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Old 01-03-2005, 11:02 PM   #1
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Brand New 1st Time Tank

Hello Everyone. I am a newbie and I appreciate the time you all take to read my post. I have alot to say and I hope that as a 1st time poster - that I do not offend this forum.
To put it simple. I am lost, confused and overwhelmed!!
The Good News is that I have not started.
A family member has moved - in turn I was given his entire set up as a free gift.

First let me start by telling you what I have:

(1) 55 Gallon Glass Tank
(2) Skilter 250 Power Filter w/ Protien Skimmer
(1) EHEIM 2215 External Canister Filter (Spray Bar for Tank)
(1) Custom Sealife Double Helix Ultra Violet Sterilizer 9W
(2) 48" 260W Satellite SmartPaq Dual Lamp (10,000K/460NM Actinic) with four built in lunar moon beams.

These are the Chemicals given to me:

(1) Bottle of Seachem Prime
(1) Bottle of Nutrafin Cycle
(1) Box/Bag of ROWAphos Phospate Remover/Absorbent
(1) Box/Bag of IONIC
(1) Bottle of Kent Marine SuperBuffer-DKH
(1) Box/Bag of Tropical Marin "ELIMI-PHOS"
(http://www.tropic-marin.com/web/english/homepage.html)
(1) Bottle of Marine Land - Black Diamond Activated Carbon
(1) Bottle of Bacter Vital
(http://www.marcweissco.com)

Now this tank was never taken care of. There are no fish. All equipment runs perfect. The tank was dormant for over 6 months. Water smelled like Rotten Eggs. The water to my surprise was clear but ALL rock in the tank was full of this green fuzzy algae. Rocks looked like they had a green rug. My Aunt told me that ALL this rock was taken from the ground (not purchased at the store). Im not even sure if it is Live Rock or not. My Aunt proceeded to tell me that the rock could be considered "Lime Rock" taken about 20 feet underground at a construction site in Miami (The Federal Courthouse was building an underground tunnel). In any case this is the history of "the mystery rock".

This is my current situation:
All equipment cleaned with Tap water (No chemicals). All Filter media thrown out (bought all new). 55 Gallon Tank washed out with Tap water (No Chemicals), dried, and sits empty. All Rock (approx 60lbs) was put in a 30 gallon trash can, filled with Garden Hose water and one gallon of pure bleach for 24 hours. Needless to say - All rock is White and spic and span. I noticed that indeed some rock had to be purchased as I noticed branches with colorful pink, purple and red spots. Only the Branches (just a few small pieces) have this look - the rest are just pure white rock at the moment. After sitting for 24 hours in Bleach and water - I then rinsed all the rock with a garden hose. All the rock and branches now sit in my 30 gallon trash can full of garden hose water with no trace or smell of bleach.

OK sooooooo - where do I begin?

First things first.......
Do I even dare to use this rock? Is this gonna cause problems later? Bite the bullet and buy Live Rock? Can I get away with what I did to the Rock?

Second thing.....
Sooooo many chemicals! Where to begin! What to use? When? Where? Why? How?

I hope spelling out my situation and what I have will help you to teach me the process of owning my very first Aquarium! I am so excited and at the same time at a stand still. I am so scared to make the first move.

PLEASE HELP ME!!!

Johnnie Caraballo
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Old 01-04-2005, 12:41 AM   #2
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There is a test to see if the rock is limestone. The prime is to condition the water. You will need a good quality salt mixture(lfs). You probably won't need the phos, ionic, or buffer right away. You will need a test kit for minimum of Ph, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Look in the recommended reading list for this forum and do some serious research. You will probably want to get some kind of substrate(sand, crushed coral, aragonite etc). Have patience and ask lots of questions before you buy any fish or corals. Good luck and have fun. We all have made mistakes and most things can be easily corrected so be smart but don't be skeered.
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Old 01-04-2005, 02:55 AM   #3
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You need a lot more of advice and I don't have enough time. Here's my quick thoughts...

1) At this point, don't worry about all those chemicals. As you learn more, you'll learn why you might choose or not choose to use them. More likely than not, you'll never need them.

2) As long as you are really patient, I think you should be able to use that bleached rock again. Keep in mind that bleach is really deadly to tank life.

3) Read about tank cycling. Read it again. Once you understand that concept, your ready to put the tank together, put the rock in, fill it up and start it up. At this point, it will still be some time before you get the pleasure of adding any life (fish) to the tank. (cycling...)
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Old 01-04-2005, 09:35 AM   #4
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Hello Electrikat, thank you for your response.
I forgot to mention that I have Test Kits for everything under the sun (was also given to me).

Quote:
You will probably want to get some kind of substrate(sand, crushed coral, aragonite etc)
I forgot to also mention that I have (4) 20# Bags of Live Sand and inside the ehiem Canister is full to the top with Crushed Coral. It is then topped off with a Blue Course Filter and then last is a White Fine Filter.

Where is that "test" you referred to? I would love to find out what kind of rock I have!!

Do you have any opinion on the Equipment I was given? Would you change anything before I get started?

Thank you for your time.

Johnnie
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Old 01-04-2005, 10:10 AM   #5
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Hello Brad and thank you for your response.

I took your advise and read about the Maturation Process & Cycle of Saltwater Aquariums. Likewise, just like you had mentioned - I had to re-read it all over again.

