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Old 06-03-2004, 01:11 PM   #1
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Newbie Inherited a SW Tank! Need Help Please...

I’ve always been interested in SW tanks and have done minimal research outside of this forum. My past experience has been with FW tanks. Just yesterday, I unexpectedly inherited a friend’s friend small SW tank (ONLY 10g!) because he was moving out of the country. I will do more research as time progresses, but I have questions that need to be answered immediately for the fish’s sake.

He had taken everything apart and was ready for transport by the time I got to his place. When I made it home, I reused everything he had given me, including the water, which was transported in a cooler. When I finished setting everything up, the water that I had was about 1-1½ inch below the tank’s rim. It is still low at the moment and after searching through this site, I plan to buy some distilled water on the way home from work. Can anyone verify if this will be ok? Once I learn the basics (I also plan on purchasing "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner’s), I plan to get a larger tank, preferably 55gallons, but this will be at least 1-2months down the road.

I may invest early on a RO/DI system since I’ll also need it in the future. A few members on this site have suggested the Ebay units and price seems appealing. But in the mean time, how am I supposed to change the water? I’ve read that you can purchase RO/DI water from the lfs, but in all the times I’ve been to the lfs, I have yet to see anyone purchase it, where it’s stored or any advertised signs. ???

The setup/equipment I received from him is less than par and the tank is overcrowded. Surprisingly, this setup and fish have been around for a little over a year! The 10g tank consists of:
-Regular Florescent Light/Fixture that comes w/hood
-1 Penguin Mini HOB filter
-NO powerheads
-About 1 inch of white sand
-About 5lbs of live rock
-3 small fish (Ill try to ID them later)
-2 hermit crabs
-1 shrimp

I have many questions and I’ll just number them below. (Please bare with me)

1. Do I need to vacuum the substrate for excess food, similar to a FW tank?
2. How do I know if the “live” rock is live? I did not get a chance to closely examine the rock, but are there supposed to be visible organisms on the surface?
a. If I purchased more “live” rock from a lfs, could I just add it to my tank, assuming that it’s cured and in their tank?
b. How do you know if live rock purchased from the lfs is good or not?
3. How do I add more sand with fish already occupying the tank? I read on this site that many recommend SouthDown or Carribean Playsand from Oldcastle purchased from HomeDepot.
a. Do I need to rinse the sand before using?
4. What is the optimal temperature range? I found a couple members here recommended 80 degrees.
5. Does the same rule apply to changing SW filter media as with FW filter media? In my FW tanks, I usually just rinse the media with old tank water to remove excess debris. Should I do the same with a SW filter?
6. Regarding water movement, is 10x the gallon adequate?
a. If so, I would need approx.100gph.Would 2 50gph be better than 1?

I’m sure I have more questions that I can’t remember at the moment… Anyways, thanks for replying!

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Old 06-03-2004, 03:06 PM   #2
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1. Yes you need to vaccum the substrate if it is crushed coral or some kind of small rock substrate but don't vaccum the live sand it will just get sucked up in the siphon. Just got to the pet store and get some snails and hermits.

2.You can tell if it is alive just by examineing it. It should have some purple and maybe a few others colors depending on where it came from.
a. I would ask them if it is cured before buying it.
b. It is mostly your opinion on if it is good or not. Look at thecolors and see if anything is living in it.

3. I am not sure about the sand but someone else will answer that for you.

4. As far as tempreture goeas usualy between 78-82 degrees is normal.

5. You should realy just replace the filter pad every 2-3 weeks becuase the carbon will start to deplete. You can buy filter pads at walmart for cheap for penguin filters.

6.I would go with about 5-6 times your gallons. So something like 50-60 gph.
a. You could go with just one powerhead unless you wanted a wave maker which puts your power heads on times so at different times different power heads go on and and stimulates ocean waves.

10 gallon salt water 3 damsels
20 saltwater mini reek yellow tang green mandrin goby, clownfish, yellowtail damsel, coral banded shrimp, skunk cleaner shrimp, lots of corals and fiji rock
75 gallon cycling soon to be reef tank
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Old 06-03-2004, 03:24 PM   #3
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1) no
2) yes and no depends were it was bought and the care givin to the rock before you !! but should have some coralline on it !!
2b) looking at it if somewhat but under the right care alot will come out of it over time !!
3)with that small of a tank i wouldnt worry about more sand !! but the best way to add it is to let it settle in some water and scoop it out and slowly add it !! some will still get stirred up but will settle !!
4)75-80 is great most try for 80
5)yea for now if ya get more lr ya can loose the filter media and use the pump just for water movement
6)10x will work but 20x would be better !! 2 powerheads would be better than one !!
good luck keith
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Old 06-04-2004, 12:00 PM   #4
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Ok. So for SW tanks, carbon is necessary? If so, I will be changing out the whole filter media in the HOB filter. In FW tanks, carbon wasn't necessary and the filter media was a good source of nitrifying bacteria. For that reason, I re-used the media as long as I could.

Would it be OK to add one 100gph powerhead while keeping the mini HOB filter?

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Old 06-04-2004, 12:03 PM   #5
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carbon for that size tank god thing !! larger tanks some use it mabe a week out of the month!!
yea 100 powerhead would be ok !!
good luck keith
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