Title: My First Saltwater Aquarium
Description: Nano reef
Robyn - April 22, 2008 08:24 PM (GMT)
Ok, I thought I should add a section for saltwater aquariums, reefs, marine animals, etc. because I'll be setting up my first ever saltwater aquarium. I've ordered a 12 gallon nano cube reef tank. So, if anyone has experience with saltwater aquaria or wants to discuss them here, feel free. I need a massive information upload (with minimal time). Thanks!
Route3drummer - April 22, 2008 08:32 PM (GMT)
I know nothing about it...other than the fact that I am so jealous!!!
tlc - April 22, 2008 08:46 PM (GMT)
It looks weird to only have one thread with the new section. I am used to see lots of threads. :)
I think I have said this more than once here on the forum. My teacher in the 4th grade had a salt water tank with some seahorses. I thought that was the neatest thing ever!
I wish you luck with your new tank Robyn and do post us some pics!
kENNY - April 23, 2008 02:32 AM (GMT)
Saw it coming! I knew you would get another tank robyn! What are you going to put it? I am setting up a 5G hex as a SW later....I still am woirking on the stuff that I have NOW though!
You can put in a pair of clownfish, scavengers, etc....I think it should be cool! Hope you have fun!
Robyn - April 23, 2008 08:00 PM (GMT)
It will take months to stock as you have to do it slowly. It's a month of just live rock. Then, a few snails and hermit crabs (just darling). Eventually, some mushroom and soft corals. I know very little about them so that scares me some. Finally, one or two false Percula clown fish and maybe a firefish.
christina2lehner - April 24, 2008 12:07 AM (GMT)
OMG i am so excited to see this CanT WAIT!!! I love coral amazing tanks!
Robyn - April 27, 2008 01:11 AM (GMT)
I filled up the tank today with saltwater and live sand. You can read about it and see photos at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/marine/myreef.htm
kENNY - May 7, 2008 03:22 AM (GMT)
Robyn - May 7, 2008 08:25 PM (GMT)
I put in 6 hermit crabs of 4 species and 7 snails of 3 species in last night after over an hour of drip acclimation. The crabs are doing great. The snails promptly died. I knew there was a reason I never went saltwater! The store said it was probably a salinity issue. I'm not so sure.
Maestro loco - May 8, 2008 03:37 AM (GMT)
That's where the hydrometer come in.
Robyn - May 8, 2008 07:14 PM (GMT)
Yes, I know Don. I have two hydrometers (one in the tank). I must have used that thing 100 times already! The Instant Ocean says to have a specific gravity of 1.020 to 1.024 so I averaged and made my water near 1.022. The guy at Live Aquaria said, no, no, it should be 1.023 minimum and ideally 1.024 to 1.025, and that's why the snails died. After I talked to him Tuesday night, I checked the specific gravity again, it was actually 1.023 but I brought it up to 1.024. The snails never came around. The hermit crabs are a great joy to watch though and seem to be doing well. One moved into a dead Nassarius snail shell today. [The crabs definitely didn't kill the snails; two species never came out of the shells; the others I watched die before the crabs got near them and ate their dead bodies.]
Route3drummer - May 8, 2008 08:25 PM (GMT)
I wanna say "I'd like to have crabs", but.....you know. ;)
I would like to have a tank like Ronyn's with hermit crabs. Those little guys are fun to watch! :D
Maestro loco - May 9, 2008 04:35 AM (GMT)
I figured you would have hydrometer(s). I was just kidding with you. Remember the thread a few weeks ago from someone wanting to know what specific gravity was and then if they could use the thingy for batteries?
Seems to me the guy you talked to was a little rash. We used to keep marine aquaria in our labs when I was in college and we weren't as concerned with specific gravity as we were with pH. Specific gravity of seawater (and aren't we trying to reproduce the natural environment in an aquarium?) varies quite a bit with geography and with temperature, ranging from 1.020 to 1.030. 1.022 or 1.023 is appropriate. Remember that as water warms, the specific gravity goes down, so it would make sense that if you're keeping tropical species, their environment would be more toward the 1.020 measure and cold water species would be more toward the 1.030 measure. More important with specific gravity is that it not change more than .001 per day. With evaporation, splashing in filters, etc. make this a constant battle to maintain stability.
pH should not change more than .2 per day. The most important thing I was always concerned with when setting up a new tank was to establish the pH and then make sure that the system was buffered with calcium carbonate rock in the filter system.
