New to SW, I Want a Reef Tank!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by istrahd, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. istrahd

    istrahd

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    I am about to bug bomb my house tomorrow. Thanks to my cat & kittens, I have fleas in my house. The cat & kittens have not been indoors for a week now & will remain outdoor animals.

    I am planning on using Saran Wrap to seal off my tank, box of dry rock & other equipment. Will this be sufficient to protect all of my gear, or will I have to wash everything with RODI water when my RODI gets here on Monday morning?

    If I have to wash everything, will rinsing or soaking in RODI be sufficient? I don't want to poison my tank & gear before I even fill it.

    Also, I would like to clean my tank before adding anything to it. No telling what has been growing in it since the previous owner drained it. What is the safest & most effective method of sterilizing it?

    Can I fill it with well water, add bleach (how much bleach for a 125g tank) to sterilize it? How much rinsing would be needed to remove the chlorine? I had been thinking of filling it with well water from my garden hose, adding bleach, scrubbing the glass, draining with a wet/dry shop vac then rinsing another time or two with well water, shop vac to drain, then lightly rinsing the tank with several gallons of RODI, shop vac to drain, then beginning to fill it with RODI and adding my salt, rock, etc to start the cycling process.


    As far as cleaning & sterilizing, I am thinking that since pure RODI would kill live rock & live sand, that sterilizing the tank probably won't be necessary since the RODI is about as sterile as you can get.


    Am I just adding too much work or would this be a good plan? Would simply saran wrapping the tank & equipment inside it be sufficient for setting off the bug bombs?


    Thanks again to everybody who has helped with all of my questions!!

    I am SO looking forward to filling my tank as soon as the RODI is installed and running! I will be adding a thread to the tank build forum when I get the ball rolling.
     
    istrahd, Jul 7, 2013
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  2. istrahd

    istrahd

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    Stupid question... What type of drill bit do you use to drill holes in Dry Rock & Live Rock? I don't want to use the putty & epoxy to permanently bond them. I am sure that I will want to Aquascape the tank as time goes by and my original plan will need to be changeable...
     
    istrahd, Jul 7, 2013
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  3. istrahd

    ErinCahir Sausage Wrangler

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    You should be fine with just saran wrap. And a 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar is sufficient to sterilize/clean your tank.
     
    ErinCahir, Jul 7, 2013
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  4. istrahd

    BL1 ............. Moderator

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    +1 Erin, as far as the drill bit I'd use a masonry bit for the rock.
     
    BL1, Jul 7, 2013
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  5. istrahd

    istrahd

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    Thanks Erin...

    I figured I was overthinking the whole process. I just wanted to get some input from people with experience in SW tanks.
     
    istrahd, Jul 7, 2013
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  6. istrahd

    istrahd

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    Okay. Thanks, Brian. That is what I had in mind. I just didn't want to shatter my rocks (they are far from cheap) or shatter a drill bit, Either way, flying pieces can be dangerous. I've got my safety glasses, face shield & gloves. I will probably get to work on aquascaping the rocks tomorrow during or after setting off the bug bombs. The fleas are driving me bonkers!!

    I will put all of my tank equipment inside the tank, saran wrap the snot out of it then set off the flea bombs.

    On another note...

    My RODI should be here Monday. I've been watching the UPS website's tracking system like a hawk. It has been sitting in Memphis, TN for a few days... If I lived closer, I would have just gone & picked it up. I am waiting impatiently for it. They could have delivered it on Friday. I'm not sure why it is sitting in the Memphis Hub... Frustrating to know it is so close, yet so far away. I should have paid the extra $30-40 for expedited shipping. If I had known UPS was going to let it sit for 3-4 days in their hub, I would have.
     
    istrahd, Jul 7, 2013
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  7. istrahd

    2XAl Salt Addict VIP Member

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    I had to flea bomb my house last year. I saran wrapped everything (they sell extra sticky heavy duty shipping style saran wrap at home depot) Then put a blanket on it. Make sure to do your sump if you have one too.
     
