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Old 07-29-2014, 08:34 PM   #1
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New to saltwater, please help and don't yell!

Okay...here goes. All of this has been done with good hearted ideas but not with well researched execution. Some neighbors of ours started a 29 gallon salt water tank recently (past 4 months) and I have been envious but never really researched as something I would do. On vacation last week to the crystal coast we caught a sand dollar, "large snail" which we have now determined is a whelk, and kids found a small hermit crab they wanted to keep. I thought we could offer our treasures to our neighbors. It was the second to last day of vacation so we did several water and sand changes for them in the bucket and they survived the ride home. I rushed to the LFS to find out what to do and if they were safe for my friends tank. Luckily my neighbor was hesitant but I was still on a mission to keep my beach finds alive. The LFS warned that the sand dollar may get too big for a tank but should eat the frozen shrimp fish food and be relatively hardy. So here I am 3 days later with a 14 gallon bio cube, 10lbs of cured live rock, 2-3 inches of live sand, and water from LFS's tanks. They said I would be okay with a fish or two, so also have a clownfish and white fin damselfish. I have been reading almost nonstop for 2 1/2days and have fluctuated from sheer panic to pure excitement. Several questions to follow because I am trying to move forward correctly (I realize many unforgivable mistakes have been made already):
1. I've read with cured live rock and live sand the cycle may not have as severe of spikes. Are my fish okay going through this? Will having the sand dollar, whelk and small hermit crab in the tank stunt the cycle?
2. Anyone have experience with sand dollars in a tank, sounds like they need a large and established tank for a chance. So any suggestions what to do with it now? I hate to think of starving it to death.
3. Whelks??? Do they eat corals or just other snails? Again, worried I'm starving it now, but if it is going to eat up my corals I need to get rid of it soon anyway. Though it is beautiful, any suggestions??

That's all for now. Once I figure out I have the system stabilized and ready for coral and other livestock I'm sure I will have more questions. I know to research before acting now. Thanks a bunch in advance for any light you can shed on my tank's development!!


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Old 07-29-2014, 08:47 PM   #2
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Pictures of the whelk and hermit if that helps.


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Old 07-30-2014, 12:29 PM   #3
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I am not sure about the care for those critters, but as for the fish being okay through the cycle...it depends. Every tank is going to be a little different and spikes will vary. The live rock and live sand should help a bit. Clowns and damsels would be my first choices to survive a cycle, but it is putting them through a lot. I'm not sure about the critters surviving, as they will be much more sensitive to everything.

Keep us posted and ask questions before acting moving forward. Everyone here has probably made a mistake or ten at some point, but a lot can be avoided by simply asking others that know more.


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Old 07-30-2014, 02:06 PM   #4
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Make sure you have a bottle of Prime. Great for neutralizing problems.

Always keep enough on hand so that you won't run out!

It is funny how emergency pwc happen in the middle of the night when there are no stores open.

As well as enough salt and water (or prepared sw), to change the water anytime night or day.
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Old 07-30-2014, 03:41 PM   #5
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I don't know as much about salt - been researching but definitely get the saltwater master kit test.


I definitely second the having prime and enough extra water for an emergency water change when going to the store isn't an option. Always always always happens like that!


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Old 07-30-2014, 04:24 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback! I went to the LFS today and picked up 5 gallons of salt water and some RO/DI for top offs. He tested my water and said all levels look good. He said since they provided me with established water and sand from their tanks that I wouldn't see a cycle. Should I believe this? Today is the third day since set up. Fish still seem happy, active and eating, although they scared me at 3:00 am when I checked on them and one was very still near the top and the other hiding at the bottom where he never goes during the day. Apparently they were sleeping. They were out and about again this morning. I will go get some Prime and a test kit so I can check levels more frequently myself. If I don't have a cycle like he says when should I be safe to start adding soft corals? Feeling some relief but still a little skeptical.


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Old 07-30-2014, 04:41 PM   #7
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Starting with stuff from their tanks should definitely help. If leave it up to more knowledgeable people to say yes/no on coral.


Having the kit at home is sooooo much easier especially if you are having a problem with 1 thing instead if going back and forth to your lfs all the time


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Old 07-30-2014, 07:03 PM   #8
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Adding water and sand from there systems will do very little good for you, but it will transport any problems from their system to yours so for future reference start fresh. Did they tell you what your levels were or just say good? A test kit should be your next investment IMHO, so you know what's going on in your tank. As for the cycle, no don't believe them, you will see a spike, it's probably already going on. As far as corals go, give it a few weeks after your cycle completes, what lighting do you have as that is the main factor in determining which coral you can keep.
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:16 PM   #9
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He showed me the colors from the tests, nitrates were between the bottom two levels and the others at zero. I will go buy a test kit tomorrow and try to get more exact levels.

I just have the stock lighting for the 14 g biocube: 1-24 watt 03 blue straight pin. 1-24watt 10,000k daylight straight pin and 1-.75 watt lunar blue led bar. There is a receptor for another LED bar if I need that?


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Old 07-30-2014, 07:16 PM   #10
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And should I do more frequent water changes to relieve the stress in the fish or will that mess up the cycle?


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