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Help with 10 gallon saltwater tank

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Help with 10 gallon saltwater tank
Old 08-06-2009, 10:00 PM   #11
 
I'm not shure what it is, the store said it was a spotted puffer, it highly resembles a stars and stripes puffer but without the stripes, the maximum size is 2" according to them. I have been researching the fish I buy and all of them are pretty small. I know it will be along time before I can get a decent sized fish. Also I searched on google and found that amung the many spotted puffer fish (green spotted puffer, black spotted puffer, white spotted puffer....) this was the only one called "spotted puffer." It highly resembles the white spotted puffer but has smaller spots and is smaller in size, also i've never seen it puff. And it says it can grow up to 5". I found some info on http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.liveaquaria.com/images/categories/product/p-73447-Spotted.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm%3Fc%3D15%2B39%2B260%26pcatid%3D26 0&usg=__sBUG74W5hwIooqjtWI45BX7iLYg=&h=360&w=360&s z=26&hl=en&start=15&tbnid=EJ4UHnSs0TqgFM:&tbnh=121 &tbnw=121&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dspotted%2Bpuffer%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den ="The Spotted Puffer is also called the White Spotted Sharpnose Puffer, or White Spot Hawaiian Puffer."
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Last edited by ScottAndChris; 08-06-2009 at 10:10 PM..
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:27 PM   #12
 
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Before you set up their more "permanent" home, take this into consideration:

The Substrate you have in the bottom of the tank now is aquarium gravel. It is very large in size and allows for room between particles. This is a definite detritus trap. All the uneaten food and poop will settle into the spaces between the particles, and in no time will break down into Nitrates and eventually Phosphates. This will lead to algae outbreaks. The uneaten food and dissolved fish waste go especially for that Puffer. They are notorious messy eaters, and carry a huge bioload for a small fish.

There are two general rules to follow for Substrate: 1) Use Aragonite, sugar sized fine sand. 2) Make your sand bed either less than 1" deep, or 4-6" deep (DSB). The latter (deep sand bed) is a better form of filtration. 4" under the surface of the sand, anaerobic bacteria form and break down the Nitrates in the tank into harmless nitrogen gas, which leaves the system naturally.

To go along with the DSB, use a good amount of Live Rock. I prefer about 2/3 of my tank to be filled with Rock, on top of my Deep Sand Bed. The same anaerobic bacteria that thrives under the deepest part of the sand also resides in the deepest part of the rock. These two things, along with a Quality Protein Skimmer, form the basics of marine fitration.

With all that being said, what kind of filtration are you currently using? Wet/dry systems, canister filters, hang on filters; these all become detritus traps and need constant maintenance. I use what is called the "Berlin" method, I bleieve, Live Rock, Live sand and a protein skimmer. That is my filtration.

Set up a 40 breeder, or 55 long, and give these fish some swimming room. But even more important than swimming room is water volume. The larger the water volume, the easier to maintain the system. As toxins are introduced into the system, 55 gallons would dilute better than 20.

There are a lot of things to take into consideration when starting a saltwater tank. Let us know step-by-step what you are doing before you transfer your livestock, and we can offer good advice to help your system thrive.

Last edited by wake49; 08-06-2009 at 10:33 PM..
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:03 PM   #13
 
Ok, I've decided that I'm going to take back my puffer because I plan to have invertebrates someday and I prefer them to be unharmed, and I'm taking back my cardinal because I dont have the correct food and I need more space. I'm picking up a 30 gallon tank tommarrow because its the biggest I can get. I plan to use a fine live sand and I've talked to someone about 35lbs of LR for $1.50/lb, although I don't know what kind of sand to get or how many lbs would be good for a 30 gallon tank (I don't want to buy too much or too little). My LPS don't have much variety, especially for saltwater fish and equipment. I'm not shure how to get more "water volume" yet so I'll have to read up on it. I currently have a Penguin 100 power filter but I plan on taking it back and getting a Penguin 150, Im not shure what filters are good but theres not many at the stores. Also, I'm not shure how to enter live sand/rock into a brand new aquarium, is it like other decor or do I have to treat it first? And I also learned that live rock is supported by light, do I still have to turn the light off at night? I've been turning it off for 12 hours each night, is that enough/too much?

