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Old 08-03-2010, 05:26 PM   #1
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Help!!! I am completely new to saltwater fish

Hello

I just bought a 125 gallon fish tank on craigslist saltwater. I just picked it up and I am setting it up in my place. It has fluval filters. I have 4 african cichlid tanks ranging from 180 gallon to 10 gallon. I have a few questions.

How do I go about changing the water when its time to change it?

Can I use tap water when I change the water?

How do I add salt to the tank is that ok?

Can I vacuum the gravel like you would a freshwater tank?

I am really new to this and never had a saltwater tank and I have 6 fish that came with it, that I am in the process of trying to identify.

Thanks
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:33 PM   #2
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Hello,
1-Syphon the water out into a bucket, then pour pre-mixed and ariated salt water back in. NEVER add salt to the DT, always pre-mix 24hours in advance.
2-Dont use tap water. You will wind up with many headaches due to the contaminates in it. Use DI water.
3-See #1
4-There shouldnt be any gravel in this tank, it will wind up trapping decaying organics and thus cause a nitrate problem. You need sand. If its too late, yes you can vacuum but do so gently. Dont get the stuff all stirred up bad.

Youve come to the right place! The people here will have you on the right path shortly. Post some pics of the fish in the ID forum. Also, youll want to read up on the many articles devoted to having a new tank.

Matt
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:43 PM   #3
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Hello

Thanks for answering so fast. However what does DT mean?

Also what does DI mean, when you say to use DI water?

When I go about cleaning and changing the water in my tank I have to always set up garbage cans with water and let them sit 24 hrs with the salt mix in it?

Is there any faster way without leaving the water overnight?

If I called a cleaning service how would they clean my tank if they have to leave the water sit for 24 hrs?

I am sorry about all the questions but I just want to make sure I have this going in the right direction.

Also it is sand, sorry about saying gravel.
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:54 PM   #4
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You need to mix and let it set 24 to 48 hours. I reccommend RO/DI water. Read this for why you dont want tap water

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/jan2004/chem.htm
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:57 PM   #5
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OK but what is DI water?

Also if I call a service to clean my tank monthly how will they do it. Will they tell me that I have to keep water in buckets overnight?

How do they do it if its to hard for me to do.
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:59 PM   #6
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Hello,
DI- Deionized water. You can buy it from the grocery store, local fish store, or make your own with a reverse osmosis/deionized water filter system. (prefered).
DT-Display tank

Most people here mix the salt water and leave it for 24 hours to make sure the pH and salinity are stable. Also make sure the salinity, pH, and temperature match the tanks current paramters. If not, the tank will have a parameter swing and stress or kill the tank animals.

A cleaning service should have salt water prepared before coming over.

Dont feel bad for asking Qs! We love to answer them!

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Old 08-03-2010, 06:00 PM   #7
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Are you unable to do it your self? When he said DI he meant RO/DI water.
Reverse osmosis/Deionized water
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Old 08-03-2010, 06:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
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OK but what is DI water?

Also if I call a service to clean my tank monthly how will they do it. Will they tell me that I have to keep water in buckets overnight?

How do they do it if its to hard for me to do.
You ought to clean the tank more often than once a month. Id clean it at least once every two weeks. I do mine once a week (except when I get lazy) but I have a 20g tank and tanks that small need much more attention.

It shouldnt be that hard for you to clean and mix salt water yourself. Many here with large tanks do it just fine.

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Old 08-03-2010, 07:18 PM   #9
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The real problem is that I dont want to have to go out and buy new garbage cans or have 5 gallon pails everywhere in the house just to change the water. I was hoping that I would be able to just change it like that, even if I have to use RO/DI water.

If I use RO/DI water do I still need to wait 24 hours to change the water or can I change it right away?
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:30 PM   #10
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The real problem is that I dont want to have to go out and buy new garbage cans or have 5 gallon pails everywhere in the house just to change the water. I was hoping that I would be able to just change it like that, even if I have to use RO/DI water.

If I use RO/DI water do I still need to wait 24 hours to change the water or can I change it right away?
You wont need 5 gallon pails, youll need a 50 gallon pail for the size tank you have. You need to do a minimum of 10% PWC every two weeks. Thats 12.5 gallons.

Yes, even with RO/DI water you need to wait 24 hours. Youve got to let the water oxygenate right so that the pH stabilizes as well as make sure the salinity is right.

If you mixed the salt water and using your refractomer (yes, you need one of those) you see 1.025 right after mixing, you might find its really 1.029 the next day! YIKES! If your target was 1.025 and you dumped in the 1.029 your fish might freak out. Same goes for pH. 24 hours is the least amount of time to wait.

Its not that bad, just get into a rythm. I mix my salt friday nights and change the water saturday night.

I have been known to add freshly mixed salt water immediately in case of emergency. (Large loss of water or a nuked tank).

Just put the water in the trash can, add the salt, then mix it well. Some people put a strong powerhead into the trash can and let it go for 24hours. Since I just need to do 3 gallons each week, I use a 5g water jug and shake shake shake.

You might want to use a small pump to pump the new salt water into the tank. Unless you are one strong beast!

Matt
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