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Old 09-17-2012, 01:03 AM   #31
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Having freshwater experience I know that I will need rock to cycle as well as to add fish slowly. Ok so the tang is out, is the foxface and butterfly okay? I'll ditch the damsels, what more peaceful fish could I add for a nice splash of blue? I really wanted a regal tang but my tank is clearly too small. I want to set it up with all fish that will get along nicely as I will not be upgrading my tank at any point. Or if I do, not for many many years. But most likely never.
I've attached a few more pics of the decor I got with the tank. Are these dead rock? Will they look nice in the tank?
I'm going to have to do more research on the dottybacks. I think they're adorable but I don't want my other fish being bullied.
I was originally going to cycle with ammonia but I think shrimp is easier. But will it stink up my living room?
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:07 AM   #32
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I'm going to hit a couple specific questions here.
Tap Water - The issue is not algae. Sure, some cities have nitrates and phosphates in the tap, but that is not the real issue. Can you be absolutely certain your city's tap water contains no copper, iron, zinc, etc etc etc? Some places even have heavy metals such as lead. Now, odds are that if any of these metals or other compounds are present, the quantities will be miniscule. And as such, you could top off with tap for a year and have no problem, as the metals will bind with the rock and sand. However, eventually, there WILL be a saturation point reached. One day, you'll add a bucket of tap water and a year's worth of copper will explode out of the sand and rocks, killing all the inverts in a day. For every horror story, there are at least two people who will say "That's ridiculous. I've been doing that for years with no problem." but do you want to take that chance? You can get top off water for 20- 40 cents per gallon at a grocery store. I use the Glacier brand dispensers. It is worth it.

Tangs - Yes, yes, yes. Joe Schmoe keeps a regal tang and a yellow in a 30 gallon tank and they've been fine for a year. Of course, their internal organs are slowly crushing each other as their skeletons' growth slows down in such a cramped space. Even if later transferred to a larger tank, that animal's lifespan has been cut in half and it's quality of life significantly diminished. I am not the Tang Police, but not even a juvenile Tang should ever be kept in a 55.
As fish grow, they secrete a chemical signature into the water that inhibits their own growth. In a significantly large body of water (ocean), this is instantly diluted and has no effect. However, in confined spaces, or with large populations, it slows they skeletal growth. This is an adaptation to prevent a species from eating itself out of house and home. The problem is that the chemical's effect is limited. It can slow growth, but only so much, and not completely. A Tang kept in a small tank WILL eventually have severe physical deformities and die early.
*cue the protest from a guy who's kept a tang in a small tank for two years* Yeah, I heard you. It's been two years. A human can survive two years in a closet. But 50 years later, they will still be paying for the trauma. Don't. Do. It.

Blue and Pink Sea Star - Pick a different species. Period. This is a sand sifter, and even in a large tank, it will eventually kill all the beneficial organisms in the sand bed and starve. And it won't even have the decency to die where you can see it. It'll bury itself and rot under the sand. Try a Fromia star. They come in very pretty colors. But as stated earlier, wait months.

Damsel - You'll be trying to get it out of the tank eventually. They're mean. A good small blue fish is the Chalk Basslet. And you can have more than one if introduced simultaneously!

Those rocks are simply base rock. They will become live rock over time. Keep em!

Butterflyfish are hit or miss. Most are considered "Reef Safe with Caution" with means "Probably ok. But they might go on a coral binge one day and eat everything."
My foxface does quite well in a 55, and he eats all kinds of algae, even bubble algae!

You can have way more snails in that tank, plus some hermits. I strongly recommend Nassarius snails, too, as they keep the top inch of sand stirred, and are great at cleaning up extra food.

Whew! Sorry that was long winded!
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:14 AM   #33
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Getting ready for Halloween?

