Hello! New to site, salt and our relationship :-))

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Ericandcasey, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. Ericandcasey

    Ericandcasey

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    Hello there,

    Casey and Eric from Delaware here..... We are new to the site and saltwater. We both have had various freshwater set-ups over the past 10 plus years and just started a 29gal bow front 3months ago. It started with an hour trip to Dr. Mac's - Pacific East Aquaculture. Not sure if anyone here has heard of him/them but they seem top notch for marine corals etc and are the only State Certified Aquaculture Facility in the tri-state area... PacificEastAquaculture.com is there website. While we dont have any coral in our tank the trip to there facility sparked our new saltwater addiction.
    The first thing we did was shop around for fish tanks since we live down the shore we have two extremes, price gaugers and really resonable, you just have to find the latter. So we found a place called pet emporium of seaford in de which is about a 45 minute drive. We were just out to price items and found a great deal of a hood, light, stand, and tank for about 300 bucks total. So in all with decoration, salt and filters we ended up spending about 700 bucks. So we have a 29 gal bow front on a black finished stand, 2 Penguin 200 C bio-wheel power filters, and we have currently about 30 lbs of live rock. Currently our tank is a balmy 78 degrees and our fishes are loving it.
    After our tank cycled we decided to go and buy damselfish, as everyone knows they're cheap and get things rolling. Well since I(Casey) not paying attention we got 3 blue and white damselfish at 17 bucks a pop. Then we we got some snails and mediterranean red crabs. We then decided to get a really beautiful coral beauty angelfish which we named Steve-O(we had just rented Jackass 2) and let the fishes have a few days. After that we purchased 2 blue damselfish which one is now if fishy heaven. Then about a week after that we got a black spiny sea urchin, a green bubble tip anemone which had a baby clarkii clownfish which we bestowed the name Chino(GO DEFTONES). We also got a coral banded shrimp name Jock(yes from Nemo). We also got a really cool chocalate chip starfish. Currently all of these are still alive.
    We still purchased some more snails and crabs which included really cool anemone crabs, a blue starfish(which has perished today), Eric's dream fish a psychadelic mandarin dragonet named Salvador(after the artist), and an algae goby. To finish it off the last purchase that week made were 2 scarlet hermit crabs and 5 medium red crabs. On January 7th, we actually made a trip up to my hometown of Philadelphia and our last purchase was 2 black and white damselfish, another clarkii clownfish which our Chino is in love with, 3 emerald crabs, and a royal gramma(which has currently disappeared, we'll keep you posted should he return from the Bermuda triangle). =O)
    To this date the only problem we had was a ph spike up to 8.8 which we quickly brought down with ph down and we thought our anemone was dying when in fact Betty(the anemone) was taking a poop. Hey we're first time parents and we weren't the only ones upset Chino was too. =) So that is our fish tank up to date which we love to sit and watch. We'd love to hear from everyone with what to look out for and your adventures in live rock saltwater tank raising.
    THANKS FROM REHOBOTH BEACH, CASEY & ERIC!
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2007
    Ericandcasey, Jan 11, 2007
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  2. Ericandcasey

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Hi there. Welcome, I have some comments and questions.

    You guys are stocking a relatively small tank with an awful lot of animals awfully fast. I suspect that is why you have had some animals die. Keep good track of your water parameters, if your ammonia and nitrites are anything except for zero you will have big problems. Try to keep your nitrates below 20 too. It's best to add one thing at a time, wait two to three weeks, then add the next thing. Adding several animals at once will cause your tank to crash and everything will die. It's a slow process, but if you are patient it will save your animals' lives and your money. This is a very common "newbie" mistake, saltwater is very different from freshwater, the animals are not very forgiving of changes or mistakes.

    What kind of lights do you have? Anemones need a lot of light, at least 6 watts per gallon is recommended.

    What are you feeding the mandarin? Mandarins are notoriously difficult to keep in new tanks, and usually starve to death very quickly because most of them only eat live copepods and amphipods, which are only found in established tanks with a lot of rocks or refugiums. They are not a good fish for a beginner. I have wanted one for a long time but am still not comfortable enough with the live food supply in my tank to risk one's life. Some mandarins are "trained" in the store to eat frozen mysis, I hope you were able to find one that will take frozen food.

