PDA

View Full Version : fish only without liverock help


00nothing
12/18/2008, 07:19 PM
I thought i had found a thread on here regarding this before but unfortunately can't seem to find it

What I am looking to do is setup a tank with NO liverock whatsoever, my thoughts are to use a large wetdry filtration the best skimmer my budget will allow and sulfur denitrator I am very much a diy guy.

The tank will be an island setup viewable from all 4 sides with a central overflow that I will setup with artificial coral and rock. Some are probably wondering why not use real rock well plain and simply LR always gives me grief I want the tank to be easily cleanable and would rather spend money on equipment rather than rock and the small amount i would have put in would really be of no use . I plan to use a very deep DSB 4-6 inches and perhaps even a secondary remote DSB. As for tank size i am still unsure as to what size i will be getting but i can say whichever one i feel is the best deal at big als boxing day sale this yr but preferably a 150 or larger though.

There are a few ideas as for stocking some are must haves some are possibles all really depends on tank size

Pair of Blue throat triggers (must have)
coral cat shark (possible)
snowflake moray (miss my old one but not a must have)
Clown trigger (possible but really want one would def be the last addition and the smallest i could find)

Thats about all i can think of for right now but no rush in this tank I am waiting for my tenant to move out of my basement apartment and in the mean time i am going to start working on setting up the hardware and building a custom stand and accumulating equipment

Any and all opinions appreciated

Recty
12/18/2008, 07:23 PM
As far as easy to clean goes... I'd do no sand bed in your main tank and if you feel like you have to have a sand bed to help with filtration, do it all in your sump.

DamnPepShrimp
12/18/2008, 08:08 PM
I agree, go bare bottom or use starboard. Also I would not suggest having no live rock in the system, have a sump loaded with it.

Bruder
12/18/2008, 09:52 PM
I agree. You are going to want to have some rock somewhere in that system. The life in those rocks is invaluable to the success of your system.

griz56
12/19/2008, 06:20 AM
I have starboard is a few of my tanks. I think it looks better than just a bare bottom. The only draw back is a piece of starboard for a 150 or larger might be a little pricey but went you compare it to the price of a bag sand these days, I guess it's all relative. good luck

00nothing
12/19/2008, 09:04 AM
thanks for the opinions but starboard is not an option and IMO the ugliest thing anyone has ever put in a fish tank but thats just me

LR is a lot less necessary than most in this hobby believe it is just a means to keep a bacterial load and to export nitrates there are many other methods than that and some work better and dont cost 3.99 per lb lol one thing this tank isnt getting is LR in any shape or form call it a decision i have made there will not be one chunk of live base or anything of that matter

Once i get this running if the filtration required cannot be maintained through mechanical and biological means via a dsb and other equipment and regular water changes then honestly i will shut the tank down and go back to freshwater

Juice It
12/19/2008, 09:13 AM
I have a 200 gallon with a living color fake reef with no live rock at all and haven't had any unusual issues that I have noticed. One thing though a good fake reef will cost way more than the live rock will. Personally I like the look of the fake reef but have seen plenty that look horrible. I guess it all depends what you like. Good luck, I don't see any problems with it.

00nothing
12/19/2008, 09:15 AM
Just want to say something before anyone jumps on this thread questioning my methods for this tank u might notice that i registered on this site in 2004 and had already been int he hobby for a while at that point i by no means consider myself an expert of any sorts but do have some yrs experience just cause my post count is low dont take that as a lack of experience. while what i am loking to build isnt necessarily considered a normal setup by todays standards there was a point when one would see no LR whatsoever in a tank and the only filtration would be an undergravel filter and if u were lucky a cheap HOB skimmer and some of these tanks were quite succesful. I am not trying to reinvent the wheel jsut trying to build a system that i will enjoy

00nothing
12/19/2008, 09:19 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=13976189#post13976189 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Juice It
I have a 200 gallon with a living color fake reef with no live rock at all and haven't had any unusual issues that I have noticed. One thing though a good fake reef will cost way more than the live rock will. Personally I like the look of the fake reef but have seen plenty that look horrible. I guess it all depends what you like. Good luck, I don't see any problems with it.

any pics juice would love to see it i do plan on going with some fake reef components but for themost part this tank is goin to be abut the fish and nothing but maximum swimming space with hiding space only for the smaller fish and perhaps some shrimp

viggen
12/19/2008, 11:39 AM
LR is definantly NOT needed.....

