Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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n1zjd 01-30-2010 05:22 PM

Complete newb 30 gallon reef
Well today I made the plunge into saltwater. After a couple of hours at my local Saltware Aquarium shop and several hundred dollars later Ive got a 30 gallon aquarium setup in my living room. At this point I dont know what to expect since the owner of the saltwater place didnt recommend I try ANYTHING under a 75 gallon aquarium to begin with!

My original intention today was to try starting up a 10 gallon nano reef but after talking to the owner today, and not willing to give up entirely, I bought a 30 gallon. I know I have LOTS more to invest into this project in the future but I feel its a start and I can move up from here. Heres what I got today,

30 Gallon aquarium with standard lighted hood (I know its not enough lighting and will be improving this in the near future!)
Aquarium Stand
2 HOB filters (I know, Ill get a skimmer soon!)
1 Power head
1 Heater
Red Sea Marine Lab test kit
30lbs aragonite
20lbs live sand
9lbs live rock

Questions? Comments? Only thing I ask is that you dont criticize me to hard. I know Im a newbie but Im a quick learner and intend to make this work. I plan to make a DIY canopy soon and upgrade the lighting as well as making a DIY sump/refugium. Cheers

Pasfur 01-30-2010 06:25 PM

Did you purchase the HOB filters, or did you already have them? If you purchased them, is it to late to return them? They provide no benefits to a marine tank, and actually can cause the water quality to worsen by trapping organics, resulting in rising nitrates and a depletion of carbonates.

n1zjd 01-30-2010 06:36 PM

They actual came with the used tank that I purchased. I have one hooked up right now with nothing inside of it whatsoever just to assist with mixing the water that I just mixed today. So I have them now even if I dont use them. Also, I just found out the tank is a 29G High not a 30. I was hoping you would stop by Pasfur as you always have answers for us newbs to saltwater.

Can you point me to any good resources to read up on what I should expect in the coming weeks? Right now all I know is I have a tank full of saltwater with some live sand and live rock. I know, this doesnt sound promising right? I will learn I promise. Tomorrow I will test all water parameters so I can continue to monitor them until the tank is ready for CUC.

Pasfur 01-30-2010 07:26 PM


Originally Posted by n1zjd (Post 316108)
Right now all I know is I have a tank full of saltwater with some live sand and live rock. I know, this doesnt sound promising right?

Honestly, if everybody would just start with live rock and live sand, then everything would be so much easier. I can't think of a better way for you to get started.

I would leave one of the hang on filters running empty, just for water circulation. This also gives you a place to put a bag of activated carbon if you want. I just throw a bag in my sump.

You can use the other hang on for your quarantine filter. You will need to get this quarantine tank in place within the next 2 weeks. A 10 gallon, bare bottom, with a heater and the hang on filter, will be all you need. You should be able to pull this off for about $20. You will need to slightly modify the hang on. Post a picture of the hang on so I can give you some ideas.

Over the next couple of weeks you can expect to be extremely frustrated because I will keep telling you every day that it is not time to add livestock. ;-) You will see some growth on the live rock, and hopefully will see copepod and amphipod populations begin to thrive and spread. I suggest looking at the same spot in the sand bed for about 5 minutes until your eyes adjust and you begin seeing the little things that you did not see before. After you learn to recognize them, you will see them easily. You want these populations of micofauna to really have an extended time to flourish without predators in the tank, such as hermit crabs, snails, and fish.

In about 2 weeks you will see the diatom bloom hit. It will hit almost overnight, a brown algae that covers everything. It will go away almost over night as well, usually between weeks 3 and 4. You can add a small portion of your CUC when you see the diatom hit. Keep in mind, your tank size will only support 5 or 6 hermit crabs and 3 or 4 snails. The LFS will try to sale you far more than this, but you don't need it.

n1zjd 01-30-2010 08:07 PM

Thanks once again. I will post a picture of the HOB tomorrow for you. Nah, no getting frustrated here, not that kind of person. Believe it or not I would be content with a tankful of liverock and coral forever :-D But do eventually want a clownfish, but no other stocking plans other than that. Right now Ive only got a cheap hydrometer but plan to purchase a refractometer soon, as well as the rest of the testing supplies Im going to need.

Right now I only have the means to test pH, Alkalinity, Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. So Ive still got plenty of purchases to make. I dont trust the hydrometer I have now. Heres what things look like right now. Cheers

BTW, is that sand bed ok or should I get another 20lbs of live sand? Im obviously going to purchase more livee rock...

Edit: The small HOB is an Aqua-Tech 10-20

n1zjd 01-30-2010 09:41 PM

Ok so I have a couple questions that are important I get answers to, 1) Does my sand bed look ok or should I purchase another 20lb bag of live sand to make it deeper? 2) With regards to a QT tank, does it have to be cycled?

Like I said, Im very patient so no plans for adding livestock with the exception of CUC when the time is right, but I would like to get my QT setup and 'established' if thats required. Cheers

Pasfur 01-30-2010 09:50 PM

Your sand bed looks fine to me. I wouldn't add more sand.

Yes, a Q tank needs to be cycled. I generally "seed" a sponge in my display and then transfer it to the Q. This topic comes up daily, so I posted a detailed thread on the subject:

n1zjd 01-30-2010 10:02 PM

Awesome dude, thanks alot. Ill keep you posted on the progress. Right now Im searching online for supplies. Ive found the skimmer I plan to purchase based on one you suggested in another thread and looking at lighting options because the standard hood that comes with a tank isnt going to get me very far into the world of coral. Cheers

Pasfur 01-30-2010 10:04 PM

What skimmer did you decide on? I often make suggestions based on the livestock a member says they want to keep. What are your long term plans with the tank?

n1zjd 01-30-2010 10:11 PM

Super Skimmer with Needle Wheel - Up to 65 Gallon | Venturi Models | Protein Skimmers | Aquarium -

I dont have much for plans at this time. This is all new to me. All I know for sure is there will be a couple clownfish and the wife had her eye on a shrimp at the LFS. Believe me I will do my research before considering anything. Other than that, coral. Any and all I can sucessfully keep in my aquarium.

Edit: If you dont think that skimmer I listed will do a good job at what I have described Ive also got my eye on this one which you have posted in another thread before as well,

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