    Keep an eye out on those damsels too, they become extremely territorial (especially the blue, striped and dominoes) and will kill other fish, crabs, corals, anything that they think is in their territory. They are huge bullies and are nothing but trouble. They eat everything, they grow fast and are impossible to catch if you try to get one out of the tank. You have a lot of damsels in your tank, they are definitely a fish to avoid if you don't want your other animals to be murdered. You should probably not add any more damsels of any kind. People always get them to start the tank off because they are good at surviving the cycle, but then they wreak havoc on the tank as soon as you start adding other animals.

    Keep us updated on how things go... I'm curious as to what your water parameters (pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, etc.) are. You guys are going to love it, once you get the wrinkles ironed out, it's a fascinating and addicting hobby. Remember, try to take it slow! Having animals die, even in a new tank, is not normal, and that is a sign that something is wrong. Especially if you have more than one animal die.
     
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    Bifferwine, Jan 11, 2007
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  3. Ericandcasey

    Ericandcasey

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    We test our water about every day or 2. We keep a log of the results and what we have added (chemical etc) each time we add something as well as log each time we add fish and critters. We are done buying fish except for a mate for Sal the manderin.

    We currently have a standard 18†Fluorescent light with a Marine-Glo tube in it. In the back of my mind I have thought we would need to upgrade to better lighting set-up.

    With the fish, critters, live rock and anemone do we need to get something like this :

    Aquarium Lighting: Coralife Lunar Aqualights Compact Fluorescent Strip Lights

    A Coralife Lunar Aqualights Compact Fluorescent Strip Lights -- 24†130 watt (2-65 watt) with two ¾ watt Lunar Blue-Moon-Glow LED’s???

    Thanks in Advance.
    Case and Eric
     
    Ericandcasey, Jan 11, 2007
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  4. Ericandcasey

    Ericandcasey

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    Our mandarin is eating brine shrimp and the cephlapods that are on our rocks and glass. He's a very hearty eater. Our damsels seem to keep to themselves as they were smaller then the other fish that we purchased. No one is chasing anyone around except our one clarkii clown thinks she's a damsel because she's young. I know it seems that we added things too quickly but everyone is jivving together and just seems very happy. Our parmeters are as follows salinity gravity is 1.023 and our ph is 8.3 our ammonia is .50 our nitrite is currently 5.0 and our nitrate is .25 as of 12:45am eastern standard time. We added some stress zyme to rectify this as everyone has told us to do. Thanks for all the advice and we'll keep ya posted. Please be assured we're religious on our new hobby. =O) We'd appreciate any tips ya can give us as we are newbies.
     
    Ericandcasey, Jan 11, 2007
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  5. Ericandcasey

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Good to hear your water is doing well. Keeping track is really useful, that way if something goes wrong you can track it back to the last thing you did.

    Yeah, the light you have is not nearly enough to keep the anemone (or corals) alive. I'd recommend taking the anemone back to the store ASAP or finding a babysitter with a tank for it until you get new lights. At a minimum, to keep corals you would need 3 to 4 watts per gallon. Anemones even more, on this forum some people have recommended as much as 10 to 12 watts per gallon. When anemones die, they go foul REAL fast, and will take out your entire tank with it. You should give it to someone else who can take care of it right away until you get better lights.

    And with your number of fish and inverts, you definitely should look into getting a good protein skimmer. The power filters will work for a little while, but you may see your nitrates rising fast without a protein skimmer. The most highly recommended hang-on back skimmer is the Aqua C Remora Pro, they are expensive but are the best out there for the price. Whatever you do, do not buy a Sea Clone skimmer! Don't get sucked in! They are the absolute WORST skimmer ever and a total waste of money, if you need confirmation, just do a search on this forum for Sea Clone! I, like many people, got sucked in by the Sea Clone's genius marketers and ended up wasting a lot of money on a piece of junk.
     
    Bifferwine, Jan 11, 2007
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  6. Ericandcasey

    Ericandcasey

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    We dont have a coral set-up, its live rock..... sorry to confuse ya - we did get the idea of saltwater from Dr. Mac whom does coral..... we did get most of our live rock there. They did say since we are doing live rock to just make sure we had good filters and we are way covered there and since we dont have coral that a protein skimmer is not needed..... thanks a bunch for the replys look forward to talking more later. We are right now going thru our digital pics to post of our tank / fish etc.....

    with the live rock and fish that we do have is the light I linked ok.....?
     
    Ericandcasey, Jan 11, 2007
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  7. Ericandcasey

    bobby I like to do bad things.

