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Mike_Cook
02/01/2008, 10:16 PM
Greetings all! I've been lurking for a while now. Finally got the tank started about 6 weeks ago so I thought I'd put my thoughts and ideas out there for your comment. Don't hold back, I'm looking for feedback.

From what I've read, there are a lot of differing opinions as well as the tried and true techniques for bring up a new tank. I've soaked up as much as I thought necessary and got started. Here's what I have.....

I have a 55 G Tru-Vu tank that I've had for years. I bought a new stand, sump, protien skimmer, heaters, circulating pumps, return pump and hang on the back overflow kits. The specifics are as follows:

The sump itself is (I think) bigger than you would normally use with a 55. The sump measures 30 inches wide by 12 inches deep. I figured the extra volume will help with the chemical stability. I manually bailed the sump one day after a plumbing check and easily got 11 gallons out. In my mind, this means there is no problem with shutting off the tank and doing my weekly 5 g water change right in the sump. I did leave the pumps off for a while so the heaters could get the new water up to temp. I also let the protein skimmer run to mix the old water with the new a little.

The sump is fed by a pair of CPR hang-on-the-back overflow kits. Each is rated at 600 GPH. I bought two because I still fall prey to the "some is good, more is better" philosophy. Besides, it looks nice having twins back there. My feed pump from the sump is rated at 700 gph. It's a Danner Model 7. The pump feeds a "switching current water director". I've had the tank up with saltwater for 3 weeks or so and already ordered a 1200 gph replacement pump. How sick is that? I also ordered the parts for a ball valve setup to control the flow. I'v read that the biggest issue with obnoxious flows between sump and tank is the tiny oxyegen bubbles. Do you guys think I'll be able to use the 1200 gph with a ball valve and reduce it enough to stop the bubbles?

The protein skimmer is a Berlin X2. It's sitting in the middle chamber of the sump. It took me a week to realize that the pump was sucking in bubbles from the outflow. It seemed like the bubble column inside was always changing. In fact sometimes it ran just fine, and then an hour later it would be overflowing. I finally realized that as I moved it around to try an quiet the overflow noise, I was also changing the water / air mix the pump was sucking up. I put a filter sock over the outflow and it's quieter and doesn't splash. It also prevents the bubbles from getting into the main compartment.

The pump volume is turned all the way up on the skimmer, and the air is all the way off. I still get a good column of air/water, and the cup gets about 3/4 of an inch of stinky green soup every day. I'm assuming that as the tank gets cleaner I'll have to open the air valve to adjust the water column up a bit. Does this sound about like it should be? Or is a slower pump volume and more air somehow better?

I'm trying to keep the temperature between 77 and 78. In the morning, the digital thermometer reads 76.8 or so. At night with everyone home and all lights on it creeps up to 78.3 or so. Heating is accomplished by two RENA heaters in the sump. I have to assume that the rise in temperature is from our house heater running. I'm wondering, would it be better to bump up the heaters a bit and try to keep it closer to 78? I'm also wondering if a 2 degree swing is something I need to worry about. (Am I being too obsesive with the digital therm.?)

I went ahead and bought a refractometer. I've calibrated it with RO water from the LFS. It's not a temperature compensating type, so usually I put a few drops of water on it, close the viewer and then let it sit for a minute or so to equalize temps. I'm keeping the salinity at 35 (or 1.0265). I lose a quart a day that I manually replenish so I play with the refractometer A LOT! Today I noticed that the saltwater I had just purchased was reading 1.024 to 1.023. This is closer to 32 or 33. My question is, should I be keeping it at 35 ppm? I thought that was what reefs are naturally.

The tank itself is filled with 80 lbs of live sand (Don't remember who's) and has 65 lbs of live rock. We sped up the cycle with somebody's magic cycling elixar. (Don't remember this either). We watched the cycle by testing every day. It took 2 weeks or so. We went and bought 6 turbo snails, 6 peppermint shrimp, 4 "spider crab" things, and 4 Green crabs. Sorry, my son and I were so happy to be buying something for the tank we forgot to pay attention to what we bought.

