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Old 07-16-2008, 10:51 PM   #1
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Question HELP! New to SW, Will these be okay to use? (Pics included)

Hello Everyone! I have always wanted a saltwater tank but was simply too scared to try. I finally just now decided to get my feet wet. (haha ... anywho...) I would love to have a reef tank - with live rock, soft coral, anenamies (sp?), and the fishies of course. Though, at the same time, I understand that I'm working with very limited space. So I know I'll only be able to have very few fish. I have a 46 gallon bowfront fish tank that I have used for anything and everything except fish. I have rinsed it out well, using no chemicals - just water. A friend of mine is trying to help me along with getting started. However, I have a few concerns and I'd like to run all of this by you guys who may have more experience than he.

He's giving me some of his equipment and chemicals. (In the chemicals, it's pretty much just enough for the first cycle ... or month ... or so.) He also gave me about a 3rd of a container of salt. The equipment he gave me includes: (this is going to be extremely vague for I don't really know what each one is called) the filtration system - uh, it's something something 400 (sorry), two extra gray filter things that I fill and place in the filter system --with-- the regular blue filters, 2 jet pumps, the light fixture, and a timer for the light. The light fixture is actually too large for my tank. It over hangs my tank by roughly a foot. He told me to just tape aluminum foil on the section that over hangs my tank, "so that the light won't flood out on the sides of my tank." I'll be using his till I can get my own light, even though he told me to keep his light. I only have to buy 2 more bulbs for the light fixture, 1 white & 1 blue. He actually told me that I should buy all 4 new light bulbs seeing how his are old. He told me I should replace the bulbs ever so often whether they're working or not.

Here are the pics of all the chemicals, salt, and equipment he gave me to use: (The empty containers are to only show me what I need to get.)

Obviously, I'll need to clean it out! He also told me that I'll need to buy a new fan for the light fixture. He can't really remember but he thinks it's no longer working. So ... where would I buy a new fan for the light? Also, is there a way to get all of the salt deposites (?) off of the equipment, so that it won't look so bad and it'll be black again? I noticed that, like on one of the jets, not only is there a white residue, there is also purple on it. What is the purple?

`~~~~ TO BE CONTINUED!!! ~~~~`

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Old 07-16-2008, 10:53 PM   #2
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`~~~~ CONTINUED! ~~~~`

He's also giving me all the sand out of his old tank. (He has two saltwater tanks but is now wanting to use his smaller tank for freshwater.) I do know that he is giving me sand and not crushed coral. Along with the sand, he's also giving me some live rocks. These are not very good pics at all, but here are some pics of the sand and live rocks he'll be giving me.

Same live rocks - Different view points:

Now, I'm pretty sure he told me he'd be giving me most (if not all) the rocks you just saw in the above pics, plus a "structure" live rock out of his large tank, and then some dead rock (not sure if that's what he called it) that he has sitting in a basket on the floor. He said that if I put the "dead rock" into my tank with the live rock, it will eventually be worked into live rock. I wasn't so sure about the dead rock in the basket though, being that it's been sitting in that basket on the floor ever since I've known him - ...on the floor, with people and dogs constantly walking past it. I mean, that's pretty porous rock ... wouldn't it be packed of debris or whatnot that would be potentially harmful and/or dangerous for my tank?

Here's a pic of his large tank that he'll be giving me a "structure" live rock from: (Note! Normally, his tank does NOT look so bad!)

A few more concerns I have:

(1.) The old smaller tank, that he's taking the sand and rocks out of to give to me, has not been running for a while. So would that water not be stagnant? Would that be harmful to my tank?

A pic of his smaller tank: (Looks a little better in person.)

(2.) Also, remember - I'm just now starting this tank, taking the live sand and the live rock out and putting it in my brand new tank -- would that not kill the sand and rocks? He told me to mix the salt and water, add the filter and jets, then add the chemicals, (he may have told me to add only certain chemicals - I'll ask him again), then let the tank cycle for about a week. By then, he said, it would be fine for the sand and live rock to go into the tank. Is that true?

(3.) Now in that sand, in the "stagnant" water, though there are no fish-fish, there are teeny tiny somethings living in there. You can see them zip around time to time. There is also, at least, one very long/huge bristle worm living in that sand. We see the bristle worm come out time to time and he feeds the worm minos that he kills right before hand. I've tried to do some research on the bristle worm to know if he was a good thing or bad. So far I've read people saying they were a good thing but then other people say he's a very bad thing and a pest. I know he can sting me, and I understand it would be quite painful, but is he good or bad for my tank?

