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Old 12-20-2005, 12:13 PM   #1
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Which type of hydrometer is more accurate?

Hey All,

My wife and I just started our first saltwater aquarium. We have a 29-gal tank, and we mixed our instant ocean mix at 28-gal. We took our sample into the LFS and was told our salinity was too high 1.028. So I bought the Instant Ocean Hydrometer so i could test this my self. After exchanging about 4-6 gallons of water, I get a reading of 1.023.

When I took my water sample in to another LFS to get our damsel's, they told me my salinity was 1.20 which they was was perfect.

I know its only a 0.03 difference, but if thease fish are as sensative as I understand that they are, that might make a difference.

My Instant Ocean Hydrometer is the floating needle type, the one they used at the 2nd LFS was the floating thermometer type..

Is one more accurate than another?


Right now we just have 2 damsels, one blue and one yellow tail. Once our tank cycles (Which I'm told is usually once the algie grows, and turns from brown to green (1-2 Months), We will be looking at getting a couple of clown's, a fire shrimp, probably a choclate chip star fish, a Heniochus Butterfly, and a spotted mandarin. We also wanted an anemone for our clowns, but I am getting mixed input of weather or not it would be successfull in our tank!?

Thanks for the help!

-TheChad
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Old 12-20-2005, 12:55 PM   #2
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Salinity:
A) Glass floating hydrometers are usually more accurate than plastic swing arm ones. Refractometers are more accurate than either, and some are self-correcting for temperature.

B) All hydrometer readings should be corrected for temperature.

C) Stability is more important than an exact number. Make corrections slowly.

Cycling:
A) Whoever advised you to buy the damsels to cycle the tank has not been studying modern techniques. Damsels will cycle the tank, but may suffer permanent damage, and can be very aggressive towards other fish you may want to add later.

B) Algae is a decent indicator of the later stages of a cycle, but the best way to track it is with ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test kits. You should see ammonia rise then fall, nitrite rise and fall a bit delayed from the ammonia curve, and nitrate keeps rising. At the end of your cycle you should see ammonia 0, nitrite 0, and decently high nitrate. You are then ready for a big water change and the addition of one fish.

Stock Selection:
A) Clowns are great starter fish. Go for it! They do not require an anemone to be happy contrary to popular belief.

B) Shrimp and star fish are decent inverts to have. You might fist want to add snails and hermit crabs to keep your aquarium clean. Add you "cleanup crew" after your cycle is over. Don't be surprised to see some carnage, most hermit crabs will fight with each other, and pick on the snails. They do their job well though.

C) Keep in mind that butterfly fish will require a 50+ gallon tank when he is full grown. (not counting the space the other fish take up.) Unless you are planning to upgrade, you might want to stick to fish that do not grow as large, like the Royal Gramma, or something from the goby family.

D) I'm afraid the mandarin is not likely to survive. He primarily eats the small critters that grow on live rock, and requires a rather extensive, mature collection of live rock to keep him going. Even experienced aquarists can have trouble with this fish.

E) You could have an anemone, but not right away, and not with default equiptment. You need to research the kind of more intense lighting required for reef aquariums, as anemones live partially off of sunlight. They also require very stable water, so wait 6 months or so for everything in your aquarium to stabilize before you get it. If you set up the conditions properly for an anemone, you can also keep some of the easier corals.
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Old 12-20-2005, 03:33 PM   #3
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It is well, WELL worth the money to buy a refractometer.

You can get cheap ones now for like $30-$40. I was running my tank for 6 months at, what I thought was, 1.024 - my desired reading. I noticed that my Calcium was high (not a big deal) and was wondering if my hydrometer was wrong. I brought it to a lfs and had it tested on a refractometer that read 1.029! I bought another hydro (now I had both the float and the arm type). They both read at 1.024, but after getting it tested at 1.029 at a DIFFERENT lfc, I decided to by a refractometer. I had already wasted money on two hydrometers. Over the course of about a month, I slowly lowered my sg from 1.029 to 1.024. I ignored the warnings on these forums because I didn't want to spend the money - but, the hydrometers are just unreliable. I would suggest to do what you have to do to buy a refractometer. Even if it means putting off a fish purchase for a month or so.

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Old 12-20-2005, 04:06 PM   #4
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I agree buy a refractometer. If that is not in the budget have your water tested by someone that has one and compare the reading to the reading you get on your hydrometer. That way you will know what the reading really is.
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Old 12-20-2005, 05:41 PM   #5
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No one has said it yet so I guess I will, your planned fish load is excessive for a 28 gal tank IMO. The calculator at the top of the page:
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/calcs2...e=fishcapacity

Recommends 5” of fish minus the tail. That means your 28 gal is enough for 1 clown and 1 smaller fish like a fire fish or Pseudochromis. Also that assumes taking out the fish you currently have in there. While you can overstock a tank it usually leads to disasters down the road and requires an excellent filter & skimmer.

A spotted mandarin is a very difficult fish to keep. The spotted mandarin is fairly cheap but needs a well developed reef system that is about a year old to survive. Read more in the links below.

