Beginning 29 gallon saltwater
We are just beginning our 29 gallon saltwater aquarium. We have 40# live Fiji Sand and about 2 pounds of live rock. We set this up in August and lost 3 clown fish (They didn't even move or eat as soon as we put them in the tank). We let the filters continue to run on an empty tank. We added 2 small yellowtail blue damsels on Saturday (Selected because they were cheap and we didn't want to kill another pricier fish). They are still living today.:-D We are slowly regaining our confidence at trying this. My question is do we need to canister filter that we currently have running? Upon reading another thread, we unplugged the biowheel filter. I am starting to think we need a protein skimmer.
So here are my questions more succintly:
definately more live rock, I would say at least 30 lbs total would be sufficient, and definately get a protein skimmer there are a few (not too pricey) that would do the job on this size tank, there are a whole bunch of explanations on why a protein skimmer and benefits from them on this forum, you can also find alot of info on the net.
as for adding a clownfish, I don't see a problem, BUT since damsels are aggresive, I would definately get a clown that is bigger in size than the damsels, I have read however the yellow tails are not as aggresive as some damsels.
as for the test kit, I use API, you should be checking for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, calcium and alkalinity.
I am also sure others with much more experiece than me will be happy to offer alot more info.
You definitely need to increase the amount of rock. I would suggest 5 pounds of live rock and 25 pounds of dry rock. Check out 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 for your dry rock. A 25 pound order of Key Largo Rock would be perfect.
In a marine setup, live rock will serve to process organic waste naturally. Live rock will serve as a natural biofilter, breaking down ammonia and nitrite, and even reducing Nitrate levels, with an end result of nitrogen gas. This is by far the most efficient method of filtration, and works very well on home aquariums when a protein skimmer is used.
The protein skimmer removes organic acids directly from the water, before they have an opportunity to break down. This helps to reduce the depletion of carbonates, stabilizing alkalinity and pH. The direct removal of organics (waste) also dramatically reduces (nearly eliminating) the break down of organics, resulting in very little nitrate buildup. This allows for the live rock and sand to process reduce nitrates into nitrogen gas.
A quick explanation. If you use an artificial biofilter, such as a biowheel, then the constant break down of organic waste into nitrate is overwhelming for the system. The live rock and sand simply can not process this amount of nitrate. The skimmer removes these organics, resulting in less nitrate, which can be processed by the rock and sand. This is referred to as denitrification.
I am glad you bought Yellow Tail Damsels. They are very sturdy fish and much less aggressive than other Damselfish. However, they are still a rather territorial fish, and your other fish additions will need to be on the aggressive side. At this point, I think adding a couple of Clownfish, and perhaps a Basslet, Flame Angel, Cherub Angel, or any Pseudochromis would be the ideal stocking list. If you are doing a fish only tank, with no inverts or corals, then you could also consider a Hawkfish or a Canthigastar genus of Pufferfish.
This web site might help you discuss possible fish selections:
Thank you so much for your answers! We have sought help at National Chain stores and local pet stores. None of which were nearly as helpful as you.:thankyou:
They are in it for the money. No one on a forum really has anything to gain from helping you so generally the info is a little better than a store which can 'innocently' forget to give info. I often when at a new store or with a new employee ask questions on things I know are iffy and I already know the answer to just to see if a: they know what they are doing and b: if they have any integrity.
Nothing I can really add that Pasfur hasnt covered besides dont use strips. I find the strips are ok for generalized testing, but to get a good accurate reading the liquid ones are better. With a new tank its important to test this stuff, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
Best to add your live rock and skimmer first then monitor amonia and nitrite levels first when these are zero then start adding fish and don't put aggressive fish like damsels in first if you intend adding clowns or they will be killed by the terretorial damsels.
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