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Old 06-18-2010, 03:06 PM   #1
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Live Sand

Hello all. I am starting up a 15 or 16 gallon long tank. I dropped a shrimp in to do a fishless cycle and it really took off rotting at 80 within 36 hours. The stink filled the house. I had a heck of a time convincing my wife that this is a good thing and don't think I succeeded. It got better over a couple days but couldn't handle the abuse by the family over another house science experiment gone wrong. I bought a bag of live sand and dumped it in and within 24 hours the stink was almost completely gone. 48 hours later it completely gone. The question I have now is with the ammonia being over 1.25 in the tank on the test kit chart did that kill any little animals that may have hitchhiked on the sand? It was 5 months old and obviously fresh enough to cut the ammonia and stink in half overnight but what died off. My goal is to have a small FOWLR tank with a pair of nemo's for the kids (and me) and a small CUC. Nothing extravegant yet. Currently I have a AC300 and a large sponge filter going to help stabilize the tank faster. After it stabilizes and I add 15-20 lbs LR I will take out the filters and let it stabilize for a couple weeks. Then get a AQUA C Nano Remora skimmer. I know I don't need it but am hoping to get away with light feedings and water changes every 2 weeks instead of every week. I'm really just curious if any little stars, featherdusters, bristle worms or other critters would survive in a plastic bag on a shelf for 5 months and then thrown into an ammonia tank. I also know people have opinions on live sand but I had to try something and it worked way better than I thought it would overnight. Thoughts on the survival rate?
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:55 PM   #2
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Probably not that great. Although the chances of there being anything in there like little stars and stuff is pretty slim to begin with. Your stuff will still cycle I imagine, probably just not as well as it would had you left it.
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My goal is to have a small FOWLR tank with a pair of nemo's for the kids (and me) and a small CUC.
Good plan. I would advise you research thoroughly, and i mean that. SW isn't that hard if you do your research and know what you are doing. If not it will be a nightmare for you and your fish. Which brings me to my second point, there is a good chance people will just pass up your thread if they see things like "pair of nemos" or dori's or whatever. It just come off as you haven't done your end of research and work before coming here and asking questions.
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Currently I have a AC300 and a large sponge filter going to help stabilize the tank faster.
Take out the sponge filter, all it's doing is building up the same bacteria your rock is to filter. If you don't plan on keeping it in there, just let that bacteria go to the rock where it will do some good.
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I know I don't need it but am hoping to get away with light feedings and water changes every 2 weeks instead of every week.
If you are planning on FOWLR, this is fine, just make sure it doesn't degrade to every 3 weeks..4 weeks..Its very easy to slip if you don't get things on a schedule. You will need to continually test, especially with a tank that small. The levels will swing out of the norms very quickly as there is not much of a buffer on smaller tanks.

