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34gal solana-my first sw tank


Wspangler

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Hi guys this is my first saltwater tank, and also my first forum so please bare with me if i come across and a total idiot. I did do quite a bit of reading before i bought the tank to make sure it was something i would keep up with, and also to try to gain as much knowledge as possible before i bought the tank. I first set out with i budget of up to $500 and wanted at least a 55 gallon, but ended up going with a 34 gallon solana tank. I really like the look of it plus it was cheap enough to give me a little bit of money to put into my tank. I did buy the tank a few weeks back and im going to try to get anyone who is following up to date with what changes ive made so far. The first 2 picture are of the tank in the previous owners house( i think his name was alex and i found the tank on this site his user name was alex101 i think.) For the $300 i spend on the tank i got the light with 2 replacement bulbs, the tank itself, the stand, a RO filter, all the rock and sand,2 power heads, the stock skimmer,the livestock, a few test kits, and extra sale and supplements such as calcium an stuff. obviously i cant go back and get a refund but i feel like i got a pretty good deal, but want to see what everyone else thinks

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You said in the gallery that you've made some progress with getting that algae under control and got the nitrates to plummet.. can you take a current FTS so we can see where it's at now?

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I went trough old emails to figure out what date i purchased the tank. It was purchased on 8-16-2012. Its kind of funny that it has almost been a month and i am still afraid to add anything. although i did add peppermint shrimp about a week after i bought it to help get this aiptasia problem under control. The reason this is funny to me is because i wanted a established tank. I didn't want to have to go through the cycle. its taken me almost a month just to lower my nitrates to level where i am not afraid that everythings going to dye ever time i walk away from the tank. After i got the tank home on 8-16 an set up i did not do any test or anything that night. i took all day just to tear down a set it back up. The next day when i went to run all the test he had i discovered that the ammonia, ph, and a few others were for freshwater. I ran what test i could and the only thing that came up alarmingly high was the nitrates. With my ap test kit it tested as high as i could read. I believe that it went to 160 ppm. After reading online it said do a 10% water change immediately. The next day my levels tested just the same. I then went to the salty critter which is the best lfs around(IMO which shouldnt hold much weight as i am still a total noob.) The guy working told me to keep up with the water changes a few times a week and suggested that i get peppermint shrimp for my aiptasia problem(pics to follow.)

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I did a few more of the small water changes at around 10%. I forgot to mention earlier that while i was at salty critter the guy told me to get the nitrates test they had which was from salifert. While doing the 10% water changes the nitrates weren't coming down at all on the salifert test which only goes up to 100ppm.I then went back up to salty critter to buy other tests and talk to the guy about lowering my nitrates. This time the guy told me to just come back with a sample and he would test everything for me.I returned about an hour later. The only thing that was coming up high there was the nitrates also. It was at the top of the chart still 100ppm. He told me to get aggressive and do 25%-35% water changes twice a week until it comes down. Ive done about four twelve gallon water changes now and the nitrates are down to about 25ppm. The only thing i am testing right now on a daily basis is my nitrates and my salinity. I don't have a test for ammonia or ph. I test my nitrites once a week and it has been 0ppm every time. The other tests i have here are phosphate,calcium,KH, and a bottle that says alkalinity check solution. I don't think that alkalinity check will do me any good though. I don't have instructions for it.

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Honestly, in that new pic, the tank looks great! Well, it looks ready to dump some livestock in to :) also interesting to see that mushroom growing up the back wall - never saw that before.

 

I wouldn't suspect there's any ammonia in that system, the shrimp and CuC would probably be showing signs of stress if there were.

 

Nitrates in the 20-30ppm range aren't a problem for anything except, possibly, very sensitive SPS.. but even then, you'll just end up with some discoloration, generally.

 

I'd switch into weekly water changes and start scoping out some corals you're interested in.

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Nice! you just made my day. On the original photo i posted before this forum someone said i need a new bulbs. It has a Hamilton tech MH150w blue in it. When i bought the tank the guy said he replaced about a month prior so it shouldn't be more than two months old. I don't think he was lying because he said he thought the bulb went so he bought two new ones, and it ended up being his ballast(which looked brand new when i bought.) Anyways he gave me two extra bulbs one being used which i think was the one that he replaced. Its is a XDE 150/D. I also received a MH DE 150w 20000k Icecap which appears to be almost new. From reading elsewhere i assume it was just tested or whatever because it said something about mh bulbs having some sign of wear to know it works. Correct me if i am wrong on that part.

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Yeah buddy, that's a nice shape of a tank...

 

And as for the bulb, I don't know anything about metal halide :( always been a T5 guy. Swing by the lighting forum and see what they think.. smart bunch over there, but they don't get out much ;)

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Nice tank buddy. I am glad i bought the solana. I am excited to start putting coral in it and more fish.I do want to make a few upgrades already. I see that you have a mediabasket on your tank i want to buy one for my tank but i was thinking of doing cheat in the middle chamber of it and getting the led for the rear. I already have cheato in my middle compartment right now where the basket would go. I don't know which way is better. whats are your thoughts on it?

 

After i get the media b

 

*After i buy the media basket the next upgrade i will most likely purchase is a mp10.

