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todd2000

Soo I did it...just bought a 36G Bowfront. Questions.

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todd2000

Well I'm jumping back in, have been out of the hobby for almost 10 years. Petsmart had a good deal on a 36 Bowfront, and stand for $199. Thinking of going with a Mars Aqua 165 and "the package" from TBS. Other then that not really sure what my plans are. Trying to be lower budget if possible.

So I guess here are my first questions...

1. Do you think the 165 Mars Aqua would be good for this tank? It's 15 W x 29 L x 21 H. Also how high above the tank do you think I should mount it? Probably gonna be mostly Softies and some LPS. Never got into SPS but might if the light would be enough.

2. How much Live Rock do you think? Anyone have a 36 bowfront? How much do you have, got pics?

3. I see now that nitrates and phosphates aren't as bad as we used to think (to an extent I assume.) How does that change recomendations on skimmers refugiums etc..? Do you think I would be good with maybe a modded aquaclear 110 HOB refugium and no skimmer? Planning on maybe 4-5 fish right now.

I'm sure I'll have other questions, will update as I think of them. 

 

Here is a pic of the tank, the fish look a little lethargic! 🤣

 

IMG_5930.jpeg

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Thrassian Atoll

I would definitely recommend drilling it and adding a sump.  I don’t know if the back of that is tempered though.

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todd2000
2 hours ago, Thrassian Atoll said:

I would definitely recommend drilling it and adding a sump.  I don’t know if the back of that is tempered though.

Bit more then I'm trying to get into. Nowhere to put it really anyway...

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Tired

Tampa Bay is an amazing way to start out. You'll get so much good stuff on there. 

 

Yes, you want nitrates and phosphates. How much depends on exactly what you want to keep, and how much they tend to take up. A skimmer may or may not be needed, depending on how much you feed and how often you change water, but plenty of tanks do great without them. A HOB fuge is a good idea, that'll produce some pods for the tank. 

 

Any idea what fish you want? I highly recommend a shrimpgoby and pistol shrimp combo. I'd also suggest trying some decorative macroalgae- there are a nice assortment of non-invasive ones that you can try for, and a small amount shouldn't change the care for the tank any. Halimeda and codium are some fairly well-behaved ones.

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todd2000
1 minute ago, Tired said:

Tampa Bay is an amazing way to start out. You'll get so much good stuff on there. 

 

Yes, you want nitrates and phosphates. How much depends on exactly what you want to keep, and how much they tend to take up. A skimmer may or may not be needed, depending on how much you feed and how often you change water, but plenty of tanks do great without them. A HOB fuge is a good idea, that'll produce some pods for the tank. 

 

Any idea what fish you want? I highly recommend a shrimpgoby and pistol shrimp combo.

Yeah TBS is a bit pricey, and the pickup process seems a bit complicated, but I think it's worth it. 

 

Is there a site with more info on the nitrates and phosphates? Guess I can start out with maybe a HOB fuge and some cheato, and add a skimmer if I feel like it would help.

 

Want to get a pair of Percs, and maybe a Starki Damsel, but not sure. And maybe another smaller fish or two. Had a Tiger Pistol and Yellow Watchman pair in my old 55. Loved them, but he never stopped digging, tank stayed cloudy! Lol

 

 

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Clown79

That light is plenty light for a 36g. Height wise, try holding it up to see where the light spreads over the tank.

 

Most likely somewhere between 12-15"

 

Liverock 27- 30lbs is good.

 

A great hang on filter is the seachem tidals. Honestly an amazing hob with a silent sicce pump and surface skimmer.

 

By far my fav hob out of all i have ever used in 20yrs. 

 

People run reefs with no filter and are successful, same with no skimmer. 

 

As for phos and nitrates, every system is different and both will change as the tank matures, depending on how many fish/coral you have, etc etc.

 

 

 

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Tired

Tampa Bay is an amazing way to start out. You'll get so much good stuff on there. 

