30 gal tank...first time
I have just set up a 30 gal tank and just wanted to make sure that I am doing everything correctly...its only been about 3 days but I figured if I make sure I have everything done rihgt from the start things should go ok (I've heard horror stories).
What I have is:
about 20lbs of Liverock
20lbs of "real" sand
heater (80 degrees)
and a filter...which is what I am most curious about--its brand new but I wasn't sure if it was appropriate for a saltwater tank since I"m not sure if you can use just any filter but it came with the generic tank set I bought.
its an Aqueon PowerFilter it does say for Saltwater or Fresh water but I just wanted to be sure.
I have the light that came with the hood for the aquarium and have read that there are better and more appropriate lights out there, just wondering what might be recommended and how much they cost.
The tests I have done on the water have (so far) come out good for what has been recommended--the only question I have about this is the whole cycling process--I plan on letting the tank sit for at least 2 weeks before adding and "cleaning critters"(unless I should add them sooner?) -- I know that the nitrite/nitrate/ammonia levels are very important--I have a nitrite reading of 0 does that mean that the ammonia is 0 or is there a separate test for this too? And there must be a separate test for nitrates as well?? Those are 2 tests that didn't come with my "start up" pkg.
I guess thats it for now--I love to watch little critters and things come out of the liverock its really fascinating.
Thanks for the help in advance!!
You are off to a very nice start! Just a few small changes to recommend...
First, a quick understanding of filtration. The protein skimmer, live rock, and sand are all you want to filter a saltwater aquarium. The biological media inside your powerfilter will pump Nitrate into the aquarium. You do not want Nitrate in a marine system. In fact, you need to do everything you can to eliminate the introduction of Nitrate into the tank. This means not using biological filtration media. The protein skimmer removes organic wastes directly from the water, and the live rock and sand provide the remaining necessary filtration.
Please pay attention to this comment. You do not have enough sand. You need a minimum of 3'' depth of sand. At said depths, denitrification occurs, removing Nitrates from the aquarium. You need to fix this now, before going forward.
Back to the power filter, you should continue to use the power filter, but only run carbon. You can also use the filter pad, provided you clean it DAILY. If you are not willing to clean it daily, then only use the filter pad when you scrape algae from the glass. If your power filter is still new in the box, then return it and we can discuss a better unit for less cost.
The live rock will cycle your aquarium. If you are still reading zero ammonia and nitrite, then you are cycled. Just add fish slow, and preferably add more live rock.
You need the following test kits, not optional: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, alkilinity, calcium. You will test Nitrate, alkilinity, and calcium on a regular basis for the entire life of your aquarium.
i personally think filters on saltwater tanks are breeding grounds for nitrate build up. yes you can use one, but you have to clean/change the filter more often.
i personally feel a better form of filtration would be building/buying a sump with a protien skimmer/refugium with deep sand bed,live rock rubble and cheato .. its more of a natural way of removing the nasties.
to sum up the "cycle" amonia comes first, then produces nitrite, then produces nitrate. you might not have anything giving off amonia to be producing nitrite. usually live rock will have a slight die off and will start a cycle, but im unsure of how long you've had it in your tank. you can always put an uncooked shrimp or two in your tank as an amonia sorce to feed the tank to cycle.
i personally wouldnt add any criters any sooner then 2 weeks if not longer. usually you will see an algae bloom, pretty much overnight which is a good indicator when to add your critters. i wouldnt over do it though.. maybe 3 hermits, 4 turbo snails, and 4 nassarius snails.. because remember you can always add more .. and you want the ones you already have to have enough food to eat.
as for lighting, it really depends on your budget and what you want to keep in the tank. if your going for fish only you can get away with a flouresant tube but if you want corals theres pretty much 3 different kinds of lights, PC / T5 / MH ( power compact, t5, metal halide ) and they generally range in price in that order, PC being the cheapest and MH the most expensive. MH will let you grow any coral and PC might restrict you to certain kinds.
i strongly suggest just doing as much as research as possible before jumping into anything. while your tank cycles you'll have a good oportunity to absorb as much information as you can.
GOOD LUCK and dont be afraid to ask questions.
Thank you!! I really appreciate your help (I've actually been reading a lot of your posts before starting up the tank)....
I will definitely add more sand--and some more live rock.
And as far as the filtration goes with the power filter--wanted to clarify..if I do continue to use the filter it must be a carbon only cartridge or do I use actual carbon and place it in the filter? AND IF IT IS a cartridge with just carbon (if they make those..) I must change that on a daily basis??
**Sorry if thats a weird question I just wanted to make sure I was understanding it.
And do you have any recommendations on what to start with for cleaning critters? I think I'm going to start there before the fish.
freshwater filters usually dont go on saltwater tanks because they just build up with poopy and uneaten food which will raise your nitrates.. carbon is used to help remove organics which i personally dont use or find required for saltwater. if you do use it, you want to clean it everyday to avoid the build up.
personally your best bet would be a really good protein skimmer and maybe eventually a sump/refugium
i find hermit crabs, turbo snails and nassarius snails are good at cleaning, atleast to start with.
i do NOT want you to take offense to this, i am NOT getting on you, and it is GREAT that your asking questions, however i do not think you have done enough research and recommend doing more, again its great that your asking questions!
pasfur i've seen alot of other people suggesting a dsb but are you saying it is something everyone should be using? i was under the impression they were better suited to a fuge where they would not be disturbed and the acid released. can you really be sure that it wouldn't happen in the display?
I have about 60 lbs of live sand in a 46 gallon bow. I told this to my LFS, and he said it was good thinking to have a DSB, about ten years ago. He told me the problem with a DSB is that it allows a place for parasites and unwanted bacteria to hide and reproduce.
It seems to me that a DSB has its ups and downs, as does any other method of filtration...
In a nutshell, anything less than 2.5'' tends to become a nutrient sink. Systems set up with the proper grain size, proper depth (3'' to 4''), adequate sand sifters, and placed directly on the bottom of the aquarium have been successful.
A very common problem is the confusion between the plenum system and a DSB system. They are different concepts and take advantage of different biological principles. The plenum systems, in my personal conversations and experience, have been more problematic and less dependable long term.
Personally, i support a 4'' layer of aragonite sand placed directly on the bottom of the aquarium.
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