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    Welcome, I'm sorry to say it but I think you are going to have more loses, you said you had traceable amonia and nitrite, if so then your tank is not cycled yet or going through another cycle from adding to much life at once, if your tank is not cycled yet I'm very sure the anemone wont make it, but if you don't upgrade lights it wont make it from that either. Anemones need very good lighting the one you pointed out I don't think will work. I would get either t-5 or a metal halide light.

    On the damsels you can get nice ones, I've had two 1 was nice and 1 was EVIL lol. I still have the nice one and he has never bothered anything in the tank, but if yours are babys then when they get older they can become very agressive. Were did you pay 17.00 bucks each that is alot for a damsel, here in Ill there 3.99.

    A skimmer is always a good investment, but not always needed since your tank is small and if it was lightly stocked the you could get by with extra water changes, however you do have it on the heavy side so I would recomend one. I have a 30 gal with 3 fish and 2 corals and think I need one. Besides when you see all the stuff it pulls out you'll be happy you go it.

    What kind of water changes do you do? how much, and when?

    Well good luck with your tankand keep us posted.
     
    bobby, Jan 11, 2007
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  8. Ericandcasey

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Yeah, your ammonia and nitrite are way high for the animals you have in there. If you want to keep the animals in there for now, then you will have to do some big water changes frequently to get those levels down. It is ideal to add animals only after the tank is done cycling, when ammonia and nitrite are both at zero. You can cycle a tank with a fish too (using one hardy fish, like a damsel or clown, is recommended), but you are cycling your tank fully stocked, which, in my opinion, is a recipe for disaster. I mean no offense, I think that you and your animals would be better off if you removed most of them and waited until the ammonia and nitrite levels were at zero before putting them back.

    You are currently in the middle of the cycle (where nitrites are highest) and it seems as if your nitrates haven't even started spiking yet, so you still have a ways to go before you are in the clear as far as water quality goes. And then you have to deal with keeping nitrates down, which is a problem that almost everyone seems to have at one point or another (I'm having it right now, grrrrr...).

    I second Bobby's opinion on the skimmer, with the amount of animals you have in your tank, it will definitely make a huge positive difference.

    The light you linked to is fine for fish and live rock. But not okay for an anemone, which are generally challenging to keep. Extra tricky because they tend to die slowly so you don't notice something is wrong right away.

    Good luck, let us know what happens.
     
    Bifferwine, Jan 12, 2007
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  9. Ericandcasey

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    I competly agree with biffer and bobby.Your in the middle of the cycle.
    How long is your tank? I would at go with the 36 inch 192 watts if at all possible Which is what I run on my 30gal.I do keep a bubble tip anemone,that is doing great.Hes been there for 2 months now.
    As far as the skimmer goes,, IMO its just as important as the tank itself.A good skimmer will do wonders for your tank.
     
    yote, Jan 12, 2007
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  10. Ericandcasey

    jhnrb

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    Well congratulations on your venture into the marine hobby. It seems you have had quite a robust start and sounds like you are having a blast. I assume you have secured some pretty good live rock which is helping to stablize the system. With the parameters you provided, watch for the nitrites to come down to 0 as well as the ammonia. As that happens your nitrates will probably start to climb. Try to keep nitrates below 20 PPM if possible by doing water changes and keeping your system topped off with fresh water for evaporation. Oh before I forget, get some Selcon and follow directions to add to your brine shrimp couple hours before feeding to the fish. This will "gut load" the brine with the needed vitamines and minerals that will help the fish. Strait brine is not very nutritional, the selcon will boost the nutrition level and greatly help the madarin as well as others. Welcome to the site, glad you found us. Keep us posted on your progress.
     
    jhnrb, Jan 12, 2007
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  11. Ericandcasey

    Ericandcasey

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    Hey Everyone. No offense but we aren't getting rid of our fish. Our tank water is back to ideal. We took our water and had a professional give us advice and he said that our system set up is ideal and fine. Getting a more powerful light is recommended but as of right now we are fine. It seems that a few people want us to get rid of our fish but that is not an option seeming that our water is ideal. We've done water changes and it's cycled quite a few times. I know we are newbies people but we are not unintelligent. Our current parementers are ph is 8.3 water salinity is 1.023 ammonia is 0 nitrates are 0 as well as nitrites I'm sure this is hard to believe for people but we are doing good. =) We apprecite all the help. Luv ya guys!
     
