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College students project... need help


TimWarchol

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Hi Tim! :welcome: to Nano-Reef!

 

Great first post. Here's what I'm thinking - since this is a college research project, you should be clear on what your goals are. What exactly would you define as a "successful" project? Keeping everything alive? Seeing growth in the corals?

 

Also, are you keeping the Biocube's stock lighting and all that? Is there a budget for this project? All of this will affect the choices the you make for stocking the tank.

 

In the All-In-One Tank forum, there is a stickied thread for the Biocube Resource Guide. That's a good place to start for general tips on how to get your tank working a little better for you (pulling out the bioballs and some other minor mods).

 

This "waiting period" (cycling your tank) is necessary. I hope you've read the article on cycling on here to see what you're aiming for. And perhaps elaborating on what you're fuzzy on would also help. :lol:

 

Good luck with your project! I hope you share your build thread here.

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To the guidelines of the project, A successful tank means... proper water parameters, living, healthy, and show some growth. We in a way are supposed to play chemist. Surprisingly enough, this is a research project for the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and not my minor which is marine biology... As for the tank, I have no idea what to do with the lights. The budget is on ME which SUCKS but I am very interested in this stuff. What would you suggest. As the tank will be mine, I would like some nice colors and a happy environment.

 

ALSO, I have the corallife digital timer and I need a little help setting it up... Is there any way that i can have my blue lights on 2 hours 2 times such as in morning and night?... also, what is the best lighting setup for a new tank?

 

Cheers,

Tim Warchol

 

You're so lucky! lol, I would love to build a saltwater tank for a college project! Well.. I kinda am. I'm a sophomore at Lafayette College, about an hour east of Rutgers, and am a the TA for a developmental biology class. One of my current tasks is to set up a sea urchin breeding tank. Unfortunately, this tank is going to be barren of any life aside from urchins - no rocks, coral, fish, etc.

 

Anyways, I'm assuming the "blue lights" you're referring to are the actinics. Most people usually leave those on for 10-12 hours a day, and turn on their daylight bulbs overlapping for 8-10 hours. I have my tank set up so that the actinics are on 1 hour before my daylight bulbs turn on, and remain on for an additional hour after the daylight bulbs turn off. I accomplish this with 2 different timers. If you truly are only trying to have the lights on for 2 hours in the morning, and 2 hours at night, there are certain cheap ($4) timers at walmart that can accomplish this task.

 

You're going to have to be a little specific as to what your questions and concerns are. There are numerous beginner guides on this site that should address the basics.

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To the guidelines of the project, A successful tank means... proper water parameters, living, healthy, and show some growth. We in a way are supposed to play chemist. Surprisingly enough, this is a research project for the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and not my minor which is marine biology... As for the tank, I have no idea what to do with the lights. The budget is on ME which SUCKS but I am very interested in this stuff. What would you suggest. As the tank will be mine, I would like some nice colors and a happy environment.

 

ALSO, I have the corallife digital timer and I need a little help setting it up... Is there any way that i can have my blue lights on 2 hours 2 times such as in morning and night?... also, what is the best lighting setup for a new tank?

 

Cheers,

Tim Warchol

Nice to see you! i hate to make my first post negative but the digital coralife timer is a POS unless they have completely changed the way it works. The one I had was TOTALLY dependent on the little battery you must install or the timed side is uesless.The battery does not recharge and is in use constantly to hold your settiings.It runs down and then the LCD screen goes blank and you lose all your settings. After replacing the battery 3 times I gave up on it .You can't use the timed side at all without a charged battery.Ridiculous engineering!!!I bought a cheaper digital timer at the hardware that has an internal battery that charges when the strip is plugged in and is only in use during black outs.Makes sense! If you can take it back!

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Welcome!

 

I think saltwater is a great idea for a college project; when saltwater tanks are concerned, there's plenty of basic chemistry, biology and physics to apply. You will have to be more specific with your questions, though...

 

How far along are you in setting up the tank? Do you have sand and rock? Do you understand the basics of cycling the tank (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate)? Do you have RO/DI filtered water?

 

Take it slow, and don't hesitate to ask questions.

 

Good luck!

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Wow one bump and a bloom of response.. I'm going to like this site :D... As far as the tank goes... All things needed to start have been purchased. I have a gray trash can with 2 power heads in it moving the salt water... as for salt, I used Instant Ocean mix. Live sand and rock has been placed into my 29gallon BioCube along with salt water and has been filtered for exactly 24 hours now (6:20pm 1/31/11). Water is nice and clear and salinity and gravity are around 32-33ppm and gravity at 1.024-1.025. No sign of any cycle starting but I did encounter some habitats... little blue looking ship and some worms in the sand... Why main question now is what should I start looking for and when should I put in some CUC?