I'm no geologist but....Dry rock is not live rock. live rock has bacteria on it that lives in saltwater. Your dry rock can become live rock after your tank cycles with the rock in it. This looks like my rock, other than the color...don't know much on rock that has been manufactured/colored. If it was in a saltwater tank before it should be okay. My guess is you're okay. If it is manufactured a quick Internet search might be the way to find out what you have and whether it is saltwater compatible, my experience has been that freshwater decorations tend to be okay for saltwater. If not made for aquariums I would shy away.
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:23 AM   #34
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MacDracor - explain the zinc and other metals comment. What does the tap water conditioner take out then? I was assuming that she was using a tap water conditioner. As a confession I filled my tank with conditioned tap water, but realized my error and am now topping off and water changes use or water from the store.
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:30 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacDracor
I'm going to hit a couple specific questions here.
Tap Water - The issue is not algae. Sure, some cities have nitrates and phosphates in the tap, but that is not the real issue. Can you be absolutely certain your city's tap water contains no copper, iron, zinc, etc etc etc? Some places even have heavy metals such as lead. Now, odds are that if any of these metals or other compounds are present, the quantities will be miniscule. And as such, you could top off with tap for a year and have no problem, as the metals will bind with the rock and sand. However, eventually, there WILL be a saturation point reached. One day, you'll add a bucket of tap water and a year's worth of copper will explode out of the sand and rocks, killing all the inverts in a day. For every horror story, there are at least two people who will say "That's ridiculous. I've been doing that for years with no problem." but do you want to take that chance? You can get top off water for 20- 40 cents per gallon at a grocery store. I use the Glacier brand dispensers. It is worth it.

Tangs - Yes, yes, yes. Joe Schmoe keeps a regal tang and a yellow in a 30 gallon tank and they've been fine for a year. Of course, their internal organs are slowly crushing each other as their skeletons' growth slows down in such a cramped space. Even if later transferred to a larger tank, that animal's lifespan has been cut in half and it's quality of life significantly diminished. I am not the Tang Police, but not even a juvenile Tang should ever be kept in a 55.
As fish grow, they secrete a chemical signature into the water that inhibits their own growth. In a significantly large body of water (ocean), this is instantly diluted and has no effect. However, in confined spaces, or with large populations, it slows they skeletal growth. This is an adaptation to prevent a species from eating itself out of house and home. The problem is that the chemical's effect is limited. It can slow growth, but only so much, and not completely. A Tang kept in a small tank WILL eventually have severe physical deformities and die early.
*cue the protest from a guy who's kept a tang in a small tank for two years* Yeah, I heard you. It's been two years. A human can survive two years in a closet. But 50 years later, they will still be paying for the trauma. Don't. Do. It.

Blue and Pink Sea Star - Pick a different species. Period. This is a sand sifter, and even in a large tank, it will eventually kill all the beneficial organisms in the sand bed and starve. And it won't even have the decency to die where you can see it. It'll bury itself and rot under the sand. Try a Fromia star. They come in very pretty colors. But as stated earlier, wait months.

Damsel - You'll be trying to get it out of the tank eventually. They're mean. A good small blue fish is the Chalk Basslet. And you can have more than one if introduced simultaneously!

Those rocks are simply base rock. They will become live rock over time. Keep em!

Butterflyfish are hit or miss. Most are considered "Reef Safe with Caution" with means "Probably ok. But they might go on a coral binge one day and eat everything."
My foxface does quite well in a 55, and he eats all kinds of algae, even bubble algae!

You can have way more snails in that tank, plus some hermits. I strongly recommend Nassarius snails, too, as they keep the top inch of sand stirred, and are great at cleaning up extra food.

Whew! Sorry that was long winded!
Thank you!!! Very helpful. I will take your advice and accept the fact that a tang is not going to happen.

Is there a way for me to test for any trace metals that may be in my tap water. More than the price of RO is the inconvenience. By top off water do you mean to replace evaporates water? What about water changes?

I am doing FOWLR. No coral. So hopefully the butterfly will be okay. I really like them. My biggest concern with a foxface is that my tank is only a foot deep. Is that alright?
Hermit crab freak me out. They look like spiders with shells and I'm a huge bugaphobe so I'm not getting those!

So let's edit the list to:

2 clownfish
1 butterfly
1 foxface
1 dottyback (potentially)
1 starfish
1 lobster
And a bunch of snails

How much more room do I have?
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:33 AM   #36
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Yes I always use a tap water conditioner. I've been using the cheap stuff from Petsmart but also have a bottle of prime.
And those rocks were formerly In a freshwater tank.
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:35 AM   #37
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Tap water conditioner uses a chemical such as sodium thiosulfate to instantly catalyze chlorine and chloramine into a harmless form, or to cause it to nearly instantly evaporate. Most also contain various organic compounds such as aloe vera extract to stimulate slime coats. A few contain denitrifying bacteria in suspended animation. But in a technical sense, they don't "remove" anything at all. They may cause chlorine to evaporate out rapidly, but they don't do much else. There are a few additives that "bind" certain metals such as copper and iron, rendering them chemically inert, but again, there are saturation points for these as well.
Generations of reef keepers do not recommend RO water simply because it's less algae work. They recommend it because you should always know exactly what you are putting into your tank. And when it comes to top off water, that should consist of two parts Hydrogen to one part Oxygen. And none of the other stuff that comes with tap water.
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:45 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicoleIsStoked View Post
Thank you!!! Very helpful. I will take your advice and accept the fact that a tang is not going to happen.

