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Old 06-19-2009, 02:16 PM   #11
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Guys, thanks for your responses...

He is long gone, the last message my wife left for him left nothing to the imagination

So, it is down to me to learn.

Good news : Sounds like we have a good set up and no need to buy anything (much).

Current situation : Tank totally empty of everything, including water and 100% clean (I use household cleaners, I guess I should have used something fish friendly - I am hoping I can leave it for a couple of weeks and most of the toxins will disappear.)

A few huge buckets of water sit outside filled mostly with thousands of little 'pencils'. I have about 100 gallons of water, so my guess is that I need 150 lbs of rock, or 70 kilos, where I come from! After lifting the buckets, I would say that I have less than than in small pencils and 3-4 huge porous rocks weighing 10-15 lbs each, which were in the tank themselves, although I must say not all of that weight is in the filter, about half is probably in the tank.

I hadn't realised that these 'pencils' were part of the filtration system, I just thought they were decoration, but when I opened the sump chamber, I found loads in there too. I will weigh what I have and figure out if I need more. My guess is he probably knows the ratio, so perhaps enough were provided. They are foul, so in the bleach they all go.

I have cleaned all pumps and skimmer, but I am worried the top was partly shawn off to fit the chamber in the sump. Perhaps this affects its functionality?

Since I will be cleaning this from now on, seems I need to invest in some cleaning equipment, now what is a gravel vacuum!

Keep well,

P.
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Old 06-19-2009, 02:49 PM   #12
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Hi and welcome, Try this link and read up on the articles on the right.
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articles/ There are things like how to cycle your tank, which you will have to do again and other articles that should bring your knowledge up quite a bit.
You mentioned blue balls and other shapes. That would be your Wet/dry filter and is still an important part of a FOWLR (fish only with live rock) system. And yes it gets dirty. You should vacume that up to as part of your regular tank cleaning duties. Don't think of it as work, think of it as meditation and relaxation. You need to get a test kit to test the water as you recycle your tank. I'll let you gat a grip on this information . So let us know how far along you are in setting the tank back up.
How many gallons is your tank?
If all your coral is dried up you may have to purchase a few pounds of LR(live rock) to reseed your tank with the proper saltwater bacteria.
1) just rinse off the rocks and put them back in the tank again.
2) fill with saltwater to an SG (specific Gravity)...Salinity of ~1.025
3) When you find out how many gallons add one shrimp per 50 gallons of water to start the cycle (this is your ammonia)
sit back and let nature take it's course
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Old 06-19-2009, 04:35 PM   #13
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sumps : Understanding Sumps

cycle : The Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle

equipment : Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank.
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Old 09-02-2009, 05:56 AM   #14
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Hi there guys

Sorry I have been off for a while, basically got busy after cleaning the aquarium and piled the various parts in the garage after cleaning.

So where are we now?

I have some parameters for you, which are as follows: (Please forgive UK/European terms and units!)

1) The tank is 376 litres in capacity, when taking into account the exact internal volume of the tank (ie not outside measurements) and including the little corner 'hidden' part where the water slips down into the 'sump'. The volume of the sump isn't included in this, I guess it has another 30 litres or so, when filled half (which is what it should be, from memory) making lets say 400 litres (about 100 US Gallons).

2) The 'pencils' have all been bleached lightly (ie with a water and bleach solution) for about a week. They came out looking nice, white and clean (but smelling of bleach a bit). They were rinsed thoroughly in non chlorinated/flourinated water (from our well, not the tap) many times, then laid out in the sun to dry for over a month. They have no bleach smell at all and I couldn't find a 'debleacher'. I am confident they are clean and smell of no bleach. I currently have 27 kilos (about 60 lbs) of this kind of coral rock and there is about 3 large (8-12 inch) heavy (about 10 lb) rocks as well, which are somewhat porous, although they may be there for show more than as 'live rocks'. These are also very clean and don't have any bleach smell.

All the equipment has also been cleaned and dried and put back (just put, not installed or connected) into the sump.

I guess I am at next step stage, which is to take stock and take a leap getting this done again. One thing I notice is that the sump is inaccessible without taking it out, I can't clean the corals in the back with a vacuum without an enormous effort, any ideas on this?