Marine organisms are much more sensitive to CHANGES in the environment; pH, salinity, nitrate and temperature. That's the hardest part of keeping marine aquaria--maintaining constant parameters within very narrow ranges. I gave up saltwater tanks 30 years ago for just that reason--it took too much time and made it almost impossible to go anywhere for more that a day or two, because I would worry about my tank and it was impossible to train someone else to take care of it properly. The smallest tank I ever had for marine organisms was in excess of 50 gallons, because, just like ponds, the bigger, the better. Bigger tanks make it easier to control the rapid changes in parameters that cause marine tank failure.
kENNY - May 26, 2008 02:29 AM (GMT)
Robyn, I dont know if you have the time; or want to but...here's a blog with a TON of SW tank pics. Emgs Tanks
kENNY - May 26, 2008 02:31 AM (GMT)
I think some Macro Algea would be some finishing touches for your tank!
Robyn - May 26, 2008 06:37 PM (GMT)
I've got LOTS of regular algae now! I've bought snails twice and both times, all seven died. Of my four new corals, only two I think are alive. But, at least the fish are doing well. Here's a photo from 4 days ago.
Route3drummer - May 27, 2008 10:11 AM (GMT)
Very nice Robin! What size tank is that and do you think it is a good size for a first timer to try on?
Robyn - May 27, 2008 07:08 PM (GMT)
It is sold as a "12 gallon nano cube" but I measured the volume at somewhere between 8 and 9 gallons. It has cost me a ton of money, time, and heart ache already! If you're serious about saltwater, I think something like a 20 gallon would work better and probably wouldn't be much more expensive than what I got since I bought the $200 tank! I've killed 14 snails and 2 corals so far and now I'm worried about one of my clownfish!
tlc - May 27, 2008 07:13 PM (GMT)
I thought I read somewhere that it takes years for a saltwater tank to get really established??
I love the looks of the clown fish. When I first looked at this pic I thought they were fake! I hope they will be ok. I would assume that since your tank is saltwater you would treat for fish problems different that you would freshwater.
Good luck with the fish!
Robyn - May 27, 2008 08:09 PM (GMT)
Yes, it takes years for a reef tank to be in its glory, at least 6 months to look good. But, that doesn't mean animals should be dying. You add them slowly. It's the corals that take the time to acrue.
Since it's a reef tank, I can't medicate the fish. Medications would kill the good bacteria, invertebrates, etc. I'm not sure what to do. I've asked the nano reef forum.
Route3drummer - May 28, 2008 10:26 AM (GMT)
Eventually I would like one, but it wont be soon. I love the variety of fish you can get, and far more invertebrates, but hearing of your troubles and knowing how much more you know about the subject than I do, makes me want to wait until I have the proper time and knowledge to tackle it. I have enough on my plate at the moment, but with the next couple of years I would think it is possible I might give it a try.
Robyn - May 28, 2008 07:37 PM (GMT)
Sad news. Crusty died. I had two Ocellaris clownfish. Nemo was a regular one; Crusty was a $50 rare black and white one from Australia. I think it's a rule that the most expensive fish must die! Crusty developed two little white things on his chin, and then yesterday his right caudal fin got a white film on it. Nemo kept lunging at him too. I hope the water parameters or disease didn't kill Crusty. Nemo seems fine but has one little white dot on him. I have 5 hermit crabs, 1 fish, and 2 corals still alive. I managed to kill 14 snails, 1 crab, 1 fish, and 2 corals! :(
frogman3 - May 28, 2008 08:42 PM (GMT)
Sorry Robyn you lost Crusty. It's not easy to replace $50.00 fish when they die so soon. No experience here with salt water so I hope you can find out what happened to him.
tlc - May 28, 2008 08:46 PM (GMT)
Too bad you lost the fish. I didn't even notice him/her in the pic until you mentioned it. I haven't seen one that color before. That white dot on Nemo makes me nervous too.
Sometimes it seems like killing stuff is part of the learning curve. :(
Hang in there!
kENNY - May 29, 2008 12:51 AM (GMT)
|QUOTE (Robyn @ May 28 2008, 03:37 PM)|
| Sad news. Crusty died. I had two Ocellaris clownfish. Nemo was a regular one; Crusty was a $50 rare black and white one from Australia. I think it's a rule that the most expensive fish must die! Crusty developed two little white things on his chin, and then yesterday his right caudal fin got a white film on it. Nemo kept lunging at him too. I hope the water parameters or disease didn't kill Crusty. Nemo seems fine but has one little white dot on him. I have 5 hermit crabs, 1 fish, and 2 corals still alive. I managed to kill 14 snails, 1 crab, 1 fish, and 2 corals! :( |
Im so sorry Robyn! My Reef will be a 29G "STANDARD"! I dont really like the kits as they seem too expensive for something I can build better and (Only slightly) cheaper! I am not one who does everything cheaply (Bought a 17$ powerhead over a 10$ one which had a slower rate!), but when I can save money and it sounds right, I try to! Are your corals FOR SURE dead or just dying, cant you send "Crusty" back too liveaquaria...they have a 14 day guarentee I think.
vic31 - May 29, 2008 06:04 AM (GMT)
Last weekend, I brought my first saltwater aquarium. It is a 75g. This has the filtration in the bottom of it. It is really nice for the price I paid for it. I do not know anything about this filration system. Help!:unsure: The guy I brought it from has been a big help, but I still feel like I need help anyway. It has three live rocks in it and three fish. All of the fish has some black in them, so this makes the algae black. It has algae in the bottom of the aquarium. What do you do about algae in a saltwater? I had thought I would not get another aquarium since I already have two 30g freshwater aquariums. But I did. :lol:
tlc - May 29, 2008 03:47 PM (GMT)
Did you buy it new or used?
