Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Taking the Plunge (

GiantSquid 07-19-2012 08:02 AM

Taking the Plunge

Hello everyone. I'm new to the board and I thought I'd take a moment to introduce myself.

After having freshwater for about 15 years, about a month ago I decided to take the plunge and convert my tank to saltwater. Here's what things look like after a few weeks.

I had a well-filtered freshwater tank and I'd love to be able to keep using my canister filters. However, I've heard a lot of mixed reviews. Some say not to use canisters at all, others say it's okay. I guess I'll just take things slowly and learn by experience!

For now, I'm just planning a FOWLR tank, but I'll probably change my mind in a few months.

So far, my plans in the coming week: increase the sand bed and live rock.

Here's what I have so far:

75 gal
60 lbs life sand (going to add another 20 lbs)
30 (?) lbs live rock (going to add another 20 lbs)
2 canister filters
- Eheim 2217 (intake on far left, outflow center top)
- Fluval 305 (intake on far right, outflow on far left)
SeaClone 100 HOB protein skimmer (right-center)
Powerhead on right wall angled for surface agitation (forgot the brand name)
2 CoralLife T8 10,000K lights

Currently stocked with:

1 chocolate chip sea star
2 turbo snails
2 black-and-gold damsels
15 blue-legged hermit crabs

Advice is ALWAYS welcomed and encouraged,
although I reserve the right to ignore it all
and continue to experiment on my own. :-D

sidluckman 07-19-2012 09:21 AM

I kept freshwater tanks for 40 years before finally getting into marine in earnest about 4 years ago. I would encourage you to add more live rock, but since you already have inverts in the tank, make sure what you add is well cured. Die-off from un-cured live rock could create enough pollution to put your critters at risk. Same way with adding live sand: make sure not to "cap" the existing sandbed with new substrate. Mix small amounts in over a gradual period. I would advise you get this done sooner than later, since additions to the substrate will stir up lots of particulate. Unless you intend on having creatures like wrasses or jawfish that burrow or bury themselves, I would spend the money on more live rock versus live sand. . . Just my opinion.

If your plan is to keep corals down the line, select the fish you add with that in mind.

Experiment with the arrangement of rockwork. You seem to have created a deliberate pattern that looks a little contrived. What about taller piles of rock of different heights with lots of space between them? Asymmetrical arrangements look more natural.

You can use a canister filter with this tank, but use something like ceramic media in ther media container, versus activated carbon. This filter can do some of what a wet-dry would do when utilized as a mechanical and biological filter. Think about up grading to a sump type filter, which will allow you to get all that equipment out of the tank!

good luck!

GiantSquid 07-19-2012 10:47 AM

Thanks for your feedback.

I agree completely. The rock work is the result of not having enough to start with and trying to get some height and breadth out of what I had.

My wife is a HUGE fan of the Chocolate Chip sea star. I know they're generally not reef compatible. When the time comes to add corals, anemones, etc, is there anything that would give that look while still allowing me to keep the star?

Also, as for the sump, that will also likely happen at some point. I guess I'll just have to start up another freshwater tank so my canisters aren't wasted. (Or are they toast now that they've been used with salt?)
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GiantSquid 07-19-2012 10:59 AM

Also, what if I add more base rock instead of LR? That should solve the problem of a LR die-off, right?
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sidluckman 07-19-2012 12:56 PM

Yes. That dry base-rock is very useful in that it will eventually become colonized and encrusted with coralline algae. A similar product, though somewhat more dense and "blocky" is also available. In Chicago they call it "holey rock" and it is great for creating a foundation for legitimate live rock. The dry base rock is also economical and there is zero risk of introducing disease (or a Mantis Schrimp) with it.

Your canisters should be able to be used in fresh water again, should you choose, with no problem. My main concern is always wondering if some used piece of equipment has ever been exposed to copper. In such a case, you wouldn't want to use it on a tank containing invertebrates.

I am no expert on the diet of chocolate chip stars. Possibly, if it is incompatible with things you later want to keep, you can re-home it and find a starfish species that wil be more compatible. I usually recommend that people draw up a stocking plan before they begin to acquire livestock. Every purchase and addition will limit, somewhat, the selection and quantity of lifestock you can add later. I recommend you start with things you definitely love and must have, make a short list of those, then see if they are compatible with each other. Things get added to the list, other things get dropped. Finally, once you have selected a group that can (at least theoretically) get along and which will not outgrow the space you have, you determine the sequence in which they might ideally be placed in the tank. Some fish get territorial and should be placed last. Some need time to adjust without competition, so they should go in earlier. Some will only do well in a more stable and well-established tank, so they too need careful consideration.

So I would start by writing down three things you simply have to have, and go from there!

Reefing Madness 07-19-2012 06:14 PM

MarcoRocks Aquarium Products

Macro Rock, Dead Rock, Base Rock, can and are able to replace the use of Live Rock all together.

Chocolate Chip Starfish would munch on corals down the road. Also, keepin mind that at around 15" long, they are a pretty big starfish when fully grown.

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