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Old 01-20-2006, 09:24 PM   #1
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Newbie with a few questions

Hello,
I am new to sw and have a few questions.
1) What is the best way to cycle my tank? And what equipment do I need to cycle? and how long should I cycle?
2) What is a RO/DI system and How does it work? Do I hook it up to my tap water or the tank?
3) Do I need a wet/dry vac?
4) I have well water is that real bad for a sw/reef tank?
5) I have heard about cleaning crews, What do they consist of?
I have a pretty good idea of the protein skimmer I will use although I could not tell you the brand right of the top of my head.
And I have a pretty good idea of the lights that I want.
The light system is a Oddysea 72" 785w metal halide system
3x175w double ended HQI 2000k
4x65w cp actinic blue 03
12 moon lights.
which brings me to question,
6) how far should I keep them above the water? and do these lights use alot of electricity?
7) How many power heads should I use?
Okay that is all I can think of right at this moment I am sure I will think of some more later.
I have 125g tank my measurements are
22" h x 18" w x 72" L
I want to keep a variety of things such as corals, mushrooms, LR and a few fishies. I dont want to be limited.
Also what is the best sand to use?
Any help would be appreciated
Melissa
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Old 01-20-2006, 09:56 PM   #2
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Welcome!

1) Do a fishless cycle. All the equipment that will be running when the tank is stocked. Until the cycle is done.
2) An RO/DI unit is a really good water filter. It puts out pure water. Depending on the model you buy it hooks up to the faucet or water pipe directly. You will need a storage tank for the water(new clean garbage pails works fine.
3) I do not know why you would need a wet/dry vac.
4)It could be, depends on its quality.
5) Cleaning crews are snails, shrimp, crabs....
6) I dont have experience with metal halides but I have read they use alot of electricity and require the use of a chiller to keep the water from heating up too much.
7) You will want atleast 15-20x turnover, I think. You may need more for some types of corals. Not too experienced with corals. The amount of ph will be determined by the turnover you are looking to get as well as the output of the ph itself.

Check the stickys and articles. Alot of good info there.
Good Luck,
Brian
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:01 PM   #3
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starting a reef

The first thing you should do is read and get yourself a good book. I'll give you some refs later...

Quote:
1) What is the best way to cycle my tank? And what equipment do I need to cycle? and how long should I cycle?
For a reef, cycling the tank with live sand and live rock will do. You don't really subject any fish or inverts to ammonia poisoning that way. You will need to test the water periodically to chart ammonia and nitrite spikes during the establishment of nitrifying bacteria. Once the spikes are over and everything measures zero again, then the tank is ready to be populated.

Depending on the cultures of bacteria on the rock and in the sand, and the size tank, it can take two weeks to cycle or a month or two. Any reef system I've put together were ready for the cleaning crew (reef hermits and snails) about two weeks after everything is put together. Then populate slowly.

I've always recommended to get the maintenance crew in there first so they can start working. They are most important to the system instead of being 'ornamental'.

Quote:
2) What is a RO/DI system and How does it work? Do I hook it up to my tap water or the tank?
RO (reverse osmosis) units and DI (deionizing) units are used to filter tap or well water. They are run on the water source itself, not the tank. These systems would be good for you too and everything else in the house. Lots of things in tap and well water that are really bad and can cause health problems for everyone, not just the tank.

Quote:
3) Do I need a wet/dry vac?
No. A sump or wet/dry filter unit yes...but not a vac. I feel vacs would greatly disturb biocultures beneficial to the system.

Quote:
4) I have well water is that real bad for a sw/reef tank?
Yes. I would definately recommend some type of filtering unit or buy premixed saltwater.

http://tricitytropicals.com/index.as...S&Category=805

Quote:
5) I have heard about cleaning crews, What do they consist of?
Inverts and fish of all kinds that help maintain the aquatic environment. These are the little reef hermits, skunk cleaner shrimps, snails, blennies that eat algae, cucmbers, there are fish that eat parasites like blue neon gobies, things that live in the sand like worms...my goodness too many to list. There's enormous diversity when it comes to marine ecosystems like the reef. There's no other system on Earth that teams as many species and forms of life than the reef. These are animals that generally eat poop, parasites, and dead things.

Quote:
The light system is a Oddysea 72" 785w metal halide system
3x175w double ended HQI 2000k
HQI MH come with a requirement of having to be covered with glass. The UV rays are known to burn coral, so don't skip out on this fact when getting the light system put together.

I can not for the life of me remember the book I was going to recommend and I don't have it immediately available. Julian Sprung is a good author to give a hint of what to look for. Another is John Tullock (???). Here's a link to a google book search.

http://books.google.com/books?q=reef...books&oi=print

Read, read, read, ask quetions...read more...and patience. Take your time. It can take years to completely build a reef ecosystem depending on size and even then, things are always changing just like out in the ocean.

BTW...I find refugiums to be more beneficial to a reef than a protein skimmer. It allows for complete bio filtration without being interrupted by the protein skimmer. Proteins become naturally broken down and transformed into something else instead of being mechanically removed from the system altogether. Some prefer to run both a skimmer and a refugium together. This I would reccommend more for a system that becomes exposed to heavier loads of proteins...like deep reef systems and reef systems with predators like eels and scorpion fish.

Have fun and enjoy.
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We, as a people, know so much more about outer space than we do about our own oceans. This lack of knowledge can very well spell the dangers that lay in wait for us.

The oceans surely would swallow us before a rock comes down to smite the planet of it's life.
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:29 PM   #4
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Thank You for the info. would I be able to mix say 90% tropical play sand with 10% live sand? and would I be able to just cover the MH lights with glass?
Melissa
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:53 PM   #5
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Shoot also where would be the best place to buy one of these RO/DI units? can you get them at home depot?
Melissa
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:03 PM   #6
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I tried the tropical play sand route and it turned out to be the wrong kind of sand. So I have 600 lbs of play sand with no use for it. I would just stick with aragonite sand fron an online retailer or a lfs. I paid 1 dollar per pound for sand. Yes you can seed 90% dry sand with 10% live sand. I just bought my RO/DI unit off ebay. Alot of people seem to be going there for them. Home Depot will have units way over priced. Here is the one I bought.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=4428691941

Brian
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:10 PM   #7
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Thanx Brian I will check it out
Melissa
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Old 01-22-2006, 03:12 AM   #8
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I left you a link before to RO units. Here it is again....

http://tricitytropicals.com/index.as...S&Category=805

Play sand doesn't really have the right stuff in it to help maintain a reef. No calcium, magnesium, and other elements and the sand would probably contribute to loads of algae due to thehigh silicate content. Stick with aragonite topped off with live sand.
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Old 01-22-2006, 10:11 AM   #9
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Thanx I am looking at it right now.
Melissa
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Old 01-22-2006, 06:33 PM   #10
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RODI from filterdirect or the aqua somehting in canada are both fine. take your time. and research before you buy anything!
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