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Old 08-13-2008, 05:29 AM   #1
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Please approve of my proposed set-up

This is my first attempt at an aquarium in 5-6 years and only the second attempt at a marine aquarium. The first attempt ended in disaster; so this time I'm determined to do things right. I have most of the stuff ready, but I want someone with experience to approve it before I set things up.

I have a 55g tank on a purpose built stand, with regular fluorescent (cheap but high spectrum tubes) lights. I'm using an undergravel filter with two powerheads, and a Fluval 350 canister filter. Also, two submersible heaters.

I'm using a mixture of aragonite (?), regular crushed coral, and a some very fine crushed coral. I have about a dozen pieces of once live rock (base rock, I guess) and several coral skeletons. I also have two fairly large pieces of plain white faux coral. My intention is to create a mixed landscape of rocky, somewhat reef like areas on the sides and an emptier space in the middle with a few coral skeletons and finer substrate.

I'm planning a community tank, but not sure yet what I'll want.

I have a few questions:

1.) I could have a protein skimmer and a bio-wheel filter; the first came with the tank, the second is left over from a previous tank. Should I use one or both of these in addition to the fluval/undergravel?

2) Live Rock: do I need it? Can I use it? Will the use of an undergravel filter preclude converting to live rock in the future?

3)Cycling: How fast (or slowly) will this take place(given the system I'm using)? Do I need a fish or fishes to start the cycle? Are there any products that will let me cheat and shave off some time?

4) I'm not planning a reef, but can higher order invertebrates be kept with fish in a fish only tank. I am specifically thinking of the shrimp that "go with" shrimp gobies.
5) If I have to cycle the tank with a fish, is it appropriate to use a Red Sea Anemonefish? I want to avoid damselfish, and there is a very healthy looking anemonefish of this kind at the store. My book indicates that they are among the hardiest and least anemone dependent species of anemonefish. Is there a problem I'm not seeing?

Thank you for your help.
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Old 08-13-2008, 08:21 AM   #2
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I am only new to this aquarium business myself but i know you shouldnt use a fish to cycle your tank. It is very stress full on the fish and the large ammonia spike could result in its death. Also the live rock helps with filtration and if introduced into your system with the base rock will result in the base rock coming alive. And as for the protein skimmer and filter at the same time from what i have heard it is all preference, but it wont hurt your tank to run both.
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:45 AM   #3
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Welcome to the site!
I think you have a Fluvial 305. I have the older version (304) on mt 55.
I would ditch the CC, I liked it for about 3 months then decided to go with all sand. CC traps a lots of waste and limits your sand sifting critters.
Ditch the underground filter as well, since they are a bit outdated and won't work too well in a SW application.
1) You won't need the bio wheel filter, since the Fluvial can take care of all your needs.
2) LR is a very important piece of your tank's bio-filtration. I like to go with 1.5-2 Lbs per gallon, for proper filtration. LR also gives you critters a place to stake out, to hide and a safe place to sleep.
3) Nothing good happens fast in SW. I always choose the humane way of a fishless cycle. I use 1 raw, unseasoned jumbo shrimp per 30G to cycle my tank. It is much cheaper than using a fish, and 100% safe. With a fish or without, it can take 4-6 weeks to properly cycle a tank (don't use any of the "quick cycle" formulas). I find this time frame gives me enough time to decide how I want to stock my tank.
4) Lighting is not as important with FOWLR tanks, so you should be good there. Nice choice with the pistol shrimp and shrimp goby! Make sure your LR is placed firmlt on the bottom glass of the tank because the pistol will move sand like you wouldn't believe.
5) Anemone fish, there is no guarantee they will host one. Sometimes they will host a ph, plot of sand or even the corner of your tank. Please do not cycle with a living animal.
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Old 08-13-2008, 11:21 AM   #4
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thanks

You're right, it is a 305. The last time I set up a marine aquarium I was essentially told to let a yellow tailed damselfish swim around until the water tests leveled out. I didn't realize it was traumatic for the fish involved! Thanks for stopping me. I read a few other posts and most people here seem to be firmly on the side of live rock, so I'm probably going to switch from an undergravel filter and gravel to live rock and sand. I might leave some of the crushed coral for character, but I'm definitely going to go with stand as the major substrate. I guess it's pretty much essential to keep some of the bottom dwelling characters who dig and sift and so forth. Thanks again.
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Old 08-13-2008, 04:20 PM   #5
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Sure thing! Props for you doing a fishless cycle!
I used to hace CC mixed w/sand....what a mess, especially when I decidedto remove the CC from the sand! Needless to say, I also have a little CC in my tank. My pistol doesn't like when I do maint and knock some of it down his hole! LOL!
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:11 PM   #6
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Good choice. LR, sand and a skimmer sounds pretty good. Also some PH`s to push the water around.
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