Just make a big w/d filter & like others mentioned do not do the DSB. You can use sand or crushed coral (I like crushed coral more due to not being as easy to suck up) on the bottom just use a dusting/little as possible. Another reason I like crushed coral is when there is lots of flow it doesn't get blown around. I like something on the bottom so I do not have to worry about breaking the acrylic/glass with rocks falling/slipping. The less there is the easier it is to take car of....

Anyways, I have had a FO tank with zero LR for 16years now, never a issue!!! My w/d is about 14yrs old & is on my present 260g tank. I haven't even been consistant with running a protein skimmer which I feel isn't necessary but it does make servicing easier :)

a properly sized w/d is all that's needed in a FO tank

MrTuskfish
12/19/2008, 11:44 AM
Just some drivel on the LR subject. Because nitrate does not harm fish; I don't see LR doing anything,in a fish-only tank, that can't be done by other means. Ammonia is very easy to remove with any filter media, so are nitrites (although nitrite isn't am issue in SW tanks). Regular water changes will keep nitrate down, I don't even think a sulfur de-nitrator is important. In a tank like this, I really don't know what I'd consider an upper limit for nitrate, but 60 ppm (example) is nothing to worry about.Fish have routinely been kept at levels much higher than that. There sure were a lot of fish kept before LR was even available.Concern over nitrate in fish-only systems sure seems to cause a lot of unnecessary worry. I have never seen any source document nitrate damage to fish. IMO, its a myth the grew from the fact that inverts do not handle nitrates.

LisaD
12/19/2008, 12:17 PM
I don't agree with you that nitrates are harmless to fish. I don't have data to share, just my experience. Do you have hard data that nitrates DON'T harm fish?

I have found that when nitrates are high, certain fish in my tanks did not do well. I've seen this for sure with seahorses and puffers. Getting nitrates down resulted in improvement. Some fish in the same (high nitrate) tanks were fine, showed no sign of stress.

Most of the fish we keep in tanks come from the same environment as the corals. Why not try to keep water quality about the same? Seems like it would make sense to keep nitrates under control as best we can.

As a general husbandry practice, I believe it is important to keep nitrates manageable. I've also found that live rock in systems has resulted in a much more stable system than others I've kept in the past.

I got into the hobby early - back in the day when tanks were metal clad with slate bottoms and hobbyists were using dolomite substrate and air-powered undergravel filters. I've seen many technologies come and go since then, and tried many of them.

After 30+ years keeping marine tanks (for 12 of them I tested aquarium equipment for addition to a science education company's mail order catalog) I found the key technologies/equipment that contribute to my success are (not in any particular order):

-live rock - for biological filtration and stability of system
-protein skimmer - remove crap before it becomes ammonia
-refugium - for export of nutrients via macroalgae
-decent lighting for corals - MH, PCs or T5s, whatever fits the organism's needs and your budget
-chiller - in the south, preventing temp spikes has eliminated a major stressor on my tank

kirkaz
12/19/2008, 12:33 PM
My previous tank was a 125 with not one piece of LR (all fake coral), had a wet/dry and an average protein skimmer. I had the tank for 5+ years, it was a bit overstocked, but very successful as far as fish longevity.

My nitrates I doubt were ever under 80, but I almost never tested as I went 3+ years without a death. Like Steve (Mr.Tuskfish) I also believe Nitrates do not harm established fish, all I have was an Achilles Tang living in an overstocked tank with high nitrates to prove it. I do agree with Lisa that certain fish do much better with low Nitrates, but not the fish you are wanting to keep.

I don't like barebottom look I had crushed coral and vacuumed 1/2 every water change. Triggers, Wrasses and Puffers I find like digging around in the CC.

Frankly, I loved this tank and was tempted to do my current tank the same way, but I am loving the LR/Refugium tank as well as I am keeping some corals I could not have otherwise.

kirkaz
12/19/2008, 12:37 PM
Oh, I would scratch the Cat Shark in this type of tank. I'm no shark expert, but this would not be a good setup for one based on my limited knowledge.

