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Old 09-10-2004, 01:04 PM   #1
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another newbie, many questions

My wife is getting me a SW tank for my birthday, and I'd like to do FOWLR for now. I like goby's, blenny's, chromis, damsels. I know I'll have to live without bigger fish in this tank.

so here's my plan:

54g corner bow front (comes with stand and 2 light hood)
Remora (not pro) HOB
Eheim 2235 canister (ordered before I read this site!) for carbon
Home Depot special tropical playsand
Live rock + base rock
ebo jager 125w heater
two maxijet 900's
RODI on well water

Implementation (subject to change):
Set up tank 6" from one wall and 3.5" from the other
add about 1.5" of rinsed sand
add base rock and powerheads
Fill tank, add salt
run canister filter with floss to clear the water for a few days
Check salinity
cycle tank with a raw shrimp (eww!)
drain half the tank, add live rock and refill
Wait again for the tank to cycle
Add HOB skimmer
Add a few little fish (green chromis?) and a cleaner shrimp
remove canister
weeks later, add a few more fish and critters.

Future plans (phase 2):
build a 20g sump w/overflow box, LR or plants or something. move remora and heater to sump

Questions:
how much sand should I buy? is 100lb enough?

How much rock should I have total? live?

How many fish-inches can I get out of the phase 1 setup?

Several locations are possible for this tank. I have baseboard heat (hot water) and I can either put it in the corner with TWO baseboards or just one. I figure when the heat is on, it will help keep it 77f, even though the house will be 72 or so. Or will this make it too hot?

Am I missing anything major? Is anything in my plan out of order?
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Old 09-11-2004, 12:32 AM   #2
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If I would do it over again I would have gotten my tank drilled and went for the sump from the beginning. Alot of folks have trouble with overflows so be careful. I wouldn't recommend you move a HOB skimmer to the sump as they need a constant water level to be efficient.

Your phase 1 sounds fine. I started my tank with a few green chromis and a cleaner shrimp about a week later. I have around 120lbs of sand in my 46g and it gives me about 4". Check out the sand bed calculator on this site. Around 80 lbs of LR is probably where you will want to be when your done. I would skip the damsel and go for a clown instead as they may terrorize the more peaceful Chromis. Good luck.
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Old 09-11-2004, 03:24 AM   #3
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Hey Jaiden welcome to the boards!! I am still a big n00b when it comes to SaltWater tanks. I have a 46gal tank and i added about 30# of sand...As you can see from the pic I think it gave me enough...Phases99 tank looks sweet with that sand however I tried to stay under $40 for the substrate (got each bag for $18.99).

Have fun with your tank!!
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Old 09-11-2004, 11:22 AM   #4
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Why cycle the tank twice? Add the LR when ou add the shrimp. Also, I think you can add the skimmer during the cycle.

I haven't started my tank yet, but when I do, I plan on adding LR, sand, and skimmer before the shrimp. HTH
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Old 09-11-2004, 11:46 AM   #5
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Seems like a good plan Jaiden. I am too noob to really comment. I understand the phasing is a cost consideration. The suggestions you have received about doing LR and sump in phase 1 are good, but they drive up your startup cost. For my new tank I will consider drilling tank in phase 1 as that is sonething that cannot be done afterwards without starting out all over again.
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Old 09-11-2004, 12:53 PM   #6
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double cycling

I was thinking that it would help to have some bacteria built up in case there was a lot of dead junk on the rock that would need to be broken down. I don't want to overload the rock before it gets a chance to seed the base rock and the sand
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Old 09-11-2004, 01:35 PM   #7
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Re: double cycling

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaiden
I was thinking that it would help to have some bacteria built up in case there was a lot of dead junk on the rock that would need to be broken down. I don't want to overload the rock before it gets a chance to seed the base rock and the sand
Exactly. If you add your LR to a tank that is already cycled you will minimize the spike which will allow more of the life on the rock to survive.
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Old 09-12-2004, 01:11 AM   #8
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Exactly. If you add your LR to a tank that is already cycled you will minimize the spike which will allow more of the life on the rock to survive.
When you put it that way, good plan jaiden.

I am glad I found this site. I will be a pro before I even get my tank home
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Old 09-12-2004, 01:12 AM   #9
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YEAH no longer Newbie.
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Old 09-13-2004, 01:13 PM   #10
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Plans for rock

After checking out hirocks.com, I think I'm going to go this route to start. 60lb of this stuff, 50lb play sand, two max 900 powerheads and a couple raw shrimp to get the tank going.

The way I understand it, this rock will function as a bio filter, it just won't be as pretty till I seed it with some LR later.

I won't have the lighting to really grow coralline yet anyway. I figure I can add some LR seed rock (20 lb maybe) and as much lighting as I can afford (not much) in a month or two.