Shall I just connect everything up, buy some salt, a vacuum and some live rocks and fill her up with water and stand well back?



I have included some pictures to help get to grips with what I have got here.

Thanks in advance for your help and answers so far and further advice is appreciated.

P.







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Old 09-02-2009, 09:19 AM   #15
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I would replace the sticks with Aragonite sand and if you can use Reverse osmosis deionized water instead of tap or well water because this will reduce the Nitrates, phosphates, silicates, chlorine/chloramine (Usually added by your municipality) in your tank. The afore mentioned when present in high levels will make your life very difficult, the lower these levels the better your tank will be.
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:35 AM   #16
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Hi there, thanks for the advice, there was some sand, although I don't know what Arogonite sand is, perhaps I can use both, as I like the look of the corals too? I will look up arogonite sand.

Also, I have my own well water and we add nothing, except a tiny amount of silver every 3 months or so. By tiny, I mean absolutely tiny, less than a gram. We haven't added any for a while, though in any event my understanding is silver and even heavy metals such as gold are in real sea water and the good sea water preparations anyway?

Paul.
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:52 AM   #17
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What we want to do is remove as much of the Total dissolved solids in the water as possible so we have a clean slate to start with, then when you add the salt mix, the mix puts all of the elements back into the water that the fish need to thrive. Increased phosphates, silicates, nitrates increase undesired algae growth at a very rapid rate making the tank more difficult to maintain.
As for your pencils, I like them as well but don't find them practical because all of the excess food and fish waste will get stuck down in there where your clean up crew will be unable to get to it creating an increase in nitrates which is a bad thing. The choice is yours, if you keep them you are going to be cleaning them out quite frequently.
What you can do as well is get some good test kit that will test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, PH, alkalinity, phosphates, copper (a very bad thing and may be in your well water) and silicates to start with. When you get the test kits I would start by testing the well water 1st and see what all of the levels are prior to using it in the tank so you know what is and what is not contributing to a potential future problem.
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:06 AM   #18
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Great advice, I have already had our well water professionally tested, so will look out the results for the metals etc. I hear you regarding keeping the water 'pure' and I have been told that our well water is pretty good, lets put it this way, we drink it and bathe in it every day

That doesn't mean good for fish though, I will get a water tester and also find some way of 'repopulating' the bacteria.

When you say cleaning out, do you mean with a vacuum (which I don't mind) or removing and cleaning (which was quite a chore!)

Keep well!

P.
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:40 AM   #19
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Starting the cycle is easy, mix your saltwater, get a couple of medium size shrimp uncooked with the shell on (Put them in a filter media bag)from your fish market, put them in the tank and let it sit for a couple of weeks (the whole tank including sump must be online). This is where you will need to monitor your ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. At 1st your ammonia will increase then when the bacteria begin to develop the ammonia will drop to 0 and your nitrites will increase (BTW both ammonia and nitrites are extremely toxic to fish this why we chose the fishless method of cycling the tank) then they will come down to 0 and your nitrates will increase at which point your tank is considered cycled . When your ammonia and nitrites are at 0 perform a 50% water change (Leave the shrimp in the tank until you are ready to get some livestock and then you should remove the shrimp 2 days prior to putting any livestock in the tank. It's usually a good idea to wait a week or two after the water change to monitor the tanks parameters to insure stability in the environment before introducing any livestock) when the cycle has completed this will help reduce the nitrates in the tank which BTW should be kept <30ppm for fowlr and really low for a reef setup.
Vacuuming the pencils is correct but don't think it will help all that much because the pieces are fairly large.
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:41 AM   #20
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I have looked up the well water statistics and have the following info, although Copper is not mentioned:

Ammonium Ion <0.03 mg/l
Nitrates 35.4 mg/l
Nitrogen 0.027 mg/l
Manganese <0.5 mg/l
pH 6.62
Iron 0.04 mg/l

There are bunch of other things like clarity, smell, colour, cloudiness, bacteria, but all within normal levels for people.

I am not sure if these mean anything fish wise, allegedly this water is drinkable!

Paul.
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