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Trying my Luck in the Saltwater World

This is a discussion on Trying my Luck in the Saltwater World within the Beginner Saltwater Aquariums forums, part of the Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef Tanks category; --> Originally Posted by willieturnip I'm currently setting up a 15 gallon nano with the help of several local experienced fish keepers. I'l be running ...

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Trying my Luck in the Saltwater World
Old 11-22-2009, 08:57 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willieturnip View Post
I'm currently setting up a 15 gallon nano with the help of several local experienced fish keepers.

I'l be running a thread on the process imminently (the live sand bed, powerheads, heating and lighting is all done and I'm picking up all the live rock on tuesday) so if your in no particular rush you might as well just follow that?

A gravel vacuum shouldn't really be necessary as you'll have huge flow in the tank, disabling detritus from accumulating essentially. Anywhere from 15-40 times the volume per hour is recommended for a basic reef, depending on the type of corals you plan to keep.

There is no real limit on how many corals you have in the tank like you have with fish, as their bio load is virtually non existent. You just need to keep the essentials in check, such as lighting and calcium.

A skimmer is a nice touch, but actually not terribly necessary with the small volume of water. If you keep your changes up (30% ish a week) there's no real need for one. Having said that I plan to have a skimmer, algae scrubber and possibly a refuge too. Though the latter two, if not all three could possibly go out the window.




Live sand is definitely preferred. With the size of the tank, there's no point skimping. With larger tanks, a mix of live and regular aragonite sand works well as the live seeds the "dead".

Your filtration is the live rock. Believe it or not it's there for more reason other than to look pretty, which is probably why it's so expensive.

Power compacts are a popular choice for nano's.

Inverts (other wise often known as a clean up crew) are highly recommended. Things like turbo snails to clean the glass are sensational, as they all but eradicate manual glass cleaning.

Anemones are actually very hard to keep alive for extended periods from what I hear and clownfish do NOT need them to survive as there are no natural predators in your tank. A long tentacle toadstool or a hairy mushroom might be better options.


In my opinion all you need to be successful with a nano reef is:

- Good lighting (not bright to the eye necessarily, but bright in the right areas of the spectrum)
- RO water at the correct salinity (any traces of copper etc will destroy corals very quickly. Who knows what pipes your house water has com through!?)
- 1lb+ of live rock per gallon
- Live sand bed. Preferably under an inch or between 4 to 6 deep, but I have only heard this discussed on this forum and while I respect everybody's opinion on this forum, I feel a bit of bandwaggoning is at play..
- Patience and attention and sensibility towards the tank (this is by far the most important!!)


I'l link my build thread when it's up.

Thank you for your opinions as well as facts, this will definitely help me want to attempt this.

I've decided on a 20 gallon tank, and with the 20 gallons, I have to let you know, that there's not going to be much except a protein skimmer and/or an aquaclear filter with most likely just some carbon inside just to help with clearing the water.

my biggest question with this is, even though i'm going to have live sand + live rock -- I'm going to start adding fish on the 4th week.

I'm guessing then turbo snails + some hermit crabs will do. As far as metals in the water, that won't be a problem -- i'm going to get water from the LFS, this should help -- since then I won't have to worry about mixing sand myself -- i'll then begin mixing water + salt afterwards.

I'll look into some coral, but no anemones makes me happy. since there's no need for it, I won't bother with it.
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Old 11-22-2009, 09:27 PM   #12
 
Why are you set on adding on the 4th week? Every tank is different and your could be ready the day you set it up or a year down the line..

So long as the filter gives you plenty of current that sounds fine. What does it put out in GPH/LPH?

I know with tropicals you can blag it, with less kit than you need and just get by, but one thing I will say with marine is that you can't half arse it. You can do it properly, or kill a load of fish and waste a load of money.
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Old 11-23-2009, 06:22 AM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willieturnip View Post
Why are you set on adding on the 4th week? Every tank is different and your could be ready the day you set it up or a year down the line..

So long as the filter gives you plenty of current that sounds fine. What does it put out in GPH/LPH?

