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Old 01-06-2007, 04:15 AM   #1
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Forum Newb - bunch of questions/curiosities

Hello all - Allow me to explain my backstory, before the barrage of questions.

I "rescued" a tank from my idiot room mate reciently. His grandma died and he got a $94k in inheritance. Combine this with severe A.D.D., no school and a recently quit job... well you get the picture. Enter the pet store. We went through a ferret, a flying squirrel, a cat and a saltwater aquarium.

About 3 months ago is when he got the aquarium. Not forgetting about the ADD (which is bad enough in general, but extremely bad with SW fish) he went and got all the "stuff" for a tank. "Stuff" will be explained later.

He started out with a maroon clown, longnose butterfly and a fish I dont know what it was (it was orange and long, like a firefish without the rooster tail.) All 3 fish were put in the moment he got home. He whipped up the synth salt, tossed in the couple of fake plants and fake coral (that was actually metal haha) and then the sand... and finally the fish.

Well lo and behold, the longnose went 1st. Shortly thereafter the tank was covered in rust. He cleaned that out (sorta) and that was followed by everything totally covered in green algea. At this point, he compleatly stopped caring, even stopped feeding. I took over tossing fish flakes in (pretty close to) daily out of sheer pity for his poor animals. Eventually the orange dude died, leaving just the maroon clown. Before I knew what it meant, I tossed his instant ocean hydrometer in to see what it did, and the needle was barely up from the bottom. A week or so later, I had been just tossing a meal in for the clown daily and my room mate had completely stopped caring for the fish, and had actually stated 'im just gonna let em die.' So i offered him $50 for everything and he took it.

Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago, I cleaned out the tank, got all the algea off, took all the stupid fake stuff out, and went to the local petco and started askin questions. I told her about the hydrometer and she told me the tank was so algea-ee cuz it was basically fresh water. So after picking up some salt, I was directed to a local dedicated fish place, went there and started nailing the girl I talked to with question after question and I ended up getting about 20 lbs of cured live rock (fiji $5/lb). After all the silt/sand had settled down in the bare tank with the clown still alive in, I put the live rock in. I tested the water after adding the salt with the doctor fish kit my roomie had, and everything came out good. A few days later I picked up a 1" burma trigger and a 1.25" blue dot toby, and put them in the tank. Everything seemed good for a day or 2 and then the water chemicals spiked and I had pretty much made peace with the to-be-lost fish (lol) but did everything I could to save em from my error, and today I am happy to report I still have all 3 fish living and the water readings are all perfect: salinity, pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are all good.

My room mate had a prizm water skimmer that wasnt even turned on to bubble (the airtube was plugged into something that didnt have a hole, it has just been pumping water the whole time) and after I realized how much prizms suck, I got a (i think its coralife?) super skimmer which seems to be working just fine. I have a filter of some sort (Captian A.D.D. didnt save any boxes or instructions... much less read them... but it seems to be working fine.) I also got a few more pounds of live rock, I think ive got about 25-26 now.

Current Equipment:
30gal tank with light fixture
Some filter (I believe its AquaClear 50)
a 65 gal Super Skimmer
heater
25-ish lb live rock

My current stock is:
1 Maroon Clown (~1.5")
1 Blue Dot Toby (~1.5")
1 Burma Trigger (~1")
1 Cream Angel (~1.75")

All 4 fish are eating nicely


So on with the questions:
#1: My tank is pretty packed with live rock, but I dont have 30 lbs and I hear thats the min you want. I have some like twiggy-fingery looking pieces that have lots of surface area, but not a lot of weight. Should I continue adding more live rock and sacrifice the swim space, or leave it as is?
#2: The book that came included in the deal my room mate had states that the general rule of thumb is 1 inch of fish per 5 gallons, but then says with a stock of live rock, you can look at a ratio of 1 inch of fish per 2 gallons. 1per5 seems a little sparse, and 1per2 seems like it'd be way too many. What are some thoughts on this?
#3: I'm looking to add 2 more fish (assuming I can break from the 1per5 rule.) A Lawnmower Blennie since it seems to be the best animal for cleaning algea that the trigger wont snack on, and a copperband butterfly for kicks since the other fish I have all are on the far end of the easy-to-keep scale I'd like to try my hand at a more challenging fish. I understand that butterflies shouldnt be introduced to new tanks, but everyone i've explained this situation to seems to lean towards it would be ok as long as the fish will eat readily.
#3b: My live rock has a lot of brown algea on it, mostly because (i believe) i have the light on most of the day. Will this replenish the supply of the blennies food quickly enough?
#4: I will be upgrading my tank to a 75-gal or maybe a 90 in 6-8 months. My skimmer is rated 65gal, would I still need to to bigger for a 75 or will it suffice?
#5: Is there any type of cleanup crew invert that has any hope of being around the trigger? (There is a worm on my live rock and hes not even bothered, do they count?)
#6: Do I need a powerhead?
#7: Live plants... yay or nay? I dont know much about them or if theyre even possible in a saltwater tank. Would they add or subtract from my maintenance duties?
#8: Coral - I mostly understand its not possible with the trigger, is there any type that might do ok even though I have the trigger?
#9: Now that my water seems to be good, will I have to worry about it spiking again? (Will adding another single rock if I chose to cause a spike?)