I have learned that the conversion of harmful ammonia into nitrite and then nitrate is referred to as the "Nitrogen Cycle'. Before I can purchase ANY fish - I need to establish the Nitrogen cycle.
I also learned about the role of bacteria. To make the process more simple for me to understand, the "Nitrogen Cycle" is to reduce toxic ammonia into less-toxic nitrogen compounds. My ammonia should build slowly and will decrease as it is converted to nitrite. As the Nitrite is slowly converted to nitrate I will have consistently lower levels of ammonia & nitrite as my nitrate slowly begins to build. This process takes 6 weeks. I also read to speed up the process to add a couple of Damsels. These fish begin to excrete ammonia immediately and provide fuel for developing colony of bacteria.

Quote:
Read about tank cycling. Read it again. Once you understand that concept, your ready to put the tank together, put the rock in, fill it up and start it up. At this point, it will still be some time before you get the pleasure of adding any life (fish) to the tank. (cycling...)
Reading about the Cycle has really helped me - thank you for the advise.


Quote:
1) At this point, don't worry about all those chemicals. As you learn more, you'll learn why you might choose or not choose to use them. More likely than not, you'll never need them.

Interesting statement! I wonder what your thoughts are on one of the chemcials I have. Since I was doing some reading about the "Cycle" I decided to do some reading about all the chemicals I have. One in particular called: Bacter Vital www.marcweissco.com
This chemcial seems to speed up the process of Maturing the Tank and its Nitrogen Cycle 20 Fold! What would normally take 6 weeks - takes only 3 days!!! Whats your thoughts on that?

Quote:
You need a lot more of advice and I don't have enough time
I thank you very much for your time. I understand that my questions can lead to writing a book :P but since Im in the beginning stages and have learned allot so far from your advise to read...I do have a question that I can NOT find an answer to in ANY publication.
Please note the "Rock" I have mentioned in the beginning. I am scared that this is a product that could cause harm! Should I use this rock. Should I prepare the rock that I have any differently? Should it sit in Saltwater before going in my tank? Should it be treated in any way?
Tonight I plan to add Salt Water to my empty tank and add 80# of Live Sand. Turn on both Skilter 250's, ehiem Canister and UV Light. I am very very concerned about entering the rock. Am I worrying too much?

Johnnie
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Old 01-04-2005, 10:26 AM   #6
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I was thinking some more about my last comment you. Its unfair to ask such a stupid question. How in the world would you know what condition or type of rock I have. Looking back I realize Im just looking for some to say: Yeah do it - Its OK. Kinda waiting for something I just wanna hear. Like someone told me before - If you question something too much - then its probably NOT a good idea. If this Mystery rock has me full of questions - I obviously dont feel comfortable knowing what it is - so why even use it??

Maybe a better question for you or anyone else with knowledge of Rock (Live or DEAD) - Is it OK to use Rock just dug up from the ground (of course bleached and cleaned) to use in a Salt Water Aquarium or is it an Absolute 100% MUST to have NOTHING but Live Rock?

Thank you for your time.

Johnnie
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Old 01-04-2005, 03:57 PM   #7
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Hi Johnnie, and welcome to AA!

Quote:
Bacter Vital www.marcweissco.com
This chemcial seems to speed up the process of Maturing the Tank and its Nitrogen Cycle 20 Fold! What would normally take 6 weeks - takes only 3 days!!! Whats your thoughts on that?
Don't waste your time with these products. Most of them do not work. The best way, IMO and most others, is to cycle the tank with raw shrimp. A couple of raw shrimp from the grocery store will do nicely. However, thinking about the rock, if you really want to do things the best way in the beginning, think about getting LR. This will not only cycle your tank for you naturally without raw shrimp, and it will also give you the proper filtration your fish, and/or reef will need. The best way to determine LR is to get about 1lb, to 1.5lb per gallon. If you do this, you will be able to eliminate the canister in the near future.
Additional hardware you will definitely want to consider is the use of a protein skimmer, and a good one at that. Remora or Bakpak will do nicely.
Most of us here (even the experienced) are always learning new ways to make this hobby more successful, so stop by and ask some more questions! HTH
Say NO to CC, and yes to sand. This will be a life saver literally!

Mike
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Old 01-04-2005, 04:12 PM   #8
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Rock straight from the ground can and will contain harmful metals and possibly pesticides. You can save a little money by buying base rock for the bottom layers of the structure and buying some nice live rock pieces to seed the base rock. You will have to cycle the tank no matter what you use for the starter. It's going to take a couple weeks for the water, tank, substrate, and filters to build up the necessary bacteria to handle the load of life you add. Even when you start adding fish and life you will have a small barely noticeable cycle every time you add. That's how the bacteria multiply to handle each additional load you put on the system.
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Old 01-04-2005, 04:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Say NO to CC, and yes to sand. This will be a life saver literally!

Mike
Are you saying that I should NOT use crushed coral in the Canister? Cause my Cursor changed to Normal Output floresents (which confused me).
Also, having (2) Skilter 250 w/built in protein Skimmers is considered Junk compared to the products you have mentioned?
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Old 01-04-2005, 04:25 PM   #10
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So I take it that having them soak in pure bleach for 24 hours doesnt make Rock safe.
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