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Old 04-30-2007, 02:50 PM   #1
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a variety of noobie questions

hi-

me and the family just got a 90gal tank that we want to set up as a SW tank. Most likely starting out as FOWLR and then possibly putting in corals and other fun creatures after the tank really stabilizes and we learn more about the hobby. So after roaming the forum and reading the articles i have come up with a few questions. Hope this isn't to much of a bother.

1. After the tank has cycled and is ready for fish. Would it be bad to put more then one kind of fish in at a time? Or for that matter more then one fish? (assuming they will be acclimated separately not just chucked in)

2. I read one post that suggested putting new fish in a clear container so the other fish can "work out their aggressions" towards the new fish with out hurting it. Is this recommended and if it is any suggestion on what kind of container to use?

3. This is the sump/filter system we have http://www.all-glass.com/products/fe...dex_left.shtml
(model 3)

We were thinking about start with 60lbs of LR to start with and then possibly adding more later in addition to that filter. Is that an acceptable set up? We will also have this protein skimmer (125 gallon size)
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...&N=2004+113771

and a 1200gph pump that we will be placing in the sump/filter. As well as possibly one of two heaters to minimize equipment in the tank. Any thoughts on equipment and set up?

4. Will the ~60lbs of LR be enough to start cycling the tank or should we still go and get the shrimp to start the cycle?

5. I read that nitrate is fine for fish but no good for corals. What are acceptable levels of nitrate for fish and for coral? Is PWC the only way to take out the nitrate or is their other equipment that can help to keep the levels low?

6. One post was talking about activated carbon to help filter the tank. Is this required or just another option for a different method of filtering? What exactly does it filter out?

7. It is recommended to use deionized water over tap water to keep impurities and allege under control. Is there a difference between deionized and distilled water? I can get distilled water from the local grocery store will this be acceptable? On a side note i have seen some ro/di units that are extremely expensive and some that are reasonable. Any suggestions for one if we were going to get one?

8. If i am understanding correctly the sump/filter creates a suction from the tank and the pump sends it back up so you have to make sure the suction is equal or greater then the rating on the pump? This is the kind of tank/overflow we have plumbed to the sump/filter. It mentions 600gph in the text. is this going to be a problem? this part of the set up confuses me.

9. With a 1200gph pump at about a 3' head hight will that be enough flow for the tank?

I sincerely apologize all the questions but i am just trying to do my homework before we get this thing going to minimize the amount of critters killed in our learning process. Thanks for any and all help.

Pat
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Old 04-30-2007, 03:24 PM   #2
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1. You can get away with one or two fish, as long as they are compatible. (This will allow for the beneficial bacteria to catch up with the new bioload) It's really best to QT them beforehand.
2. This will depend on what fish you are putting in. Some agressive fish are best put in last and probably won't bother the others (of course this depends on if you selected the appropriate fish in the first place).
3. You can replace those bioballs with rubble, they tend to become nitrAte factories if not kept clean. If you go with the 1.5-2Lbs of rock per gallon, a good skimmer, you will not need a filter. Most of the skimmers people use are the Aqua C, ASM, Bac-Pak and there are a few others (these seem to be the better rated and more recommended). PS, don't skimp on this piece of equipment.
4. I would add them together. The rock and some of your substrate will host the beneficial bacteria.
5. 10-20 is not too bad. You want to shoot for less. PWCs are the best way, not only do they remove the nitrAtes, they also replenish the trace elements needed by our critters.
6. GAC will help to polish the water and take out some meds and some trace elements, it is only good for about a week and then can start leaching into the tank, or becomming a nitrAte factory. Personally I use Purigen , it does help (with the assistance of PWCs) polishing the water, ammonia, nitrItes, nitrAtes.
7. It is best to use RO/DI water. This will filter out most of the bad stuff in the water (I'm not sure about chlorine)
8. I'm not sure on that one.
9. Can't help there either.
I like questions and good job on the research.
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Old 04-30-2007, 03:25 PM   #3
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Hi Pat, welcome to the forums.

