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Old 05-30-2003, 04:19 PM   #1
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Took the next big step ...



Ok, I did it ... I've undertaken the next big step in setting up my tank!

Went to Home Depot and got some play sand ... washed it out really good (until it rinsed clear) and put it in the tank. Filled the tank with water and added a bit of dechlorinator to it to help settle it. Mixed the salt mix into the water and stirred it up so 99% of it disolved and turned on the powerhead to let things mix and aerate a bit. Set up the tank heater (it's a hang on because I was too chicken to try those submersible ones) and it's working fine. Took Sp. Grav. reading with a new deep 6 hydrometer and adjusted the salt until I got a reading of 1.021/ 1.022 (it's kind of in the middle of the 2 numbers).

That was the first part of my day today ... then it was on to the next store for some LIVE rock and a couple fake decorations (they look nice). I also talked to the guy in charge of the Marine department of the store and he told me at this point I could add a couple little crabs and/or snails so I bought a few of each to help get things going hopefully.

Well, that's it for the time being ... now that I've spent another huge lot of cash I'll have to wait a couple weeks for the tank to cycle and maybe get some more LIVE rock then hopefully I'll be ready for some fish by the end of June. What do you think?

Oh yeah, I have pH and Nitrite test stips coming soon (ordered over the net) and was wondering ... besides "pH up" and "pH down" ... what other chemicals and/or tests do I need to get. I've seen a little stick on ammonia detector which I plan to get next week to help with checking that. What else should I get for my system?

Thanks all!
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Old 05-30-2003, 04:27 PM   #2
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From what you have said it looks like you are useing tap water, not sure about the US but in the uk we get No2 and No3 in tap water and also silicates (which can cause algae! i would recomend useing an R/O unit if you get these in the US.
also what is the temp in your tank as the S/G changes with the temp of the water!
and
inverts dont like changes in water quality so i wouldnt of added them untill after the cycle, so just keep your eye on them.

HTH
Dan
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Old 05-30-2003, 04:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
1.021/ 1.022 (it's kind of in the middle of the 2 numbers).
Many here would recommend being at 1.024 too 1.026. This is what I run my tanks at, and it seems to work good for me.
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Old 05-30-2003, 04:47 PM   #4
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I started my tank with Tap water and quickly moved on to an RO/DI unit once i got tired of chasing my tale (there is just too much to go wrong with a s\w tank to trust your tap water) . The guy at the LFS never should have told you put inverts into your tank so early, they are really gonna suffer when your amonia and nitrite spike 8O IMOHO i would not use those test strips or the stick-on amonia test for your tank. I just dont trust them. Get a good chemical test kit. What kind of Salts are you using? You shouldnt need to buffer up your PH, most salts do that for you. If you are gonna be keeping reef tank, which is what it looks like since you already got inverts, you will need to maintain the Calcium and Alkalinity of your tank so I would suggest B-Ionic Ca and Alk 2 stage buffer.
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Old 05-30-2003, 05:24 PM   #5
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you will need to maintain the Calcium and Alkalinity of your tank so I would suggest B-Ionic Ca and Alk 2 stage buffer.
If your gonna buffer calcium then you need to test for it. currantly there isn't anything in the tank but a few snails to use up calcium. In time, when you accuire mor calcium loving creature you will need to buffer more and more. but until then don't add calcium blindly without knowing how much is there. Your salt mix has calcium in it, in the right amount, and the more you use up the more you will have to add back. Test for it first. On open systems, with lots of hard corals, snails, and other calcium lovers, it would be way cheaper to get some pickeling lime from the super market and make your own kaulk mix and drip it as a way of replenishing evaporated water.
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Old 05-30-2003, 07:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Set up the tank heater (it's a hang on because I was too chicken to try those submersible ones)
Those submersible ones are much higher quality than the hangon's. The submerisble ones are sealed whereas the hangon's often are not sealed or if they are then they are not sealed very well. When it comes to heaters you get what you pay for as far as quality vs price.

TO get a truly accurate SG number you should test it when your tank water is at proper temperature and also 24 hours after you have added the salt. This will allow it to peoperly mix.

PH UP and PH Down. I dont really know who uses them in a marine tank. Your salt mix will give you the proper PH level and either regular water change or dripping kalk/aka pickling lime water will help maintiain your PH and alkinity and calcium levels.

Ammonia and Nitrite kits are very important expecially when your cycling your tank. I would elect to get a true ammonia kit vs the ammonia detector from seachem. Seachem makes a test kit that uses the same yellow circles.

I hope your LR is cured as if its not those snails and crabs may not make it thru the ammonia spike. Also how did you acclomate those snails?
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Old 05-30-2003, 08:44 PM   #7
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Thank you for the info ...



Let me see if I can clarify some of the things I had mentioned so you can better help me find my footing in this new hobby ...

As far as the LIVE rock ... yes it has been cured. I made sure it was because I had read about how much trouble non-cured LR can be and I am trying my darndest to get this started the right way even though I'm not a very patient person. I keep telling myself it'll be well worth it in the long run.

