Newbie 55 Gallon Saltwater Tank... - Page 4 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #31 of 39 Old 10-26-2007, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks bundles for the great tips and help. Hopefully, all the newbies getting into this hobby will read this thread and learn from it.

As for pictures, I've updated my tanks here so just click and let me know what you think.

BTW, something new, my wife has just noticed apprx. 30 miniature snails (the size of the head of a pin) crawling all over the rock in the tank. Don't know what they are, but there are plenty of them. Lots of critters in this tank gang, what with all the starfish and copepods.


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post #32 of 39 Old 05-26-2008, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Hey gang, just wanted to drop by and let everyone know how things have been going for me and the 55 FOWLR tank over the last couple of months. I haven't posted much since then, but things are going pretty good. My tank is still going strong and params are:

78 degrees
Alkalinity 1.023
0 Ammonia
0 Nitrite
25 Nitrate (can't seem to get the darn thing to go down)
PH 8.2

Here are the changes that have happened over the last few months. I went from standard florescent lights to 2 Power Glows which really set the tank off. Looking to add another 2 lights soon (building my own light hood). I have also recently added apprx. 10-12 lbs. more base rock to the live rock I already have. It has really set the tank off even more and I hope that it helps settle the tank down, chemically speaking of course.

I still have the following fish:

1 Yellow Tailed Blue Damsel
1 Ocellaris Clown
1 Coral Beauty Dwarf Angelfish
1 Solar Wrasse (a beauty)
1 Linear Blenny

My PJ Cardinal was given to my son's girlfriend to keep in her 10 gallon tank (which is also doing well).

I recently took a chance and added a fish that I've always loved, a True Lemon peel Dwarf Angelfish to the mix. I know there were risks in adding him to a tank already preoccupied with a Coral Beauty, but so far they are doing well. He has been in my tank for about 2 mos. now, and asserted himself as the "Big Cheese" but gets along well with the other fish (yes, even the Coral Beauty).

I have about 15 Blue Tip Hermit Crabs in the tank now and would like to add another 10. I also have 2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp now, 1 large Turbo Snail and 1 Medium Turbo Snail (these creatures are my weak spot, for I buy them very big and they don't live long in my tank). I also purchased an Arrow Crab about 3 mos. ago and he gets along fine in the tank. Sifting through the sand of this tank is a 2.5 inches diameter Sand Sifting Starfish, which does a nice job at keeping things cleaned up.

My wife fell in love with a Pink Tipped Condy Anemone back on Valentine's Day and it is in the tank too (about 2 inches in diameter) and does pretty well, but just won't sit still (and the shrimp will rob him of a meal if I don't watch them closely).

The tank is doing great, full of small snails, the occasional small white Serpent Starfish and loads of copepods (and the occasional Bristle Worm too). I also have a large Conch shell in the tank which is home to the Solar Wrasse and a food source (well, the algae growing on it anyway) for the Blenny.

More upgrades and updates coming gang (going to add a protein skimmer soon). I'll keep everyone up to date. Here are a few pics:


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post #33 of 39 Old 05-26-2008, 08:30 PM
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In regards to a protein skimmer, what are you waiting on? This piece of equipment is the single most important purchase you will ever make for your aquarium. The entire marine hobby began to flourish with the evolution and affordability of the protein skimmer, yet some newby's consider this item optional. If you are concerned with long term success, spending $150 or so on a skimmer is a no-brainer. Check out ebay and you can find some nice options.

If you need motivation to spend the money, talk to some old-timers who have kept aquariums long term without a protein skimmer. Anyone in the hobby in the 1980's and even early 90's can tell you story after story of complete wipeouts. Full tanks of fish would pass away without known reason. Everything would be "going great" for a couple of years and then all at once the fish would begin to die.

This entire situation ended almost completely when protein skimmers hit the mass market for an affordable price. The skimmer removes organic waste from the aquarium, reducing the buildup of Nitrate, increasing oxygen levels, and helping to stabilize the buffer system. pH swings are less. Alkalinity levels are more stable.

Second only to the skimmer, in my experience and which was suggested already by Betta, is the UV Sterilizer. You need to give very serious consideration to both, but can not allow your aquarium to continue running without the skimmer. Buy one. Make one. Borrow one. But somehow you need to be using one. And it needs to happen very very soon.