None of this is meant to be offensive, just trying to give it to you straight.
Sounds like you are getting to a good start.
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Old 06-18-2010, 04:33 PM   #3
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I personally dont think anything live is in them bags including bacteria. The definition of "live" when it comes to sand and LR is the nitrifying bacteria and not necessarily "critters". The nitrifying bacteria that provides biological filtration is what the live stands for.
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Old 06-18-2010, 04:46 PM   #4
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Thanks Jimbo. I appreciate the straight input. From now on I will refer to them as aqua cultured ocellaris from the Pomacentridae family. I try and keep things light. My bad. I should have stated that I have had SW 55's and 29's with ocellaris before, but I have been out of it for 10 years or so and they sure didn't have live sand on the store shelf that I can remember back in 1999. They claim all sorts of things in the sand package but I am curious about the experiences here with the product. I know I don't want he sponge competing with the LR for the ammonia-consuming bacteria and then for the nitrite-consuming bacteria. That would just slow things down. I just put the sponge in there to speed things up until I get the LR in the tank. Should I pull the sponge out now you think or wait till I get the LR? I'm just taking it slow and letting things stabilize at each step. The 15 gal tank will become the established fuge and sump for my drilled 75 in the fall after I get done roofing and siding my house. The fuge will have Chaeto and a copepod farm for the aqua cultured green mandarin goby going into the 75 with the ocellaris, cardinals, 75-100 lbs LR and Pepp's and other CUC. Then if the fuge succeeds I will pull the Ramora and I may get some mushrooms and polyps and use the chaeto PWC to keep the nitrates and algae down. I want a large tank with a light bio-load and have been reading and planning since January and have learned a ton from guys like all you here. I can't wait to get the final build up this fall. Thanks for taking your time to help me and sharing your experience, you didn't have to and I appreciate it.
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Old 06-18-2010, 05:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by speckrb View Post
Thanks Jimbo. I appreciate the straight input. From now on I will refer to them as aqua cultured ocellaris from the Pomacentridae family. I try and keep things light. My bad. I should have stated that I have had SW 55's and 29's with ocellaris before
I really can't tell is this is sarcasm or not. From our point of view though you have to understand that there are lots of people that come on, and just go "i want a nemo, tell me what i have to do to get a nemo and then im going to get a dori to be his fwieeenndd" I haven't been over to the introduction forum for awhile, so my apologies if your experience has been noted and I overlooked it.

That being said, sounds like a good plan. Personally i would pull the sponge, or an even better idea is let it cycle in there and then when you take it out, keep it running in a bucket or something in case you ever need it for some emergency filtration and/or QT tank. You might even upgrade your sump to like a 30 breeder for the 75 though, 15 is pretty small, you won't have much room, then you can keep the 15 for a QT or put it in your kids room.

Anyway, welcome to AA and i hope your children enjoy Nemo & Co.
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Old 06-18-2010, 05:01 PM   #6
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melosu58 - thank you very much for your help in this and all the other forums I read also. The general consensus on all the forums is the same on the sand, but I will tell you that overnight the ammonia went from 1.25 to 1.0 or just under. I don't think ammonia-consuming bacteria can be created naturally by themselves in my 2 day old tank with the raw shrimp method so I can only attribute it to the "Live sand" that I added. The "experation date on the package was January 12, 2011" so I assume it has been on the shelf and in the bag since Jan 11,2010. In 1998 when I set up my previous SW tanks the LFS sold me the "Bacteria in a bottle" and I have to say that worked way better than what I am doing now. I remember I mixed the salt, heated overnight, added the bacteria per the instructions next day and 24 hours later added 2 clowns, a figure 8 puffer, sleeper goby and a couple green chromis. Filtration was 2 AC300's and crushed coral sand. 3 days later I added a yellow headed jawfish and a couple domino's and never ever got any ammonia, nitrite or nitrate spikes at all and exhibited no other cyclic signs. A similar 29g setup just after that was just as successfull. Now that I am getting back into it, I maybe read too much I now realize that is what I maybe should have done. If it ain't broke don't fix it I guess.
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Old 06-18-2010, 05:09 PM   #7
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Jimbo - Absolutely no offense taken I sincerely understand and it was not ment to be sarcasm on my part at all. You and melosu58 help out a lot people. I just had a goofy moment and may not have all the text etiquette down pat yet. Good idea on the Q/T. I can already see this is again going to push it from a living room viewing tank into a walled off epoxy coated basement floor fishroom. The snowball invariably grows until you wake up clutching your 4 lb copy of Baensch's Marine Atlas volume 1. Then it's too late. LOL
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Old 06-18-2010, 05:18 PM   #8
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The snowball invariably grows until you wake up clutching your 4 lb copy of Baensch's Marine Atlas volume 1.
hahaha. god, i would like to laugh at this and think "thats outrageous" but it's even funnier because its pretty close to the truth. Or that one day you count all your tanks, and realize you hit the double digits a long long time ago.

Feel free to be goofy and sarcastic, once you get known round these parts, people will recognize that and know. I'll be tagging along for sure.
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