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20g rebuild


kzimmerman

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A number of years ago, about 10 or so, I built a 20H reef tank, using a 65w pc and a 15w actinic NO. I also had a seaclone 100, I think. I had some success, but not very much. The tank had a deep sand bed, and plenty of live rock, a gorgonian, a leather coral, some mushrooms, a bubble coral, and a few unidentified anemones. There were two ocellaris clowns as stock. Well, I had an equipment failure, and lost alot of stock, got a little disgusted, and gave the remaining livestock and equipment to my brother. Recently, he asked if I wanted it back, as he hadn't had time to do much with it. I went to get it, and he had let half of the water evaporate out. The powerheads were gone, the skimmer pump was frozen permanentely, and he had two wisper 40's for "water circulation". After I got it home, I refilled it, and waited. I saw one worm in the sandbed. I added several local snails, periwinkles there called, and a couple of pistol shrimp I caught. Everything died. I want to rebuild this tank, but am at a loss as to where to start. Should I vacumn the gravel bed? Theres no visible life on the LR, so I was thinking of removing some of it and getting new, as well as getting about 2 pounds of live sand to reseed the sand bed. I want to remove the protein skimmer, and the one remaining wisper 40, which I put activated carbon in and some filter media for mechanical and chemical filtration.

Anyway's, any ideas are welcome. Thanks!

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Militant Jurist

:welcome:

 

If you are restarting, you might as well do it the proper way. I'd suggest removing the sand and let it dry. Then, rinse it really good. If it's in that kind of condition, it's hard to tell what kind of nasties are built up in there and were released during the move. You're probably right about the need to get new LR. I'd suggest removing the current stuff, let it dry out for a while. Then, you can break it up with a hammer and use it as rubble or frag plugs down the road!

 

Then, I would just re-set things up, and let it cycle! Doing it that way ought to give you a clean, fresh start. Oh, and to help save some dough, you can often find dry reef rock, which is significantly cheaper typically. Then, get about 10% or so of the total weight of rock you desire as LR. Just a small amount of LR can seed the tank, and do so a lot less expensively!

 

HTH

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I've actually got some dry rock, it's very porous stuff, so it should do a good job of denitrification.

How long should you wait after you seed the sand bed and add live rock before you start adding livestock? I'm talking about the clean up crew, like snails and hermits and stuff. Do you just wait for the tank to cycle some? And would it make sense to keep some of the current live rock, just wash it off real good to help speed up the cycle? I am planning on adding a 2.5 gallon refugium, so I can work on that as the tank is cycling some.

Also, what would be the point of drying out the aragonite if I'm just gonna wash it and put it back? Couldn't I just wash it out and then put it back into the tank? Seems like that would speed up cycling some too.

Sorry for all the questions, I Guess I'm more of a noob at this than I thought.

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I've actually got some dry rock, it's very porous stuff, so it should do a good job of denitrification.

How long should you wait after you seed the sand bed and add live rock before you start adding livestock? I'm talking about the clean up crew, like snails and hermits and stuff. Do you just wait for the tank to cycle some? And would it make sense to keep some of the current live rock, just wash it off real good to help speed up the cycle? I am planning on adding a 2.5 gallon refugium, so I can work on that as the tank is cycling some.

Also, what would be the point of drying out the aragonite if I'm just gonna wash it and put it back? Couldn't I just wash it out and then put it back into the tank? Seems like that would speed up cycling some too.

Sorry for all the questions, I Guess I'm more of a noob at this than I thought.

 

Im new but I would like to take a stab at some of these...

 

How long should you wait after you seed the sand bed and add live rock before you start adding livestock? I'm talking about the clean up crew, like snails and hermits and stuff. --- I would wait until you start seeing a larger increase in nitrates, which would also mean that ammonia is 0. This will ensure to not harm the CUC. As for Crabs just from what I have read they are more of a pain than benefitial. (anybody that disagrees please comment)

 

Also, what would be the point of drying out the aragonite if I'm just gonna wash it and put it back? Couldn't I just wash it out and then put it back into the tank?--- Drying the sand bed will ensure that the life that is still present is dead and will help makes sure you remove the majority of nutrients that have built up in its prior state. Rinsing it well and putting it back will aslo leave trace amounts of unwanted chemicals and nutrients unless you rinse it with R/O water.

