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Old 07-24-2009, 10:53 AM   #1
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Definately a beginner

For years I've had a desire to start a saltwater aquarium but was always sceptical about how much time and money it would take. Last weekend I visited the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher and the fever started again. Last night I stopped at a pet and hobby store to pick up some hamster food for my grandson's hamster and they were having a sale on aquarium start up kits. Long story short, after spending about an hour and a half talkng to the salesperson I walked out with a 29 gal saltwater setup. Some expensive hamster food to say the least. So last night was spent setting up the tank to start the cycle. I put in the salt water which is at about 1.020 (i figured low was better cause I can add more salt if needed). Also put in live sand and about 2 lbs of live rock that the store had already begun curing. I know I need more rock and will add more as finances allow. I'll probably be sticking to a fish only live rock tank for a while. I would eventually like to have a reef tank but because of expense and experinace I'm going to work into that much later than sooner. Now is when I start needing advice.
  • What steps should I take to cycle the tank properly?
  • When and what should I start with regarding livestock?
  • This morning I noticed a white sediment on the live rocks. Do they need to be cleaned or will it take care of itself?
  • The kit came with a pump/filter that has been running since set up. What other equipment do I need and/or is necessary?
I'm definately new to this but so excited to have finally undertaken this venture and learning what I can.
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:06 AM   #2
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It's in your best interest to go ahead and get more live rock, or at least base rock now. I got mine from oceanproaquatics.com the hawaiian base rock. If you don't get it all now, each time you add a new peice you'll start a mini cycle, ammonia spike, then nitrite spike, then extra nitrates. Saltwater creatures are very easily stress out and adding rock after rock will more than likely result in losses, costing you more money in the long run.

To cycle the tank propery, add in all your live/base rock, along with a dead shrimp from the grocery store. test your water every few days (or every day) for ammonia nitrite and nitrate. keep a log in a notebook or on your computer. once you see a spike in ammonia, a spike in a nitrite, then a spike in nitrate, and then 0 ammonia 0 nitrite your cycle is complete and you can add your first fish.

I would not worry about doing any cleaning at all untill your tank is completely cycled (after all your live rock is in)

you will NEED to go online and buy a HOB (Hang on Back) Protein skimmer. I bought mine from reefwarehouse.com look into the reef octopus by coralvue.

I would also take the foam filter pads out of your filter and just use the pump for extra water flow and to run carbon later on if you need to. The live rock will act as your biological filtration where the bacteria will grow and complete the nitrogen cycle, and the Skimmer will be your mechanical filtration taking organic molecules out of the water (taking place of filter pads in a fresh water system)

(note that this is one opinion on an effective way to sustaining a saltwater aquarium. There are other options but this methed is generally accepted as the best way to go about it.)
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:10 AM   #3
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Welcome to the site! Read through this link and it's articles and this should be a great help.
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...ank/Page1.html.
Did your kit come with a light?
For a fish only you may not need a "protein skimmer" but it would help.
You need more live rock and that would greatly help with your filtering.
above all take it slow and you should have fun.
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:23 AM   #4
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Another thing that you would need is a Saltwater Test Kit. Get an API saltwater test kit as these are fairly accurate. You will also need a refractometer to measure you salinity. Your 1.020 reading is to low. For a fish only tank a reading of 1.023-1.025 is consider Okay.
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:37 AM   #5
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Thanks. good advice. How much live rock do i need? The salesman told me the general rule is 1lb/gal which would run about $260 at that store. His advise was to start out adding rock over a span of time which of course would prolong being able to add livestock.
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:38 AM   #6
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Yes, the kit did include a hood with a light
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:44 AM   #7
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if you buy base hawaiian rock from www.oceanproaquatics.com it's $1/lb + shipping, so you'd wanna get like 30-40 lbs which would prolly be around 60 bucks shipped.



The dark rock in there is the hawaiian base rock I'm talking about.
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