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Old 06-16-2008, 03:53 PM   #1
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New Solana Aquariuum

I just purchased this Solana Aquariuum... I have never owned an aquariuum before. This seemed like the best option for me. I want to do a little bit of everything (coral/reef, fish etc..) I got the sunpod 24 hr HQI lighting system - which was almost as much as the tank lol

So I had it set up with live rock and sand in less than an hour. Going to watch it and learn how to test levels for a week and then go get some coral's / fish.

i'm excited but also a little nervous cause I hear so many horror stories about salt water aquariums!

Anyone else have this and/or have any advise on what I should start with? oh, I love bright color's!
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Old 06-16-2008, 04:37 PM   #2
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Please read this article on fishless cycling...

Cycle your salt tank

... as well as many of the other articles in that section of the site.

Even if you bought "cured" live rock, you should still throw in the cocktail shrimp per that article to make sure you have a good bacteria base in there to start with. When the ammonia and nitrites go away and you're just left with nitrates, you're good to go. If the rock truly was cured, then you may never see much (if any) ammonia or nitrites, and you'll just start to see nitrates showing up.

Research as much as you can BEFORE buying fish/corals (including appropriate tank sizes for fish), and remember that nothing good happens fast in this hobby, and you'll do fine.

A couple good introductory books are Michael Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium" and Robert Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist", and for corals Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals".

Welcome aboard!
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Old 06-16-2008, 04:46 PM   #3
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Welcome to AA!

I agree with Kurt. Take your time and watch the tank for signs of a cycle. You will probably see a diatom bloom fairly quickly since you put cured LR in the tank. After you have reached the 0 ammonia and 0 NitrItes level and you see high levels of NitrAtes then you need to do a large PWC. 30%-50% and you will be ready to start adding a cleaning crew and a fish. You want to go slowly when adding fish to your system to allow the bacteria to adjust to the new work load. Corals should be added after the tank has had a few months to mature and stablize. Most corals do not do well with high levels of NitrAtes. I would say that after 4 months of regular water changes and testing and the addition of your cleaning crew and a fish you could be ready for a few easy beginner corals.
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:10 PM   #4
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All very good advice. I would also suggest a refractometer and the liquid test kits, for better accuracy.
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Old 06-16-2008, 10:11 PM   #5
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This site is great. Thank you all for your advise. I did some water testing today. Results as follows
* Temperature 78.7
* PH 7.8
* Ammonia 0
* Nitrite 0
* Nitrate 0
* KH 161.1

This all seems to match what the tank should be at. It has been running for 24hrs now. I'm guessing that everything is matching because I purchased all the water from the Marine aquarium and it had "chemicals" already in it.

Am I correct that I just went through my cycle? If so, on Friday I was going to get a couple Margarita snails and Blue legged hermits (cause I read that they are the best to start with)

I am going to try to take some pictures tomorrow and will try to post frequently with updates. I have tried searching forums but can't seem to find many where someone has this set up.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-16-2008, 10:25 PM   #6
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You did not go through the cycle yet. You have not even started it yet. The tank needs a source of ammonia to start the cycle. Uneaten food, fish waste etc. decay and a byproduct of that decay is ammonina. Ammonia even in tiny amounts is toxic to fish. It burns their gills and they die. There are bacteria that thrive on ammonia, and the convert ammonia to nitrite. Nitrite is also toxic to fish in small quantities(brown blood disease), but there are bacteria that thrive on nitrite and produce nitrate. Nitrate is tolerated by fish up to about 60-80 ppm, but is toxic to corals in nubers above aboout 10-15 ppm. Nitrates can be be controlled by partial water changes in combination with other means (live rock, deep sand beds, macro alage, etc.)

Read the article on fishless cycling to start. You need to go slow for a succesful outcome in SW,


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Old 06-16-2008, 10:36 PM   #7
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pictures

First time adding pictures - hope they came out.
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Old 06-16-2008, 10:40 PM   #8
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* bottom right is the whole tank. This is about 35lb's of live rock but looks like I still need another 15lb's or so (want it to be higher)
* Bottom left is weird white growth (not moving)
* Top right is furry wavy white growth - don't know what it is (hope not bad!)
* Top left is front right rock... has purpleish color

CMOR - thank you for your post (everyone else too) ... I was so excited tonight when I got home just was jumping the gun. I am going to put a raw shrimp in tomorrow and let it go through it's cycle (while checking water daily).

If I want to add more Live rock... should I do this now before the raw shrimp, at the same time or after? I'm guessing now and before.

So far besides forums and articles online the only book I have read is Salt water aquariums for dummies - which I did find very informative. I will take your advise and get one of the ones you recommended.

Thanks.
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:48 AM   #9
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I've heard mixed reviews (mostly bad) about the SW Aquariums for Dummies book. I haven't read it, so I can't comment specifically about it. But I know Paletta's and Fenner's books are good. Just be aware that you're going to encounter numerous opinions in this hobby on how something should be done. There are many different ways to do things, and some ways work better than others. Understanding the basics about the hobby will let you make informed decisions on what advice to follow, and what advice is just plain hooey!

Regarding the additional live rock... I'd add it now, or within a few days of throwing in the shrimp. If you wait too long, or after the cycle is over, any possible stuff dieing off from the rock will fuel another cycle, prolonging the whole thing.

As cmor mentioned, you haven't even started the cycle. All your water parameters are perfect because, well... there's nothing in the water to make it bad at this point.

You said you got the water from the "marine aquarium". What exactly does that mean? Do you have an aquarium near you that sells salt water? Just curious because for a reef tank, your water source is one of the more important aspects of the hobby. We strive for perfect water parameters, but if the water you're starting off with and doing water changes with is less than perfect, well... you're never going to get better than that. That's why many folks will invest in a RO/DI filter system to get 100% pure water. Just a seed to plant for future ideas. I have an aquarium within 30 minutes of me that sells salt water. But even filtered and sterilized, I'd still never even think about putting that stuff in my tank. Especially since it's being drawn from a point a few miles from some of the worst toxic dump sites in our state.

Also... just noticed that your pH is a little on the low side. Eventually, it ideally should be somewhere between 8.0 and 8.4... but stability day to day is more the key. But don't worry about it during the cycle. pH will swing around quite a bit during a cycle and will take a few weeks to stabilize after it's all over. I wouldn't even waste the test kit drops on it until you're done with the cycle.
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:36 AM   #10
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I agree with the rest. SW requires planning and patience.
I will address your questions about your pics.
1st pic is coraline algae, great stuff!
2nd pic is a dead coral, maybe a plate (but I could be wrong)
3rd pic looks like a sponge, a beneficial filter feeder (might not make it through the cycle, but others will grow back)
4th pic is a nice start on your aquascaping.
Make sure when you add more rock to make some caves/ledges/pile and make sure the bottom of the pile is on the tank's glass bottom.
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