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Old 05-31-2004, 05:44 PM   #1
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Newbie Questions - Please help and bear with me

Hi all. I've been out of the saltwater hobby for 15 years, and am now converting my 55 gallon from fresh to salt. I've added 72 pounds of live rock on top of an aragonite base layer. I have 130 watts of mixed day/actinic lighs and a Hang on Tank Prizm protein skimmer. Currently using 5 powerheads. Appreciate your help in advance.

1. The skimmer leaks, but only sometimes. Can't figure it out; my wife will get mad soon if I can't figure it out. There is no obvious place from where it's leaking and it's only sometimes then it stops. The skimmer is not very efficient so far as I can tell. Should I buy a Red Sea Hang on tank Berlin skimmer instead? Any ideas or suggestions?

2. My tank has been cycling for 6 weeks. Nitrites and Nitrates are at zero. Ammonia test is hard to tell, but I think it's still reading between .25 and .5. Can this be? How long for a zero reading?

3. Tank is always around 82 degrees. Any way to lower the temp without buying a chiller? Or is this temp still OK?

4. I was going to add a cleanup crew (snails, hermits, crabs, starfish) - before adding fish. is this the right order? and do I feed them or is the algae enough?

5. Finally, in addition to the cleanup guys and a few more starfish and shrimp (my kids like them) my fish plan is for 6 green chromis to be added first, then a royal gramma, then a clownfish, then a flame angel. Is this a good mix and order?

Thanks all.

Gesh
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Old 05-31-2004, 05:56 PM   #2
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Re: Newbie Questions - Please help and bear with me

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gesh
1. The skimmer leaks, but only sometimes. Can't figure it out; my wife will get mad soon if I can't figure it out. There is no obvious place from where it's leaking and it's only sometimes then it stops. The skimmer is not very efficient so far as I can tell. Should I buy a Red Sea Hang on tank Berlin skimmer instead? Any ideas or suggestions?
The Prizm isn't the best skimmer available, but it's not the worst either. They have a bad habit of leaking where the collection cup fits on the skimmer body. Mine requires frequent adjustments of the flow valve to keep the water level correct. I would recommend an Aqua C Remora if you decide to replace it.

Quote:
2. My tank has been cycling for 6 weeks. Nitrites and Nitrates are at zero. Ammonia test is hard to tell, but I think it's still reading between .25 and .5. Can this be? How long for a zero reading?
What did you put in the cycle the tank? Was the rock uncured or did you purchase it out of an LFS tank? After 6 weeks, ammonia should be gone and nitrite should be starting to drop in most cases. You can add a small shrimp from the grocery store to get the cycle going if need be.

Quote:
3. Tank is always around 82 degrees. Any way to lower the temp without buying a chiller? Or is this temp still OK?
82* is the upper end of the temp range. I wouldn't want to see it get any higher than this. You can add fans to your lighting system to increase airflow across the surface of the water.

Quote:
4. I was going to add a cleanup crew (snails, hermits, crabs, starfish) - before adding fish. is this the right order? and do I feed them or is the algae enough?
This is correct. You might put just a few pellets or flakes in once in a while, but they should do OK on what's already there to eat.

Quote:
5. Finally, in addition to the cleanup guys and a few more starfish and shrimp (my kids like them) my fish plan is for 6 green chromis to be added first, then a royal gramma, then a clownfish, then a flame angel. Is this a good mix and order?
I would probably cut down to 3 green chromis, but I like to keep a low bioload.
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Old 05-31-2004, 06:12 PM   #3
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Thanks. I was cycling with the live rock. I bought it from the lfs but they said it was mostly uncured. Maybe cutting back to 3 chromis is a good idea.
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Old 05-31-2004, 11:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gesh
Thanks. I was cycling with the live rock. I bought it from the lfs but they said it was mostly uncured. Maybe cutting back to 3 chromis is a good idea.
Sorry to butt into the thread, but this seemed like a good place to ask: What is the difference between cured and uncured rock?

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Old 06-01-2004, 09:47 AM   #5
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Uncured rock would have more die off than Cured rock therefore creating more ammonia and giving the bacteria more to consume and increase the number of ammonia eating bacteria. This would speed up the curing process. After the cycling period you will have cured your own rock. Of course this is my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 06-01-2004, 09:50 AM   #6
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Also Uncured rock is generally less expensive than Cured rock
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Old 06-01-2004, 09:59 AM   #7
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Gesh, I have a Knop Excalibur Protien Skimmer that leaked as well. I am not quite sure as to how your Skimmer is setup, however mine has an Oring that makes the seal where the collection cup slides into the riser. What I did was took a rubber band that came off of the bags from the LFS and put it on where the Oring goes then put the Oring on top of that. It created a tighter seal and the leak stoped. This also increased the production of my Skimmer. HTH
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Old 06-01-2004, 02:56 PM   #8
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I had a prizm on a 55 and was never happy with the output (a $20 in tank skimmer pulled out more junk). If it's in the budget you should upgrade.
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Old 06-01-2004, 05:51 PM   #9
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Can't help with the skimmer problem, sorry. With your water parameters, after 6 weeks with uncured rock and no feedings your ammonia should be 0. What are you using to test? If its strips, dump them and get a test kit. I've had a couple different brands of strips, and they aren't of much use. Both kits showed ammonia even when testing purified water.

As for the fish, I'd skip the chromis entirely, unless you are dead set on having them. They are a group fish and will do better in larger groups. I've heard more people starting with 3 and ending up with 1, than keeping small groups alive. And your tank would be fully or overstocked with the list you gave. 1 or 2 clowns added at the same time would be a good place to start, and then add from there.
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Old 06-02-2004, 11:19 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by indy
Can't help with the skimmer problem, sorry. With your water parameters, after 6 weeks with uncured rock and no feedings your ammonia should be 0. What are you using to test? If its strips, dump them and get a test kit. I've had a couple different brands of strips, and they aren't of much use. Both kits showed ammonia even when testing purified water.

As for the fish, I'd skip the chromis entirely, unless you are dead set on having them. They are a group fish and will do better in larger groups. I've heard more people starting with 3 and ending up with 1, than keeping small groups alive. And your tank would be fully or overstocked with the list you gave. 1 or 2 clowns added at the same time would be a good place to start, and then add from there.
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