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View Full Version : Starting up a 135 gallon FOWLR tank. Need advise


sean A.
05/25/2009, 08:26 PM
I'm thinkin about converting my 135 gallon freshwater tank to a FOWLR tank. What would be better, live sand, ground up coral or something else? As far as livestock goes. I would have a Niger
Trigger n it and would like advise on what else to add to it.

RoastReef
05/25/2009, 09:03 PM
I'm a reef guy so not so much help on tankmates. As far as substrate, I would go with "dead/dry" sand. It's much cheaper and your live rock will seed the sand with beneficial critters (you can also add a cup full of live sand from an established tank to get it going).

sean A.
05/25/2009, 09:49 PM
Thank you. I will look into that.

DamnPepShrimp
05/25/2009, 09:57 PM
You could always run bare bottom. I run BB in my FO tank since I have messy eaters and its easy to just vacuum out the detrius.

sean A.
05/25/2009, 10:36 PM
I thought about that but I would like to have something down

snorvich
05/26/2009, 08:46 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15076316#post15076316 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by DamnPepShrimp
You could always run bare bottom. I run BB in my FO tank since I have messy eaters and its easy to just vacuum out the detrius.

Maintenance wise, this is great advise.

DamnPepShrimp
05/26/2009, 09:46 AM
I'll admit, it doesn't look good, but your main focus is the fish. I never even notice I have BB anymore since I am staring at 6 fish and an eel that are all right at my face begging for food! I have seen some tanks that were BB that looked amazing though.

sean A.
05/26/2009, 10:07 AM
Do u have any PICS of your tank so I can see how it looks. With BB can u still use live Rock too

LisaD
05/26/2009, 10:32 AM
with BB, you SHOULD use live rock.

sean A.
05/26/2009, 11:22 AM
Now as far as livestock goes. I'll b building my tank around a Niger Trigger. I would like to have some real nice colorfull fish in there. What would u guys recommend

kfkphisig762
05/26/2009, 02:21 PM
The Niger is a great fish. Mine has alot of personality. I made the mistake of thinking mine was different from what other posters on here have said because of this. However, he is OK with the fish he grew up with, but that is it. I could not add any other fish or he would systematically destroy them. Once the triggers get bigger it is tough to have suitable tankmates. He is however much nicer than my Undulated trigger that I gave a chance to be friendly. I think maybe a puffer that would stay smaller would work or anything that will not try to infiltrate his caves that he will make out of your live rock and sand would be OK.

sevendigitcake
05/27/2009, 08:45 AM
with the niger trigger i would think you could add angels, tangs, wrasses, and puffers.
if i were you i would stock:
1. niger trigger
2. pinkface wrasse
3. purple tang
4. flame angel
5. emperor angel
I dont know the dimensions of your tank so the emperor might be questionable

sean A.
05/27/2009, 11:05 AM
My tank Dimensions are 6 feet long, 18 inches wide & 24 inches deep. Now what about a Dog Face puffer.

MatthewLaw
05/27/2009, 12:35 PM
dogface puffer should be ok. might get a little tight when the puffer get to full adult size since it can be 12"+

sean A.
05/27/2009, 02:23 PM
Now I was reading a thread that said you need to Qt all fish before you put them into your main tank. So does that mean that I need to get another tank for the QT & which fish should I do first.

MatthewLaw
05/27/2009, 03:02 PM
i agree QT all the fish BEFORE putting them in the main tank.

I would add the least aggressive fish first.

unleashed13
05/27/2009, 03:02 PM
remember your starting your tank with a trigger this could become an issue as to adding new fish.. triggers are very territorial and aggressive ... he should be the last fish introduced to the display tank... adding him first will higher his rank for territory making him more apt to attack new comers to maintain his rank. as for substrate the use of arganite is your best bet this type help maintain water quality far better than silicate sands as a buffering agent.... as for bare bottoms.. I have seen a few up close.. personally I don't like how they look .. without continuous bottom cleaning ,the tank becomes covered with fecal matter and just looks gross.. substrate also harbors many critters that break down this matter that bare bottom tanks lack.

sean A.
05/28/2009, 07:10 AM
Well rite now the niger Trigger is only about 3-4 inches long.

sean A.
05/28/2009, 10:06 AM
As far as the QT Tank goes. Should that tank be completely empty?

anbosu
05/28/2009, 11:28 AM
You can add some PVC pipe to give the fish someplace to hide, but generally you shouldn't have much in there in case you need to treat the fish with some sort of medicine.

sean A.
05/28/2009, 12:40 PM
Now what size tank should the QT be?