Last edited by ScottAndChris; 08-06-2009 at 11:07 PM..
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:03 PM   #14
 
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The penguin 150 is still not going to be a good filter, i believe i've seen Pasfur recommend a HOB skimmer that was under100 bucks. I would go with something like that. Also the live sand and live rock will need to be cured before the critters are put into their new home, and it will probably need to go through a mini cycle too, If you are setting this up in a new tank, all that will consist of this is putting all the rock and sand in the tank and letting it sit for a few days to a week or so. Read up on cycles and curing.

water volume can be increased by using that 10 gallon tank you have as a sump, a place to put the heater, maybe a small refugium, and your skimmer. Eliminating much of the clutter on the display tank. This will increase your water volume to roughly 40gallons.


here is a good read for you:

The Berlin and Live Sand Method

there might be a better read, but this one seemed informative

Last edited by jwalker314; 08-07-2009 at 08:08 PM..
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:32 PM   #15
 
Ok, the live rock I am buying is from an active aquarium. Do I still have to cure it? I know I have to let it sit in the tank with the sand for a week or two to adjust, do I have to clean it still? The tank it is coming from is beautiful and well maintained. What kind of sand would be good for my tank? I dont know what it should contain or what brands are good, I also noticed that some bags have water with the sand, is that better than the dry sand or is any "aragonite" sand good? I also dont know what brand of skimmer I should get or how many GPH it puts out, and I dont know what a HOB is. Also (last one!!) what does a sump do and how do I set it up in my aquarium (I'll try to read up on it, I just prefer insurence from you guys.)

Last edited by ScottAndChris; 08-07-2009 at 10:39 PM..
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:33 PM   #16
 
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Originally Posted by ScottAndChris View Post
Ok, the live rock I am buying is from an active aquarium. Do I still have to cure it? I know I have to let it sit in the tank with the sand for a week or two to adjust, do I have to clean it still? The tank it is coming from is beautiful and well maintained. What kind of sand would be good for my tank? I dont know what it should contain or what brands are good, I also noticed that some bags have water with the sand, is that better than the dry sand or is any "aragonite" sand good? I also dont know what brand of skimmer I should get or how many GPH it puts out, and I dont know what a HOB is. Also (last one!!) what does a sump do and how do I set it up in my aquarium (I'll try to read up on it, I just prefer insurence from you guys.)

Start by reading this: Understanding Sumps, in the sumps and refugiums subforum. This will help you to understand the nature and functionality of a sump. Basically a sump is a place to where the display tank drains into. Most of the time it includes the heater, Skimmer, a refugium (a place that the water moves slowly over with a deep sand bed and macroalgae) and a return pump. The water is oxygenated by traveling down the standpipes to the sump, and the surface is skimmed of all the muck that forms on top of the water as it enters the overflow box.

Your best bet is to buy what is known as a reef ready tank, it has overflows installed and holes drilled in the bottom. You can also choose to drill the holes yourself, check out onefish2fish's build: OneFish2Fish's New one, Round One. He drilled the holes for his overflow box, and installed the overflow himself.

Also, read the filters section of the forum, and you will see that HOB and canister filters are not a common form of filtration in a marine tank. They act as a detritus trap, and cause a nitrate spike, ultimately resulting in high phosphates and an algae bloom.

If you put Live Sand in your aquarium (this will be sold in bags with water in them), you will have the beneficial bacteria and the little critters that dwell in the sand. Add either less than 1" of depth, or 4-6" of depth, nothing in between. Very little die off will occur, and your sand should cycle in a few days, maybe a week. You will be able to tell the cycle is over once nitrites and ammonia read zero.

This brings me to my next point: buy test kits. You will be testing pH, Nitrite, Ammonia, Nitrate, salinity, calcium, alkalinity, magnesium. The last three are more important to test for if you are doing a reef setting, but they should still be tested for in any saltwater tank.

Live rock that comes from an established aquarium will already have the beneficial bacteria as well, as long as it doesn't take too long of a trip out of the water. Again test ammonia and nitrite to make sure any die off from transport has stopped.

After the tank cycles, you will want it to mature. First you will get a reading of zero Nitrites, zero Ammonia, close to zero Nitrates, and a pH of 8.3.Then shortly after that, you will see a diatom bloom: it looks like rust colored algae covering the rocks and sand. After that subsides, you will see the presence of small reef creatures, such as copepods and amphipods. These are really hard too see, as they are small, but a close patient eye can pick them up.At this point your tank is in the earliset stage of mature.

After this start to add fish. One at a time is best, quarantining them for three weeks beforehand to make sure they are free of disease and eating properly.

This is a lot of info to swallow in one sitting. I know that it doesn't directly help your situation, as you have fish that have to move, but this is the most correct way to set up a marine tank.

