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matthewh133 08-30-2011 01:04 AM

55 gallon reef - First Saltwater Build Ever!
Hey guys. So over the past couple of months I've been reading and collecting everything I need to set up a saltwater reef tank. I plan on housing LPS/Softies/SPS.

Now, I'm at the stage where I've got nearly everything set up, ready to go, including the sump, BUT I have a couple of things left to do before and this is where I need help.

I had a weir installed recently. I also plan on putting some sort of vinyl background on the back of the tank. What is the best option of covering up the weir so I do not see the overflow pipes and hide it? It is currently just a small, rectangular glass weir that I can see straight through. I want the color to be the same as the background of the tank (which I have yet to buy). I plan on getting a nice blue colored background.

My other question is, once I have the background on and it's ready for water, so I just buy sand, cover 2-3 inches deep and buy some RO/DI water from the LFS and tip it in? Is there any special methods on this initial process?

Last question. How much live rock should I put in to start the cycle? Also how do you guys keep your rock from tipping over? I know you can glue/epoxy the live rock together to create a sculpture, but how do you keep that sitting on the bottom without moving?

Thanks a lot for any assistance guys. I'll be sure to update this as progress continues!

carey 08-30-2011 10:38 AM

Welcome to the salty side of things! LOL

What is a weir? rofl?

When adding water to a tank with sand out a bowl or plate in the tank and pour into that, a lot less sand kick up that way.

I would suggest at least 70lbs of rock total. You could get 50lbs of base rock which is nice and cheap and very porous and then the rest in live rock.

I really jam the larger pieces of rock into the sand, some people put the rock in first then the sand to make sure there is no shifting.

Keep us posted on your progress, pictures are great too, even if you don' think it's pretty yet, we love pictures!! LOL

matthewh133 08-30-2011 08:27 PM

Thanks for the tips Carey. I'll be sure tonged some pictures up as soon as there's some water and sand in the tank!

I'm not 100% sure on the definition of weir myself lol! I actually had it installed, it's a small overflow in the back right corner o my tank. Currently it's just glass so I can see straight through to the overflow pipes etc, so I want to cover it with something that I can also match colors with the vinyl on the back of the tank.

carey 08-30-2011 08:32 PM

You'll have to take a picture of a weir for me, I'm curious now. LOL

matthewh133 08-30-2011 08:50 PM

Haha I'll try once I set my computer back up! I have another question. I have LED lights, and they are very bright. There is independant switches for the blue and white LEDs. Do I have lights on 24/7, or are the lights switched off at night?

I ask because the tank is in my bedroom lol.

Also, any tips on hanging these lights without coming all the way down from the ceiling? :) something preferably inexpensive if possible!

carey 08-30-2011 09:29 PM

I have mine run blues from 9am til 9pm and whites come on at 10am and go off at 8pm. If you have moonlights then only keep them on while youre awake, they are only for show.

I wish i had an answer, I am in the same position, I have no logical way to hang them. I was thinking on making a jimmy rigged mount to the tank stand and having it go over the top so I can hang from there. Kinda like a plant hanger. if you have a wall then it will work for you. I have no wall and my ceilings are too high and sloped to hang from there.

matthewh133 08-30-2011 09:38 PM

Thanks Carey!

About the hanging, I actually have a picture of a tank that might help, maybe..

It's got a kind of 2 metal bars that go up from the back of the cabinet. Then these arm things that stick out from them that holds the light. This metal bar also allows you to move the arms up and down. It seems like it may be a possible solution, but I haven't really looked into it 100% yet.

I'll upload a picture once I get my computer back up.

matthewh133 09-05-2011 06:49 AM

Hey guys, need to get all the plumbing done to get this tank under way. How much roughly would plumbing parts cost for a project like this?

paulweck 09-05-2011 05:14 PM

for my 45 gallon tall i spent about $65 at the home depot for all my sch40 pvc pipe, unions, ball valves and fitings. are u gonna be using a sump?

matthewh133 09-05-2011 07:26 PM

Yeah using a sump, the reason I ask is I have someone coming to install it for me and I wanted to make sure his price was good, which it sounds like it is :)

Getting close to the time for sand and rock to go in now. Having everything put together in a couple of days, then just have to wait for the glue to settle.

matthewh133 09-05-2011 08:36 PM

I have also pretty much finalized my stocking list I think.

