Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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jake_25 10-01-2007 04:45 AM

setting up first tank ever
hi im currently setting up my first tank ever apart from a betta tank its 50g and currently cycleing how long do u think it will take the guy at my lfs gave me a heap of bio balls from his reef tank for my canister filter any way i just thought id say hi this seams like a great forum theres so much to read

jim21 10-01-2007 08:44 PM

The last 55g I set up took a WHILE. I had cycled filter media also but after about 3-4 months the levels still weren't right.

One thing that *really* helped me was to not use tap water on water changes during the cycling. Seems like it always killed whatever progress I was making on bio. When I started using RO water things evened out much faster. Eventually when the levels got where I wanted them, and stayed there, I transitioned slowly to tap on water changes.

Hope that helps,

bettababy 10-10-2007 04:00 PM

This is also the time to get your live rock in there, and a skimmer if you're going to be using one.
Can you tell us about your set up? The more info you give the easier we can provide help. Is there live sand or crushed coral for substrate? Are there any powerheads in the tank yet? Where is specific gravity/salinity at? Have you checked calcium levels yet? There's a lot to do before you're ready and cycled... be patient, that's most important. A typical saltwater tank will take 6 - 8 wks to cycle, sometimes more. The approach is important and will tell if it goes fast or slow. If there are no animals in the tank yet, don't do any water changes. Live sand and live rock will help get your bacteria life going, and the more live rock in the tank, the better the start. You're looking at as close to 50 lbs of live rock as you can fit into the tank. The more rock you have, the healthier the tank will eventually become, and the less work you will have to do to keep it stable.
Are you going to use a UV sterilizer? This is also a good time to install that, too... and if you're thinking reef, a good investment.
Hope this helps!

jake_25 10-12-2007 07:38 AM

180L tank (3.5 foot x 18'' high x 14'' wide)
substrate: calcium carbonate
filter: AquaSun SCF 1000L/Hr canister Filter i put in there bio balls from my lfs established reef tank.
protien skimmer: Red sea berlin airlift 90
I heve a 30cm rock cod and a mangrove jack in there now with some hermit crabs i think its cycled i dont have any llive rock yet im buying some realy nice cured rock from my lfs soon i dont have my salts 1.023 i dont have any test kits yet so im not sure

bettababy 10-12-2007 01:38 PM

I have to ask how large the fish are and how long you intend to keep them in a 50 gallon tank? Both fish top out at nearly 20 inches each... which is way too large for that size of a tank.
Also, if keeping crabs or other inverts in the tank, crushed coral is going to turn out to not be the best choice for you, and you may find it much harder to keep your tank stable with crushed coral instead of live sand. Live sand will also help with your biological filtration and aid in keeping your rock well seeded.

I would watch the water quality, as I am not familiar with how sturdy these fish are... but frequent water changes are going to be a must. It is common when adding live rock, even cured rock, for there to be die off from the rock due to changes in water quality as it changes tanks. This will cause ammonia spikes, which lead to "mini cycles" that can be lethal if there is enough die off at once. This is the reason why with saltwater we add rock during cycling, instead of cycling with fish.
These are fish that are going to be messy, grow quickly, and require a lot of care in a small tank... if these are the fish you intend to keep, you will want to consider getting a tank of over 200 gallons to keep just 1 or 2 of them.
I'll have to do a bit more reading, but you may also want to research those species of fish and their diets... unless you are expecting for them to eat your crab.
I would suggest getting your specific gravity/salinity up to about 1.023 as soon as possible, as not all fish can handle severe changes, and yours is awful low (unless these are wild caught and the water they came from reads that low).
Good Luck!

jake_25 10-12-2007 07:38 PM

my salt is 1.023 i gave my jack away to my friend who has a big tank for it my cod is doing fine there hardy as i intednd to get rid of it i was just using it to cycle my tank it eats live bait a catch like white bait and it eats frozen praws shrimp pretty much every thing my wats wrong with crushed coral my lfs just sells marines and have some realy nice tanks but he is toatal agensed sand for some reason and and i didnt not want to take his advice cos he gave me such great discounts and advice

jake_25 10-12-2007 07:39 PM

my cod is like 20cm

bettababy 10-15-2007 02:19 PM

Sorry it took so long to reply. I have a number of reasons for preference of sand. With the crushed coral it limits the types of fish you can keep, for starters. Most inverts that spend time at the bottom will have a difficult time living in the crushed coral because it is sharp and rough, harder to move around to find food. Many bottom feeding fish will either lay on the bottom and/or need to sift it for food, or even bury in it. Coral poses the same problems with injury here.

If working with fish only that tend to be more "upper level" fish, there is still the problems in keeping the biological filtraion sufficient and stable. Your bacteria will not grow in coral the way they will in a sandbed, thus the coral needs to be cleaned with gravel vac, and depending on what fish, how many, how large, and feeding habits... this could be something that needs to be done quite frequently. This also makes water changes in general more important to keep the water quality stable.

I have taken care of fish only systems that were started with crushed coral, and within months was having to do water changes more than once/wk, scrape cyano bacteria off of everything all the time, and it became "work". The fish were healthy but the tank looked awful all the time. The only change I made to these tanks was to replace the crushed coral with live sand, and now, years later, I can say they have never looked "dead" since, and are less than 1/2 the work to keep them that way. The fish are more colorful, and the tanks are more stable.

The other thing with crushed coral is calcium levels. Coral breaks down over time, releasing calcium into the water. I have seen tanks with calcium levels that go too high due to coral breakdown, and fish can get very sick if calcium is too high, as much as if its too low. With crushed coral at the bottom, there is no way to control calcium content, thus there will be fluctuations in water quality which need to be monitored more closely and long term.

The choice remains yours, but at least now you know there is a flip side to the coin and things to be careful of when selecting fish and doing maintenance if you choose to keep the crushed coral.

SeaSerpant 12-15-2007 06:29 PM

Keep trying you'll get it soon :D :D

jake_25 12-16-2007 01:18 AM

i changed to sand and its up and running

SeaSerpant 12-16-2007 03:43 PM

great can you post some pics?

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