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Old 05-06-2005, 11:59 AM   #1
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Salt / Test Kit shelf life?

Hi All,
I've decided to make the switch and started purchasing items to convert my 55 gal freshwater over to saltwater. A recent setback has put a damper on my plans, and I'm not sure when I'll have the money for my live rock or a good protein skimmer.

Along with powerheads, heaters, and other stuff, I have purchased two jugs of Oceanic salt and a test kit. Question is, how long can these items be stored (without opening). In other words, do they expire?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-06-2005, 12:16 PM   #2
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The test kits will expire but they should indicate the date on the packaging. Each maufacturer being different but generally they should be good for a few years at least. The salt doesn't expire but be sure it stays dry. If it accumulates moisture it could end up clumping and change the chemical composition depending on the amount. Otherwise it's fine.

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Old 05-06-2005, 12:25 PM   #3
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I feel your pain with lack of money but do some research and shop for the stuff. LR you cant really do much with price wise to get good rock...LR.com is probably the best option for you since you probably dont have many places to get it local very cheap.
As far as the skimmer....look on ebay. I got a insane deal on my ETSS Reef devil 40. it goes for over $250 w/ pump and I got it for 100 and I couldnt really tel it was used. I just looked and found an overflow box (cause I want another one) from a local guy for about 10. So look and research to what you want before you bid I started my tank with just the water and sand and 3 weeks later got 80lb of LR.
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Old 05-06-2005, 01:08 PM   #4
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Thanks for the fast replies! That makes me feel somewhat better.

I had already planned on purchasing the LR from liverocks.com after reading all of the outstanding reviews here, thinking of going with 60 lbs gulf and 30 lbs keys. I don't have a sump, so after again reading many reviews, am going with the Aqua C Remora HOB unit.

Other than those two items, all I lack is substrate. I live in the southeast US and have been to every Home Depot and WalMart within 50 miles. Nothing but silica based sand everywhere! After looking at various online vendors, the cost of aragonite sand plus shipping is insane! How bad would I be hurting myself by using silica based sand?
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Old 05-06-2005, 01:35 PM   #5
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I had the same problem finding argonite sand that didn't cost as much as a car, so I got mine from the ocean. I went to the most deserted beach in a residential area and waded out neck deep to get it, and I am extremely satisfied. As for silica, it has sharp edges that can be harmful to sand sifters/starfish/etc and doesn't help buffer PH and calcium like argonite does.
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Old 05-06-2005, 02:48 PM   #6
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i found a LFS that sold agronite sand, a 40lb bag for $29 and mixxed that with then sand I got from the gulf
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Old 05-06-2005, 04:22 PM   #7
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Believe me, the idea has crossed my mind, but the closest beach is Gulf Shores, about a six hour drive for me. With gas prices as they are, it would end up costing me more money to do it this way. Plus, the Gulf water is usually pretty dirty, and I'm sure more so this year dealing with all the rebuilding in the area due to the hurricanes. I'm thinking I'll just head to the LFS and get ready to bend over.

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Originally Posted by Morticus
I had the same problem finding argonite sand that didn't cost as much as a car, so I got mine from the ocean. I went to the most deserted beach in a residential area and waded out neck deep to get it, and I am extremely satisfied. As for silica, it has sharp edges that can be harmful to sand sifters/starfish/etc and doesn't help buffer PH and calcium like argonite does.
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Old 05-06-2005, 04:35 PM   #8
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To save some money on rock buy 65-75% of your rock as dry or base rock (usually under 2$/pound; hirocks.com comes highly recommended) and then the remaining 25-35% live rock (I'd go with all keys rock, myself... knowing what I know today). Good luck getting it up and running. Make sure to wait until you're ready though as they sure are huge sink holes for money!
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Old 05-06-2005, 05:04 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Phyl
To save some money on rock buy 65-75% of your rock as dry or base rock (usually under 2$/pound; hirocks.com comes highly recommended) and then the remaining 25-35% live rock (I'd go with all keys rock, myself... knowing what I know today). Good luck getting it up and running. Make sure to wait until you're ready though as they sure are huge sink holes for money!
That sounds like a good idea, but now I must reveal more of my ignorance and ask a couple more questions.

1. Can I go ahead and start the cycle with a couple shrimp with the base rock in the tank, and add the live rock towards the end of my shrimp cycle to prevent die off? (I'm aware this may start another small cycle)

2. With my stock lighting, will that be enough to encourage the stuff on the live rock to grow and spread to the base rock?

3. If yes to number 2, about how long does it take for the base rock to look like the live rock?

4. If I start my cycle with the base rock, should I just dump the live rock on top of the base, or should I redo my aquascape and spread it out evenly?

Again, sorry for all the questions, but I just want to make sure I do this the right way the first time.
Thank you.
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Old 05-06-2005, 05:17 PM   #10
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Go ahead and start the cycle. You could run your entire tank for years and years without adding "live rock". It will get "live" bacteria in it as you cycle. The cool thing about "real" live rock is the coraline.

Coraline doesn't care about lighting all that much. I'm not sure if NO will support it but I know minimal PC will (I was running 2wpg PC). In less than 6mo my rock is indistinguishable (I started out with 100# base and added 60# of LR).

I mostly put the LR on top of my base. The guys at LR.com will work with you and pick out rocks about the size you're looking for if you specify when you call them. I made sure the rocks I got were the same size or smaller than my base rocks. I prefer "bridge" like pieces over "basketball" style pieces, personally.

Keep asking questions. That's how we all get smarter!
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