New... From DC area

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Bashbro, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. Bashbro

    Bashbro

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    Hello there...

    I am fairly new to the whole aquarium thing but I am the kinda person that once i think of a project i HAVE TO FINISH. well.. I just moved into a new apt and bought a new tv and decided to build a tv stand myself to save money. Then i decided to make a custom stand that wraps around the walls of the apt. Then i decided "wow that would be awesome to have a fish tank there" and well... I went from looking at 100 dollar craigslist goldfish tanks to a full blown saltwater tank. so much for saving money and building my own tv stand right?! in any case... I love fish and underwater creatures. I am a master scuba diver and have been diving for years so this was right up my alley. Finally got the stand built, bought the tank, setup the water, added 1 clown and 2 damsels. 50 lbs of dry rock and 5 blue legged hermits. tank has been running for about 2 weeks now.

    Setup:
    -55 gal tank
    -eshopps 75 sump with overflow
    -eschopps 75 protein skimmer
    - Solar Xtreme 4x54W 48" T5HO w/ 8 moonlights - freaking AWESOME!
    -have a heater in the tank but so far the water is already running at the warm end of the "safe" zone in the thermometer so its not on... just giving the damsels a place to hide.

    In any case... follow the link below to see pics of the tv stand and tank setup. The cabinet that i built that houses the tank has a top on it but it hinges up so i can get to the tank. Also the doors on the sides both hinge open to get to the sump and the side/rear of the tank. The tricky part was getting the water to flow from the overflow to the sump with the tank/sump being almost at the same level. Once i started the syphone the water started flowing and i havent had a problem since. Only issue is that the intake tube into the sump is sort of short and is making the top crooked. I used some duct tape to keep it straighter. I will eventually get a longer tube and some tube clamps to make it look prettier. but it works for now.

    Goals: Have an awesome tank! looking to add some fun creatures first... shrimp? starfish? a flame angel? Spiny urchin (seen a ton of these scuba diving). Then i would definately like to go reef one day and get some cool corals. I want to start with some little frags eventually (soon...?).

    In any case... i read through the forums every day. thanks for all the helps/tips/tricks
    Picasa Web Albums - Josh Epstein - Fish Tank
     
    Bashbro, Jul 27, 2010
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  2. Bashbro

    bjohanson1234 .........

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    Sounds like you jumped in with both feet:mrgreen:

    I would slow down a bit and let the tank cycle. 2 weeks generally isnt long enough for a tank to build up the bacteria that break down fish waste.

    Get yourself a test kit and check for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Ammonia and nitrite are highly toxic to fish and inverts. The ammonia will spike first and then the nitrites. Once those go down to 0, your tank is cycled and safe for fish. Nitrates are the end product of the cycle and are not toxic in low amounts(you usually want to stay under 20 ppm) . You keep these low by doing regular water changes.

    You also want to aim for around 1-2 pounds of rock per gallon of water. So between 50-100 total in your 55 gallon tank would be good. It is a natural filtration method that houses tons of beneficial bacteria to break down waste and it will provide hiding places for your creatures.

    You can save a lot of money by buying dry base rock and then seeding it with a few pieces of live rock

    I am sure I missed some things, but others will fill you in.

    Best advice any one can give is this
    "Only disasters happen fast"
     
    bjohanson1234, Jul 27, 2010
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  3. Bashbro

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Nice setup and welcome to the site! If you're near Herndon, check out Marine Scene for saltwater stuff (marinescene.com), or if you're further south, there's Aquatic Obsession in Manassass (but they're only open weekends this summer).

    DAMN BJ ninja'd me

    You really should have let the tank cycle though before adding fish and crabs. Plus you should ditch the bioballs (unless you plan on maintaining them regularly by rinsing them in the water you siphon out during water changes). Hopefully you also have a test kit and a refractometer to test your salinity. Good luck with them damsels....hehehehe.....they'll terrorize your fish!
     
    wontonflip, Jul 27, 2010
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  4. Bashbro

    Bashbro

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    thanks for the advice! i know that i have to take my time but the guy who owns the LFS (litereally half a mile down the street all specialized in saltwater fish) seems overly confident with this thing. I was expecting to wait about a month before adding fish but he convinced me that with brand new water and all brand new equipment with no live rock right off the bat that I could throw some hearty fish in and enjoy while its cycling. I have read a lot about cycling a tank and i am prepared to wait at least a little while from now before getting to any of those... goals.

    btw- getting some more rock and seeding with a piece of live rock is on the to-do list
     
    Bashbro, Jul 27, 2010
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  5. Bashbro

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    The more humane thing to do is a fishless cycle so you don't put your fish through unnecessary harm. What happens in a cycle is as poop (or uneaten food or dead things) breaks down, it turns into ammonia. If your tank doesn't have the bacteria to convert the amonia into nitrites, and the bacteria to convert the nitrites to nitrates, your tank will pretty much become poisonous. Hopefully the fish will survive. A fishless cycle involves tossing food in there, letting it rot, and then your tank will get the bacterias necessary to keep the ammonia and nitrites down.

