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Old 06-06-2008, 11:16 AM   #11
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Weekly water changes and testing are usually what most do for any size tank unless you have a monster tank then they will often do the water change every 2 weeks. you need to change about 10-20% so with a 20gallon I would change about 4gallons weekly. Or about a 5gallon bucket 80% full. Just make sure you let the saltwater settle for 24hours before use and test it with a refractometer. Well worth the 50bucks especially since your specific gravity can change dramatically with evaporation. Hydromoters used to test specific gravity are often innaccurate. mine was reading 1.024 when I tested with a refractometer it read 1.030!!!
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Make sure you test your tank water before the water change so you don't dilute your results. And at first until your tank becomes established you may want to test more often especially during the cycle.

Also where are you getting the water for your tank (tapwater is not recommended) and how are you planning to mix it.
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Old 06-06-2008, 12:21 PM   #12
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I've just finished reading through this thread. The Captain is right on with his advice.

As for the water changes/testing. Have you actually finished your cycle yet? Are you getting 0 ammonia and 0 NitrItes? If you are then it is time to start doing weekly water changes. The first water change you do post cycle should be rather large.

I would take that $120 and get some more LR, sand and test kits so you can test your water yourself.
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Old 06-06-2008, 04:23 PM   #13
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In my opinion, test kits are a necessity. Constantly relying on the LFS (hopefully a different one that sold you this setup) is not a good start. At this point, all you really need is ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH. If you go reef later, you'll want alkalinity, calcium, and *maybe* magnesium and phosphates. Testing your salinity with a hydrometer is the cheap (and often inaccurate) way to go, but in time you'll probably respend that money on a refractometer. I know you can't spend money you don't have, but spending money twice is no fun either.
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Old 06-06-2008, 04:31 PM   #14
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Thanks for the responses. So I went out today and bought 30 pounds of fine sea sand, a millennium 2000 wet/dry filter and a rio 180 power head. I ditched the UG filter and the crushed coral. Total damage was under $110. Not bad. I got my water checked while I was there and it would appear im done cycling so im gona do a 5 gallon water change tomorrow. Now, since ive done all these changes and still gonna wait a while till I add more fish. how long should I wait ?

I will definitely get a test kit and a refractometer. but they will have to wait. Which one should I get first when the money becomes available ?

edit: I actually notices they sell different test kits for different chemicals for around $6 each. Maybe I could just build my test kit slowy ? If thats a good idea, what should my priorities be ? Thanks again !
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Old 06-06-2008, 04:43 PM   #15
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I think you'll have to wait to add more fish... assuming you're going to keep those damsels in there and not cycle the tank WITHOUT fish. You will most likely have another cycle because of replacing the UGF with the wet/dry filter. The bacteria will eventually populate the wet/dry and your sand, but you have to get them there first - hence the additional cycle.

While I like to support the LFS as much as possible, you'll find hardware online runs at least 50% of what you'll pay in the LFS. If you're looking to save $$, pricing things online might be a good thing to do. From that $110 figure, I'm guessing that's fish store price.

As I mentioned... all you need right now is ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH.
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:08 PM   #16
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Frantic, I just started in the hobby two months ago with a 20 gallon. So far, I have a yellow watchman goby and clownfish, along with two hermits and a bunch of snails. So far (knock on wood) all is great. My lil guys eat voraciously, the tank is relatively clean (except for algae), and no one has gone belly-up (yet). It's great that you got on here early on. the advice here is spot-on and everyone here tries to help. I have no advice since I am just starting myself, but if I could say one thing about the 20 gallon, make sure to watch the chemical parameters carefully, BE PATIENT, and do your partial water cahnges with distilled water (you can get a gallon for $1.29 here in NY). I've stayed on the cheap side only by doing the minimal stuff, but I've not skimped on qulaity of the items in the tank. I try to go with name brands and nothing from chain pet stores. You pay moer, but it seems you get reliable equipment.
Sorry if I am over-stepping as a fellow novice, but I figured you'd like to hear from a guy who is also jsut starting out. Best of luck and have fun!
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:15 PM   #17
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Once again, I appreciate the good advice. Now, I got it all running with the stuff I just bought. The water cleared a bit so I put the damsels back in. Now...as of today my water is good... but I need to cycle again eh ? ok, I can deal with that...but should I keep my damsels ? I wouldnt want them to die..and they seem to be doing fine. They are very inquisitive and eating and are active.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:06 PM   #18
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You may actually see a new cycle, since you removed the CC (where a good amount of your beneficial bacteria resides), but no biggie, you'll be happier with sand. You might not see a new cycle if the new rock you added was cured and transport from the LFS to your house (ie, out of water time) was limited to a half hour or so.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:10 PM   #19
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Hey Clueless, your only a novice till you've been there. Frankly since it's been so long since I started a tank from scratch your advice/experiences may actually be more germane to Frantic's situation. For me most of it is an academic discussion where yours is recent.

Anyway, best of luck to both of ya..

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Old 06-06-2008, 08:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roka64 View Post
...You might not see a new cycle if the new rock you added was cured and transport from the LFS to your house (ie, out of water time) was limited to a half hour or so.
No rock was added... unless I missed something in there.
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