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Old 10-07-2010, 04:08 PM   #1
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Hi, Im new and I have questions...

Hi, I'm Brett and also a member of reefsanctuary.com, which is a great site but they aren't helpful enough at the moment..

Here are the specs. of my aquarium.

So, I have a 10 gal. tank 1/3 full of sand and then saltwater to the top. In it I have .6 pound of live-rock with 3 hermit crabs and a starfish with LOTS of shells that I bought for 5 bucks at Wal-mart, came in a thick plastic bag with a drawstring. I'm running a Top Fin Power Filter 10, it says not recomended for aquariums with sand at the bottom but it does fine, unless there is something going on that I can't see or know about. I got the tank at Wal-mart, too, and the filter at Petsmart. I don't have a cover for it and the fan is my ceiling fan lol, and my lighting is an old metal lamp that I've had forever but it gets hot hot enough to keep the temp. at the right level.

I only have 1 astrea Starfish and 3 hermits... And ive been meaning to ask, am i supposed to clean my liverock? and when i do, do i scrub it?

Also, I get my water at True Percula at an Aquarium shop in Arlington, Tx.

And another thing, What is all the black stuff that develops in my sand? it's underneath... is it algae?

I don't plan on doing corals or any fish or reefs 'til I get a bigger system and more knowledge, I just needed something for my Hermits that I got out of the Ocean in Corpus Christi..


Ok, thats all I got... any advice? Any suggestions? Anything at all???

-Brett
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:32 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA!

I think you will find that it will be well worth the wait for the fish and corals when you can get a bigger tank. I consider anything smaller than about 30-35 gallons to be a "nano" tank. They are more difficult to maintain, because they are not as forgiving at a larger tank. Usually, you will have to top-off the tank with water (preferrably RO or RODI) several times a day to avoid swings in salinity and chemical levels.

What I've always read is that you should purchase the largest tank your budget can afford. That being said, keep in mind the time commitment also. A larger system may not require as much time to maintain as a smaller one if you do it right. There are many ways to skin the cat, and there's no need to rush into it, so take your time and absorb as much as possible, and ask as many questions as possible. It's prudent to fully understand what you desire and what it will take before spending a dime - and that way you will be much happier with your tank, and you won't end up selling it on Craigslist. Which is, by the way, great for finding equipment. Also see if you have a local Reef Club, I have purchased tons of livestock, live rock, and corals locally from people tearing their tanks down.

You never need to 'clean' your LR unless you have a significant amount of nuisance algae - which will just come back unless you fix the underlying problem. LR houses beneficial bacteria, so you want to leave it alone, apart of maybe blowing detritus off with a power head before water changes.

Was there a reason you chose to put in so much sand? As for the black stuff, that is likely waste settling. What you are essentially running is a DSB (deep sand bed) and there is a fair amount of debate about the necessity of a DSB, but generally (from what I understand) the purpose is to provide a breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria that will consume Nitrate and remove it from the water. Otherwise, it's taking up valuable real estate in your little 10g tank. Some people run a tank with no sand bed at all, or maybe just 1/4" to 1/2" for show (it looks nice).
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:59 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice yeah I was told that they need sand to burrow when they molt? er w/e they do like that.

So, How do I know if its nuisance algae? and what is detritus?

BTW, I don't really know how to change my water or even how often... I'm kinda running on common sense and a teeny bit of experience my ex-stepdad had a SW tank for a while but I was younger(13,14,15) so don't remember much.

And also, How do I know if that black stuff is Good or Not? How do I determine whether or not it is anerobic bacteria??

One last thing, when you say valuable real estate... is there really much when all you have is 3 hermits and one astrea SF and .6 LR??? or will it have a different affect if there is less sand/water ratio??
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:44 PM   #4
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I guess I don't know much about the hermit crabs you're talking about, so maybe someone else can chime in. My point was that in a 10 g tank, you only have 12" of height, and 4" of sand takes up a lot of space, 2" would probably be enough, and then you'd have more water to stabilize the system. As for real estate, you can add a lot more LR (live rock) if you have that extra height, and the more LR the better (the rule of thumb is a minimum of 1 lb/gallon, preferrably 2)

You won't 'see' the bacteria layer, it's probably just waste settling (detritus = waste)

As for water changes, it really depends on the results of your tests. You need to make sure that your tank isn't cycling if you haven't done that. Have you tested your water?