Robyn - May 29, 2008 07:28 PM (GMT)
Nemo's white spot wasn't there today so hopefully he'll be ok. I didn't get Crusty at Live Aquaria. I bought him locally at Mr. Coral. Live Aquaria only refunded 2 of the 7 snails I killed with my order from them. They said the others would come back to life and were just waiting (they didn't). Two of my corals (the green mushrooms at the top and the LPS coral at the top which never opened) definitely died. They fell to mush. I took the remnants out. The other two are doing well as is my little feather duster worm hitchhiker. I have to wait 3 weeks and do twice weekly water changes before I try more animals. It takes 2 hours to make RO water the day before and an hour the next day to prepare the saltwater just to do a water change! Of course, I'm not watching it the entire time but there won't be any "emergency" water changes.
Vic31 - So your new tank was already full of some stuff and living animals!? Do you know what three fish you have? Did you get any hermit crabs or snails with it? What about corals? A 75 gallon should have 75 pounds of live rock. If you just have three smaller rocks, you'll need more. It has to be cured if your store hasn't pre-cured it. "Curing" is when the rock is let to sit so all the life in it that's going to die dies off. If you just plop it in the tank, the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and phoshpate levels may become really high. Some stores cure the live rock for you. Otherwise, you have to set up a tank for the live rock. If the tank didn't have any animals, you could do it in the tank like I did. My live rock was pre-cured so I never registered any ammonia or nitrite while waiting.
As for algae in saltwater tanks, there are a few things. First, you need hermit crabs and snails to eat it. You have to get the right species that don't grow huge or harm things. I suggest visiting http://www.liveaquaria.com
not to buy from them if you don't want to but because they have good descriptions of the crabs and snails. For a 75 gallon tank, you want about 35 hermit crabs (that's a ton, wow!) and some 60 snails! Can that be right, it seems like so many! They say 1 hermit crab per 2 or 3 gallons and one snail per 1 or 2 gallons. Live Aquaria sells "packages" of algae-eating animals pre-sized for larger tanks. I've managed to kill all the snails I've bought so be very careful with temperature adjustment and acclimating the animals to the tank.
Second, if you want to control algae and grow corals, you'll need to limit the phosphate. Lots of live rock will take care of the nitrate (it converts it to nitrogen gas) which also feeds algae. If your tap water has phosphate, you'll need to use RO (reverse osmosis) or DI (distilled or deionized) as your make up water. You can buy it but it adds up over time. I bougth a RO thingy for about $100. That takes not only the phosphate out of your water but dozens of other things that may be a problem. For me, that's silica (which fuels diatoms or brown algae) and maybe copper. For most of you, that also includes chlorine, nitrate, etc. If there's phosphate in the tank (from the make up water or from leftover food rotting, dead animals, etc.), then you have to add a phosphate remover in a mesh bag to the filter. Since I've been using the RO and a phoshpate remover, my diatom population has plummetted. My phosphate level fell from 2.5 ppm down to <0.5 ppm. It should be <0.05 ppm I think to keep corals alive. Unfortunately, the hair algae and now some slime algae are having a party until I can keep some snails alive.
Why would the fish being black make the algae black?
I hope you have better luck than me! A 75 gallon will certainly be a lot more stable water chemistry wise. You have to post some photos for us (okay, for me!).
I wanted to add something later in the day. I assumed above that you want a reef tank with corals. If so, then that all applies. You may though want a FO (fish only) or a FOWLR (fish only with live rock for biological filtration and decoration) tank. You don't have to have the live rock if you don't want to! Without it, you need biological filtration like we use in freshwater tanks (biowheels, bioballs, etc.).
vic31 - May 30, 2008 12:14 AM (GMT)
This tank was already set up when I received it. The guy just took the water out and put in it water bottles that you use for filter water (the large ones). It took anywhere to 15 to 20 bottles and he brought it over to the house. He took the fish out like they would in a pet shop and we transport them ourselves. I got a yellow tail blue damsel and another is black with yellow stripes. It maybe a angelfish. The other one I am not sure of it. I am trying to find the pictures of them online to figure what their are. This angelfish hides in a rock. I will post pictures of them in little bit. I went and got some live rocks that are cured. The guy at the pet store said that to put one rock per month until all are in there. Can you put snails and crabs in there in another week after putting a rock in there? I rather put them in there to eat the algae then any chemicals. There are just the three fish and now 4 live rocks. No coral. I do not want to get any corals. What web sites do you think are good that sell fish online? I never brought live fish online. Since I have this saltwater aquarium now, I had thought about it. But this will be much later until I get all this rock in my aquarium.
tlc - May 30, 2008 02:59 AM (GMT)
Vicki it sounds like you got a good deal with all the "extra" help that guy is giving you. Having a salt water tank would be neat but I don't have the patience, time or the know how to tackle it. Good luck with yours.
