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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 CamryDS That's definitely strange, because i've asked my LFS as well as a lot of my friends and colleagues about buffering ...

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Trying my Luck in the Saltwater World
Old 12-01-2009, 08:32 PM   #41
 
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Originally Posted by CamryDS View Post
That's definitely strange, because i've asked my LFS as well as a lot of my friends and colleagues about buffering for both, and they've never had to do that. Alkalinity and calcium should be supplemented by the environment in the tank.

Both PH and Alk, and Calcium shouldn't be touched. They've never had to do it, and just had to maintain their upkeep in waterchanges as well as just make sure the water tested out okay. This is coming from guys who were more than 10 years in experience, so *shrugs*. But I take advice when I see it and testing will always be done.
I would be interested in knowing if they drip kalkwasser. It is amazing the number of people who drip kalk but don't consider themselves to be adding a buffer! Or they may doing larger and more frequent water changes, for the simple fact that they need to replenish the lost buffers, and continue using this method because "the fish respond" to the water changes. There is nothing wrong with "old school" techniques, because they can work. I just prefer to keep things a little less time consuming and reduce the physical labor.
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:46 PM   #42
 
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I would be interested in knowing if they drip kalkwasser. It is amazing the number of people who drip kalk but don't consider themselves to be adding a buffer! Or they may doing larger and more frequent water changes, for the simple fact that they need to replenish the lost buffers, and continue using this method because "the fish respond" to the water changes. There is nothing wrong with "old school" techniques, because they can work. I just prefer to keep things a little less time consuming and reduce the physical labor.

I can find out, from what i understand I've never even had that kalkwasser mentioned to me.
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Old 12-03-2009, 02:14 PM   #43
 
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CamryDS, you're welcome. I'm glad I've been able to help. No worries, I was not offended by anything. I like to make sure that not only the author of a thread, but everyone who reads it gets a clear picture of the things I say/post. I can be quite anal about being misunderstood, I do not seek to offend anyone either... but I know the simple mistakes that are often made by simple misunderstandings. I try hard to avoid those.

I do want to note about your ideas for stocking your biocube. I hate to say it, but a pair of clowns and some corals, and clean up crew is going to max our your population. There simply isn't enough room for an angel, even a dwarf to mix with a pair of clowns in this tank. Even a pair of clowns is going to be pushing your max, considering you work with oscellaris, which are the smallest of the clown species. Please keep in mind that when you pair up clown fish you are assured a male and a female. While the male oscellaris averages about 3 inches in size, the female will grow to 5 - 6 inches. That is a big fish for a small tank and doesn't leave room for more fish or the waste load an angel would add to that.

Keep in mind that volume is not the only consideration when setting up any aquarium. Area is also equally important. The biocube is square, which limits the area.
There are other fish options if you are interested in suggestions... just let me know. (I recently added a coral band shrimp and 2 peppermint shrimp to my tank)

In regards to the buffering comments by Pasfur...
I just want to mention that not everyone needs a buffer, or extra water changes, or kalk to retain buffering capacity. It is all a matter of the water you are working with, and it differs everywhere. From town to town, city to city, state to state, etc. everyone's water chemistry is at least slightly different. When we moved almost 4 yrs ago we went about a 1 hr drive from where we lived in the big city. Neither location needed buffers for our tanks... but the water chemistry is so different here its unreal. At the store we didn't use buffers either... the expense would have been too great and it wasn't needed. This is where I like to use the phrase "if it isn't broke, don't fix it".

CamryDS, I would suggest getting that meter for spg/salinity before working even with your store's saltwater. That is still something you need to know, and can also sometimes need adjusting to be where you need it. (You shuold also ask them for the spg/salinity reading they get on it to compare to what you find... not all of their meters and equipment are going to be accurate either. Many stores don't know much more than you do about this stuff, and some even get their info the same way you're getting yours... from free online forums) Also, if you are planning to change water supplies soon after setting up the tank, you are going to need to know the differences in parameters up front so you know what you'll need to do in order to match things up or safely alter the conditions in your tank to accommodate the changes. The best way to do things is to find a source water that is good and easily accessible to you and stick with it.

