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Old 11-06-2011, 02:25 AM   #1
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Newbie, help!

Hi y'all

I hope I'm going about everything correctly; I desire a beautiful tank, but more importantly I desire healthy life in the tank. I have a 3 gallon saltwater tank with live sand, a small piece of live rock, and ocean water. There are three hermit crabs in there. It's doing good for a tiny tank.

I guess I got the bite and recently bought a 50 gal tank. I put 50 lbs live sand and so far 15 gal ocean water. Still have much water to go, but this eve I went ahead and stacked live rock to make a little reef. During the day I'll leave the actinic light on and will also get more water tomorrow.
Does everything sound okay so far?
Do I need to get a heater?
Thanks, any advice is so appreciated.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:36 AM   #2
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Hi yes you need a heater set to about 74 to keep it to decent temperature. You will also need a skimmer and a wave maker. You could ask your LDS for a cup of there sand to help seed yours. Hope this helps
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:26 PM   #3
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Okay thanks!

What's LDS? Mormon fish?

Can you explain about seeding the sand?
I try to keep shop water out of my tank to cut down on nitrates (shop water has a lot) so when I acclimate, I throw their water out and slowly add mine instead of throwing their water into my tank.
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:02 PM   #4
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I think Wapparia meant to type LFS ..as in local fish store.

"Seeding" just means introducing beneficial bacteria from an already established tank. There isn't much bacteria in the water but it attaches to and lives on and in things like sand, sponges, liverock etc. So, getting some sand from the LFS will help jumpstart your cycling. Your livesand and liverock, if it is actually live rock and not base rock, will also provide some of the bacteria but it takes a little longer to cycle the tank.

Now, just in case ...cycling a tank means to get it ready for inhabitants. It is referred to as the Nitrogen cycle. As things die off from the liverock, and they will due to the transfer, they introduce ammonia into the water. Beneficial bacteria take in the ammonia and convert it to nitrites, then, other bacteria take the nitrites and convert them to nitrates.

You said you are using ocean water..is that REAL ocean water or "made" water? If you are using real ocean water, be very careful. You have to remember that ocean water isn't pure..it may introduce some of the good bacteria you need but it can also introduce illnesses and other issues.
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:23 PM   #5
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Haha oh
Yeah I don't know the abbreviations yet.
How long will the rock need to cycle before I can add a fish?
I'm using real ocean water
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:35 PM   #6
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You need a saltwater test kit, or, if you are going reef, you can get a reef test kit.

Your utimate parameters, after cycle, will be Ammonia: 0; Nitrites, 0 and Nitrates preferably 0 but you may see 20 or so which is OK. Now, as you cycle, at first you are going to see all three as 0. When the cycle starts, you will see an Ammonia rise and Nitrites and Nitrates will read 0. Eventually, Ammonia will begin to fall and you will see a rise in Nitrites with Nitrates reading 0. Finally, your Ammonia and Nitrites will read 0 but your Nitrates will show a reading and will probably spike. This is an indication the cycle is near complete. At that point, you want to do a good 50% water change. Let the water mix for 24 hours and do your tests again. Leave it another few days and test again. If your readings remain stable, as in Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0 and minimal to no Nitrates, you can start adding livestock...SLOWLY. Remember, each time you add something, you upset the bio load and the beneficial bacteria have to catch up. Add too much at once and you will spike your Ammonia which isn't good.

Since you are using real ocean water, you need to test it to determine the levels. Otherwise, you won't know what you are adding from water changes vice what the tank is producing due to cycle.

I don't have experience with using real ocean water but you need to research it. Again, ocean water isn't pure...depending on your location and distance from commercial facilities, there could be contaminants in the water plus other unknowns like diseases. You don't want to intrduce this stuff to your tank.
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:47 PM   #7
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Yes I have both kinds of test kits. Got my heater today

Just wondering approx how long til I should check it to be able to add life.
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:13 AM   #8
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My LFS owner sold me Super Bac to put in my tank that makes it immediately ready for life. He said I'd need 4 or 5 fish to put in after adding the Super Bac.

So I have damsels and hermit crabs in there now. I'm so scared they're going to die, but he said they won't.
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:26 AM   #9
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Also my calcium and KH is high...is that okay?
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:58 AM   #10
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Hi
What do you mean by KH? am curious to you using real ocean water? What coast line do you live on to get real ocean water that is good enough quality? post a comment to let me know if your fish are fine. your taking a bit of a risk putting them straight in even with bac.
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