Route3drummer - May 30, 2008 10:19 AM (GMT)
Tia, I am starting to agree! I had no idea there was so much involved. Hats off to you two for taking the "plunge". It sounds very time consuming, which seems to be something I am very short of at the moment, so I think it had better wait for awhile!
Robyn - May 30, 2008 07:21 PM (GMT)
If the live rock were really cured, you could put the full dose in right away. It must only be partially cured, hence the guy's suggestion to only add one rock at a time. That's a safer method. You can certainly start to add some snails and hermit crabs if the tank is already cycled (it should be since it was just set up again). I would wait a few weeks to get a hang of water changes and to be sure everything is okay. Some fish may eat the snails and crabs. Not knowing what species of fish you have, some angelfish I think may eat the snails and crabs. The damsels won't though. As you may have read, I've had a ton of problems keeping snails alive (14 dead, 0 alive). Others find no problem! Since you're not getting corals, you can get the larger turbo snails. They are more hardy.
If you want to order fish, etc. on-line, I've only done that once recently from http://www.liveaquaria.com
You have to be there when the package arrives to sign for it. If the animals get too hold or too cold, they die. It's risky. Have you looked locally for stores selling marine animals?
vic31 - June 2, 2008 04:11 AM (GMT)
I just wondering about buying fish online. That is too risky for me. I will stick to local stores. As I was telling you I have a yellowtail damselfish and two unknown fish. I have finally got a picture of one them. Here it ishttp://s279.photobucket.com/albums/kk144/v...ltwaterfish.jpg
I think the last one is either a three stripe damselfish or a four stripe damselfish. Insed of it being white with black stripes, it is yellow with black stripes. I can not get a picture of this fish. It stays in a rock all the time. Is this the same fish? I have picture of my saltwater aquariumhttp://s279.photobucket.com/albums/kk144/v...teraquarium.jpg
Robyn - June 2, 2008 01:38 PM (GMT)
The first photo is too blurry for me to tell anything. I'm new to saltwater myself anyway. The second photo looks like a freshwater tank with fake plants, lots of little fish, and driftwood? Or, am I seeing things?
vic31 - June 2, 2008 09:31 PM (GMT)
I think my camera is messing up anyway. What you see in the secord picture is the backgroud to the saltwater aquarium. I finally found out what my fish are . I have a yellowtail damsel fish. a velvet damsel and a four stripe damselfish. I am not sure if I can put any other fish with these.
Robyn - June 3, 2008 07:13 PM (GMT)
I've read that damselfish are pretty aggressive fish and will attack other fish. They are beautiful though! My Ocellaris clownfish was supposed to be pretty docile (for clownfish) but he killed my fancy clownfish last week, and, yesterday, I saw his slam in to one of the hermit crabs who was on the wall and made him fall down.
vic31 - June 17, 2008 02:24 AM (GMT)
I just brought two books about saltwater aquariums. One is "Marine Fishes" ans tells about over 500 + fishes. This one is a big help. You are right about the damselfish. I just got them with this set up. I would not have went out and brought them myself at the pet store. I was wanting to get nanos and fish that was not so aggressive. I will be waiting for awhile. Does anyone know anything about wet/dry filtration systems? The one I have has the blue balls in it, skimmer and the outtake hose. I have thought about relacing it. What is the best?
Robyn - June 17, 2008 11:55 PM (GMT)
I'm not the one to ask since I'm new to this. I don't know if anyone else will come along to help. I've read that having good biological filtration like wet/dry filters or bioballs is bad if you had live rock and wanted their natural filtration. Yet, all the aquarium stores push the biological filters. So, I don't know! Since your tank is not really a reef tank, the wet/dry filter should be good if it's properly sized for your size tank.
kENNY - June 19, 2008 03:47 AM (GMT)
Robyn - June 19, 2008 08:15 PM (GMT)
Jose lost part of his tail but is otherwise fine. My current problem is an Emerald Mythrax crab that Mr. Coral sold me on Monday along with corals and snails. He said it was reef safe but it chowed down on my corals! So, I've got him in a guppy breeding trap thing in there (which is blocking the water flow and lid from closing). I can't find him a home. I think I may have to set up my 3 gallon Eclipse tank just for this crab! I don't have the time but there's no other choice!