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Old 07-15-2004, 11:08 AM   #1
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Newbie 25G setup

Hi there. I'm thinking about converting my 25Gal fw tank to sw. I just love reading about the interesting variety of life that come with the LR/LS in sw.

This is my first foray into sw so I'm looking for some help. I've been reading this site for about 6 mos now and have the Fenner book so I know that this tank is too small for a beginner but....I plan to keep this tank under stocked and I'm very good about weekly 25% water changes on my 2 fw tanks. Also if I don't do it with this tank, I'll have to wait something like 5 years before we have a bigger house and therefore bigger tank...I have a lot of patience but not that much so I'ld like to give it a shot

Here is what I plan on using any comments are greatly appreciated.

Filter- I have a rena XP1. I've read that using filter pads just end up being a nitrate trap. Should I just run bio media (see live rock section) and maybe some AC?

Live Rock - I know that I'm supposed to have 2lbs/gallon but I don't have any concept of what 50lbs of lr looks like. Is this going to fill up the aquarium and leave nothing for fish? Could I get away with 25lbs for now (probably gor 50/50 base to live) and use the biomedia that came with my canister. Then add more lr if I want to (after curing of course).

Water movement - The XP1 is rated for 280gph but I figure I'll add a ph as well to get more movement lower in the tank.

Live Sand – I’m not sure of my tank dimensions right now but about how many lbs of LS would I need?

Skimmer - I'm planning on going skimmerless at least to start. As I said, I'm meticulous about my water changes so hopefully that will do. If I'm having issues though and need one do the HOB ones go inside the aquarium or on the outside like a HOB filter? I really don't want to pull the aquarium away from the wall too much.

Lighting - Right now I just have the stock 20w hood. I'm planning on a DIY hood so I can add more lighting ( I just finished the stand ). Any thoughts on what wattage I need to have good coraline growth?

Water - Right now I'm just planning on using tap water. Since this tank gets some sunlight I'm forseeing issues with algae and if that's the case I can buy RO from Walmart or get an ebay RO unit. How much water should I be changing if I don't have a skimmer.

Stocking - Planning on a clown, Nemo for my Son of course . And maybe a damsel...maybe a goby. What could realistically get taking into account the above? I also like shrimp/hermits etc...anything interresting to watch.

Testing kits - I have kits (sw/fw) for Ammonia, NO2, NO3, PH and salinity. Is there anything else I would need?

Heater - Have en ebo which works great.

TIA for any help...

-Ron
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Old 07-15-2004, 11:31 AM   #2
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From one noob to another:
25gallons will work, but the bigger, the better.
I have a 40gallon tank, and just put in 40lbs of LR. Not very much now that I can see it.
If you're going with non-fiji rock, then 2lbs per gallon is gonna fill about 1/3 of your tank volume with live rock. I suggest pricing at www.liverocks.com for you LR...it was the same price as buying 40lbs locally, and the quality was at least twice as good as the local stuff. Mike did a good job of selecting the rock pieces.

I'd skip the canister completely and get yourself a couple maxi-jet power heads to get at least 10 times per hour turnover (250gph or more).

If the tank only gets filtered sunlight (thru curtains) you should be ok. tap water should be ok for FOWLR, but if you decide to add corals, you'll probably wanna go full R/O, but corals won't be for at least 6 months.

I used 60lbs of sand in my tank. Argomix by Carib-Sea. RINSE thoroughly.

Lighting - go to www.ahsupply.com and consider at least a 55w kit, or a 2x55watt if you think you'll keep corals later.

Start savign up for a skimmer. You'll probably want/need it eventually, especially if you want corals. I'd say skip SeaClone, and probably RedSea...look at CPR bak-pak or Aqua C Remora's. I think they must hang outside the tank, but ask around...someo fthem can be used in-sump, so they could probably go in-tank as well.

Lastly, your test kits seem ok, except the pH probably doesn't go up high enuf. Most FW kits stop at 7.6, and in a marine tank you're after 8.2-8.4 so you need a high range pH kit. Also, by 'salinity' do you mean a hydrometer or refractometer? I don't know of any chemical test kit for salinity.

Almost forgot, I'm no stocking expert, but I know damsel's tend to be a little aggressive. I think the clown and the goby would be ok tho. You'll also want some clean up crew...shrimp, emerld crabs, turbo snails...that sorta thing. Most importantly, the stocking on a marine tank is significantly lighter than a freshwater. I think the fake 'rule' of 1 inch per gallon is modified to 1 inch per 5 gallon in a marine tank.
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Old 07-15-2004, 01:37 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. I'll definately start saving for the skimmer once I get the basic setup going.