DamnPepShrimp
05/28/2009, 01:16 PM
Depends on the fish your QTing, and how many. I have a 30b QT tank and usually only QT one 4" fish at a time. You don't even have to use a tank, you can buy some kind of plastic container if it is big enough, saves you some money.

sean A.
05/28/2009, 01:56 PM
Ok that's good to know. I have a big plastic tub that I can use but it doesn't hav
Se a top. Could I just use air stones for air n it & a heater? Sorry if
I'm askin stupid questions I'm just new to all of this & I want to do it rite

barbianj
05/28/2009, 02:02 PM
Nope, not stupid questions. You need a cycled filter on the QT tank, at least a cycled HOB that you can move from the main tank to the QT when needed. Otherwise, you will be doing daily WC's on the QT, which is a pain, and more stress on the fish.

sean A.
05/28/2009, 02:32 PM
Ok thank u

LisaD
05/28/2009, 05:03 PM
If you don't want to set up a glass tank as QT, buy a really large Rubbermaid or Sterilite container. You can set it up for QT, then take it down and use it to store equipment or other things later. Just get a really big one, 30 gallons or more, if you can.

Here are some articles to get you started on reading about QT. It really is a good idea. Many of us have learned this the hard, and expensive, way.

Steven Pro is one of my favorite authors where fish health is concerned:

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-10/sp/feature/index.php

sean A.
05/28/2009, 07:39 PM
Thank you.

sean A.
05/29/2009, 02:54 PM
Ok I'm converting my tank to Salt Water. Can I reuse my Bio Balls that I used for my freshwater tank or should I replace them with new ones?

MatthewLaw
05/29/2009, 03:03 PM
i would replace them. there are some that do not like the use of bioballs. i think its because they can turn into nitrate holders

sean A.
05/29/2009, 03:50 PM
What do u guys recommend I use?

anbosu
05/29/2009, 03:52 PM
If you wash the bio balls off well maybe with a mild bleach solution (and then rinse thoroughly) there is no reason you can't re-use them.

Ideally you would have a refugium set up, but if you have a wet/dry filter then using the bio balls is fine. You just need to make sure you periodically clean them out to make sure they don't accumulate a lot of gunk.

sean A.
05/29/2009, 05:20 PM
Now not to sound totally bad but what is a refugium?

LisaD
05/29/2009, 08:20 PM
wikipedia has a decent defiinition:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refugium_(fishkeeping)

unleashed13
05/29/2009, 09:48 PM
you can reuse the bio balls.. the salt water will actually kill off the bacteria from the fresh water.. just clean them with vinigar water .. you don't need to use chemicals in your tank if you don't have to.. but the vinigar will help remove the sludge thats in them

sean A.
05/30/2009, 11:06 AM
Ok thank you.

sean A.
05/31/2009, 05:47 AM
ok I went to my LFS yesterday. It wasnt the main one that I usually got to but I wanted to check this one out. The guy there told me that since I was only doing a FOWLR tank that I didn't have to use DI water. He told me that I could just use regular TAP water and mix the Salt in that. How tru is that?

sean A.
05/31/2009, 05:53 AM
This is what i'm thinkin as far as my livestock goes.
1- Emperor Angel
2- Koran Angel
3- Niger Trigger
4- Powder Blue Tang
5- Raccoon Butterfly
6- Queen or else a Blue Angel

Would these be compatible? Of course I would add the Trigger last.

unleashed13
05/31/2009, 07:11 AM
as RO/DI water goes it will depend on your water supply.. some states and cities have better water than others .. as for well water some are also better water than others .. I myself now use well water.. my water is not run through a water softener or chlorinated.however I always treat my water with prime when adding it to the tank.. this to detoxify any chlorimide nitrates and ammonia's that may be present ..you should be able to check your areas water quality

anbosu
05/31/2009, 08:19 AM
If you don't use ro/di water you are more likely to have nuisance algae problems, but your fish should be fine.

sean A.
05/31/2009, 08:48 AM
So treating the water with PRIME will help it out? Where would I be able to find that at?

MatthewLaw
05/31/2009, 09:20 AM
anywhere. petco, petsmart

LisaD
05/31/2009, 09:45 AM
1- Emperor Angel
2- Koran Angel
3- Niger Trigger
4- Powder Blue Tang
5- Raccoon Butterfly
6- Queen or else a Blue Angel

Would these be compatible? Of course I would add the Trigger last.

Your tank is not large enough for three large angels. Also, a niger trigger would eventually outgrow the tank (but not for a while). Actually, any of those angels would eventually outgrow the tank.

You could keep one or two dwarf angels (these usually range in size from 4 to 7 inches). A smaller trigger that could live in the tank for life is one of the Rhinecanthus triggers (like the picassso).
Powder blue tangs can be very aggressive, and many people consider them "ich magnets". If I were you, I'd pick another tang.
Racoon butterfly should be fine, but will depend on which aggressive fish you settle on.

