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Old 01-21-2003, 08:04 PM   #1
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New saltwater aquarist

Hello everyone,

I'm new to the saltwater aquarium hobby, and aside from the money side I'm finding it to be really enjoyable because of the nice looking fish and it's fun to play with the little test kit vials and gravity measurers.

My tank is 26gal, with about 8 pounds of live rock, the tank has been up and going for about 6-8 weeks now, the pH is about 8.2, the ammonia/nitrate/nitrite levels are all zero, and I have a crush coral substrate, and I use a tetratec 150 filter system. I currently don't have a powerhead or a skimmer.

I've got three damsels, two hermits crab (red colored), and a chocolate tipped starfish. All the critters seem happy and eat daily.

From reading things over, I'm pretty confused as to the out come of the sand vs crushed coral substrate discussion. I know the CC will collect stuff (the water changes proved that), but would a shifting starfish help keep the substrate cleaner between water changes? I ask this because it takes a lot of vacuuming to clean the substrate and before I get done I've used up my 5gal bucket allotment for the water change.

The other question I have is how to promote the live rock to grow the colors? Recently I've picked up an expensive light (I can never remember the type, but the bulb is u-shaped), I've also got a calcium supplement, dKH superbuffer supplement, and strontium/molybdenum supplement. I haven't used any of these yet, so if I don't need them hopefully I can exchange them.

My goal is to have a fish only tank, but possible get a coral or two. I would also like to get more live rock for hideouts and color, and a few smaller fish and some shrimps.

Thanks in advance for your help.

-Reuben
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Old 01-21-2003, 08:18 PM   #2
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First of all welcome to aquarium advise!
Quote:
I've got three damsels, two hermits crab (red colored), and a chocolate tipped starfish. All the critters seem happy and eat daily.
All this sound good, but remember, in the future if you want to keep corals, the chocalate chip star is not reef safe.
Quote:
From reading things over, I'm pretty confused as to the out come of the sand vs crushed coral substrate discussion. I know the CC will collect stuff (the water changes proved that), but would a shifting starfish help keep the substrate cleaner between water changes? I ask this because it takes a lot of vacuuming to clean the substrate and before I get done I've used up my 5gal bucket allotment for the water change.
Well if you dont want to be vacuuming all the time you can replace the crushed coral with a DSB (deep sand bed) or a SSB (shallow sand bed). Then you can purchase a cleanup crew and they will clean the sand for ya. No more vacuuming!
Quote:
The other question I have is how to promote the live rock to grow the colors? Recently I've picked up an expensive light (I can never remember the type, but the bulb is u-shaped), I've also got a calcium supplement, dKH superbuffer supplement, and strontium/molybdenum supplement. I haven't used any of these yet, so if I don't need them hopefully I can exchange them.
The lighting and supplements will help coralline algae to grow (the colors your talking about). If it has a u shaped bulb, it is probalbly a power compact light. I would recommend buying a test kit for any supplement to plan to dose with. With out testing you may overdose your tank.
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Old 01-21-2003, 10:03 PM   #3
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Recently I've picked up an expensive light
Remember, expensive is not always the best nor is there only one price to pay for stuff. Many of us buy our "dry goods" from online shops. It's a good idea to support your LFS (if it's good) but lights can be had for 1/2 or less than the LFS charges. Aside from price, you made a good choice in power compact lighting. the 3 most popular lighting for reefs is Metal Halide, Power Compact Flourescent, and VHO (very high output flourescent).

Mark
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Old 01-22-2003, 01:42 PM   #4
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Thank you for the replies, they really helped.

I do have a KH test kit, the calcium test kit was price at $36 dollars so I'm waiting for that one until I reason out if there's less expensive ones available. I'm told that the strontium/molybdenum test kit is prohibitively expensive, but the LFS does offer the test for $4 dollars.

I knew getting my starfish would be bad for a reef tank. Are anemenes considered coral? Or is there a specific type or coral that is okay with the starfish?

-Reuben
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Old 01-22-2003, 03:23 PM   #5
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As Mark said with the lighting the on-line stores also offer much better prices on test kits. I have a wide range of kits for testing ph, Ca, Alk, NO2, NO3... and so on and I don't think I spent more the $7 for any one of them. I would check some of them and compare before I bought another $11-$40 kit.
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