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owen2121

starting new reef tank

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owen2121   

Hi I've just started 20 gallon tank 2 weeks ago and I'm really tight on money at the moment, so I haven't been able to purchase rock or anything for a fish to hide around. Would it be bad to add a clownfish or should I wait to buy and add the rock first?

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Too early  , if it's been 2 weeks with tank running with filters and heat. You need to get a sample bacteria ether from you lps like a water sample from his tanks or buy it too speed things up. Get the sample wait another 2 weeks then buy your clown, over feeding really is what you can't do with a new tank and will cause problems.

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TILTON   

How are you cycling the tank?  

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Welcome to NR. I am so glad you asked before buying a fish. Unfortunately you are not ready for any fish yet. While you are saving up some money you should read some of the threads about how to start a reef tank. Learn all about cycling your tank. The hardest and most valuable lesson in reefing is go slow and ask as many questions as you can BEFORE buying or doing any thing. See if there are any local reef clubs in your area. You can do a google search or tell us where you are and maybe some one will tell a local club they know of. The members here a very nice and many enjoy helping out newbies so after you do some research on the basic's ask question's someone will reply and try to help you out. If you can find a local club ask if any one has any rock for sale. If not consider starting with dry rock it is a lot less expensive. I love reef cleaners dry rock but there are many to choice from. Also tell us more about your tank. Do you have any other equipment yet? Good luck with your tank. 

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owen2121   

added a piece of raw fish and a small amount of ammonia and have been ghost feeding once a day. The ammonia levels seem's to be dropping now. After about 2 weeks.

 

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owen2121   

My tank is the nuvo fusion 20 and I have a 100 watt heater installed in it.

 

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Lula_Mae   

In saltwater, the biological filtration comes primarily from the rock; the rock isn't just there to hold corals or give fish a place to hide.  If budget is a consideration, I would recommend reef savers rock from Bulk Reef Supply or the dry rock offered by Reef Cleaners, as both of these are very clean and unlikely to have organics which will dissolve/decay and cause ammonia spikes and nutrient issues.  Please don't add a fish until your tank is fully cycled (i.e. ammonia and nitrites are 0 and there are nitrates present) as it's very hard on their little fishy bodies.

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TN09   

If you are in the Houston area, I have 10-15lbs of dry rock you can have free of charge.

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Clown79   

Hello and welcome.

 

The reef rocks aren't just for decoration like in freshwater.

 

That rock is either purchased dry and becomes live or is purchased as liverock (wet). 

 

The rock is your biological filter in sw, so without rock and a fully cycled tank, I wouldn't add a fish unless you are doing a fish only tank which is  a whole other method.

 

When you add rock, there's a good chance your tank will go through a cycle again. So until you add rock, I wouldn't add a fish.

 

Your current cycling method of shrimp and food is going to cause nutrient issues in the tank.

 

While saving, I would recommend doing a lot of research. It's the key to this hobby and the best advice anyone can give. Do research and go slow.

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owen2121   

OK so I need rock. Is there a good way to get rid of nitrates? Should I get a refugium?

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cju84   
24 minutes ago, owen2121 said:

OK so I need rock. Is there a good way to get rid of nitrates? Should I get a refugium?

Weekly water changes.

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Lula_Mae   
26 minutes ago, owen2121 said:

OK so I need rock. Is there a good way to get rid of nitrates? Should I get a refugium?

Weekly water changes are the best way.  Macroalgae can help but water changes also replenish trace elements in the water, which is important.

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Welcome! i’m a noob, too but have learned a lot from this site. listen to what people say - especially when you ask. read some tank journals. rock is super important as others have mentioned. you don’t even need sand but you must have rock. i like the caribsea life rock. fake and sprayed with the good bacteria - zero impact on the world's reefs. 

 

i can’t emphasize this enough - listen to what people tell you. there aren’t exceptions. yours won’t be the miracle tank that skips steps and thrives. i speak from experience.

 

stop the raw fish and ghost feeding. take all that water out. get one good size piece of liferock, dr. tim’s (or biospira if you don’t have an lfs) and a bottle of AQUARIUM ammonia - also dr. tim’s. follow the directions and the advice of the people here. everyone wants you to succeed. i’d also rinse out the filters you have in place in the dirty water you take out. then i’d rinse that in distilled. 

 

You've not really cycled anything at all because there aren’t any good bacteria in your tank as there is no live rock for it to live on. And you’ve not introduced it. 

 

So, go to your lfs. get six or seven pounds of CaribSea LifeRock. Bottle of dr tim’s ammonia and tank starter. you’ll be set and that’s about $45 with tax. You can always add more LifeRock as it doesn’t cycle. The poor man's way to get your tank rocked up. ask me how i know. LOL. 

 

 

the following people are the people you should listen to and take to the bank - unless they say some heinous shit about me:

 

@Lula_Mae

@Clown79

@seabass

@WV Reefer

 

these were in no particular order. 

 

 

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Subsea   

I am old school and have collected both live rock & live sand/mud.  I do not agree with the concept that live rock is the best biological filter.  Both macro and sand are good biological filters.  In fact, pound for pound, sand has much more surface area than rock for bacteria colonization.  If economics are an issue,  I suggest you put 1" of fine substrate, then add a pint of sand from an established reef system.  For diversity of micro fauna and fana, I like to use a small amount of uncured diver collected aquacultured rock from Florida.   