LisaD
12/19/2008, 12:39 PM
I found a few articles in aquaculture documenting nitrates as being harmful to some species. If you are interested, try google scholar, search "nitrate toxicity marine fish".

also this, not sure how reliable this review of an article is: http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/pfk/pages/item.php?news=560
While marine fish may be less susceptible to nitrate toxicity than freshwater fish and marine and fw inverts, there are still may be toxic effects at elevated and/or sustained levels.

that said, in the early 1990s, I had a 125 with four large fish, bare bottom, with a few nice looking pieces of large live rock (but it didn't look all that "live" except that it had coralline growth). The major biofiltration was a home made wet-dry (got the whole system used). I had this tank up and going for at least three years, never had a problem or lost a fish. The water was crystal clear, and I had no disease problems. I sold the tank and gave away the fish when I moved to NC.

I don't know what my nitrates were, I never tested them. It would have been great to know. So I'm not saying you can't keep fish without live rock, but I do think it's best to keep nitrates under control. My goal is to have them under 20 ppm.

LisaD
12/19/2008, 12:44 PM
To the OP, I have had nothing but trouble with DSB. I don't think I'm the only one. Have you kept tanks with DSB before? IMO, you'd be better off with a refugium with macro and live rock.

MrTuskfish
12/19/2008, 02:37 PM
Here's one source, I'll look for more. Bob Fenner in The"Conscience Marine Aquarist":
'There is no clear dividing line over which nitratre is absolutely harmful; conditioned fishes and invertebrates have been cultured in water of several hundred-even thousand-ppm. All that can be said without fear of contradiction is that the lower the number, the better"

I've got some stuff from a University Research Lab that is much more specific, I'll dig it up.

I don't often point to my own experience as being a model; but I kept many difficult fishes for 8-10 years with no LR and nitrates that would scare most folks. (Katrina got them) I don't suggest keeping nitrates in the hundreds, but see no harm at, say 40-60 ppm. Again: FIH ONLY TANKS.

LisaD
12/19/2008, 03:09 PM
MrTuskfish, I don't disagree that you can keep at least some fish in tanks with high nitrates. And there are plenty of experienced and dedicated aquarium keepers that have been successful with high nitrates. I just believe it's best practice to keep nitrates under control. In a heavily stocked tank, I don't think a nitrate level of 40-60 ppm is out of control, though I try to keep them lower.

Since there doesn't seem to be that much published research on acceptable nitrate levels for marine fish, our experiences are about as good as it gets. :)

I do have experience with two species that don't appear to handle high nitrates, puffers and seahorses. If nitrates got over 30 ppm in my seahorse tanks, the animals would slow down, hide, show stress colors (darken) stop eating, in general show effects of stress. Lowering nitrates resulted in normal coloration and behavior.

00nothing
12/19/2008, 03:44 PM
NOW WE ARE ON TRACK

thanks to everyone for there input some very valuable information by all and some things to think on

while i am one of those who believe nitrates arent the worst thing we have in our tank but i am of the opinion some control of them is defintly needed i do have full intentions of skimming and consistent water changes to help control that.

Onto the topic of substrates as far as dsb's go never ran a full out serious deep one deepest was about 3 inches 4 in in spots and i think that possibly had to do with the failure of the sandbed itself.I am pretty against the use of crushed coral strictly because i have always found it to always looks dirty . Any other ideas for in tank substrate if a DSB is not the way to go i shall prob go with a thin layer of very fine calcite

For those recommending I not run the dsb is the reason for this based on detritus build up or other reasons cause there is always the option of the remote DSB I have about 10 mangroves that i could easily plop into a 5 gallon pail filled most of the way with sand that could act as a refugium and dsb in one that being said please nobody say macros I am done with them never again

thanks again to all look forward to more info

LisaD
12/19/2008, 04:02 PM
Sorry about getting off topic with the nitrate debate...

Not saying DSB is bad, just sharing my experience. When I have run DSB (two tanks) I have had nuisance algae problems from the get-go. I don't know why. These were not heavily stocked or heavily fed tanks, and there were plenty of organisms in the DSB. I found the DSBs were much more trouble than they were worth. I have always had good luck with shallow sand beds, 1-2". Used the same stuff for both shallow and deep SB, Caribsea Aragamax or similar. I've also had good luck with bare bottom tanks, with lots of flow. The good thing about a remote DSB is that if you have problems, you can bypass it. I would not put a DSB in the tank again, personally.

I don't care for water changes - I do them, but not as often as some. So I like to control nitrates other ways, like with a refugium for nutrient export. I suppose your mangroves in the bucket could help. I'm curious, why are you through with macro? I can understand being through with stuff that goes sexual and crashes, but chaetomorpha seems pretty bulletproof. I've always heard that mangroves aren't that great at nutrient export, most are too small, but if you can plop them in the DSB and grow them big, I suppose they'll work fine.

