How soon can I start stocking, and what should I stock first?

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bigredreefer

Wait until you get a diatom bloom. They you can get a clean up crew (cuc).

 

Here is a picture of diatoms: http://www.nanoreef.co.uk/wordpress/wp-con...006/01/tank.jpg

 

CUCs, are snails and hermit crabs. For a 34 gallon, get like 10 of each. (you can get more or less to your liking, but the less you have the longer the diatom clean up will take)

 

Once your clean up crew has cleaned up the diatoms then you test again. IF everything test okay and your CUC hasn't died, you're good to go.

 

But remember to go slow and add livestock slowly.

 

 

RED

Edited by bigredreefer

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spanko

Good job. how far away from the wall on the right side is the tank? I have a 29 gallon biocube that is in a corner and I put it on an angle so that I could view, clean all three viewing areas.

I agree with the too much sand comments and it appears you are going to rectify that.

Your scape looked good to me but you have since added an additional pc. of rock. Got a new pic?

You cycle is going to be through its initial stages when ammonia and nitrites reach zero. At that point a few things will be happening.

1. You will probably have some elevation of nitrates. These should be lowered by doing your first of many 10% water changes.

2. You will probably start to notice a diatom bloom. This will be brown dusting on your rocks and substrate. Not to worry it is a good thing and also part of the cycling process. During this phase you can add some clean up critters. Snails and if you want them hermit crabs. Nothing else though. Let the tank sit until the brown goes pretty much away.

3. During the above 2 stages if you deep a close eye on your tank you will start to see life appear. Get a magnifying glass, like Shelock Holmes, and start to really look at the rockwork. You will see little things growing and moving about. Pods, feather duster worm, and assorted other things. Post here with pics for identification of what they are.

4. When the diatoms are pretty much gone you may experience some other algae blooms, this is all normal. As they occur post here in your thread and you will get help on what if anything to do about it. This is the time you can add a fish or an easy coral to get started with. Learn about quarantine procedures before hand so you know how to go about adding critters.

 

During all of the above get yourself some good reading on the keeping of marine systems and read as much as you can. Also start to put together your list of inhabitants you want to have based on your tank size and what will thrive there.

 

Welcome to N-R and I know you and the missus are going to enjoy this journey.

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thelastmucci

Hey great looking tank...I plan on getting a 39 gallon CAD one day and this thread is very helpful...lays out all the steps I gotta take for the initial process of setting the tank and stand up. Also makes me want a Solana :P

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dtfleming

Nice tank, curious if you live in PA or MD?

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spiffish
Nice tank, curious if you live in PA or MD?

 

Thanks for the comments. :)

 

I am starting to notice some very light diatom action.

 

The tank is a good 6-8" from the right wall, and about 5" from the back wall. This way worked best so one can get a clear view of the full side or front depending on which couch you were sitting on.

 

The only annoying thing so far: It is hard to see the back to check water level. I may get a mirror or something to help this. Also, to remove the glass top, I also must remove the light. Not a big deal though.

 

I am planning to order an RO/DI from ebay soon, but until then, I got some RO water from the culligan filtered thing for 33 cents a gallon at walmart for now.

 

 

As for the sand: I think tonight I may remove the LR, remove some sand, and set up my "permanent" scape so when I start stocking, things are already set up nicely.

 

After the CUC, when do people start adding corals typically? And, I've heard some folks talking about dozen corals for $99 type deals... is this a good way to start with some various corals and zoas?

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dtfleming

Don't load up a bunch of corals add some slowly. Good starters are zoas, mushrooms, gsp, leathers.If you live in MD there are a couple good lfs and two reef clubs that you can join.Don't load up a bunch of corals add some slowly. Good starters are zoas, mushrooms, gsp, leathers.If you live in MD there are a couple good lfs and two reef clubs that you can join.

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spiffish
Nice tank, curious if you live in PA or MD?

 

Waynesboro, PA. That puts me not to far from you. Any Reefclubs you know of the area?

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dtfleming

www.cmas-md.org

 

Mrcoral.com has a retail store in Frederick, lots of corals, fish, and he just setup a big invert tank also.

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spiffish
www.cmas-md.org

 

Mrcoral.com has a retail store in Frederick, lots of corals, fish, and he just setup a big invert tank also.

 

Thanks for the link! That's a closer drive for me than That pet place in Lancaster.

 

How are his prices?

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dtfleming

his prices are good and he has alot of frags at various prices.

