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Old 01-04-2005, 04:17 PM   #1
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How to keep a basically FOWLR but without the Fish ticking

For fun I collected all the spare fresh water bits and bobs that I had left over and set up my first saltwater tank at the office. It's a twenty gallon with an AC150 without media, two power heads with about 15 lbs of live rock and about 10 lbs of base rock. Lighting is an inadequate single bulb. Substrate is hardware store play sand. After having the tank run for about a month and watched a diatomaceous algae outbreak burn itself out I added about 5 small blue-legged crabs, a brittle star fish and a 5 snails. Everyone seems to be doing fine. The little clean up crew seem to be doing well and the few tests I have run suggest I am ready to add a fish or two. However, my family and I are going away for a holiday in about six weeks time and I don't want to add any fish before I can keep a close eye on them. So here is my stupid question: do I need to feed my live rock and cleaning crew to keep the tank habitable for when I do place a live fish in the tank? At the moment, I seem to have more or less made myself a perpetual motion machine. Jeff
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Old 01-04-2005, 04:48 PM   #2
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Depends on how much natural growth there is for algaes and such. The snails and hermits would fair okay but the brittle is not as adept in it's scavenging and will need some supplimental foods in the absence of waste producers. If you could have a friend come by and drop in a few sinking pellets once or twice a week it would be a plus. You'll need someone to top off for evap anyway so it's just an extra step.

How long will you be away?

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Old 01-04-2005, 05:05 PM   #3
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We were going to be away for about two to three weeks.
I didn't know the star fish would eat sinking pellets which are easy enough for the person topping off the aquarium to provide.
I am going to see if I can't boost the light levels to encourage more algae growth for the snails and crabs. Jeff
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Old 01-04-2005, 05:19 PM   #4
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Brittle stars are primarily surface scavengers, they'll eat just about anything unlike many decorative species. Great addition to any tank with fish. The hermits will also benefit from the pellets although they don't really need it with the LR. With just 5 snails, I would not be concerned with increasing algae growth.

What species are the snails?

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Old 01-04-2005, 06:20 PM   #5
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I did know what sort of snails they were. Unfortunately, I didn't write there names down.
I quite like the Brittle Star--who would have guessed how fast he could move. He's also surprisingly curious when it comes to any addition of base rock.
Sounds like a few pellets a week won't go amiss in this tank. Jeff
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Old 01-05-2005, 10:12 AM   #6
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With regard to feeding the snails and brittle-star, would they take sinking shrimp pellets... Something my fresh water catfish can't seem to get enough of. Jeff
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Old 01-05-2005, 12:04 PM   #7
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The star will but the snails won't depending on the species.

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Old 01-05-2005, 12:11 PM   #8
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This is fun.
The snails, unsurprisingly, are deeply disinterested.
The crabs are very keen. And as to the star fish, I think he's busy munching away on a shrimp pellet deep in his live rock cave. Jeff
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