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Old 07-20-2011, 05:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by wrmiller

I do have just a single white bulb in the hood of my 37 gallon. What in the world is a 50/50 light? And what do you mean for the fish color? Does it just make them look brighter or does it actually benefit the fish in some way than just pleasing to look at?
It is half white and half actinic blue.It brings the saltwater fish colors out better.You should not have any problem finding one at your LFS that fits your fixture.
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:38 PM   #12
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So, 10% water change once a week? That is the recommended regardless then? I think I can handle the 4 gallon swap every week no issues. Do I have to get all of the liverock at once or could I get say 10 lbs to start with and then get more later? I assume I would probably want to set everything up all at once though so I would probably just get it all at the same time anyway. I kind of like your idea about the base rock and live rock mix. Does the base rock eventually become live rock after in the aquarium for a period of time with the liverock?

Sand, right. I will definitely get the right sane. I will remember aragonite sand. I have well water and my pH is right at 8 which I understand should be pretty good for saltwater tank, right?

I will use the fishless cycle method recommended by my friend eco. He has helped me through my freshwater cycle. Great guy he is...
If it were me, I'd just get a 5 gallon bucket and do that water change every week. Make sure you mix your saltwater at least 24 hours earlier and go to walmart and get an el cheapo thermometer and powerhead and let the water mix and whatnot before you put it in your tank.

You don't really need to worry about buffering the pH because the salt mix, sand, etc. will give you a pH of around 8.1-8.4 which is where it needs to be. 8 is acceptable but a little low.

As for your well water, I don't think I'd recommend that. You might want to look into getting a RO/DI water filter. I got mine for $100 off ebay and it makes 100 gallons per day. I wouldn't think using well water would directly harm the fish as long as its treated when you mix, but the problem will arise if there are too many nutrients in your well water. You could be setting yourself up for a bad algae problem. Even worse would be cyanobacteria. That is some nasty stuff.

Next, your base rock question. Yes, the base rock will become "live" over time and if you decide to add more base rock later on there won't be any problems. Live rock is called "live" because it is covered in living, nitrifying bacteria. If you decided to add live rock later on you may get a mini cycle from the die off from when the rock is out of water, which will add ammonia to your tank. I'd honestly recommend getting a nice piece of live rock from liveaquaria.com or your LFS and the rest be base rock. The reason for this is because you'll get some snails, possibly some crabs, fan worms, and other neat inverts that you'd miss out on if you went 100% base rock.

As for the fishless cycle, there are no other options IMO! lol It cycles faster and doesn't harm any fish. If you have an ace hardware go get some janitorial ammonia. Make sure you shake it up real good and see that it doesn't foam or bubble, if not then you're good to use that to dose. I'd start off with 1 tsp of ammonia, wait an hour, then test. You want to shoot for 3-4 ppm ammonia. Check it daily and once it starts dropping you keep adding ammonia back to get to 3-4 ppm. The reason you need to keep dosing ammonia is to feed the ammonia eating bacteria while the nitrite eating bacteria grow. Once your cycle is complete, your tank should read 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites 24 hours after dosing. My tank was an ammonia eating BEAST! It could knock out 2 tablespoons of ammonia in 12 hours! lol!
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricksreef

It is half white and half actinic blue.It brings the saltwater fish colors out better.You should not have any problem finding one at your LFS that fits your fixture.
Awesome! Thanks!!!
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:40 PM   #14
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Wow that's alot of great info from everyone. Thanks everyone.

For types of saltwater fish tanks look up
Fish only, fish only with live rock, and reefs.

Get ur fresh water tested for ph. Sand and rock will help ph too.

My freshwater is 7 ph. With sand and rock it stays around 7.8, everything is healthy so it's ok.

I would suggest a marathon of mrsaltwatertank and newyorksteelo at YouTube. Some great info.
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjm80

If it were me, I'd just get a 5 gallon bucket and do that water change every week. Make sure you mix your saltwater at least 24 hours earlier and go to walmart and get an el cheapo thermometer and powerhead and let the water mix and whatnot before you put it in your tank.

You don't really need to worry about buffering the pH because the salt mix, sand, etc. will give you a pH of around 8.1-8.4 which is where it needs to be. 8 is acceptable but a little low.

As for your well water, I don't think I'd recommend that. You might want to look into getting a RO/DI water filter. I got mine for $100 off ebay and it makes 100 gallons per day. I wouldn't think using well water would directly harm the fish as long as its treated when you mix, but the problem will arise if there are too many nutrients in your well water. You could be setting yourself up for a bad algae problem. Even worse would be cyanobacteria. That is some nasty stuff.