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Nice looking tank. Glad to see you got every thing under control. I'm not following you on the question regarding the testing of the MH lights. Are you trying find out how old the other ones are? One recombination I have on your test kits. The ones the previous owner gave you, if you don't know how old they are I would trow them away and buy new ones.

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As far as the lights i just wanted to know which is best. I think i am going to put in the 20000k blue. Its the on i believe is like new.

 

The tests aren't really being used besides the nitrates, and that was purchased by me.I have tested the nitrites every week, and it comes up 0ppm which was the same as the stores test. The other ones i ran once each to see what i got and they all came up within an acceptable range. I planned on buying a few test last time but the guy pretty much talked me out of it and told me just bring my water in. I guess that's okay with me though. Now i have to go there :) .eventually i figure ill have to buy some more of my own test kits. Any suggestions on what kits to buy first, and also what brand to buy.

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I'm going to my lfs today to have them tests my levels besides nitrates. I will hopefully be adding something tonight. My girlfriend wants fish,but I don't think this is going to happen yet. I haven't really planned out what fish I want. Im more focused on coral.

 

Next weekend I should be ordering more gear for my tank. I think I might get the avast ato for my first addition. I've read up this unit, other units, and the DIY route. As of now this seems like it is the best value that I found. Has anyone regretted buying their avast ato?

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Just got back from the fish store. No coral or fish this time.

 

Results from tests at salty critter are

Sal. 1.023

Alk- 8.6. 3.08 m/l.( I think kind of sloppy writing).

Nitrates 10-25

Cal- 375

Phosphates- .05

 

The salinity was shocking to me. My hydrometer always reads about 1.026. I brought it with me though so he could check to see how far it was off. At the store it showed 1.023 which is a lot lower than expected. On my hydrometer it read over 1.028. That's a big different. I bought the last refractometer they had and will no longer be playing the guessing game with the hydrometer.

 

Any thoughts on the ATO?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I didn't get any feedback on the ato. I ordered the avast one. It was 5 bucks cheaper elsewhere, but for the marginal difference I ordered through avast.

 

I also added my first piece of coral. My buddy gave my a pulsating Xenia frag he had. I'll add new pics tonight.

 

Btw was I right by posting this in beginner discussion since I'm new to reef keeping, or should I have posted under the members aquariums part?

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Looking good man. I think you got a really nice deal. I just set up the same tank a little over a month ago and I'm loving it very much. I'm still debating on whether to go the Media Basket or Reactor route myself. Right now I just have Carbon/GFO in the middle chamber. I found that a standard 5.5g in the stand works perfectly for my top-off.

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I'm leaning towards the reactor at this point. I don't think I absolutely need either. At least not right now, but I would rather put my money towards equipment. I figure I will start with a few softies. Then move to Lps and probably sps down the road. I would rather buy the right gear now instead of buying coral I'm not able to keep. On jrs aquatica oasis he put a link to a reactor made by cad lighting. I think this will be the one I buy. It comes out the 27th I believe.

 

I have cheato in the middle chamber. Little pieces keep coming off and slowing my return down. The ball itself is smaller than a baseball. Is the cheato really doing anything for me being so small? Ive slowed down to weekly water changes after I got my nitrates below 10ppm. I would like to remove the cheato if it's not really helping. Within the next month I should have reactor if that's the route I end up going. I don't want to remove if it will cause any negative effects on the tank.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I received that ato from avast last week. When i seperated the magnets the outside one ripped right through the plastic. I'll show a picture of what i'm talking about. I emailed them right away,but still have not heard back from them. At first i set it up using just the magnet on the outside, but then i glued it back together. You cant tell at all now,but i feel they should of sent me another outside magnet mount, or at least acknowledged my email to them.

 

I picked up a couple of corals over the weekend too. :D I bought a trumpet coral on Saturday at from one store, and a acan on Sunday from another. I feel i got a good deal on both. one was $25 the other was $29. I really like the acan. The one head on back has different colors than the others.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Nothing has really changed in the last couple of weeks. I still have yet to buy the reactor that I said I would. I think I'm going to hold off for a while longer. I did buy a cuc package from my lfs. I'm going up to my lfs in a few hours. I want more coral, but the girlfriend wants fish. I might get rid of my tomato clown a pair of less aggressive clowns. I'll see what they have. Going to the lfs has become the highlight of my week.

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...

So it's been over 6 months with no updates. I didn't neglect my tank just this forum. From October until January I added nothing. From January until now I've done a fair amount.post-75594-0-16060800-1365596836_thumb.jpg

 

The 34 gallon was not in need of an upgrade, but I want to start keeping some bigger fish than what I can hold in my 34post-75594-0-71133600-1365597207_thumb.jpg

 

I started the upgrade a few months back and am pretty much done. My cycle has been done for almost 2 weeks. My nitrates are around 40 ppm. I could get this tank live in a few day with a few larger water changes, but I need to go buy more salt. post-75594-0-90732900-1365597566_thumb.jpg

 

I've used more salt in the last 2 months that almost the year prior. Lol.

 

Ill also add some of the corals I have bought over the last few months.

 

I bought a dslr camera to take better pictures, but haven't spent any time with it yet and prefer my iPhone still.

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