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Old 03-08-2012, 02:57 AM   #1
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First SW Tank - Soft Corals/Fish!

Alrighty then! After months of practically giving up on the aquarium hobby (my last attempt broke my spirit after I was misinformed by my local fish store) I have decided to come back... with a bang, even!

An innocent (psh) journey to a new aquarium store was how it all started. "Just to look" I told myself. Of course, perhaps the bane of the whole trip was the fact that I brought my boyfriend along, who has been simply dying for a marine tank, but I in no way fought the darn boy's pleas. Between my own itch to get back into the business and his subdued excitement, I couldn't say no.

Hundreds of dollars and a couple trips to the fish store for water later, we ended up bringing home the following:

- A 34-gallon with a built-in filter system (no need for a sump)
- A stand (in need of some knobs)
- Protein Skimmer
- Two bags live sand
- 1 Live Rock
- Light Fixture
- SW Testing Kit
- 79-gallon heater
- Thermometer
- A plethora of buckets

Meh... At least I can now say I don't have to worry about having water jugs, yes?

Anywho, we got a great deal for everything, including the stand half-off, a free light, and a discount on the protein skimmer. The staff at the store were very helpful and, from what I can tell, I'll be able to ask them questions without getting weird looks like I did at the other store. The light was just kind of an after-thought that my bargain-hungry boyfriend snuck in, so we will probably get a better light (I love them LED lights) eventually but, since we have only sand, rock, and a heater, I think it's more decorative than anything else, lol.

The sand has nearly settled in the tank (my boyfriend got a little... creative with his method of putting the water in while I wasn't looking) so the glass is lightly covered with a film of sand. I'll put a picture up as soon as I can get around to clear it off.

Hopefully I'll be able to get through this thing without much trouble but any helpful hints that you may be able to give me would be most appreciated!

Eventual stocking plans have yet to be discussed, other than the fact that we won't be using any stony corals and that we are going to be good and use beginner/reef safe fish... At least, while we can resist! Soon we will have to go pick out a few more pieces of live rock. While I love the piece we picked out (it has a nice little hole in the middle for fishes to swim in and out of) I'm worried we won't find the perfect pieces!

First water level check will be either later tonight or in the morning. Till then... toodles, and I hope to entertain you all with this!
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:38 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome to the salty side!

Looking forward to your tank. How much rock do you have atm? A good rule of thumb is 1-1.5lbs of rock. You'll also need a refractometer if you don't have one already to measure the salinity of your water.

Good luck and feel free to ask any questions!
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:10 PM   #3
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Alrighty, so that's what I have so far. I still have to "dust" off the sand from the glass so that's why it looks sorta weird. And, clearly, we need at least two more rocks because just one is so... plain! The thermometer, I just realized, detached from the side so I'll have to figure out a way to better attach it.

Temperature is about 77-79 degrees. I'll probably lower the heater just a tad to make sure it doesn't get above 78, which, I believe, is the correct temperature for soft corals?

The light is an Aqualite but I'm going to keep it off for now to keep algae from going while it's cycling. I will be testing the levels when I get home from school so we shall see how we are doing!

@ AquaRick, thanks for commenting! I'm not sure if I need one, I believe the testing kit I purchased has a salinity tester but I'll double check when I get home! The only piece of rock I have is, I believe, 3.5 pounds. I'll probably be adding at least another 7-10 pounds.
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:19 PM   #4
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Looks good! Just remember that rock is the best filtration out there for your tank. A good 30-45 lbs of rock in your tank would be great. (This measure is based off of wet rock. With dry rock you can get by on less).
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:25 PM   #5
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Oh I see you meant pounds per gallon! I don't know what I thought you meant but... yea. Gotcha! In that case I will be adding much, much more. :3
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Old 03-08-2012, 06:53 PM   #6
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As promised I tested the water parameters when I got home. This is what I found:

Day 1:
pH: 7.4-7.8
Ammonia: 0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
Temp: 79 degrees

Turns out that I do need the refractometer in order to test the salinity, so I'll be picking one of those up as soon as I can. I turned the temperature down a bit, so I'll measure it again tomorrow to see if it is at a more appropriate level.
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:48 PM   #7
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I keep mine around 80 degrees. You are good where you are.
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Old 03-09-2012, 04:06 PM   #8
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Added 24 more pounds of live rock, which rounds me out to about 27 pounds. I may add another rock later on for aesthetic purposes but for now I'm pleased. There are lots of caves and swim-through areas for the eventual inhabitants, so I think they'll be pleased.

The price of it still kills me.

For your entertainment, today's water parameters!

Day 2:
pH: 7.8-8.0
Ammonia: 0-0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
Temp: 79 degrees
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Old 03-09-2012, 06:40 PM   #9
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How are you adding ammonia to your cycle? You'll need an ammonia source. Either with pure ammonia (highly recomended) or toss in a shrimp to decay in your tank.

The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:39 PM   #10
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DAY 5:
Ammonia 2.0
Nitrite 0.25
pH 7.8
Nitrate 10

Day 5! I've been dosing with ace janitorial ammonia. I think up to about 2-3 ppm (I'm not sure yet of the correct drops to get it to 4) and already I'm seeing nirtrites and nitrates which makes me think something is wrong?? Opinions?

Or is this just cycling super fast? 0-0
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