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Old 12-06-2011, 01:12 PM   #1
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First Tank Questions :)

Hi hi!! Ok, so we have a 36 gallon bow front tank that came as a kit with heater and filter. im sure they are crap, but im rolling with em at first to see if they work out. I have been to several LFS trying to find my 'go to' store. Everyone has been advising me NOT to get LR. Saying I didnt need it for the size tank blah blah. So, I got 40lbs live sand, some decor since I dont have the rock, and bought water. I got all that in and started up the filter/heater. The water completley cleared up after about 6 hours. I used the hydrometer the next morning and the gravity was at 1.016. I had my husband go back to the place we bought the water and the guy just gave him a huge bag of salt and said "dont pour in the whole bag'...Ummm, ok. I took about 4 tbsp., disolved in some tank water and poured it in the filter. This AM the gravity was 1.018. How much more salt do I need to add? I out 4 more tbsp. this AM, but made them heaping tbsp. Should I just keep adding bit by bit? I dont like that store we got the water from, I dont feel that they are informative enough for a noob. It is just really nice that they are next door to my husbands work, so we figure we will just get our water there and nothing else. I found a place I really like for other stuff, including fish.

So my questions are:

1. Keep adding salt slowly until i get the good reading?

2. What happens when my tank is established and I get water from this place and its not the right gravity?

3. Once i get the gravity at the proper level, I can add dead shrimp? How many?

4. Do i do any PWC during the cycle process? If so, how often?

5. I have an ammonia test kit and a 5 in 1 test strips as well, any other test materials i need

6. Anything else I should be looking for?

Sorry im new. I know I will have a ton more ??? for you all.

Thanks for the help!!

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Old 12-06-2011, 02:47 PM   #2
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Live rock is an important part of the filter system on saltwater tanks. You will find you need biological filtration more than mechanical.

This is a good source for cycling The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling

Two important pieces of equipment you will need is a refractometer and a good liquid test kit.

Make sure your saltwater is completely mixed before adding it to your tank so all the minerals are dissolved. Then test it. I usually mix my water overnight before testing it the first time. I do mix my water so the sg is higher so I can add fresh ro water until I get it at 1.025
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:04 PM   #3
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Thank you! When you mix your water and leave it overnight, do you test it beofre putting it in the tank or after? i didnt paln on mixing my own water, but I very well may end up doing it.
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Old 12-06-2011, 04:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetleaf79 View Post
Hi hi!! Ok, so we have a 36 gallon bow front tank that came as a kit with heater and filter. im sure they are crap, but im rolling with em at first to see if they work out. I have been to several LFS trying to find my 'go to' store. Everyone has been advising me NOT to get LR. Saying I didnt need it for the size tank blah blah. So, I got 40lbs live sand, some decor since I dont have the rock, and bought water. I got all that in and started up the filter/heater. The water completley cleared up after about 6 hours. I used the hydrometer the next morning and the gravity was at 1.016. I had my husband go back to the place we bought the water and the guy just gave him a huge bag of salt and said "dont pour in the whole bag'...Ummm, ok. I took about 4 tbsp., disolved in some tank water and poured it in the filter. This AM the gravity was 1.018. How much more salt do I need to add? I out 4 more tbsp. this AM, but made them heaping tbsp. Should I just keep adding bit by bit? I dont like that store we got the water from, I dont feel that they are informative enough for a noob. It is just really nice that they are next door to my husbands work, so we figure we will just get our water there and nothing else. I found a place I really like for other stuff, including fish.

So my questions are:

1. Keep adding salt slowly until i get the good reading?

DO NOT USE TAP WATER!!
Make up your own saltwater seperately in a tub with a heater and a powerhead to mix it.

2. What happens when my tank is established and I get water from this place and its not the right gravity?

get them to test it in store with a refractometer so you can see it.

3. Once i get the gravity at the proper level, I can add dead shrimp? How many?
A tank that size can do with 1 but 2 wont hurt it

4. Do i do any PWC during the cycle process? If so, how often?

Dont do any pwc during the fishless cycle until the amm and trites are zero,Leave your lights off during the cycle

5. I have an ammonia test kit and a 5 in 1 test strips as well, any other test materials i need

liquid test kits

6. Anything else I should be looking for?

refractometer,QT tank,Liverock or base rock,2 heaters just in case 1 breaks down,RO/DI filter

Sorry im new. I know I will have a ton more ??? for you all.

Thanks for the help!!

Hope this helps
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:29 PM   #5
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Yes that helps thank you!
I didnt use tap water to add the extra salt, I scooped out a cup of water from the tank and mixed a bit of salt until it dissolved and put in the filter, was that bad? I wont be going back there, the guy didnt even know what a refractometer was!!!! He had to look it up on the internet and then said "Oh you dont need that" :/ Good call on the extra heater, and I was just looking at R/O units, I figure its safer and way more convienient to make it myself. I do have a 10 gallon kit we bought on a whim cause it was DIRT cheap on black friday. Was thinking of setting that up as a QT. Is that sufficient? Also, the QT tank has to mirror the main tank right? As far as sand, temp etc?

And just to clarify...LR is absolutley essential? I am soooo confused on that topic since all the LFS tell me its totally ok to not have it, which is why we never got any.

Thanks again!!!
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:33 PM   #6
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I would also use LR,as for the qt keep it bare apart from some pvc pipe for any fish to hide in,
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:18 PM   #7
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Ok so no sand or anything is needed in QT tank?

Yes, per all your advice and the advice of the new LFS im going to, I did pick up some LR today as well as another filter and 2 powerheads. This lady knew her stuff! Finally a LFS around here that actually knows what they are talking about.

Oh, I got a refractometer last night and woooo, that thing is awesome!!!! I used them both at the same time last night as an experiment and the hydrometer was reading 1.018 and the refractometer after I calibrated it was reading 1.023.

Good call (s)!

Thanks again!
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:05 PM   #8
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People use a bit of sand from the dt to help speed up the cycle in a qt in an emergency,then throw it away afterwards.
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