1 of the shrimps is MIA and another was observed halfway into a pump intake. The other 4 are alive and well. 2 of the green crabs turned up dead within the first 24 hours. Interesting that it was the smaller ones that died. The two bigger ones are cleaning up nicely. The spider looking crabs have lost 2 of their members also, but the other 2 look perky and constantly feeding. The two that died did so 3 or 4 days after we got them.

Acclimation was done by floating the bag for 90 minutes or so and occasionally scoping some water with a cup and adding it to the bags. I've ordered a drip kit for next time, but I'm wondering if anyone thinks the deaths above are from not acclimating correctly.

The survivers have done an amazing job of claening the live rock! I had all kinds of small green things beginning to grow until the crew showed up. Now it's just clean rock with purple algae in places. I haven't fed them and really don't think I need to.

Water flow is 2 Koralia Hydras. I think they're #2's. I'm not real happy with the water movement (See sump section above) so I'm thinking of putting a Hydra and a Tunze on each side and then alternating the flow every 4 hours or so. I'm heading this way because I read an article here that talked about the best movement being that which gets the most volume of water moving. I also recall something about the tides causing sustained flows one way or the other on most reefs, so that's my justification for the 4 hour flows. Anyone have any comments or suggestions on this setup? Anyone care to recommend a size for the Tunzes? Can I mix the two on the same controller?

Ultimately I would like to have a bunch of nice looking leather corals and some interesting fish, but I'm trying to take my time getting there.

When I get the picture upload routine worked out I'll post some pics. Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Aquarist007
02/01/2008, 10:19 PM
first of all

[welcome]

demonsp
02/01/2008, 10:20 PM
Sorry man to many questions.
What is your main problem and what is your setup?
Amount of LR and LS?
Amount of stock and type(fiah and coral)?
Water readings?
Age of tank?
This would be a great start.
If your slimmer collects that much gunk then your overstocked or under skimed.Skimmer to small to handle load.

Aquarist007
02/01/2008, 10:29 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11744483#post11744483 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Mike_Cook
Greetings all! I've been lurking for a while now. Finally got the tank started about 6 weeks ago so I thought I'd put my thoughts and ideas out there for your comment. Don't hold back, I'm looking for feedback.

From what I've read, there are a lot of differing opinions as well as the tried and true techniques for bring up a new tank. I've soaked up as much as I thought necessary and got started. Here's what I have.....

I have a 55 G Tru-Vu tank that I've had for years. I bought a new stand, sump, protien skimmer, heaters, circulating pumps, return pump and hang on the back overflow kits. The specifics are as follows:

The sump itself is (I think) bigger than you would normally use with a 55. The sump measures 30 inches wide by 12 inches deep. I figured the extra volume will help with the chemical stability. I manually bailed the sump one day after a plumbing check and easily got 11 gallons out. In my mind, this means there is no problem with shutting off the tank and doing my weekly 5 g water change right in the sump. I did leave the pumps off for a while so the heaters could get the new water up to temp. I also let the protein skimmer run to mix the old water with the new a little.

The sump is fed by a pair of CPR hang-on-the-back overflow kits. Each is rated at 600 GPH. I bought two because I still fall prey to the "some is good, more is better" philosophy. Besides, it looks nice having twins back there. My feed pump from the sump is rated at 700 gph. It's a Danner Model 7. The pump feeds a "switching current water director". I've had the tank up with saltwater for 3 weeks or so and already ordered a 1200 gph replacement pump. How sick is that? I also ordered the parts for a ball valve setup to control the flow. I'v read that the biggest issue with obnoxious flows between sump and tank is the tiny oxyegen bubbles. Do you guys think I'll be able to use the 1200 gph with a ball valve and reduce it enough to stop the bubbles?

Yes

The protein skimmer is a Berlin X2. It's sitting in the middle chamber of the sump. It took me a week to realize that the pump was sucking in bubbles from the outflow. It seemed like the bubble column inside was always changing. In fact sometimes it ran just fine, and then an hour later it would be overflowing. I finally realized that as I moved it around to try an quiet the overflow noise, I was also changing the water / air mix the pump was sucking up. I put a filter sock over the outflow and it's quieter and doesn't splash. It also prevents the bubbles from getting into the main compartment.

