Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Carp 11-23-2008 07:48 PM

Help a salt water newb?
This is a great forum glad I found it. I have been a lurker for a week and decided to get some feedback.

I bought a 36 gallon corner tank. I put in tap water, put conditioner in it. Also added 2 Aqua clear powerhead 50 and a tank heater. I added salt and let it sit for 4 days. Today I put in 41 pounds of live rock so far. I have sand being ship to me this week. I am going to buy Tunze Nano DOC Protein Skimmer 9002 since the reviews say this skinner is just as good as AquaC Remora Protein Skimmer but quieter. The quieter my tank is the better.

Here are my 1st test results:
PH 8.2
Ammonia 0
nitrite 0
nitrate 0
salinity 29.5
gravity 1.022
temp 78.5

Should I throw in a dead shrimp to help jump start my cycle? I am very new at this. All my limited knowledge on this subject has been gain by this forum.

Any suggestions of feedback would be greatly appreciated. Here is a pic of my tank.

BTW This is an expensive new hobby. I am doing a FOWLR.

conger 11-23-2008 09:22 PM

welcome to the hobby! You're sure to find it is a continual learning processes :-P

To answer your question, I don't think you need to add any dead shrimp or anything to kick off the cycle. Your live rock will do fine to get the cycle going... even if it was fully-cured live rock, there will still be some die-off anytime it is put in a new/different tank, and that will be just fine to start and feed the cycle.

Another note, I would HIGHLY encourage you to not use tap water anymore. You shouldn't even really use it simply fill up the tank to begin with, but now that you have, try to avoid using it any more. Tap water contains all kinds of stuff that will feed really ugly algae growth in SW tanks (phosphates, silicates, etc), and conditioner for tap water doesn't remove any of that. It only neutralizes the chlorine and such to make it not toxic to living things. You should instead use RO or RO/DI (RO = reverse osmosis, DI = de-ionized) water, which you can get either at your local fish store, or you can buy a RO unit for your house for fairly cheap (relative to the cost of the rest of the equipment you already have or are going to buy ;-)).

What kind of fish do you plan on putting in the tank?

The setup looks great! Putting a new tank together and bringing it to life is so much fun, so enjoy, BE PATIENT, and once again welcome!

conger 11-23-2008 09:26 PM

I just noticed something else in your picture that I thought I would mention: it looks like your tank is set up right next to a window... that could be a bad thing, as sunlight (especially direct, but even in-direct) can cause horrific algae growth in the tank, and possibly even contribute to heating up the water. I think you'll find that with saltwater tanks, you don't have a problem keeping your tank up to temp, but instead it can be challenging to keep it cool once you get all that equipment added in and running.

You might consider doing something to block any of the sunlight from that window from hitting your tank :-)

Carp 11-23-2008 09:40 PM

Thank you for the warm greeting. I will have to study the choices of fishes. Any suggestions? I would also like to put a small crab or shrimp in the tank. When the algae starts growing do I put in clean up crew? What do you suggest for the clean up crew?

Carp 11-23-2008 09:43 PM

As for the window I will put up a thermal curtain also this corner of my house is never hit with direct sun light. It is shaded through out the day. Thank you for info.

conger 11-23-2008 10:22 PM


Originally Posted by Carp (Post 154060)
Thank you for the warm greeting. I will have to study the choices of fishes. Any suggestions? I would also like to put a small crab or shrimp in the tank. When the algae starts growing do I put in clean up crew? What do you suggest for the clean up crew?

You're welcome! As far as fishes go, you'll have a pretty decent number of options. I'd stay away from fish like tangs or trigger fish, as even though they are really beautiful, they need large and/or long tanks for ample swimming space. Since you don't plan to keep corals, you don't have to worry about whether or not fish you want to keep are reef-safe or not, but be sure to pay attention to whether or not they have a taste for invertebrates (i.e. clean-up crews)!

I'd suggest first letting your tank cycle, once you see the ammonia and nitrites rise then fall back to zero, do a water change and wait another week, then add your clean-up crew first. A couple/few weeks later, you can begin adding fish. Do so slowly, it can be tough to remain patient, but you'll have a much lower mortality rate, and end up wasting less money and fish lives if you take things slow.

Turbo snails are good, but are pretty big (along with a big appetite) so you might only get one or two of those. Nassarius snails are super-cool, but will need a decently deep sandbed... how many pounds of sand did you order, or otherwise how deep do you plan to make the sandbed? I'm not familiar with the specifics of other individual types of snails off the top of my head, but you can probably get around 20-30 snails total to eat away at your algae. Trochus snails and cerith snails will do a good job of eating algae off your rocks (nassarius will stay almost exclusively in your sand).

Hermit crabs are good too, but some people don't really like them so I don't think they are necessary, I guess its a matter of whether or not you want them. You might also look at getting an emerald mithrax crab, they are good algae eaters, and cool crabs to own. Maybe a skunk cleaner shrimp too, they will keep your fishes cleaned of parasites (though you might wait until you add fish before you get a cleaner shrimp!). Coral banded shrimp are really cool-looking, but can get aggressive towards other inverts, so beware if you go that route. I wouldn't suggest getting a skunk or peppermint shrimp AND a coral banded shrimp, as in a day or two you'll only have a coral banded shrimp ;-).

One random piece of advice relating to your clean-up crew, is that any new saltwater tank will go through one or more phases of algae growth in the first few months, so don't go and buy a large cleanup crew sized for the first algae explosion you see (and don't get frustrated by the large algae explosion! its expected), because after a while the algae will die off and then you'll have a cleanup crew too large for the long-term food supply.

Carp 11-23-2008 10:32 PM

Thank you so much for the very helpful reply!! I will print it out. I ordered 150 lbs of fiji white sand. Probably way to much for my tank, but I want 6 inches for my sand bed since it is beneficial for the tank. (that's what I read)

Any more helpful hints so I do not make any rookie mistakes?

conger 11-23-2008 10:54 PM

hey no problem. I was lucky enough to catch your post soon after you posted it, but I'm sure others will come along soon as well with much more info that I didn't think of.

150 lbs is good, or I should say having a deep sand bed is a good thing :-P 4 inches is good, and I suppose even deeper can't be bad! Definitely get some nassarius snails then after a while, those guys are so awesome. They stay buried most of the time, with their "noses" sticking up out of the sand like snorkels... when you put food in the tank, they all come shooting up out of the sand and rushing around looking for bits of food that make it to the bottom! They do a good job of keeping the upper-layer of sand stirred up and clean too.

Since you're going with a DSB, I'd suggest not actually vacuuming or disturbing the sand bed when you do water changes. Let your snails and other critters do that for you. Once the sand bed matures and starts doing it's job, if you happen to stir up the depths of it, it could release some toxic stuff that might kill off your tank inhabitants (or so i've heard, I don't know that from personal experience).

Otherwise, I can't think of anything off the top of my head to suggest! Sounds like you're off to a great start. If you weren't already planning on it, you should use this thread or start a new one, and have it be your "tank diary." Lots of people do it on this forum, its a great way to record the progress of your tank, let others see and comment along the way, and especially let others learn who come and read!

Carp 11-24-2008 10:22 PM

How often should I test the water?

Carp 11-24-2008 11:18 PM

I retested my water and all the test results are the same. I have fully cured rock. So will I even have a cycle?

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