Next, your base rock question. Yes, the base rock will become "live" over time and if you decide to add more base rock later on there won't be any problems. Live rock is called "live" because it is covered in living, nitrifying bacteria. If you decided to add live rock later on you may get a mini cycle from the die off from when the rock is out of water, which will add ammonia to your tank. I'd honestly recommend getting a nice piece of live rock from liveaquaria.com or your LFS and the rest be base rock. The reason for this is because you'll get some snails, possibly some crabs, fan worms, and other neat inverts that you'd miss out on if you went 100% base rock.

As for the fishless cycle, there are no other options IMO! lol It cycles faster and doesn't harm any fish. If you have an ace hardware go get some janitorial ammonia. Make sure you shake it up real good and see that it doesn't foam or bubble, if not then you're good to use that to dose. I'd start off with 1 tsp of ammonia, wait an hour, then test. You want to shoot for 3-4 ppm ammonia. Check it daily and once it starts dropping you keep adding ammonia back to get to 3-4 ppm. The reason you need to keep dosing ammonia is to feed the ammonia eating bacteria while the nitrite eating bacteria grow. Once your cycle is complete, your tank should read 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites 24 hours after dosing. My tank was an ammonia eating BEAST! It could knock out 2 tablespoons of ammonia in 12 hours! lol!
My well water goes through a UV light so would that help with anything you had mentioned about the well? I haven't had any issues with my well water and my freshwater tank. Are you saying that there are salt specific issues that well water could cause?
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Old 07-21-2011, 11:41 AM   #16
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Also, here is something else I was considering. Everyone says that the bigger the tank the better when it comes to saltwater. What if I would just get like a really small aquarium to dabble in and just get some inverts to see if I can keep them okay in a small tank before going to a larger tank. When I say small I mean like 10 gallons. Maybe just get some small hermits and maybe a star and shrimp or something. Just to see how it goes and not having put a lot of money out on a lot of equipment. I figure I could get a filter, heater and 10 gallon aquarium for around $50 or less. I just don't want to go through a big mess with a big saltwater tank if it's going to be to difficult and if I would have to get filters and things to filter my well water before using in the tank. That's just too much and I don't want to go through all of that. I would just do without if I had to go through all of that. I figured the 10 gallon with just a couple of things in it to dabble with might be a good trial run.

Thoughts?
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:40 PM   #17
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My well water goes through a UV light so would that help with anything you had mentioned about the well? I haven't had any issues with my well water and my freshwater tank. Are you saying that there are salt specific issues that well water could cause?
The UV light won't have any effect on nutrients in the water. They'll kill some bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc. but won't do anything at all for nutrients.

I've had freshwater tanks before that I used tap water on and had zero algae problems. I'm using a RO/DI filter on my saltwater tank and still have a little hair algae. In my experience, saltwater algae is more aggressive than the freshwater varieties.

If you want to set up a nano 10 gallon tank feel free! I think it'd be an excellent idea. You could even get some small fish for that tank. But generally, the larger the tank the easier it is to care for. Obviously changing one gallon of water is easier than changing 5 gallons of water. But if something does go wrong, there will be more concentration in the smaller tank. "Dilution is the solution to pollution" is the idea behind bigger tanks being easier to handle.

Here's another idea for you to consider instead of using well water or getting an RO/DI filter. If you have a wal-mart or a grocery store that sells RO/DI water that you could buy that would work as well. Each tank is different, but my 75 gallon loses nearly a gallon daily to evaporation. I do about 30 gallons of RO/DI water at a time, so that 30 gallons is only going to last me a month if I use it for topoffs only. When you start considering water changes I'm filtering 30 gallons of water every week and a half to two weeks.

That reminds me, when you do have evaporation, you need to top off your tank with freshwater, not saltwater! Salt doesn't evaporate.

Another thing I'd suggest is testing your well water for TDS (total dissolved solids) and if it's lower than 50 I'm going to say you'd be ok to use that for now, but I know others will disagree with me.

Lastly, everyone has differing opinions on salts and various issues. I have only ever used the Instant Ocean brand. Next bag of salt I buy will be the IO Reef Crystals, because it's more suited for corals than what I'm buying now.
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Old 07-21-2011, 02:05 PM   #18
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Also, here is something else I was considering. Everyone says that the bigger the tank the better when it comes to saltwater. What if I would just get like a really small aquarium to dabble in and just get some inverts to see if I can keep them okay in a small tank before going to a larger tank. When I say small I mean like 10 gallons. Maybe just get some small hermits and maybe a star and shrimp or something. Just to see how it goes and not having put a lot of money out on a lot of equipment. I figure I could get a filter, heater and 10 gallon aquarium for around $50 or less. I just don't want to go through a big mess with a big saltwater tank if it's going to be to difficult and if I would have to get filters and things to filter my well water before using in the tank. That's just too much and I don't want to go through all of that. I would just do without if I had to go through all of that. I figured the 10 gallon with just a couple of things in it to dabble with might be a good trial run.