I know with tropicals you can blag it, with less kit than you need and just get by, but one thing I will say with marine is that you can't half arse it. You can do it properly, or kill a load of fish and waste a load of money.
I agree with what willie says here, except the being ready the day you set it up. I know he's just trying to stress a point, but let it be known that you probably will have to wait at least 4 weeks to add fish. It isn't a measure of time as much as a progression of the tank. You are looking for first: NitrItes and Ammonias to read Zero. NitrAtes might have a small reading <5ppm. Second: A diatom bloom. This will look like a rust colored algae, covering all the rock and sand. Wait for this to come and pass. Third: the presence of microlife, such as copepods, amphipods and other microfauna scurrying around the tank. At this point you would be ready to add one fish. See how that fish does for a month.

If you have a Quarantine tank (which we strongly suggest) you can buy the fish and add him to the quarantine tank at the beggining of your diatom bloom. Observe him in the QT for 3 weeks. If everything looks good add him to the tank. You should be Quarantining every fish you buy, as not to infect your tank with parasites or unwanted bacterias.

If you are running a filter with ONLY activated carbon, is it a bag of carbon, or a carbon filter pad? If it is a carbon filter pad, make sure you clean it regularly, so detritus does not accumulate on it.

You probably want to add a powerhead as I don't think that the current from the filter will be enough. Is it a Hang on Back (HOB) filter?
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Old 11-23-2009, 11:40 AM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willieturnip View Post
Why are you set on adding on the 4th week? Every tank is different and your could be ready the day you set it up or a year down the line..

So long as the filter gives you plenty of current that sounds fine. What does it put out in GPH/LPH?

I know with tropicals you can blag it, with less kit than you need and just get by, but one thing I will say with marine is that you can't half arse it. You can do it properly, or kill a load of fish and waste a load of money.
sorry let's just take that out of the equation as well. lol i'll definitely be adding fish gradually, 4th week was just placed there was a timestamp/placeholder for just an average.

wellp right now, as far as the saltwater tank, my main gripe is finding a decent protein skimmer that's hob and quiet -- i'll also have a power filter for water movement, most likely a aquaclear 70 for a 30 gallon tank, that should be more than enough water movement. -- if not let me know.

I cannot find a good protein skimmer though, need one that's Hob and quiet and at a decent price.

after I find the brands I need i'll go hunting for stuff.

as far as putting the fish into the tanks that'll be slow and careful.

Last edited by CamryDS; 11-23-2009 at 11:49 AM..
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Old 11-23-2009, 07:18 PM   #15
 
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Originally Posted by wake49 View Post
I agree with what willie says here, except the being ready the day you set it up. I know he's just trying to stress a point, but let it be known that you probably will have to wait at least 4 weeks to add fish. It isn't a measure of time as much as a progression of the tank. You are looking for first: NitrItes and Ammonias to read Zero. NitrAtes might have a small reading <5ppm. Second: A diatom bloom. This will look like a rust colored algae, covering all the rock and sand. Wait for this to come and pass. Third: the presence of microlife, such as copepods, amphipods and other microfauna scurrying around the tank. At this point you would be ready to add one fish. See how that fish does for a month.

If you have a Quarantine tank (which we strongly suggest) you can buy the fish and add him to the quarantine tank at the beggining of your diatom bloom. Observe him in the QT for 3 weeks. If everything looks good add him to the tank. You should be Quarantining every fish you buy, as not to infect your tank with parasites or unwanted bacterias.

If you are running a filter with ONLY activated carbon, is it a bag of carbon, or a carbon filter pad? If it is a carbon filter pad, make sure you clean it regularly, so detritus does not accumulate on it.

You probably want to add a powerhead as I don't think that the current from the filter will be enough. Is it a Hang on Back (HOB) filter?
I was about to say the exact same thing. Word for word. Letter for letter. Even with the same periods, commas, and question marks.

On the skimmer search.... what is your budget for the skimmer?
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Old 11-24-2009, 01:52 AM   #16
 
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Sorry I'm late getting back in on this thread, but I'd like to add a couple of things if I may. After reading and catching up with the postings, I must say, I too agree with Willie... and wake49... and Pasfur.

