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Old 08-07-2004, 10:44 PM   #1
aychamo
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Saltwater Tank Questions


Hey guys;

I have an interset in saltwater tanks, but they seem so confusing to me. I've read a lot of info on them, but I can't seem to get anything definite. I was hoping maybe I could get some straight answers from you guys!

I don't have any room in my apt for another large tank setup. I have a 10g that currently has some baby zebras in it, but I think I would like to convert the tank into a saltwater tank.

I know 10g is small, so I would like to do a "nano" reef setup.

Here is what I think I know:

I'd purchase the aragonite-alive substrate and approx 10 pounds of Fiji live rock. I'd put the live rock in the tank, and then put in the substrate.

The next part, the salt-water, is what confuses me.

How do you make the salt water? I've seen all those mixes, and know that you have to make the salinity a certain point and you use a hydrometer to do that. But what do you mix the salt-mixes with? Do you use tap-water? I've seen all the RO units, but I don't understand how those work, do they pump water into a temporary container or something?

Also, what would I use as a filter? I've seen so many options for salt-water tanks, with protein skimmers and all that. Are the filter / protein skimmer combos good? Which one would be good for a 10g?

I assume the water chemistry is the same regarding ammonia, nitrites and nitrates (that you don't want them.)

How would you clean the tank? Would you just suck out some water like normal, and then put pre-mixed salt water back in?

I guess my main question is how do to water changes and how to mix the salt water.

My ideal tank, as I see it, would be one or two clown fish, a small anemone, and a few small soft corals. I'd like it to be very easy to maintain (relative to salt water tanks.)

What kind of lighting would I need? What purpose does the actnic bulbs serve?

I'm sorry for so many questions ... I would appreciate any answers you guys have!
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Old 08-07-2004, 11:46 PM   #2
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First of all. If this is your first SW tank, which I believe it is. NO anemones or softys! There very hard, require alot of time, care, money, and def. not for a bigginer! Two clownfish would be good. False perculas or true perculas is what you want. I would go with two captive bread true perculas. They stay alittle smaller and are just as easy to keep. The Only corals I would advise you to keep is, regular mushrooms, and zoo's. They are colorful, very easy to keep, no to very min. feeding required. Low light is fine. You will want some decent lighting though. Now to the water. For corals you would want to use Ro, Ro/Di, or steam distilled water for corals. If not then they wont do as good, and most tap has bad stuff like silicates that produce bad algae that you don't want. You will need a power head for some current. I say get the smallest possible, say 50-100gph. To mix the water, just get the "special" water, and add the salt mixes, (reef crystals, Instant Ocean) untill you get a reading of 1.024-1.025 on the SG. You want the temp to stay stable at about 80degree's F. The Actnic bulbs help corals growth some and Is good to have. You normally have a 10,000k Bulb and a Actinic 03 Blue bulb. I would say the Item # 30361 kit from Ahsupply.com with Item # 13619 bulb. Its also known as a 50/50 bulb. Granted those will have to be fitted into a canopy. Maybe you would want to buy one from them. Or you can buy this from hello lights.com http://www.hellolights.com/201xcoraqpch.html
good lighting, but not as bright watts. Also all these are CF bulbs. The one from Hello lights comes with a bulb and might be better for your "low costs" and it will still support mushrooms and zoo's. Well I hope this helps Have fun! Oh and if you get the one from hello lights, get the moonlight(s) if you can afford it, and def. get the mounting legs!
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Old 08-08-2004, 12:12 AM   #3
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Get yourself these two books. Read in this order too.

The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert Fenner

and

Natural Reef Aquariums by John Tullock

Both are VERY well written, easy to follow and are chock full of great advice. They really are the best first investment any SW or Reef aquarist can have in their library. When I did Aquarium Maint I always included a copy of both with every SW or Reef is setup for people so they understood how their tanks worked.

I am an recovering reefer having found the way with plants.
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Old 08-08-2004, 01:28 AM   #4
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Yea i've found out, keeping a cool planted tank, and a reef tank, is very very similar.
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Old 08-08-2004, 02:03 AM   #5
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Hey guys!

Thank you for the input! You have given me a lot to think about and a lot of good advice!

Do you think this light would be a little bit better than the one you linked (even though it is 3x the $)

http://www.hellolights.com/201xcoaqpcho.html

What would you reccomend for a filter/skimmer?
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Old 08-08-2004, 02:19 AM   #6
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For the filter I would suggest a Refugium. No need for skimmer. Those lights will work, and they will grow just about anything almost if you ever really get into a real reef. I guess you can buy that light if you want to, I see no need unless you really want a full blown reef that costs tons and is very time consuming. Your call!
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Old 08-08-2004, 02:36 AM   #7
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If you are going to want to make the move into more fragile/difficult corals you will definately need a skimmer.

I also agree running a reef tank is quite similiar to running a planted tank. I'm an ex-reefer as well, but still want to go back and setup another reef down the road.

