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Solana34Hog

Solana34Hog's new Solana!

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Solana34Hog

Well here we go. My name is Nathan. I'm a bartender from Hot Springs, AR. As far as my reef-keeping experience goes, I am fairly new. My first reef experience was about 6 or 7 years ago when I lived in Austin, TX. Like most first-timers, I had a little money in my pocket and I wanted a fish tank. Not specifically a saltwater tank, just a fish tank. Off I went to Petco. Yeah, I said Petco. I was a true newbie. I knew I needed a small tank because of space restrictions in my apt. so with that in mind I (like many others I'm sure) caught my first glimpse of a beautiful picture on the front of a box. It was an Eclipse 15g tall with all the "bells and whistles" built in :lol: ) If I remember correctly, the box had a picture of a beautiful reef aquarium (I'm sure with tangs and angelfish) and came with some kind of saltwater startup kit. Well I was dooped! I had no patience back then (I was around 21 years old). I did no research at all before I waisted my money on that tank. Reef tank? It came with one 15w no bulb for God's sake! After lots and lots of research and money spent (lighting upgrades, hob skimmer, flow and such), I ended up with a pretty nice tank. However, it was never really stable like I wanted it and I kind of always wanted something a bit larger. I ended up taking it down after a couple of years and moving back to Arkansas.

 

So, here we are 6 or 7 years later. There was no way that I was going to waste my money this time. Although I was sure I would still make some bad choices, I was going to show some patience and pony up and get what I really wanted. So, after about a month of reading on this forum and Reefcentral I decided on the 34g Solana with the Nova Extreme Pro 108w T5 lighting and espresso solana stand. I ordered 40lbs of "live" sand from a guy on ebay called westmariculture and 50lbs of dry cured Marco rock. I also ordered 2 koralia 2's, a 150w hydor heater, 3 25g boxes of IO salt, a digital thermometer, a hydrometer, API saltwater and reefmaster test kits, and a mag float glass cleaner.

 

I was hoping my sand could seed my rock. First mistake! It was really warm here for almost a week straight. However, my sand was sent by USPS and by the time it arrived it was snowing. I didn't even know it was here. My girlfriend gave me the key and said the sand was in the big box down the hill. I thought OH CRAP! It had been in there over night at like 30 degrees. I proceeded to scold her for not telling me sooner. I ran to get it and put it in the tank as soon as I got it in the house. It clouded up pretty bad for a few days but got a lot better once I got the rock in. I figured everything was dead so I put about two cups of sand from my dads established tank in there yesterday thinking that would help things along. Well, after reading about cycling, I decided to go with the raw shrimp method rather than stress and possibly kill a couple of damsels. I added the shrimp a couple of hours ago. I put it into a crafty little device that my 10 month old daughter no longer uses. It looks like a pacifier but with a net insead of a nipple I shoved 3 raw shrimp inside and hooked it on a piece of rock. I tested the water last night before I did this and will probably test again in a few days. Do you wait until the cycle is over and everything is at 0 before you take the shrimp out??

 

Here were my parameters as of around 2 or 3 am this morning (I'm a bartender so I'm kind of a night owl).

 

Temp: 79.3

PH: 7.8

Ammonia: .25 (hehe, before the shrimp)

Nitrite: 0

Nitrate: 0

Calcium: ~350

Carbonate Hardness: 9dkh

Phosphates: 0

Salinity: 1.022 (a little low?)

 

Really nice rocks! Thanks Marc!

 

Here are a couple of Pics. The tank was still a little cloudy here. Please feel free to tell me what I'm doing wrong. I'm not sensitive! I love to hear fellow reef keepers' advice.

 

Thanks guys!

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Edited by Solana34Hog

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Captainj42

Take the shrimp out now. You shouldn't USE something to try and start your cycle or to make it quicker or anything. Just Put your sand and rock in SW and wait. Test your water a couple time a month and record your results when you have had an ammonia spike then a nitrite spike then a rise in nitrates with ammonia and nitrite at 0 then your cycle is pretty much over do a water change and test a gain a few days later. Once you get an algae bloom add a small CUC.