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spiffish

UPDATE: (new pics)

 

Last night I took some time to remove all the live rock, and then I scooped out some sand. I think I've got a good amount of sand now.

 

I then spent a good amount of time rescaping things. I wanted more caves, and a more interesting layout, with enough lighted places for corals later on. Things seem pretty strong, any ideas or critique appreciated. :)

 

Now, to the pics:

 

I've got some coraline showing up, but anyone know what the brownish things are?

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dtfleming

coralline is good, brown spots are algae.I would consider adding a powerhead to the tank also for increased flow.

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davidr2340

I really like how your aquascaping looks bro... Nice!!!

 

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spiffish

thanks for the comments!

 

For stocking, I am thinking about:

 

Ocellaris Clownfish (is a pair necessary/desirable?)

Some kind of Blenny

Also, would a flame angel, or any other angel work in this setup?

Any other reccommendations on ideal stocking?, looking for nice coloration, fun to watch, etc.

 

For CUC about 14 snails, and 14 hermits (red and blues.. any others worth checking out?)

 

Corals:

I definately want some Zoanthids

Some Tooth coral:

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Hammers:

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Other than that, it depends what I find that works well as I get more into things. Maybe an SPS or too up top closer to the light later down the road.

 

Any other reccomendations?

I don't really care for alot of the mushrooms, but some with more color and interesting shapes I like, so maybe some of those.

 

 

Anyways, I was chatting on another forum, and someone suggested that only an MH light would burnout the livestock, and should only be on 4-5 hours a day? and that I needed some PC lights for the rest of the day? I haven't really heard anything about this, and I have a hard time believing that the 150watt sunpod is any brighter than... that actual sun..?

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bigredreefer

The angel is pushing it. They tend to need larger tanks and are known to nip at corals.

Check out Royal Gamma.

 

Don't do 10 for $99, you don't dictate the colors you get and can get screwed. Find a good LFS (local fish store) and group around you that you can join and trade with.

 

If you want SPS you need MH. If you stay with softies (mushrooms, zoas, polyps and leathers) and some LPS than PC will suffice. I would get the MH (150w)and run it 6-8 hours.

 

RED

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jonathanws

i thought the op had a 150w mh????

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spiffish

UPDATE: As of March, 2008

 

So far the tank is doing great! I ended up removing everything and moving the tank into the kitchen. Where it was in the living room made maintenance very difficult due to the small space and big couches. Now things are so much easier to access from all three sides, plus being on a linoleum floor is better too for cleanup.

 

Soon after that, I decided to remove the glass lid to make topping off and maint. easier, and less obsctructed lighting. That very Night, my cat, Kona, (1 yr old) decided to jump on the 'lid' of the aquarium. She found the lid missing of course and took a brief swim. This turned out to be good training however, she has never bothered the tank since! There was no damage or problems, other than cleaning the glass of salt deposits from splashing.

 

I have since set up a RO/DI from airwaterice.com (excellent!) and set it up next to the washer/dryer. It works great and gives great water.

 

I found out Mr. Coral (mrcoral.com) is located only 45 mins away! They have had some great deals on corals, buy one get one free on 5-25$ frags. So far I've got:

 

Couple Zoos

mushroom

xenia

Leather

Some sort of green SPS (name?)

 

As for livestock:

now at:

2 clowns (false percs I think?)

cleaner shrimp

2 elec blue hermits

2 red legs

~10 small blue legs

~10 snails

 

Pics!

 

cIMG_8428.jpg

 

cIMG_8432copy.jpg

 

cIMG_8429.jpg

 

cIMG_8468.jpg

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dekand

looking great man, i'm not sure how large that heater is but there is a chamber in the rear thats dedicated to sticking a heater in so you don't have to have it in the display area if it fits... keep up the good work i'll be watching this thread, check out mine :)

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spiffish
looking great man, i'm not sure how large that heater is but there is a chamber in the rear thats dedicated to sticking a heater in so you don't have to have it in the display area if it fits... keep up the good work i'll be watching this thread, check out mine :)

 

The heater is temporary. Had a glass one break.. luckily not shatter. I think I am done with glass tho!

Anyhoo, your tank looks great. I've been thinking about a lawnmower blenny.. how's he like it in there? Scape looks real nice too. Its cool to see other people with the same tank and see how it compares.

How long do you keep your light on btw?

 

 

For me: soon to come: a fish or two, some more coral (aren't we all?) and another koralia or tunze for more flow. Maybe I'll mod the one I've got first though...

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