I also think I won't need the skimmer until then either. 60lb plus 50lb sand should be enough to support a couple small fish in the meantime right?

I can put bio media in the canister filter and run that to help out... Am I right that canisters are only bad for corals? Or are they really not good for SW at all?

Thanks for your help so far everyone!
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Old 09-13-2004, 01:49 PM   #11
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Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com

On your original plan: "fill tank, add salt" Mix the water and salt OUTSIDE the tank first, then add the salt water to the tank. Adding FW to the tank then mixing in the sand will lead to fluctuating salinity while you set things up and will just frustrate you. The FW will settle into the sand when you first put it in, then when you add the salt, the water in the sand will take a long while before it absorbs any salt (And therefore slow down the bacteria trying to populate it during your cycle). So, mix first, then add to the tank.

You mentioned adding a cleaner shrimp in phase one. I would hold off on the inverts until your cycle has been over for at least a week or two. Inverts (shrimps, crabs etc) are highly sensative to nitrates. Nitrates are the last to go in your cycle and the bacteria that removes them is the slowest to form.

In my 55 tank I used two 50 pound bags of SouthDown sand and got the perfect DSB. (4-5" I think) So two bags should be perfect for you as well. Rinsing the sand is a matter of opinion. There are those who perport the benefit of the silt sized grain on both the flaura and fauna that will reside in your DSB. I didn't rinse mine, only took a couple days to settle.

I would skip the bio-media in the canister filter. It will filter everything but nitrates and they will begin to accumulate and you'll end up just wanting to remove the media anyway. Plus, it will slow down the bacteria growth on your LR and DSB.

You have a plan for LR and base rock. You should pickyourself up 4 or 5 pounds of LS from an established tank. Please note I am NOT refering to the "live sand" they sell in a bag that sits on the shelf at the LFS. True Live sand from a LFS will come from a tank and will have bacteria, worms, little critters of all sorts (you may not see them when you scoop it up, but they're in there) and will seed your sand bed. If you can find any local hobbiest they may be willing to give/sell you a few scoops from their tank. Some groups even have sand swap meets every once in a while as you want your sand bed to be as diverse as possible.

Speaking of your sandbed population, you want gobies and blennys? depending on which kind, you may need to regularly "re-stock" your sand bed as some blennies/gobies will eat whatever they can find in the sandbed and will eventually clean your sand bed dry. You'll have to pick up little bags of "stuff" to repopulate your sand bed, such as "garfs'grunge"

Hope that helps! I'm assuming you've gotten yourself a good set of the basic test kits? hydrometer/refractometer? A great big plastic tub to keep RO water in at all times for top offs etc?
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Old 09-13-2004, 01:55 PM   #12
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Great tips!

great advice...

how worried should I be about DSB "crashing"? I was thinking of only 1 50lb bag for this reason.

If I skip the bio media in the canister, should I just sell off my canister? it's new in box. I was considering saving it for carbon only, but it looks like the remora can take a carbon bag, so I'm not sure this is important. I wish I had read this forum FIRST as I wouldn't have ordered it.

As to goby/blenny's, how can I tell when the sand needs to be replinished? isn't most of this stuff super small?
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Old 09-13-2004, 03:43 PM   #13
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Re: Great tips!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaiden
how worried should I be about DSB "crashing"? I was thinking of only 1 50lb bag for this reason.
Crashing DSBs are highly debatable. I've only been in SW for a few years so all I can say is, mine hasn't crashed yet (knocks on wood). Others have had a DSB for many years with no problems, others have problems after only a short while. I think there is a "cause" that no-one has been able to pinpoint yet. IMO, it is most likely too much stress on the DSB from bio-load and/or tank inhabbitants that depleat the DSB flaura/fauna. But, thats just my opinion.

Quote:
... should I just sell off my canister?
If it were mine, I'd sell it off and put that money towards a few more pounds of LR/LS.

Quote:
As to goby/blenny's, how can I tell when the sand needs to be replinished? isn't most of this stuff super small?
Here's a pic from my gallery. If you look close at the sponge on the left, you'll see a "bug" crawling on it. Thats the kind of stuff that lives in the LR/LS. They're copepods. The big opening of the spong in that pic is about 1/16th-1/8th of an inch. As far as when you'll know... That's going to be hard to tell. It will take a little while for the sand bed to be really well populated to begin with and how soon you'll need to replenish will depend on how hungry your gobies/blennies are
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Old 09-14-2004, 12:22 AM   #14
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If your goal is a reef with a light fish load, and your sand is truly live you should have no problems with your DSB crashing. You will need to replenish it as time goes by because it will slowly dissolve with a high PH. If you like a lot of fish and are prone to overfeeding go with a 1/2" or less.
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