 

The 2.5 gallon refugium sounds like a neat little project where are you intending to store it? Will this be a HOB fuge mod?

 

Just as an fyi if this 2.5g fuge has a return pump it will be incredibly difficult to adjust the water level with such a small mass of water. i just did a 10 and it had its challenges.

 

The old rock will work fine I would just do a fresh water dip and pick up a few pounds to seed the tank with. IMO the live sand in the bags seem like a waste of money. I would also ask your LFS for a small bag of LS to seed the tank with. I did this on my 20H with 2 lbs of LS 2 LBS of LR mud and 7 lbs of LR and the tank zero'd out Ammonia in 3 days.

 

If this is off please shed some light on this ANYONE, I dont want to stear this guy wrong.

 

Thanks

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Militant Jurist
I've actually got some dry rock, it's very porous stuff, so it should do a good job of denitrification.

How long should you wait after you seed the sand bed and add live rock before you start adding livestock? I'm talking about the clean up crew, like snails and hermits and stuff. Do you just wait for the tank to cycle some? And would it make sense to keep some of the current live rock, just wash it off real good to help speed up the cycle? I am planning on adding a 2.5 gallon refugium, so I can work on that as the tank is cycling some.

Also, what would be the point of drying out the aragonite if I'm just gonna wash it and put it back? Couldn't I just wash it out and then put it back into the tank? Seems like that would speed up cycling some too.

Sorry for all the questions, I Guess I'm more of a noob at this than I thought.

 

I'll address this through addressing the comments of frahny:

 

I would wait until you start seeing a larger increase in nitrates, which would also mean that ammonia is 0. This will ensure to not harm the CUC. As for Crabs just from what I have read they are more of a pain than benefitial. (anybody that disagrees please comment)

 

You actually want to wait until the increase in nitrates levels off. At that point, you'll want to do a 20% or so water change, to start bringing the nitrates down. It's at this point that you can order a CUC. That's correct about the crabs. Not only are they less efficient than the snails, but they seem to enjoy murdering snails just to try on their shells. The exception would be for something like the emerald crab, if you've got a bubble algae problem.

 

Drying the sand bed will ensure that the life that is still present is dead and will help makes sure you remove the majority of nutrients that have built up in its prior state. Rinsing it well and putting it back will aslo leave trace amounts of unwanted chemicals and nutrients unless you rinse it with R/O water.

 

Correct. A lot of the nasty stuff is organic compounds that you really can't rinse all the effectively. Additionally, rinsing them in fresh water will kill off the beneficial bacteria anyways, while leaving some of the nasties. Even after it's dried, you'll still want to rinse it with RO water, but at least the organic compounds will be easier to remove through rinsing. If it's really bad, you might want to just get fresh dry sand. That's the route I'd personally go, just for the peace of mind and lesser likelihood of problems down the road.

 

The old rock will work fine I would just do a fresh water dip and pick up a few pounds to seed the tank with. IMO the live sand in the bags seem like a waste of money. I would also ask your LFS for a small bag of LS to seed the tank with. I did this on my 20H with 2 lbs of LS 2 LBS of LR mud and 7 lbs of LR and the tank zero'd out Ammonia in 3 days.

 

It depends on how bad the current rock is. If you've got a ton of junk and algae all through it, it might be best to dry it. If the rock is in good shape, then rinsing it in SALTwater (not freshwater) to help shake loose some of the junk would help. You'll still want a bit of fresh LR though, to really get things on the right track. If you've got a good LFS, they might be willing to give you a cup of sand from a tank. They are more likely to do so if you're buying something else. ;)

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well, all that is easy enough to do. One more question. What is this I hear about baking the live rock?

Im curious to hear about this!??!?!!? and Militant thank you for clarifying

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Im curious to hear about this!??!?!!? and Militant thank you for clarifying

 

I'm sorry, the correct question would be what is nuking live rock? Also, what is chaeto? Is the lighting I have sufficient for my tank, one 65w pc and one 15w no actinic? Should I aim for 6700 or 10000k bulbs in the pc? Like I said, I'm such a noob!

Thanks to everyone who has helped out so far, your answers have been very clear and seem to be very good advice. Thanks again!

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I'm sorry, the correct question would be what is nuking live rock? Also, what is chaeto? Is the lighting I have sufficient for my tank, one 65w pc and one 15w no actinic? Should I aim for 6700 or 10000k bulbs in the pc? Like I said, I'm such a noob!

