New 37g Saltwater Setup - advice pls!
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New 37g Saltwater Setup - advice pls!

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New 37g Saltwater Setup - advice pls!
Old 04-24-2013, 08:42 AM   #1
 
New 37g Saltwater Setup - advice pls!

Hi there,

I'm a newbie in the saltwater world and am in the process of setting up a new tank. Wondering if anyone had some advice on what fish and/or corals (if at all) would be possible with this setup?

the specs of my tank setup are:
- 37 gallon tank with Eclipse 3 biowheel filtration
- T8- 18W actinic lights
- 40 lbs of live rock (cycling for 2 weeks now)
- biocube protein skimmer
- 20kg aragonite live sand

any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:27 AM   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rk23 View Post
Hi there,

I'm a newbie in the saltwater world and am in the process of setting up a new tank. Wondering if anyone had some advice on what fish and/or corals (if at all) would be possible with this setup?

the specs of my tank setup are:
- 37 gallon tank with Eclipse 3 biowheel filtration
- T8- 18W actinic lights
- 40 lbs of live rock (cycling for 2 weeks now)
- biocube protein skimmer
- 20kg aragonite live sand

any advice would be greatly appreciated!
I would take that Biowheel off this setup. Any type of mechanical filtration (canister filters, HOB filters, wet/dry systems and biowheels) are actually detrimental to a marine tank. The end result of a filter of this type is Nitrates, and in Freshwater aquaria we would just do water changes in order to relieve the system. In marine aquaria we are trying to eliminate Nitrates before they build up to water change levels. Even in small amounts, Nitrates can have a direct effect on Alkalinity, an important parameter in a marine tank, especially a reef tank.

My personal experience is using Live Rock (which you have) at about 1-1/2 lbs per gallon, a Deep Sand Bed (about 4-6" of oolite sand) and a Protein Skimmer. I would add 10-15 more lbs of Live Rock if I were you to get to the 1-1/2 per gallon. I am assuming that since everything else is in imperial measurement (lbs, gallons) that you have 20 lbs of Live sand , not kg (correct me if I am wrong). I had to use about 50 lbs to get to just over 4" in a twenty gallon tall, so I could imagine you would need more about 3 more 20 lb bags (and buy oolite sand, aragamax is a little to big particle size) to get over the 4" mark. If you want to read more on the benefits of Deep Sand Beds, read these articles:

Ron Shimek
Reefkeeping Magazine
Saltwater Filtration 101, How it Differs from Freshwater


The last one is an article written by one of our members. All three show the benefits of a deep sand bed and their amazing ability to rid a system of nitrates without the labor of regular water changes.

For fish, I would keep a couple clowns, a few smaller wrasses and maybe a goby. For inverts, I like peppermint shrimp, Blood red cleaner shrimp, some snails and some hermit crabs. For coral, under that light, I would keep polyps, maybe a leather and other soft corals. I don't think an 18w T8 will be enough for anything stony.

Pick up Calcium and Alkalinity tests. These are the most important tests in a marine system and the only two things that I test for regularly.

Welcome to the Forum!
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:53 AM   #3
 
Hey - thanks very much for the advice. I will check out those articles you linked in your reply.

For the Biowheel suggestion, if I remove the wheel, I am left with an empty space in that slot that the water runs back into the tank. Would you suggest putting something else in place of the wheel? (rocks, carbon pads, etc) or just leave it empty?

You are correct I meant to say 20lbs of live sand, so will add more sand to the tank to make a deeper sand bed.

For calcium and alkalinity test, do you have a suggested level that you try to maintain in your tank? I am using test stripes right now, which I've heard are not that accurate.

Thanks again
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:22 AM   #4
 
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Originally Posted by rk23 View Post
For the Biowheel suggestion, if I remove the wheel, I am left with an empty space in that slot that the water runs back into the tank. Would you suggest putting something else in place of the wheel? (rocks, carbon pads, etc) or just leave it empty?
I would personally leave it empty, but I know others would fill it with Live Rock

Quote:
Originally Posted by rk23 View Post
You are correct I meant to say 20lbs of live sand, so will add more sand to the tank to make a deeper sand bed.
Good. The benefits of a Deep Sand Bed are astounding compared to the initial setup. Please read through those articles I supplied. There are some guidelines you must stick by, such as grain size of the sand and certain animals you cannot have with a DSB, so pay special attention to the Shimek article. Also, in that same article, he goes over some imagined problems such as hydrogen sulfide accumulation or detritus buildup. These are not problems if this easy set up is done right from the start.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rk23 View Post
For calcium and alkalinity test, do you have a suggested level that you try to maintain in your tank? I am using test stripes right now, which I've heard are not that accurate.

Thanks again
Calcium is between 400-450 ppm and Alkalinity is between 8-12 dKH. Those two are usually not on a dip test and you should probably go out and buy a decent set of these two tests.
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:48 AM   #5
 
Thanks very much for all your advice. Those postings on filtration for marine systems were very useful.

I had another quick question that is puzzling me - do you know if its necessary to use R/O saltwater with my setup? (assuming i may add a few corals later down the road) Or would it be alright to use tapwater treated with a water conditioner like seachem prime? i've heard this might be acceptable and wanted to know your thoughts on long term success with just using treated tapwater. i live in Toronto (tap water is average) and a relatively newer house (14 yrs old)

thx again
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:32 AM   #6
 
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I saw that you posted in a freshwater thread named Water Changes and I posted this there:

Do not use tap water. What Freshwater aquarists fear about tap water is Chlorine, Chloramine and other additives in the water. Saltwater tanks, especially reef tanks (corals and/or invertebrates) cannot stand the various metals that are found in tap water. And even if they are not in the supply or the city data, they could end up in the water because it is transported in copper pipes or stored in metal containers. Use only RO/Di water or steam distilled water (as long as that wasn't stored in a metal container) when doing corals or invertebrates.

Read more: Water Changes

Another member in that thread also brought up a good point: most tapwter is full of minerals and dissolved solids. The salt mix you add to the water itself has trace amounts of minerals and the correct amounts of buffering ions to have almost perfect seawater right after you mix it. It is possible your tapwater could throw off the buffering ability of the water once the salt mix is added...
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:10 AM   #7
 
Great - thanks. Sorry didn't realize you were the same poster from that other forum discussion. There were many supporters of treated tap water but you gave the most convincing argument against it. I think I'll stick to using RO water to be safe.
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:14 AM   #8
 
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Great - thanks. Sorry didn't realize you were the same poster from that other forum discussion. There were many supporters of treated tap water but you gave the most convincing argument against it. I think I'll stick to using RO water to be safe.
Cool. You won't regret it in the future.
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:02 AM   #9
 
I've been using tapwater from the first water change over 6 months ago. I would never tell someone "not" to use tapwater as not all tapwater is the same. Whichever route you choose, know tat you're taking a risk using tapwater but may be perfectly fine.
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:46 AM   #10
 
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Not all tapwater is the same. You are right. But all RO/Di is (as long as the filters aren't too aged) so you can't really go wrong with that.
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