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Clown79   

The easiest way to cycle is using liverock. That's all you need. No dosing, no additional products.

 

Here liverock is cheaper than life rock. 

I use the life rock in my established tanks when I added rock. 

 

Buy 7lbs of liverock. Some is very clean, even cured. The cured liverock may not even cause a cycle as it's cured.

 

If it's uncured, the condition can vary.

 

My first tank the liverock was very dirty so I dipped it in saltwater in a bucket and scrubbed the crap off with a new toothbrush. 

 

If it's fairly clean, I just add it to the tank.

 

You don't need sand. Many go bare bottom. It looks very sleek and actually helps prevent nutrient issues. 

 

When adding the rock, I'd either replace 50% of the water with new or all of it. You only need filter floss during cycling and replace it 3 times a week during cycling if using liverock.

 

Test ammonia and nitrates during your cycle, daily.

No waterchanges until cycle is complete.

 

 

Doing waterchanges on a weekly basis is what aids in nutrient export as well as replenishing much needed elements.

 

Having a low bioload is another key to keeping nutrients down.

 

Definitely read ppl' s journals and lots of threads.

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Lula_Mae   
7 hours ago, thespinningsadhu said:

Welcome! i’m a noob, too but have learned a lot from this site. listen to what people say - especially when you ask. read some tank journals. rock is super important as others have mentioned. you don’t even need sand but you must have rock. i like the caribsea life rock. fake and sprayed with the good bacteria - zero impact on the world's reefs. 

 

i can’t emphasize this enough - listen to what people tell you. there aren’t exceptions. yours won’t be the miracle tank that skips steps and thrives. i speak from experience.

 

stop the raw fish and ghost feeding. take all that water out. get one good size piece of liferock, dr. tim’s (or biospira if you don’t have an lfs) and a bottle of AQUARIUM ammonia - also dr. tim’s. follow the directions and the advice of the people here. everyone wants you to succeed. i’d also rinse out the filters you have in place in the dirty water you take out. then i’d rinse that in distilled. 

 

You've not really cycled anything at all because there aren’t any good bacteria in your tank as there is no live rock for it to live on. And you’ve not introduced it. 

 

So, go to your lfs. get six or seven pounds of CaribSea LifeRock. Bottle of dr tim’s ammonia and tank starter. you’ll be set and that’s about $45 with tax. You can always add more LifeRock as it doesn’t cycle. The poor man's way to get your tank rocked up. ask me how i know. LOL. 

 

 

the following people are the people you should listen to and take to the bank - unless they say some heinous shit about me:

 

@Lula_Mae

@Clown79

@seabass

@WV Reefer

 

these were in no particular order. 

 

 

Good words from Jag here.  If he has a sponge in the filter, it may have a little bacterial colonization but definitely not adequate for supporting fish, and will eventually leach nitrates which is why sponges aren't recommended.  (Insert heinous things about @thespinningsadhu ;))

 

1 hour ago, Subsea said:

I am old school and have collected both live rock & live sand/mud.  I do not agree with the concept that live rock is the best biological filter.  Both macro and sand are good biological filters.  In fact, pound for pound, sand has much more surface area than rock for bacteria colonization.  If economics are an issue,  I suggest you put 1" of fine substrate, then add a pint of sand from an established reef system.  For diversity of micro fauna and fana, I like to use a small amount of uncured diver collected aquacultured rock from Florida.   

I don't believe macros do the conversion of ammonia to nitrite to nitrate though, and sand can trap detritus as much as colonizing bacteria.  That's why so many recommend live rock.  Don't want too fine a substrate as I've had that cause issues before.  I was recommending dry rock simply because he mentioned a tight budget, and dry rock is the most budget friendly (I recently got 10 lbs for about $25, can't beat that!). :)

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Subsea   

Macro does not follow the nitrogen cycle as does bacteria.  Macro can directly absorb ammonia, as well as nitrite and nitrate.  These nutrientys are locked up in the biomass of the macro.   Macro is not particular, but prefers ammonia.

 

Lula Mae,

You are correct about the possibility of detritus clogging up the sandbed.  There are always pros and cons to analyze what is best for the individual reefkeeper.  Sandbed maintenance entailing syphoning gravel during water changes is an easy task.  Also, compared to bare bottom tanks, which expose minute amounts of detritus, sandbeds do not.  Also, with proper detrivores, sandbeds produce live foods when snails and worms reproduce with larvae in the bulk water.

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Good morning Owen. Are you confused yet? Ha Ha! I see you added that your in Canada. We have several active members from Canada. Clown79 always gives sound advice. Did you have a chance to read about cycling your tank? 

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Flexin   

Welcome to the forum!  You got here just in time :)  

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owen2121   

ok, i think I'm going to try the liverock and see how it goes. how long do you think it will take before its fish safe?

 

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Flexin   

This will sound like the most insensitive reply, when it's done, but it's true :).  In general 30 days, but there are many factors.  You can test daily to track and it's done once you have no more spikes in parameters (ammonia,  nitrites and nitrates).  Here was a nice discussion on this topic, with different schools of thought.  Some chase the cycle by testing often and trying to determine where they are.  For me this was the hard part, waiting.  I'm getting better :)

 

 

 

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