So far:

Flame Angel
2X Oscellaris Clowns
Six-Line Wrasse
Longnose Hawkfish
Scooter Blenny

carey 09-05-2011 08:49 PM

You've researched the blenny right? Most will eat only pods unelss you can convert him over. It took me months to get him to eat some prepared and he still eats pods. :-(

matthewh133 09-05-2011 08:53 PM

Yeah I did, and actually the Scooter Blenny is actually something I plan on adding down the road when pods have had time to grow. I'd love a goby, any recommendation on easy ones to keep?

Only problem is they are so expensive here in Australia.

carey 09-05-2011 09:03 PM

I'm a goby fanatic! lol I have several. I have a larger citron goby which is kinda nice, a yellow watchman who has a perennial scowl on his face and a pink spotted watchmen. I like the pink spotted the best I think. And it's size appropriate for your tank too. There are clown gobies but they are very very tiny, I have a green one. the diamond back goby is famous for its sandsifting. :-)

matthewh133 09-05-2011 09:08 PM

Thanks for the info! I'll have to keep an eye out for a nice Goby that's not over $100 like most of them here.. that's if you can even find one! They are pretty rare. A long way to get them to Australia haha.

matthewh133 09-06-2011 11:41 AM

Ok guys, so the tank is getting plumbed tomorrow, and after a few days for the glue to set, I'm ready to start cycling. Any tips you have for me to start the process?

To start the process from an empty tank, do I just put in the sand, water and live rock, then wait it out the 6-8 weeks or so for the cycle to complete?

During this time, how long should lights be on (if at all?), should the power heads be on and should I have the skimmer going?

carey 09-06-2011 11:53 AM

You can go lightless and run the skimmer, it;ll give it a chance to break in. :-)

here is an article on cycling that might help
Cycle your salt tank

You can use the shrimp decomposing method or you can add pure ammonia as well if you want to control the exact amount of ammonia. I personally use the ammonia myself, lets me dose it to 4ppm immediately and re dose as necessary.

matthewh133 09-06-2011 07:17 PM

Thanks for the link Carey! I don't see it mention live rock. Do I aquascape and set up my live rock before beginning the cycling process? I ask because I've read moving the sand in your tank can release bad gasses, causing spikes. I'd imagine in a tank you've just cycled to good levels you wouldn't want this, so you would do the aqauscaping before hand as to not stir up the sand?

Another question please :) Does the shrimp method make the tank smell lol? The tank is in my bedroom and there's no way I want it smelling like dead fish :P

matthewh133 09-06-2011 09:51 PM

Sorry adding another question :P I'm looking at buying live rock from some one who is shutting down their tank. The rock has been in there for 5 years.

How will this effect the cycle? Will it be shorter?

carey 09-06-2011 10:32 PM

I think the live rock addition can only help. It will generate some ammonia adn thats what your cycle needs to progress.

I would add all the rock you want and do your best to rockscape. You can always re arrange at any time, it;s just not recommended to muck up the existing sandbed too much. So be gentle. ;-)

I havent used the dead shrimp method, I use staright ammonia so I have no idea. It can't smell that bad under water though I;d imagine....

matthewh133 09-07-2011 09:09 AM

Ok so the tank is plumbed, all ready for my to go and get the sand, water and live rock on the weekend! :D

I'm a little confused on the water aspect. Should I be buying RO water and salt and mix them together, or should I be buying natural salt water?

Also, what kind of sand should I go for? 2mm coral sand?

carey 09-07-2011 09:17 AM

The sand is up to you. Depends onw hat look and texture you want. I went cheap and used 250lbs of pool filter sand for my 125 and am very pleased with it. Has a nice size grain but not too big so sifters can still sift without hurting themselves. The color choice is limited though, it;s just plain colored sand.

You can buy ro/di water and salt yourself (my choice if I were you) or you can buy the premixed salt from them.

In the future you can look into buying an ro/dio machine of your own so you can mix your own water and it will end up costing pennies a gallons in the end. and no lugging bugs and jugs to the lgs. LOL

matthewh133 09-07-2011 09:19 AM

Thanks for the tips Carey. So what is the main advantage of buying the RO water and adding the salt myself over natural salt water?

I can't really buy an RO/DI machine, just no room haha!

carey 09-07-2011 09:25 AM

I have a portable one that fits in a shopping bag that I only take out once a week to make water with. No hard plumbing required either, will hook up to a garden hose or a sink faucet.

here is the link for reference

eBay - New & used electronics, cars, apparel, collectibles, sporting goods & more at low prices

I find its very convenient to make my own saltwater and I know exactly what I'm putting in.