Put a good pre-filter or two on the wet-dry, and you shouldn't have problems. A couple posts back I mentioned my 125, run with a wet-dry. Great system, always looked pristine. There was a prefilter in the overflow, under the overflow, and over the wet-dry. If I kept the pre-filters clean, everything looked great.

00nothing
12/19/2008, 04:50 PM
Lisa every tank i have ever used macro's in for whatever reason has at some point developed a case of red slime but yet all of the tanks that i used no algaes in whatsoever were fine, even so much to the point that a 6 month old tank that i introduced algae too all of a sudden developed red slime when before it had none call it bad luck, also in order for them to make any real diffrence i would need a much larger amount than i willing to provide space for

As far as the nitrate debate goes it is a good debate feel no need to dismiss it. it's how we learn sometimes its the threads when people argue mindlessly especially when they do not have the experience to do so that serve no purpose

iamwrasseman
12/19/2008, 05:14 PM
if your looking for any morey eels i have a few and am trying to sell pm me and we can discuss the matter . i dont think that the fish you mentioned are gonna be adversly effected by high nitrates IMO they are hardy ones and what you are thinking about doing is okay .good luck with the project

kirkaz
12/19/2008, 05:29 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=13978998#post13978998 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by 00nothing
Lisa every tank i have ever used macro's in for whatever reason has at some point developed a case of red slime but yet all of the tanks that i used no algaes in whatsoever were fine, even so much to the point that a 6 month old tank that i introduced algae too all of a sudden developed red slime when before it had none call it bad luck, also in order for them to make any real diffrence i would need a much larger amount than i willing to provide space for

As far as the nitrate debate goes it is a good debate feel no need to dismiss it. it's how we learn sometimes its the threads when people argue mindlessly especially when they do not have the experience to do so that serve no purpose

I'm not pushing for or against Macro, but in a tank like this (FO), I don't think getting Red Slime is a big deal...Nuke it with Blue Life Red Slime Remover, gone in 3 days, no harm done to anything (I have even used this stuff with corals), won't likely come back.

I'm surprised you find Crushed Coral dirty, as I said I vacuum half every water change, my CC with no clean up crew in my big tank looks cleaner than my sand in my small tank with CUC (that I can't vacuum).

MrTuskfish
12/20/2008, 08:50 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=13979250#post13979250 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by kirkaz
I'm not pushing for or against Macro, but in a tank like this (FO), I don't think getting Red Slime is a big deal...Nuke it with Blue Life Red Slime Remover, gone in 3 days, no harm done to anything (I have even used this stuff with corals), won't likely come back.

I'm surprised you find Crushed Coral dirty, as I said I vacuum half every water change, my CC with no clean up crew in my big tank looks cleaner than my sand in my small tank with CUC (that I can't vacuum).
Yeah; Red Slime is easily removed with one of the commercial products. I know this goes against a lot of folks desire to do everything the natural way; but IME, red slime is usually a one time thing that happens when conditions happen to be just right. If it reappears, then there is cause for concern. Again, IME, the treatment works and the gunk doesn't come back. I've used a red slime remover about 3-4 times; owning several tanks for many years. I never had it reappear or saw any side effects.

00nothing
12/20/2008, 02:48 PM
Wow jsut got the bigals flyer todayand what a kick in the face biggest tank this yr is a 120g 5fter now i am not sure what size i want to go with, too cheap *** to buy a tank at full price lol i may jsut get a 75g for 100 bux start with my few must have fish and buy the large tank later but either way it wont change my plans for the system setup

LisaD
12/20/2008, 02:53 PM
have you checked for good deals on used tanks? I practically gave away my 5' 120 because I promised my husband I'd get it out of the house when I set up the 210.

00nothing
12/20/2008, 03:16 PM
i am actually trying to avoid used tanks this time for the sheer reason the final product will be a show piece and if its going to be scratched i want it to have been by me lol

and if i do get the 75 as a starter for now I will buy the equipment for a much larger tank i think the prob is right now I have the bug we have all had it at some point and if i go with the 75 it just means i can really take my time and build for a larger tank i can think of it as buying a 75 gallon sump lol

Snapper66
12/21/2008, 11:12 AM
If your not Going to use Live Rock I would have a Nice Deep sand Bed.And get a Beefy protein Skimmer but I dont see why this could not Work if You do Good Water Changes and clean the Bottom Good.

