Setting up my first saltwater tank!!!!! Few specific questions

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by jakeottoson8, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. jakeottoson8

    jakeottoson8

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    Hey guys, new here and new to saltwater tanks. Basically the scoop is I've always wanted a saltwater tank. My uncle has a couple in his house and I think they're the most interesting things. But my parents would never let me get one, FINALLY I'm in my own apartment and I've decided for what I can afford at the local petstore by my college is a 10 gallon starter kit tank.

    So I've gotten back, set it all up, filter running, got the aquarium salt, sand, and pieces(rock) in the tank. I plan on letting the tank adjust for 48 hours before I go out and buy the living specimen to put in it, so I've got a few important questions...

    1.) I'm looking at some small fish that get no more than 2-3" full size. Neat little fish, real colorful. Clown Fish is the only one I know the name of, but theres more around that side. How many can I fit? Reminder that it's a 10gallon tank, my guess is max 2 or 3? but wanted to check with you guys, the pet store guy wasn't on top of his game.

    2.) After we decide what the max number of fish I can get are, I wanna move onto putting some anemone in. How much/many of those can I get? Or what about coral?

    3.) Lastly for the living stuff. Would also putting in a starfish infringe upon the space requirement for the small fish I want?


    Thanks a bunch for those that can help me. I want to have the right stuff for my new fish. :sfish: :bounce:
     
    jakeottoson8, Jun 3, 2010
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  2. jakeottoson8

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Hello and welcome!

    First off, you have to wait until your tank cycles before you add ANY living animals. Saltwater is not like freshwater. It will take several weeks before your aquarium is hospitable enough for animals. If you add animals before your tank has finished cycling, they will probably die.

    Are you familiar with the nitrogen cycle? You will need test kits to know when your tank has finished cycling.

    Did you use live rock? If so, that will be enough to start the cycle on its own. If not, you can add some fish food to the tank and let it rot. That will kick off the cycle as well. After that, the average cycle takes 4 to 8 weeks to finish. During that time, ammonia and nitrite will jump. Both of those are extremely toxic to fish and inverts so you don't want to add any animals while the tank is cycling.

    In a 10 gallon tank, you will be limited to 1 or 2 small fish. Maybe 3 if you choose correctly. If you decide to get a pair of clowns, they must be the same species or they will most likely fight to the death. Gobies or firefish would also be suitable for a 10 gallon tank. Here is a good webpage for fish you'd be able to keep:

    Nano Fish

    Next, anemones are some of the most difficult animals to keep in this hobby. They usually don't survive in A) small tanks, B) tanks that have been set up for less than a year, and C) tanks that don't have really strong lighting. What kind of lighting did you buy? If you don't know and if you didn't spend hundreds of dollars on it, then I will bet that it's not strong enough to keep an anemone. Plus, when anemones get sick or die, they tend to kill everything else in the tank with them because they are so toxic.

    Your better option is to stick with easy, low light corals. Mushrooms, zoanthids and softies like leathers can all be kept really easily. But even for those, you will need special lights. If you are using a stock fluorescent strip light, then you won't be able to keep anything but fish.

    A starfish would be a good choice for a 10 gallon tank, but you'd have to stick with a small one. Brittle stars and serpent stars would work okay.
     
    Bifferwine, Jun 3, 2010
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  3. jakeottoson8

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Also, check out the "Articles" tab up top ;)

    Do you have your heater, powerhead, hydrometer/refractometer and thermometer ready to go as well?
     
    Bifferwine, Jun 3, 2010
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  4. jakeottoson8

    puttycat

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    don't forget RO/DI water, don't use tap water you will have big algae.
    Do lots of research before you buy and don't believe much of what the LFS tells you.
    good luck its a pretty fun hobby
     
    puttycat, Jun 3, 2010
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  5. jakeottoson8

    jakeottoson8

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    I've got a hyrdometer and it's reading that the salt levels are correct(theres a pin in the zone it says it needs to be)... also I've got two 25W flourescent bulbs. The lid doesn't fit the pole lights, just to lights pointing away from one another.

    I've also got a thermometer reading the temperature.