Even though you have FW experience, salt is a bit different. I suggest you invest in "The New Marine Aquarium" by Mike Paletta. It will give you the basics on setting up a marine aquarium. It has a lot of good information and costs less than $20.

http://www.amazon.com/New-Marine-Aquarium-Step-Step/dp/1890087521

sean A.
05/31/2009, 10:48 AM
Ok I will do that thank you.

sean A.
05/31/2009, 08:46 PM
Wanted to know if any of you can give me some info on Pink Face Wrasse, Pakistan Butterfly
& Powder Brown Tang.

evilspaz
06/01/2009, 07:47 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15110871#post15110871 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by sean A.
Wanted to know if any of you can give me some info on Pink Face Wrasse, Pakistan Butterfly
& Powder Brown Tang. I wouldnt go with any of those I would go with smaller more hardy fish. No fish is fully grown at the LFS that Niger trigger will get HUGE. Ive been suprised on how big my cherub angel (A pygmy angel even smaller than a dwarf angel) has gotten.

sean A.
06/02/2009, 10:39 AM
Now what size skimmer should I get? I'm lookin for a HOB Skimmer. I found 1 that is rated for a 200 gallon tank. Would that one work?

unleashed13
06/02/2009, 10:43 AM
overkill is better than under kill when it comes to filtration IMO

sean A.
06/02/2009, 10:45 AM
Thinking about this livestock.

1- Niger Trigger
2- Pink Face Wrasse
3- Powder Brown Tang
4- Raccoon Butterfly
5- Emperor or Koran Angle

Would this be ok.

unleashed13
06/02/2009, 10:51 AM
that list looks pretty good as far as compatibility.. i do suggest adding the niger very last so it doen't think he owns the tank before all others are added

sean A.
06/02/2009, 12:10 PM
I will be adding Niger Trigger last.

evilspaz
06/02/2009, 12:10 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15119585#post15119585 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by sean A.
Thinking about this livestock.

1- Niger Trigger
2- Pink Face Wrasse
3- Powder Brown Tang
4- Raccoon Butterfly
5- Emperor or Koran Angle

Would this be ok. Thats a good list, but I would take out the Angel it will outgrow the tank.

sean A.
06/03/2009, 10:13 AM
If I replace the Angel with a puffer, will that setup work

MatthewLaw
06/03/2009, 10:14 AM
depending on the size of puffer, should be okay. i would try for a larger puffer although the large ones like a dogface will eventually need a 180g+ tank,

anbosu
06/03/2009, 10:36 AM
I've never heard of a dogface needing that much space. The Stars and Stripes and some of the larger puffers, sure, but dogface puffers are generally ok in much smaller tanks long term.

unleashed13
06/03/2009, 10:37 AM
this doesn't make sense to me .. your being told that and angel will outgrow your tank? ok this may be true.. however your being told to get a larger species to replace it?both will eventually outgrow your tank.. I would think the puffer would be sooner than the angel... this list should be fine for quite some time.

1- Niger Trigger
2- Pink Face Wrasse
3- Powder Brown Tang
4- Raccoon Butterfly
5- Emperor or Koran Angle

none of these fish are extremely fast growing fish.. your wrasse and trigger will the ones that will grow faster being the aggressive species.. 135 gal is a 6 ft tank? you chose 5 fish... I would chose the koran angle myself but thats just me..

MatthewLaw
06/03/2009, 10:57 AM
i have read conflicting opinions about the proper size but 150g should be appropriate. At 135g it may depend how much LR in the tank, thus affecting how much swimming room.

unleashed13
06/03/2009, 11:04 AM
I just don't see how that 15 gal is going to be a huge issue.... Ive seen others in this hobby putting more than his list into a 90 gal.. that would be where I would see an issue..

MatthewLaw
06/03/2009, 11:18 AM
people can put as many fish as they want into their tank but it doesn't mean the fish will be happy for their whole life.

that 15g difference can easily affect the length of the tank. sacrifice a little on height width, and you can pick up an extra foot with that 150g.

unleashed13
06/03/2009, 11:41 AM
I'm just stating for the original stock list he has up .. not the puffer.... I have a 125 myself and his fish list is much smaller than mine.. will some of my fish outgrow my tank yes they will.. some will not.. when that time comes I will have to make the choice yet again to upgrade tanks or sell them to someone that has a larger tank.. but this doesn't mean I have to make the choice right now or even this yr.. for now I can enjoy them.. as for being happy.. I doubt any of them are actually happy to be in a tank at all.. when I lost my stars n stripes he was 13 inches long in this very same tank I have up now several yrs ago he was only a couple yrs old..