What are your ultimate plans with this tank?


Last edited by wake49; 08-07-2009 at 11:38 PM..
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Old 08-08-2009, 02:18 AM   #17
 
Alright, all of this REALLY helps. The tank I am getting doesn't have an overflow box or standpipes I don't think, It is a used tank that was once used for a single saltwater fish. It is all I can afford and it might be a while before I can start putting together a sump, especially because the fish I have will have to live in this ten gallon tank until the 30 is fit for them. The person who is selling me the live rock doesn't live too far away so I think that the live rock will be fine and I have to wait till I know the dimensions of the new tank before I can calculate how much live rock to purchase. I take my water to get tested once a week at my LPS, is that often enough? It doesn't tell salinity or calcium though. For this tank I just plan to have live rock and sand, a few fish and some inverts, just to learn how to take care and handle any situations before it gets too major. I plan to have a reef setup someday but I need to learn the basics first. How many inverts can be in this tank?
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Old 08-08-2009, 08:25 AM   #18
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwalker314 View Post
here is a good read for you:
The Berlin and Live Sand Method
there might be a better read, but this one seemed informative
I just read this article. Very good information from a great source, Albert Theil. I was particularly interested in the date of this article, dated 1997. Here we are, 12 years later, and we are still fighting to get this information out to some of the LFS and hobbyists.

On the subject of Live Rock curing, most of the information that is in this article refers to live rock which is uncured. Generally, when buying live rock today, the rock will have all been cured prior to purchase. You have no need for the steps described in this article, such as scubbing the rock and allowing it to dry cure on a plastic sheet. When you purchase your rock, just wrap it with wet newspaper (wet with water from his aquarium.) When you get home, place the rock into your display, prior to adding fish. Then test for ammonia and nitrite over the next week or so until both read zero. This may happen within a few days, but you still want to wait a couple of weeks to allow for everything to become stable prior to adding fish.

In the early weeks of your system you should add very few fish. Much more important that the cycling process of ammonia and nitrite, is the maturing process of the overall aquarium environment. As Wake mentioned, keep an eye out for copepods and amphipods. These are little "bugs" that move about in your sand. You will also experience a diatom bloom, which is basically a brown dusting of algae that covers your sand and rocks. This diatom bloom will go away on its own as the system matures, generally after 4 to 6 weeks. Finally, you will begin to see some good coraline algae growth, which is a purple colored algae that SLOWLY covers your rock. It almost looks like red fingernail polish, not to be confused with red slime algae (cynobacteria), which has a thicker ugly appearance and spreads like wildflowers.

After a period of 6 to 8 weeks all of these things will have occured. Copepods and amphipods will flourish. The diatom bloom will have gone away. Coraline algae will begin to spread over the rock. At this point your aquarium is "mature" and capable of supporting life, including corals, anemones, and fish, assuming you have the experience, light, and dedication to keep the animals you wish to purchase.

Now, lets talk about the important stuff. The long term success of your system will depend first on the patience you have with the above steps, allowing the system to mature before going fish crazy. Just as important, and more of a long term challenge, will be TESTING AT HOME for alkalinity and calcium, and taking the appropriate action to adjust the levels of each. You have to buy these test kits, and you have to adjust these levels. I personally use Kent Marine Superbuffer DKH to maintain my alkalinity between 8 and 12 DKH. I use Kent Marine Liquid Calcium (Calcium chloride) to maintain calcium between 400ppm and 460 ppm. These two readings depend on each other, so supplementing and maintaining both has to be done together, and should be charted and tested weekly at minimum.

Presently your biggest important decision will be what Protein SKimmer you purchase. Before we make any suggestions, we need to know how serious you are about using that 10 gallon as a sump. If this is not possible, then we need to discuss HOB skimmers. (Hang On Back) Meaning skimmers that hang on the back of your aquarium.
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Old 08-08-2009, 08:27 AM   #19
 
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Originally Posted by ScottAndChris View Post
How many inverts can be in this tank?
Depends on the size of the inverts and their growth rate.
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Old 08-08-2009, 10:43 AM   #20
 
Alright, the growth of the live rock sounds very interesting! I'll see if I can pick of some test kits at my LPS, I saw one that did everything but alkalinity and calcium so I'll have to keep looking. I don't think I can get a sump just yet. I still have to buy a lot of things and my fish are going to be in there for a while more. So I'll probbly get a HOB skimmer. I read that you need one that puts out 5 times GPH than the amout that is in the tank, is this true? Are there any good brands for HOB skimmers?
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