New tank set up help
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New tank set up help

This is a discussion on New tank set up help within the Beginner Saltwater Aquariums forums, part of the Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef Tanks category; --> OK, so I have been talking with my husband about getting a salt water tank and on a whim he went out and bought ...

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Old 05-11-2013, 10:26 PM   #1
 
New tank set up help

OK, so I have been talking with my husband about getting a salt water tank and on a whim he went out and bought me a tank with the advise of the local pet shop workers. It is a 75 gallon tank, we have put live sand in it, a heater, a circulation pump and we have mix our own salt. My main question is do we have to have a sump, we want to do coral. Right now we have a aquatop CF500 UV canister filter, it has a UV sterilization feature to it to control the algea growth. Will this set up work for a reef tank?

Thank you.
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:20 AM   #2
 
i'll let the experts chime in here but this reminds me of when i first got into the hobby 30+ years ago. i had been bullying (nicely, of course) my then-hubby about getting a saltwater tank. so that year for christmas, he got me one. a 125 gallon. totally surprised me with it. i said WOW! i wanted a tank but i didn't want the whole freaking ocean!! i studied and read and read and read for 6 months before i even dared to jump in. i mean, jump into the hobby, not jump into the tank although it was almost big enough to swim in!

saddest part of getting divorced was having to tear that tank down and give it away.
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Old 05-14-2013, 06:13 AM   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shireelf View Post
OK, so I have been talking with my husband about getting a salt water tank and on a whim he went out and bought me a tank with the advise of the local pet shop workers. It is a 75 gallon tank, we have put live sand in it, a heater, a circulation pump and we have mix our own salt. My main question is do we have to have a sump, we want to do coral. Right now we have a aquatop CF500 UV canister filter, it has a UV sterilization feature to it to control the algea growth. Will this set up work for a reef tank?

Thank you.
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping. Your husband just bought you the cheapest part: the tank. Just kidding...

How much Live Sand do you have in the tank? What kind of sand is it? I would suggest a 4-6" sand bed that consists mostly of Oolite sand (which is described as sugar size granules). This type of sandbed works wonders for denitrification; anaerobic bacteria in the anoxic (low oxygen) levels of the sand bed naturally convert Nitrates into Nitrogen Gas, which leaves the system naturally.

Do you have a Live Rock? I would suggest 1-1/2 to 2 lbs per gallon, so around 125 lbs would be good. This also aids in denitrification, but not ass efficiently as the sand. That same anaerobic bacteria lives deep in the rock and helps in the denitrification process.

Do you have a Protein Skimmer? This removes the Dissolved Organic Compounds before they break down into Nitrates, easing the requirements of the Sand Bed and Live Rock. Don't confuse this with the canister filter. I would in fact, either ditch the canister altogether or run it just for the UV Sterilizer. Canister filters are Nitrate factories and you are trying to minimize Nitrates in a marine tank, not increase them...

Sumps are not required. Is this tank drilled?

I look forward to your progress, and keep the questions coming!

ps - Don't forget pictures!
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:37 PM   #4
 
As of right now I do not have a protein skimmer. We only have a 1 inch sand base on it and I plan to add more sand. We also have 4lbs of live rock in the tank and we also plan to add more. We did add some fish and a some button polyps, and I have been checking the water parameters twice daily to ensure that I don't loose anything.
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:36 PM   #5
 
Do not add anymore sand. Your fine where your at.
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Old 05-14-2013, 04:04 PM   #6
 
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Originally Posted by shireelf View Post
We only have a 1 inch sand base on it and I plan to add more sand. .
Are you planning on adding more sand because you would prefer to keep a system that naturally relieves itself of Nitrates? If this is the case, make sure you add 4 or more inches of sand so that the correct anaerobic bacteria can cultivate in the anoxic regions of the sand bed. You can read more about this safe method of denitrification here: Deep Sand Beds an article written by Ron Shimek, a very well-respected hobbyist.
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Old 05-14-2013, 07:48 PM   #7
 
