Be nice to the new guy!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by kevinsimons, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. kevinsimons

    kevinsimons

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    After 46 years of successfully rearing and raising fresh water(discus & angels), I've decided to take the plunge and learn how to "do" saltwater... so many, many questions as I study, read, re-read, and re-re-re-read. I'm leak-testing my 55 gallon tank right now and am thinking of starting up this weekend (4/14). I'm leaving for Hawaii on 5/25 and don't want my house-sitter to have to do anything with the new tank - as I'm planning on only having the live rock in the tank at that time , and thinking by May 25 (when I leave) the cycling will be complete. Is this a bad plan? Should I wait until I'm home from vacation?

    Other questions - Lighting - any suggestions/recommendations would be much appreciated. My local shop is trying to get me to by a $300 fixture - not including the hood - YIKES. I'm shooting for 6500 K in addition to an actinic blue tube - so that means a place for 3 bulbs, right? Plus I really like the LED moonlight... is there a unit that incorporates all this in one piece?

    What's a sump?

    Can somebody clearly explain the differences between fish only and reef aquariums? They both have live rock - is it the presence of the inverts?

    I'm clear on Protein Skimmers (going with the Aqua-C Remora Pro. What about an appropriate filter? Anybody have any recommendations?

    Thanks, everybody for all your help!
     
    kevinsimons, Apr 10, 2007
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  2. kevinsimons

    reeffreak

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    Hello Kevin welcome to Living Reefs,

    Before you buy any lights decide on what kind of corals you like to keep

    Softies and LPS(large polyp stony) coral will do find under PC,T5HO, and VHO's
    ***although I think some SPS(small polyp stony) may be keep under T5 and VHO's***
    SPS dominant tank you would need MH(medal halides)which are pretty expensive.

    300 dollars sounds like more than what you wanted to pay...check out the Current Nova Extreme 4x54w....you should be able to keep large variety of corals but not all....T-5 Aquarium Lighting: Nova Extreme T-5 Fixtures w/Lunar Lights

    "whats a sump" Its a place separate from the DT(display tank)that hold your filtration(refugium,wet/dry,protein skimmer etc) and other equipment like heater.

    Fish Only(fish,snails,crabs,shrimps,dead coral decoration,artificial plants/corals)
    FOWLR is fish only with live rock...but still have inverts but no coral
    Full reef...well you get the idea...fish,inverts,coral,live rock

    Aqua C...good choice.

    Oh I almost forgot..don't set it up til you get back.At this early stage,you would want to be there in case something happens.Your going to have a big evaporation lost while your gone,..is the sitter aware of that?

    Feel free to ask any questions...others will chime in with there thoughts
    Best of Luck and welcome to Livingreefs
     
    reeffreak, Apr 10, 2007
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  3. kevinsimons

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Hello and welcome!

    I think that it's okay to have your tank set up before you leave, if you won't have any animals in it. Like Freak said, you will probably have to have your tank sitter add water to it periodically.

    For lighting, I have T5s, and you can keep almost everything under T5s. They are less expensive than metal halides, but with metal halides you can keep anything you would want. So before buying lights I'd pick up a good coral book and read up on some species that you are interested in. If they require "High" lighting, then go with halides. If most of what you want will do well with "Moderate to high" lighting, then you will be fine with T5s. There are a lot of set ups that have moonlights built in. Some good websites for lighting are Champion Lighting & Supply and www.marinedepot.com. Just browse their websites and check back here if you have any questions.

    If you have enough live rock (1 to 2 lbs per gallon) and a good protein skimmer, you probably won't need any other type of filtration. Everyone on here has a different setup, so you will just have to figure out what works best for your system. I only use a protein skimmer and live rock.
     
    Bifferwine, Apr 10, 2007
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  4. kevinsimons

    kevinsimons

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    Thanks for the reply RF! The fixture my local shop recommended is the same one you recommended, so I guess I should just cough it up and be done with it... I WILL take your advise and hold off on starting things up until my return from Hawaii. I'm wondering if I can buy LR there (for, hopefully, less than $8/lb, which is what they're charging here in SF).

    Would you recommend a sump for a 55 gallon, or is it overkill? Sounds like hang-on skimmers will be fine for this size tank - but what about filtration? I'm finding surprisingly little info about this. BTW, the reference book I'm reading is "The New Marine Aquarium" by Michael Paletta. If anybody knows of any flat-out wrong information in that book, I'd much appreciate (i.e., he recommends 12 hours of light a day - I'm thinking, based on what I'm reading here, that's about 4 hours too much.) But will it matter if I'm not doing live coral?