The most important lesson everyone needs to learn in this hobby is patience. That is the biggest factor in success vs failure. This is not a hobby you can achieve successfully if rushing into it or impulse buying... and there is no one single specific way that works for everyone, so patience is a big factor in figuring out what works for each individual and their situations. Did you know that just the location of a tank makes such a huge difference that no 2 can be identical? As you get deeper into the hobby you will begin to take more notice that even with more than one tank in your own home, no 2 are identical, no 2 react identically to the same things.

Be prepared to purchase a couple of large rubbermaid tubs or garbage cans for water. It is important to always have both fresh RO/DI and premixed saltwater on hand. Flucutations can happen suddenly, and to be without that water at any given time could mean the difference between life and death for your reef and its animals. Not every need will be for premixed saltwater, and to be honest with you about my tank, it seldom gets actual saltwater changes... more often it is the addition of freshwater to handle evaporation. Water evaporates but salt does not. The smaller the volume of water to begin with, the faster the rate of change in water chemistry. Those are things to always keep in mind.

Are you planning to get a digital meter/refractometer or a simple hydrometer? A note about hydrometers is that many of them are off to some degree. (it has to do with how they're made and temp changes in the process) If you purchase a hydrometer it would be a good idea to find someone with a refractometer to calibrate it for you and to remark it with a sharpie marker. I have seen a good number of faulty hydrometers responsible for numerous deaths in fish and corals because they were off by just enough to wipe out a tank. It never happened fast that I saw, but starts out as the animals showing issues and not being able to determine a cause because everything looks perfect for conditions.

If you are in dire need of someone to calibrate a hydrometer for you let me know, we can make arrangements for you to send it to me where I can calibrate it and send it back. I won't charge you anything, just ask that you cover shipping charges because I can't afford any extra expenses right now. I have done this for others and although it takes a bit of time to get back and forth, it turned out a good thing for many because of how far off their hydrometers turned out to be. Most people opt for the hydrometer due to the expense of a refractometer... my personal opinion is that if any bigger expense is going to be devoted to your tank, this is one of the most important.

I hope this helps...
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:24 PM   #44
 
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Originally Posted by bettababy View Post
CamryDS, you're welcome. I'm glad I've been able to help. No worries, I was not offended by anything. I like to make sure that not only the author of a thread, but everyone who reads it gets a clear picture of the things I say/post. I can be quite anal about being misunderstood, I do not seek to offend anyone either... but I know the simple mistakes that are often made by simple misunderstandings. I try hard to avoid those.

I do want to note about your ideas for stocking your biocube. I hate to say it, but a pair of clowns and some corals, and clean up crew is going to max our your population. There simply isn't enough room for an angel, even a dwarf to mix with a pair of clowns in this tank. Even a pair of clowns is going to be pushing your max, considering you work with oscellaris, which are the smallest of the clown species. Please keep in mind that when you pair up clown fish you are assured a male and a female. While the male oscellaris averages about 3 inches in size, the female will grow to 5 - 6 inches. That is a big fish for a small tank and doesn't leave room for more fish or the waste load an angel would add to that.

Keep in mind that volume is not the only consideration when setting up any aquarium. Area is also equally important. The biocube is square, which limits the area.
There are other fish options if you are interested in suggestions... just let me know. (I recently added a coral band shrimp and 2 peppermint shrimp to my tank)

In regards to the buffering comments by Pasfur...
I just want to mention that not everyone needs a buffer, or extra water changes, or kalk to retain buffering capacity. It is all a matter of the water you are working with, and it differs everywhere. From town to town, city to city, state to state, etc. everyone's water chemistry is at least slightly different. When we moved almost 4 yrs ago we went about a 1 hr drive from where we lived in the big city. Neither location needed buffers for our tanks... but the water chemistry is so different here its unreal. At the store we didn't use buffers either... the expense would have been too great and it wasn't needed. This is where I like to use the phrase "if it isn't broke, don't fix it".

CamryDS, I would suggest getting that meter for spg/salinity before working even with your store's saltwater. That is still something you need to know, and can also sometimes need adjusting to be where you need it. (You shuold also ask them for the spg/salinity reading they get on it to compare to what you find... not all of their meters and equipment are going to be accurate either. Many stores don't know much more than you do about this stuff, and some even get their info the same way you're getting yours... from free online forums) Also, if you are planning to change water supplies soon after setting up the tank, you are going to need to know the differences in parameters up front so you know what you'll need to do in order to match things up or safely alter the conditions in your tank to accommodate the changes. The best way to do things is to find a source water that is good and easily accessible to you and stick with it.