 

You definitely want nitrates and phosphates. How much depends on exactly what you want to keep, and how much the tank can use up. 5-10 nitrates is a good start, and phosphate... I don't think high phosphate directly harms corals, as long as the numbers aren't absurd. It can just fuel algae. Basically just make sure you have some of both, and see how things go. If corals seem upset, a water change might be a good idea. If they look OK but aren't growing, or are very slowly getting poorly, you might need more nutrients. You should feed them directly, all the ones that will eat it- they like that.

You'll see an algae bloom at the start. That's perfectly fine- let it bloom. Add your cleanup crew, and pull any big clumps of algae by hand. Keep your sessile life (seaweed, sponges, whatever else comes on the rock) clean of the algae by hand, and let biodiversity and snails sort it out. You'll see the algae fade down to reasonable levels on its own, as long as you keep nutrient levels UP. If you keep nutrients too low, the hardy pest algaes overrun the non-pest algaes. You want a lot of non-pest algae species doing well and growing, to keep the pest algae in constant competition.

 

A skimmer may or may not be needed, depending on how much you feed and how often you change water, but plenty of tanks do great without them. A HOB fuge is a good idea, that'll produce some pods for the tank, but be careful the chaeto doesn't suck up all the nutrients at first.

 

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todd2000
3 hours ago, Clown79 said:

That light is plenty light for a 36g. Height wise, try holding it up to see where the light spreads over the tank.

 

Most likely somewhere between 12-15"

 

Liverock 27- 30lbs is good.

 

A great hang on filter is the seachem tidals. Honestly an amazing hob with a silent sicce pump and surface skimmer.

 

By far my fav hob out of all i have ever used in 20yrs. 

 

People run reefs with no filter and are successful, same with no skimmer. 

 

As for phos and nitrates, every system is different and both will change as the tank matures, depending on how many fish/coral you have, etc etc.

 

 

 

Yeah I was figuring maybe 12" for the light.

 

30Lb seems a bit light on the live rock no? Guess it depends on how dense the rock from TBS is....

 

Do more people run mechanical filters now? I know 10 years ago people mostly used them just to run carbon, chemi-pure, phosguard etc... Didn't realize Seachem made filters. I've always used Bio-Wheel in my freshwater days, and AquaClears for SW running media etc...

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Tired

30lbs would be light if it was your total rock amount, though doable. Some people like to go lighter on the rock for scaping reasons. 

 

I say, get 30lbs live rock, and see how it looks. If you want more rock, for whatever reason, add dry rock. With the stuff you get on that live, you'll be able to turn dry rock into live pretty easily. 

 

Some people run mechanical filters, some don't. Those who do usually just use it to run various things, yeah. You could always just put carbon in your 'fuge temporarily, if something gets into the tank. A filter won't hurtbut you may find that you run it with nothing but floss, and maybe not even that, depending on your nutrient levels. 

 

Your stock sounds good. You could always get a slightly smaller goby and a candycane pistol, they'll make less of a mess. Firefish are underappreciated, but pretty, they might be worth looking at. Possum wrasses are charming little guys. You could get one of those pygmy filefish, too- adorable. Not colorful, but the shapes are good. 

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todd2000
40 minutes ago, Tired said:

30lbs would be light if it was your total rock amount, though doable. Some people like to go lighter on the rock for scaping reasons. 

 

I say, get 30lbs live rock, and see how it looks. If you want more rock, for whatever reason, add dry rock. With the stuff you get on that live, you'll be able to turn dry rock into live pretty easily. 

 

Your stock sounds good. You could always get a slightly smaller goby and a candycane pistol, they'll make less of a mess. Firefish are underappreciated, but pretty, they might be worth looking at. Possum wrasses are charming little guys. You could get one of those pygmy filefish, too- adorable. Not colorful, but the shapes are good. 

Thanks for the replies...

 

Yeah I was figuring closer to maybe 50+Lbs for the live rock. Dry rock isn't a bad idea, but It would bother me that all the rock didn't match. lol I know it would in time, but it would take a while...

 

I might try another shrimp/goby pair, I like the candy cane. Not crazy about the possum wrase. The filefish is kinda cute lol. Firefish is a good idea, but I'de probably have to cover the tank somehow...