Thanks to everyone who has helped out so far, your answers have been very clear and seem to be very good advice. Thanks again!

I was instructed by some of the members to move toward T5HO lighting. For the amount of lumens output it is a far better solution for you... I looked at like this I had, 4-65W pc retrofit (already owned) for a canopy and the cost of the bulbs alone every 6 months (replacing them as I should) would cost the same for a top dollar BETTER 4 bulb T5HO fixture. Not to mention the bulb options and setup available.... Just my .02

 

Chaeto is = http://www.reefchaeto.com/

 

 

Also waiting to hear about this LR nuking!!!

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Militant Jurist
What is this I hear about baking the live rock?

 

There are two options for killing live rock. One is to just let it dry out for a while. The other is to get a large pot (such as is used for corn on the cob), boil water, and place the LR in the water. It will kill off just about everything in and on the rock.

 

Im curious to hear about this!??!?!!? and Militant thank you for clarifying

 

No problem!

 

Also, what is chaeto?

 

Cheato is a macro algae used for nutrient export. It uses nutrients in the water to grow, and if you consistently trim the cheato and remove it, you'll be removing the nutrients from your system. It is also useful for keeping a stable pH, if you run a reverse light cycle, meaning that when your display tank lights are off, you run the lights on over the cheato.

 

Is the lighting I have sufficient for my tank, one 65w pc and one 15w no actinic? Should I aim for 6700 or 10000k bulbs in the pc? Like I said, I'm such a noob!

 

As frahny stated, T5HO is definitely the way to go. I don't have a whole lot of info on the PC lighting, but with T5HO, you get a lot more powerful lighting to grow more demanding corals. You also get a lot more variety in terms of bulb choices.

 

Thanks to everyone who has helped out so far, your answers have been very clear and seem to be very good advice. Thanks again!

 

Glad to help!

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Well, If I'm gonna make the switch to HO lighting, how many bulbs do I really need? I can go 2,3 or 4. I was thinking of going 2, and keeping the actinic lighting NO, as it penetrates pretty good, but a decent 4 bulb system with 2 10.000k and 2 actinics is looking pretty good. Also, I have a DI filter, an aquarium pharmaceuticals I believe. Is this good enough for well water, or do I really need to go RO? I've got pretty good water, but you never know. Also, can anybody recommend a good salt brand so I don't have to dose? The weekly WC thing seems to be better, but I don't want to use a salt brand that isn't very good. The only thing available locally is instant ocean. I have no decent LFS around here. I just have a petsmart an hour away and Dr. Mac corals an hour and 20 minutes or so.

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Militant Jurist
Well, If I'm gonna make the switch to HO lighting, how many bulbs do I really need? I can go 2,3 or 4. I was thinking of going 2, and keeping the actinic lighting NO, as it penetrates pretty good, but a decent 4 bulb system with 2 10.000k and 2 actinics is looking pretty good.

 

I've got 4x24w over my 20L, and I keep SPS in it. If money is an issue, you can get a nice 2x24w fixture for now, and run the NO lights at the same time as the HO. 4x24w is spectacular though.

 

Also, I have a DI filter, an aquarium pharmaceuticals I believe. Is this good enough for well water, or do I really need to go RO? I've got pretty good water, but you never know.

 

As far as I know, the DI is more of a finisher. The RO does the heavy lifting when it comes to filtration. With well water, you've got the potential for a lot of contaminants, including heavy metals, so it's actually just as important to filter thoroughly, if not more so, compared to city water.

 

Also, can anybody recommend a good salt brand so I don't have to dose? The weekly WC thing seems to be better, but I don't want to use a salt brand that isn't very good. The only thing available locally is instant ocean. I have no decent LFS around here. I just have a petsmart an hour away and Dr. Mac corals an hour and 20 minutes or so.

 

Dosing really depends on the corals. Reef Crystals by Instant Ocean is what I use, but I use it only because it's what I've always used. ;) Doesn't mean that it's the best. Also, any batch of salt can be low in calcium, alk, etc. That's why testing is so important. If you see that you tank is using up a lot of Alk or Calcium, or that the freshly mixed water is low, you'd need to dose. Otherwise, the WCs will provide all you need! In my situation, with all of the SPS and LPS, the tank uses up a lot of Calcium and Alk, so I have to dose every few days. With two-part, it's only a matter of 5ml each for Parts A and B, so dosing isn't that big of a hassle.