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Solana34Hog

Also, I didn't expect the sand to be quite so fine. I would say it's like Oolite or almost like silt. I am worried about this because I really wanted a goby/pistol shrimp pair. Is this sand ok for them?? Should I add another substrate on top?

 

Thanks,

Nate

 

Take the shrimp out now. You shouldn't USE something to try and start your cycle or to make it quicker or anything. Just Put your sand and rock in SW and wait. Test your water a couple time a month and record your results when you have had an ammonia spike then a nitrite spike then a rise in nitrates with ammonia and nitrite at 0 then your cycle is pretty much over do a water change and test a gain a few days later. Once you get an algae bloom add a small CUC.

 

Doesn't the bacteria need something to feed on? Will the die off in the sand be enough?

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Solana34Hog

Do you guys agree?? Should I take out the raw shrimp?

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Solana34Hog

Hmmm... I've done some more reading and I think I'll leave it in. I'm not really trying to speed up the process. After reading numerous articles, the general consensus is that you have to add some type of ammonia in order for your tank to actually produce the bacteria needed to start the cycling process. Thanks for your input though. I may eat crow later but I think this will work.

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Solana34Hog

Couple pics from today. That thing in there is the device I have holding my raw shrimp in. This is a close up from front and left side. A little less cloudy than the earlier pic.

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TriggerHappyDude

Interesting, I am about to this phase of my tank build, and was wondering where to start, so I'll tag along to see what you do right and wrong and learn from your successes etc...

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Solana34Hog

I'll be the guinea pig! :D

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Solana34Hog

Well, my cycle was over about a week ago so I started adding some livestock. So far I have a false percula and a black sailfin blenny. I also have a small torch coral, small frag of gsp's, a few yellow polyps and an assortment of about 5 or 6 different kinds of zoas. Also the lady at the lfs gave me a couple of monti cap frags for free. Oh yeah, I also have a small feather duster and a coral banded shrimp. I went ahead and hung my light so I could use my glass lid. I love it this way. It was such a hassle to get into the tank before and now I don't have to worry about any of my fish going carpet surfing. A few years back I lost a blue spotted jawfish that way.

 

Some update pics... (sorry for the crappy iphone pics)

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Edited by Solana34Hog

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Solana34Hog

Just a couple more pics for you. The only thing that isn't stock about this tank is that I took out the little bio balls and I put some chaeto in the second chamber. I put a 6500k bulb in a regular 8 inch clip on lamp. Like a plant grow lamp or something. I've had the chaeto on a reverse light cycle for about a week now. The chaeto doesn't seem to be getting bigger just a little more dense.

 

I can't decide whether to get a jawfish (like the black cap jawfish or blue spotted jawfish) or a pistol/goby pair. I'm also having a tough time choosing between a pygmy angel and a flame angel to round out the fish. Any suggestions??

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Solana34Hog

Here are some updated pics of my tank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This little dude wiped out over half of my zoas in less than a week. I finally caught him last night.

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Edited by Solana34Hog

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Nanobuds

looks good so far. however, slow down a bit. you are kinda rushing it for stocking

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Solana34Hog
looks good so far. however, slow down a bit. you are kinda rushing it for stocking

 

I know. The problem is that I came across a really good deal on a 75g complete setup. The guy had health problems and couldn't take care of it anymore so he sold the whole setup to me really cheap. I parted it out and made enough money back to pay for my whole setup. Wooohooo!! Here's the thing. While the tank was set up in my house for a few weeks I couldn't help myself. I had to frag just about one of everything. I couldn't help it.

 

Hi, my name is Nate and I am a fragaholic.

 

Think everything will be ok?? Parameters are still checking out. I won't be adding anything else for a while and I only have 3 fish.

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atlweb

What fish is that with the yellow head and blue body?

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jimsflies

Nice looking start. What lights are you running? Changed anything with the filtration?

 

What fish is that with the yellow head and blue body?

 

Looks like a pygmy angelfish. They have been known to eat corals, especially zoas and LPS so watch him...he might have been the culprit instead of the crab.

Edited by jimsflies

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Lawnman

April 25th last log in.Maybe his tank crashed.

 

 

Brad

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