    BTW, I'm planning a FOWLR (at least for now). BABY STEPS...
     
    kevinsimons, Apr 10, 2007
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  5. kevinsimons

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    If your just doing a FOWLR for now,then the strip lights that come with tank will do just fine.But I'd be willing to bet that with in 6 months of getting it started that you decide to add a few corals.
    12 hours of light is not an unreal thing when you stop to think about where 90% of the marine life we keep in our tanks comes from.For another hundered bucks you can get the 8 bulb light from liveaquaria.com,which will give you 432 watts of light.
    A HOB skimmer and filter will work fine for a FOWLR,but even though I dont have a sump I would recommend one.That way you can keep most of your equipment out of the way of your rock work.PLus it gives you that much more water in your system to play with.I personaly plan on adding a sump/wet/dry with in the next couple of weeks.
    Im gonna agree with Reef on not starting it untill you get back from vacation.That way you can watch your cycle and see how its progressing.
    If you buy your rock in Hawaii,how are you planning on getting it back to the main land?I would think that once you add in the cost of shipping it,that you would come out cheaper buying it local.$8.00 a lbs is not a bad price for cured rock.
    Best of luck,have a great vacation,and remember,that your required to post pics . j/k but we love pics.
     
    yote, Apr 10, 2007
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  6. kevinsimons

    reeffreak

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    Sup again Kevin,
    So your doing a FOWLR,you don't really need any special lights with that setup.You can use the standard lights that came with it.If it didn't come with lights and you decide on the Nova, buy it online,much cheaper than locally.

    I bought my live rock online at Saltycritter.com.They have some great looking rocks and was $4.00/ lb. for their best rock(Uaniva).Alot of people like to buy localing so they can see what they are getting,the choice is yours.$8/lb is about what they charge here.I don't know about bringing live rock back from Hawaii but it doesn't sound like a good idea besides there could be local laws against it.

    A sump isn't necessary but many here use them,me included.A good skimmer and a couple powerheads for good water circulation is really all you need.Remember,your live rock is main filter.If you feel you need more,a sump with a refugium or wet/dry incorporated is one idea.Canisters,HOB filters are another(but those need to be cleaned often)

    Running lights for 12 hours a day for reef tanks sounds about right.I run mine for 10hrs.For FOWLR is doesn't matter as much,6hrs will do or even less.The only thing that needs some light is the coraline algae on the rocks.

    Good Luck...anymore questions feel free to ask.
     
    reeffreak, Apr 10, 2007
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  7. kevinsimons

    kevinsimons

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    I KNEW this would be the right place to get good, solid, knowledgeable answers -unbiased by the need to sell. THANK YOU!! Glad to know $8/lb isn't gouging for cured rock (SF is a city of outrageous prices)... I do have (yet another) question: what about the need for a quarantine tank? Can I rely on my store to do this step for me, or am I asking for trouble by not setting one up?
     
    kevinsimons, Apr 11, 2007
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  8. kevinsimons

    matthew1048 Wurd to ya motha

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    Even though I have no actual experience, I wouldn't trust a LFS for quarantining livestock...but then again I don't really trust any retailer. You can skip a quarantine tank...but EVERYTHING I've read says this is just asking for trouble. I for one am defenitely going to set one up. It's always better to be safe rather than sorry, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And your quarantine tank can also double as hospital in the case of, Heaven forbid, that one of your fish needs medical treatment...Just my opinion though. Hopefully someone with more experience than I will chime in.

    Oh yeah, welcome to the site btw....these people are some of the most helpful that I've ever met!!!! And all the articles on this site can teach you ALOT!!!!!
     
    matthew1048, Apr 11, 2007
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  9. kevinsimons

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Definitely quarantine your own animals. No matter how good the store, they cannot possibly guarantee that their fish won't have anything.
     
