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Thread: New marine tank for a newbie to the hobbie

  1. #1
    Curious Reefer
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    Lightbulb New marine tank for a newbie to the hobbie

    Hi guys
    Just starting my very first tank. very exited. Read through a few of the articles on this site for Newbies that helped alot. Just looking for a place that i can get my questions answered by people that know what they are talking about and this looks like the place.

    i am starting with a small tank to see how i go with it. I have 2 peices of LR in it and 2 pieces of coral in it. will post some pics of it for all to have a look and see what u think.

    any help is much appreciated.

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    So here is my story.
    i work around 1 hours drive from where i live. So at the moment i basically have 2 fish stores that i use. both of which though give me totally conflicting info. which gets quite annoying for a newbie like me. So i figure that there is no one better to answer the question than someone that has already been through similar.
    So here is my story so far.
    i got convinced one day by a mate to start a marine tank. after doing a little research it looked like something that i would be interested in. so i bought a smaller tank and decided to start. i started with one piece of live rock. let it be in there by itself for around 1 and a half weeks after that i have put in another piece (LR) a snail and a piece of coral will put pics up. That is were i am at at the moment. i have somethings on the LR that i would like identified if someone could for me that would be great.

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    photos


    this is my coral help identifying would be good (with a guest appearance from the hermit crab top)

    Now the next two photos are not super quality as the subjects are very small if someone could please try and identify them that would be great


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    Insightful Reefer Rostr02's Avatar
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    Hello Supraman and welcome to TR. I looked at your pics and am sorry but can not make out what it is. Mat help if you give us a description of what you are looking at if you are unable to get a better pic. If you could tell us a little more about you tank like what size it is and what you plan to have in the tank as far as critter wise that would be great.

    Bobby

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    Grand Master Reefer CarmieJo's Avatar
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    Hi Jake and to TR! I especially like the piece of rock on the right. I think that the big coral is some sort of zoanthid type polyp and so is picture 2. I am not sure about #3. What are your tank parameters?
    Carmie


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    Insightful Reefer mpcolson's Avatar
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    to TR Jake.

    Am I reading your post correctly? Did you say you added coral at 1 and a half weeks? I don't think that sounds right.

    I could very well be wrong here, some of these nano tanks have some fancy filtration systems on them, but if your tank hasn't cycled I don't think you are going to have a good survivor rate with anything except possibly the hermit crab. You may want to pull that coral out for a while and have your friend hold it in his/her tank.

    Live rock, commonly referred to here in these forums as LR, is usually added to a tank at the rate 1 to 1.5 pounds per gallon. 20 gallon tank = 30 pounds LR. Most places that sell LR these days have "Nano Tank" sized rocks designed to fit in the smaller tanks.

    A lot of folks in these forums buy Marco Rocks (www.marcorocks.com) they sell dry rocks that don't have hitchhikers that can bring invasive bad guys into your tank. Just drop them in the tank with one piece of real LR like you have and in a few months the world will never know.
    Matt Colson

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    thanks all for your replies

    First of all thank you all for all of your replies.

    Yes i have added coral after that long on the advise of a LFS.
    Apparently my tank has a really good filtration system and i also have a bag of purigen in the back. that according to the LFS guys would allow me to put the coral in after that long. Does this not sound right? as i can put it into a mates tank. Although does seem to be going ok.

    It is an 18 Gallon tank that has a filter built into it.

    Haven't got to many plans critter wise trying to do my research on what will be ok with that size tank. saw that guide on the other starters post (very helpful). i want to have a few corals in there also. Sorry it is so vague but i really don't have any specific type i want yet. which was part of me signing up here, for a little guidance.

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    Grand Master Reefer CarmieJo's Avatar
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    Do you know what your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are? That is the only way to know if your tank has cycled.
    Carmie


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  9. #9
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    sorry for the newbie silly question but what is the best way of getting it tested? and what is the norm.

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    Grand Master Reefer CarmieJo's Avatar
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    No problem, we are here to answer questions. The best way is to invest in your own test kits. That way you know that the test is being done right and in case of emergency you can test right away. You can also take the water to the LFS (local fish store) and, at least here in the USA, they will test it for you. Some stores charge and some do it for free. The disadvantage is that you are dependent on someone else doing the test correctly and if you have a problem after hours you have to wait to get your water tested. You want ammonia and nitrite to have peaked and fallen back to 0. This should help. http://www.talkingreef.com/forums/co...t-Is-the-Cycle and http://forum.marinedepot.com/Topic23945-9-1.aspx
    Carmie


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    Insightful Reefer mpcolson's Avatar
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    So ... Is your LFS selling you things without testing or knowing what condition your water is in?

    THATS A BIG RED FLAG

    Please Read this Article Before you go back to that store. The Nine Simple Rules to Buying Healthier Fish

    http://www.talkingreef.com/forums/co...Healthier-Fish


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    Haha yeah that is what i thought to matt that is why i though i would sign up.
    Because this is not all the live rock that i wanna add. if i add more does that reset the cycle?
    I read those articles that u posted all very helpful.

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    Also my LR has what i would identify as a dead sponge should i take it off or leave it there?

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    Mind u my LFS did sell me a carbonate hardness test that they told me would be the only I would need. I tested this and it was at 100 ppm is that normal?