How often do you do water changes, and how much do you change?

Do you top-off the tank with fresh water and how often?
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:58 PM   #5
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Ummmm heh, yeah, ok the hermits are the ones with vertical white lines going down their legs, and I've heard them dubbed "fish killers" idr the political name for them.

No, I haven't tested my water.. How much does that cost?

And I haven't technically changed my water, I just replace the evaporated water with more SW... and I didn't know I could repace with FW?? What kind? Is tap or Filtered Tap ok?
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Old 10-07-2010, 07:50 PM   #6
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Whoa. Salt does not evaporate, so you do NOT want to replace your evaporated water with more saltwater, because this will raise your salinity. Depending on how much you've added, your salinity could be way, way too high. You only top off with freshwater. Tap water decholrinated with Prime will do in a pinch, but for a full-blown reef you want RO water.

The first thing you need to do is buy a test kit for marine water - you can get these online or in a store, API Marine Master is a good start. $20-35 depending on where you get it.

Also get a salinity tester, the dip kind are inaccurate and hard to work, a refractometer is a must have. You can get on eBay for $20. I'll post like later. Gotta go to kids stuff
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd R Turbo View Post
Whoa. Salt does not evaporate, so you do NOT want to replace your evaporated water with more saltwater, because this will raise your salinity. Depending on how much you've added, your salinity could be way, way too high. You only top off with freshwater. Tap water decholrinated with Prime will do in a pinch, but for a full-blown reef you want RO water.

Yeah I was talking in the Getting Started Forum and they told me all about Salinity and I replaced the 2g missing with 2g of Distilled Water, and I took out about 2-3 (give or take) of sand and now it looks great!!! there is still just a little bit of black in a small area beneath the sand below where I have my LR sitting now. Sheesh I'm just gonna be SOOO mad if my Astrea Starfish was in the sand that I threw out >( b/c I think I saw him in the hole in my LR that I put him in but I can't tell 100% that its him sooo.....

The first thing you need to do is buy a test kit for marine water - you can get these online or in a store, API Marine Master is a good start. $20-35 depending on where you get it.

Where can I find an API Marine Master?

Also get a salinity tester, the dip kind are inaccurate and hard to work, a refractometer is a must have. You can get on eBay for $20. I'll post like later. Gotta go to kids stuff
First, what is a refractometer and what does it do? and how much does it cost at a store?
And also, what about the dip kind? How inaccurate are they, b/c I dont have a lot of money right now, but if a refractometer will save me money in the long run then its def. the best thing.

And I don't do Ebay lol so yeah.
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Old 10-08-2010, 02:54 PM   #8
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A refractometer is just a way to test your salinity. Kind of hard to describe so it would be easier to just do a search online and you will be able to see for yourself.

If you don't do ebay i would just do a search online and there are quite a few vendors that carry them. Check bigals.com and marinedepot.com. You can probably get both the test kit and the refractometer from there. Both of those will probably be significantly more expensive if you buy them in the store. Both are important and worth investing the money in now.
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Old 10-08-2010, 04:07 PM   #9
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Just go to eBay and search "Salinity refractometer" and just about any one will do fine.

salinity refractometer items - Get great deals on refractometer items on eBay.com!

A refractometer is an indispensable piece of equipment if you are seriously considering doing a reef system someday. The dip testers are notoriously difficult to use, but you can get used to one if you mess with it enough They are usually less then 10 (cheap plastic). The problem is that microbubbles form on the swing arm. You have to let it fill really slowly, then what I had to do was take a rod of some kind and tap the arm several times until all the bubbles were gone. I will never use one ever again.

Refractometer is quick, easy, and accurate. You do have to learn how to use it, but once you do, it's a snap. I keep a little tube of RO/DI or distilled water around to calibrate it before testing and I get consistent results.
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Old 10-08-2010, 05:02 PM   #10
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Ok cool! well thanks for the advice!... If I have any more questions pop up i'll be sure to set a New Thread... which I'm sure I will have more questions!!!! Thanks!
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