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Old 01-13-2006, 06:12 PM   #1
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New saltwater aquarium, live rock question?

Hi there! I've had a 38 gallon freshwater aquarium for about 2 years now, and decided to try my hand at saltwater. I had a question about my live rock and about the setup.

I am waiting on a used 45 gallon that someone has offered me at the end of this month, but for now, I decided to get my 10 gallon quarantine tank set up. I started with some crushed coral for substrate. I got my filter running and the heater is at about 78 degrees. A friend of mine gave me 5 gallons of water from his aquarium to get started with, and then he helped me mix some salt and water for the remaining 5 gallons. We ran a quick test and noted a small level of ammonia, about 0.2 ppm, which must have come from his aquarium, but everything else looked good.

After the cloudiness went away, I purchased 2 pieces of live rock (about 3.5 pounds in total) and placed them in there, and allowed them to get set up in there. About 5 days later, I checked the water, ammonia was 0, nitrite was 0, and the nitrates had gone up a bit, so I decided I was in business!

3 days ago, I purchased a small coral beauty angelfish and put him in there. Eventually of course, he will go in a larger aquarium, but he seems to be doing well in there. He knows I'm food already, he comes up to the glass to see me when I come up! I replace evaporated water every day with freshwater from my freshwater aquarium, and feed him a small amount of frozen shrimp every day.

I just checked the chemistry again, ammonia might be showing up just a little little bit, but barely over 0, nitrite is 0, and nitrates are of course still there...so it seems I did a good job on startup?

My other question is that the live rock seems to be doing interesting things. One piece doesn't do anything, but the second one seems to be sprouting little "noodles." My LFS said they might be marine worms, but they don't look like they are worms, they look like they are plants almost? They are very thin and brownish, growing out of the live rock? If that doesn't help, I can try to get a picture of them.

In any case, my Coral Beauty is still healthy and seems happy, my chemistry is good, and the specific gravity is staying constant. Why did everyone tell me this was going to be so difficult? Any hints or ideas? And does anyone know what those little "noodle" growths might be?

Paul
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38 Gallon (Freshwater): 1 Green Swordtail, 3 Yo-Yo Loaches, 1 Clown Pleco, 1 Blue Gourami, 4 Otocinclus, 7 Cherry Barbs.

46 Gallon (Saltwater): 60 pounds Lalo Live Rock, 60 pounds aragonite sand, 1 Coral Beauty Angelfish, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, 1 Mushroom Coral, 1 Emerald Crab, various snails and hermit crabs.

10 Gallon (Saltwater quarantine):
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Old 01-13-2006, 06:16 PM   #2
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All kinds of possible solutions on the noodles. I've the same growth on a couple of my LR now. If you touch them they are most likely hard and brittle. Unless you got some dusters with the LR you purchased. Never know with LR purchases. Look really really close at different times. Might have little clear fans that pop out to collect food. I'll try to take a snap shot of mine when I get back home in a week. Tapping the glass forces them to close up quick. (FYI - BAD Idea to tap the glass, so don't do it more than once) HTH
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Old 01-13-2006, 10:06 PM   #3
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Re: New saltwater aquarium, live rock question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkremer
I replace evaporated water every day with freshwater from my freshwater aquarium
This sounds like a bad idea to me.
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Old 01-13-2006, 10:23 PM   #4
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Really? I'm curious to know why you feel that way?

My reasoning behind this is that while water evaporates, salt does not. So if I were to not replace evaporated water, the specific gravity would slowly rise every day, eventually until it was unliveable for the fish. Especially in a 10 gallon aquarium, it is very important to keep a handle on your water parameters.

There is only about a cup or 2 of evaporation daily, and so it makes sense to replace it with freshwater from a tank that has water that is clean, the same temperature, and has healthy fish living in it. I am curious why this would be a bad idea?

Paul
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38 Gallon (Freshwater): 1 Green Swordtail, 3 Yo-Yo Loaches, 1 Clown Pleco, 1 Blue Gourami, 4 Otocinclus, 7 Cherry Barbs.

46 Gallon (Saltwater): 60 pounds Lalo Live Rock, 60 pounds aragonite sand, 1 Coral Beauty Angelfish, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, 1 Mushroom Coral, 1 Emerald Crab, various snails and hermit crabs.

10 Gallon (Saltwater quarantine):
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Old 01-13-2006, 10:28 PM   #5
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It sounds like you are pulling H20 from the freshwater fish tank and putting in the saltwater tank. What would that do to you bacteria in the SW? I'm not too up on that chemical balance between SW and FW tanks, but it just sounds like a bad idea.
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Old 01-13-2006, 11:15 PM   #6
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It reads as though you are taking water out of your freshwater aquarium and putting it in the saltwater aquarium. This is what I was referring to above. If this is the case a few problems would be disease in the fw tank(the same reason you do not add lfs water to your tank when you bring home a new fish), ph difference and adding nitrites into the sw tank, just to name a few. FW and SW fish require different water parameters to thrive. If you only need to add a cup a day then go to the supermarket and get a gallon of distilled water and add that instead, until you cab get a ro/di unit.
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Old 01-14-2006, 12:17 AM   #7
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Hmmm...I'd be curious to get more thoughts on this! I was more interested in the noodle-like growths from the live rock, never questioned my water replacement procedure.