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    Insightful Reefer mpcolson's Avatar
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    My advice would be:
    • Remove the coral and store it for 3 months some where it can thrive safely
    • Return that test kit for store credit
    • Order or purchase from the LFS ( I would buy Marco Rock ) 27- 30 Lbs of LR Nano Sized.
    • Read the following post of a guy who failed to get / follow good advice after one month. http://www.talkingreef.com/forums/sh...10695&p=130306


    Pay close attention to the replies in the posting listed here. You'll notice that they are heavy doing a whole lot of nothing to your tank for the first 4-6 weeks as Mother Nature has to have her say in the process. The LFS knows this but it doesn't make them any money so YOU need to be your own advocate here. Even that packet of goo they put in your filter is suspect to me.

    As far as test kits go at this point what you need is a Basic Marine Test Kit. You want Ammonia, Nitrates, Nitrites, Ph, Alk, And a good Hydrometer. Thats really all you need. PERIOD.

    Unless the LFS suggests an algae cleaning magnet or scrubber sponge just say NO!

    P.S. The guy that was the victim of bad advice or ignorance in the posting WAS ME!
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    Grand Master Reefer CarmieJo's Avatar
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    Actually I think that Carbonate Hardness CaCO3 equivalents is another way to measure alkalinity and that it should be 125-200 so yours is low. However, since your tank is still cycling you really don't need to worry about it. During the cycle you need to measure ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and salinity. Once the initial cycle is over then you should also measure pH, alkalinity (alk), calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). Here is another good article. http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-06/rhf/index.php
    Carmie


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    welcome to TR. I setup a 20 G nano a couple of years ago. It took 3+ weeks to cycle. It was gruesome to learn patience. Just set up a new 55 Gallon. It took 4+ weeks to cycle. Get a test kit and check at the same time every day, say at 6pm for example. Time matters to know if it is stabile. If you test at different times then the natural daily rhythm of the tank may make it appear differently than it actually is. You are in AU so I don't know what air shipping is for Marco Rocks but they are great products. Search out V here on the site, advanced search by name. He is downunder as well and can help you find good stores down south. And don't trust that LFS again. Some are ok, but those that are willing to sell you stuff fast are just in it for the money and don't care about the critters. Just think about it as if they sell you a dog and you keep replacing every week because they don't tell you to feed it... These aren't plants we are caring for. If you don't mind though, do a full run down on your lighting, equipment and all.
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    Insightful Reefer Rostr02's Avatar
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    I would not get a hydrometer, they tend to be very inaccurate when measuring proper salinity levels. Do yourself a favor and get a refractometer they can be obtained fairly cheap and are easy to use.

    Could you please tell us more about your filter, like what filter material you have in it, any sponges tend to be a nitrate factory , which is very bad for your tank.

    And no if you add live rock to your tank once it is mature you will not have to worry about starting your cycle again, as long as you go slow and add small amounts at a time this will allow the nitrifing bacteria to catch up with any death that does occurs with live rock. I would recommend that you purchase some dry rock from www.marcorocks.com, great pieces and you will not have to worry about any ammonia spike.

    Bobby

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    thank you guys for all of the advice.

    i have now bought myself the proper test kits and given my mate the coral to mind.
    thank you for the link for the salt refractometer have ordered one of them.
    actually feels good to be doing the correct thing. going to basically start again.
    During the cycling process should i do water changes. Again i keep finding mixed info about this.

  21. The Following User Says Thank You to supraman For This Useful Post:

    CarmieJo (09-05-2010)

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    Insightful Reefer Rostr02's Avatar
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    Do not do water changes while your tank is cycling this will only prolong the cycle. Just let your tank run its natural course.

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    Agree with Rostr02. You will be wasting time and money. As long as the water is moving around in the tank then that is all that is needed. No stagnant water. But as the chemical levels rise and go through the cycle, each respective level of bacteria will grow to "fit the tank". A critter friendly cycle really has no critters in it. When algae crops up on the rocks, then you can add a hermit to keep it back, but do not load up the tank with hermits. Too many will put to much bio load on the tank before it is ready. At this point though, when you start testing, I would wait a week to confirm if your first test is all 0's. In my cycle of my 55, the nitrites never spiked but it took 4+ weeks to process out the ammonia's. So likely the nitrites were slowly removed and bacteria built up as needed without the spike occuring. The tank still remains good and it is loaded with lots of critters.
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    Insightful Reefer mpcolson's Avatar
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    Good Call to go back to square one Supraman, you'll thank yourself in the long run.

    Go ahead and purchase LR or the MarcoRocks at this time so that it can cycle along with your tank. Especially if you buy real LR rather than BASE Rock.

    You being in Australia I would think your sources would be plentiful. Most of the LR we buy in the States comes from the South Pacific, Fiji, Indonesia, etc.

    You would want to cure it outside your tank in a tub for a couple weeks to let things die off if it fresh rock. Or you can buy "cured" rock and you still would want to rinse it in a tub prior to putting in you tank but it is a quicker process.

    If you buy a product like Marco Rock, it is sterile and you can just put it directly in the tank, then buy a single piece of LR from your LFS or a friend to seed the tank and over time the rock will mature. This is your safest method as you won't have any surprises in you tank.

    The LR will keep you busy while you wait for your cycling to complete.

    Again, Glad to hear you took our advice. Things will turn out much better this way.

    Keep us updated as you go.
    Matt Colson

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    Hi guys,
    Tank seems to have cycled now. Yay
    got some more live rock got the tank set up how i want it now.
    Got the salt water test kit. all vitals seem to be fine.
    ready for fish!
    any suggestions on what to get first?

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    Don't get any. Start with some dwarf cerith snails, stir the sand bed and good little algae eaters

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