 

Cheers,

Tim Warchol

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You will get brown algae in the tank also known as Diatoms. Most of the time this algae will clear when the cycling has completed then add the CUC. There is a few ways to speed up cycle time. 1) let the cycle run by itself. There is bacteria everywhere in the world, give it the right environment and it will grow. 2) Add a few raw shrimp into the tank. As they breakdown release ammonia into the water which is the food to the bacteria needs. 3) Force the ammonia to spike by adding pure ammonia to the tank, getting the reading up to 4-5ppm. allow it to drop and repeat, till u can add it and it drops to 0ppm within a 12-24hour period (make sure its PURE ammonia) 4) get either a cup of live sand or old filter from an established tank and add it or ring out the filter in the tank as the filter grows the same bacteria as the rock. 5) Add a hardy fish, but this is highly not recommended. Also this is a very old school method and is considered inhumane in todays aquarium standards.

 

ADDED: Also cycle will depend on what rock you get. Uncured, semi-cured or fully cured in which u may only see a soft cycle.

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Sounds Fun, I agree with everything people have already said. The cycle takes time, just wait (few weeks) before adding anything and you can follow your levels with your test equipment to know when your cycle is done. You can read about specific changes that occur during the cycle with reguards to ammonia, nitrate, nitrite so you know what to expect.

 

You still havn't answered several questions that you will need to think about with reguards to equipment and the goals of your tank.

 

You could do a very "simple" tank with the equipment that you already have including some small fish, inverts, soft corals (mushrooms, xenia, polyps). On the other end of the spectrum would be SPS corals, clams, etc, which require more attention, equipment, and great expense. You should decide up front what your goals are for the tank.

 

Also, for "parameters", what are you planing on measuring/what is required. There are basic things (pH, nitrates, ammonia, salinity) that you are probably thinking of. Other things (alkalinity, magnesium, phospherous, etc) you may or may not need to worry about depending on what type of tank you set up.

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Fishtacos... the parameters you hit spot on... added later will be magnesium and calcium for corals... as far as it goes with the tank setup... i wanna keep it simple as this is my first time with salt. basically keep everything that came with the tank... on the flip side, I did purchase the protein skimmer from oceanic and a koralia nano pump and some filter floss.

 

Cheers,

Tim Warchol

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as for passing your class here are a few tips

 

if you keep the stock lights, most corals will need to go in the top third of the tank, the stock lights arent really strong enough in my opinion to have most corals thrive elsewhere.

 

test often at least at first and dont add any additives or anything until you know where you are and where youre going

 

do a 10-15% water change weekly

 

biocube is a good little tank, its a great starting platform. if you want extra credit change the lighting and add a sump! not really needed though and ill bet you dont want to drop another few C notes into your tank...

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It sounds like you could probably just buy any of the "Reef Master" type kits that measure the basics.....ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, phosphate, calcium, etc... You also should track temperature and maybe track how many hours of light you use a day?

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pictures will be up Friday :D... and THIS JUST IN... I have a spike in my salinity in the tank, I know this is due to evaporation but what should I add in the water... purified tap? or mixed salt? please get back as soon as possible as I have class at 11:30am :D

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Top off your tank with RO water. If you dont have or cant get, add Distilled water from the grocery store. If push comes to shove, u can use purified tap water. Remember salt does evap just the water does, so as long as it was about 1.024-1.025 when u added it u should only have to add water back to it.

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Best college project ever, but this will screw in the end. This is hobby more addicting then meth. I was given a free tank (BioCube 8) and told I only needed water and fish. Now I funnel every spare cent into this. My one advice is to just buy quality products to start. This has always bit me in the @ss because I would just end up with the quality items in the end.

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can you post me a link for a good homemade one

 

 

If you get sick of adding water to tank daily, you can search the forums for Auto Top Offs (ATO) either store bought or homemade.
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Being that this is a research project, there are lots of different threads that would give you ideas for a DIY ATO right here on the forum. It's good to get into the habit of trying to find the answers using the search function (and also pretty satisfying most of the time!) :D

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There's tons of DIY videos on youtube for Auto Top Off set ups. Good luck on you're project. Hope we can see some photos of the tank when everything is established! =D

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