 

What about VHO lighting?

 

VHO is an option, but you wouldn't have nearly the bulb selection compared to T5HO.

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Well, If I'm gonna make the switch to HO lighting, how many bulbs do I really need? I can go 2,3 or 4. I was thinking of going 2, and keeping the actinic lighting NO, as it penetrates pretty good, but a decent 4 bulb system with 2 10.000k and 2 actinics is looking pretty good. Also, I have a DI filter, an aquarium pharmaceuticals I believe. Is this good enough for well water, or do I really need to go RO? I've got pretty good water, but you never know. Also, can anybody recommend a good salt brand so I don't have to dose? The weekly WC thing seems to be better, but I don't want to use a salt brand that isn't very good. The only thing available locally is instant ocean. I have no decent LFS around here. I just have a petsmart an hour away and Dr. Mac corals an hour and 20 minutes or so.

exactly what militant stated... Water treatment is how I make my living so Im always up for discussion on that. and Honestly you would be best to have the water tested to make the best decision.. You may or may not have the heavy metals as stated by militant. Point being Water treatment can be a big process...

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Hey, how about that! My brother in law makes his living in water treatment too, as a biological engineer for wastewater treatment plants. We've had alot of discussions in the past about FW denitrifying bacteria, including a strain of bacteria that removes nitrates in an oxygenated environment. Anyway's, How do you get the water tested? Or would I be better of just getting the RO unit?

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Militant Jurist
Hey, how about that! My brother in law makes his living in water treatment too, as a biological engineer for wastewater treatment plants. We've had alot of discussions in the past about FW denitrifying bacteria, including a strain of bacteria that removes nitrates in an oxygenated environment. Anyway's, How do you get the water tested? Or would I be better of just getting the RO unit?

 

I believe the appropriate tool would be a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter; however, given the cost of most of those units, you'd be close to an RO machine anyways. Might as well go with the RO and be set.

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Hey, how about that! My brother in law makes his living in water treatment too, as a biological engineer for wastewater treatment plants. We've had alot of discussions in the past about FW denitrifying bacteria, including a strain of bacteria that removes nitrates in an oxygenated environment. Anyway's, How do you get the water tested? Or would I be better of just getting the RO unit?

as stated above you would be close to an RO if you were to buy a conductivity meter or a device to measure TDS. However neither will give you the specifics just a count. I would go with the an RO unit and just be done with it. As for denitrification couldnt you use a refugium as well for FW? since most FW plants will feed off of the NO3?

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It was a discussion for wastewater treatment plant applications, they were working on culturing a bacteria strain that breaks down nitrate in aerobic conditions. It is naturally occuring, but for whatever reason, is not very common. In all likelyhood, these bacteria are present in your tank, but not in sufficient quantities to really amount to much. The focus of the experiment was to figure out how to culture these in sufficient quantities to reduce nitrate, but the funding ran out before they were able to complete it.

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Militant Jurist
It was a discussion for wastewater treatment plant applications, they were working on culturing a bacteria strain that breaks down nitrate in aerobic conditions. It is naturally occuring, but for whatever reason, is not very common. In all likelyhood, these bacteria are present in your tank, but not in sufficient quantities to really amount to much. The focus of the experiment was to figure out how to culture these in sufficient quantities to reduce nitrate, but the funding ran out before they were able to complete it.

 

Sounds like the usual problem with research! With a nano-tank, the most efficient way of denitrification is simply to not put too food, livestock, etc into the tank. ;) WCs also can help if done properly. The alternative is a DSB, but most nano systems are too small to support an efficient one. Finally, if you set up a fuge, cheato does the trick, if regularly trimmed. Cheato is also the only of the options that can pay you back, if you sell the balls of cheato you trim out of your fuge.

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It was a discussion for wastewater treatment plant applications, they were working on culturing a bacteria strain that breaks down nitrate in aerobic conditions. It is naturally occuring, but for whatever reason, is not very common. In all likelyhood, these bacteria are present in your tank, but not in sufficient quantities to really amount to much. The focus of the experiment was to figure out how to culture these in sufficient quantities to reduce nitrate, but the funding ran out before they were able to complete it.

 

 

Just checking in to see how the progress was coming? Any updates?

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