Here are my best answers:

1) You should be fine with adding a couple at a time of different species. You shouldn't get any extra aggression issues, if anything you should get less since they will both be unfamiliar with your tank. My best suggestion would be to add the most aggressive at the end. With having a sump set-up, if you have a fish that is getting territorial, you can put him in "time-out" in the sump for a day or two, then reintroduce him to the tank, and he should lose a lot of that aggression.

2) Some people use a smaller laundry basket type plastic container that will float in the water. I have never used this technique however, even with a semi-aggressive FOWLR setup, so i'm not the best source of info.

3) I would recommend a lot more live rock, closer to 150lbs. You should only need one heater, to be placed in the sump. I have that setup in my 210g and it heats the water great since it shoots out the heated water throughout the tank. The only extra piece of equipment I use is a UV sterilizer, which is nice to have, but not a necessity.

4) Cycle the tank without any fish/inverts. Those should be added once the process is complete.

5) Nitrate isn't okay for anyone. In low amounts it is tolerable, but stressful. In high amounts it is lethal. Your goal should be 10ppm or lower, obviously 0ppm is ideal. Yes, routine water changes is the best method for controlling Nitrate levels (as well as not over-feeding or overstocking your tank).

6) With a sump you don't need to use activated carbon. I do however just as an added source of filtration which helps keep my tank readings low and water clear. But with a sump and protein skimmer you have no need for activated carbon as well.

7) There is a difference. They serve the same purpose (getting more pure H2O), but deionized water is the cheaper and less effective source. I have never used Reverse Osmosis water, but am considering it in the near future. It is the best option even though it is more expensive. Using tap water won't destroy your system as long as you use water conditioner, but RO water is far better, especially for reef setups.

8 ) It does not use suction to pull the water down, it simply uses gravity. Suction is actually bad, and if you have suction your sump would pull water into it from your aquarium and overflow it in cases of power-outages. Your pump will pump water into your tank until your tank overflows into your....overflows =), and the water will then pour down into your sump. The only thing controlling the flow in a sump setup is your water pump.

9) I THINK that would be alright, but I am not exactly sure to be honest. I am sure someone else will be able to comment on that. However, be sure to put in a ball valve though so you can control the flow of the water in case it is too high.
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Old 04-30-2007, 03:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkie
4. Will the ~60lbs of LR be enough to start cycling the tank or should we still go and get the shrimp to start the cycle?
Make sure this is a raw/unseasoned shrimp, from your local grocery store. You should shoot for 1 jumbo shrimp per 30 Gallons.
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Old 04-30-2007, 05:21 PM   #5
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does a ro/di unit plumb into your system and act like a filter or is it a seperate unit that you use to clean your water before you mix it and then add it to the tank? whats a good unit thats not real expenisve?
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Old 04-30-2007, 05:27 PM   #6
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I use this one:
http://cgi.ebay.com/New-6-stage-100-...QQcmdZViewItem
It is generally attached to your fawcet and filters the water at the tap, some folks use it near their washer output or under their tanks for the FW top off system.
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Old 04-30-2007, 07:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pat8you
does a ro/di unit plumb into your system and act like a filter or is it a seperate unit that you use to clean your water before you mix it and then add it to the tank? whats a good unit thats not real expenisve?
It`s a separate unit that purifies the water you place in jugs or tanks. I have mine in a tub outside in my tool shed hooked up to a garden hose. I personally think that more than 60 lbs of LR is needed but it really depends on surface area and how pourus the LR is. I hope all goes well.
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Old 05-01-2007, 08:43 PM   #8
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so is the activated carbon something you need or just an bonus kind of thing?
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:41 AM   #9
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I just started using Purigen and tossed my GAC. GAC only is useful for 1-2 weeks and will start leeching stuff back into your system. The purigen does way more than the carbon, lasts longer and can be "recharged". I wouldn't worry about running unless you need to.
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Old 05-02-2007, 12:17 PM   #10
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One thing that GAC is good for is clearing up any yellowing of water and cleaning up the water in QT tanks after treating.

I still keep it on hand for those applications but I also prefer Purigen or Chemi-Pure to GAC since they keep water crystal clear, typically last for months without leaching anything back into the tank, and won't remove trace elements.

Also if you do use GAC make sure it's a high quality brand since the cheaper brands are known to leach po4.
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