 

 

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Tamberav

You use as much rock as asthetically pleasing to your eye. There is no rule anymore for how much rock.

 

I am personally a big fan of KPS rock as it is more pourous and lighter but Tampa has more hitchikers. 

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Tired

Honestly, I'd say you should cover the tank no matter what you keep. All fish (with a few clumsy exceptions, like seahorses) can jump when startled, and it's a real shame to lose fish to an unpleasant death for lack of a lid. 

 

I love filefish. They sort of drift around the tank, pondering everything. I don't have space for one (4.5gal tank) or I'd get one in a heartbeat. I think one species will even eat aiptasia, though obviously that one (and possibly some others?) can be a bit iffy with some corals for the same reason. Still, worth looking into. 

Cardinalfish are nice. Threadfin cardinals are shoalers, a small group of them could be worth a try. 

 

As to the rock, I'd say that there is a rule, and that rule is "nothing absurd". You'd have trouble if you just had a single baseball-sized rock, for example, same as you would if 90% of the tank's volume was filled with rock. As long as the amount isn't laughably odd, though, you should be able to work with it. You want plenty of flow so you don't have dead zones, and you want biological filtration. 1-2lbs per gallon is the rule I know I've seen, and it definitely doesn't need to be hard-and-fast, but it's a decent approximation.

You could always bury some dry rock under the live, where it would be mostly invisible. Or order a bit more live rock, and if you turn out to have more than you need, you could probably rehome it. Stick it in a bucket with some water movement and see if anyone in your area wants it, or keep it on your sandbed until it finds a home.

 

My one major recommendation with the live rock is: bottle traps. Look up how to make 'em, they're simple. Be sure to poke plenty of ventilation holes. Pop some food in those, then put them in the tank, scattered around, when you've added the rock. Keep them in (replacing the bait) for a few days to a week. If there are any crabs in there, they'll go in the traps, and you can take crab inventory to remove the potentially troublesome ones. A hang-on mesh breeder box, like freshwater fish people use to contain fry, might be a good buy to put any helpful crabs in temporarily so they don't get caught in the traps again. 

Also, get a flashlight that you can put something red over, so you have a red flashlight. Sneak up on the tank at night. Not just to check for pests, those are relatively rare beyond the occasional "oh, better take out this baby crab". Mostly to look at all the cool stuff on your rock. I have two, possibly three species of chiton in my tank, and I really only ever see them at night, except the one that doesn't realize its sleeping spot behind a rock is on the tank glass. 

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Clown79
9 hours ago, todd2000 said:

Yeah I was figuring maybe 12" for the light.

 

30Lb seems a bit light on the live rock no? Guess it depends on how dense the rock from TBS is....

 

Do more people run mechanical filters now? I know 10 years ago people mostly used them just to run carbon, chemi-pure, phosguard etc... Didn't realize Seachem made filters. I've always used Bio-Wheel in my freshwater days, and AquaClears for SW running media etc...

The old 1-2 lbs per galllon of rock really isn't used anymore. So 30lbs is good.

 

Lots of people run hob. Most of us use floss and carbon in sumps, hobs, or aio.

There are people that use no filtration.

Other media generally used if necessary.

 

Ya the Seachem filter is awesome. Far superior build and runs better too.

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todd2000
11 hours ago, Tamberav said:

You use as much rock as asthetically pleasing to your eye. There is no rule anymore for how much rock.

 

I am personally a big fan of KPS rock as it is more pourous and lighter but Tampa has more hitchikers. 

I assume you're referring to Kpaquatics? I might go that route simply to avoid the hassle of having to pick it up at the airport. 

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Tired

Yeah, avoiding public areas as much as possible is probably a good idea about now. And that option doesn't involve you having to carry a heavy box. I think KP might have an option to ship the rock in water? May be worth looking into, as that would preserve the majority of the hitchhikers and get you some really nice stuff.

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Tamberav
31 minutes ago, todd2000 said:

I assume you're referring to Kpaquatics? I might go that route simply to avoid the hassle of having to pick it up at the airport. 

