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Old 02-27-2006, 01:48 AM   #1
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saltwater aquarium log of a newbie..w/ questions of course

sorry think the link to one of the stickies is dead.. .

anyways just took the plunge. me and my wife decided to add another tank after we got our first one, a 55 gal. freshwater tank.

what we have right now are:

130 gallon tank.,fluval fx5,heater, a pair of coralreef strip lights.

question: do i need a protein skimmer? dunno exactly what its for but with the fluval fx5 i can put in media (opti-carb) that supposedly removes protein (among other things) before it breaks down into toxic compounds.

we are still confused as to what setup we want. initially we thought of just having fish only then later on put in corals and stuff... but after thinking about it, i think its way too much for us (as we have full time jobs) and maybe we will just settle for bright colored fish and synthetic (is there such a thing?) corals or like perhaps what we saw in the lfs, some decors that looked like rocks and corals. would this be more feasible to do?

thats just about it for now... just finished rinsing the CC's that i put in and also put in the salt. btw, how much salt should i put in for a 130 gal. tank? put in 1 1/2 bag (50lb per bag) and the reading on the hydrometer is not within normal range. do i have to stir/mix the salt? how long does it usually take before i get normal values?
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Old 02-27-2006, 05:15 AM   #2
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A protein skimmer (foam fractionator) is a device that creates lots of small bubbles. The purpose is for exporting unwanted wastes from your system.... not just proteins. The "wastes," all the nasty stuff floating around, adheres to the bubble and travels up a column via a foam. It then gets collected into a cup which needs to be cleaned regularily. Once you see the stuff that a skimmer pulls out, you'll definetely decide to go with one. I would say that 95% + would say its a must have for this hobby.

Now, depending on start-up budget, you can get away with both having full time jobs and still go with a reef as your goal. It will just cost more, and you can eventually "automate" many things. Lights, water top-offs, dosing etc... I say go with what interests you and you'll work out your schedules.... Routine maintenance is all do-able with full time jobs. My guess is most people on here have full time jobs....they NEED them to support this hobby.

You can get fake corals, which are "colored" calcium skeletons of dead corals. It's always nicer to go with live rock which will pave the way for a reef at a later date and give you the advantage of great biological filtration, (a huge bonus).

Definetely mix the salt with a couple of power heads, you don't need to hand stir it. Give it a few hours for the salts to dissolve before taking a measurement to ensure that the entire water volume is uniform. HTH

Ryan
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Old 02-27-2006, 07:09 AM   #3
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thank you very much for your help. any suggestions as to what protein skimmer to get?

its been more than 8 hours since ive first put in 1 1/1 bag of INSTANT OCEAN... checked my specific gravity/salinity and it reads 1.014 ..

added 1/2 bag more and checked sp/salinity values after 30 mins and still reads 1.014... whats up my water?

also im just relying on my FLUVAL FX5 for water circulating/mixing the salt with the tank water. is this just fine or do you guys use some other method?
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Old 02-27-2006, 01:43 PM   #4
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Buy a rubbermaid 20G tub. Then get another heater and a couple of powerheads to throw into the tub.

For your startup, you'll be fine mixing in the main tank, but for future salt mixes, do it in a tub. Not good to mix in the main tank on water changes with anything living in there.

Circulation and proper temperature (~78 deg) is key for mixing and taking values. I don't know what the fluval throughput of water is, but my guess is it isn't enough flow. You definetely need to buy some powerheads for your main circulation in your tank, so just add a couple to your tank to help the mixing. Do you have sand in there already? If so, you may have a bunch of salt just lying on the sand, sitting there.

What size is your tank? this will help with protein skimmer selection.... my vote is Aqua-C.

Are you using a hydrometer?

Are you using RO/DI water out of curiosity?
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Old 02-27-2006, 08:49 PM   #5
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whew! thanks a lot for the informative reply..

my temp right now is 75 deg. ..thought its the usual normal temp.. guess will have to increase it to 78 deg.

