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New to SW, and reefing.


LittleMissMoxie

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LittleMissMoxie

I've been maintining FW tanks for years. Right now I have 6 set-up through out my house, and I was getting a little bored of the same maintinence (all of them have been fully stocked for months). So, I finally decide to set-up a saltwater nano to give me something new to enjoy. I researched for weeks, and finally got a good idea of what I wanted. A week ago, I went and bought all my basic supplies and set up the tank to cycle. Here is everything that was purchased:

10- G AGA

100 W Marineland Heater

20-30 G Aqueon external filter

10-g Instant Ocean mix.

Aqueon Deluxe Full Fluorescent Black Aquarium Hood

15 W Zoo Med Ocean Sun 10,000K T-8 Bulb 15 W.

250 GPH Biocube Circulation Pump

20 Lbs. CC substrate

17 Lbs. LR

I also have an O biocube protien skimmer on order from amazon, but still hasn't arrived.

 

 

I went ahead and set the whole thing up that night.I went ahead rinsed the CC with cold water( though the bad came with no directions if I should do so or not), and then put about 10 lbs. in and stored the rest. I then mixed the salt directly into the aquarium like it said on the box, but I then learned later I should have mixed it separetly and let it wait for a couple hours. I replaced the bulb that originally came with the hood with the Zoo med, and then waited for the salinity and temp to become right before adding in the LR from the LFS. I let it run for 5 days and never got anything besides an ammonia of 0 and 8.2 PH. My temp is a constant 79.

Yesterday I went to the LFS and bought 4 blue-legged hermits, 1 blue damsel, and a BTA. They were all acclimated for over 3 hours, by me taking out a third of the water in their bags and replacing with water for the tank every 30 mins. The crabs were added first, and after they did fine for 45 mins, the fish and BTA were added.

 

As of today, everyone seems to be doing fine. I can't find one of the hermits, but the other three have managed to get to the very top rock. The BTA arranged himself a little more and is actually halfway under the bottom cave. The damsel is always hiding in the series of tuneels in the LR. So far, none of the test have changed a bit from yesterday, before everyone was put in.

 

Now for my questions...

1. Is the circulation to high in the tank for the BTA? He keeps moving further into the LR cave.

2. Is there too much LR in the tank and should I use a chisel and make smaller chunks?

3. Is it okay to mix sand and CC substrate?

4. Should I consider more lighting or is the tank small enough for the 15 W ocean sun light to be enough?

4. How long before I can add a P. Clown and some soft coral? Should I let the BTA decide it's best place in the tank before considering coral?

SW_start.bmp

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CC= high nitrates

What is your water source? RO/DI is what we run in a reef

Your lights are not a good choice.

 

Take the BTA back before it dies. They should only be added to established tanks with stable water and correct lighting.

 

IMO you did not do two weeks of research. :angry:

+1..you (and that tank) should be like a year in the reefing game and you would definately need some better lighting than what you have now. unfortunately your current lights would only be able to keep shrooms alive. this sounds harsh, but you should take the bta back, should probably take the CC out, and need to start looking for a better lighting system. you can look on the classifieds here for some or FNI for a cheap solution. i'd bring the crabs back too and would probably roll with snails..

 

..hope you do the right thing for the sake of the livestock in there and not just ignore us, we're trying to get you off on the right foot!

 

oh, and :welcome: ! read all these articles and anything else you can find on this site, its really a great resource if you actually use it. lots of knowledgable people here that would be more than willing to help ya out! good luck!

 

edit: that bta is awfully white already..please save him!:(

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Ok...so first off. Hi, welcome to NR.

 

...now...First off...the light is way way underpowered for pretty much anything. As stated before you might be able to keep shrooms under it, but that's about it. Any light under a T5 is basically useless for anything except a FOWLR tank.

 

Second thing, get rid of the Crushed coral substrate. In general you want to be using an argonite sand that is of a fairly small grain. (some other sands can be used, but as a first tank don't even think about it). The reason you don't want the crushed coral is because it can act as a giant nitrate factory trapping detrius in it and not allowing it to be siphoned out or reached by a clean-up crew.

 

Third, what type of rock did you buy? Was it fully cured when you purchased it or was it dry rock? If it was dry rock obviously get everything living out of there ASAP. This is because if there is no organic matter decaying obviously there is no ammonia to be found. If it was cured...well you probably should have waited a bit longer to add anything to the tank, but you may be ok here...may being the key word.

 

As for all of the living things in the tank...as I said before, if it is cured rock the CUC is sort of OK. The fish was a bad decision either way, but may be OK as long as the rock is cured. It would still probably be better to take it back to the store though in case you experience any type of cycle (sometimes this won't start for a few days). As for the anemone, get it out of that tank now. There is not near enough light nor of the proper intensity. Not only that, but nems should only go into fairly well established tanks.

 

Oh, but on a high note you do have enough circulation (maybe actually a little to much depending on what direction your going) and a skimmer is never a bad idea. The quality of certain ones are much better than others, but that's another story.

 

Now your questions.

 

Now for my questions...

1. Is the circulation to high in the tank for the BTA? He keeps moving further into the LR cave.

 

He is moving into the LR because he is probably retracting into himself and dying. Take it back to the LFS as soon as possible. If they do not give you any money back for him (it may also be store credit depending on store policy) maybe try another store. Did you tell whoever sold you this how old the tank was? Any trustworthy LFS would not have sold you all of that. If they knew try and find another story. If there isn't one, do a whole lot more research before making a purchase.

