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Old 10-03-2014, 10:23 AM   #1
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Starting New Tank today

I am getting ready to start my first SW tank after many years of freshwater experience and I'm super excited!!!

I have a 55gl 4ft tank with a Cascade 1000 Canister filter that I plan to use to get started. This is what I've purchased so far:

2 600 gph Hydor Koralia Evolution Circulation Pump/Powerhead
48"Aquatic Life LED Aquarium Light Fixture
4 20lb bags of CaribSea Arag-Alive Bahamas Oolite Aquarium Sand
5 gl bucket of Instant Ocean Aquarium Salt
API Saltwater Master Kit Testing Kit
Hydrometer
and I'm going to buy 50 lbs of Live rock today so I can start my tank this weekend.

I know I probably want to get a Protein Skimmer but it is not in the budget to get started and I think I will be ok at the beginning so I plan to add it a few months down the road.

So my freshwater tank has been cleaned thoroughly and is ready to get started!

My plans are to buy my live rock today and then start filling my tank with water tomorrow. So here are my beginning questions.

1. How long can I leave the live rock out of water?
2. Can I put my live sand in and then the live rock and start filling with saltwater slowly? How long should I wait after mixing a bucket of saltwater before I put it in the tank. I plan to make 25 gallons tonight and pour it in tomorrow but then make the other gallons tomorrow and pour the buckets in after the salinity checks out.
3. My power heads won't be here for about 5 days after I start the tank will it be okay to run the tank with just the cascade canister for circulation until the power heads get here?

I'm on well water that is super clean so I plan on using my hose to fill the tank without conditioning the water. I never had problems doing this with my freshwater tanks. Thoughts?
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:59 AM   #2
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You may want to check the phosphates. If you have it, you will know to get it out to avoid algae explosions. Happy reefing!
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:03 AM   #3
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Water Change Question

Another question.

Once I start doing water changes do I use a siphon hose and work the sand around to get poop and old food out as I did with the substrate I had in my freshwater tank? Or should I just siphon water out from the top of the tank.

Not sure if that will take out beneficial things that will be needed to feed COC when I start having them in the tank.
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:05 AM   #4
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How do I check phosphates and if there are any what do I use to get rid of it?
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:17 AM   #5
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There are several test its available ,Salfurt,Red Reef,Api make one. GFO or phosban will do a great job of eliminating it. Micro algae also in your fuge if you have one helps
I use well water so this was also a concern for me.
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:24 AM   #6
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There are several test its available ,Salfurt,Red Reef,Api make one. GFO or phosban will do a great job of eliminating it. Micro algae also in your fuge if you have one helps
I use well water so this was also a concern for me.
Thank you. I will definitely get something to check the phosphate and to eliminate it just in case I have any. Do you have any problems using your well water?
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:36 AM   #7
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I have to use a 200 inline filter to get sand out. What does pass through will settle in my mix barrel before I pump it into the tank
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:47 AM   #8
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Welcome to Saltwater! I looks like you have a plan but I would start off with a Steile tank! RO/DI water, rock and sand to save on problems down the road.
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Old 10-03-2014, 12:12 PM   #9
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Welcome to Saltwater! I looks like you have a plan but I would start off with a Steile tank! RO/DI water, rock and sand to save on problems down the road.
what is a Stiele Tank? I already have my 55gl tank that I used with my freshwater that has been completely stripped and cleaned out with Vinegar water and looks like brand new.
Ro/di water just isn't going to happen as I have no where to put a ro/di system in my house and the cost of the water is too high to use every time so I might as well start with the water that I plan on using for the change outs and top offs.

I will be using live sand and live rock as my tank substrate and terrain.