The pump volume is turned all the way up on the skimmer, and the air is all the way off. I still get a good column of air/water, and the cup gets about 3/4 of an inch of stinky green soup every day. I'm assuming that as the tank gets cleaner I'll have to open the air valve to adjust the water column up a bit. Does this sound about like it should be? Or is a slower pump volume and more air somehow better?

Its better to have alot of air and a good foam coming out. the skimmer is a good source of oxygen exchange in the water column

I'm trying to keep the temperature between 77 and 78. In the morning, the digital thermometer reads 76.8 or so. At night with everyone home and all lights on it creeps up to 78.3 or so. Heating is accomplished by two RENA heaters in the sump. I have to assume that the rise in temperature is from our house heater running. I'm wondering, would it be better to bump up the heaters a bit and try to keep it closer to 78? I'm also wondering if a 2 degree swing is something I need to worry about. (Am I being too obsesive with the digital therm.?)

a two degree swing is not bad and nothing to worry about at this time. Down the road if you get sps corals you might want to stabilize it more

I went ahead and bought a refractometer. I've calibrated it with RO water from the LFS. It's not a temperature compensating type, so usually I put a few drops of water on it, close the viewer and then let it sit for a minute or so to equalize temps. I'm keeping the salinity at 35 (or 1.0265). I lose a quart a day that I manually replenish so I play with the refractometer A LOT! Today I noticed that the saltwater I had just purchased was reading 1.024 to 1.023. This is closer to 32 or 33. My question is, should I be keeping it at 35 ppm? I thought that was what reefs are naturally.

the generally accepted level on this site is .026

The tank itself is filled with 80 lbs of live sand (Don't remember who's) and has 65 lbs of live rock. We sped up the cycle with somebody's magic cycling elixar. (Don't remember this either). We watched the cycle by testing every day. It took 2 weeks or so. We went and bought 6 turbo snails, 6 peppermint shrimp, 4 "spider crab" things, and 4 Green crabs. Sorry, my son and I were so happy to be buying something for the tank we forgot to pay attention to what we bought.

1 of the shrimps is MIA and another was observed halfway into a pump intake. The other 4 are alive and well. 2 of the green crabs turned up dead within the first 24 hours. Interesting that it was the smaller ones that died. The two bigger ones are cleaning up nicely. The spider looking crabs have lost 2 of their members also, but the other 2 look perky and constantly feeding. The two that died did so 3 or 4 days after we got them.

that's alot of shrimp in that tank. I think it is also a little early to add that many inverts at once.

Acclimation was done by floating the bag for 90 minutes or so and occasionally scoping some water with a cup and adding it to the bags. I've ordered a drip kit for next time, but I'm wondering if anyone thinks the deaths above are from not acclimating correctly.

The survivers have done an amazing job of claening the live rock! I had all kinds of small green things beginning to grow until the crew showed up. Now it's just clean rock with purple algae in places. I haven't fed them and really don't think I need to.

Water flow is 2 Koralia Hydras. I think they're #2's. I'm not real happy with the water movement (See sump section above) so I'm thinking of putting a Hydra and a Tunze on each side and then alternating the flow every 4 hours or so. I'm heading this way because I read an article here that talked about the best movement being that which gets the most volume of water moving. I also recall something about the tides causing sustained flows one way or the other on most reefs, so that's my justification for the 4 hour flows. Anyone have any comments or suggestions on this setup? Anyone care to recommend a size for the Tunzes? Can I mix the two on the same controller?

you can't run the Korilias on a a tunze controller but you can on a seio one

Ultimately I would like to have a bunch of nice looking leather corals and some interesting fish, but I'm trying to take my time getting there.