Yes 🙂 I cycled mine in a plastic bin and did a lot of water changes as it will have die off. Really happy with it though.

 

17 minutes ago, Tired said:

Yeah, avoiding public areas as much as possible is probably a good idea about now. And that option doesn't involve you having to carry a heavy box. I think KP might have an option to ship the rock in water? May be worth looking into, as that would preserve the majority of the hitchhikers and get you some really nice stuff.

I think they do but pretty sure it still goes to the airport that way. 

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todd2000
22 minutes ago, Tired said:

Yeah, avoiding public areas as much as possible is probably a good idea about now. And that option doesn't involve you having to carry a heavy box. I think KP might have an option to ship the rock in water? May be worth looking into, as that would preserve the majority of the hitchhikers and get you some really nice stuff.

They do have the option to ship in water, but that also ships via air freight.

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todd2000

Well got the light today! Built a stand for it, just have to paint the PVC black and attach it to the stand.

IMG_6084.jpeg

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mcarroll
On 7/31/2020 at 2:20 PM, todd2000 said:

Do you think the 165 Mars Aqua would be good for this tank?

Maybe just fine – bow front tanks are notoriously hard to light "perfectly"....but what is your budget for a light?

 

On 7/31/2020 at 2:20 PM, todd2000 said:

How much Live Rock do you think?

≤1 pound per gallon...your tank should look about 1/3 full.  Any more than that and you run out of space for corals to grow and fish to swim....more also tends to look like a "wall of rock", so there isn't much design you can do.  A pound per gallon (or less) usually works.

 

On 7/31/2020 at 2:20 PM, todd2000 said:

maybe a modded aquaclear 110 HOB refugium and no skimmer?

I'd play it the other way and get a skimmer without extra filtration, or consider both.   An even better option is a Tunze Reefpack 250...Skimmer, filter, plus hiding spots for your heater and ATO sensors.  Plus it looks NICE.  I.e. Unobtrusive.

 

On 7/31/2020 at 2:20 PM, todd2000 said:

Planning on maybe 4-5 fish right now.

Unless those are REALLY small fish, that sounds like a lot for such a small tank.   Work your way up to that number one at a time and leave at least a month or two between fish so they can settle and you can get used to the tank with the new bio-load.  CUC may need adjusting, etc.  Do everything in small increments.

 

On 7/31/2020 at 6:52 PM, todd2000 said:

Yeah TBS is a bit pricey, and the pickup process seems a bit complicated, but I think it's worth it.

Live rock is better than dead/dry rock almost no matter where it comes from.  👍

 

You don't know what expensive is until you try to deal with some of the side-effects people get from using dead rock....it adds up in more than just dollars and cents after a while.

 

On 7/31/2020 at 6:52 PM, todd2000 said:

Is there a site with more info on the nitrates and phosphates?

I have a bunch of related academic articles saved on my blog's Coral section, with my reef-related comments and links to the original material.  I really recommend reading as many of them as you can.  Drop a comment or post a question if you do!  🙂 

 

There are a bunch of really great articles on the topic, but the following one might be the single best article on the topic of phosphates.  It even come with a great picture.

 

Phosphate deficiency promotes coral bleaching and is reflected by the ultrastructure of symbiotic dinoflagellates

 

image.png.5915effa922a349d3c676b38029799e4.png

 

On 7/31/2020 at 6:52 PM, todd2000 said:

Guess I can start out with maybe a HOB fuge and some cheato

Starting you tank off competing with algae is actually a bad idea.  Add a refugium on later if you REALLY need it....or use the refigium for a purpose other than nutrient removal.  Chaeto refugiums are a played out meme at this point.  IMO at least.  Most tanks don't need 'em, they rarely if ever do what they're intended to do...plus, lots of other good uses for a fuge seem largely forgotten.