Thanks for the welcome! I am super excited to get things started and hopefully by the end of the year I will have some fish swimming around!
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Old 10-03-2014, 07:23 PM   #10
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Hitchhiker Help Identify

So I bought my live rock and came home to scape my tank. When we removed one of the rocks from the paper towel it appeared we had a long worm. I told my husband to get rid of it but when he went to pull it out it is actually something very weird looking. It has like 4 or 5 long tentacle looking legs and a dark flat like body almost like the shape of an octopus but a thin body. The legs like things are light brown and the body is really dark from what I can tell. It has itself buried down in a shelf on the rock.
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:09 PM   #11
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So I think my hitchhiker is a starfish. I moved some of the rock and this came out of the rockClick image for larger version

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I'm not sure it has survived the startup process. I'm going to leave it at the bottom of the tank and see what happens. Can anyone identify this for me?


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Old 10-04-2014, 10:08 AM   #12
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He's Alive!

I went to my tank this morning and the starfish had moved slightly. I was not sure if the power head moved him so I captured him in a net and moved him to the other side of my tank. When I went to look at the tank a short time later the tentacles were moving. I noticed a hole in the center and it was opening and closing. I realized I had him upside down! I turned him over and he started to move around.

I can't believe he survived that tank start up, from everything I read just being in the open air and out of the water could have killed him.

He's a Red Brittle starfish after looking at different sites online.
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Old 10-04-2014, 10:23 AM   #13
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No filter???? Water check.

I finished my startup on my 55gl tank this morning. Water is in and temperature is correct. I checked salinity this morning and it is normal. Now I have a few mor questions.

1. My canister filter is leaking so I pulled it out. That leaves me with no filter since I can't acquire a protein skimmer this month. Will the tank run okay with just the live sand and live rock along with power heads?

2. Since I just put the water in and I checked the water chemicals before I added it and everything was perfect except the Ph was a little low, how long should I wait to check the chemicals again to see if the tank is cycling?

3. Since I had this starfish hitchhiker in my rock and he survived do I need to put food in the tank for him to eat since the tank hasn't cycled yet?

Sorry so many questions but I am so excited about this tank and I want to do everything correct.. You can read my earlier posts to see what has happened so far. Thanks for any help I get.
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Old 10-04-2014, 11:44 AM   #14
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You could check the parameters daily to see how the cycle is going. If you have readings of ammonia or nitrite you'll need to do a water change so you don't kill your brittle starfish.
Don't worry so much about ph, it will rest where it wants to rest. It will be lower in winter than summer with windows and doors being closed and heaters running in the house. Chasing ph almost always ends up causing issues.
In terms of feeding the starfish, you can put a very small amount of food in for him to eat.
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Old 10-04-2014, 04:27 PM   #15
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You could check the parameters daily to see how the cycle is going. If you have readings of ammonia or nitrite you'll need to do a water change so you don't kill your brittle starfish.
Don't worry so much about ph, it will rest where it wants to rest. It will be lower in winter than summer with windows and doors being closed and heaters running in the house. Chasing ph almost always ends up causing issues.
In terms of feeding the starfish, you can put a very small amount of food in for him to eat.
I tested the water today.
Ammonia - .25-.5 ppm
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 0 - 2.5 ppm
pH - 7.8

I added some pH up to try and help the pH before I read your comment. Only put in about 1/2 of what bottle called for.

How much ammonia or nitrite should I have before doing WC and how much of a change should I do?
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Old 10-04-2014, 05:00 PM   #16
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If you have ammonia or nitrite readings with livestock in the tank, you want them to read 0 after water change.
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Old 10-04-2014, 05:07 PM   #17
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Canister filter is not advices for saltwater.. A sump is better
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Old 10-04-2014, 05:54 PM   #18
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Canister filter is not advices for saltwater.. A sump is better
I really have no idea how to set up a sump. I do have a spare 10gl tank would that work. How would I hook the filter to the larger tank. I think I would put the smaller tank below my tank inside my cabinet.
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Old 10-04-2014, 05:59 PM   #19
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My New Tank

Here is a picture of my new setup.
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Old 10-04-2014, 06:00 PM   #20
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Here is a picture of my new setup.
I am not thrilled with power head placement. Any suggestions so I don't have to look at the head and cord?
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