Hello and request for tips in setting up new tank - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 21 Old 05-10-2008, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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In the short time you took to reply, I manage to read a few more articles. Proponents of DSB state that the reason why many DSB fail is because of insufficient depth to regulate oxygen flow and thats where the scientific mumbo jumbo kinda lost me. Pasfur, in your experience, is that the case?

With a DSB, is it still necessary to stick to the 1 pound per gallon rule for live rock? Is it also ok for all 4 inches to be 'sugar sand' or is a mix of varying courseness preferred?

Finally, I've read about 'cooking' live rock. Is that necessary for new rocks in a new tank?

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post #12 of 21 Old 05-10-2008, 08:52 PM
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I prefer the standard aragonite mix that you will find at almost every marine LFS across the country. "Live sand" is not necessary, and almost anyone on the inside of the hobby will tell you the truth about live sand in a bag... it is really nothing more than aragonite sand with a bacteria culture added. The only REAL benefit to live sand is that it comes prewashed and will not cloud the tank, making it excellent for adding to an existing setup.

Yes, depth is the issue i was referring to. You need 4 inches to have the proper oxygen levels (low) that result in nitrate reduction. Basically, nitrate becomes nitrogen gas and leaves the system naturally.

Cooking? The live rock will have a period of dye off as it adjusts to your tank. Google "curing" live rock. The longer the rock has been in your LFS, the less curing time. As a rule.
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post #13 of 21 Old 05-10-2008, 09:18 PM
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I forgot your live rock question...

One of the funniest long standing myth's in this hobby is the 1 pound per gallon of water rule. Rock from different areas has a different density. The same size rock from Fiji might weigh 1/2 that of a rock from another area. You can't judge by weight.

For example, my 37 gallon aquarium only has 15 lbs of live rock. It is very porus rock and extremely light weight for its size. It is perfect rock by all accounts and 15 lbs is more than enough for my personal tastes.

Keep in mind, this aquarium is yours. Who cares what other people thinks looks nice. Set up the aquarium in a way that is visually appealing to you. So long as you have enough rock to form a basic structure of overhangs and passageways for fish to hide and feel secure, then you will be fine.

All of this advice assumes you have the basic setup correct. 4'' Sand, live rock, protein skimmer, activated carbon, and lots of water movement.
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post #14 of 21 Old 05-10-2008, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Just went around my LFS, and am stunned by the vast array of reef suplements. Is there any supplements I should be adding to my tank for FO setup? Or will 4'' sand, live rock, protein skimmer, activated carbon, lots of water movement and 30% water changes be enough?
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post #15 of 21 Old 05-11-2008, 12:20 AM
Well, if you have Live rock, you are going down a FOWLR road. A lot better than FO IMO.

As for the supplements, I dont know what could work, or would work in a FO/FOWLR. I know many reef supplements, but that will most likely wouldn't make a difference. Pasfur should know this one. :)
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post #16 of 21 Old 05-11-2008, 03:24 AM Thread Starter
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For a DSB, do I have to use aragonite? The cost is pretty steep if I have to do 4 inches of it. Also, I'm sure there are cons to DSB as well, and I would like to hear them.

Alright, tentatively for now, I going with a DSB of 4 inches (hopefully I dont have to use aragonite) with live rock and a small population of fish and cleanup crew. Water will flow into the overflow compartment over filter pads that will be changed daily. Since no more biomedia is required, I will place the activated carbon, UV and skimmer in the overflow compartment as well. Water is drawn out from the overflow compartment by a canister filter and expelled back into main tank. Depending on my final rock arrangementt, I'll get enough powerheads to ensure sufficicient current. Lighting will be generic blue tubes.

Sounds fine?

Question. I do not have a sump, which means I am unable to utilize a large skimmer. Some of the ones I saw at the LFS just now were huge! Do i really have to use one of those, or is a air bubble operated skimmer sufficient?

And I would like to know more about dosing supplements for FOWLR tanks as well

Many thanks in advance
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post #17 of 21 Old 05-11-2008, 07:40 AM
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I can't picture how your aquarium will function. How do you intend to account for evaporation? It sounds like your canister filter will run dry. If you have an overflow, you are going to need a sump. The sump does not have to be expensive.... you could even use a large plastic storage container.

There is no need for supplements for a FOWLR setup. You will need to monitor alkalinity and add a buffer as needed. I add buffer weekly.

I am still hung up on the overflow issue. Have you ever seen an aquarium operating with an overflow? What do you mean by placing the UV and skimmer in the overflow? I'm just lost. It almost sounds like you are using the word "overflow" to mean something different than i am. You do realize that the overflow will be dry, right? There will be only an inch or so of water in the bottom, depending on the exact plumbing.

Your lighting will be 1 blue and 1 white full spectrum. Blue lights shine blue / dark.

There are a great many varieties of skimmers that hang on the back of the aquarium. A sump is not required to have a quality skimmer. (Although you will need a sump for other reasons.) The skimmer, without question, is the single most important piece of equipment you will buy. The life of your aquarium will depend on its quality. All skimmers are "bubble" skimmers. It is simply a question of how the bubbles are created. Some hang on skimmers use a venturi, while others use an air pump. The venturi models are generally more efficient and popular today. The more efficient your skimmer, the less water changes you will need to keep Nitrates low and the less buffer you will add to stabilize alkalinity. The skimmer will literally pay for itself by saving you money on routine maintainance.

By the way, the idea you have for your aquarium livestock is actually a FO with inverts. You will need to be clear on this concept when asking about compatible fish selections.
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post #18 of 21 Old 05-11-2008, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry if I have not been clear. English is not my first language. I believe we mean the same thing when we are talking about overflow. But the thing is, my tank does not have a hole drilled at the bottom. So it actually works similar to an overflow that water flows into another compartment, but instead of gravity a canister filter draws the water out instead, which is why I dont have a sump. I hope its clear now.

Also, my overflow takes up the whole side of the tank. So its actually 24 x 6 inches. Since a picture speaks a thousand words, I took some pics for referance

As you can see one compartment is filled with filter media at the moment, while the other compartment where the outlet tube is is empty. The plan is to place the UV in the compartment where the media is now, and the skimmer in the other compartment

I do have a spare 20 gallon I can convert to a sump, but what would you recommand putting in it?

Lastly, I would appreciate info on whether aroganite is stictly necessary.

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post #19 of 21 Old 05-11-2008, 08:38 AM
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Ahhh. Big difference. A sump would have no purpose in your setup.

It is possible to control the alkalinity in an aquarium without the use of aragonite. You can also limit Nitrate with partial water changes. So, aragonite is not a requirement to a marine system. Martin Moe, "The Marine Aquarium Reference, Systems and Invertebrates" has an excellent chapter about the available substrates in a marine system. The overall book is outdated, but this chapter applies.

Provided you use aragonite correctly, i can not think of any cons. It clouds the water for a couple of days, but that is about it.
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post #20 of 21 Old 05-11-2008, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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Glad we understand each other now. Is there such a thing as 'too much filtration'? Since I have a spare tank lying around, might as well use it right? I have already bought the glass, just waiting to silicone it. I got the idea from here


I think it would be easier to fit an octopus and UV light in there. I plan to siphon the water to the rightmost compartment, and reuse my canister to suck out water from the leftmost compartment, and then back to the main tank. Which compartment should the UV light and skimmer go for maximum effeciency?

Again, if there is no such thing as too much filtration, what biomedia should I add to the sump? Keep in mind that solid waste will be removed way before it even reaches the sump
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