Thoughts?
They say bigger the better because the larger the water volume the more stable everything(temp, salinity,ph) is.
Is much easier in doing than hearing about it. I started my 30 gallon saltwater 7 months ago from freshwater.

I think the easiest way to go is to do it.
Use regular sand for substrate.
Put some RO/DI salt water (1.023 salinity) in the tank keep temp at 78f. Use any filter.
Than use the bacteria to start the cycle. When cycle is done add a green chromis (6$) don't add damsel ever.
Do weekly water changes and u have ur first saltwater tank.

Sometimes things get over complicated. the rest u will learn as u go. If it doesn't work than ur out 20-30$ max. RO/DI water will increase the chances of success.
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Old 07-21-2011, 02:15 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjm80

The UV light won't have any effect on nutrients in the water. They'll kill some bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc. but won't do anything at all for nutrients.

I've had freshwater tanks before that I used tap water on and had zero algae problems. I'm using a RO/DI filter on my saltwater tank and still have a little hair algae. In my experience, saltwater algae is more aggressive than the freshwater varieties.

If you want to set up a nano 10 gallon tank feel free! I think it'd be an excellent idea. You could even get some small fish for that tank. But generally, the larger the tank the easier it is to care for. Obviously changing one gallon of water is easier than changing 5 gallons of water. But if something does go wrong, there will be more concentration in the smaller tank. "Dilution is the solution to pollution" is the idea behind bigger tanks being easier to handle.

Here's another idea for you to consider instead of using well water or getting an RO/DI filter. If you have a wal-mart or a grocery store that sells RO/DI water that you could buy that would work as well. Each tank is different, but my 75 gallon loses nearly a gallon daily to evaporation. I do about 30 gallons of RO/DI water at a time, so that 30 gallons is only going to last me a month if I use it for topoffs only. When you start considering water changes I'm filtering 30 gallons of water every week and a half to two weeks.

That reminds me, when you do have evaporation, you need to top off your tank with freshwater, not saltwater! Salt doesn't evaporate.

Another thing I'd suggest is testing your well water for TDS (total dissolved solids) and if it's lower than 50 I'm going to say you'd be ok to use that for now, but I know others will disagree with me.

Lastly, everyone has differing opinions on salts and various issues. I have only ever used the Instant Ocean brand. Next bag of salt I buy will be the IO Reef Crystals, because it's more suited for corals than what I'm buying now.
WOW! Such excellent advice! Thanks so much!

So, where exactly would I take my well water to for a sample test of the things you have mentioned like TDS, etc.? I'm assuming that there should be some place local that could test that for me?

I think I kind of like the idea of the small 10 gallon actually as a tank to play in with the salt water and if I can maintain that being small I shouldn't have much problem with my 37 which will be almost 4 times larger. I would rather set up something small and decide I don't have the time or money to invest because it is too difficult before I dive in head first and put out a lot of money on equipment and things.

If I do just a 10 gallon aquarium and get a somewhat larger HOB filter for it, should that provide enough water circulation so I don't need a powerhead? Being just 10 gallons I would assume the filter should do a decent job at turning over and adding a little current to the water.(?) Or would it be better to get two small filters (still at least doubling the recommended filtration) and put one on each side which might also add additional water circulation/flow?

I was also thinking 2 small heaters, one on each end for backup in case one would stop working? I like to have redundant equipment but that's just my geek side coming out. Being a software engineer has done that to me. LOL!!!

Also, here is another question based on some stuff I have been reading and has confused me a little. One site listed that for a fish only tank you need:

- filter
- heater
- at least one power head
- water pump

what is the additional need for a water pump if you have a filter that circulates water and also have a power head? What part does the water pump play?

Thanks again for all of the wonderful information and for answering all of my questions. There will be many more.
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Old 07-21-2011, 11:31 PM   #20
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Another solution to the RO/DI dilema is to purchase an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Tap Water Filter. It's a deionizing filter that you hook up to your faucet and will strip almost everything out of your tapwater but the water. I think you can get one for about $44 from Fosters & Smith. I've been using one for years. The disadvantage is that it's pretty slow at making the water. (I can push it to make 5 gallons in about 20 minutes.) It's not a high pressure unit and needs slow water flow through it to do its work. Also, the media in it eventually wears out and you ahve to get another cartridge which I think is about $30. Dependinng on how much "not-water" is in your water will affect how long the cartridges last.

Also, just to be clear, when you say inverts, I assume you mean shrimp, crabs, and snails. If you're thinking anemones with a standard light fixture, that's a no-go. Your run of the mill fluorescent light isn't bright enough to support them.
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