(4.) One more thing he told me is that after I have the water, salt, and chemicals going for a week, once I add his sand and live rock I won't have to let the tank cycle as long before I add fish because I'd be starting with already established sand and rock. This isn't true is it? Being that all of that is going into a new tank, (and by new I mean different tank), and new water - won't that change everything?

So there's my extremely long spill.... I do intend to read-up and research th3e net and books. Still, I wanted to ask you guys too! Any and all help and suggestions will be greatly appreciated!!!!! Though I seem very worried and concerned, maybe over silly small stuff, I'm still very excited in setting up a salt water tank!!!!

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Old 07-16-2008, 11:06 PM   #3
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Read this on equipment needs. Also make use of our articles section.



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Old 07-17-2008, 04:55 PM   #4
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I would also clean all the equipment (non-electrical) by soaking in white vinegar overnight then using a toothbrush to clean in the nooks and crannies, following by many rinses in fresh water.

It looks like the filter pads were used so buy new ones for that filter. Read the article that Melosu58 linked to as well as the other articles in that section of the forum. You have a lot of reading and work ahead of you. Just go slow and keep posting questions as they come up. Good luck.
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Old 07-17-2008, 06:01 PM   #5
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Glad to hear you are going for the SW they are a lot of work however they are REALLY Beautiful! You might want to send my Husband a PM with a link to your thread he's pretty good at well as I put it "giving a good dummy guide to fish stuff." His S/N is Ziggy953 and you can also find him by clicking the link in my signature (it's a thread on our current project). Best of luck! And Welcome to the SW World!
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Old 07-18-2008, 01:11 AM   #6
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Wow... lots to digest in that post. Let's see if I can hit the high points...

First off... welcome to AquariumAdvice. I have a 46g bowfront SW tank also, and I hear ya about only having so much room.

In that second picture, don't use any of those chemicals until you get further down the road and get more education on what they're for, and you can decide if you really need them. Except for the pH test, and the swing-arm hydrometer for measuring your salinity, in my opinion, you'll never need any of that stuff. Well... maybe the Phosguard, but I wouldn't use that type of phosphate remover. That's a different post for later! Regarding that swing-arm hydrometer, they're prone to be inaccurate for various reasons. The best investment at this point would be to spring $50 for a refractometer - way better accuracy and very consistent.

The purple stuff on your equipment is just coralline algae. It's good stuff - it's all the purple stuff you see on his rocks. (Or should I say YOUR rocks.) As cmor mentioned, a good soaking in a 1:1 vinegar/water solution will clean all that stuff up good.

The two filter wheel thingies are a type of wet/dry filter that you won't need if you put 60-80 lbs of rock in your tank for biological filtration. The bacteria to convert the ammonia to nitrites, and then to nitrates will live in your rock and sand. If you didn't have rock or sand, they'd live in those spinning wheels. You can always hang them on the back of the tank and leave the wheels out and use it to run chemical filtration like bags of activated carbon, or some of the synthetic resins like Purigen, Chemi-Pure, etc.

I can't really tell what brand of fixture that is, but I think just about all of them use the same type of fans, which are the same type as are used in your computer. Your best bet is to probably take the fan off and maybe take it to Radio Shack or some electronic store and see if you can find a match. Or contact the original manufacturer of the fixture. Personally, I'd be a little worried about the "wrap tin foil around the ends" idea - I'd be worried about heat buildup. But obviously you can play it by ear - or just let the light shine over the edge. It's not like you're "saving" the light and putting it back in your tank by blocking off the ends.

Looks like he has some nice rocks to give you. I agree with his plan for the most part. Get your tank up and running, and cycled, and then bring the rock over. (I'd do a full fishless cycle using a cocktail shrimp and not just wait "a week" and dump the rock in. If the tank has been stagnant that long, there may not be much beneficial bacteria in the rocks to start with.) You can transport the rock covered in the old saltwater from his tank, but don't put his water in your tank. If it was me, I'd probably start with all new sand, and just maybe add a few quarts of his sand to seed your new sand with a little bacteria and some of the little critters that live in the sand. There's just a lot of gunk down in that sand that gets stirred up when you transfer it, and it usually causes more problems than it's worth.

Bristleworms aren't a problem in my opinion. I consider them part of my cleanup crew. And if you bring over his rocks, you're pretty much guaranteed to get some. But if you can avoid bringing over what sounds to be a Moby Dick of bristleworms (he feeds it minnows?! Yowsa!) that'd be my recommendation.

