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Old 12-15-2011, 12:42 PM   #1
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Ive done everything wrong, why is it all going right?

Before anyone reads this, i want you to understand that i have about 4 years of marine fish keeping under my belt. I do not in any way consider myself a professional. Also i have never before run a tank the way im currently running this one. That being said, this tank is making me question everything I used to believe and has turned into kind of an expirement. I ask that no one be judgemental, as happens more often than not on here. Most of what i have done was an act of desperation. I just want to share my story and see if anyone can explain without any doubt, why we do what we do.
Recently, ive been forced to do the unconventional. Ive done things that would make most people cringe and shake their heads. What i have discovered is that there are definately different ways of doing things, not just one definite way.
On my last transfer i was not able to get my tank running properly before adding livestock. Due to set backs and technical difficulties, i had to put ALL of my livestock in 50 degree water. Salt particles were still floating around. I have about two thousand dollars worth of corals, fish and inverts, including snails, crabs, shrimp, featherduster and misc worms. EVERYTHING SURVIVED. Absolutely no acclimation was involved. Even my pod population survived.
I have not used any form of acclimation for any inverts as of late. I have had no casualties. I used to drip acclimate like my life depended on it. Im starting to question why. Im starting to think that as long as you have excellent water, the animals will survive.
I've been running my tank with no mechanical filtration. I'm running two Hydoras and a vortech mp40. I believe I'm really understocked which may be a reason for this success. I haven't had any algae outbreaks, no excess debris, coral growth is excellent and fish color is bright. The water is not cloudy at all. I've been doing a 5 gallon water change every 3 days and this seems to be working. I'm begining to doubt how much we need all extra filtration.
I was worried about my water quality because of my sump not running, but I recently bought a foxface with terrible finrot. He went in with no acclimation and his fins grew back within a week, which I have read happens with excellent water quality.
If I'm doing everything "wrong", then why is everything going right? Why didn't everything die during the transfer? The water was 50 degrees! Why have all of my inverts survived without any acclimation? Why is my water quality good without any mechanical filtration? If things start to turn sour, I'll try and fix my sump. As for now, I'll keep on with the expirement.
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:04 PM   #2
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Sergie - definitely an interesting read. I don't think anyone here would say there's necessarily a "right" way of doing things, but there's definitely ways of doing things that will give you your best chance for success. Like anything else, there's always going to be exceptions to the rule. You're already ahead of the game because you have experience at keeping a fish tank, so you know what to look for and what your livestock really NEEDS.

Personally, I've never acclimated my inverts and never had any deadloss issues. I've found that snails and shrimps and the like are incredibly hardy, and I've never seen a problem. I also don't "drip" acclimate my fish/corals, but instead float em in my tank and add a bit of water from my tank into the bag every 10 minutes for an hour (fish) or two hours (coral) - and it's seemed to work well for me so far.

Lets also keep in mind that you're doing water changes every 3 days - that in itself is enough to prevent things like detritus build up and the like.

As for the temperature - best I can say is that you got lucky on that, depending on how long they were in there. THe 10/31 freak snowstorm that made me lose power for 5 days killed off all of my fish. Didn't have any corals at the time, and the inverts survived, but the fish couldn't take it once the water dropped to 50 for more then a few hours. Had one fish survive, but it died shortly after the power came back (I suspect something horrible went wrong, once the lights were on the fish kept crashing into the sides of the tank, something I've never seen a fish do before).

So you're spot on with there being a lot of theories as to what's the "right" way - if you read 3 books by 3 authors there's likely to be some similarities, but also some huge differences. Likewise if you use multiple LFS for advice, you're apt to get different advice at each - in some cases exact OPPOSITE advice.