I would like to add something about the corals and fish. It is very unlikely you will get 3 fish into a 20 gallon tank safely. With 2 clowns of the same species (oscellaris is the only species for such a small tank) you will for sure get a pair. The female clown can reach 5 inches. For fish, this would be your max just due to waste load.
Cleaner crew with clowns, yes, provided you are careful how many and what species you work with.

On to the corals... not all corals can be mixed together, and in that size of a tank you will be very limited. Please remember that corals are animals and need space to grow. When 2 incompatible corals grow or are placed too close together, they engage in biological warfare until one wins by killing the other. The sweeper tentacles that some of the corals have can be long enough to reach all sides of the glass in a 20 gallon tank easily. Please do your homework before bringing home any corals, and research what you can and cannot mix together in close proximity before you spend your money. We can help you with that if you list some species here.

You will also want to have a plan in place for overgrowth. If your tank is successful your corals will grow and/or reproduce quickly. Over crowded corals, even if compatible, usually turn into dead corals. Study the methods of fragging for the corals you wish to keep before you buy them. It differs for each species, and some are easier than others. The ability to frag easily may be one consideration for what you wish to keep. It would be a good idea.

As for equipment, it is very unlikely that an Aquaclear, even rated for a 30 gallon tank, is going to be enough circulation to sustain corals. When keeping a marine tank it is not only the amount of movement that is important, but also the direction of the movement. A small power head will do this for you, but you will want to be sure it is something enclosed enough so that the fish and corals can't get caught in it. Rio is one such option. With the powerhead placement, you will find you need to play with where to put it based on where you put the corals and what they find most suitable for themselves and what they require. This will also increase the effectiveness of your HOB filter by helping to circulate the water from the entire tank to the intake of the HOB.

Best of Luck to you!
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Old 11-24-2009, 07:26 AM   #17
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bettababy View Post
Sorry I'm late getting back in on this thread, but I'd like to add a couple of things if I may. After reading and catching up with the postings, I must say, I too agree with Willie... and wake49... and Pasfur.

I would like to add something about the corals and fish. It is very unlikely you will get 3 fish into a 20 gallon tank safely. With 2 clowns of the same species (oscellaris is the only species for such a small tank) you will for sure get a pair. The female clown can reach 5 inches. For fish, this would be your max just due to waste load.
Cleaner crew with clowns, yes, provided you are careful how many and what species you work with.

On to the corals... not all corals can be mixed together, and in that size of a tank you will be very limited. Please remember that corals are animals and need space to grow. When 2 incompatible corals grow or are placed too close together, they engage in biological warfare until one wins by killing the other. The sweeper tentacles that some of the corals have can be long enough to reach all sides of the glass in a 20 gallon tank easily. Please do your homework before bringing home any corals, and research what you can and cannot mix together in close proximity before you spend your money. We can help you with that if you list some species here.

You will also want to have a plan in place for overgrowth. If your tank is successful your corals will grow and/or reproduce quickly. Over crowded corals, even if compatible, usually turn into dead corals. Study the methods of fragging for the corals you wish to keep before you buy them. It differs for each species, and some are easier than others. The ability to frag easily may be one consideration for what you wish to keep. It would be a good idea.

As for equipment, it is very unlikely that an Aquaclear, even rated for a 30 gallon tank, is going to be enough circulation to sustain corals. When keeping a marine tank it is not only the amount of movement that is important, but also the direction of the movement. A small power head will do this for you, but you will want to be sure it is something enclosed enough so that the fish and corals can't get caught in it. Rio is one such option. With the powerhead placement, you will find you need to play with where to put it based on where you put the corals and what they find most suitable for themselves and what they require. This will also increase the effectiveness of your HOB filter by helping to circulate the water from the entire tank to the intake of the HOB.

Best of Luck to you!
i'll definitely look into it. -- since i'm going with the 29 biocube solution I understand there's already a powerhead like outlet, so I might not need the power head or HoB. I think all inclusiveness is my happiness on that. but that also makes me feel like I'm not going to need a skimmer either -- do you use a skimmer in yours? and is it the one designed for bio cube (the air driven one?) if so how do you get it to work? Because I'm planning on just using that? Also how quiet is the biocube?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasfur View Post
I was about to say the exact same thing. Word for word. Letter for letter. Even with the same periods, commas, and question marks.

