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First SW Tank (Need pros and cons, and some good constructive suggestions)


livingsea2

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Ok i just started my first 15 gallon saltwater tank. Im very excited and to be honest already addicted. I'm new to the hobby so dont be to harsh. A little about me im 18 and live in FL (right outside of daytona beach). I have a turtle tank with 2 red eared sliders (had for a year now), and have always been fasinated with SW tanks. I was first offered a free 15 gallon eclipse tank, so i took it. After much research i took off the hood and stored it and starting buying dry good for my tank. First i got a Millennium 2000 wet-dry multi-filter that is made up to a 40 gallon tank, also i put in 10 lbs of crushed coral for substrate and a 30 watt heater. Then i added 13 gallons of distilled water (r/o was what i wanted but had no jug to put it in) mixed instant ocean salt correctly and let run overnight, checked salinity next day and was perfect (still is). Then i added 10 lbs of cured live rock (getting 20 lbs more this week) and a Zoomed powersweet 214 (made for tanks of to 30 gallons) i put the power head in the back righthand corner and seems to be working fine. Then i came to lighting and had a bit of an off-track. I purchased a new 20" hood and a 15 watt 50/50 coralife bulb. After to days i brought the coralife back and purchased a 20" Current USA satalitte PC 80 watts (seems to be working great). After a week and one 10% water change i added one Blue Damsel with a yellow tail since my local sw store told me to do so. He is doing good feeding him frozen brine shrimp (in small portions). After reading a bit more i prob. should have held off on the fish, but its a lil late. Anyways, I bought a test kit to check pH, nitrite, nitrate, and a hydrometer and everything seems good so far. Only concern is I havnt had any spikes yet in any field, should that be a concern? Hopefully in about 2 weeks I can add a few snails and a crab or 2, then a week later add a shrimp and small starfish, then a week or two later add a false perc. or 2 false perc, and then finally hopefully a few weeks after that start adding coral. If you have any comments suggestions concerns please comment i would love the help, glad to be a new member and very excited to update you all on my first NANO!

 

sincerely,

DON

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Pics, we need to see pics. Patience, you must have. Happy reefing.

 

 

here we go ill try a few pics, i tried before but would load, sorry.

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Pics, we need to see pics. Patience, you must have. Happy reefing.

 

 

here we go ill try a few pics, i tried before but would load, sorry.

 

here we go ill try a few pics, i tried before but would load, sorry.

 

 

here we go ill try a few pics, i tried before but would load, sorry.

 

 

THERE we go...also these pics have old light not the new usa satallite those will be in next pic installment

 

here we go ill try a few pics, i tried before but would load, sorry.

THERE we go...also these pics have old light not the new usa satallite those will be in next pic installment

 

 

also those pictures dont have my powerhead, that will also be in the updated picture

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Whats the blue thing in your rock-work in pic #1? Next, now you know not to trust the advice of that lfs if they told you to fish-cycle the tank. Ask your questions here, you'll get tons of good advice. So far so good, I'd keep the lr as your centerpiece and use the new rock to surround it. Word of caution, you might be getting "cured" lr but I would make up a bucket of sw, w/a powerhead and put the new rock into it for a week or so just to make sure there is no die-off starting a new cycle and possibly killing off your fish. Just something to think about.

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Whats the blue thing in your rock-work in pic #1? Next, now you know not to trust the advice of that lfs if they told you to fish-cycle the tank. Ask your questions here, you'll get tons of good advice. So far so good, I'd keep the lr as your centerpiece and use the new rock to surround it. Word of caution, you might be getting "cured" lr but I would make up a bucket of sw, w/a powerhead and put the new rock into it for a week or so just to make sure there is no die-off starting a new cycle and possibly killing off your fish. Just something to think about.

 

 

Thanks for the advice, the "blue thing" is my damsel (hope the little guy makes it throught cycle). When you said use my lr in there for the centerpiece and put new around it, what excectly do you mean, dont stack any ontop of what i have? Well thanks alot for the comment.

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Welcome to our obession. Remember, there are worse things to be addicted to.

 

Only concern is I havnt had any spikes yet in any field, should that be a concern?

 

Sorry if you already stated this, but I didn't see it in the post: How long has it been running?

 

Hopefully in about 2 weeks I can add a few snails and a crab or 2, then a week later add a shrimp and small starfish...

 

If things go well.

 

... then a week or two later add a false perc. or 2 false perc

 

Better decide for sure on what you want now. In such a small tank (really in any size tank), if you want 2 percs, you need to add them when they are young, and add them both at the same time.

 

Also, you may run into issues trying to keep three very territorial fish in that tank. Trouble is not a certainty, but you'll have to be prepared to pull out a fish if things get dicey.

 

... and then finally hopefully a few weeks after that start adding coral.

 

Maybe softies. In a tank with 2-3 fish, you are going to have NO3 issues and that is going to wreak havok with many corals.