When I get the picture upload routine worked out I'll post some pics. Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Aquarist007
02/01/2008, 10:30 PM
sorry I tried to change the font on my answers but i guess it didnt work

demonsp
02/01/2008, 10:31 PM
Font wont help. You need to start at your biggest concern and work from there.Many problems are from multiple sources and resolveing one may help 4.

demonsp
02/01/2008, 10:33 PM
And 2 koralias in your tank isnt enough flow .

Aquarist007
02/01/2008, 10:40 PM
[i]


The tank itself is filled with 80 lbs of live sand (Don't remember who's) and has 65 lbs of live rock. We sped up the cycle with somebody's magic cycling elixar. (Don't remember this either). We watched the cycle by testing every day. It took 2 weeks or so. We went and bought 6 turbo snails, 6 peppermint shrimp, 4 "spider crab" things, and 4 Green crabs. Sorry, my son and I were so happy to be buying something for the tank we forgot to pay attention to what we bought.

1 of the shrimps is MIA and another was observed halfway into a pump intake. The other 4 are alive and well. 2 of the green crabs turned up dead within the first 24 hours. Interesting that it was the smaller ones that died. The two bigger ones are cleaning up nicely. The spider looking crabs have lost 2 of their members also, but the other 2 look perky and constantly feeding. The two that died did so 3 or 4 days after we got them.

Acclimation was done by floating the bag for 90 minutes or so and occasionally scoping some water with a cup and adding it to the bags. I've ordered a drip kit for next time, but I'm wondering if anyone thinks the deaths above are from not acclimating correctly.

The survivers have done an amazing job of claening the live rock! I had all kinds of small green things beginning to grow until the crew showed up. Now it's just clean rock with purple algae in places. I haven't fed them and really don't think I need to.

! [/B]

IMO you added too many inverts to soon. You have to exercise patience with enthusiasm in this hobby,

Two weeks cycling is not enough time to build up bacteria to hold a signifcant bioload. Depending on the curing of the live rock they only have increased to handle that bioload
Adding all those inverts at once is sure to cause a spike in ammonia or nitrates and that might have affected them

When buying inverts etc from the LFS you have to be very aware of the salinity they are using---it might be as low as .018--measure the water in the bag--this will dictate how long you acclimatize them

It is a good practice to set up a quarantine tank and everything you buy goes in there for 4 weeks or so. It helps you isolate fish for disease treatment and helps difficult eaters to eat with less stress of other fish, it helps you experiment with different foods

Beware of shrimp molts--they look identical to the real thing--most times the shrimp is still around

good luck keep the questions coming:smokin:

demonsp
02/01/2008, 10:47 PM
Im sorry i didnt read it all. But its to late for what shouldnt have been but controlling the situation your in and taking control.Its apperant you have many questions which tells me you did little researching. Its ok as your are in a long list.Just stop advancing and correct your problems and you will be just fine.

Start with ...

All equipment?
Readings?
stock?
Amount of LR and SB?
All stock from coral to fish?
Water source?

Aquarist007
02/03/2008, 09:31 AM
Lance--don't be too hard on the poster--he did join this site which is probably the best decision he made :)

Mike_Cook
02/07/2008, 03:26 PM
Thanks for the comments, Gentlemen.

I don't necessarily agree that I pushed things too fast. I watched the ammonia spike and then fall off to zero, and then the nitrites did the same thing. Nitrates started registering like it should have. The purpose of the initial bioload is to push the bacteria to the next level, correct? (By the way, Ammonia remains at 0 with Nitrites at 0 also. Nitrates are usually around 10, but I change 5 Gallons of water every Friday.)

Now that (almost) another week has passed, I'm sure that the crabs dieing was due to my not acclimating them well enough. Next time I'll do a slow drip and draw it out over 8 hours or so. Everything else is doing well and last night we discovered a couple of new feather duster worms we hadn't seen before on the LR. They're about the size of a nickel when they're open. The tank is actually doing very well.

And 2 koralias in your tank isnt enough flow

That's the kind of feedback I was looking for!

Its apperant you have many questions which tells me you did little researching.

Now that just plain hurts! Actually, the exact opposite is the truth. I've read so many books and postings that contradict each other I thought I'd get some opinions from people who are actually using the latest techniques and tools.