Can I ask why you'ld skip the canister? The way I saw it was that provides a lot of water movement and even a little added water volume too. Just curious.

Sorry for the confusion on the testkits. I meant a hydrometer not a salinity test kit.

Do you have any pics of what your 40# LR looks like in a 40gal aquarium?

On the PH side. If using RO water then the PH would be 7 so what raises the PH to the range of 8.2-8.4? Is that from the salt mix or maybe the substrate.

Thanks again,
Ron.
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Old 07-15-2004, 01:38 PM   #4
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Sorry..accidentally re-submitted the same reply...
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Old 07-15-2004, 02:23 PM   #5
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Yep, the salt raises the pH and then rock/substrate helps to buffer it.

Buy the RO water for your initial fill or you will definitely regret it later
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Old 07-15-2004, 02:40 PM   #6
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Buy the RO water for your initial fill or you will definitely regret it later
Will do....I'ld like to start off on the right foot.

Should I plan on about 10% weekly changes or maybe more like 25% until I get a skimmer running?
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Old 07-15-2004, 03:46 PM   #7
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You will have to be the judge of that as every aquarium has different needs. Once it has cycled do a 25% change and then start adding life slowly. Regular testing will help you determine the right schedule, but without a skimmer I suspect you will see a need for more frequent changes.
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Old 07-15-2004, 04:08 PM   #8
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Sounds good.

Another thing I just thougth of. After curing the LR, it should still be full of beneficial bacteria right? So is there any reason to do the dead shrimp and go through another cycle? Or can you just start slowly adding life at that point?

I know in fw tanks you can instantly "cycle" your tank by adding a lot of plants as they love eating ammonia. Would it not be the same in sw as well with LR instead of plants?
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Old 07-16-2004, 12:37 AM   #9
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I'm going to run my Filstar XP2 on my upcoming 30 gallon setup. The only media I plan to run in it is AC. No pads at all.

Your point about water movement using the XP1 you have is valid, and that's the main reason I am keeping my in my setup, though I am about to order a Aqua C Remoa. Think of the Filstar and a oversized, under the tank, powerhead. And since you're planning on using AC it will not hurt to run it.

And take the advice above... use RO or distilled water. If you can't afford a RO/DI unit for home, purchase the water as you said from Walmart of a local grocery store. Save youself a huge headach and use RO/Distilled water from the start and for every top-off/water change.

You'll be OK with 25lb of LR for now... just stay on top of your water parameters and water changes. Since the LR will be your primary bio filtration you really need to keep an eye on your water. Add more as you can afford to.

If you want to save some money on sand, purchase 20 lbs of non-live sand and get 5-10 lbs of live sand to seed it. Over time all of the sand will become live, but adding some live sand to seed the inital sand bed will speed this process up.

To cycle, just let the LR do it for you. Should only take 3-5 weeks. And think of the money you'll save in those 3-5 weeks... maybe half the cost of a skimmer?!?

One last thing... the XP1 moves 250gph. I know this off the top of my head because I was debating the XP1 vs the XP2 when I purchased mine about 3 months ago. Not that this really matters... just threw it in here for good measure/fun.
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Old 07-16-2004, 03:06 AM   #10
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Get the lr when you start up- at least 25-35 (or 45) that will make it easier now instead of adding it in later.

Skip the damsels. You can get lucky and get some semi-aggressive ones, but I wouldn't if I did it all over again. I've got two blue damsels and they aren't too bad because they started off with two dominoe damsels that set them straight in the beginning.

Research your gobies. Most like to eat (a lot live off of) pods and those take a while to get going in a new setup. After your tank is cycled, start with a clown (or a pair- make sure they are paired at the lfs).

Get the skimmer as soon as you can, it may take a little while to get it going and for you to get used to it.

The suggestion on the sand base and the ls to seed it is a good one. Get the ls from a friend or lfs (not the bagged kind).

Start your water changes while you cycle, but don't go water changing happy when you're stocked. Depending on the load, once every other week should be plenty and then maybe less- especially once your lr is doing your filtration.

Get a good cleanup crew of snails. One turbo (not too big) should be good, along with nassarius and a good mix of others. Avoid the crabs if you can. One emerald shouldn't be a problem, but they don't all eat the bubble algae which is the main reason to have one.

In regards to the hydrometer or refractometer: at least have a hydrometer and get a refractometer if you can afford it (there are good prices on ebay- do a search on this site for the link).

Stay patient and keep doing your research and you will do fine. Have fun and get started in order to start enjoying this wonderful hobby.
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