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Old 09-23-2012, 08:14 PM   #1
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New salty aquarium

Hi- I have a new 29 gallon saltwater tank thats been up and running now for about a week and a half. I have 30 pounds of live sand mixed in with 20 pounds of regular dry sand, 4 live rocks, 3 fresh water mollies, 2 clowns, 2 blue yellowtail damsels, 5 blue leg hermit crabs, 2red leg hermit crabs and 5 margarita snails to break it in. I have a HOB Aqueon quiet flow 30 200 gph bio-filter and a small Aqueon ACP 500 circulator pump. Have an Aquasun T5 light with an ultra sun bulb and a flora sun bulb. Temp has been a steady 76-78, pH is between 8.2 and 8.4, ammonia is 0, nitrites are 0 and the nitrates are between 0 and 5. I am a patient guy so I dont have any plans for fish for another month or so. Not sure what kind to get when that time comes though. I am trying a small star polyp to see what happens, and I would definately like to do some more corals and add some inverts as well but thats down the road once a bigger tank is here.

Given all that info, what do you think would be some good next steps? I dont know if I need a skimmer yet, do I?

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:21 PM   #2
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I have a bio cube 29 and I took my skimmer out as I felt it did nothing at all. The chamber I had it in wasn't a constant level so it was hard to always dial in.

Long story short. Keep on your water changes and I don't think you'll need a skimmer. I'm doing fine without one. 5 gallon water changes every week seems to be doing the trick.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:25 PM   #3
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Did you see ammo and nitrite spikes and then decline? Week and a half would be an extremely fast cycle and your nitrates aren't very high. skimmer's are helpful to reduce nitrates and increase water quality but for a fowlr system regular water changes are the most key to upkeep.

Have you read the articles on this site? They are fantastic especially the startup article.
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29 gallon hex, canister filter, too much live rock, two powerheads. Tank setup June 2012. Two clowns, fire shrimp, 2 chocolate chip starfish, 3 snails
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:27 PM   #4
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Nice setup, but it does seem that you have a LOT of fish for having your tank setup for only one week. I'm surprised there wasn't a huge ammonia spike. Anyway, if it were me, I would take out the mollies as they don't look and the damsels are very aggressive (even if they aren't now), they will pick on the new coming fish. They are really hard to catch also...especially if they got ich, that would be a problem. But that's just my opinion! What's your salinity? What lighting do you have? You don't have to have a skimmer at all, but that means more water changes. With a stock like that I'd say to a 10% water change every week or more.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:35 PM   #5
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The mollies were in there before the others and they are just hanging out under rocks now. pH is 8.2, salinity is .022 and ammonia and nitrites are at 0. Nitrate is between 0 and 5. The damsels have been playing very nice so far. One is a cave dweller and isn't out much so I will keep an eye on him. For lighting, i have a T5 set up with one ultra- sun daylight and one flora-sun plant growth.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:48 PM   #6
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To answer you original question as to next steps....I would watch ammo levels everyday to make sure cycling has occurred over the next week or two. If it starts to spike, have fish store store your clowns at a minimum as you tank would not have cycled... If it is cycled and no spike occurs for another two weeks then adding fish might require getting rid of your damsels at a minimum.

Did I mention the articles on this site? One is a top ten things that are difficult things to break to those new to saltwater...one of which is that stocking levels are soo much smaller than freshwater due to territorial disputes and size that fish get to, a clown will get 3-4 inches...
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:51 PM   #7
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Are those lights by zoo med? I thought they made T8s mostly. Although I have seen T5 bulbs. Anyway, I don't think that T5 is going to be enough lighting, maybe just enough for mushrooms which require low lighting. T5 HO is usually best. Also, the flora will probably be good for looking at color as it's a purplish light, but actinics is usually used for corals, not a plant light.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:58 PM   #8
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The light is by ZooMed, yes and it is indeed a T5. I will upgrade at some point but probably when I get a bigger tank an turn this one into a sump. The LFS guy said that the damsel may be territorial but that it would probably be OK for now. Do you not agree?
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:03 PM   #9
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Well I somewhat agree with him. Yes he may be fine with the fish you have now (maybe b/c you added most of them at the same time..did you?), but later they will definitely claim their territory and bully any of the fish who will come in and try to claim their own. If it were me, I wouldn't get one in the first place. If the guy from the lfs said it will be ok for NOW then how will they be LATER when you need to take them out, but you can't because they are supposed to be really tricky to catch.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:14 PM   #10
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Im good with a harpoon, so I will catch them. Haha!!

But seriously, I did add them all together except for the mollies who were in there already, but I don't care about them and they just hang out in the corner anyhow. I will be watching the ammonia levels closely or the next 2 weeks. If it starts spiking, what should I do? I don't want do a water exchange yet as the tank is still cycling.
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