    Ericandcasey, Jan 12, 2007
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  12. Ericandcasey

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Okay, sounds good. Keep us updated. I just wanted to add that you say that your tank has cycled quite a few times... It's not supposed to do this, it's only supposed to cycle once. If your ammonia and nitrites spike whenever you add something new it means that the bacteria load cannot yet handle the increased waste from the new addition. That is why we recommend adding animals slowly, so that your tank does not cycle every time. Repeated cycles cause a lot of stress on the animals, and this can (and should) be avoided altogether. I don't think you're unintelligent, not at all. I don't think anyone has said that. It's just that a lot of people here have been through the same thing that you have, a lot of us have learned lessons the hard way, myself included (I lost a few fish in the beginning too, and I had the hardest time keeping, of all things, snails alive for some reason). We will try to help you along by sharing with you the lessons we've learned in the hopes that others can skip the mistakes that we've made. When I "joined" living reefs I had made a lot of mistakes, killed a lot of animals, and I learned a lot by hearing other people's experiences. That's why we're here, to share what we've learned, not to judge or criticize. Just to give advice. So I apologize if you go the impression that I was being hard on you. You're welcome to PM me if you want to talk more...
     
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    Bifferwine, Jan 12, 2007
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  13. Ericandcasey

    bobby I like to do bad things.

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    I'm very sorry if you got the impresstion that we thouht you unintelligent, believe me thats not what were going for, were just trying to help and avoid any possibale mistakes, and believe me no matter how smart anybody is there is probably going to be problems happen some time or another. So dont let that stop you from asking any questions, the only dumb one is the one not asked, and I've asked some pretty easy ones, but some times you just dont know. But then again thats what this hobby is about learning, learning, and some more learning.lol The reason your water is down to 0 again is probably from a mini cycle from adding something else.


    The anemone will need a stronger light, they live off of it, they have a form of algae in there body which needs light to grow if they dont get that light they will slowly die and if unoticed like bifferwine said it will compromise your whole tank and have a crash which can kill all of the life in the tank, so just keep a good eye on him.

    Like I said you dont absolutly need a skimmer but I know it will help alot. If you do decide to get one, before you buy it post the brand on here and somebody can tell you if its a good skimmer to buy, that way you dont waste your money on a junk one like I and many other hobbists have. I stared out with the seaclone and I'm here to tell you its the worst you can get, dos'nt want to work good for nothing, but thats just another lessoned learned for me. And thats what were here for to hopefully help someone not make the misstakes we have made. We'll good luck and keep us posted.
     
    bobby, Jan 12, 2007
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  14. Ericandcasey

    Ericandcasey

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    Thanks everyone..... we are getting new lighting today (friday 1/12). Look forward to reading alot of posts as we both have the weekend off. Will update when we get back tonight with the new light and also will take pics of our tank/fish.


    Thanks again
    Eric n Casey
     
    Ericandcasey, Jan 12, 2007
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  15. Ericandcasey

    bobby I like to do bad things.

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    Sounds good, cant wait to see the pics!!! I love pics.
     
    bobby, Jan 12, 2007
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  16. Ericandcasey

    jhnrb

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    Thanks for the update, parameters sound really good. New lights, good move, waiting for pic's. Have fun and keep us posted. Glad to have you as part of our community.
     
    jhnrb, Jan 13, 2007
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  17. Ericandcasey

    Ericandcasey

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    Bought a Coralife 2x65 24" Deluxe Series - Double Linear Strip..With.. 65Watt 10,000k Daylight and 65 Watt True Actinic 03 Blue. New owner friend of a local fish store said he had a couple protine skimmers they had made laying around his house unused and would let me use/have...... Pic's of set-up etc after we get back sat from the Baltimore Aquarium with Case's mom if anyone wanted to see will post them in our folder.... Hey also is there anywere (will look around later) to donate for the forum / site costs?

    Eric.....
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2007
    Ericandcasey, Jan 13, 2007
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  18. Ericandcasey

    Ericandcasey

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    Also 1 other question etc.... We have a ten gal tank also with no fish just a piece of live rock, would using that say to make / balance new water be an ok idea?
     
    Ericandcasey, Jan 13, 2007
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  19. Ericandcasey

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    You mean to mix your water in? It'd probably be easier to use a plastic bucket for that,easier to get the new water in your tank any way.
     
    yote, Jan 13, 2007
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  20. Ericandcasey

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Sounds good, can't wait to see pics.
     
    Bifferwine, Jan 13, 2007
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