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This is a discussion on Questions within the Beginner Saltwater Aquariums forums, part of the Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef Tanks category; --> Originally Posted by Pasfur Originally Posted by Fish-addict Live rock is tempting, but I am 100% against the harvest of rock from the ocean, ...

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Old 07-12-2008, 12:59 AM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasfur
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Originally Posted by Fish-addict
Live rock is tempting, but I am 100% against the harvest of rock from the ocean, as the ocean has a biological filter too. Soon, live rock could end up like oil and then it would become more expensive since people would have to aquaculture to sell it.

I am going to setup the whole system that way, by using tufa rock/dead coral skeletons for rock, and getting live sand to get all that healthy bacteria that will soon grow onto the rocks.

As for the 4 inch sand bed, I am setting this tank up on a budget and I am probably just going with 20 lbs of substrate.
The large majority of fish are also taken from the ocean, with the exception of a few select species. As to live rock, a large portion today is actually biocultured. Rock is placed in the ocean and then removed at a later date for the aquarium hobby. So progress is being made in that area, although we have a long way to go. The only real way to protect our reefs is threw education, which is hopefully promoted by the hobby.

I do not envision you ever having the equivalent of live rock in your aquarium, unless you are willing to add some amount of live rock to see the system. The amount of life that springs from quality live rock is amazing and impossible to understand unless you witness the day to day changes that take place.

Finally, as i mentioned, one reason marine systems often do not succeed is that hobbyists cut costs far to often. If you want to cut costs, do so by purchasing inexpensive fish. But don't get off on a bad start by skimping on the aquatic environment.
I am trying to stop my dang impatience as much as possible, and I am often reminded not to keep cutting costs.
You are the only person I know of who says a skimmer is a must for a 20g FOWLR, so I don't really think I need a skimmer if I use live sand and keep good water quallity in the tank.
I also really do not know what a 4" sand bed will do for fish other than take up a gallon or two of swim room and aid biological filtration, but 4" just seems like a little much.
I know many people who have performed the tried and true technique of filling a saltwater aquarium with dead rock, and using live sand to get healthy bacteria/coralline algae to grow and colonize on the rocks, and they were all successful, with very healthy live rock.

I now have a question about stocking: I am planning to spend $25-$30 on live stock, and I am wanting to get 2 or maybe 3 fish. I had my eye on banggai cardinals,(I heard that they could be kept in 15+ gallons) and I was wondering if they needed to be in groups or not. Will two cardinals do okay with about 10 lbs of LR? (I do know that banggai cardinals get up to about 4/5 " in the wild, and I might have to give them up eventually.)
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Old 07-12-2008, 03:54 PM   #12
 
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Originally Posted by Fish-addict
You are the only person I know of who says a skimmer is a must for a 20g FOWLR, so I don't really think I need a skimmer if I use live sand and keep good water quallity in the tank.
I also really do not know what a 4" sand bed will do for fish other than take up a gallon or two of swim room and aid biological filtration, but 4" just seems like a little much.
I know many people who have performed the tried and true technique of filling a saltwater aquarium with dead rock, and using live sand to get healthy bacteria/coralline algae to grow and colonize on the rocks, and they were all successful, with very healthy live rock.
I think you are losing sight of the goal. Ask yourself this question... would you rather do large weekly water changes to keep Nitrates low, or would you rather have a deeper sand bed remove Nitrates from your system naturally? The cost of the sand will pay for itself in salt expense and saved time. Plus, the less you have to disturb the aquarium environment, the better it is for the fish. Without a skimmer and deep sand bed you will be changing large volumes of water regularly.

Unfortunately i have to disagree with your statement about the tried and true technique. I have been extremely active in this hobby for 18 years and i have not seen the success you describe, long term. Most of the systems you describe are "successful" on a temporary basis and then begin to have problems after 18 to 24 months. In fact, most of the systems set up with dead rock have non-stop algae problems and never see the rock become live, and certainly never have rock the quality of which is harvested from the ocean.

Please don't think I'm trying to be difficult or argue. I continue to post because this thread is a perfect example of what I am trying to prevent by taking the time to be here everyday. You are cutting to many corners and the odds of long term success are slim. The fish and your pocket book are at risk. I disagree because i have not only experienced these type of systems first hand, but have seen how easy a correctly set up system is to set up and maintain. And i have seen that a correctly set up system is more cost efficient over the long haul. My current system is very similar to the one you describe. But small details make a big difference in the marine hobby.

All of this being said, we are discussing aquarium set up technique as it should be applied in the hobby. In your very specific situation, you are considering fish that are almost indestructible. You could just about keep them alive in goldfish bowl. So, it won't be the end of the world for you to do what you are saying. PROVIDED that you stick with the fish you are naming. Do not try to push the bar. For example, a Coral Beauty or Flame Angel would be a very bad fish selection for you, despite their small size.

At least i haven't been on the bully pulpit about the benefits of a UV sterilizer. 8)
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Old 07-12-2008, 07:34 PM   #13
 
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Wow, thx. It's just that you were one of the only two people I know who said I'd need a skimmer, and I didn't know anyone who said 4 inches of sand was a must for adequate biological filtration. LMAO, I know someone who had success with just plain old aquarium decor, an HOB filter, powerhead, and freshwater aquarium sand.

How does it sound if I get 15 lbs of live sand, stick with the two cardinals, and perform a 10% water change every week?
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Old 07-12-2008, 09:12 PM   #14
 
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I want to be clear on this point. Traditional biological filtration does not require a deep sand bed. Your aquarium will process ammonia into Nitrite, into Nitrate effectively with less than 3'' of sand. However, to achieve denitrification, you will need a minimum of 3''. Denitrification completes the biological filtration process, with Nitrate becoming Nitrogen Gas.