The Sp. Grav. hasn't changed all day (had the tank up and running now 7 1/2 hours) but I will check it again tomorrow seeing as how everything seems to be settling ... temp is at 76 and steadily holding now.

Thank you for the advice on the pH up & down additives, I don't want to buy something I'll probably never use unless absolutely necessary. I will get the Ammonia test kit as it sounds as though I will be needing that. As far as the Nitrites go, I have ordered the tests but what would I need besides that ... somekind of buffer or something? I ask because rather then waste the tests and the money I already spent ordering them, I figure I'll just use them up with whatever additive I might need and then buy a whole kit once they're gone. Probably a beginner mistake again but I'm trying here.

Lastly, as for the snails and crabby guys ... the store packaged them in plastic baggies with their own water and I set them in the water (inside the bags) to adjust them to the tank's temp. After about 10-15 minutes I mixed some of my tank water into the bags, let them sit a couple more minutes and then in they went. The crabby guys seemed to have no problems what so ever with the change (yet). The snails have been slow to get moving but they are both still alive and begining to move around the tank a bit now.

Oh yeah, the guy at the store didn't say anything about feeding these guys and I completely forgot to ask. I know they make a hermit crab food and I'm pretty sure they snails eat algea, right? What should I do about feeding these guys? Sorry for such a stupid question but you guys have been very helpful with all my other beginner questions ...

Thanks again!
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Old 05-30-2003, 09:26 PM   #8
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Ok. As far as test kits I would say depending on what your going to do with the tank really depends on the kits you have.

Are you looking to only keep fish? Are you looking to go into coral keeping?

If your doing a FO tank then the kits I would say you should not be without would be Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, PH, Temperature, and Salinity.

If your doing corals then add to the above list Alkinity, and Calcium.

Its a general suggestion to not add any additives you dont test for. So if your adding a calcium additive you should have a calcium test to make sure your either adding enough or even need to add any at a given timeframe.

The crab will probably be fine. One thing to watch is the snails. Snails are rather sensitive to salinity changes and if the LFS keeps their tanks at a lower salinity (they probably do) then shocking them to a higher salinity to quickly could damange their internal organs. Keep an eye on them for the next week. Sometimes the effects are not quickly seen.

What I like to do is float for 15 - 20 min in bag with your tank lights off. Then open bag and continue to float. Add 1 dixe cup of tank water every 5-10 min until bag is full. Pour out 1/2 of bag into bucket (dont use sink just in case something finds its way out) then repeat the above till bag is full again. Then remove all water from bag and place items into tank.

Another method is to use a drip line. You would put what ever you got in a bucket with the water from the LFS after floating. Then you would use an airline tube with a knot tied in the middle to control the drip rate. Drip approx 1 drop per sec for 40min or so then introduce your items to your tank.

The hermits will find enough to eat off the live rock I suspect. The snails will find food but if your really worried you could put a small square of dried seaweed in the tank.

I would suggest your next purchase be a good marine book or two. Im not trying to keep you from asking questions. That would never be my goal. What I want is for you to have a reference when either you cant get to this site or you need to just reference something real quick. If you have not yet seen our Aquatic Library you can find it off the homepage on the left.

Two books I like for beginners are The New Marine Aquarium and The Concientious Marine Aquarists. With my favor going toward the last.

I personally would bump your temperature up to 80F I keep my tanks at 82F usually. These temperatures are closer to the natural average temp on a tropical reef.

If you have not done so yet get some buckets or a large plastic trash can. YOu can use this to mix up your fresh saltwater from now on. The only time you should add salt to your main tank is the first time you fill it. This is because undisolved salt and burn your fish and inverts. Plus there is a lot of change going on within the first hours of adding salt because there are many other elements other than salt in the mix and they are all mixing together and having chemical reactions.

BTW, did you ever say how big your tank was?
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Old 05-30-2003, 09:38 PM   #9
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Thanks ...



I do have a bucket which I bought just for use with this tank and mixing the salt and water. I will make sure not to add salt to the tank itself. Thanks for that advice.

I have 2 Marine aquarium books here now that I've read but they seem to be geared more towards someone who has an idea about what a Marine tanks needs, not very easily explained subjects sometimes. While each book lists some good beginner fish they don't seem to mention anything about crabs or snails or that kind of stuff. I don't want to deal with corals so I don't miss not reading much on that subject either. I'll look into those other books you mentioned, thanks.

As you suggested I will also bump the temp up to about 80 ... all the books and stuff I'd read said to keep the temp between 72 and 82 so I figured 76 was a good temp ... see, learning everyday!

I did mention the tank size in an earlier post ... it's a 40 long. I do want to add more LIVE rock as I'm finding that seems to be one of the best things for a Marine tank.

Thanks!
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Old 05-30-2003, 09:43 PM   #10
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Jen, Just a FYI. If you want to change the size of your text put the words between the [size ] [/size ] tags. I noticed this was your second post where it appeared you wanted to change the text size so I just thought i would make you aware.


Could you give the names of the books. Maybe someone could give you their take on what level those books are written for. I dont think they are the two I suggested as they both seem to be written rather well for both the beginner and the experenced.
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