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Old 03-24-2005, 01:39 AM   #1
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New too salt water. Need help please!

Hey guys,

Well, my 72 gallon heavily planted is looking great, and really there isnt much left too do in it now, except admire it and trim plants weekly.

I need a new challenge, so im getting a 20 gallon from my uncle free, which has a hang over the back filter. My question is, can i use that filter and this tank and turn it into a mini salt water tank. I wont be doing a reef tank, but rather just live rock, but ive got a few questions.....

1. What exactly are live rocks, and do they require much light?

2. Will i have too get a powerhead for water movement?

3. Can i grow any corals at all in this tank if i get lets say a light that gives off just 17 watts of light?

4. How expensive is marine food compared too freshwater food, and can i feed some fresh water food such as frozen bloodworms and frozen brine shrimp?

5. Crushed coral gravel or sand, and is there any difference?

Also, what are some nice, small, yet colourful fish to start with, and what about a cleanup crew?

Some fish ive looked into and thought about for stocking......

1 Kaudern's Cardinal (3 inch max)
1 Ocellaris Clownfish (3 inch max)
1 Firefish, Helfrichi (2.5 inch)
1 Royal Gramma (3.0 inch)
3 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (2 inch each)

Hows the compatibility their, and how am i on stalking levels?

Im new too salt water, so please forgive me if im overstocking.

Also, any links would be great for newbies too saltwater like me!

Thanks.
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Old 03-24-2005, 08:46 AM   #2
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1. Live rocks are called live due to the life on them. Good live rock comes with lots of hitchhikers like shrimp, corals, sponges, snails, etc. It also comes with undesirables like mantis, aiptasia and the like. But, it's nice because it adds diversity to your tank.

2. Yes, a powerhead would be a good idea. You'll want plenty of water movement.

3. I would skip on the corals with only 17w.

4. Marine fish food isn't any more expensive. Brine aren't a good food for marine fish. Not sure about bloodworms.

5. Yes, there is a difference. Crushed coral traps junk and can cause high nitrates. Sand has more surface area and won't need vacumned.

Small colorful fish could include... maybe a pair of clowns, royal gramma, firefish and gobies. You could probably add two or three fish to a 20 gal tank.

Ok, now I see your fish list. lol You won't be able to add all those fish but, they are good choices. Keep in mind though that most, if not all, cardinals are nocturnal so they probably won't be out much.
The fish you have listed are all pretty docile and should get on fine with either or.
Your forgiven, especially since the tanks isn't "stocked" yet.

I would like to add a suggestion. Ditch the hob filter. Or, remove all media and use it for added water flow. If you get enough liverock/baserock, you won't need the added filtration. I would suggest 1.5lbs per gallon of live rock and two powerheads.
I don't have any websites off hand but, I would urge you to pick up the book The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert Fenner. Excellent book for beginners.
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Old 03-24-2005, 08:58 AM   #3
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Quote:
I would urge you to pick up the book The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert Fenner. Excellent book for beginners.
Duley seconded!

Welcome to AA!
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Old 03-24-2005, 10:26 AM   #4
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Ok, im confused you say i cant keep all those fish, but the you say im NOT fully stocked? :P lol.

Also, if i do weekly 30-40% water changes, will a tank this size with these fish be difficult too maintain? Will ammonia and nitrates peak at all?

Thanks guys.
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Old 03-24-2005, 10:40 AM   #5
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I assumed you were asking these questions in advance. If you already have the tank set up with these fish in it, then yes, you are are pushing the limit.
Yes I think a 20gal tank this fully stocked would be difficult to maintain. Though, with dedication, not impossible. Also, even though the fish you have chosen are peaceful fish, being crowded, I wouldn't be surprised to see some aggression. I would suspect the cardinal would not fair well. It will need a comfort zone to hide in. Also, cardinals are a schooling fish and would do better within a group. The other three you may be able to make it work.
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Old 03-24-2005, 11:10 AM   #6
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NO, the tank is NOT set-up yet, sorry if i gave that impression. Its seems the Cardinal will hide a lot, so ive decided do ditch it. So now im thinking.....

1 Ocellaris Clownfish (3 inch max)
1 Firefish, Helfrichi (2.5 inch)
1 Royal Gramma (3.0 inch)
3 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (2 inch each)

Also, i hope with this setup i wont be pushing it biload wise, and give the fish some space right?

Would this set-up allow me to get awawy with weekly water changes. Sorry if im asking stupid questions, but im rather new to saltwater, and really want too be sure before i do anything.
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Old 03-24-2005, 11:23 AM   #7
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The only stupid questions are the ones not asked.
You could probably make it work with those three fish, with weekly water changes. Just have to keep an eye on aggression and be prepared to remove one if things go down hill. There are no guarantees with fish temperament. Even with the most mild tempered fish, you can get a bad egg. The shrimp do not count toward your bioload so you don't have to worry about them.
And, you are going to do a fishless cycle on your new tank before introducing any fish right?
Also, it would be a good idea to set up a small tank to QT your new arrivals to be sure they are healthy. And, you won't want to add all these fish at one time. Space them out over a few weeks time to give your tank time for the biological filter to catch up.
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Old 03-24-2005, 11:38 AM   #8
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Yes for sure, ill be doing a fishless cycle of atleast 4 weeks before introducing anything. Then adding fish one at a time, on a bi-weelky basis.

Some other questions though......

Im thinking about 10-15 pounds of live rock, and keeping my HOB filter just as an "extra" place for bacteria too grow. Also, im wondering how much sand i should place in the tank. Would 2-3 inch be ok?

Also, you say shrimp do not effect bi-load at all, so could i add other strange looking things like star fish without effecting bi-load?

Finally, with just 17 watts of light, will algae be an issue at all? I mean im sure ill get some, but it shouldnt get out of hand right, especially if regular maintinance is done, and nitrates, amonis, phosphate, etc are kept in check?
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Old 03-24-2005, 12:00 PM   #9
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10-15 lbs isnt' enough in my opinion. I would go at least 20-25. The more the better. Especially with a questionable bioload. A 2-3 inch sand bed sounds fine. No, inverts of any kind do not add to your bioload so yes, you could add a serpent star or such. Just be sure there is gonna be enough of a food source for them. Don't want to add to many scavengers and them not have enough to eat.
And lastly, if this 17w bulb is a normal florescent bulb, yes, I believe it will encourage more algae growth. If it is a NO bulb, I would swap it out for a coralife 50/50 bulb. They aren't to expensive and would give you better color in your tank.
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Old 03-24-2005, 12:01 PM   #10
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Oh, I almost forgot. If you do keep your hob filter, I would remove the filter media and toss in some live rock rubble. The filter pads will help harbor nitrates and you don't want that.
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