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PLZ Help on a 20 gallon FOWLR

This is a discussion on PLZ Help on a 20 gallon FOWLR within the Saltwater Fish forums, part of the Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef Tanks category; --> just a few things to add/clarify. "live" sand is just a term for sand with bacteria, personally i don't trust buying it as live. ...

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PLZ Help on a 20 gallon FOWLR
Old 07-14-2011, 05:10 PM   #21
 
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just a few things to add/clarify. "live" sand is just a term for sand with bacteria, personally i don't trust buying it as live. after you add sand to the tank it will only be a mater of months before your sand is more "live" then any you would buy. live rock is the same except i trust the "live" label far more, depending of course were you get it. any time you add live rock to your tank you must take into account that there will be some die off, but generally its not too bad. you can get base rock to prevent this small ammonia spike. base rock will become live rove in time.

ok, on to filtration. it is important to understand what the filter does when deciding whether or not it is necessary. hob filters usually have an area for biological filtration( aerobic bacteria), mechanical, mechanical, and chemical. usually carbon is useless unless you need to remove something like medication. mechanical can be useful depending on the setup, i found restricting flow in a reef system can cause problems when you start to collect livening organisms like plankton and they die and cause unnecessary ammonia in the tank. in a fish only they may be somewhat useful, but i dont think id personally worry about it. personally i would just get a good pump to pump about 200 to 300 gallon per hour, and let the live rock do the biological filtration. Were there is oxygen available there will be aerobic bacteria. these will take care of your ammonias and nitrites. if you have a proper amount of live rock, you don't need to have a hob filter at all.

as for nitrates, most systems aren't equipped to handle them. this is why you hear talk of nitrate spikes. the only way to really handle nitrates is with anaerobic (no oxygen) bacteria. normally i would just suggest an addition of a mud filter, but in the spirit of keeping with the simple fish only system i would instead suggest to simple add more sand. probably about 4-5" with mounding it in the back to be more should give you a balance of anaerobic conditions while still leavening some space left in the tank. it probably sounds like a lot of wasted display space and needless expense, but i promise you there is no better way to take care of nitrates in your setup. you may even be able to skip some water changes once your substrate matures.

as far as the substrate to use you will need fine substrate to restricted the oxygen. you can certainly mix coarse with it, some burrowers like this option, some don't, but you will definitely need fine substrate as the base.

you can take the nitrate elimination one step further and introduce an algae to your tank. there are many species of beautiful macro algae that will not only add to your tanks appearance but can do a wonderful job keeping your water parameters ideal, as well as out compete some of the pest algae that often trouble fish only systems. just keep in mind that some species can grow pretty fast, not necessarily a bad thing, the faster they grow the more they are cleaning your tank, but its something to be aware of. probably a good idea to make a new post if you decide to go with macro algae asking about the specific species your considering.

so basically what id put down on your list of things to get; a strong pump, more aragonite, and maybe a little more live rock or base rock if needed. a skimmer is always good when you don't have a mud filter, but you may be able to skip it. i would say let your sand bed mature, 4-6 months, and see.
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Old 07-14-2011, 05:16 PM   #22
 
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oops, im an idiot. i posted a reply without even noticing that there were 3 pages of responses, lol. i only read the first page so my reply might not make much sense or be extremely redundant.

if no one has mentioned deep sand beds yet or macro algae though, you might still find it helpful.

and now im off to find a 5 year old post i can reply to.
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Old 07-14-2011, 05:29 PM   #23
 
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ok i just read over the other posts i missed. i just wanted to briefly tell you not to add cycle. the live rock already has bacteria, and adding cycle is just adding more bacteria. best case; it's useless, worst case; it can be harmful. if there is too much bacteria and not enough ammonia the bacteria can go dormant. then you will get another ammonia spike. this can sometimes go on months longer then if you started off with too little bacteria and let the colony grow to the size that is right for the tank.
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Old 07-14-2011, 05:42 PM   #24
 
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Originally Posted by cro117 View Post
oops, im an idiot. i posted a reply without even noticing that there were 3 pages of responses, lol. i only read the first page so my reply might not make much sense or be extremely redundant.

if no one has mentioned deep sand beds yet or macro algae though, you might still find it helpful.

and now im off to find a 5 year old post i can reply to.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:47 PM   #25
 
ok first off you gotta understand i really have no idea of anything you are talking about LOL,i just want to run a simple fowlr aquarium without having to worry about anything i know pretty much everything about the subject but i have few more questions i would be very pleased if you could answer them for me.