    Bifferwine, Apr 11, 2007
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  10. kevinsimons

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    If nothing else,keep a small tank around so that you can set up for QT.Better safe than sorry.
     
    yote, Apr 11, 2007
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  11. kevinsimons

    reeffreak

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    The LFS store get so many fish in and out you can't really rely on them for 100% healthy stock.After everything else you will spending,a QT may save you in the long run.BTW,Walmart here sells complete 10gal(tank,lights,heater,filter)for 40 or 50 bucks.I would ditch the cheap heater that comes with it and buy a better one.
     
    reeffreak, Apr 11, 2007
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  12. kevinsimons

    kevinsimons

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    So, if I need a quarantine tank, then essentially don't I need to establish TWO marine aquariums, two popuations of LR, two skimmers, etc? or is a quarantine tank a bit less involved?
     
    kevinsimons, Apr 11, 2007
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  13. kevinsimons

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    A quarantine tank is less involved. It's smaller, you probably just need a piece or two of live rock to make the fish comfortable, you can use a small filter because the fish probably won't be in there for too long and you can always easily do water changes on the quarantine tank, you will need a little heater, etc. Some people always keep their quarantine tanks running, others (like me) tear it down and only put it back up when new livestock is bought, using water from the main tank so that it won't cycle.
     
    Bifferwine, Apr 11, 2007
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  14. kevinsimons

    reeffreak

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    Like Sarah,I only set up QT when I need to quarantine livestock.Sort of like doing a water change from the DT to the QT.Yeah its much less involved,a simple heater,lights,and filter is all thats needed equipment wise.I know alot of people who don't use it but I don't recommend it,the choice is really up to you.
     
    reeffreak, Apr 11, 2007
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  15. kevinsimons

    kevinsimons

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    You guys are awesome.... Thank you, again. So - probably the last two questions from me until I actually start things up... how long does one keep a fish in quarantine before adding to the tank? and finally - preferred starter fish? Blue Green Chromis (recommended by my LFS) don't do much for me.
     
    kevinsimons, Apr 11, 2007
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  16. kevinsimons

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    If your meaning a fish to cycle with,then most folks use a damsel,but I wouldnt recommend it,they become little helluns and there a pain in the butt to catch unless you use dynimite.
    You can cycle using just the LR and LS.
    If you mean after the cycle,them maybe a couple of clowns.
     
    yote, Apr 11, 2007
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  17. kevinsimons

    reeffreak

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    I usually keep my fish in QT for about 2 weeks,some do a little longer and some a little shorter.

    Like yote said,you don't have to cycle with fish the die-off from the live rock should start the cycling process.If not,you can add a small dead shrimp or put a little fish food every few days or so.If your going the fish route,the chromis is your best bet,other damsels are too aggressive.You can use clowns but they are a little more expensive.Remember,live fish may not survive the cycling process.
     
    reeffreak, Apr 11, 2007
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  18. kevinsimons

    kevinsimons

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    I promised I'd be done asking questions until I actually started things up - but a new topic has come up and I'd love your input on this: WATER!
    I live in San Francisco, and my LFS sells purified sea water collected about 30 miles south and a 1/4 mile out (Half Moon Bay - a pretty, rural place, which should be pretty immune from urban pollution).

    Alternatively, I can mix my own - I assume Instant Ocean is the preferred brand? But I live in a VERY old house with VERY VERY old plumbing - so even if the water supplied by the city was pure (whiich it's not - it's good, but not perfect; we DO have cryptosporidium in the supply), so no matter what, the water coming from my tap is of questionable quality.

    So - what are all your thoughts on RO/DI? Do I need BOTH RO and DI? Do I need either? If so, is there a brand that's preferred? - and finally - how do they work? I see the pics with the canisters and stuff - do you hook this permanently up to your plumbing under your sink and it outputs into a bucket?

    Thanks for all your help, guys.
     
    kevinsimons, Apr 18, 2007
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  19. kevinsimons

    jhnrb

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    welcome to the site. you are getting some pretty good information here so I have nothing to add at this point. on the RO/DI question or store bought filtered ocean water. I would not purchase ocean water since you do not know what you are getting, and the water is not from the local of the fish. Also saltwater specific gravity will change with the change of temperature, so what comes out of the ocean off our coast will not be sufficient to support the tropical animals needing 76 to 80 degree water without additives. I would recommend ro/di water. Spectrapure or kent is a good place to start looking. try Marine depot.com or premium aquatics.com for some comparison plricing. Best reguards from Eureka CA.
     
    jhnrb, Apr 18, 2007
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  20. kevinsimons

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    I agree with jhnrb,either look into setting up a ro unit or you can get the ro/di water at any grocery store.
    For a FOWLR Instant Ocean will work pretty good,but most perfer other brands like Oceanic,Red Sea,Kent.I personaly use the Oceanic salt and have the wife pick up my water from wal-mart.
     
    yote, Apr 18, 2007
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