First of all, my 38 gallon aquarium has never had any disease in it because of a quarantine policy I have always had, so disease is not an issue. Also, my freshwater aquarium has been set up for 2 years, and I can guarantee you no ammonia or nitrite is making it's way in. As far as pH? I use the same water in both aquariums! Fill the bucket in my bathtub, put in the water treatment, pour it in...the only difference is I add salt to the saltwater aquarium's water.

As far as the bacteria, that I'm not sure about, but nitrifying bacteria grows on my biowheels and decorations and substrate? I've read that straight water, especially that on the top, does not have any significant number of bacteria floating in it, so I'm not sure how that could affect me either.

I don't mean to be the voice of disagreement, but I think many people make keeping an aquarium much more difficult than it needs to be. Special distilled expensive water? My friends and I have kept very healthy tanks for many years by doing nothing more than adding dechlorinator to ordinary tap water. Perhaps if I had a reef aquarium with corals and other reef life, this might be more important, but I've never had a problem with "ordinary" water before.
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38 Gallon (Freshwater): 1 Green Swordtail, 3 Yo-Yo Loaches, 1 Clown Pleco, 1 Blue Gourami, 4 Otocinclus, 7 Cherry Barbs.

46 Gallon (Saltwater): 60 pounds Lalo Live Rock, 60 pounds aragonite sand, 1 Coral Beauty Angelfish, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, 1 Mushroom Coral, 1 Emerald Crab, various snails and hermit crabs.

10 Gallon (Saltwater quarantine):
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Old 01-14-2006, 02:06 AM   #8
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Well...speaking form someone that lives in an area with horrid tap water...
A cup or two a day hardly seems like it'd be a heinous crime IIIIFFFF the FW tank is pristine and well off (obviously)...but that's not the whole story...

There are big differences in a SW and FW tank. But normal top offs can't be too different in terms of a cup or two.
I'd certainly say never to use the FW tank to do the water change on your SW tank, but I'd hope that goes without saying?
That said.. it IS (and it's proven by far from many true experts well beyond the scope of this forum (and many many others)) that a purified water source is much much more preferable for a SW setup. FW livestock is simply more tolerant of what we as 'city folk' can provide, sons filtration. They are highly sensitive to things we'd drink/bathe in/cook with/give to FW fishies.

One serious thing to keep in mind is the levels of various additives from the local water supply (or even your pipes!!) that are in the water that the FW fish can take (probably because they are used to it by now...even in the wild).
FW fish are so way more tolerant of the crap we put back into the cycle that the marine specimens never experience (think of the huge difference in volume of fresh water vs salt in the world...serious toxin dilution going on there..)

So I say the cup or two isn't a biggie...but if a regular thing, it'll definatly add up in the long term with crud your SW fish would/could die from. (maybe, maybe not..but at 40$ a fish, why chance it? Plus...it's mean to play that game)
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Old 01-14-2006, 09:48 AM   #9
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Let me start off by saying I am in now way an aquarium expert. I am only trying to help other in the hobby with some advice and/or another point of view on some topics. Pkremer, please do not take my writings here as admonishing you. I am only trying to help. From your post I get the fealing you are taking offense to my advice. Please do not.
There will always be some amount of Nitrates in your fw tank. Ammonia is broken down into niktrites then they are broken down into nitrates. These nitrates build up and there is no other way to get rid of them except by pwc. Even with regular pwc's there will still be nitrates in the ecosystem of your tank. When you take water from this tank there are nitrates in it. Now you put it into the sw tank and instead of diluting the nitrates with new "clean" water you just added nitrates. If you do not take "dirty" water (containing nitrates)out of the sw tank you are effectively poisoning your fish. The salt will not evaporate but neither does the nitrates.
As far as disease goes you can have the cleanest tank in the world but that is no guarantee that your fish will never get sick.
Good Luck,
Brian
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Old 01-27-2006, 03:16 PM   #10
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You are quite right...even though I am not concerned about introducing disease (I have NEVER had disease in the entire time I have had the 38 freshwater), there are nitrates in the water, and putting that water in will increase the nitrates unnecessarily in the saltwater...I can't believe that didn't pop into my head on my own!

Anywho, those little "noodles" have developed leaves! They are definitely some kind of plant, although I am still not sure what. Live rock is great! It can be almost as interesting to look at as the fish!

Paul
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38 Gallon (Freshwater): 1 Green Swordtail, 3 Yo-Yo Loaches, 1 Clown Pleco, 1 Blue Gourami, 4 Otocinclus, 7 Cherry Barbs.

46 Gallon (Saltwater): 60 pounds Lalo Live Rock, 60 pounds aragonite sand, 1 Coral Beauty Angelfish, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, 1 Mushroom Coral, 1 Emerald Crab, various snails and hermit crabs.

10 Gallon (Saltwater quarantine):
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