Also if you buy premixed SW you need to also buy pure ro/di water for your top offs due to evaporation since that will raise your salintity levels. So topping off with ro/di is important.

When I was buying my ro/di from alocal lfs it contained ALL the things it wasnt supposed to, so you alwasy take that chance to if youre not doing it yourself.

Heres the link for the ro/di machine. small enoguuh to fit in a small shopping bag whennot in use.

eBay - New & used electronics, cars, apparel, collectibles, sporting goods & more at low prices

paulweck 09-07-2011 09:34 AM

There always room for a ro/di I have mine order a small vanity cabinet in my bathroom running off my bathroom sink in my aoartment . Carey has the link for the best priced and most compact unit on the web that I found. making and mixing my own water has been one of the best things for my tank, my back and the breaks in my truck driving every week to go get water pre-made. No to mention to fill your tank u will need to buy 11 5 gallon buckets to do your first fill.

The 60 bucks I spent on my ro/di was the best investment I got for my tank

matthewh133 09-07-2011 09:36 AM

$50 postage to Australia :( So how do these units work exactly? Like I said I have no room at all around my tank, and it's in my bedroom so I can't use it in the same room as my tank if that matters?

carey 09-07-2011 09:40 AM

You need a kitchen faucet or an outdoor garden hose and someplace that the waste water can run off to. I use mine on my back porch, the waste water waters my grass and plants and the pure water goes into a 32g garbage can.

paulweck 09-07-2011 09:43 AM

Mine sit under my bathroom sink when and hooked up my a sink adaptor that they give u. When I need it I take the waste hose and put it in my sink drain. And when I fill water I put the bucket in the bathtub so if it overflows I have nothing to worry about. And for filling my tank I just went out and bought 25 feet 1/4 inch tubing and connected the rodi so it will reach my tank I sat on the couch and watched my tank fill up

carey 09-07-2011 09:54 AM

I have a small pump and like 18feet of hosing so if I wanna do a water change form the garbage can of water I can just drop it in and refill. I use a python to drain the water and the rio pump to fill her back up. Though I have to admit, last few water changes i actually used buckets, so much eaiser to know exactly how much went out so I know how much to add back. But I like having options. :-)

matthewh133 09-07-2011 10:02 AM

I feel really stupid, a lot of that confused the crap out of me lol. Sorry! So basically the machine sits in something like a drum full of water. It weaves its magic, the water in the drum turns into RO/DI water and also filters out the waste water into somewhere else? Then I can just fill up buckets and take them upstairs when needed?

paulweck 09-07-2011 10:15 AM

Pretty much when I need to mix water I get a 5 gallon bucket turn to shut off valve on and start filling my bucket up then ovce its done I add salt and let it mix for 24 hours. And that's it.

matthewh133 09-07-2011 10:17 AM

Sounds good :) I'll have to buy water to start off the tank, but an RO/DI machine sounds good for long term top ups.

So you guys reckon buy RO water and add salt to initially fill up my tank and sump rather than buy natural salt water?

paulweck 09-07-2011 10:22 AM

Yea that will work but ro/Di is the best route. And if u have a lfs in your area u can probably get it per mixed for around a 1.50 per gallon

matthewh133 09-07-2011 10:24 AM


Originally Posted by paulweck (Post 1533621)
Yea that will work but ro/Di is the best route. And if u have a lfs in your area u can probably get it per mixed for around a 1.50 per gallon

Ah ok so you can buy RO/DI water from the LFS too. I wish salt wasn't so expensive haha.

Any recommendations for a clean up crew for a tank my size guys? Need some recommendations with what to do with the refugium too (sand depth/type, what to put in there?).

Sorry I'm a complete noob and feel annoying asking lots of questions, but I'm serious about this tank and doing things right. I don't want to hurt any poor animals because I didn't ask a question!

carey 09-07-2011 10:44 AM

Here's a picture of how I had it setup on my porch. I now use a gfarbage can isntead of the jugs though.

carey 09-07-2011 10:44 AM

Pure water tube is on the left, the middle one is attached to the hose as you can see and the white tube on the right goes outside to my lawn.

paulweck 09-07-2011 10:57 AM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by matthewh133

Any recommendations for a clean up crew for a tank my size guys? Need some recommendations with what to do with the refugium too (sand depth/type, what to put in there?).

