Wanna do this right - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-12-2009, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Wanna do this right

Hi all, I have been lurking and reading for quite awhile, this will be my first post. I have been doing fresh water aquariums since forever. I currently have a 20 gal salt tank going for almost a year now. I have a few questions before starting on my 30 gal. I will be using live sand and live rock to cycle the tank. I want to use dry (dead ?) rock with the hopes of the live rock seeding the dry. Do I put this all in the tank at the same time and cycle it together ? Also, Right now I have to use a Aqua-Tech 30/60 filter. It has the two slots in it for the bio filter and the carbon cartridges. Do I use the bio filters ? carbon cartridges ? both ? HELP ! Or does someone else have a different solution ? I hope to at least be able to get a new filter by the time the tank is completely cycled. I will be using a skimmer. I also have a Hydor Koralia 2. I do not intend on trying to keep any corals or anything of that nature yet. . . I haven't started putting anything together yet, I want to be sure I do things the right way. My sand does not come for 8 more days, the live rock I will get when the tank is up and running for at least 24 hrs. Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge and I'm sure I will be back with a million other questions as I go along. I always like to have a second opinion.
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-13-2009, 10:11 AM
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This is great. You have done some nice research and have your plan in place. So far so good. Here are a few tips that may help.

Sand - make sure you have between 4'' and 6'' of sand, or as an alternative, less than 1'' of sand. You do not want anything outside these levels.

Dry rock - you actually want to add some live rock at the same time as the dry rock. This will quickly speed up the process of the dry rock becoming live. If you look at my 180 build, you will see some nice pictures of the progress my dry rock made in becoming fully live. It doesn't take long at all. In a few months you will not be able to tell which rock began as dry and which was live. http://www.fishforum.com/saltwater-f...f-build-21979/ I used roughly 80% dry rock to 20% live rock. I ordered my dry rock from Marco Rocks The finest aquarium rock available, base rock, live rock, reef rock, marco rock, reef tank saltwater fish, live corals, Marco rocks, Fiji live rock, Tonga Live rock.

You absolutely do not want to use the biofilter component of the Aqua Tech. The bio filter will directly compete against everything you are trying to accomplish. For now, until you can purchase the skimmer, just use activated carbon inside the AquaTech. Replace is frequently, every other week at minimum, until you get the skimmer.
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-13-2009, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Pasfur View Post
Sand - make sure you have between 4'' and 6'' of sand, or as an alternative, less than 1'' of sand. You do not want anything outside these levels.
I am new here as well, and I plan on reefing in the future. I always see people quoting these parameters for sand bed depth. Why are they so strongly insisted upon? I think it has something to do with nitrate filtering, but I could be mistaken. Could you fill me in please?
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-13-2009, 06:26 PM
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At a 4'' to 6'' sand bed you will achieve denitrification at optimal levels, which is why most people offer this recommendation. Unfortunately, this can be a considerable cost for larger tanks, so the other option is to use 1'' or less.

At 1'' or less you will achieve very little denitrification from the sand bed, so addition live rock is a benefit. However, at such a small depth you have very little risk of detritus accumulation, which would result in increasing phosphates and increased algae growth.

At depths of over1'' and under 4'' you still achieve very little denitrification, but the build up of detritus becomes an issue. At 4'' or more detritus rarely accumulates because of the life forms that inhabit the sand, feeding on detritus and food decay.

For the record, my 54 reef has a 4''+ sand bed. My 180 FOWLR has a <1'' sand bed. Both depths work well for me, and have for many years.
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-13-2009, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for your input and the kind words ! Your rock is beautiful as well as the fish. I was thinking about purchasing my rock from macro rocks as weel, was checking out their website. Now that you gave me the lowdown, that's exactly where my rock will come from.
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-13-2009, 11:58 PM
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Thumbs up

Pasfur - Thanks for clearing that up for me. Very helpful!
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