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Old 01-27-2004, 09:48 AM   #1
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Complete novice who needs A LOT of help

I realise I might seem like an complete idiot but this is because I am a novice when it comes to salt water tanks . Here's my senario:

An old work collegue is emmigrating to Italy and so is selling pretty much everything he owns including a 125g fully established marine tank. I have agreed to have it provided it can be moved. (Another problem but hopefully in hand).

I am really excited but at the same time I am a little daunted by the challenge. (I really would like to send him some pictures of his tank and its inhabitants alive and well once settled into their new surroundings.)
I know nothing about marine tanks and would like to find out everything I need to know so disaster doesn't result from my stupidity. The move isn't until June so I have some time to plan caring for the tank but would like to start looking into it soon so as to prevent a panic later on.

This is what i know/remember about the tank inhabitants and set up but obviously I'll find out a little more detail neared the time. (It was a while ago since I saw the tank)
125g custom built sw with external filter mechanism (all the mechanics are located under the tank in the stand/cabinet)
1x purple tang
1x yellow tang
2 x clowns
2 x damsel fish (I think this is what they are)
hermet crabs
brittle stars
live rock

The main problem is that the tank has a serious problem with flat worm which hitch hiked with some coral which it has since destroyed. Another problem to be dealt with at a later date. I realise treatment is going to be tricky because of the invertebrates. I don't make things easy for myself do I?

The move is likely to be stressful enough for the inhabitants without an idiot adding to their problems.

I have a 50g freshwater planted peaceful community tank which is thriving nicely due to a lot of research and attention and I am keen to be able to do this eventually with the marine tank. I realise of course that we learn by our mistakes and my beginner status is potentially disasterous hence I'm keen to learn all the theory before hand.

Any help would be greatfully appreciated - links to articles, recommended books etc or even experiences. A simple water change would be problematical for me at the moment - thats how much I need help.

Sorry about the long message. Please feel free to treat me like a wally. I will ask the owner for advice but I would like him to think his fish will be cared for properly and I don't think asking him how to do a water change would instill confidence!

Thanks in advance.

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Old 01-27-2004, 10:13 AM   #2
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Please feel free to treat me like a wally.
We dont do that here.

First thing I would suggest would be that you ask the owner if you could visit when he is doing his weekly or daily tank routine. Then you can see what his tank is used to as far as regular upkeep. Make sure you have him go over with you how things are plumbed together and if need be even draw it out on some paper so when you get this thing apart and ready to put back together your not lost with all the plumbing.

Ask if he can show you the different bits of equipment like the skimmer and how to adjust the skimmer and how to know when it needs adjustment, the location of the bulbs and the ballast and what kind of maintance schedule the bulbs are on as far as replacment.

Second you can find some helpful articles in the header of this site under the link Articles. Feel free to print them out for off line reference. Also in that same area is a Library link. There are a few books that I would suggest. The first is the book entitled "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert M. Fenner and since this guy has corals "Aquarium Corals" by Eric H. Borneman.

You aleady appear to have some knowlege since you know that flat worms and treating them can be dangerious to other inverts in the tank. When you move the tank you can do a fair bit to remove some/many of the flatworms in that process but its going to be a long battle to control/rid them.

Something thats also important is to have a spot in your house thats going to support the load of a full reef tank.

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Old 01-27-2004, 11:26 AM   #3
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Something thats also important is to have a spot in your house thats going to support the load of a full reef tank
Don't worry, I'm in the process of organising building a supporting wall under the floor to support it.

Thanks for your reply. I will have a look through those articles and see if I can track down a copy of the book you recommended.

Thanks again.


ps As regards the flat worms, if I quarantine the invertebrates whilst I treat the tank are the invertebrates likely to carry the worm back into the tank with them? This sounds like a horrible thing to suggest but would it be better to treat the tank without removing the invertebrates accepting their loss for the greater good of the tank. If so whats the best method to euthanase them as I'm assuming copper sulphate (which i believe is the treatment) is less than a gentle death.
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Old 01-27-2004, 01:54 PM   #4
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I have a friend who moved his 125G reef. He planned it out and then did the process in a fast "shotgun" approach. I believe he took all the fish and re-QTed them for four weeks. He also bought a 55gallon tank to server for a holding tank for all the corals and inverts. I will give you a run down of his process. He had pretty good success.

1.) QT all fish
2.) Xfer Corals and inverts to 55G hold (use water from display tank)
3.) remove all liverock to tubs (use water from display tank)
4.) Take the remaining 40 - 50 gallons and save for re-using in moved tank.
5.) At this time my buddy decided to change out about 50 - 60% of his substrate.
(hence the QT of the fish for a few weeks while the bacteria recovers from its
losses) this could also help with worms. If there is any baserock make sure
to preserve as much bacteria as possible.
6.) Move tank, plumb, equip
7.) Add all saved water from tank, add fresh brew to complete fill
8.) Setup aquascape and add corals/inverts back (may or may not need to leave
lights off for a bit, watch everything carefully, don't overstress)
9.) Check paramters all the time for a week or so, add fish in about two weeks.

My friend is no expert, but this system did work well for him. It took us about 7 hours to perform the process with three of us working non stop. He had brain coral stress and bleach a little and lost a wrassle that leaped from the acclimation bag. But that was it. Good luck. Sorry for the windy post but I hope it helps.
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Old 01-27-2004, 02:34 PM   #5
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You don't want to use copper in the tank at all. If you treat the LR with it, it will no longer be suitable for use in the tank with inverts. I would manually remove as many as possible when I moved the tank. You might also look at getting a 6 line wrasse...they are know to eat flatworms. Flatworms are OK as long as they don't get out of control (they usually do) and the wrasse might keep them in check if you could lower the population initially.
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Old 01-27-2004, 03:21 PM   #6
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I'll let the experts go into specific details. The only thing I'll add is to feed very lightly every other day for a few weeks after the move, and plan on spending ALOT of time reading here and the other reef forums over the next few months.

You'll do fine if your heart is in it.
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Old 01-28-2004, 08:11 AM   #7
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Wow. Thanks everyone for all your suggestions and help. Its good to hear that people have moved this size and type of tank and had a lot of success with the outcome.

Removing the majority of worms in the move is something I shall look into as I'm all for solutions which don't involve poisons and potions so I shall give the 6 line wrasse idea some thought and research.

Thanks again for all your help. I'd rather ask my dumb questions here that go to a store where I'm not convinced I'm getting good advice at all.

I shall print out your replies to keep in mind nearer the time.
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Old 01-30-2004, 01:00 PM   #8
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Please feel free to treat me like a wally.
What the heck does that mean? Actually I prefer to be treated like a Wally.


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