Do not add anymore sand to your tank. Your fine where your at.
Read that article he li ked really well. Then read very carefully when you hit the words Hydrogen Sulphide Gas.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:18 PM   #8
 
OK, that makes sense. I had read somewhere that you either needed one inch or 4-6 inches of sand. I had wondered why these two measurement choices but the article explained that. Here I thought that freshwater had so many different ideas on how to run a tank. Guess that what makes it fun.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:04 PM   #9
 
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Originally Posted by shireelf View Post
OK, that makes sense. I had read somewhere that you either needed one inch or 4-6 inches of sand. I had wondered why these two measurement choices but the article explained that. Here I thought that freshwater had so many different ideas on how to run a tank. Guess that what makes it fun.
And it is choice that makes this hobby great. There are many ways to set-up and run a tank and what I have described here is just one way, and through trial and error (and believe me, I have had my errors) has become my preference.

I think the largest problem of saying "no" to a Deep Sand Bed now is that later down the road this is one of those things that is hard to change. Skimmers, pumps, lights and other hardware can be changed simply by swapping out the equipment. Rock can easily be added as long as it is cured or dry. I have added sumps to existing systems, changed sumps out on existing systems and even replumbed existing systems without any real disruption to the Display tank.

When you want to add more sand, however, it is a major project. First you want to take out some rock so the sand doesn't get all stuck up in the rocks on the higher areas, or bury the lower areas too much. You might like how you aquascaped the tank and breaking down that rockwork to add more sand might not result in the same rockwork you previously had. Also, adding sand after the fact results in sand storms and a cloudy tank for at least a few days, not to mention the film that covers the rocks afterwards.

I am not saying that you will fail if you don't put a Deep Sand Bed in. You won't. There are many successful hobbyists that do not use Deep Sand Beds. I personally have had continued success in my tanks and no problems as a result of Deep Sand Beds. To me, personally, it is a no-brainer. Why wouldn't I want to use a method that reduces Nitrates to near zero, reducing my need for regular water changes?

Onto what are perceived as the problems of a Deep Sand Bed. There is a school of thought that Hydrogen Sulfide Gas accumulates to toxic levels in the deepest parts of the sandbed and can nuke your tank if these pockets are disturbed.

This is what the expert Ron Shimek states about the problems of Hydrogen Sulfide Gas:

Quote:
More imagined than real problems bedevil keepers of sand beds. The imagined problems are proposed by people who are ignorant of the sand bed dynamics. Among these imaginary problems are accumulations of hydrogen sulfide and detritus, and the need for sifting. Hydrogen sulfide will indeed be formed in the lowermost layers of a deep sand bed. It will NOT migrate up through the sediments to poison a tank. Hydrogen sulfide is an amazingly toxic gas, but that toxicity is exceeded by its pungent rotten-egg odor. The gas will have an exceptionally strong odor, and will seem overwhelming at levels well BELOW toxic amounts. If you can smell this stuff without it literally taking your breath away, it won't be at a harmful concentration. There is no real evidence to indicate that it may reach toxic levels in a deep sand bed.
Again, I am not saying that you will fail if you use a Deep Sand Bed. I am saying that I have used a Deep Sand Bed for years and have been happy. I have not suffered any problems and will continue to set up every tank from the start with a Deep Sand Bed. But you are not doomed if you do not use this method. Macroalgae is a method that people use for natural Nitrate reduction. Mangroves are another good method of natural Nitrate reduction. As a hobbyist, you will find your niche. Don't be discouraged to try things, just do the appropriate research to make sure you succeed. I promise, the reward is worth the work.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:41 PM   #10
 
I've decided to leave the sand bed where it is at. I eventually want to add a sand sifting goby to the tank and from what I have read they can dig down to where the gas is trapped causing it to be released. That and my fiji blue devil fish likes to dig in the sand too, he's made some major trenches in the sand.

I added some more rock and started to build it vertically, it's fun seeing all the hitch hikers on the rock, so far I've found some feather duster worms, some snails/slugs, and I think a brittle starfish. I can't wait to finish the rock up and add some more fish, but I have to be patient.
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