So is your method going to work? Yep, probably, as long as you stay on top of the water changes at the rate you're doing them. If you start slacking on that I suspect you'll begin to see why the need for filtration is there. A lot of the equipment and other stuff we do with these tanks isn't "necessary" so much as something that makes the tank less labor intensive. I have a sump, a skimmer, I scrape the sides of my tank when needed - none of that is NEEDED, if I wanted to do water changes every second or third day. I have all that junk so I can maintain my solid 15% water change once a week.
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:33 PM   #3
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It all just seems so odd. I'm only doing 5 gallons every three days. I don't even let the gravel vac reach the sand. I just let it float near the surface. I'm hoping it keeps up this way. Changing 15 gallons at once would take me nearly an hour, doing 5 at a time only takes me 15-20. I honestly think I got the X-Men of marine inhabitants because it was 50-60 degrees for 24 hours (I was using an underrated heater).
I have also noted that inverts are hardy. Which is why I don't understand why some people are advised to drip acclimate for hours on some species. I understand it's safe to take some precautions, but hours of it? This tank has shown me the most success for the least amount of work and money on equipment that I have had with any other tank. I hope it stays that's way.
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergie View Post
It all just seems so odd. I'm only doing 5 gallons every three days. I don't even let the gravel vac reach the sand. I just let it float near the surface. I'm hoping it keeps up this way. Changing 15 gallons at once would take me nearly an hour, doing 5 at a time only takes me 15-20. I honestly think I got the X-Men of marine inhabitants because it was 50-60 degrees for 24 hours (I was using an underrated heater).
I have also noted that inverts are hardy. Which is why I don't understand why some people are advised to drip acclimate for hours on some species. I understand it's safe to take some precautions, but hours of it? This tank has shown me the most success for the least amount of work and money on equipment that I have had with any other tank. I hope it stays that's way.
I suppose it depends on the invert - I'm sure there are some that require a bit more care than your standard hermits, snails, shrimps etc (maybe some of the softer stuff...sea slugs, hares etc).

How large is your tank, out of curiosity?

I would say that doing a 10 gallon change (Whcih I do once a week) takes me around 15 minutes...plus time spent cleaning up etc. I have a very thick syphon hose with a gravel vac on the front that I use to pull out the water which makes it go rather quickly.
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:56 PM   #5
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Personally, I don't find anything all that strange about what you are doing with the exception of the temperature issue. As was already pointed out with the temperature, a single, relatively short exposure to those types of temperatures will not allow for much survival, but most things will survive short-term drops. Had a chiller stick once and reduce tank temp into the 50s and everything survived the experience.

As for the mechanical filtration - personally I don't understand why people on here seem to be so insistent on running additional mechanical filtration in the form of filters. People on most of the forums never run anything but a sufficient amount of LR/LS and powerheads of some sort. We've been doing it successfully for years when its combined with water changes.

As for the water changes, many people for many years kept saltwater by doing a single large water change once a month. Its only in the last few years that many have been moving toward the frequent weekly water changes on a smaller scale in saltwater.

Personally I never drip acclimate anything saltwater with the exception of fish and a few of the more sensitive invertes (noteably some of the shrimp and seastar species). Temperature acclimate it all by floating, then into the tank it goes (all corals and most invertes).

Don't know if that helps you at all, but for what its worth.
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:56 PM   #6
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It's only a 90 gallon. My hose is the one I bought for my 30 gallon. It's relatively small and takes awhile to syphon out water. And my refill process is complicated. I've thought about buying a bigger hose but am afraid that my cleaner wrasse and cleaner shrimp will be sucked out since I just let it float. They're both quite curious.
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Old 12-15-2011, 02:09 PM   #7
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To avoid sucking out my shrimp i rubberband a mesh to the end of my siphon.
And also are you testing your water?
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Old 12-15-2011, 02:14 PM   #8
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That's actually not a bad idea. I don't test as often anymore because everything has been constant. Nothing would fluctuate. I used to test about every 2-3 days when I would get home from work.
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Old 12-15-2011, 04:59 PM   #9
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I use the mesh from a leftover net. Im sure you could find something similar.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:02 PM   #10
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I do rely on my LR for a majority of my filtration - just have a sack going into my sump to catch any large chunks of crap that might get sucked in there.
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