Now, back to your question. My instinct is that 10% weekly water changes will not be sufficient to keep Nitrates below 20ppm, which is the general goal in a fish aquarium. However, this question can not be answered until you are testing Nitrate on a weekly basis and monitoring how fast it builds in your system.

Using simple math, look at these examples:

If Nitrates build at a rate of 10ppm per week, then a weekly 25% water change would allow Nitrates to settle between 30ppm and 40ppm. In such a system, a 10% weekly water change would allow Nitrates to settle between 90ppm and 100ppm on a permanent basis. Further, a 50% weekly water change would be needed to keep Nitrates below 20ppm.

If Nitrates build at a rate of 5ppm per week, then a weekly 25% water change would allow Nitrates to settle between 15ppm and 20ppm and a 10% weekly water change would allow Nitrates to settle between 45ppm and 50ppm.

Looking at these numbers, you can quickly see how the amount of livestock makes a huge difference in the amount of water that needs to be changed. The addition of a protein skimmer will dramatically lower the production of Nitrate. Additionally, the use of a deep sand bed will biologically lower the levels of Nitrate.
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Old 07-12-2008, 09:23 PM   #15
 
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Originally Posted by Fish-addict
Wow, thx. It's just that you were one of the only two people I know who said I'd need a skimmer, and I didn't know anyone who said 4 inches of sand was a must for adequate biological filtration. LMAO, I know someone who had success with just plain old aquarium decor, an HOB filter, powerhead, and freshwater aquarium sand.

How does it sound if I get 15 lbs of live sand, stick with the two cardinals, and perform a 10% water change every week?
I hate to say this, but you really do seem to be directing yourself towards a less than enjoyable hobby experience. While I personally disagree with the need for a DSB in the display, that may be because I advocate for the use of a sump with a refugium, in which a DSB can be incorporated and equally effective.

Do you need a Skimmer? No, but again, as Mark stated earlier given the cost of Skimmers these days, and the benefits they provide, You would be foolish not to make the investment. I would highly recommend that you heed that piece of advice.

As for the use of dead rock coupled with Live sand, How much life do you really expect to find in a bag of live sand? By adding live rock, you are introducing a vast number of beneficial hitchhikers such as feather dusters, spionid worms, vermitid snails, spirorbid worms, forams, tunicates, amphipods, copepods, mysid shrimp, bristle worms, spaghetti worms, peanut worms, cerith snails, stomatella snails, mini brittle stars, asterina stars and collinista snails. I have every one of these in my system, all of which were brought in on live rock. All of these provide a very beneficial service for your system. None of these come in a bag of live sand. I'm not saying you need these in your tank to succeed, but they certainly make things easier, and provide you with a much more enjoyable experience in the hobby.
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:52 PM   #16
 
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Now I see where you are going on the deep sand bed requirement. 3" it is. Do you think 30 lbs will provide a 3" sand bed in a 20g tall?
As for the live rock, I will probably get 5 lbs for bacteria/hitchhikers.

You guys have helped me alot, and I think I will have alot better of a saltwater aquarium because of your advice. Before I posted this thread, I was somehow wanting to have my tank up and running before the end of summer :P
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Old 07-13-2008, 12:00 AM   #17
 
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Before I posted this thread, I was somehow wanting to have my tank up and running before the end of summer :P
If you take a few extra months to prepare and research, you'll be far better off in the long run.

Personally, I would give yourself an extra 6 months to research (and save up a bit), then start a reef instead of a fish-only. But that's just me. You do what will make you happy. :)

Regardless, the more you learn before you start, the better off you are in the end. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to share our knowledge as well.
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Old 07-13-2008, 06:57 AM   #18
 
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Originally Posted by Fish-addict
Now I see where you are going on the deep sand bed requirement. 3" it is. Do you think 30 lbs will provide a 3" sand bed in a 20g tall?
Yes.
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Old 07-13-2008, 12:02 PM   #19
 
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Originally Posted by SKAustin
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Originally Posted by Fish-addict
Before I posted this thread, I was somehow wanting to have my tank up and running before the end of summer :P
If you take a few extra months to prepare and research, you'll be far better off in the long run.

Personally, I would give yourself an extra 6 months to research (and save up a bit), then start a reef instead of a fish-only. But that's just me. You do what will make you happy. :)

Regardless, the more you learn before you start, the better off you are in the end. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to share our knowledge as well.
I don't think I have the money to do reef. Reef will mean more test kits, a skimmer, light bulbs I will have to change constantly, more water circulation, a refractometer, UV sterilizer, more knowledge, and chemicals. Since I am a begginner, I want to try keeping a fish only system for atleast a year or two before I move onto anything fancy.
Lol, a while ago since I didn't have much money to spend on saltwater supplies, I had TONS of time to research, as it was all I could do at the time that had to do with a saltwater tank. There's no such thing as knowing 'all about saltwater' lol.

Does anyone on this site use a Red sea hydrometer? I bought one recently, and the swing-arm will not even move, no matter how salty the water is. I followed the instructions EXACTLY, and the temp. is between 75 and 79 degrees F. (I am using Red sea salt) I contacted Red sea about this, but I haven't gotten a reply yet.
Oh, and no, I am not looking to buy a refractometer.
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:02 PM   #20
 
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Originally Posted by Fish-addict

I don't think I have the money to do reef. Reef will mean more test kits, a skimmer, light bulbs I will have to change constantly, more water circulation, a refractometer, UV sterilizer, more knowledge, and chemicals.
For the reader... Although i personally use a UV on my reef, most hobbyists do not recommend UV sterilizers for a reef system. Additionally, the use of a refractometer is optional and not an everyday need.
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