 

On 7/31/2020 at 6:52 PM, todd2000 said:

Want to get a pair of Percs, and maybe a Starki Damsel, but not sure. And maybe another smaller fish or two. Had a Tiger Pistol and Yellow Watchman pair in my old 55. Loved them, but he never stopped digging, tank stayed cloudy! Lol

I think you'd be asking for trouble having all those fish in such a small tank.  Again, go one at a time and work your way up SLOWLY to that final number.

 

On 8/1/2020 at 1:55 AM, todd2000 said:

Yeah I was figuring closer to maybe 50+Lbs for the live rock.

Have a buddy ready to take up to half of that if you order that much.  Or be ready to start two tanks.  👍

 

On 8/1/2020 at 1:44 PM, todd2000 said:

I assume you're referring to Kpaquatics? I might go that route simply to avoid the hassle of having to pick it up at the airport. 

You get the best (ie. most live) rock picking it up from the airport.  It minimizes shipping (aka dying) time.  TBS is actually shipped in water like a coral or fish.

 

 

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mcarroll

Phosphate and the Reef Aquarium by Randy Holmes-Farley from 2006 is a great general, technical article on phosphates in the reef tank.  

 

However..

 

The one point that gets repeated a lot in the article (and most other hobby articles that touch on phosphates) that is mostly not correct for our purposes is the part about phosphates inhibiting coral growth.  

 

It has since been proven that corals control skeleton secretion biogenically and that it is NOT dependent on the surrounding seawater chemistry.  (Check out:  Biological control of aragonite formation in stony corals from 2017).  

 

Still read that material out of curiosity (the chemistry in the article is actually sound....corals are playing a trick to get around "what the books say", which is yet another reason corals are so COOL), but ultimately disregard the opening paragraphs of the article and the Calcification Inhibition by Phosphate section....as well as all the worries for your corals that the article seems to engender.  Phosphates are not evil and do not make bad things happen.  👍

 

IF YOU CAN DO THAT, the rest of the article is more or less gold.  Randy is literally an Expert on phosphate chemistry.  (His area of expertise doesn't happen to be with stony corals though – it's with humans.)

 

The rest of the nutrient dynamics that control coral health and coral community health have also become better understood over the years.  For one thing, herbivores, as it turns out, play a much larger role in maintaining healthy coral ecosystems than we had previously thought...in some pretty surprising ways too.  

 

Nutrients play a role, of course, but not so much in the ways we'd been taught....and the ways they do play a role in the wild are much different than in our tanks.  Big surprise!  Too complicated to explain here what was going on in the misunderstanding, but you'll see a lot of articles on this topic in the Corals section on my blog that I linked earlier which address it very well – LOTS of research happened throughout the 2000's, 1990's and even before....here's one that zeroes in on the modern perspective on how nutrients DO figure in to ailing coral reefs:  Global microbialization of coral reefs from 2016

 

Ironically it might've taken "the rise dead rock and carbon dosing" (and the resultant plague of dino blooms the hobby has had since those came onto the scene) for us to learn the lessons about nutrients within the hobby.  I never subscribed to the ULNS hypothesis, thankfully, but I never really understood any of the nitrates/phosphates stuff until I started researching "pest" dino's....which happened after my tank had a bloom of an unidentifiable algae that "the internet" thought might be dino's.

 

It turned out that I never had dino's (think it was chrysophytes) but that course of research changed reefing forever....for me at least.  It ultimately culminated in this amazing thread I started back in 2017:  Dinoflagellates – Are You Tired Of Battling Altogether?  It attracted an amazing set of participants that helped me build the thread into something more than just an interesting post and it has since helped many, many folks (way too many – approaching 10,000 posts!) through their dino blooms with solid, science-based and experience-tested advice.

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todd2000
5 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Maybe just fine – bow front tanks are notoriously hard to light "perfectly"....but what is your budget for a light?

Well I got the light and built a stand for it, so we'll see how it works...

5 hours ago, mcarroll said:

≤1 pound per gallon...your tank should look about 1/3 full.  Any more than that and you run out of space for corals to grow and fish to swim....more also tends to look like a "wall of rock", so there isn't much design you can do.  A pound per gallon (or less) usually works.

