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Old 04-06-2004, 12:34 PM   #1
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New Guy with a ton of Questions

Ok.. Here I go. First off I am new to the board, but I have been looking around and it looks great!

I have read all about saltwater tanks and have been surfing the internet nonstop for the past month prior to buying my tank. I finally bought one last Friday. I bought a 55 gal with two emperor 400 filters and a 200 watt heater. I am using Caribbean play sand as the substrate. I am going to get Fiji LR on Wednesday then I will wait about 6-8 weeks before I put any fish in my tank. I read that adding fish food to the tank will starting the cycling process, which I think it did. My Ammonia levels are .05

Here is my question(s). I have been reading a lot of contradicting information about which filter to use and what substrate to use. Are the filters that I have ok and is the Caribbean playsand OK ?

Also my filters are filling up with sand dust. Should I empty them during the Cycle or just leave them alone until after the cycle process completes.


TIA.
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Old 04-06-2004, 12:45 PM   #2
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I would take the filter pads out of the emperors, remove the biowheels and use them solely for flow and GAC. The biowheels will compete with the LR for biofiltration and the floss pads may trap food and if not changed frequently can actually create nitrate and phosphate problems. While the tank is cycling use the filters for flow only unless you get a stink then run some carbon. 2 things I don't see on your list above are a skimmer and powerheads. A skimmer will remove wastes and DOC 's and that can help control nitrates, phosphates and skimmers can aid in ridding the system of excess CO2 and help maintain proper pH. You will also want some powerheads, at least 2 of around 250-275 gph to get the water flowing thru and around the LR. When you are using LR for biofiltration good flow is the key to success. HTH
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Old 04-06-2004, 12:54 PM   #3
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Cool Thanks for the info. Will the power heads kick up the sand on the bottom? I am also looking for a HOB skimmer for my tank. Do they make one?
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Old 04-06-2004, 01:00 PM   #4
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The power heads will keep the dust suspended for a while, but once the bacteria start to grow on it, it will settle. Make sure to keep the temp around 82...this is a big factor in how quickly the bacteria spread.

Also..the sand...is it argonite? If not, its a silica sand and will cause hair algae.

Squishy

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Old 04-06-2004, 01:14 PM   #5
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Thanks. I am not sure if it is argonite or not. I thew away the bags. They were in a blue and red bag I am not sure if anyone know who make that. Is there anyway to tell. I know that they sand is very fine almost list powder in some spots.
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Old 04-06-2004, 01:17 PM   #6
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Scoop a small amount out. Strain it and put it in a cup of vinager. If it fizzes..its argonite. If it doesnt..its not.
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Old 04-06-2004, 09:23 PM   #7
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You could also return 1 of the emporer 400 as 2 is kind of overkill with lr on the way. 1 400 will filter that tank till your lr is there; I have a 45g and 1 emp. 400 really moves some water, I know it will handle a 55 nicely. You could use that $ towards skimmer or lr or something else. If you cant return you could sell on ebay. FWIW, I don't use my emporer now that I have 55lb lr, I only use it here and there for GAC filtration (their a little bulky and expensive for just moving water). The thing is, they can be nitrate factories, and there's little biological need for them if there's enough lr. Enjoy..
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Old 04-06-2004, 11:05 PM   #8
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I have a 55 gallon and use my 1 emperor 400 with carbon in it and nothing else to polish the water. 90 pounds or lr and 55 pounds of ls with a Aqua C Remora coming soon !
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:32 AM   #9
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now I am bummed out. Some of these LFS people are clowns. One tells me one thing then another one tells me something different. I'm am glad there is the Internet to set me straight too bad I already spent more money then I had too.

So I can just get rid of those filters? Would I need to get powerheards? and to you know of a good HOB skimmer. Also will I need better light then then standard flouresent lights?