Regarding your last comment about the cycle - assuming his rock and sand had a good amount of bacteria in it, what he said is true. Different water doesn't make a difference - the bacteria is in the rocks and sand and not really much in the water. But if the tank's been dead for a while and he hasn't given it a source of "waste" to process (although I'm sure Moby Worm is cranking out a bit of waste) much of the bacteria could've died off. As I mentioned earlier, I'd play it safe and fully cycle the tank yourself before you put the rock in. It'll take 4-6 weeks, which in the big picture is nothing. It'll be a good time to research!
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Old 07-20-2008, 02:01 AM   #7
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First of all, thanks for the replies! Kurt, yep he feeds the bristle worm minnows. You using the word "yowsa" really tickled me. Haven't heard that in a really long time.

Sorry for just dumping all of that on you guys. Yeah, it was pretty long and cluttered. I'm really bad about doing that, again sorry. It's all been kinda thrown onto me in a hurry by my friend. He almost seems to be in a huge hurry for me to get his sand and LR off of his hands. But I wanna do this right if I'm gonna do this. That is why I was trying to cross reference everything he told me with you guys. Trust me I'm reading a bunch as I'm asking questions to you. That's just me trying to learn what I need to learn before he dumps all sorts of stuff into my tank. (Pretty much literally, he's calling me everyday asking if I have the tank ready so I can pick up the sand and LR. Kinda weird.)

I'm getting stuck a lot with all of the abbreviations and finding it difficult to let everything sink in. Is there a site that will spell out all the abbreviations that I can toggle back and forth in as I read everything. I tried the link on the site that Melosu suggested but it's not working, told me I was unauthorised to see it?

*Ahem* ... Silly question. How do I know how much LR I'm getting? Do I just wrap all of it in damp (w/sw) paper towels and place them in a bucket to weigh them to know how many lbs I have and how much more to get?

Well, I've got a loooooong way to go before I can even start! I'm not even going to start anything until I have everything that I've seen in other peoples posts. (So I hope he'll hold the sand and LR till I'm ready.) But when I do start, when mixing the salt with water, what's the best way to do so? I have a 5g bucket, can I just mix the salt/water in that then pour it into the tank then fill the rest of the tank with tap water? (I also have a 45g plastic tote I could always use with a siphoning tube or a bucket, I guess) On the back of the salt container it reads, " Usage Note: NEVER mix salt in an aquarium containing animals." Sooo ... Later on when I'm doing water changes do I just mix the needed salt/water in my 5g bucket then add it? Also, with the salt that was given to me, I opened it today and noticed it was all a solid chunk. I called my friend and he told me to just break it apart with a ice pick or something. Would that really be okay or should I just get new salt?

So I was looking at sand from a lfs (got that abbreviation down, hahaha) and it is a bit more than what I thought it would be. Someone else told me I could take my friends sand and wash it. Could I set aside a couple of quarts and wash the rest of the sand? If so, just how exactly would I wash it? Do I just put it in something like that 5g bucket (I'm going to need more buckets), fill with water and just slosh it around and then drain the excess water and repeat a couple of times?

Well, I've got a ton more questions but this post is already stretching out. I'll try to hold the questions till I come across the corresponding situation. Keep it more organised. But first I gotta get ALL of the needed equipment before I put Anything in the tank.
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Old 07-20-2008, 01:16 PM   #8
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Weighing the rock in buckets is a great idea. It can be out of water for a few minutes to weigh it then you need to put it back in to prevent any die off.

Mix the sw in a bucket. Heat the water, and use a power head to mix it. For jsut starting the tank mix it to 1.030 with RODI water and add it to the tank. When the tank is 1/2 full you can dilute the tank to 1.025 and continue filling it to 3/4 full. Make sure to keep the water heated and have a couple of power heads running in the tank to misx and aerate the new sw. Point the powerheads towards each other form the opposite sides of the tank and point them slightly upwards so that the surface of the water is rippled, not flat.

The next day you can add the LR.

DO NOT USE TAP WATER! There are too many problems associated with tap water. Get yourself a RODI unit or buy RODI water.

For water changes, mix it in a bucket or Rubbbermaid BRUTE garbage can with a heater and a power head. Leave it at least overnight, but preferably 24 hours of mixing time before using it.

You can use dry playsand (sand box) from Home Depot or Lowes and seed it with a coupld pounds of the Live Sand. If you want to clean the LS, you need to put a about a third of bucket into the bucket and mix it up, Fill the bucket using a garden hose to mix it all up and allow the water to overflow the bucket taking the nasty stuff (and some sand) out of the bucket. Save a few pounds to seed this cleaned sand.

I would not use the salt that you have. It's solid because moisture got in the bucket and caused a chemical reaction. Some of the trace elements have combined and won't come back to their original form now. Just buy a new bucket of salt and save this one for the driveway.

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