 

Most people will tell you that you shouldn't be adding corals less than 3-4 months after you start the tank. They say this so that:

 

1) Your tank runs long enough to build up beneficial microorganisms and reduce the likelyhood of a crash

 

2) You have some time to practice topoffs, waterchanges (matching temp and salinity), and feedings

 

You need to develop good mantience habits and that is best done my practicing them for a little while.

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Welcome to our obession. Remember, there are worse things to be addicted to.

Sorry if you already stated this, but I didn't see it in the post: How long has it been running?

If things go well.

Better decide for sure on what you want now. In such a small tank (really in any size tank), if you want 2 percs, you need to add them when they are young, and add them both at the same time.

 

Also, you may run into issues trying to keep three very territorial fish in that tank. Trouble is not a certainty, but you'll have to be prepared to pull out a fish if things get dicey.

Maybe softies. In a tank with 2-3 fish, you are going to have NO3 issues and that is going to wreak havok with many corals.

 

Most people will tell you that you shouldn't be adding corals less than 3-4 months after you start the tank. They say this so that:

 

1) Your tank runs long enough to build up beneficial microorganisms and reduce the likelyhood of a crash

 

2) You have some time to practice topoffs, waterchanges (matching temp and salinity), and feedings

 

You need to develop good mantience habits and that is best done my practicing them for a little while.

 

Thanks for the comment i have had it running for now 1 week 2 days.

 

Yeah i am starting to plan what i want, would you recommend 1 false perc. and one mandarin goby for a tank my size, thats all the fish i would put in. What type of corals do you thing my current usa 80 watt can handle.

 

I want to try and find an anenome and clown together and snatch both, do you recommend doing so?

 

and one more thing, my tank is more deep than long will that be a problem for housing coral?

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Thanks for the comment i have had it running for now 1 week 2 days.

 

If you were going to have a spike of NH3, NO2, or NO3, you probably would have seen it already. Do not take that for an 'all-clear', however. Since you have a fish in there, you should give it another at least couple weeks to fully stabilize. Wait until you see some algae before adding snails.

 

... would you recommend 1 false perc. and one mandarin goby for a tank my size...

 

The ocellaris is fine, but I would not recommend a mandarin for this tank. It is not uncommon for mandarins to eat only live food, generally in the form of copopods and amphipods. Some will take (thawed) frozen food, but it is not common. Generally only a large, very mature (high pod population) tank is a good home for these fish.

 

Some people have had successes with mandarins in small tanks, but those stories are both hard to find and hard to independantly assess as true. They are definatly not a fish for beginners.

 

What type of corals do you thing my current usa 80 watt can handle.

 

Almost anything soft. Zoanthids (not 'true' corals), mushrooms, button polyps, xenia, maybe some leathers, etc...

 

I want to try and find an anenome and clown together and snatch both, do you recommend doing so?

 

While the clown/anemone combination is neat, it is very hard to maintain, especially in a small tank. Anemones need pretty clean water, which will be very difficult to achieve in a new tank with more than one fish. Also, 80W will probably not be enough light for the anemone to thrive, causing it to move around the tank. Once it starts moving, there is a big chance that it will get sucked into an intake and spread toxins throughout the tank.

 

If a clown chooses to host, they will host almost anything: soft corals, hard corals, rock caves, anything. It will be cheaper and eaiser to manage if you begin with soft corals and think about the anemone later (like after a year).

 

and one more thing, my tank is more deep than long will that be a problem for housing coral?

 

Only if you want to keep stony corals, which the 80W won't support anyway.

 

There is much to be said for strategic coral placement: high light reqirement->higher in the tank, low light requirement->lower/shaded areas of the tank.

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If you were going to have a spike of NH3, NO2, or NO3, you probably would have seen it already. Do not take that for an 'all-clear', however. Since you have a fish in there, you should give it another at least couple weeks to fully stabilize. Wait until you see some algae before adding snails.

The ocellaris is fine, but I would not recommend a mandarin for this tank. It is not uncommon for mandarins to eat only live food, generally in the form of copopods and amphipods. Some will take (thawed) frozen food, but it is not common. Generally only a large, very mature (high pod population) tank is a good home for these fish.

 

Some people have had successes with mandarins in small tanks, but those stories are both hard to find and hard to independantly assess as true. They are definatly not a fish for beginners.

Almost anything soft. Zoanthids (not 'true' corals), mushrooms, button polyps, xenia, maybe some leathers, etc...

While the clown/anemone combination is neat, it is very hard to maintain, especially in a small tank. Anemones need pretty clean water, which will be very difficult to achieve in a new tank with more than one fish. Also, 80W will probably not be enough light for the anemone to thrive, causing it to move around the tank. Once it starts moving, there is a big chance that it will get sucked into an intake and spread toxins throughout the tank.

Only if you want to keep stony corals, which the 80W won't support anyway.