An anemone is not necessary for tank bred clowns and unless you have adequate lighting I wouldn’t get one.

Doing a small weekly PWC is your best bet in not upsetting your tank as far as SG goes. The floating hydrometer is ok for FOWLR but if you plan on keeping corals I’d get a refractometer along with MH/PC lighting.

Lastly checkout the book section on this site and read up on the hobby more before jumping in too deep. I’d highly recommend asking about a fish/invert on this site before wasting your money on something that might not work or worse die.
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/saltbook.php

Spotted Mandarin
http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/p...pcatid=554&N=0
http://animal-world.com/encyclo/mari...sychedelic.php

Heniochus Brown Butterflyfish (this fish grows to 8”!)
http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/p...pcatid=246&N=0

True Percula Clownfish
http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/p...pcatid=756&N=0

Firefish
http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/p...pcatid=171&N=0

Royal Gramma Basslet
http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/p...?pcatid=53&N=0

Fridmani Pseudochromis
http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/p...pcatid=162&N=0
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Old 12-20-2005, 05:48 PM   #6
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8O I did not pay attention to the tank size. As tec said your fish list is way off. Even though the links say a mandarin needs a 30 gal tank that is not a good idea unless you regularly dose your tank with pods or have a nice size fuge.
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Old 12-20-2005, 05:53 PM   #7
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Maybe I missed it in the pic, but what are you using for filtration? I also can't see a heater in there but see the thermometer. Also, ditch the bubblewall and get a powerhead.

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Old 12-20-2005, 11:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tecwzrd
No one has said it yet so I guess I will, your planned fish load is excessive for a 28 gal tank IMO. The calculator at the top of the page:
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/calcs2...e=fishcapacity

Recommends 5” of fish minus the tail. That means your 28 gal is enough for 1 clown and 1 smaller fish like a fire fish or Pseudochromis. Also that assumes taking out the fish you currently have in there. While you can overstock a tank it usually leads to disasters down the road and requires an excellent filter & skimmer.

You are saying you can only have 2 small fish in a 29 gallon tank? That doesn't seam right!? I was under the impression it was one small fish for every 5 gallons, and all the LFS have said you could have 1 large fish.

I am not saying you are wrong, i'm just asking because 2 small fish for a 29 gallon tank just seams a little crazy...


Thanks,

-TheChad
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Old 12-20-2005, 11:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagger
Maybe I missed it in the pic, but what are you using for filtration? I also can't see a heater in there but see the thermometer. Also, ditch the bubblewall and get a powerhead.

Peace_

The filtration is an under gravel filter, which the LFS said was better than a top mounted filter, like the bio wheel I was going to get.

The heater is behind the pink silk plant in the center, we placed the plants to hide the 'ugly' parts of the tank...

The LFS also advised me that the Powerhead wasn't nessary unless you had a reef, we are only going to have a fish-only setup (For now, eventually when we learn more about saltwater fish, and we build a home, we are going to get a MUCH larger in-wall type tank Reef Tank)

Thanks for the help,

-TheChad
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Old 12-20-2005, 11:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dskidmore
Salinity:
A) Glass floating hydrometers are usually more accurate than plastic swing arm ones. Refractometers are more accurate than either, and some are self-correcting for temperature.

B) All hydrometer readings should be corrected for temperature.

C) Stability is more important than an exact number. Make corrections slowly.

Cycling:
A) Whoever advised you to buy the damsels to cycle the tank has not been studying modern techniques. Damsels will cycle the tank, but may suffer permanent damage, and can be very aggressive towards other fish you may want to add later.

B) Algae is a decent indicator of the later stages of a cycle, but the best way to track it is with ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test kits. You should see ammonia rise then fall, nitrite rise and fall a bit delayed from the ammonia curve, and nitrate keeps rising. At the end of your cycle you should see ammonia 0, nitrite 0, and decently high nitrate. You are then ready for a big water change and the addition of one fish.

Stock Selection:
A) Clowns are great starter fish. Go for it! They do not require an anemone to be happy contrary to popular belief.

B) Shrimp and star fish are decent inverts to have. You might fist want to add snails and hermit crabs to keep your aquarium clean. Add you "cleanup crew" after your cycle is over. Don't be surprised to see some carnage, most hermit crabs will fight with each other, and pick on the snails. They do their job well though.

C) Keep in mind that butterfly fish will require a 50+ gallon tank when he is full grown. (not counting the space the other fish take up.) Unless you are planning to upgrade, you might want to stick to fish that do not grow as large, like the Royal Gramma, or something from the goby family.

D) I'm afraid the mandarin is not likely to survive. He primarily eats the small critters that grow on live rock, and requires a rather extensive, mature collection of live rock to keep him going. Even experienced aquarists can have trouble with this fish.

E) You could have an anemone, but not right away, and not with default equiptment. You need to research the kind of more intense lighting required for reef aquariums, as anemones live partially off of sunlight. They also require very stable water, so wait 6 months or so for everything in your aquarium to stabilize before you get it. If you set up the conditions properly for an anemone, you can also keep some of the easier corals.
Thanks for the info! This was very helpfull

-TheChad
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