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boxster1990

First Reef - Fluval 13.5 - Shopping List / Timeline

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boxster1990

Hi Everyone!  Really excited to join the community here and hoping that you all will have the patience for me as I am totally new to stewarding an aquatic ecosystem in my apartment!

 

First things first, I'm based out of New York City, and have access to a pretty great LFS.  They managed to pique my interest in the hobby by showing me a fully stabilized tank with CUC, two clowns (NOID), and a host of different coral species.  They were selling this tank for $600 which, after doing all my subsequent research, seems like a pretty decent value - but I decided to learn everything myself, start from scratch, and take things slow.  If there's one thing I've gathered from reading the forum so far, it's that patience is key.

 

What I'd really love your help with is the following:

 

A ) Peek at my shopping list (let me know if you have any suggested adds/swaps/removals)

C ) Let me know if you think my "plan" below makes sense

 

Shopping List

 

Infrastructure

1. RO/DI System: AquaFX Barracuda RO/DI Aquarium Filter

2. Tank: Fluval 13.5 Gallon SEA EVO XII

3. Nano Circulation Pump: Hydor Koralia Nano - 240 gph

4. Heater: Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm 50W Aquarium Heater

5. Media Basket: inTank - Chamber One Basket

6. 5-Gallon Pail: Leaktite - I like this one because it is clear with measuring lines

7. 6 Outlet Surge Protector Strip (generic)

 

Tank Supplies for Set Up and Cycling

1. Live Sand: CaribSea Arag-Alive 20 Pound Fiji Pink Sand

2. Ready to Use Base Rock: Carib Sea South Sea Base Rock (Got 2 x 10lb bags for choices when aquascaping)

3. Salt: Red Sea Coral Pro Salt, 55-Gallon Pail

4. Bacteria Supplement: Instant Ocean BIO-Spira

5. Food to Feed Tank: New Life Spectrum Thera A Regular Formula

 

Testing and Filtration Media

1. TDS Meter: UBANTE TDS, EC and Temperature Meter

2. Digital Refractometer: Milwaukee MA887

3. Saltwater Parameter Test Kit: API Saltwater Master Test Kit

4. Reef Parameter Test Kit: API Reef Master Test Kit

5. Initial Filtration Media for top compartment of Media Basket (Reticulated Foam): AQUANEAT Reticulated Open Cell Foam Sponge

6. Chemical Filtration Media for middle compartment of Media Basket: Seachem Purigen for Freshwater and Saltwater

7. Biological Filtration Media for bottom compartment of Media Basket: CerMedia Marine Pure 1.5 -inch Bio Filter Media Spheres

 

Other Accessories

1. Aquarium Silicone

2. Pump Siphon Cleaner

3. Fish Net

 

 

Action Plan

1. Set up tank with mods (what do you recommend I put in the second chamber if the water is flowing through chamber one? Do I need the protein skimmer?)

2. Add rocks (not live, don't require curing), then sand, then mix water and add bio-spira

3. Wait for tank develop nitrogen cycle, testing and feeding as necessary, wait for appropriate parameters before adding CUC

 

Questions

1. What can go wrong during this initial set up/cycling stage? What should I be on the lookout for?

2. Is the filter that I've contemplated above going to complicate the cycling process? Will the chemical filtration interfere with the bacteria that are trying to establish?

3. How long should I expect the cycling to take before I can add CUC?

 

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING - sorry I know this is a long post...

 

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Clown79

The equipment looks fine.

 

I'd consider getting a gfci adapter to plug the power bar into.

 

I'd only buy the Api kits for cycling: Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.

When you get to testing alk, ca, phos go with salifert.

 

Media for basket: filter floss (buy it in bulk, cut to size, replace 2 times a week- more during cycling)

 

No other media used during cycling. After you can add purigen and carbon.

 

You don't need the bio media, that's what the rock is for.

 

As for your cycling process. If it's dry rock, you need an ammonia source to start the cycle. Most dose pure ammonia. Using food is adding unnecessary waste, which leads to higher nutrients and more algae.

 

The ammonia method is a clean method.

 

Liverock that has been in tanks, established with life on it is cured rock. This doesn't need cycling but dry rocks and dirty liverock with die off does.

 

You don't need the skimmer.

No lights on during cycling. No cuc or anything else live until the tank has cycled.

 

Process:

 

Leak test tank 24-72hrs is good.

 

Make salt water

Wash sand

 

Place tank on stand. Check it's level.

 

Add rocks first, it's more stable(i like eggcrate under my rocks so  there is no pressure points on glass)

Add sand

Place equipment in place

Add water

Check salinity

Turn heater and powerhead on

 

Ensure tanks is still level once full.

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boxster1990
13 hours ago, Clown79 said:

The equipment looks fine.

 

I'd consider getting a gfci adapter to plug the power bar into.

 

I'd only buy the Api kits for cycling: Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.

When you get to testing alk, ca, phos go with salifert.

 

Media for basket: filter floss (buy it in bulk, cut to size, replace 2 times a week- more during cycling)

 

No other media used during cycling. After you can add purigen and carbon.

 

You don't need the bio media, that's what the rock is for.

 

As for your cycling process. If it's dry rock, you need an ammonia source to start the cycle. Most dose pure ammonia. Using food is adding unnecessary waste, which leads to higher nutrients and more algae.

 

The ammonia method is a clean method.

 

Liverock that has been in tanks, established with life on it is cured rock. This doesn't need cycling but dry rocks and dirty liverock with die off does.

 

You don't need the skimmer.

No lights on during cycling. No cuc or anything else live until the tank has cycled.

 

Process:

 

Leak test tank 24-72hrs is good.

 

Make salt water

Wash sand

 

Place tank on stand. Check it's level.

 

Add rocks first, it's more stable(i like eggcrate under my rocks so  there is no pressure points on glass)

Add sand

Place equipment in place

Add water

Check salinity

Turn heater and powerhead on

 

Ensure tanks is still level once full.

Thanks Clown79!

 

Re: your advice to wash the sand, would this apply even if it's bagged live sand? If so, what is the process for washing? Do so in RODI water, siphon off the water, and then put in tank?

 

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Clown79
2 hours ago, boxster1990 said:

Thanks Clown79!

 

Re: your advice to wash the sand, would this apply even if it's bagged live sand? If so, what is the process for washing? Do so in RODI water, siphon off the water, and then put in tank?

 

People recommend any sand be washed prior to using to remove silt.

 

I myself did not wash my livesand.

 

You wash sand with tap water until it runs clear then final rinse in rodi.

 

Place in tank.

 

I washed mine in a bucket.

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