 

2. Is there too much LR in the tank and should I use a chisel and make smaller chunks?

 

17#'s is a decent amount for the tank. Honestly you could probably get away with around 10#'s or so, but this is mainly a personal preference of how you want the tank to look. The quality of rock determines how much you need too, if it has a lot of holes running through it and seems fairly light for the size of the rock then you have good rock. However, if it is a solid chunk of rock you will want more. Surface area is the key factor here not the weight.

 

Also on that not, ya feel free to chisel that rock into smaller pieces. A lot of people will break apart pieces and glue them back together in different ways to get the look they want.

 

3. Is it okay to mix sand and CC substrate?

 

Technically, yes. I would still say to remove the CC though.

 

4. Should I consider more lighting or is the tank small enough for the 15 W ocean sun light to be enough?

 

Do not consider it, do it. No the 15W will not be enough at all. I would pop over to the lighting forum and read up on the different standard types of lighting that are usually used in SW for reefs (you'll have to excuse me I don't actually know if you are setting up a reef here, though for a nem you will need more).

 

4. How long before I can add a P. Clown and some soft coral? Should I let the BTA decide it's best place in the tank before considering coral?

 

However, long it takes to fix most of what's already been stated and then add on about 3-5 weeks.

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LittleMissMoxie

So I took the BTA back the day after my original post, but I kept the damsel (which is still doing fine). I ordered an Odeyssea T5 HO lighting system, and it finally arrived yesterday. I set it up last night, and it looks amazing. The Damsel looks so beatufiul and shimmery that I ended up watching him swim for hours.

 

I aslo started the process of switching from CC to fine sand. I had read that CC could cause high nitrates, but if you kept up on water changes and maintence it would be fine. I'm still going to have to keep some CC in until I can chisel the LR down and make it more stable under constantly settling sand.

 

The LR was also fully cured and picked from their established FOWLR tanks. They are the only true LFS in a 100 mi. radius unless you count petco or walmart (which I don't). The owners let two teens run the store, and while the two are great for my FW, I'll start sticking to days the owners are there for SW. The only problem is that they are kind of limited in there SW fish & coral stock for nanos. I don't really feel comfortable ordering futuring livestock online, but if anyone has experience with this and knows are really good site... I'd really appreciate the link.

 

I added two mexican turbo snails to help with the small strands of hair algae that started to form on the glass. I also found that I have a very tiny seastar that must have hitchhiked in on the LR. It's smaller than my pinky nail and spends it time crawling up and down the glass. He's too small for me to tell what kind he really is... He's apparently hardy though because he survived the cycle and my first ever SW changed before showing himself.

 

Now for a few question that I have developed and not been able to find good advice for.

 

What does a good CUC consist of for a 10-gallon tank? Right now I have 4 blue-legged hermits and 2 turbo snails.I've looked at reef CUC packages that average like 15-20 hermits and almost 20 snails for a 10-G. That seems too much to me, espcially since I've heard will fight for each other shells and some species of snails will attack corals even if they are thought to be reef safe. I want a couple zoas and mushrooms, maybe a dwarf feather duster, and small leather coral. So I need a no- shrimp CUC that will cohabitate really well.

I also really like the way the Metallic Green Brain Coral looks in the LFS, but would one evenutally be ok in a small, stable nano?

 

And finally I want to thank the last two members for telling what I was doing wrong, but in a kind manner. After the first two replies, I didn't want to use the forum anymore, but you guys reminded me that there are still understanding people out there that want to help.

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If you are curious on the CUC check out what John at reefcleaners.org has recommended for the 10 gallons. If you feel you are short on CUC I would recommend ordering from him. He has great stock and offers help if you need it.

 

In regards to ordering livestock online, there are a lot of good sponsors here, I would check them out. Also check out Dr. Fosters and Smith's liveaquaria.com. They are a great resource, though they do have a tendency to be a bit more expensive.

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Is the filter you're using a power filter? If so, i'd take it out. Detritus can get caught into it and cause a chemical breakdown. That's if you don't clean it often. If you do have one, make sure it's cleaned often. Good call on taking that BTA out since you'd need the stronger lights and an established tank for that.

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LittleMissMoxie
Is the filter you're using a power filter? If so, i'd take it out. Detritus can get caught into it and cause a chemical breakdown. That's if you don't clean it often. If you do have one, make sure it's cleaned often. Good call on taking that BTA out since you'd need the stronger lights and an established tank for that.

 

Are you suggesting just running the system without a filter at all or replacing with a canister filter?

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qwiksilver711
Are you suggesting just running the system without a filter at all or replacing with a canister filter?

you could run a system without a filter, but its tough, and you have to do lots of water changes, a canister filter, or a hang on back filter like an aquaclear system might work better. power filters just catch lots of detrius and make nitrates if not cleaned properly

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you could run a system without a filter, but its tough, and you have to do lots of water changes, a canister filter, or a hang on back filter like an aquaclear system might work better. power filters just catch lots of detrius and make nitrates if not cleaned properly
I've been told that live rock\sand is the primary filtration for saltwater setups. One thing i'm curious is how is it tough running a system without a filter? All i'm told is just use a skimmer or an algae scrubber for the system and let the rock\sand be the filter.
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