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Old 01-30-2011, 10:23 PM   #1
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Spartachris' 55g Hex Build FOWLR--mostly

I decided to start a thread for my new tank. Here's the background.

I always wanted to get into a sw tank, and caught a great deal on a 55g Hex. Not my first choice, but it was too good to pass up. I refinished the base and started getting equipment.

I'm on a strict (and small) budget, so some of my choices go a little against the grain. I'd love some feedback, though.

Right now I've got about 1.5" of live sand and 15 lbs of uncured live rock I picked up yesterday. I have an ac70 HOB and removed the sponge as the rock cures. In the next week or two I plan on adding another 10 lbs of live rock, and then round 30 lbs of base rock my dad is picking up in Fort Myers FL--off the beach and out of the ground. He's also bringing back some sand out of the surf to add to what I have. I'm aiming for 4" DSB and 75 lbs of rock before I start adding fish. Also planning on adding a few koralias, one high and one low to help with circulation.

My lighting right now is DIY: three 23w compact florescents (6500K). They light up the tank pretty well, though I don't think it would work well for corals, though some low to moderate light ones may work (?).

Now a few questions:

1. Will the sand from the surf/beach be safe for the tank? Dad got it from a pretty secluded beach on Sanibel Island, out where the surf rolls in.

2. The rock he is picking up was dug up when a driveway was put in, and a few pieces out of the ground near the beach. Haven't seen it yet, but would I need to wash, boil or treat it before I add it to the tank?

I'll include some pictures when I get them uploaded to my laptop.
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Old 01-30-2011, 10:52 PM   #2
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Sounds good man. I think you should only boil the rock if you want it to become base rock and It could fall apart(from what I was reading on another site). Looking forward to seeing some pictures. I'll let the experts on this site answer your questions but I'll be tagging along to see how this goes. Good luck
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:42 PM   #3
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The lr has been in the tank since Saturday, so I tested the parameters today. Here's what I got:

Temp: 77.7 F
specific gravity: 1.023
pH 7.8
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite .5ppm
Nitrate 80ppm

I was kind of surprised that the Ammonia didn't register, though the live sand I already had in the tank appears to be doing its job so far.

My water has gotten kind of greenish, and today I noticed little white specks drifting all over the tank. I can't tell if they are grains of sand or trash or what. So far no life appears on the rocks, though I would be shocked if any showed up.

In the meantime I broke open my brand-spankin-new bucket of Instant Ocean and mixed up 5g of saltwater for the future. I didn't have an extra pump to drop in there to mix it, so I used a hand mixer for about five minutes. Later I looked in the bottom and saw about 1/4cup of salt sitting on the bottom. Adding a little pump to mix the water better is probably next on my list.

That's about it. Now to hunker down for the impending snow-ageddon and see if I get to stay home from work tomorrow!
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:52 PM   #4
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i wouldn't have used that rock or the sand from the beach. the reason why is that the ocean purges itself of waste and toxins at the shorelines. the concentrations of toxins is much higher at the beaches than it is 5 or 10 miles out. that's why when live rock companies make aquacultured rock they do so miles off shore.
they usually collect live sand from spots where it's completely submerged. if that was the case and it was transported home wet, it might very well be live.

quite honestly, i would trash that rock and buy some base rock from somewhere, or if your funds are severely limited, make your own rock.
there are plenty of recipes for that on the net..just google "DIY live rock".

lastly, it's going to be a challenge creating good flow in a hex. it's usually hardest to do so towards the bottom.

i would probably use a single halide over that tank. probably a 250 watter would be plenty for whatever i wanted. i would use a 20k lamps and no actinic supplementation.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:49 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input, Doug. I guess I wasn't clear though; what I have now is uncured lr from a LFS and the sand I have is the "live sand" from CaribSea, which apparently is live, since I'm only getting Nitrites and no Ammonia from the die-off so far.

And the rock I am getting from FL was dug up from the ground miles inland, so it is dead, dead, dead. The other pieces were collected from some other places and I don't have any of that stuff in my tank yet. I'll check with my Dad and see exactly where he collected the stuff before I put it in the tank. Thanks for the warning, though.

The lights I'm going to wait and see about. I'm not planning on corals yet, so I'm not worried about them. However, if I have enough light to keep any nice hijackers on my lr alive, that would be a bonus.
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:01 PM   #6
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na..it's not live. it's just a bag of sand with water in it, marketed in such a way, as to increase profit margins. those bags of sand have no expiration date. if they did, it would make them a lot more effective. the reason for no ammonia spike might be because that particular rock that you have might not have much die off on it.

sorry for skimming through, and missing the key points.
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:24 PM   #7
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Here are a couple of pics of my tank so far. I bought about 30 lbs of dry rock I haven't put in yet, and am waiting for some more sand.

The second pic shows some kind of white "fuzz" growing on the rock. Does anyone know what out could be?

Sorry for how ugly it looks right now, but i'm going really slow
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:15 PM   #8
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Looks like a good start.
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:29 PM   #9
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Thanks. Again it is pretty rough right now, but I just wanted to post something, and curious about the fuzz.

Nitrites are running around 1.0 ppm, and ammonia is 0.
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:52 PM   #10
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I'm not sure of the fuz, can you get a better picture? Also, you may want to post that in the ID section for more looks.

Is the water actually green or is that just an artifact of the glass or camera?

Good start!
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