#1- i got a wave maker from my saltwater only fish store and it 1300 GPH! i didn't really think before i got it because i only have a 20 gallon tank it's literally making waves in my tank! is 1300 GPH too strong for my tank?
#2-the HOB filter i have ordered it a marine land bio wheel 350,i don't really care too much if it makes a lot of noise i just want it to get the job done and now im hearing that there really is no job for it to get done should i send it back and just get a regular filter? and not one thats expensive and not going to benefit anything in my tank or will it?because if i don't need it i can get a cheaper one and you the left over money towards getting a protein skimmer.
#3-my substrate right now it crushed coral #0 i have that in my tank with saltwater and a wave maker going,should i replace the coral with live sand? will the sand have alot more benefits to the tank? and would it be worth changing it?

these questions are open to anyone that wants to answer(let me rephrase: "anyone please answer" LOL)
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:50 PM   #26
 
also i forgot to say im getting in 25 LB's of live rock this monday or tuesday ,at least thats taken care of.
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:39 PM   #27
 
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i'll just give you a brief rundown of filtrations and you can make your own call.

firstly you have aerobic (needs oxygen) bacteria, generally these are the only ones known to most hobbyist and are commonly just referred to as good bacteria. ammonia and nitrites are converted into nitrates by these bacteria. all they need is an oxygen rich environment and surface area to grow on. thats why a bio wheel is designed to be partially out of the water, maximum oxygen. liverock is a great breeding ground for these bacteria though and should provide all that you will need with strong enough flow.

anaerobic (no oxygen) bacteria are generally unknown, ignored, or falsely though of as harmful. these will basically convert nitrate into nitrogen gasses. harmful gasses are also produced which is were the bad rep comes from, but as long as the sand bed is not greatly disturbed these gasses are diffused by oxygen as the rise to the surface and are of no harm. to attain anaerobic conditions all that is needed is a deep sand bed, usually 4-6", and thats it.

a protein skimmer uses neither of these filters and can in a way be thought of as not doing anything other then removing the potential for waste. if used they can help to increase the efficiency of the bacteria by reducing the amount of ammonia in the tank. they are always a good idea, but not always necessary, and can easily be added at a later time.

ok, now to address your specific equipment, the bio wheel may help as a mechanical filter, similar to a skimmer, but if it were me i wouldn't waste the money. the pump is definitely too strong. most recommend to turn over a reef tank 10-20 times an hour, but this is accommodating coral feeding and waste expulsion so you may be able to get away with less. i have heard of people turning over a tank 50x per hour though, but yours is still high for that.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:25 PM   #28
 
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Originally Posted by Stingray81 View Post
ok first off you gotta understand i really have no idea of anything you are talking about LOL,i just want to run a simple fowlr aquarium without having to worry about anything i know pretty much everything about the subject but i have few more questions i would be very pleased if you could answer them for me.

#1- i got a wave maker from my saltwater only fish store and it 1300 GPH! i didn't really think before i got it because i only have a 20 gallon tank it's literally making waves in my tank! is 1300 GPH too strong for my tank?
Ditch the Wave Maker, not needed for FOWLR. To strong? Na, not with fish only, they kinda need to for excercise. Try using Powerheads instead. Get a couple of them for good flow.
#2-the HOB filter i have ordered it a marine land bio wheel 350,i don't really care too much if it makes a lot of noise i just want it to get the job done and now im hearing that there really is no job for it to get done should i send it back and just get a regular filter? and not one thats expensive and not going to benefit anything in my tank or will it?because if i don't need it i can get a cheaper one and you the left over money towards getting a protein skimmer.
The Bio-Wheel will give you a headache when it comes to High Nitrates, but will kinda filter the water. I'd ditch it myself, get a Skimmer rated at twice your water volume. Since thats somehwhat difficult, I'd suggest the CoraLife SuperSkimmer 65g. That should skim the crap outta that tank for you.
#3-my substrate right now it crushed coral #0 i have that in my tank with saltwater and a wave maker going,should i replace the coral with live sand? will the sand have alot more benefits to the tank? and would it be worth changing it?
#0 CC is good to use, you won't have any problems with that. All the biologicals will grow in that just as well as sand. Its the bigger CC that causes trouble.
these questions are open to anyone that wants to answer(let me rephrase: "anyone please answer" LOL)
Answers in Red .

Last edited by Reefing Madness; 07-17-2011 at 11:29 PM..
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:44 PM   #29
 
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I agree the wave maker sounds like too much water flow, but fish do like some current to swim in so a couple of power heads, one on each side of the tank should be good.

Live sand is beneficial by acting as a natural filter like the LR, you could probably get a little and place under the crushed coral...25lbs of LR is sufficient for your tank but at first will probably cause a spike which is normal.

I have always heard that as far as filters go AquaClear is a good choice and it is around $26-$34 but the Marineland will work. Like I said before I have both but it seems to me that the aquaclear gets the job done better and I hardly ever have nitrates with it. The skimmer can wait but will be a good idea in the future.
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:48 PM   #30
 
do you think i could kinda like mix tha crushed coral and live sand together? i think what ill do is see how the filter works for me and then get a skimmer later on also ive seen these things called nitrate filters do you guys recommend those? it seems like they make your water quality crazzy good which is good for a fowlr
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