    Lastly is RO/DI water distilled water ? Isn't that the same as letting the water sit for a couple of days?

    Thanks for the quick replies, really helpful.
     
    jakeottoson8, Jun 3, 2010
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  6. jakeottoson8

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    RODI stands for Reverse Osmosis DeIonized water. It's not the same thing as letting the water sit. RODI is a specific filtration process that removes almost all the impurities in water. Distilled is another type of pure water that you can use for the tank. But do not use tap water. Tap water contains nitrates, phosphates and heavy metals. Nitrates and phosphates fuel algae growth and and can be fatal to inverts. Heavy metals are fatal to inverts even in very small amounts. If you start your tank off with tap water, it sets you down a bad path that takes a lot of time and effort to correct!
     
    Bifferwine, Jun 3, 2010
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  7. jakeottoson8

    VAreef

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    For such a small tank I would just buy a few gallons of distilled water per week at your grocery store. Use one just to top off for evaporation and the other to mix with salt to do your weekly water changes.
     
    VAreef, Jun 3, 2010
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  8. jakeottoson8

    mikewurtz FOWLR Power! VIP Member

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    Good luck. Remember above all else . . . patience and research ( in VERY heavy amounts ) are the keys to success in SW fish keeping.
     
    mikewurtz, Jun 3, 2010
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  9. jakeottoson8

    jakeottoson8

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    Thanks guys. Last question, how many lb of aquarium salt should I add per gallon? A set number or just til the hydrometer reads it in the right "zone"?


    Thanks a bunch.
     
    jakeottoson8, Jun 3, 2010
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  10. jakeottoson8

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    It will vary by salt. Usually it's 1/2 cup per gallon. You will need to verify this with your hydrometer, though. You will also need to let the newly made saltwater sit for about 24 hours after you add the salt and mix it in. It will take that long for the salinity to stabilize and the salt to fully dissolve.
     
    Bifferwine, Jun 3, 2010
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  11. jakeottoson8

    Smitty

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    Hello and welcome to the site...glad to have you! Biff and everyone else has you covered. :)
     
    Smitty, Jun 3, 2010
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  12. jakeottoson8

    PRC Stop Quoting Me!

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    PRC, Jun 3, 2010
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  13. jakeottoson8

    coolhandgoose

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    Hi, welcome to the site, what kind of salt are you using?
    +1 everyone for the RO/DI water.
     
    coolhandgoose, Jun 3, 2010
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  14. jakeottoson8

    jakeottoson8

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    I don't remember what type, I tossed the box after I put it in the water and let the salidity reach the right level. But it was some generic aquarium salt from the LFS for like 7.99.

    I had another question....

    Where should I shop online for aquarium stuff? I wanna get a new lid for my 10 gallon that can do fluorescent tube(s?) instead of bulbs. The LFS has a 10g lid for like 40 bucks without the fluourescent tubes. Can I do better by buying online?
     
    jakeottoson8, Jun 3, 2010
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  15. jakeottoson8

    ggNoRe

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    Marinedepot.com is a great site to buy aquarium stuff. You most likely can find anything online cheaper than what your LFS will be selling it for but then you have to add in shipping costs plus you have to wait for it to be delivered.
     
    ggNoRe, Jun 3, 2010
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  16. jakeottoson8

    dcantucson

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  17. jakeottoson8

    jakeottoson8

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    I've looked at both of the sites.. I'm having trouble finding just the hood that I'd place the fluourescent tube in... sorry for the hassle ...
     
    jakeottoson8, Jun 3, 2010
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  18. jakeottoson8

    jakeottoson8

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    jakeottoson8, Jun 3, 2010
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  19. jakeottoson8

    ggNoRe

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    With only 13Watts the corals you can keep will be extremely limited.
     
    ggNoRe, Jun 3, 2010
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  20. jakeottoson8

    jakeottoson8

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    I found and ordered a diff. hood that comes with a 25W fluorescent tube so nevermind on that one. I'm also thinking about ordering a small 8-10lb live rock. When could that go in? (Seeing as I've starting to let the tank cycling about 24hrs ago.
     
    jakeottoson8, Jun 3, 2010
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