Tonight or tomorrow we're going to add a couple of Tangs.

I'll keep you posted.

fish4lyfe
02/07/2008, 03:48 PM
Couple of tangs in a 55g setup, i don't think so buddy

Larah
02/07/2008, 04:05 PM
a COUPLE fo tangs?

Egads!
Heck I got flamed for wanting one, LOL!

Mike_Cook
02/07/2008, 04:18 PM
I read somewhere that I could do two as long as they were in the LFS tank together and relocated together. Hmmmm.......

The wife won't be happy when I tell her we have to change the tank out so she can have 2 yellow fish!

kau_cinta_ku
02/07/2008, 04:38 PM
actually a 55 gal. is to small for 1 tang let alone 2 IMO. and yes they will be fine if bought together and introduced together but in a small tank like that territory becomes the issue

Aquarist007
02/07/2008, 04:54 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11789514#post11789514 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Mike_Cook
I read somewhere that I could do two as long as they were in the LFS tank together and relocated together. Hmmmm.......

The wife won't be happy when I tell her we have to change the tank out so she can have 2 yellow fish!

welcome to reefing---just exactly how do you think most of us "family or married" reefers were able to upgrade--:lol:
Let your wife fall in love with the fish--then spring the fact that they need at least a 100 gal tank:lol: :rollface:

The other one that seems to work too is "honey how much did that cost" "around 20 bucks"

Aquarist007
02/07/2008, 05:06 PM
[i]
Now that just plain hurts! Actually, the exact opposite is the truth. I've read so many books and postings that contradict each other I thought I'd get some opinions from people who are actually using the latest techniques and tools.

Tonight or tomorrow we're going to add a couple of Tangs.

I'll keep you posted. [/B]

I was about to agree with you--actually I did in the post above.

Asking questions and asking questions and being proactive on this site is an awesome learning tool. don't let anybody stop you---once upon a time I was actually banned from a site because the old boys complained I asked too many questions and it disturbed them in the morning when they wanted to relax with their coffee and read new posts--not new questions

Demonsp has helped alot of guys and given alot of his time---he just says it how it is--doesn't sugar coat it---this is what I like and respect about the guy:smokin:

don't take anything personal here---because it is meant to help you not make some of the mistakes we all have done

----that said IMO you haven't asked enough questions on this site regarding when and what fish you should or should not add to your tank. There are alot of threads dedicated to that if you do a search and it is a question that is asked here almost every other day.

Mike_Cook
02/07/2008, 05:56 PM
Good points Capn....

I've been pretty methodical and patient with the hardware and chemistry stuff............and then tried to go off the deep end with the critters. I'll start searching.......

REVISION --

Tonight or tomorrow we might go to the fish store and we might buy a blennie.

Thanks for protecting me from myself guys! ;)

Larah
02/07/2008, 06:00 PM
Tangs need a lot of space to swim.... and some of them get quite large.. I too wanted a tang but alas, in this tank it is not to be!
but trust me there are a LOT of beautiful fish your wife will fall in love with... My husband really wanted a trigger ( and I mean REALLY wanted a trigger). I broke it to him about a week or so ago that he couldn't have one in this tank.. He actually took it pretty well... And I'm hoping he'll eventually agree to sell the foosball table so we can get a big, long 200+ gallon tank ;)

Larah
02/07/2008, 06:00 PM
Oh man... which blennie? :D

Larah
02/07/2008, 07:59 PM
*bump*

Mike_Cook
02/08/2008, 02:22 PM
I kinda wanted to get a "lawnmower" blennie to keep the sand cleaned up, but to be honest I'm still researching and may end up with (what I think is called) a sand sifting goby.

We did go and buy a clown fish last night. Not nearly as exotic, big or exciting as I had envisioned, but my son is overjoyed! The new addition is maybe an inch long.