 

There is much to be said for strategic coral placement: high light reqirement->higher in the tank, low light requirement->lower/shaded areas of the tank.

 

Thanks again for the comment.

 

Is it common for a new tank to never have a spike, like you said i do plan on waiting it out 2 or 3 more weeks before anything new.

 

I am putting more lr in there this week do you think that may have a big impact on the tank (good or bad), and could the new live rock possily bring along a spike.

 

Yeah i really wanted an anemone to host the clown in but after tons of reading, i think that the xenia looks just as cool for a host.

 

When i go to add corals ill prob. ask a tons more questions on placement and how to release into tank.

 

This message board already has been a big help.

 

Oh also i have a nightlight so i watch what happens at night, and there are several (5 from what i have seen) copepods is that alright, i mean i have read they are great for your tank, but cant find much info on them.

 

Also did you see my other post about my filter, maybe you can help me on that question to.

 

Thanks Again, DON

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Is it common for a new tank to never have a spike...

 

Yes. Most new tanks go like this: NH3 spike->NO2 spike->NO3 spike->Waterchange.

 

I am putting more lr in there this week do you think that may have a big impact on the tank (good or bad), and could the new live rock possily bring along a spike.

 

If it is from an LFS, it depends on how long the rock has been tanked. If it is mail order, it will certainly bring an NH3 spike with it.

 

Yeah i really wanted an anemone to host the clown in but after tons of reading, i think that the xenia looks just as cool for a host.

 

Good choice. Remember that the clown may not choose to host it, if it hosts at all.

 

This message board already has been a big help.

 

Good to hear. I hope we don't let you down.

 

Oh also i have a nightlight so i watch what happens at night, and there are several (5 from what i have seen) copepods is that alright, i mean i have read they are great for your tank, but cant find much info on them.

 

Sounds great. Copopods primarily eat phytoplankton (which your tank probably has none of), but may scrounge tank detritus (decomposing waste/food and bacterial films). Amphipods primarily filter-feed detritus.

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Yes. Most new tanks go like this: NH3 spike->NO2 spike->NO3 spike->Waterchange.

If it is from an LFS, it depends on how long the rock has been tanked. If it is mail order, it will certainly bring an NH3 spike with it.

Good choice. Remember that the clown may not choose to host it, if it hosts at all.

Good to hear. I hope we don't let you down.

Sounds great. Copopods primarily eat phytoplankton (which your tank probably has none of), but may scrounge tank detritus (decomposing waste/food and bacterial films). Amphipods primarily filter-feed detritus.

 

just did a check on levels looks like:

 

nitrate 20

nitrite 0

alk around 160

ph 7.8

salt levels are perfect

 

i have on off those little strip test kits do you think those are ok to check with right now.

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just did a check on levels looks like:

 

nitrate 20

nitrite 0

alk around 160

ph 7.8

salt levels are perfect

 

i have on off those little strip test kits do you think those are ok to check with right now.

 

just went to local fish store and got 3 more pounds of lr very nice looking, put some lr rubble in the filter like suggested

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just did a check on levels looks like:

 

nitrate 20

nitrite 0

alk around 160

ph 7.8

salt levels are perfect

 

i have on off those little strip test kits do you think those are ok to check with right now.

 

Quick dips are fine for now, but I would pick up a wet-chem kit (like Aquarium Pharmaceuticals) eventually. I did notice that there is no ammonia (NH3) listed in your readings. You need to test for that.

 

You pH is really low. Mine started out low as well and gradually worked its way up over several weeks. You really want your pH to be between 8.0-8.4.

 

What is your 'perfect salt level'?

 

just went to local fish store and got 3 more pounds of lr very nice looking, put some lr rubble in the filter like suggested

 

Great. Snap a new pic of your tank if you can.

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Great.

 

Stay patient, do research, and everything'll turn out well.

 

FYI: If you don't want to use up your 'attached pic' quota, you can use a free online image hosting service like photobucket.com.

 

EDIT: Kyle, you said 'cook', did you mean cure?

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Great.

 

Stay patient, do research, and everything'll turn out well.

 

FYI: If you don't want to use up your 'attached pic' quota, you can use a free online image hosting service like photobucket.com.

 

EDIT: Kyle, you said 'cook', did you mean cure?

 

yea im gonna start doing the photobucket thing soon.

 

yea im not gonna get to much more live rock maybe another 10 pounds or so. we'll see in a few days.

 

as you could prob see i got 6 turbo snails and 6 blue leg. hermits, seem to like it alot so far we will see. the first batch of live rock is starting to get brighter by the day, looking at it now its glowing.

 

oh and the rock i got is fully cured it has been curing for months now :)

 

ill keep updating.

 

also can someone please reply to my light question i would greatly appreciate it thank you.

 

DON

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yeah, i call it cooking rock. hahaha!

 

got more live rock today about 5 lbs. looks beautiful cant wait to get my clowns and coral. ill post some pics soon

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