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Author Topic: Saltwater tank being thrown into my hands  (Read 7246 times)
Dylan
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Tanks: 10g shrimp tank, 29g community, and 46g bowfront currently being stocked
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« on: February 01, 2014, 01:02:12 PM »

Hello all, i think many of you know my step father has a pitiful 55g bow front SW tank that he doesn't do a good job of taking care of. He has bumped up to a few WC's a year now. :/ And the RO filter hasn't been replaced in over 5 years. But anyways, thats besides the point. He has asked me to take it over and do it right. I have done a fair amount of research on SW but still don't feel prepared. I have tried and tried to get him to let me do it freshwater but he won't budge. Ive even considered just taking down the tank being i have no experience with SW, but theres no way he would let me do that.  I would rather do it FW but i figure its better if i try my best at SW than to leave him alone without a clue about it. Ive tried teaching him little bits about the hobby here and there and he seems to be catching on. 

So far i know i will need a new light (He wants a reef) and a tank to mix SW in. I plan on getting an aqua traders Metal halide fixture (346w) and putting maybe a 29g in our cats litter closet fork mixing. Ive looked into quite a few testing kits and I've found i like the Red Sea SW kits the best. I planned on getting a refractometer as well. He has a decent sump with a protein skimmer in it, a filter sock for mechanical filtration, but no biological. So, i could add bio balls but i wasn't sure if the live rock is enough bio filtration or notů Im not sure how many lbs he has in the tank. Ive also looked into getting a reactor and running GFO but I'm just not sure if thats a necessity for SW tanks. Same goes with dosing kalkwasser.

Currently have no idea what i want to do on stock, but thats the last thing on my mind. Im just trying to get this thing in better shape before i even think about livestock. Heck, theres still fish carcasses in that tank that he never even bothered to get out when they died. all thats left in there is a little clown fish.

So, i know there aren't many SW experts on the site, but if anyone has any advice on this, please let me know. Sorry for the long post.

Thanks,
Dylan.
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aquariums are my only medication wishin\' my condition ain\'t ever gonna go away.
moonbunny
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2014, 06:38:11 PM »

I'm glad to hear the SW tank is finally into your capable and caring hands goldfish
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russ
Whoa. Where did I put all my stuff?
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I know where rasaqua's stuff is.....


« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2014, 10:00:04 PM »

Dylan,

No need to apologize for your post. A single reply on how to set up a reef aquarium and maintain it may not be practical. We do have marine folks on board. If you can ask specific questions, it may be easier to answer. Need a few details on your stepfather's st up. Specifically, what is the set up-type sump, pump, protein skimmer, current lighting system, etc.. Why a refractometer?

If I had to sum up a single recommendation, it would be discipline ( and super protein skimmer)  Wink
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"For every difficult question, there is an answer that is clear and simple and wrong."
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Belinda
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2014, 10:32:46 PM »

There is a lot more to learn about keeping saltwater tanks than with freshwater .. The chemistry is a bit more complicated . 
I don't know how much reading you have done on on this .. It sounds like you have done a little bit...you will be needing to do a lot more .
The first thing to learn is patience .. make changes slowly, sudden changes have a far greater impact with salt that with freshwater.

A quick answer to you filtration question .. You don't need bioballs .. the live rock  is doing the biological filtration. Or more correctly put all the microscopic life in the rock.
You care for that live rock the same way you care for any of living inhabitants ( fish) ( invertebrates) in that tank .that's why it's called live rock. Keep it wet, warm and water flowing over/ through it.

Water... you do need to do regular water changes 1/3 every 7 to 14 days should be fine with low stocking levels.. you do not need a tank to make saltwater in ..you can use any food safe container to mix your saltwater in.. a lid on that container comes in handy to keep dust and contaminants out of the water . I myself use a Rubbermaid garbage can with a lid .. you will need a heater and a small powerhead in the container to heat and mix the solution . I keep mine in a closet as well. Let the water and salt mix and come up to tank temp. for a day before using it .. there are a few chemical changes happen over he first 24 hours of mixing.  PH stabilizing etc.

You will need a hydrometer and or refractometer to measure salinity and specific gravity. Start with the hydrometer .
First thing to check will be the salinity level in the tank .. Mix your saltwater to match that as close as you can.

What water to use.. If you can start with RO water . either get new cartridges for the RO unit or go out and buy RO water. You can get it in 5 gallon containers from a local bottled water supply store .  Right now I am paying 20 cents a gallon for RO water as an example.

The other equipment .. take care of that protein skimmer .. Clean it out regularly and check to see if it is running properly.. it will remove a lot of unwanted elements in your tank before it even has a chance to break down into ammonia forming compounds. I clean mine out and adjust the flow daily.

Those lights .. totally unnecessary ....unless you are running a reef tank .. in a FOWLF (Fish Only With Live Rock) they will only cause heat and algae issues .
 If in the future you do move on to reef then would be the time to invest in reef lighting . And now there are some decent LED fixtures that are suitable for reefs . No excess heat that requires fans  and much cheaper to run.
The other equipment . reactors etc .. not necessary .. in the future with at least a year's experience with all the nuances of saltwater keeping then you could think about them ..
They are more suited to experienced reefkeepeing .