The most important lesson everyone needs to learn in this hobby is patience. That is the biggest factor in success vs failure. This is not a hobby you can achieve successfully if rushing into it or impulse buying... and there is no one single specific way that works for everyone, so patience is a big factor in figuring out what works for each individual and their situations. Did you know that just the location of a tank makes such a huge difference that no 2 can be identical? As you get deeper into the hobby you will begin to take more notice that even with more than one tank in your own home, no 2 are identical, no 2 react identically to the same things.

Be prepared to purchase a couple of large rubbermaid tubs or garbage cans for water. It is important to always have both fresh RO/DI and premixed saltwater on hand. Flucutations can happen suddenly, and to be without that water at any given time could mean the difference between life and death for your reef and its animals. Not every need will be for premixed saltwater, and to be honest with you about my tank, it seldom gets actual saltwater changes... more often it is the addition of freshwater to handle evaporation. Water evaporates but salt does not. The smaller the volume of water to begin with, the faster the rate of change in water chemistry. Those are things to always keep in mind.

Are you planning to get a digital meter/refractometer or a simple hydrometer? A note about hydrometers is that many of them are off to some degree. (it has to do with how they're made and temp changes in the process) If you purchase a hydrometer it would be a good idea to find someone with a refractometer to calibrate it for you and to remark it with a sharpie marker. I have seen a good number of faulty hydrometers responsible for numerous deaths in fish and corals because they were off by just enough to wipe out a tank. It never happened fast that I saw, but starts out as the animals showing issues and not being able to determine a cause because everything looks perfect for conditions.

If you are in dire need of someone to calibrate a hydrometer for you let me know, we can make arrangements for you to send it to me where I can calibrate it and send it back. I won't charge you anything, just ask that you cover shipping charges because I can't afford any extra expenses right now. I have done this for others and although it takes a bit of time to get back and forth, it turned out a good thing for many because of how far off their hydrometers turned out to be. Most people opt for the hydrometer due to the expense of a refractometer... my personal opinion is that if any bigger expense is going to be devoted to your tank, this is one of the most important.

I hope this helps...
that was quite a read, but -oh so informative.

about patience, I've learned a lot over my very short time in the fish keeping world (salt and fresh) and patience is an absolute necessity and people who rush into things will find themselves with a high death rate.

one other thing I found was that with this setup, it's going to be tough, but not as bad -- I have (not garbage cans or large tubs -- but I have some container to help with evaporation with water (fresh not salt)

I've prepared saltwater and freshwater containers since I keep my freshwater fish pristine now.

I'm quite sad today though because I finally got my tank, and it's completely damaged. the light fixture inside are missing ties, the plastic top has cracks and the back panel inside has cracks as well.

I'm thinking of returning the tank and getting normal std 30 gallon tank setup and use a smaller T-5 fixture. This will not be a biocube, but at least i'll be able to deal with the tank itself. I got the Aquatic Life mini protein skimmer that supports up to 30 gallons, and also i'm going to now have to get a koralia 1 (240 gph) and use my aquaclear 110 (500gph) for water flow through the tank with some carbon.

I think with this setup, I should have a nice little setup and will probably cost me less than the bio cube.
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Old 12-04-2009, 12:57 AM   #45
 
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Sorry to hear about the biocube. Unfortunately that is a huge risk when ordering an aquarium online, from anywhere. Something like that should always be picked up in person and shipped by ground with proper handling. That is the biggest reason manufacturers work with wholesalers and not directly with pet stores with glass aquariums. Everything must be handled properly and ground shipped due to breakage and weight issues.

Where did you order it from?

If you go with a standard tank be sure to get a good tight fitting cover. The biggest difference I've found with the biocube other than filtration is the evaporation rate and amount of salt creep I deal with. In a standard tank, even with a cover, both evaporation and salt creep were much more an issue. The biocube simplified everything about caring for the tank and is why I suggested it.