On the skimmer search.... what is your budget for the skimmer?
budget for skimmer is very little -- I'm suspecting at the end i'll be making more water changes than anything.

I thought a skimmer would cost about maybe 100 dollars, but it turns out that now i'll be spending twice that.

I currently am going with a 29gal bio cube though so this is what i'm thinking right now.

probably 4" of sand
20-25lbs of live rock (I'll probably be able to get pre-cured rock, or if not pre-cured i'll cure it in the tank)
1 -2 pieces of coral not much
2 clown fish
1 damsel (or an angel fish - smaller species)

besides that i'm set I don't think i'll be needing too much afterwards, just weekly waterchanges if I don't have a skimmer, and if I do -- i'll probably be doing less since it looks like skimmers are made just so that we won't need to change water too much.

Last edited by CamryDS; 11-24-2009 at 07:30 AM..
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Old 11-24-2009, 07:48 AM   #18
 
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I use Water Changes and Protein Skimmers for different reasons. I don't do WC to help with Nitrates. By the time Nitrates have broken down into my system, they are already having an adverse effect on my buffering system. Protein Skimmers pull the organic wastes out before they break down. If you are going with the BioCube, I would suggest buying the PS for that, even if you have to mod it and add an airstone.
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Old 11-24-2009, 08:37 AM   #19
 
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Originally Posted by wake49 View Post
I use Water Changes and Protein Skimmers for different reasons. I don't do WC to help with Nitrates. By the time Nitrates have broken down into my system, they are already having an adverse effect on my buffering system. Protein Skimmers pull the organic wastes out before they break down. If you are going with the BioCube, I would suggest buying the PS for that, even if you have to mod it and add an airstone.
sounds good to me, straightest answer yet.

anyway, to everyone that has placed their input into this thread, I thank you all for your advice, and i'll take everything into consideration.
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Old 11-24-2009, 12:46 PM   #20
 
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Originally Posted by wake49 View Post
I use Water Changes and Protein Skimmers for different reasons. I don't do WC to help with Nitrates. By the time Nitrates have broken down into my system, they are already having an adverse effect on my buffering system. Protein Skimmers pull the organic wastes out before they break down. If you are going with the BioCube, I would suggest buying the PS for that, even if you have to mod it and add an airstone.
I was hurrying to post this and wasn't able to finish it.

I do use water changes on a regular basis. What I change varies with the seasons, I seem to do more in the summer, when my tank is warmer. I change as little as 20% a month and as much as 40% a month. I have found that my Alkalinity and Calcium stay within reasonable levels when I do WC. Don't get me wrong, I still test and dose regularly.

Here is the idea in a nutshell: The Nitrogen Cycle. Get familiar with it because a lot of people in this hobby are infatuated with it. And we should be. The nitrgen cycle has an end product of nitric acid, or NitrAtes. This is why Protein Skimming is so important, they pull out the organic compounds before they break down into nitrates.

Nitrates are an acid. Alkalinity is your aquarium's ability to keep a pH stable as acids and bases are introduced into the water column. Saltwater is basic (pH 8.3) in nature. Bicarbonate in the water is basic. Bicarbonates make up the largest part of the buffering system in seawater. As acids are introduced into the system (in the form of nitrates), the buffering system acts like a sponge, absorbing the acids while keeping the pH at a steady level. As more acids are introduced into the system, the alkalinity can no longer keep the pH stable. As the pH drops, bicarbonates are converted into carbonic acid. As you can see, Nitrates are detrimental to the buffering system.

I do WC to replace trace minerals and as I said, I don't see Calcium depleted as fast with regular water changes. Every week I am good for at least 5 gallons and as much as fifteen gallons (I have a 150 gallon tank).Since I change the water out of the sump, I don't really disturb the DT at all. I just shut the flow down on the return pump and replace five to fifteen gallons in the sump. In a 29 gallon biocube, I would be more inclined to change one or two gallons a week, over the course of two changings. This would be the least disruptive to the inhabitants I think.

Last edited by wake49; 11-24-2009 at 12:48 PM..
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