In fact, i am so passionate about it, that i will personally drive to Lexington and meet you to help you pick one out. Or you can drive to Cardinal Country and enjoy a basketball game while you are here. Bottom line, just get a skimmer.
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post #34 of 39 Old 05-26-2008, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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I'm Game...

Hey, if you can suggest a reasonably priced (somewhere betweeen $100 and $150 bucks), I'm game. Make sure that it is a "hang on the back" type that doesn't go too high above the top of the tank (I am getting ready to build a tank hood).

I'm open to suggestion.


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post #35 of 39 Old 05-26-2008, 09:57 PM
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I would suggest looking into something like the CPR BakPak units if money is an issue, you want hang on, and good quality all at same time. Might not be able to stick to that 100 - 150 budget, but for a little more, the BakPak units are well worth the price, and a lot less than anything else of close to equal quality.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #36 of 39 Old 05-27-2008, 03:25 AM
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Any of these would be a great starting point. They certainly aren't the best models available, but would be a reasonable option for your tank size and budget.

If you prefer to buy new, rather than on ebay....

Or, if you want a skimmer you can be proud of and take pictures to show to your friends:
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post #37 of 39 Old 05-27-2008, 03:28 AM
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As long as we are having fun, here is a nice hang-on UV option:
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post #38 of 39 Old 12-07-2008, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Hey gang, long time no chat. I thought I'd bring you up to date on what's happened in the tank since I last posted in May. I have my ups and downs of course (who hasn't). Firstly, I purchased a protein skimmer (a Red Sea Prizm hang on type) and it is doing a very good job of cleaning out the gunk in the tank. I did have some initial problems with it however. For all of you interested in them, beware that the intake tube sticks out too far into the surface of the water causing my glass lid to be partially ajar. Also, the scum gathering tank on top of the skimmer MUST be seated exactly right or you'll have some leaking problems (warped a few boards in my hardwood floor). I suggest you put a little petroleum jelly on the "O" ring when you seat it. This should assist you in making a good seal. Now it's working fine for me.

As for additions and losses? I still have the following fish (some I've had since the beginning):

1 Ocellaris Clown (my 3rd in a year and 1/2) affectionately named Threemo by my sister.
1 Yellow tailed Damsel (1st saltwater fish I ever purchased) named Dory of course (yeah, I know it's not a true Regal Tang, but my 6 year old named it).
1 Coral Beauty Angel named Elvis (for the comparison to a black velvet Elvis pic).
1 True Lemon Peel Angel named Sinatra (Ole' Blue Eyes).
1 Solar Wrasse named Apollo.
1 PJ Cardinal (yeah, the one I gave my sons ExGF. She gave it back after she got tired of her small tank, and I was glad to get him back).
I snagged a Sally Lightfoot Crab a few mos. back and she is doing great.
And the latest acquisition is a Kole Tang that I've had for about 2 weeks now. A truly beautiful fish that I had wanted for mos.

I lost my Klauswitz Blenny a few mos. ago and also my Arrow Crab. It would appear that the Crab and the Blenny had an altercation which led to the both of them dying. Apparently the Arrow Crab tried to mess with the Blenny (while he was in his hiding hole in some live rock) and he fatally wounded the Blenny, but died of wounds dealt him by the fish. Both died within hours of each other. I really hated the loss of both of them, especially the Blenny who was quite colorful and humorous to watch. The Arrow Crab had also been picking on my Sand Sifting Star who also died a few days later (with apparent marks on one of his arms).

I still have apprx. 10 hermit crabs and 1 large snail patrolling the tank. Numerous Copepods and still hundreds of small, pin head sized, snails (although a couple of the small ones have now grown into much larger sizes).

I'll keep you all posted on more updates. My little 55 Gallon tank is doing great though and it's become one of my most precious possessions. I love it and so does the wife and family.


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post #39 of 39 Old 12-08-2008, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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BTW, I forgot to add that I still have 2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, Jacques and Pierre, in the tank as well. Pierre has turned out to be a female and they have hatched several groups of eggs (which the fish love).


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