Keep us posted, please!
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:16 PM   #46
 
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Originally Posted by bettababy View Post
Sorry to hear about the biocube. Unfortunately that is a huge risk when ordering an aquarium online, from anywhere. Something like that should always be picked up in person and shipped by ground with proper handling. That is the biggest reason manufacturers work with wholesalers and not directly with pet stores with glass aquariums. Everything must be handled properly and ground shipped due to breakage and weight issues.

Where did you order it from?

If you go with a standard tank be sure to get a good tight fitting cover. The biggest difference I've found with the biocube other than filtration is the evaporation rate and amount of salt creep I deal with. In a standard tank, even with a cover, both evaporation and salt creep were much more an issue. The biocube simplified everything about caring for the tank and is why I suggested it.

Keep us posted, please!

Good news!!!!! I got the reorder of the bio cube and I got the aquatic life protein skimmer to fit without much modifications. it's sitting in the 2nd chamber and im going to be using about 2/3rds of the bio balls, and i don't know if it's even really needed, but whatever works.

my question is -- in the 2nd chamber, how high does the water ever get? since I do want to be able to put the skimmer as high up as possible.

I'll have pics once the tank is at it's permanent place, and filled with water
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Old 12-12-2009, 10:25 PM   #47
 
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Good news!!!!! I got the reorder of the bio cube and I got the aquatic life protein skimmer to fit without much modifications. it's sitting in the 2nd chamber and im going to be using about 2/3rds of the bio balls, and i don't know if it's even really needed, but whatever works.

my question is -- in the 2nd chamber, how high does the water ever get? since I do want to be able to put the skimmer as high up as possible.

I'll have pics once the tank is at it's permanent place, and filled with water
I got the tank up completely, it's in my build post. i'm having trouble controlling the water flow though. I want to increase the flow, but the bio cube includes some type of filter sponge + a pad that traps organic stuff. you think since i have a protein skimmer now in the 2nd chamber, I can just remove the filter pads and let it do the work? Also

Since i just brought this up, how long would I wait until the diatom bloom happens (do I have to feed the tank? change the water? etc? -- sorry if i've repeated mysefl)
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:28 AM   #48
 
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Cam...

BettaBaby will not be online for some time forward.... family emergency issues. I should be able to help at this point, now that the skimmer selection issues with this biocube have been resolved.

The use of filter pads on a reef is normally something that I highly discourage, because these pads trap small organic particles that then break down to deplete carbonates, lowering alkalinity. I am a huge believer that alkalinity stability is a high priority in a marine system. For this reason, I would not use this prefilter.

That being said, the biocube design makes the pre filter very accessible. If you have the self discipline to clean the filter pad every day, or 2 times per day, then the pad could provide some benefits. The key is to rinse the pads EVEN IF THEY ARE CLEAN, because rinsing them will remove small organic particles that you do not see with visual inspection of the pads.
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:53 PM   #49
 
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Cam...

BettaBaby will not be online for some time forward.... family emergency issues. I should be able to help at this point, now that the skimmer selection issues with this biocube have been resolved.

The use of filter pads on a reef is normally something that I highly discourage, because these pads trap small organic particles that then break down to deplete carbonates, lowering alkalinity. I am a huge believer that alkalinity stability is a high priority in a marine system. For this reason, I would not use this prefilter.

That being said, the biocube design makes the pre filter very accessible. If you have the self discipline to clean the filter pad every day, or 2 times per day, then the pad could provide some benefits. The key is to rinse the pads EVEN IF THEY ARE CLEAN, because rinsing them will remove small organic particles that you do not see with visual inspection of the pads.

Hye pasfur,

thanks for the info on that one -- I gathered that info while reading your other threads. It's extremely useful. I've actually taken your advice on previous threads and taken the prefilter pad with the carbon out of the overflow and replaced it with a sack of carbon. I do have a post filter sponge that I've just cleaned today.

I've been using tapwater to clean out the sponge and equipment and drying them a bit before throwing it back in, that should be okay I suppose. I've also added a single dose of both cycle and amquel into the tank to help everything along -- nothing else has been added though.
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Old 12-13-2009, 07:22 PM   #50
 
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I use a post filter sponge on my skimmer outlet as well, just to kill the microbubbles. There should be almost no organic waste existing the skimmer chamber, so it really isn't a big deal.
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