Is there a way for me to test for any trace metals that may be in my tap water. More than the price of RO is the inconvenience. By top off water do you mean to replace evaporates water? What about water changes?

I am doing FOWLR. No coral. So hopefully the butterfly will be okay. I really like them. My biggest concern with a foxface is that my tank is only a foot deep. Is that alright?
Hermit crab freak me out. They look like spiders with shells and I'm a huge bugaphobe so I'm not getting those!

So let's edit the list to:

2 clownfish
1 butterfly
1 foxface
1 dottyback (potentially)
1 starfish
1 lobster
And a bunch of snails

How much more room do I have?
Your city or municipality will have water quality reports, but I'm not 100% sure where to find them. Top off is simply replacing evaporated water with fresh water. And yeah, lugging around 5 gallon buckets is inconvenient. But replacing dead fish is heartbreaking. Like I said, it might be a year or longer before you experience any consequences from tap water, but odds are, eventually you will. If nothing else, make your top off water RO, even if your water changes are tap. Topping off with tap increases trace element concentration. Swapping out with tap does not.

FOWLR + butterfly = happy. (I like simple math. lol)
Foxfaces rarely exceed 8 inches, and while active, are not the zippy swimmers tangs are, so a 60 gallon is usually just fine. Some other rabbitfishes get too large for this size tank, but the foxface does nicely. Mine is in a 55.

Bugaphobe warning: There will be bug-like creatures in your tank. These are GOOD things. Copepods (size and shape of fleas, but transparent), amphipods (larger, shaped like a comma), bristleworms (worms. with bristles.) will all very likely be present, and are good things. Embrace the buggy and wormy goodness!

I'm not sure I'd add many more fish than that. And the dottyback better be the last to go in or he will terrorize any who come after. Consider a basslet instead, such as the Royal Gramma or Chalk.

Also, maybe hermits will seem less buggy if they are pretty colors, like the Electric Blue. Google it. Very pretty.

My favorite snail species and their favorite hangouts (at least in my tank):
Nerites - upper glass.
Astraea - All glass
Trochus - The rocks
Nassarius - In the sand, except when they smell food, then all over the place. They pop up out of the sand like daisies!

You'll also likely see little hitchhiker snails.
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:41 AM   #39
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I'm also TOTALLY freaked by spiders and bug-like things!! But, the hermits don't bother me. When you pick them up, they go back into their shells, so it's like picking up a shell. But if you absolutely don't want hermits, then you gotta get Nassarius snails. They will go around and eat any left over food, which is one of the jobs of the hermits. Being scared of creepy crawlies, I'm surprised by this, but I adore my cleaner shrimp, even though he's molted a bunch of times and is very big and has big antennae. Lol. He is totally cute and probably in a Tie with the clown as my favorite part of the tank. What you think is cute will change, trust me.

BTW, if it's blue you want, 3 blue reef chromis would be great in your tank!! They school together, swimming all around and following each other. Very cute! I have 3 green ones, and they are cute and curious and always right there at the top when I'm doing something. Very friendly fish!! And they are a beautiful blue color. Look them up!!

I have a royal gramma, and she's very pretty. Swim around some, then goes I her spot, then swap around some more. Funny thing is, she swims upside down a lot. An she'll kinda hover there completely vertical. Silly fish. They all have their own personality. It's funny!!

I hope you enjoy SW as much as I have. It's been great fun. Have had a couple things die, and it's sad. So try to do it the right way if you can. They really are just cute, helpless (except for the ones who have teeth) lol, funny little living things. And for those of us who decide to keep them in our homes, it's our job to give them a clean and healthy home. I don't have an RO system yet, either. So luggin the 5 gallon buckets does get tiring, but I know it's what i need to do, so I do it.

BTW- I'm thinking of getting a foxface for my 55g now!!! Yea!!
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:50 PM   #40
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Somebody I work with told me I have to use live sand. I think I already asked this but just to confirm, I can use pool filter sand if I want to, right?
And for the aquaclears, is the foam, bio balls AND carbon required?
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