New to Board, New tank delemia

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Dec 7, 2004
Mobile, AL
Whats up everybody? First i want to say Hey ALL... This site ROCKS (y) I FINALLY decided to join the board after months of coming here on a daily basis and reading the posts (usually, when i see a topic of interest, there are SO many knowledgable people on here that reply to them with much more info than i have, or when I have a question, i run a search and there has already been numerous threads that answer it).

Now that thats out of the way, heres my question...

I recently got into aquarium keeping less than a year ago, and, like most people that get into it, i got addicted (i swear, this hobby should be almost considered a drug, only its more expensive :lol: ) Anyway, i got into freshwater first, then, after only a few months, decided to plunge into saltwater; i had a 20H gal tank that i converted to sw, and set up 2 different 10 gal tanks for fw. That was a few (~3) months ago.

Well, the other day I bought 2 55 gal tanks the other day (Like i said, im addicted), with the plans of moving my fw livestock into one of them and my sw stuff into the other. Well, i transferred the fw stuff great, but now its time for the SW.

1) I have been buying alot of new things for the 55 gal setup. So far, I have purchased
*Lighting (JEBO 4x55w Compact Florescent/ 2 10000k, 2 actinic)
*80 lbs live sand (Natures ocean)
*Hang on Protein Skimmer (Red Sea Prizm)
*3 Marine Land Maxi-Jet 1200 powerheads
*3 Aquaculture Air pumps
*submergable 300w heater
*Water (I get my salt water from my LFS, its R/O D/I and already mixed - its pretty cheap and way easier for me to do that than mix it myself)
Everything here is set up, settled, and running... the only things left to get is the live rock and filter.

2) Like I said, I have a 20 gal that i have been running for a few months. The current items in my 20H setup.
*Retrofit Light kit from AGSupply (55w, half 10000k/half actnic)
*2 Cascade 100 filters
*150-200w heater (can't remember)
*Marine Land Maxi Jet 900 powerhead
*Mag Float
*Air pump
*UGF (not being used, unhooked air pump and pulled tubing from it)
*15 lbs liverock
*2 small false clowns
*1 yellow watchman goby w/pistol shrimp (mated)
*1 purple firefish goby (i swear, hes mated with the watchman and shrimp, pretty cool actually)
*1 Sandsifting star
*Yellow Gregorian
*Feather duster island w button polyps
*Yellow polyps
*15-20 hermit crabs
*1 turbo grazer snail

Heres the problems:

1)Around a month ago, i started having the whole brown algae problem happen (i think its brown algae after reading this site, fuzzy brown coloration algae on EVERYTHING, glass, sand, rock, etc). Well, just last week i think its died off a little - not on the sand anymore, the rocks still have it on them for the most part (i brushed alot of it off 2 wks ago and waterchanged), the glass still gets it pretty bad tho. On top of that, i just cleaned off my first case of cyno like a day or two ago. The fish and the corals are doing great as far as i can tell and the only casualties of the tank ever has been a few hermits and 2 snails (which the hermits are suspect).

2) My $$ is getting very low, i basically have enough for a filter (thinking emperor 400), but, for at least a month, buying live rock for the 55 is a no go.

3) The 20 is very unsightly right now (need to clean off the rocks/glass/hardware). I need to clean it soon regardless, but since i will have to pull out the items to do so, i figured "hey, why not just go ahead and do the swap now".

This brings me to where im at now...
1) Should I do the swap or just clean the 20 for now?
2) If I do clean the 20 and wait to swap them out, how long should the 55 run to cycle with nothing in it before i add live rock? Then, with Live rock, how long before doing the swap?
3) If i do the swap, what can i do about the brown algae? Will it transfer over to the new tank? Would it help if I brushed off the rock prior to the swap?
4) Should i even do the swap all together? The 20 gal is not in the way at all and is pretty much up and running (meaning not a whole lot of investment left to put into it), and the 55 is close to being ready to be up and running too... regardless of what i decide, the 55 is going to be the same type of setup, not a full on reef but more of a community tank w/some soft corals.

Sorry for the long post, just wanted to give the background to help. Any suggestions/advice/comments?


With 80lbs of sand in a 55g standard you will have about a 3" sandbed. That combined with good water flow will be all the filtration you need, so you can save some money by not buying a filter. Adding base rock over time will increase the filtration, and is pretty cheap. I think I pay 1.40/lb. You can get your 55 set up and begin cycling while you work on your water in the 20.

With a new tank an algae bloom is pretty common. It's one of the stages they go through as the tank matures. You should test your water tho' and the the water you're getting from the store. They could be selling you used water loaded with nitrate.
Take the prizm skimmer back! Do not open it, do not use it!
1. it's not big enough for a 55gallon
2. its a worthless skimmer that won't even help much on a 20gallon

Seriously...huge piece of junk, and I speak from experience...I'd rather you buy a SeaClone than a Prizm. But in fact, you should look at CPR bak paks or Aqua C Remora skimmers for a 55gallon.

A good skimmer can eliminate cyano problems. The prizm is a noisy, ineffective, bad skimmer.
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