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Old 12-10-2005, 11:02 PM   #1
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Starting up again, Advice Please. :)

Hi all,

First I would like to say hi to everyone, this is my first time on the website, just found it tonight! Very nice setup, tutorials, and forums.

I have a 49 gallon saltwater tank that we had some fish in a year and a half ago. We have recently refilled the tank and are trying to get it ready to accept some fish and possibly live rock. Please see my signature for tank setup. Right now I have the following test results. Temperature 79deg, PH 8.5, Alkaline 1.7, Ammonia 0.1, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5ppm.

What is the best way to get this water ready so that I get good readings? Can I just add Live rock? Should I try the technique in the tutorial by adding a raw shrimp to the tank? Any advise would be greatly appreciated. I'd love to chat with the experts and make sure I have the tank perfect before adding the fish.

My tank is approx. 3 feet across and 1 1/2 feet deep. It is about 14" from front to back with a rounded front. Can you recommend what kind of lighting I should buy if I wanted to do Live Rock? A link or product description would be very helpful. Right now just have the standard lighting for fish only tank.

Thanks and hope to talk to you all soon! My ICQ# is 6215790 and AIM is file8761 if you want to chat real time.

Scott
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Old 12-10-2005, 11:50 PM   #2
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Welcome back to the hobby first off, some never return..
First you have to decide on wether you will want to go with some corals later on, a lot will depend on that..
Next, ditch the undergravel filter..
As to your question and for fish only right now- Temp is okay..it's strange to get readings of ammonia and trates with no trites though, but ideally you'll want to no ammonia or trites. As for nitrates, in a fish only system, they are acceptable up to 30 ppm even. It's when you add corals and inverts that nitrates become an issue and should be kept at near zero to zero. The bio-wheel is a nitrate factory, I took the biowheels out of mine and used it for flow and carbon, then recently ditched it.
The best way to get your water ready is to make sure the tank goes through a complete cycle. This can be achieved by using LR, and is commonly used instead of shrimp and/or live fish(poor damsels). The LR, after cycling the tank and harboring the good bacteria, now become your biological filter. If you use uncured LR it will take some time to cure and you will likely have a rough cycle. Using already cured LR will result in a softer cycle, and usually that means shorter as well.
As for lighting,on a FO, the flourescents will be fine..when you put corals in the mix it's more complicated. A few types of mushrooms and leathers will survive under No lights. Some Large polyps tonies can be kept under power compact, VHO, T-5 and small polyp stonies usually require MH lighting, but some species will so okay under pc's as well...

Here's what I'd do..
Throw in some sand, crushed coral, etc...
mix and fill w saltwater
add a couple powerheads for flow
add LR
test water religiously to see the cycle (0 amm., 0, trites, small amount of trates..
Wait a week...
Add fish slowly

Sorry so long winded and hope it helps....
-ck
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Old 12-11-2005, 12:31 AM   #3
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Hi CK,

Thanks so much for the reply! Not long winded at all, I eat up information like this. Now you said to ditch the undergravel filter... I am confused here. My 2 power heads are attached to tubes going down to the filter. One on each side of the tank. How would this work without the filter? I am very very confused on this subject and would like to get this part correct before adding all that Live Rock.

I'm going to run down to my LFS and see if I can find some Cured Live Rock. Hopefully all will workout and I can add a fish or two in the next couple weeks!

Thanks again for the reply!
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46 Gallon Bow Front Saltwater w/ 36" T5 Nova Extreme Lighting
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AquaC Remora Pro / Mag3 Pump Skimmer
2 Maxi-Jet 1200's
RO/DI Water Changes 10% a week
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Old 12-11-2005, 08:54 AM   #4
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Undergravel filters(ugf) were used in the beginning but since the addition of LR and sand came about ugf's are history. You'll want to microfauna in the sand to stay there and using a ugf keeps this from happening. Mount the powerheads using the hanging equipment (usually suction cups) to the tank. Check with other local reefers if they have any LR first, you might find it cheaper. The powerheads are used to create flow(water motion) and no other purpose. What kind/size powerheads are they?
Also do you want to stay fish only or go reef later on?
The Live rock will become your filter, so no need for the ugf.
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Old 12-11-2005, 09:09 AM   #5
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for your size tank (3 foot long).. I would recomend VHO or CF.. VHO being the more tried and true method (old school if you will.. :P )
UGF's were big once.. take a shot at searching this or any other aquarium related forum for ugf and see what kinda posts you see.. I used to run them in FW and I cringe at the thought at running one now expecially in a SW tank. 8O 8O
how many gallons is your tank????
I would seriously consider a skimmer and LR if I were you..
HTH
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Old 12-11-2005, 12:59 PM   #6
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Great replies!