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Old 08-08-2004, 02:45 AM   #8
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but the thing is, he dont need one YET. If he does decide to go big, yes, but right now, no need
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Old 08-08-2004, 03:22 AM   #9
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Been there and done it before myself (done the 10-gallon route amongst others). While the 28W is sufficient for most low light corals, it is barely enough to support them (unless you plan on feeding heavily, but that just adds another dimension to things; it's easier to keep it simpler). I wouldn't go with the 96W either, as that's quite a bit too much lighting initially for the majority of corals and you'll eventually just melt them (highest I've done is 9.6W/gallon, but with quite a bit of acclimation and movement of corals, even for SPS; the clams love it however)....If I had to choose one of those, I'd go with the 28W and stick with the easier to keep corals (e.g. mushrooms, zooanthids, colts, etc.). If you are somewhat handy, then you might actually want to pick up a kit from ahsupply and just build your own enclosure (if you don't, you can just buy one and wire the lights in).

As for mixing saltwater, you are on the right track. Depending on the quality of tap water that comes from your sink, you might be able to use it. I would however instead rely on distilled water instead and use that to mix with (btw, I use Instant Ocean).

As others have stated, I would leave the sea anemone out of your tank. Sea anemones have a tendency to wander around quite a bit until they find an area to their liking (based on water movement, lighting, etc.). When they do so, they tend shade out other corals as they plant their foots down, and oftentimes, where they eventually end up is in an area where you don't want them.

As for filters, I used to use a CPR-backpack (protein skimmer) as the sole source of both filtration and water movement. If I had to do it again, I would do the same, but switch out the CPR for another model, such as a Remora. As for a refugium (have done the miracle mud route before), it really depends on your budget. The one that I was using before was quite expensive (unless you build your own of course) and costs the same as all the other equipment combined...

BTW, those two books that gnatster recommended are great references (have both of them myself ), and one even has a 10-gallon setup from scratch.
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Old 08-08-2004, 04:57 AM   #10
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Hey guys!

I want to thank you all again for your help! I do want to keep this tank simple. I want it to be attractive, simple, and easy to maintain.

I think I would go with this:

Live rock, live sand (aragonite?)
2 clown fish
and a (couple?) of mushroom corals.
The 28w light.

Please don't laugh when I say this, perhaps it's cause I've had a bit to drink tonight (wow the girlfriend is *stressing* me out, is it right to drink to prevent anger?) , but my water faucet for my tap water has a water purifier on it. What could I do to test this water to see how "bad" it is for mixing with salt? Also, if I only planned on replacing 10% or 20% of the water a week, would it be cheaper to buy a bunch of 1g jugs of DI water instead of getting a RO filter thing?

So, if I wanted to get this tank going, I should order first:

~15 pounds of live rock
the 28w light
and whatever aragonite or whatever I want to use (20lbs?)
Instant ocean (I can get this locally)
hydrometer

And after the tank has cycled I should order:

2? clown fish (Ocellaris Clownfish)
x of mushroom corals

I haven't found a refugium that seemed like it would be ok for a 10g. is a HOB penguin style biowheel filter totally wrong for a saltwater? Also, how many clownfish / mushroom corals would be appropriate for a 10g?

Thank you guys so much.. This is invaluable info. I picked up a saltwater book tonight at Books a Million, I hope it helps outs.
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Old 08-08-2004, 05:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
So, if I wanted to get this tank going, I should order first:
The books listed earlier in this thread
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Old 08-08-2004, 05:11 PM   #12
aychamo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnatster
The books listed earlier in this thread
Hey there!

I didn't purcahse those books, but I did purchase a saltwater book at the book store last night I hope it gets me some of the same info the ones you posted did.
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Old 08-08-2004, 07:56 PM   #13
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from what I believe, you can add shrooms before the tank is cycled. Just make sure the SG is right and the temp is right. get the tank first, then the lights, then the sand, then the LR, then cycle, half way through cycle get a mushroom rock (peice of LR rubble with mushrooms), there is no need to buy a bunch because these things spread like crazy. once cycled, get some snails and then after 2 weeks get the fish and keep up on water quality. Also to test your water, see if there is any metals in it, if not thats a good sigh, if so use Ro or steam distilled water. for a 10 gallon, if you bought a bare bone RO system, about 2-3 years if would take you to spend that much on water from the store if you didnt buy the RO system. I think its cheaper to go without it in that small of a tank, but a tank like 30gallons and up, you really need one. HTH
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Old 08-17-2004, 12:22 AM   #14
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go to www.nano-reef.com or www.oc-creative.com/reef i am a moderator at the last site. i have been keeping nano reef aquaria for more then 3 years and i can answer any questions you need to know. or IM me at the_anti_honda thats a yahoo account or fiantihonda thats an AIM account.
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Old 08-17-2004, 01:27 AM   #15
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Hey Aychamo,

I once decided to take the plunge into saltwater tanks and soon found mysef bowing out gracefully realizing two things. I didn't have the money or the time to dedicate to the hobby. All I can say to you is this, once you start, stay dedicated and on top of things. Also plan to spend a lot, and I mean alot of money, far more for a similar size freshwater tank.

Not trying to scare you, I'm sure it can be very very rewarding, it does however take alot of things I just don't have, namely, money.

Kyle
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