Now for the present and you immediate tasks .. get the dead matter out of the tank . do a small water change and read read read.

There are many good books out there read as many as you can..

Here's a link to a very long  discussion with a ton of info in it ..read all the links as well. it is geared to reefkeepers..who can be perfectionists .. I found it very informative.
http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f6/reefkeeping-made-easy-what-was-not-explained-160389.html

Oh...I almost forgot ....congrats!  happy




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It took 7 days for God to create this world...
So how long will it take for me to create the perfect tank???
Dylan
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2014, 04:15:27 PM »

Russ, As far as sump setup, it has a filter sock (I believe 4 inch), the skimmer is a excalibur. i can't find an exact name or model. Ill have to get back to you on the pump. but it may be a mag-drive.  lighting is a power compact 130 watt fixture. The tank, being a bow front, only supports a 24 inch fixture. As for the refractometer, I've heard that they are much better for reef keeping than a hydrometer.

Belinda, i planned on getting new cartridges for the RO. and as far as the lights


So far i know i will need a new light (He wants a reef)

that link is pretty good so far, and thank you!
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aquariums are my only medication wishin\' my condition ain\'t ever gonna go away.
Belinda
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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2014, 09:37:44 PM »

Your welcome Dylan. I hope it helps you. I found it explained a lot of the little things.

You have a pretty decent skimmer from what I have read about that make .
I did a quick on line search regarding the lighting fixture you were thinking of .. there are better lights out there for the same money.

It will take time for your tank to balance itself out so that you can do the transition to reef. Take your time and research all you can before taking that step . I think that after you finish going through that link I gave you you will understand what I mean .  happy





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It took 7 days for God to create this world...
So how long will it take for me to create the perfect tank???
GB
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2014, 11:23:43 PM »

+1 to Belinda's comments!

1) Get dead stuff out of the tank. Clean off algae (if any) as you would a FW tank.
2) Start water changes. I do 10-15% per week.
3) Test your water. I use the API, but i guess the Red Sea would be fine. You want to make sure your tank is cycled (same rules as FW), make sure your pH is a bit higher than 8 and your CA is 420+ ppm
4) Test salinity with a refractometer -- NOT a hydrometer(they are useless)
5) Add lighting. Think LED -- cheaper in the long run, as you don't replace bulbs.
6) Look for a good LFS -- can be very worthwhile.
7) Go very s-l-o-w about adding anything. Nothing good ever happens quickly in a tak.
8) When your tank is cleaned up and stable, ad a cleanup crew -- snails, (small) hermit crabs.
9) Try some beginner corals -- mushrooms, xenia, a leather.

Good luck and ENJOY -- SW is so fun!

GBose
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Dylan
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2014, 04:57:05 PM »

sorry for the late reply. Thanks for all the help everyone!

Dylan
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aquariums are my only medication wishin\' my condition ain\'t ever gonna go away.
Belinda
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2014, 08:30:48 PM »

How are things going with the tank????
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It took 7 days for God to create this world...
So how long will it take for me to create the perfect tank???
Dylan
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Gender: Male
Tanks: 10g shrimp tank, 29g community, and 46g bowfront currently being stocked
Posts: 361



« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2014, 12:34:43 PM »

OMG im so sorry I didn't reply!  For whatever reason, I'd thought I replied and I just now came back on to check the thread. oops!  blush Anyways, no progress :/ My step dad is somewhat of a procrastinator. lol. So he comes up to me the other day, and after all of this, you know what he says? "Well... what oif I just did it freshwater." I guess I just planted that seed a while back and it just sprouted! lol. but then, he says " that way I would only do water changes every 6 months or so." Let me tell you, I about had a heart attack!

I told him, " if youre going to do freshwater, I will do your waterchanges for you ONCE A WEEK." Then he tells me he wouldn't want them done that often.. ughhh this is driving me crazy! So Ill just have to wait and see what happens. Worst case, he does FW and I can sneak waterchanges in on the weekend when he isn't home. lol.

So im trying to either convince him to do SW and let me take over the tank, or do FW, and let me... umm, secretly take over the tank! lol. Ill try to keep you all updated as things happen. Thanks!
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aquariums are my only medication wishin\' my condition ain\'t ever gonna go away.
Belinda
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Gender: Female
Tanks: 90 gallon,2x75 gallon,55 gallon, 2x50 gallon; and shall we say a few more.. always growing always changing.
Posts: 5,563



« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2014, 09:50:11 PM »

 i_give_up That must be real frustrating for you ..
I like your way of thinking as far as dealing with the water changes. ..
Good luck with whatever happens.
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It took 7 days for God to create this world...
So how long will it take for me to create the perfect tank???
Dylan
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Gender: Male
Tanks: 10g shrimp tank, 29g community, and 46g bowfront currently being stocked
Posts: 361



« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2014, 08:30:05 PM »

yeah,  lol thanks!
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aquariums are my only medication wishin\' my condition ain\'t ever gonna go away.
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