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Old 02-20-2006, 10:28 AM   #1
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New to forum - First post

I just joined this forum after looking around for some more information places. I have been in the saltwater hobby for a few months now and have had a number of freshwater tanks over the years. I wanted to introduce myself, talk about my tank and experiences and get opinions, suggestions etc. This post may get long, so I apologize in advance. I had some early failures, which I'll describe but things got much better as time went by.

I started out in SW back around September when the wife and I decided we wanted to setup a new tank. We had a 60g hex freshwater tank years ago in our previous house, but after moving a few years ago, we did not set up another tank. When we talked about setting up a new tank, I researched and thought we should buy a more suitable tank for SW but the wife convinced me we should reuse our old tank rather than buy a new one. So began our setup of a 60g hex SW tank.

I started off with a few of the standard books to understand what was needed. When I started setting up the tank I filled the tank with saltwater, 40 lbs of sand (half was a live mix) and 50 lbs of live rock (which I got from The Hidden Reef in Phila. It was sad when it burned down, nice place). I put in a 250w heater, a Seaclone 150 skimmer (yeah, bad choice) and a Magnum 350 for mechanical filtering and to run carbon. I also had two powerheads for flow. I set everything up and started the cycle. My rock was essentially assembled into a large but cavernous pile in the middle of the tank floor, trying to keep the rock away from the glass. I can honestly say that after a very short period with a small amount of ammonia, I never saw any spikes in any of the measurements for ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. So after two weeks with no bad readings, I started to add fish.

My first fish selection was to be something fairly hardy, so we got a yellowtail blue damsel and a bicolor pseudo (my kids picked them out). The real idea here was to start small and see how the fish responded to the tank. Surprisingly, there were no problems and they appeared happy. Not long after, I added a few turbo snails to start algae cleanup, as well as a few small hermits. Over the next week or two, four of the five snails died, and since levels in the tank were still good I was a little baffled.

So, a few weeks later I took the kids back to Hidden Reef to select a pair of clownfish (my original motivation for setting up the tank). We selected a pair of ocellaris clowns and also added a peppermint shrimp. They all seemed to acclimate well. The shrimp found a place at the bottom of the rock and we never saw it. Within a few days one of the clowns was sick, and within a week it was dead (kids were very upset). Since the other clown appeared to be thriving, I chalked it up to a sick fish and not something wrong with my tank.

Some more time passed and I was getting more algae, so I purchased a cleaner pack from Foster & Smith, as well as a new ocellaris clown and two more yellowtail damsels (I read they do better with three or more) and a yellow tang (wife wanted this, against my better judgement). Within a day one damsel had mouth damage and the new clown was very sluggish. The yellowtail died a day or two later, I moved the clown to a quarantine tank to keep it from being picked on. It didn't last more than a week.

It was about this time that I began to hate the rock arrangement in the tank. I re-landscaped my tank to make more of a lagoon type look and it was much more appealing and offered more space for my pets. I visited another LFS and they had a new batch of ocellaris clowns that looked quite healthy, so I bought one, along with a emerald mithrix crab. Both acclimated well and continued to live (yay!)

After watching the tang get stressed over a few weeks time, I finally convinced my wife we needed a better choice of tank as the tang needed more swimming room. The hex wasn't cutting it. "That Fish Place" is about an hour away in Lancaster, so after I had made some trips there, and the wife found a nice stand she liked for the 75g tank I was proposing, we took a family trip there to go look. We cam home with the tank and stand and a 4ft aqualight 260 watt fixture. Somewhere before this I had bought a small bubble tip anemone but knew the light in the old tank wasn't enough. This was also another (self-induced) incentive to upgrade.

This past weekend I migrated to the new tank. It took about 6 hours from start to finish, moving everything to buckets and styro boxes along with all the water, then moving substrate, then putting everything in the new tank. Everything has survived the move and the tang (named Bubbles, of course) is doing much better. I need to add more rock and enhance my cleanup crew but everything with the move went well.

Now, I did not buy an overflow tank and I do not have a sump. While these seem to be good ideas, I was not ready to add this complexity to the tank. I imagine I can add a hang-on overflow and sump at some point. Thoughts?

My tang likes to hang out with my clowns. The clowns have not gone into the anemone yet. The anemone does not have bubbled tips most of the time (i've read the bubbled tips actually mean it is stressed). Anything strange here?

I have stopped running my canister filter full time, as I've read it is not necessary with the LR in the tank. Anything wrong with this?

I guess this is enough for now. If anyone has actually read this far I applaud you. I look forward to spending a lot more time on this forum as it seems like a great community. I'll be posting pics of the tank and critters shortly.[/img]

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Old 02-20-2006, 10:54 AM   #2
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Some pics as things went along:
The original rock pile in the 60Hex

The new 75g setup

New tank end view

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Old 02-20-2006, 11:00 AM   #3
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The BTA shortly after I put it in the Hex tank. It crawled into this rock and stayed there. It was upside down so I turned it over and it stayed there.

A shot of the BTA after I got it into the new tank. I heard placing one of those lettuce clips might entice a clown to go into it. Didn't work.

A shot of the BTA that I just took today. Clowns still not going into it yet. It's color looks different in this picture as I am learning a new skill of photography. It's color has not actually changed though.
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Old 02-20-2006, 11:02 AM   #4
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Bubbles the yellow tang

One of the two clowns

Shrimpy the peppermint shrimp
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Old 02-20-2006, 11:27 AM   #5
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Welcome to AA!!

Great looking tank!
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Old 02-20-2006, 03:23 PM   #6
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its looking good!!! Hopefully those clowns will take that BTA soon.. Good luck!!!
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Old 02-20-2006, 06:44 PM   #7
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Looks nice. Great tank.
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Old 02-20-2006, 07:07 PM   #8
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Hello EvilTwin, and welcome to AA!!

First off, your tank is looking good. The only advice I can give you is keep an eye on your Anemone(s). Typically, Anemone's require a stable environment with at least 6 months and some species require more intense lighting than pc.

Two weeks is a pretty quick cycle imo. All the years I have been in this hobby, I have never been successful with a cycle in under 4 weeks. However, it doesn't mean it's not possible.

Good luck in your fish keeping and stop by and ask us all questions. HTH

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Old 02-21-2006, 07:22 AM   #9
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Is it possible my tank never cycled in the first place? I figure that might explain some of the early casualties I had. But I was religiously checking water parameters on an almost daily basis and never saw a thing in terms of elevated levels. I even tried different testers, thinking something was wrong with my test kit.
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Old 02-21-2006, 07:40 AM   #10
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I'm wondering about that cycle too. Get another test kit or have the LFS test it for you. I'd watch the water closely if I were you. It's a lot to the "anenomes needing a stable environment" so I hear. How's your nitrates?


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