    2XAl, Jul 9, 2013
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  8. istrahd

    chichimom79 reef junkie

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    I have a question to add. How long can you/are you supposed to leave the tank wrapped? Doesn't it affect oxygen exchange?
     
    chichimom79, Jul 9, 2013
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  9. istrahd

    2XAl Salt Addict VIP Member

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    When I had mine done i hooked up an air pump right outside an exterior window with air tubing into the tank. That kept the tank positively pressurized relative to my house which also stopped any infiltration of flea bomb/spray. Didn't lose a thing (except for 13858273059 fleas thank god :bounce:)

    Edit: mine stayed wrapped in a blackout for 48 hours.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
    2XAl, Jul 9, 2013
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  10. istrahd

    istrahd

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    That's a good idea using an air pump outside to keep positive pressure inside the tank and keep the fog outside of it!

    Flea bombs didn't work so I got a bottle of commercial insecticide and mixed up a jug of it in one of those pump up garden sprayers... Still not completely rid of them, as their eggs are water-tight and impervious to the sprays & foggers. I also bought a bottle of Insect Growth Retardant which helps to break their breeding cycles. :^:

    My house will be flea free soon, lol...
     
    istrahd, Jul 12, 2013
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  11. istrahd

    istrahd

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    Okay, now that I am done with fogging the house and anything else stopping me from filling my tank, I am running into a problem...

    I washed my Dry Rock in the bathtub with the Hand-Held Shower Spray head that has a hose on it so I could rinse them really well. I spent about 5 minutes spraying each rock from all angles.

    I used warm to hot water to rinse them off. I had a ton of fine powder & debris in the bottom of the tub when I was done...

    Now that I have them Aquascaped in my tank and have the RODI filling the tank, my water is getting very cloudy from the fine powder that the rocks put out just like what was in the bottom of the tub after washing them.

    Will this clear up when I add my salt & sand or should I stop filling the tank, and soak the rocks in the tub? What do I do?

    Please Help. It will take my 75 gallon per day RODI 2 days to make enough water to fill the tank. I don't want to waste 2 days filling it up, then have to drain it, then rewash my rocks, then refill my tank.

    My RODI is putting out absolutely crystal pure water with 0ppm TDS. The water didn't get cloudy until it got about 2-3 inches up on the rocks. I can see fine chunks of rock on the bottom of the tank under the rocks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2013
    istrahd, Jul 12, 2013
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  12. istrahd

    Greenman

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    give it a day or 2 it'll clear up. If you want get a cheap filter with a carbon pack to clear it up quicker.
     
    Greenman, Jul 12, 2013
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  13. istrahd

    istrahd

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    My tank was looking wonderful! I finally had my spikes of Ammonia, Nitrates & Nitrites. I am doing a water change now. If all of my levels are good tomorrow morning, I will add my CUC & a pair of clowns.

    Wish me luck!

    Thank You All for your help & advice! You have been invaluable to me in getting started. I condensed as much of your advice & answers to questions into a thread for noobs in the New to Reefing forum. Check it out and add any helpful you can. Who knows? It may save you from having to answer all of the same questions over & over again. I just wanted to give something back to the community that has helped me so much.

    This is the link to the thread...

    https://www.livingreefs.com/few-things-everyone-new-sw-tanks-should-know-t47745.html
     
    istrahd, Jul 23, 2013
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  14. istrahd

    salt_for_brains Alabama Reefer VIP Member

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    Good luck! It is so awesome when you get to look at more than rocks:D
     
    salt_for_brains, Jul 23, 2013
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  15. istrahd

    istrahd

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    Thanks... Yeah, it's been killing me waiting to get some critters!

    I've been watching an empty tank for too long...