FOR FLUVAL FX5 SPECS: http://www.hagen.com/uk/aquatic/addi...al_05-FX5.html

aquarium capacity: 400 gallons 1,500 liters
pump output: 925 g/h 3,500 l/h
mechanical area (foam): 325.5 in 2,100 cm
biological volume: 1.5 gallons 5.9 l
filtration volume: 5.28 gallons 20 l
filter circulation: 607 g/h 2,300 l/h
head height (max): 10.8 ft 3.3 m
wattages 120v/60hz: 50 w
wattages 230-240/50hz: 48 w

i have on the top media basket FLUVAL PRE FILTER, nothing on the middle yet i plan to OPTI-CARB but cant seem to find it anywhere.. any suggestions? ( i am using the leftover HYDOR LAVA AND CERAMIC filters) BIO-MAX with POLISHING PAD on the bottom media basket.


i have a 130 gallon tank. was told by person at lfs that i may not need the protein skimmer until after 6 months perhaps... any truth to this?

yup i am using a hydrometer its the one by instant ocean.

sorry dont know what RO/DI is.. is DI for distilled water?
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Old 02-27-2006, 10:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
whew! thanks a lot for the informative reply..
no problem.

As for the temp, it doesn't NEED to be 78 degrees exactly, anywhere from 76 to 80 is quite fine. I just choose 78 for middle of the road.

I don't know anything about canister filters, sorry.

As for your protein skimmer question, I would definetely put one on to start out. are you planning on LR in the main tank? if you are, and you want to start your cycle using the uncured LR, you will definetely need a skimmer during the cycle/curing period.

Your hydrometer will give you a good ballpark value for your SG, but make sure you don't take a reading near the canister return. Any small bubbles can attach themselves to the needle/pointer and skew your reading.

RO/DI is reverse osmosis and de-ionized water. If you use tap water, it needs to be treated to remove chlorine. The downside of tap water is it is high in phosphates and silicates that help algaes grow like mad. The RO/DI water filters all that bad stuff out. highly recommended to avoid frustration from constant algae growth from tap water.

You can get a RO/DI from ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/New-6-stage-100-...QQcmdZViewItem

Then you won't have to lug tons of water from the grocery or pet store.

HTH!!

Ryan
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Old 02-27-2006, 11:38 PM   #7
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son-of-a gun my heater just broke! what a piece of crap! it was a VISI-THERM. now id have to get one...im hoping the lfs would replace it..it was just a day old. i would think HYDOR THEO's are way better. btw would one 300w suffice 130 g tank?

wow! that my friend would be way out of my league for now (ro/di). think ill just treat water with prime for now...just curious are you the seller of the item?
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Old 02-28-2006, 12:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
i have a 130 gallon tank. was told by person at lfs that i may not need the protein skimmer until after 6 months perhaps... any truth to this?
You won't really need the skimmer until after your cycle has finished. You will want to do a water change at the end of the cycle though. Thee is typically determined by the size of the tank. Each manufacturer has their own specifications. If it's rated for 100g, I would go with a 200g skimmer for increased performance.
Quote:
synthetic (is there such a thing?) corals or like perhaps what we saw in the lfs, some decors that looked like rocks and corals. would this be more feasible to do?
These will look good for a while, but you will probably get tired of cleaning them as algae will grow on them. I would suggest LR if you are planning a reef, and we know you will after you get established in the SW hobby.
Quote:
how long does it usually take before i get normal values?
If it's too high, replace with fresh (dechlorinated) water. Too low, add more aerated salt/water.
Hydrometers have a tendency to be off sometimes. One thing you could add is a refractometer for more accurate readings.
Quote:
would one 300w suffice 130 g tank?
I would personally use 2 150w heaters in case one fails.
Quote:
wow! that my friend would be way out of my league for now (ro/di).
I would also agree that RO/DI is a good choice, especially with corals and inverts.

If I could offer one suggestion since you are just getting started. If you want to do a reef tank, I would replace the CC with sand for better natural filtration. Just my .02 cents.

HTH

Mike
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Old 02-28-2006, 12:03 AM   #9
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heading to meijers right now.. .2 150's set at 78deg?
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Old 02-28-2006, 12:11 AM   #10
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I would adjust for 79 since the house tends to get around in the 80's. My tank stays between 79-81 degrees just from the pumps in the sump. Before you set them, see what the temp is in tank currently and adjust for 2 degrees or so +/-.

Mike
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