TIA
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Old 04-07-2004, 12:38 PM   #10
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Nothing wrong with the 400. It's really one of the best, however you don't need 2 of them for a 55 (maybe for a 125). Yes you probally will need powerheads, and no one here likes them but me but I like the Skilter. it's noisey but it works for me, the biggest flaw I can find is the stupid little adjustment thing and I just snatched it off and used one of the "air vents" that came with my powerheads. HTH
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Old 04-07-2004, 02:27 PM   #11
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Good advice on the air adjustment valve, 2cents! Powerheads are good. My tang also gets entertainment value out of mine.

Don't feel bad about the lfs advice. I got sucked into the exact same thing, but I'm glad he was able to get me started. I learned a lot, maybe spent a little more than I should have, but it's experience (and spare parts for later projects!).

Concerning the lights, it depends on what you want to have in your tank. Plan it out ahead of time, if you don't have anything in your tank, now is a good time to decide. I bought an Eclipse 2 hood and then got talked into a bta. Then I found out that my lights weren't sufficient. I then got talked into a retrofit that still wasn't quite adequate. I moved out the bta to a nano which I'm upgrading the lighting to make it happy. Now I've got a main tank with probably more lighting than I need for just fish. All learning experience. Now I'm thinking about building my own hood. I'm going to at least add a sump soon.

If you're going to stay FOWLR, then your lights should be fine. If you decide to add light intensive inhabitants, plan on it for later.

Best of luck. Don't be bummed out. It's easy to get overwhelmed, but don't let that spoil the experience. Just pass it on when the time comes.
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Old 04-08-2004, 02:24 AM   #12
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Hey CBRGuy I live just a few miles from you! Didn't even notice the first time...small world! We are definately lacking in good sw lfs. Where do you go world wide aquarium?

Yes you should ideally have 10-20x flow, so something like 2 300-400gph ph would be good. They will not kick up sand if placed a little higher than sand level. They are waaay quieter than emp. 400's also!

I find the same thing with the lfs, they are stuck in old school techniques like using wet/dry filters for reef tanks, etc. Trust the guys here, the lfs just wants to sell. I took my 400 out of my system and my nitrates have been dropping steadily!

For lighting, to get coraline algae and possibility of some corals later you may want to try something like this would be a good starting point until you want to look at really serious stuff like MH bulbs....

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...393397100&rd=1
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...393302077&rd=1

this is pc lighting, widely considered the best value or bang for your buck compared to mh and vho, due to low power consumption & long life

I just put a 2x 96w 36" kit on mine and I am very happy. 1 10000k & 1 actinic blue. It produces a very bright natural looking light, not nearly as good as MH, but very good for 1/3 the money. BTW, that top light looks like an outright steal.
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Old 04-08-2004, 12:10 PM   #13
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Dont get discouraged...Everyone that starts a tank has to learn a few basic things.


10 Commandments of Reef Keeping:


1. Thou shalt not trust thy LFS!

(Generally, LFS are unreliable. Only trust them once they have earned it.)

2. When in doubt.... thou shalt do a water change!

3. Thou shalt be patient!

(Sometimes the best thing you can do is nothing.)

4. Thou shalt Research....Research...Research

5. Thou shalt not hurry!

(Nothing good happens quickly in this hobby. Always think "tomorrow" not "today.")

6. Thou shalt not use salt water to top off the tank!

7. Thou shalt not mix the hunter with the hunted.

8. Thou shalt not pet the lion fish

9. Thou shalt not pop the "bubble" algae

10. Thou shalt never be heard uttering the phrase....."oh look....a Nemo fish!"


obviously some of those were in jest, but most of them were for real.
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Old 04-08-2004, 02:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srgetz
Hey CBRGuy I live just a few miles from you! Didn't even notice the first time...small world! We are definately lacking in good sw lfs. Where do you go world wide aquarium?
.
lol! it is a small world

I have been going to Petsmart and a fish store about 30 miles away in delaware. I did not know that there was one closer to me. Were is world wide aquarium are they any good?
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Old 04-08-2004, 03:37 PM   #15
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Hey Squishy, I'm probably going to have to copy that one! Very good!
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