Thats all I can think of for now, Thanks in advance lol.
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Old 01-06-2007, 09:00 AM   #2
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As far as the LR, yes the general rule is 1.5 to 2 lbs ger gallon but you really have to take into account the density and wt of your LR. Some LR is heavier and some is lighter. You`ll need to judge how much surface area is on your LR. On question no. 2 it really depends on what fish you have. The trigger will get too big for a 30 gallon and will not make it in there. You mentioned more fish but your tank is done as far as adding fish. Alot of times lawnmower blennies will die from starvation unless your tank can provide the algea it needs. They are not the greatest to feed prepared food and the copper band Butterfly fish needs a 55 gallon tank and is difficult to raise to answer No.3.
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Old 01-06-2007, 01:51 PM   #3
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My first piece of advice, in addition to Melosu's...take back the trigger and toby and skip the butterfly all together. With the Maroon Clown and Angel now, you are going to be pushing your stocking limits. You may be okay with the Blenny...maybe.

1. I'd get about 10 more pounds and leave it at that. You will need some swimming space with your stocking choice.

2. 1 per 5 gallons at the minimum. One thing you don't want to do is cram sw fish in a small space, beacuse they will just die.

3. Nix adding any more fish, and take back the Trigger and Toby.

3b. Sounds like diatoms, (cover most everything, is kinda dusty) which is common in new tanks. Be patient, and it will go away on it's own. Blennies will munch on hair algae and film algae, but not diatoms. If you don't have lots of algae, do not get the blenny, it'll just starve to death (have made that mistake myself).

4. I'd get a bigger skimmer, definitley, and since you are upgrading, I'm hesitant to say that you may be okay with your current fish. Just do not add more until you get the bigger tank.

5. Not really, maybe some nassarius snails that burrow in the sand, but even they aren't safe.

6. Yes, multiple to keep a good water flow.

7.Up to you, they may eat up nitrates, which is good. Fish may also eat them. Would do well in a refugium.

8. No coral at all if you keep the fish you have. The trigger, puffer, and angel will all eat them.

9. Adding rock always may spike your water levels, even if the tank is already cycled. So it's possible, yes.
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Old 01-06-2007, 02:27 PM   #4
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Hm, interesting info - I think my plan of action now then is to get some more live rock and maybe a power head, and stave off the blennie/butterfly until I upgrade the tank size.

So assuming I get more live rock, what should I do with the current set up? I have it stacked kinda like a.... dual-stoneheng thing, give the fish something to swim under. Another 10lb of live rock would either make it pretty much touch the surface of the water, or lean against the glass, which I guess wouldnt be all too bad necessarily, but a pain to clean.

Would stacking it all up against the back glass be a good idea?
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Old 01-06-2007, 02:36 PM   #5
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I have mine stacked up on the back glass. But there are alot of people that dont like that because it causes low flow areas and cyano spots. I do it to keep the fish out front. I dont have algea issues. Could you post a pic and maybe we can help.
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Old 01-06-2007, 04:56 PM   #6
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The lionfish is gone, and in its place is the cream angel. I rectified that mistake successfully with the help of my local fishplace.

Just to confirm, the brown stuff on the sand and on the top of the liverock is diatoms and not algae?
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Old 01-06-2007, 05:03 PM   #7
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You need alot more rock.
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Old 01-06-2007, 05:27 PM   #8
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Im fine with more rock and stacking it up against the back glass as long as the fish dont mind.

...edit...



Hows that look?
(The orange is the reflection of me, not something in the tank.)
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Old 01-06-2007, 08:19 PM   #9
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Why did you get rid of the lionfish?
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Old 01-06-2007, 08:47 PM   #10
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the folks i talked to said the toby was pretty much guarenteed a goner, at which point i had to decide to a) loose the toby, b) loosethe toby and maybe the lionfish due to poisoning, or c) take the lion back and safe both their lives. Even if he didnt eat the toby, he did charge at him a couple times (that i saw) and ive read that of puffers get too stressed or die they release a ton of poison into the tank and 'nuke' all the other fish. I didnt need that.

secondly, the lion was pretty big to begin with and he was only gonna get bigger.

third, he was a champion at eating everything dropped in that tank. hed manage to eat food dropped in both ends of the tank before anything else had a chance to see it.
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