    EDIT: OH, and if you were to do as BJ said and buy a couple of big pieces of live rock, it will seed the existing base rock with the bacteria ("live rock" already has the bacteria), essentially keeping your ammonia and nitrites in check .... but even this doesn't guarantee that you won't have a cycle because if you leave the live rock out too long, the bacteria will die off and cause a cycle anyway.

    Patience and research :) Many have avoided disasters by asking people who are NOT your LFS.
     
    wontonflip, Jul 27, 2010
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  6. Bashbro

    Bashbro

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    i have been debating the bioballs. My LFS guy says that i should keep them for now until i get into a reef tank. I hear good things and bad things. For now... my thinking is that since im trying to grow the bacteria and since i dont have too much rock that the bio balls will help with that.

    and btw- i like the damsels. they keep things interesting but the clown seems to be the real head honcho in the tank so far.
     
    Bashbro, Jul 27, 2010
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  7. Bashbro

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    The bacteria will grow and thrive on your rocks and sand. When they start growing on the bioballs, and you take them out, you will have another tank cycle because your tank will no longer be able to handle the bioload, and will need to compensate by attracting more bacteria from the air to grow on the sand and rocks. It's best to remove them now, unless, like I said, you plan on being dilligent about doing partial rinses in your tank- water changes. Otherwise you're asking for a nitrate spike if you don't rinse them. They work fine....IF You maintain them. It doesn't matter if you go reef or not, bioballs really are not necessary in a saltwater tank.

    Do you have a test kit? If not, get one.
     
    wontonflip, Jul 27, 2010
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  8. Bashbro

    Toolman RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH

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    Good luck dude I'll keep my fingers crossed for your success
     
    Toolman, Jul 27, 2010
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  9. Bashbro

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    Welcome to the site and the hobby.
    Not trying to be an ass.But it sounds like you've got yourself one of those LFSs that will do or say anything to make a sale.
    +1 Bj and Wonton.

    BTW
    You got a great start there.Looks good.
     
    yote, Jul 27, 2010
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  10. Bashbro

    ggNoRe

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    Welcome to the site and hobby! :mrgreen:

    That is one really cool setup. I started the same way as started to look for a cheap run of the mill fishtank, now I got a full reef.

    +2 BJ and Wonton

    Chunk the bioballs, fishless cycle, get some test kits. Research, research, research. It's fun and really pays off. When you have a full understanding of the science behind a reef tank it no longer becomes a matter of opinion and you don't have to worry about taking anyones word for anything. I can't count on two hands how many times a LFS employee gave me bad advice. Not to say that they are all crooks just that many haven't even done the research for themselves and are basically just assuming things from their experiences. I bought one of my first corals that I was told was GSP turned out to be a Galaxea that has 6 inch long tentacles that give off a very powerful sting. Lol
     
    ggNoRe, Jul 27, 2010
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  11. Bashbro

    bjohanson1234 .........

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    Also, I just was looking through your pics. Noticed you had a fan set up behind the tank in the cabinet, but are there any vents back there? I didnt notice. Light fixtures can put off alot of heat. That heat will need to get out of the cabinet some how. Otherwise you will be having trouble with the temps being too high and then swinging too much when the lights go off.
     
    bjohanson1234, Jul 27, 2010
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  12. Bashbro

    reeffreak

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    Welcome to the site!

    Cool,now the fish can watch you play Halo.
     
    reeffreak, Jul 27, 2010
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  13. Bashbro

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Hello and welcome to the site!
     
    Bifferwine, Jul 27, 2010
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  14. Bashbro

    Smitty

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    Hello and welcome to the site. :)
     
    Smitty, Jul 27, 2010
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  15. Bashbro

    sen5241b

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    Welcome. Living reefs is great site but you may also wish to check out wamas.org. If you join them you get a 10% discount on livestock at most fish stores in the DC area.

    1+ wontonflip. Marine Scene is a dedicated marine aquarium store and the best around. I was just there last Saturday getting some great corals.
     
    sen5241b, Jul 27, 2010
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  16. Bashbro

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    I got my Foxface and Lawnmower Blenny there :)
     
    wontonflip, Jul 27, 2010
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  17. Bashbro

    dcantucson

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    Welcome to the forum.
     
    dcantucson, Jul 27, 2010
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  18. Bashbro

    pheasant29

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    Very nice!! Welcome aboard.
     
    pheasant29, Jul 27, 2010
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