Yeah, I guess I'ml leaning toward 30-35lbs, before I got out the general opinion was the more LR the better. lol Can always add more if I feel like I want it.

5 hours ago, mcarroll said:

I'd play it the other way and get a skimmer without extra filtration, or consider both.   An even better option is a Tunze Reefpack 250...Skimmer, filter, plus hiding spots for your heater and ATO sensors.  Plus it looks NICE.  I.e. Unobtrusive.

Yeah, I was thinking about a skimmer and no fuge, and maybe a HOB filter just to run floss, or media if I wanted to. The Reefpack looks nice, was also looking at Aquamax.

5 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Unless those are REALLY small fish, that sounds like a lot for such a small tank.   Work your way up to that number one at a time and leave at least a month or two between fish so they can settle and you can get used to the tank with the new bio-load.  CUC may need adjusting, etc.  Do everything in small increments.

Yeah, I'm not gonna thrown them all in at once 🙂 Not even sure how many I'll actually get, just brainstorming. 

5 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Starting you tank off competing with algae is actually a bad idea.  Add a refugium on later if you REALLY need it....or use the refigium for a purpose other than nutrient removal.  Chaeto refugiums are a played out meme at this point.  IMO at least.  Most tanks don't need 'em, they rarely if ever do what they're intended to do...plus, lots of other good uses for a fuge seem largely forgotten.

Yeah, cheato was all the rage 10+ years ago, but now I guess not as much since the new knowledge about nutrients etc.... 

5 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Have a buddy ready to take up to half of that if you order that much.  Or be ready to start two tanks.

Two tanks would be nice lol. But I think you've all convinced me to go lower on the live rock 🙂

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mcarroll

Over-ordering isn't the worst idea for live rock since you'll get a wider selection of shapes, as long as you have an outlet for the extra.

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mcarroll
10 hours ago, todd2000 said:

Yeah, cheato was all the rage 10+ years ago, but now I guess not as much since the new knowledge about nutrients etc.... 

There are some folks (not many) who product literally bales and bales of chaetorpha with their tanks (the store I worked at gave store credit for it) but the folks who do don't generally seem to elaborate on how they do it or why it's really necessary to generate so much in the first place....or if it was just a good way to get store credit.  (And I wasn't thinking so in-depth about it back then either or I'd have asked.)  🤷‍♂️

 

Most folks either seem to have it whither away in their tank OR have it throw off the development of the display tank because it can monopolize the meager quantity of dissolved nutrients.  

 

I'm sure it can still be useful in some circumstances...the important "trend" to avoid is starting the tank with it.

 

So my advice is usually just to wait until you know you need it.

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Tired

Yep, definitely no harm in getting a few extra pounds. If you have a bucket you can put a pump in for circulation, are willing to do some water changes on it, and can expect to rehome it in the semi-near future, that may be a good plan. 

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todd2000
3 hours ago, mcarroll said:

There are some folks (not many) who product literally bales and bales of chaetorpha with their tanks (the store I worked at gave store credit for it) but the folks who do don't generally seem to elaborate on how they do it or why it's really necessary to generate so much in the first place....or if it was just a good way to get store credit.  (And I wasn't thinking so in-depth about it back then either or I'd have asked.)  🤷‍♂️

 

Most folks either seem to have it whither away in their tank OR have it throw off the development of the display tank because it can monopolize the meager quantity of dissolved nutrients.  

 

I'm sure it can still be useful in some circumstances...the important "trend" to avoid is starting the tank with it.

 

So my advice is usually just to wait until you know you need it.

Yeah, I guess I have to get out of the old habits lol. Maybe just start with a skimmer and maybe HOB filter incase I want to run some media/filter floss or something....

3 hours ago, Tired said:

Yep, definitely no harm in getting a few extra pounds. If you have a bucket you can put a pump in for circulation, are willing to do some water changes on it, and can expect to rehome it in the semi-near future, that may be a good plan. 

Well I emailed KP and they sent me a pic of what 30Lbs looks like, and it seems like it would be enough. Maybe I'll order an extra 5Lbs or so lol...

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