    I am brewing up a batch of SaltWater right now. My Nitrites were high so I am doing a big water change to bring them down. I have to wait on my RODI to produce enough water to refill the DT & Sump. I only had enough mixed up for a 15 gallon change and it didn't bring the Nitrites down all the way so I took another 15 gallons out of the DT and drained 2/3 of my sump as well. I didn't have anything in the sump except the return pump.

    All together, it will be around a 35-40 gallon change. About a 30% water change. That ought to be enough to knock the Nitrates & Nitrites to 0ppm.

    I had 2 table shrimp in the tank and let them completely dissolve, so it pushed my Nitrates & Nitrites kind of high. At least I should have a good start on my bacteria in my Dry Rock.

    If all is good by tomorrow morning I will FINALLY get to buy some tank critters. I would go later today but I want to make sure my water gets a good mix of the fresh saltwater with what is in the tank atm... Plus my LFS gets its' deliveries on Tuesday afternoons, so no point in going today... I will have a better selection of Dry Rock tomorrow than I would today. I bought them out on Dry Rock last week. I am going to put some Dry Rock and Chaeto in the sump when I go to the LFS

    I am SOOOO looking forward to having some critters in the tank!I am going to get some snails, a crab or two and my two black clowns if they are still there.

    Would it be to soon to get a couple of soft corals for the clowns to host? If it would be okay to add soft corals now, what would be best for the clowns to host?

    I know my tank needs to mature quite a bit more for an anemone. From what I've read, I should wait a minimum of 6 months before buying an anemone (Besides, I am worried about an anemone dying and nuking my tank!) If I can get the clowns to host Soft Corals, I may not bother with an anemone in the future.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013
    istrahd, Jul 23, 2013
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  16. istrahd

    salt_for_brains Alabama Reefer VIP Member

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    I would of waited on the nitrites to come down to zero and then some water changes to get the nitrates down. You will still be ok but I like it all converted to nitrates to complete the cycle.

    Get the nitrates down as close to zero as possible and then go with a cleanup crew. A couple of clowns should be fine but I would hold off on corals for few weeks after adding this stock to give your tank some time to adjust. If your parameters stay in check then add a few softies.

    I would definitely wait on an anemone. Give yourself and your tank more time to mature. Stability in your water parameters is crucial for success with anemones. Remember #2 on your list ------ Nothing good happens fast in this hobby.
     
    salt_for_brains, Jul 23, 2013
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  17. istrahd

    chichimom79 reef junkie

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    If you are seeing nitrites, your cycle is not complete. Nitrates is the end product of the cycle. If you are reading any nitrites at all, do not add live critters.
     
    chichimom79, Jul 23, 2013
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  18. istrahd

    istrahd

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    I will give it a couple more days to balance out then... I don't want to kill any critters.

    I don't remember which thread or even which forum at this point I have been all over this site... I read somewhere that once Nitrates drop off to do a water change to get rid of the remaining Nitrites.

    Have I screwed up the whole cycling process by doing this water change or will it continue cycling?
    :frustrat::frustrat::frustrat::frustrat:

    I just asked in the fish forum but will ask here as well, can anyone tell me a few different types of Soft Corals that the Clowns will host and any special feeding/dosing I need to do for those corals. (I will read up on them after I have the names of a few that Clowns will host). I need as many suggestions as possible so I can find something my LFS has.

    It's not laziness on research, it's just that there are SO many types of corals, I don't know where to begin. Knowing which ones Clowns will host will give me a starting point for researching corals. No point in learning the needs of species I won't be buying any time soon, lol.

    I don't trust my LFS enough yet to just buy what they recommend, as I know they want to make a sale and couldn't care less whether the clowns like it or not...
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013
    istrahd, Jul 23, 2013
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  19. istrahd

    istrahd

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    After re-reading your post, it looks like I had it backwards... My Nitrates had dropped to 0.25-0.5 (Hard to tell on the API Color charts(I need to buy a digital test kit)) But my Nitrites were still high... Nitrate/Nitrite - Not too hard to get them backwards... Lack of Sleep + Pain Meds = Oops...