Well for the cuc I would go with a quick crew from get on rated for half the size your your tank because reefcleaners goes over board on there cuc.( somthing else I learned from Carey ) and as for the fuge there are many things u can do but in my fuge I have a 4 inch dsb, some live rock and some chaeto. Here's a pic of my fugethe chaeto is on order and should be here tomorrow

matthewh133 09-07-2011 11:09 AM

Thanks guys, super appreciated! I actually live in Australia so I cannot order from reefcleaners. I'll go and see what they use and see if they are available here :) What kind of sand did you use in the refugium?

paulweck 09-07-2011 11:31 AM

Cribsea sugar fine reef sand I believe that's what its called

matthewh133 09-07-2011 11:49 AM

I know you like pictures Carey :P

This is the current state. I will be putting dark blue acrylic to cover the weir tomorrow. Still undecided on whether I'll put a blue backdrop. My wall is a really nice, grainy blue colour, but I hate seeing the power chords from the LEDs lol :( The return pipe will be coming up the back left too so that would be visible without a backdrop.

Ideas for aquascapes? :angel:

Ausfish 09-07-2011 12:05 PM

Where abouts in Oz do you live? When I started my tank I bought some snails and a peppermint shrimp (9g tank). If you life away from sewage plants and factories you can actually collect a lot yourself like natural salt water and snails from the rocks.

matthewh133 09-07-2011 12:07 PM

I live in Narre Warren in Victoria. It's about 20 minutes to a beach, so not far. I honestly wouldn't know what was safe to collect? And the natural salt water at the beach, is that the same as you would purchase from a store?

carey 09-07-2011 12:18 PM

Wow! That looks awesome! The lines are so clean!

matthewh133 09-07-2011 07:26 PM

Thanks Carey! (15characters)

matthewh133 09-08-2011 02:54 AM

Hey guys, any recommendations on a starter test kit package? I do have a refractometer on the way, but what else do I need to measure?

Ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, what else? I want to make sure I get the test kits I need, but not a whole bunch of stuff I don't too :) Also any idea how long 25 test strips are meant to last?

Ausfish 09-08-2011 04:13 AM

Forget test strips, they're usually not accurate enough! Get the API master kit for SW, that lasts forever. If you want to keep corals measuring calcium, iodine and so on will help but the API kit is pretty much all you need!

matthewh133 09-08-2011 08:54 AM

Great thanks mate!

matthewh133 09-10-2011 02:58 AM

So, I've put my sand and water into the tank (not the sump yet, I'm waiting on the return piping glue to dry). I have a powerhead going, and the sand and water have been in about 3-4 hours. The water is really murky, I can't see the wall behind the tank really, but I can distinctly tell the water from the sand bed.

It looks to me as if the water is really dirty or something? I did rinse the sand before I put it in, maybe its possible there was still dirt on it? I'm not sure, it just doesn't look like there's sand up in the water, just that it looks dirty. The substrate is 1-2mm coral sand.

Any opinions/ways to fix this?

TLTGF 09-10-2011 03:29 AM

Wait it out, too my tank about 48 hours before it was clear.

Ausfish 09-10-2011 03:37 AM


Originally Posted by TLTGF
Wait it out, too my tank about 48 hours before it was clear.

Same here, this just takes some time. Make sure to watch your pumps if any are running because this can be bad for impellers

matthewh133 09-10-2011 03:38 AM

No worries thanks mate thanks. There seems to be these dirt looking things getting blown around by the power head, do I just pull them out if I get a chance?

Ausfish 09-10-2011 04:10 AM

Yes, why not? Make sure you clean the powerheads frequently, I destroyed two last time I did this

matthewh133 09-10-2011 04:14 AM

Great thanks. I also went to pick up live rock today but when I got to the guys house it was all covered in aiptasia. God that stuff is gross! Left it and going to wait out another week or so until the sump is fully functional and water temperate correct.

matthewh133 09-10-2011 10:03 AM

I'm a bit worried about the glue used to glue the plumping together for the return. I mean, the water is flowing through those pipes and obviously coming in contact with the left over glue residue (albeit completely dry).

Does anyone know if this is a danger or toxic to the water?

paulweck 09-10-2011 10:10 AM

No its fine just let it dry for 24 hours and rinse it real well before using. Allot of people use pvc for there plumbing including me.

matthewh133 09-10-2011 10:12 AM

Thanks Paulweck, the glue just smells gross when I rub my finger over it, even when it's dried (been on for 8-9 hours now), so I was a bit worried. So just rinse the piping in some fresh water and it should be safe?

