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Old 03-11-2008, 04:15 AM   #1
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Newbie to SW. Here's my plan... is it right or wrong?

Hey guys... thanks for all the good information on the forum. Based on this I have this in mind.

My goal is to do a fish-only tank with a porcupine puffer OR a lion fish. I would LOVE to do both but have read mixed reviews about the two together. I sure as **** don't want a tank with a puffer and a nipped up lionfish. Anywhoo...

I already have a 56 gallon tank running with a Marineland Biowheel Power Filter Emperor 400, along with the advised amounts of API Stress Zyme and Stress Coat. There is 30 lbs of crushed coral (geo-marine aragonite formula) and the salt is from Instant Ocean.

Here is my "checkout cart" from Drs. Foster and Smith. I'd like to wait on this order to be sure its good:

Super Skimmer Needle Wheel Protein Skimmer 65 gallon; Any comments on this one? Overall the reviews were ok but a few bad ones here and there. This one is more in my budget.

Flora-Glo 24" 20 watt bulb

Visi-Therm Deluxe Heater 300 Watt


And here come the questions...

First off... my water is a bit cloudy and I'm assuming the reason is because I did not completely rinse off the crushed coral before adding it. Will this go away when I add the protein skimmer and with water changes?

What are some recommended test kits for testing water? I could not find any good reviews. What do you think of API master liquid test kit or Tetra Deluxe Laborett? What do you use to test your water?

Should I drop a raw shrimp in there to get this going?

For a fish-only tank, do I need live rock?

For lights my LFS suggested Flora-glo lamps for a fish-only tank, is this good enough?

Thanks for all your help!
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Old 03-11-2008, 08:16 AM   #2
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Don't know anything about that skimmer. The substrate might give you problems. Crushed coral is notoriously hard to clean and can harbor nitrate buildups over time. Especially with those messy eaters you're buying. Gonna be hard to keep any cleanup crew (crabs, snails) to help with that.

Also, not a fan of those additives you put in there. Why did you? And if it was the lfs that told you that, be wary of them in the future.

You will need rock to help with the biological filtration. Those organisms created during a tank "cycle" will live on those rocks. An abundance of them (more surface area) is only better for you. If it were me, I'd do anywhere from 30-60 lbs of rock.

Yes, the shrimp is a very good way to cycle. Or.... if you do uncured rock, you can likely cycle that way, depending on how much die-off is on the rock.

Still, I'd work those things out before you begin the cycle - whether to replace the crushed coral with sand, and the rock issue. Also, whether the sand needs rinsing again. Put a powerhead in there and see what happens in a day. Hopefully it'll settle down if its not too bad. I still prefer sand though.

I like the API liquid test kits.
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Old 03-11-2008, 11:04 AM   #3
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Welcome to the site!
That puffer needs at least a 90G tank. Check out the saddle puffers.
Live rock is an important part of our tanks. For a puffer, it gives them something to chew on to help trim their ever growing teeth. It also hosts the beneficial bacteria that converts ammonia to nitrAtes and also provide hiding spots for our critters.
I had a mixture of CC and sand. It only took about 3 months to realize I really didn't like the CC. It will trap waste and limit your clean up crew.
I'm going to move this to the SW Getting Started section.
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Old 03-11-2008, 11:58 AM   #4
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Read this for equipment and stocking

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...ank-73477.html
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Old 03-11-2008, 03:19 PM   #5
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Thanks!

Great advice! I wish I would have come here before I filled the tank up.

As far as those additives... the Stress Coat is a dechlorinator and the Stress Zyme contains bacteria to "speed up" the development of a biological filter. I just added them at the direction of the LFS because I didn't know any better. I'll get my advice from here from now on.

So are those additives really bad? Should I change the water?
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Old 03-11-2008, 04:16 PM   #6
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There is no need to dump the water, BUT you are using tap water for the tank. If you can afford it you really should be using RODI (reverse osmosis/de-ionized) water for tank. I use the Typhoon III from AirWaterIce.com, but you can find a decent unit on eBay for about $100.00
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Old 03-11-2008, 04:21 PM   #7
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The additives aren't bad. If you're using tap water then you need a dechlorinator of some sort. But the "bacteria in a bottle", in my opinion, is just money down the drain. If you cycle the tank using the fishless cycle found in the articles section, you just need a raw shrimp and about 4-6 weeks, and you'll have a tank ready for a fish.

Live rock as mentioned by others will really help with your biological filtration. The biowheel will probably work fine by itself, but it's not really the easiest way to do your filtration in saltwater.

Regarding budgets and skimmers... I can' understand trying to do this within a budget, but in the long run, the additional money spent on a higher quality skimmer normally pays off with better water parameters and less stress on yourself as you struggle to maintain water quality. Not stuff you can really put a price on, but I've never heard anyone say "Gee... I wish I'd bought a smaller/cheaper skimmer." It's always the other way around.
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Old 03-11-2008, 07:47 PM   #8
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Also IMO, 20w of lighting will light your tank, but I don't think you'll get to see real colors of the fish. In other words, I'm not sure the colors of fish may not be that vivid. Also, purple encrusting coraline that covers rocks as tanks mature may not grow or be seen.

Think of FO and FOWLR as the same, because we're telling you that rock is gonna be a part of your system for sure.

Gonna keep the crushed coral?
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:16 PM   #9
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Thanks again. I'm definitely going to go with LR, but I'm going to just start with mostly dry rock and a few pieces of live rock (and a little bit of patience) as has been suggested on the forum to save some cash. I'll definitely get some better lights to get more out of it. Any suggestions?

The crushed coral is already gone, and I ordered 30lbs of Argamax sand today. I'd hate for that to cause problems down the line.

I'll definitely consider upgrading the skimmer as well. Do I need to have the skimmer running for the cycling? If not, I could put that purchase off a bit and save up for it.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:47 PM   #10
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It would not hurt to run it during the cycle because there is going to be a break in period for the skimmer anyway. Hopefully by the time your cycle is over the skimmer will be broke in.
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