    I've waited this long, I can wait a little longer to see if the tank continues it's cycle or if I need to start it all over again... Hopefully Not!

    I am going to TRY to go to sleep... My sleep cycle has always been screwy, I go to bed about the time the sun comes up. I've been up since Sunday Evening... Instead of going to bed yesterday morning, I had to replace my water heater then was up all night last night... I'm 5+ hours overdue for going to sleep today, let alone missing sleep all day yesterday.
     
    istrahd, Jul 23, 2013
    #59
  20. istrahd

    istrahd

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    Ughhh... My Nitrites are STILL holding at 1.0ppm... Apparently its going to be LONG cycle...

    Would the 1ppm Nitrite damage the beneficial bacteria in Live Rock if I were to purchase some and add to the tank?

    I have been thinking about adding more Dry Rock anyhow.after adding the sand to the tank, it really looks like I need about twice the rock I have in it. Right now I have 125 pounds of rock to 125 gallons 1:1 Ratio. I was thinking about going 2:1 and making part of that Live Rock to seed the Dry Rock and hopefully help the tank finish its' cycle.

    If I do purchase Live Rock, I was planning on putting it in a cooler IMMEDIATELY as it came out of the tank at the LFS into a cooler or plastic tub filled with water from the LFS tank that holds their Live Rock to prevent Die Off and Restarting the cycle in my tank.

    My Tank parameters:
    Nitrites 1.0ppm
    Nitrates 1.5 - 2.5ppm (again, hard to tell by color charts
    Ammonia 0ppm
    pH 8.2
    SG 1.0235
    Water Temp 80F
    Water Movement - 1000GPH HOB Overflow with Mag 9.5 Sump Return pump and a 1250GPH Hydor Koralia Powerhead.
    125 pounds of Dry Rock
    120 pounds of Aragonite Dry Sand
    Tank Lights are Off. There is Sunlight filtering in during the day through a curtain behind the tank. Otherwise Ambient Room Lighting during the night

    I went out of town for 6 days and when I got home my water temp was 90F. I had the house closed off and the AC & Attic Fans shut down. so it was roasting in here even at 11pm when I got in on the night I came home.

    Anyhow, I figured it is taking my tank so long to cycle because I am starting with Dry Sand & Dry Rock with no Live Rock at all. I know its the bacteria in the Live Rock that does most of the filtration in an SW tank.

    So would it be a good idea to add 100 pounds of Dry Rock and say, 25 pounds of Live Rock to get the Nitrites converted to Nitrates or say 75# of Dry Rock & 50# of Live Rock? The Dry Rock is $3.50-4.50 per # and Live Rock is $7 per # so the less I need to seed the Dry Rock, the better. As I said, if you guys think this might be a good idea to help my tank complete its' cycle, I will transport the Live Rock in water from the tank the LFS uses to grow their Live Rock. I've read that Live Rock will start to die-off almost immediately when removed from water and may cause a new cycle or mini-cycle if out of water for more than a few seconds.

    I have a 3 chamber 30 or 40 gallon sump, I can't remember off the top of my head atm. I am going to put a Reef Octopus Protein Skimmer in the first chamber and either Aragonite Sand or Dry/Live Rock in the middle chamber to grow Chaeto MacroAlgae in. My LFS sells these packages that look like a giant Capri Sun pouch with Copepods in them. They told me that I should add the Copepods to my senter chamber on the sump. I don't trust ANY salesman... Should the Copepods be added to the middle chamber of the sump with the Chaeto bacteria? If so, are they small enough to go through the sponge-like black filtration pad between the 2nd & 3rd chamber and the same black sponge-like filtration pad around the sump return pumps water inlet? will the Copepods survive the trip through the sump pump's impellers? I have no idea how small the copepods actually are! (or should the copepods be added directly to the main Display Tank?)
     
    istrahd, Aug 14, 2013
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