Sorry, just don't want to expose any poor creatures to toxic glue lol :(

paulweck 09-10-2011 10:25 AM

Freshwater will work just make sure u let the pipe cure for 24 hours and u will be fine.both of my tanks are plumbed out the same way

matthewh133 09-11-2011 06:23 AM

Ok, so the rest of the water is about to go in so I can get the sump operational. The water is much clearer than before, but still murky, I'm hoping once the sump is operational the rest should clear up!

I would like to ask a question about the sump before I fill it please :) How deep should I have the sand bed?

Here is a picture I quickly whipped up in paint so you can see what I'm working with:

matthewh133 09-11-2011 10:14 AM

Ok so I've filled up the tank fully and the sump half way.

Everything seems to be working, return pump is flowing, overflow is working. How high should the water level be in the weir? It is very noisy from the splashing of the water falling down to nearly the bottom of the tank.

matthewh133 09-11-2011 11:02 AM

Also the skimmer cup is already half full of dirty looking water and I need to empty it, not quite sure how to, didn't expect it to fill up so quick!

carey 09-11-2011 11:08 AM

Just pop up the cup and remove if its a normal type of skimmer. You might wanna adjust it a tiny bit so you get more solid skimmate versus just dirty water.

matthewh133 09-11-2011 11:11 AM

Adjust it? Man, I wish this came with instructions.. I haven't seen anything to adjust it haha.

carey 09-11-2011 11:12 AM

What skimmer is it?

matthewh133 09-11-2011 11:14 AM

Marine Sources RDC-850

carey 09-11-2011 11:18 AM

Looked it up. :-)

the long red tube has an adjustment on it to allow more or less air into the unit. You might have to turnt he red tube or the thingee on top, cant tell for sure which one from the pictures.

Protein Skimmer £¬ Marine Sources£¬MS Skimmer£¬Aquarium Filter Supplies £¬Aquarium Saltwater £¬ Calcium Reactor £¬Nitrate Reactor£¬Devil Pump£¬Pin wheel pump£¬Submersible pump£¬ Aquarium Products£¬Cone Skimmer £¬Salinity refractometer£¬ Aquarium Tank

This one?

matthewh133 09-11-2011 11:25 AM

Yeah that's the skimmer, I can't really see anything to turn on it though. And as for lifting the top off, the top circle thing doesn't completely come off, just the lid (unless I'm doing something wrong?). It's a pain that I can't find instructions for it though!

carey 09-11-2011 11:31 AM

Can you wiggle the cup upwards? My eshopps you have to wiggle the cup up to dioslodge it from the neck. Turning the red stick tube thing doesnt do anything?

The link says it has an easy smooth twist and remove function for the cup. And the red thing should rotate. Thats what I'm getting from the link. The long red palstic tube that has the air hose in it

matthewh133 09-11-2011 11:39 AM

I'm trying but I can't seem to, I must be doing something wrong, but I also am trying not to break anything lol. That would be the worst.

The red tubing I also can't seem to rotate. There's two little pipe hole things on top of it, but I was just told by someone to stick something pointy down them every now and then to clean it out, so I don't think they're the solution.

Man I feel stupid lol. Thanks for the help so far Carey! Super appreciated.

carey 09-11-2011 11:42 AM

I wish I could have been more helpful. Maybe do a google search on it like I did and check out the links. Theres a utube video for it too. didnt watch the whole thing though. LOL

They all work on the same basic principle though so it's just a matter of figuring it out. do any of the air hoses have an adjuster on it, like a little screw maybe? It also looks like it has a drain plug so you can hook up some tubing to the drain plug and let the excess overflow into an old bottle or something.

matthewh133 09-11-2011 11:44 AM

Not that I can see no, it does have a drain plug though so I'll put some tube onto that and into an empty bottle to give me some extra breathing space for now at least.

I did watch the two youtube videos but they just showed it going, but didn't touch anything.

I also tried googling, but there isn't a whole lot of information on this product, not even a manual on the website :(

carey 09-11-2011 11:50 AM

Yeah, I was just looking at other sites too and couldnt find a pdf link or anything. They do have a contact us button on the link I provided but who knows how they will respond, the english was sketchy at best on the webpage. lol

matthewh133 09-11-2011 11:51 AM

Yeah I know what you mean haha.

Well that was just a fail on my behalf. took the plug out and tried to hook up the tubing to a milk container and the tubing split, so I lost nearly all the dirty water back into my sump :(

carey 09-11-2011 11:56 AM

aww man, that stinks. Leat it wasnt thick muddy skimmate that got back into the water. Hopefully you have more tubing. Youd id this with the skimmer off right? ;-)

I'd take a look into the bottom of the long red tube where the water comes out and see if it's fully open or halfway. That way you know for sure that the tube has to be turned. I wish i could get a picture of mine, I may try anyways. When I twist the tube it closes up the opening in the bottom part under the water. That what I'm betting is the "adjsutment" And a minor tweak might be all you need.

matthewh133 09-11-2011 11:57 AM

I had a look into where the water comes out of the skimmer and it's kind of half open if that makes sense?

carey 09-11-2011 12:00 PM

Yep, thats how mine is setup. Thats why turning the red tube should open that up more or close it up. Unless its a set setting, which I find hard to believe. lol

matthewh133 09-11-2011 12:04 PM

Haha fair enough, so which should it be set at? Half way, fully open, nearly shut?

carey 09-11-2011 12:09 PM

Depends on the skimmate you want. I have mine "just" barely open, I mean a sliver of the way and it produces a nice thick goo. The more I open it the more wet the skimmate is that goes into the cup.

Eshopps skimmers are known to be very very picky though and the slightest adjustment can totally fill your cup up with water. It's a fine line when I adjust. Once I get it right I've learned not to mess with it.

matthewh133 09-11-2011 12:24 PM

No problems I'll have a play, thanks Carey :)

carey 09-11-2011 12:25 PM

Good luck. Let us know how it works out. With some tinkering I'm betting you'll get it figured out. :-)

Ausfish 09-11-2011 03:49 PM

Just looked at the pic of your sump. Not sure if you built it yet but the last divider before the return chamber isn't supposed to go all the way down to the bottom. You want the water to pass through and trap the bubbles, not flood the whole thing. If that was a misunderstanding please disregard that ;)

matthewh133 09-11-2011 08:23 PM

Sorry, it was a bad picture, the divider doesn't go all the way down :) Didn't notice I did that in paint lol.

I figured out how to empty the skimmer and turn the pipe to open/close the water outage. I turned it so it's nearly fully closed. Now I just have to get some live rock into this setup and let the cycle begin!

I'm thinking about buying it from this reputable company that collects it and sends it straight to the airport for collection, rather than buy it at an LFS where it's been dying off for some time.

matthewh133 09-13-2011 03:49 AM

Ok, little update :) I figured out the skimmer, thanks Carey! It was actually quite simple, I was just dumb lol.

Today I picked up about 13 pound of live rock, as that's the nice stuff I found at the LFS. I'll be ordering some more fresh live rock to be collected and delivered to the airport early next week. Here's a picture for now:

Question: I have LED lighting (1:1 white/blue), how long should I have my lights on for while cycling? Also, the white/blue have independent switches, should I have both blue and white on, or just white, just blue?

Ausfish 09-13-2011 04:51 AM

Technically you don't even need lights while cycling as long as you don't have fish or corals in there. I would put them on for a little while every day to keep critters an inverts alive that might come with the live rock

matthewh133 09-13-2011 05:07 AM

Thanks Ausfish. I may leave it on for 4 hours a day then and ramp it up every week of the cycle by an hour? Sound like a good plan?

I have a sign of life in the tank! It's a little worm that came on the rocks. It's clear, with king of a black line following down the length of it's body inside. It seems to have 3 little antennas. Any idea what this could be? Good/bad?

EDIT: It was just under an inch or so long, and I just saw it dig into the substrate.

Also, I will obviously be adding more live rock. Probably another 45 pound or so. Should this be added gradually over the cycle period? Say, 10 pound or so each week? Or should I go out and buy the rest in one go?

carey 09-13-2011 10:17 AM

I would get ALL the live rock you can while cycling so you get the ammonia die off benefit. If added after your cycle it might have to be cured in a separate container if you have livestock in the tank. base or dead rock can be added at any time at all.

matthewh133 09-21-2011 07:56 AM

Ok guys, just wondering where I should put my second power head? As you can see on the pic, my first one is on the right, I have another. There is also blow disturbing the surface coming from the return in the top left of the tank. Any ideas?

Also, I should be picking up the rest of the rock tomorrow. I'll get a picture when I come up with a rough aquascape :)

Ausfish 09-21-2011 09:38 AM

I would put the rock in the way you like it and then place the ph according to dead spots. Usually it's good when they face each other to create turbulence

TLTGF 09-21-2011 11:09 AM

Yup, one of the most common tips is to point the PH's upwards towards surface of water, while pointing towards each other, and also directed at front or back glass so the streams meet in the middle of the glass.

matthewh133 09-22-2011 09:58 PM

Ok, so I picked up my live rock rock from the airport today. Not sure how I feel about it lol.

One positive (I think) is there was a hitchhiker snail. It's got a green/brown kind of shell, with 2 black antennas. The negatives.. the rocks are huge. I mean, my tank is only 3 foot and I got one piece of rock that was about 2 foot long and weighs like 20-25 pound. The other pieces aren't as large, but they are still very big. There's also a oyster, or mussel shell on one of them. Should I remove this?

Is there a solution to these large pieces of rock? Is it recommended to go hacking at these pieces with a chisel or something to get them smaller? I'm not sure what to think, it's a bit hard to aquascape with only 5 pieces of rock, and they are all very large.

redsea 09-22-2011 10:08 PM


Originally Posted by matthewh133 (Post 1556469)
Ok guys, just wondering where I should put my second power head? As you can see on the pic, my first one is on the right, I have another. There is also blow disturbing the surface coming from the return in the top left of the tank. Any ideas?

Also, I should be picking up the rest of the rock tomorrow. I'll get a picture when I come up with a rough aquascape :)

The tank looks very clean. Can't wait to see it with the new rock!:thumb:

Pschmitt 09-22-2011 11:11 PM

Yes. Hammer and chisel.

Ausfish 09-23-2011 10:47 AM

Just break it with any means necessary ;) don't worry, there's little chance you kill anything

matthewh133 09-23-2011 11:36 AM

Yeah, I'll have to hack into them and break them down, there's no way of aquascaping these pieces.

Here's some weird things I've found attached to the rock:

Not sure what this thing is. It is soft and waves in the flow:

These next three things are very hard, not quite sure what they are but I'd like to remove them as I don't like the way they look.

Ausfish 09-23-2011 12:13 PM

The first one is some kind of nem/Xenia/? And I would definitely try and keep it alive. The other one is dead sponge I think and won't get any nicer

matthewh133 09-23-2011 12:15 PM

Unfortunately the tank is about to cycle after adding this rock, xenia wouldn't survive that surely? Also, any tips on removing that dead sponge? :) Chip it off with a hammer and chisel? It's super hard so I can't just rip it all off I don't think.

Ausfish 09-23-2011 10:16 PM

I had some sponges and dead coral on my rock when I got it, I left it on! Most of it's facing the sand now and over time it will be covered in algae, corals or what not anyway. But it's up to you, chisel should work ;)

matthewh133 09-23-2011 10:22 PM

I decided I'm really not happy with this new rock at all. Really frustrating, because I was really looking forward to it too. I'll just have to count my losses and try and sell it all off.

Because of all of it's odd shaping, and very large sizes any aquascaping ideas I had are just not possible, and there's only like 6 pieces in there.

Just going to try sell it all off and go down to the LFS and pick out some new pieces that are the size and shape I like.

matthewh133 09-25-2011 10:07 AM

Ok, so my cycle has officially started. 1.5 ammonia as of today. Problem is I'm trying to sell off this large/bumpy useless rock, so once I sell it I'll have to buy more which will start the whole 6 week cycle again :( Really annoyed how this rock purchase went down. I know now to only buy rock I can choose piece by piece.

Ibrahim 09-25-2011 12:24 PM


Originally Posted by matthewh133
Ok, so my cycle has officially started. 1.5 ammonia as of today. Problem is I'm trying to sell off this large/bumpy useless rock, so once I sell it I'll have to buy more which will start the whole 6 week cycle again :( Really annoyed how this rock purchase went down. I know now to only buy rock I can choose piece by piece.

Why don't u buy base rock

matthewh133 09-25-2011 07:37 PM

Well, I had 11 pound of live rock in there before I got this new stuff that was too large. I'll be keeping that.

You reckon I should just sell off this new rock, keep the only 11 pound of live rock and add another 30 pound of base rock?

Won't that mean a really, really long cycle?

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