00nothing
12/22/2008, 05:24 PM
well after days of debating to myself 75 or 120 i am going to split the diffrence and make a show quality 90 gallon lol that should hold me off till my tenant moves out and at the very least i an always sell it and get a lot bigger later

saltyguy51
12/22/2008, 07:39 PM
I remember when I first got on this site I told people how I run my tank and I got chewed out from so many people I was about to write this site off but I changed my mind and decided to see what I could learn. I dont use any liverock and I use well water and I dont run a skimmer. I have 3" of white sand from Menards and have lots of Lava Rock (large pieces) which arent real pretty but keep the nitrates down to .10-.15 and I do weekly water changes of 20%. My fish are healthy and growing and I was told this wouldnt work, but it does! you have been in this hobby longer than I have and I dont see why you cant make it work like you first stated.

LisaD
12/22/2008, 07:51 PM
there's a lot of ways to have a successful tank, and we can all get a little too comfortable in what we believe works best. I apologize if any of my comments seemed closed minded. this thread's been great, it made me think of a tank I kept years ago that was one of the nicest, best looking and most trouble free tanks I ever had. I kept this tank before I "knew better", and had it set up for three years in the early 90s.

It was a 125, bare bottom, a few large, pretty pieces of what was basically base rock (looked like it was once elkhorn), big home made wet-dry, don't remember much about the skimmer. I had a pair of 10" Naso tangs, a 14" white spotted filefish (best fish ever) and an 8-10" Diana's hogfish. never had any nuisance algae, had nice coralline, water was always crystal clear. there were two prefilters ahead of the wet-dry, which I think helped a lot.

I never tested nitrates, wish I knew what they were. the tank always looked great, fish were never sick. The only reason I took it down was a cross-country move, so I sold the tank and adopted out the fish to the best homes I could find.

while I've come to prefer the live rock/refugium/skimmer set-up, I really miss that tank. would love to have the same set-up again.

00nothing
12/23/2008, 09:55 PM
one taboo that at some point in the future i intend on doing and i know i may catch some slack on this one is a school of yellow tangs now i will hold off for the right size tank before it ever happens but yrs ago it was common to see tanks jsut crammed full of them my father in law was one of these people he started reefing in the 80's and had 7 yellow tangs in a custom tank 48x12x32 tall gorgeous tank one of these i will have to see if he can find pics of it running on a under gravel no skimmer no sump and crammed full of liverock he let it cycle for one full yr before it ever saw fish one

point being goes to show how the thinking in the hooby has changed but some of those old tanks worked perfectly

00nothing
12/26/2008, 09:32 PM
Well grabbed a 90 gallon a bunch of tufa and a bucket of salt today so now it begins but I will hold off on build pics for substantial stuff no point in posting the little things

Recty
12/26/2008, 10:14 PM
Most of us like to see the little things :)

00nothing
01/10/2009, 08:24 AM
Well things like the stand being built are well under way and getting ready to place an order from glass-holes.com, going to do a bit of a foam and rock piece jsut to give some security and someplace for the fishys to hide and so that tank isnt to bland but now I am going nuts figuring out my stocking lists. Now i know I am ages away from adding fish to the tank but i like to preplan these things and have a solid plan going in so i can avaoid impulse buying when the time comes

Here are things I am looking at tell me what u think and if you have any ideas for fish that might work better let me know right now i am willing to consider anything

*pair of bluethroats i owned a bluethroat in the past and it was hands down my favorite fish so these guys are a must but the rest is all open to debate
*trio of anthias not sure what kind
*dwarf angel or one of the smaller large angels
*tang am thinking maybe a pbt or a brown would love a naso but i know they grow pretty quick and this tank wouldnt hold one for long
*coral cat shark i know a 90 gallon is nowhere near the tank a fish like this needs but i am willing to deal with that when the time comes but if anyone has had one what was the growth rate like how long would i be looking at before i would need to have something in place to deal with that

thats really about it and i know that is pushing the limits but as far as filtration goes this tank is going to be the heaviest filtration i have ever put on any tank i have ever owned and also keep in mind the fish will have use of almost the entire tank for swimming the rock work that is going in is very minimal but with wanting the shark a pond is also in the future plans

saltyguy51
01/10/2009, 12:00 PM
w

00nothing
01/10/2009, 02:42 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14123848#post14123848 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by saltyguy51
w

xyz :confused: