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Old 10-04-2010, 12:43 PM   #1
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Noobie plan...

Hey there all... This is my first post here so let me give you a little background. I've been running a freshwater aquarium for about 8 years or so now. I've grown from the initial 10 gal to a 20 to my current 36 gal corner bow front tank. I've done cichlids, community, and a planted community tank in these various sizes but this will be my first attempt at salt water.

This weekend we went out window shopping and stumbled upon an irresistible deal. Shortly, in fact really any time now, our new 120 gal tank, stand, sump, and canopy are to be delivered. The stand needs a bit of cleanup work so I'm going to do some sanding and put a couple coats of fresh poly on the areas that I have to cleanup. The plan is for the tank to actually go on the stand Thursday night, and then Friday the same store is to deliver a 50 lbs box of uncured rock, 80 lbs of live sand, and 120 gal of salt water (plus they said that they would fill the sump too).

So, my plan is to pickup a small hang on protein skimmer, heater, and powerhead along with a large Rubbermaid tub or trashcan to cure the rock in. I'm planning on starting this particular process on Sunday. I also plan to reuse the equip for the quarantine tank to come down the road a bit. I've been reading up on LR curing and I'm thinking that I'll be rinsing the LR in a separate tub once a week and doing probably a 5 gal water change at this time each week. I figure I'll let that go for a month or so before even thinking of moving this to the actual tank. Anyone see any issues with this part of the plan?

I'm a bit unsure of what to do with the tank itself. The idea is to have it running with only water and sand for a while. I'll probably pick up a few pieces of cured LR over the next month or so while the other stuff is curing and drop this straight into the tank. Is this going to actually cycle the tank though?

I honestly don't plan to have any fish in the tank before December, and probably closer to Christmas than Thanksgiving. I figure that my cured rock will make it to the tank sometime around mid to late November and then I'm thinking of starting on another 50 lbs box though this may wait until after the first of the year.

I'm currently at a loss quite honestly on what to stock. I have a 5 year old though who loves Finding Nemo, so I'm thinking that I'll have to have a Clown and a Powderblue Tang (Dory, right). I figure that I'll plan the rest of the tank around these two though I think I would really like to get a Picasso Trigger someday.

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.
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Old 10-04-2010, 04:06 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sn4265 View Post
Hey there all... This is my first post here so let me give you a little background. I've been running a freshwater aquarium for about 8 years or so now. I've grown from the initial 10 gal to a 20 to my current 36 gal corner bow front tank. I've done cichlids, community, and a planted community tank in these various sizes but this will be my first attempt at salt water.
Welcome to AA! Hopefully we can help you with anything you need. Sounds like you have the basics of water chemistry and stuff like that under your belt then?


This weekend we went out window shopping and stumbled upon an irresistible deal. Shortly, in fact really any time now, our new 120 gal tank, stand, sump, and canopy are to be delivered. The stand needs a bit of cleanup work so I'm going to do some sanding and put a couple coats of fresh poly on the areas that I have to cleanup. The plan is for the tank to actually go on the stand Thursday night, and then Friday the same store is to deliver a 50 lbs box of uncured rock, 80 lbs of live sand, and 120 gal of salt water (plus they said that they would fill the sump too).

Congrats! It's often really good to start with a larger tank. Is it a "reef ready" tank with the pre built overflow and plumbing for the sump? also, what size is the sump? I would get more live rock then that for your size tank, for the right amount of filtration it is usually recommended that you have 1 to 1.5 lbs/g of rock.

So, my plan is to pickup a small hang on protein skimmer, heater, and powerhead along with a large Rubbermaid tub or trashcan to cure the rock in. I'm planning on starting this particular process on Sunday. I also plan to reuse the equip for the quarantine tank to come down the road a bit. I've been reading up on LR curing and I'm thinking that I'll be rinsing the LR in a separate tub once a week and doing probably a 5 gal water change at this time each week. I figure I'll let that go for a month or so before even thinking of moving this to the actual tank. Anyone see any issues with this part of the plan?

If you have a sump, I would skip the HOB skimmer. There are in sump versions that work a lot better. You can buy a trash can to cycle your rock in but honestly I have always found it easier to just do in the tank. I set my rock up how I want it then add my ammonia source and wait. There is a lot of discussion on whether or not water changes during a cycle help or hurt you. I would do a quick search and read a little more before you decide one way or another. I'm not sure why you would need to rinse the LR once a week, but I would skip that as well.

I'm a bit unsure of what to do with the tank itself. The idea is to have it running with only water and sand for a while. I'll probably pick up a few pieces of cured LR over the next month or so while the other stuff is curing and drop this straight into the tank. Is this going to actually cycle the tank though?

Like I said, I would mix the dry rock and some LR in your tank and make it how you want it. When you add the ammonia source, the already live rock will help "seed" the colonies of bacteria and speed the process slightly.

I honestly don't plan to have any fish in the tank before December, and probably closer to Christmas than Thanksgiving. I figure that my cured rock will make it to the tank sometime around mid to late November and then I'm thinking of starting on another 50 lbs box though this may wait until after the first of the year.
I would consider getting that other box sooner rather then later. I would look online, there are a lot of places with good dry rock that is usually a lot cheaper. Its good to see that you are setting a timeline and have patience.


I'm currently at a loss quite honestly on what to stock. I have a 5 year old though who loves Finding Nemo, so I'm thinking that I'll have to have a Clown and a Powderblue Tang (Dory, right). I figure that I'll plan the rest of the tank around these two though I think I would really like to get a Picasso Trigger someday.

Start looking on sites like Liveaquaria.com. They have a really good fish compatibility chart along with lots of other valuable information on each fish.

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.

Welcome again! Please post any further questions comments or concerns.
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Old 10-05-2010, 02:25 PM   #3
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dory = hippo tang
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:58 AM   #4
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If your not in any hurry, which it seems like your not I agree with Jimbo just put that live rock into your tank and cycle with it!!
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Old 10-06-2010, 01:17 PM   #5
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I agree. Kill two birds with one stone. Cycle the tank and cure the LR at the same time.
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:34 PM   #6
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Def cycle tank/cure LR at the same time. Then I always start with a cheap fish just to make sure its doing ok before I do anything else. A green chromis works good for this plus it has a cool color. You will def want a goby of some sort, they are fun to watch and keep your sand perfect. I have recently been recommended a bullet goby which looks pretty cool IMO. Remember to try to stock from least aggressive to most. So pick out all the fish you want before you start stocking.
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:30 PM   #7
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Welcome to AA! Also trigger fish are mean suckers so im warning you now...but they are beautiful fish. If you want to get a trigger check the compadibility list on http://www.Liveaquaria.com. Not reef friendly fish. Good luck keep us posted on your progress. There are many wonderful people on here who will guide you through your every problem.
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:27 PM   #8
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Hmm... This is rather strange advice. The fish store very specifically told me that curing the LR in the tank isn't the best of ideas. I think one reason for their recommendation was that the odor can be pretty potent for up to a couple of weeks. Seeing as how the tank is in our dining room/kitchen I'm not real thrilled about that idea.

Additionally, the suggestion was also based on it being easier to remove detritus from die off out of a small curing vat as opposed to a 120 gal tank. I was also planning on following recommendations of maybe 20% water changes weekly during the curing and this is much more substantial in a 120 gal tank then in a 30 gal tub.

Finally, the stand needs some cleanup, and I really want to run the system with tap water for a few days after that just to double check for leaks. I would much rather have the time to work on the stand, sump, and then run the long leak test.

Thanks for the great advice however. Any more suggestions are most appreciated.
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:37 PM   #9
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Fish stores generally throw their new live rock shipments in a vat that doesn't have much in the terms of filtration. Naturally, most anything that is rather stagnant with dieing organisms is going to smell. Cycling the tank with live rock is the simplest solution for any beginner. During the cycling phase you will see sponges and various material that was originally affixed to the rock, drop off. You will want to siphon just the very surface of the substrate so the material is removed from the system and you don't have a rotting mess. If the tank is set up properly you won't have to worry about under-filtrating during cycling. If you cure live rock in a separate vessel you will still have to cycle your main system, double your duty. Make sure to run your leak tests before you add any substrate, rock, saltwater, etc. and you should be fine.
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by sn4265 View Post
Hmm... This is rather strange advice. The fish store very specifically told me that curing the LR in the tank isn't the best of ideas. I think one reason for their recommendation was that the odor can be pretty potent for up to a couple of weeks. Seeing as how the tank is in our dining room/kitchen I'm not real thrilled about that idea.

Additionally, the suggestion was also based on it being easier to remove detritus from die off out of a small curing vat as opposed to a 120 gal tank. I was also planning on following recommendations of maybe 20% water changes weekly during the curing and this is much more substantial in a 120 gal tank then in a 30 gal tub.
I can understand your concern here, odor can be an issue. I would think a week in the tubs and a cleaning every couple days and the rock should be fine. See how it smells, if it's fine move them to the tank sooner, if they stink, soak them longer.

If you have an established tank you never want to cure the rock in the aquarium, but in a new set-up the rock will just contribute to the cycling process.
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