I will take out the Undergravel Filter and keep the Powerheads. I wish I knew what size they were, but it's been a long long time. They were recommended for my size tank at the time of purchase. I have a few more questions please, as we are going to hit the Fish Stores today.

1) Right now we have Crushed Coral that has been in the tank since we originally had it running. Is this fine to keep as the base material or do I need to remove it and add live sand?

2) Live Rock. For approx: 49 gallon tank will I need around 50 lbs of Live Rock? Also, people told us that we would have to replace Live Rock on a monthly basis. Is this true? That would be insanely expensive and no way we could do that.

3) We would like to add the Live Rock if possible. Could we do a Fish Only setup for awhile and convert it to a Coral / Fish tank later on? Or does this need to be planned up front?

Also going to look for a decent Protien Skimmer today, from what I read it should help a lot with keeping the tank maintained.

Thanks again, this is so much fun, but harder than I thought.
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Old 12-11-2005, 04:59 PM   #7
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You do not have to replace live rock every month. Mine been in my tank for 8 years
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Old 12-11-2005, 05:01 PM   #8
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Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com!!!
Quote:
I will take out the Undergravel Filter and keep the Powerheads
Great plan
Quote:
Right now we have Crushed Coral that has been in the tank since we originally had it running. Is this fine to keep as the base material or do I need to remove it and add live sand?
LS is regarded as superior substrate. It is best not to mix CC and LS as the LS will just get sifted to the bottom leaving your CC on top. You will still have all of the maintanance issues associated with CC. When you pull out your UGF I would change to LS.
Quote:
Live Rock. For approx: 49 gallon tank will I need around 50 lbs of Live Rock?
I would bump it up to about 75lbs. You can never have enough LR.
Quote:
Also, people told us that we would have to replace Live Rock on a monthly basis. Is this true? That would be insanely expensive and no way we could do that.
Absolutly NOT true. I hope it was not the LFS that told you that. If so, find another and never go back.
Quote:
We would like to add the Live Rock if possible. Could we do a Fish Only setup for awhile and convert it to a Coral / Fish tank later on? Or does this need to be planned up front?
the short answer is "yes". However, it is much easier to dd LR (even a portion of the desired amount) when you start the tank. Adding fully cured LR from a LFS will not cause you a problem down the road. If you order it online, it will likely need to be re-cured prior to adding to an established tank.
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Old 12-11-2005, 07:20 PM   #9
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Most excellent advice! This is saltwater 101 class for me. hehe, I learned so much more, not even sure how our fish survived back when we had the tank going.... no Live Rock, Live Sand, etc.

I didn't make it to the LFS today as we had company, but will check out a few tomorrow and Tuesday. I'd like to find the Cured LR so I can get going smoother.

I wish I posted earlier, now I need to buy some more 5 gallong buckets to save all this fish water when I drain the tank to remove the Crushed Coral and Undergravel Filter. Can I get away with draining half the tank and removing the CC and dumping in the Live Sand? Then wait for everything to settle before filling the tank back up and turning on the Powerheads and Filter?

I'll post back once I get the goods and everything set up.

Thanks all!
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2 Maxi-Jet 1200's
RO/DI Water Changes 10% a week
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Old 12-11-2005, 08:24 PM   #10
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I just got back into the hobby as well after a 3+ year hiatus. Before i did anything though, i decided i needed to read and research the hobby more than i did that last few times so I would know more about what i was doing. So i found this place, and i read and read and read. This forum has been a great source of valuable information on marine fish keeping. Wish you the best with your tank. Here's a thread I made about my build process...you might find something in there useful. Good Luck!

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewto...459&highlight=
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