My plan is to spend this weekend cruising the forums for beginner stock (fish) suggestions. :D

Larah
02/08/2008, 03:36 PM
Yellow headed sleeper goby.. they look cool and they sift the sand ;)
Or a bullet/banded goby, not as cute but does a great job of sifting the sand...
Yellow watchman goby's are super cool too!

Goby is good... Blenny or dragonet, not good.... at least not yet...

There's a critter called a mandarin Goby, absolutely the most beautiful fish! and a scooter blenny, super cute fishy, BUT they both need a very mature tank.... and both of them are actually dragonetts not gobies...

I know there are a lot of others out there that can you give you way better advice than me! But that's my 2 cents! :D

Larah
02/08/2008, 03:37 PM
The lawn mower blenny is a good idea too.. though if you don;t have any lawn for him to mow, then make sure he eats prepared foods at the LFS...
They are sooo cool! Such personality! I liken them to a dog...
A fish dog... :D

_E_
02/08/2008, 03:44 PM
Love my blenny (not a lawnmower though). He is Mr. Personality. Constantly chewing on algae on rocks, on the glass, etc. Won't clean up the sand though.
Eric

Larah
02/08/2008, 04:03 PM
Yeah they don't do that.. onyl the gobies... and I don't know that all of the gobies do it either.. But then I'm not the pwrson to ask.... I mean really it's been like 2 months, what do I know!

Mike_Cook
02/09/2008, 12:31 AM
Well Larah, you know more than I do! I appreciate the imput....:)

Mike_Cook
03/04/2008, 09:01 PM
Ho! Ho! We have new Coraline growth! The koralia pumps have small purple spots forming.

The tank has been going very well! We've got 7 cromies, 2 clowns and 3 tuka anthias. We also have a finger coral and a silver dollar size star polyp.

Larah - I still haven't gotten the goby :( We put the coral in and I wanted to let the whole thing rest, so we put it off. However, the announcement has been made to the family that the next thing to go in the tank will be a goby!

Aquarist007
03/04/2008, 09:51 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11798281#post11798281 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Larah
Yeah they don't do that.. onyl the gobies... and I don't know that all of the gobies do it either.. But then I'm not the pwrson to ask.... I mean really it's been like 2 months, what do I know!

that's not the rule in our family--women know everything and they are never wrong:D

Aquarist007
03/04/2008, 09:56 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=12012549#post12012549 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Mike_Cook
Ho! Ho! We have new Coraline growth! The koralia pumps have small purple spots forming.

The tank has been going very well! We've got 7 cromies, 2 clowns and 3 tuka anthias. We also have a finger coral and a silver dollar size star polyp.

Larah - I still haven't gotten the goby :( We put the coral in and I wanted to let the whole thing rest, so we put it off. However, the announcement has been made to the family that the next thing to go in the tank will be a goby!

good selection of fish Mike
small basslettes are excellent two--they dark in and out of the rocks and add colour--I have two that are bright purple and orange

OrangeKoi
03/05/2008, 08:09 AM
Which goby are you getting? This is generally a one fish per tank choice. I have a female watchman. Tons of personality and beautiful blue fins. And yes, she sifts the sand like nothing short of a beach comber. The males are smaller and yellow. There are many kinds and some hide a lot I guess. Mine guards actively and is hilarious to watch. Good luck.

Aquarist007
03/05/2008, 10:42 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=12015139#post12015139 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by OrangeKoi
Which goby are you getting? This is generally a one fish per tank choice. I have a female watchman. Tons of personality and beautiful blue fins. And yes, she sifts the sand like nothing short of a beach comber. The males are smaller and yellow. There are many kinds and some hide a lot I guess. Mine guards actively and is hilarious to watch. Good luck.

really---I have five of them in my tank--glad I didn't know that before hand.:eek2:

OrangeKoi
03/06/2008, 06:56 PM
Gosh, I guess I'm outright wrong, eh?

Aquarist007
03/06/2008, 07:01 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=12029288#post12029288 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by OrangeKoi
Gosh, I guess I'm outright wrong, eh?

I didn't mean to infer that you were wrong---more that I was and got lucky:lol:

It goes to show you that every tank is different with its own set of rules and behaviours