MatthewLaw
06/03/2009, 12:24 PM
I agree that assuming he gets smaller versions of the listed fish, they will be fine in that 135g for awhile (f not forever).


how large was your stars and stripes when you originally got him? how long did it take for him to get to 13"?

sean A.
06/03/2009, 12:30 PM
Well the Niger Trigger will be the biggest so far at 4 inches. The other fish will be real small at around 1-3 inches.

NPCivic
06/03/2009, 12:31 PM
sean - I think that your list is fine, as long as you get them at their juv stages. I practically have the same types of fish (lunar wrasse, picasso trigger, juv. koran, scopas and whitecheek tang, and a baby lionfish) in my tank except that I don't have a butterfly fish. I got them as a juv and they are around 2"-3" at the moment. I consider my tank a temp because I know that once these guys start to mature, they will get big. (250+gal in the works). You also have to know that the more you feed, the faster they grow, so feed accordingly. Not everyday but every 3 days is should be fine.

Tangs are mainly herbivores so food like Formula two cubes would help them in their diet.

Juv. and Adult angels are omnivores but as they mature they require sponge and tunicates in their diet since this what they mostly eat in the wild, so get food that has these. Mega marine angel cubes is what I feed.

Triggers and wrasses are carnivores, so mysis, krill, squid, are great food for these guys. Actually, these guys eat anything you throw in the tank...well at least mine do. =)

Well, that's what I can offer so far but your in good hands here. Everyone here is very helpful and have a wealth of knowledge, sometimes better than what you can get in books. Good luck and keep asking those questions. Post some pics of your progress.

MatthewLaw
06/03/2009, 12:34 PM
i agree you should be okay for awhile. any idea how much LR you will get? I would say at least 100-150lbs (approx 1lb/1g). also definitely get a powerful Protein skimmer.

NPCivic
06/03/2009, 12:59 PM
I agree, that amount of LR sounds great!

Protein skimmer - get the biggest and most powerful one you can afford. Other than you main filters, protein skimmers is one of the most important pieces in your tank.

unleashed13
06/03/2009, 01:05 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15126770#post15126770 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by MatthewLaw
I agree that assuming he gets smaller versions of the listed fish, they will be fine in that 135g for awhile (f not forever).


how large was your stars and stripes when you originally got him? how long did it take for him to get to 13"? he was 4 inches when I got him i had him for 2 yrs.. what I have learned about aggressive fish is that for the first yr or so they grow rapidly.. I would think this is so they wouldn't be easy prey for long after that first yr they tend to slow down.. I'll use the lion as an example a 2 inch vol will grow to 12 inches in his first yr.. my shark grew to be 24 inches in one year..asuming the koran angel reaches 1ft 3 inches and the dogface puffer reaches 1ft 1 in.. Im using liveaqauria's measurements here... chances are the dog face will reach close to his fullest size within the first 2 yrs.. being he is an aggressive species..however angels and tangs grow at a slower rate it may take 5-6 yrs for a tank or angel to reach 10 inches.. it just makes more sense to me to get med sized not extra small fish they aren't very hardy to begin with but they growth rate tends to be slower

MatthewLaw
06/03/2009, 01:06 PM
interesting. thanks for the info.

anbosu
06/03/2009, 01:18 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15126052#post15126052 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by unleashed13
this doesn't make sense to me .. your being told that and angel will outgrow your tank? ok this may be true.. however your being told to get a larger species to replace it?both will eventually outgrow your tank.. I would think the puffer would be sooner than the angel... this list should be fine for quite some time.

1- Niger Trigger
2- Pink Face Wrasse
3- Powder Brown Tang
4- Raccoon Butterfly
5- Emperor or Koran Angle

none of these fish are extremely fast growing fish.. your wrasse and trigger will the ones that will grow faster being the aggressive species.. 135 gal is a 6 ft tank? you chose 5 fish... I would chose the koran angle myself but thats just me..

The size of the fish isn't always the most important aspect of whether a tank size is appropriate or not. Some smaller tangs require larger tanks than fish two and three times their size. Puffers, generally speaking, don't need as much space relative to their size as angels and tangs. If you have a full grown S&S or stellatus or one of the other ginormous species then you definitely need a 180+ tank, but you could house a dogface for a very long time in a 135. Matthew, yours is in what right now, a 60 gallon? I think you are a lot more likely to have issues with an angel in a smaller tank vs. a dogface.

MatthewLaw
06/03/2009, 01:24 PM
Correct my juvi dogface is in a 60g. he's only about 5 inches and since the tank is in hypo for ich, he has almost every inch of room to swim. when he gets larger i will upgrade to a larger tank.

i dont think any of us are disagreeing that most of those fish will be fine in a 135g for a significant period of time. but if someone only wants/allowed to have one tank and isn't a fan of upgrading, then get the largest tank possible for the desired stocking list.

sean A.
06/03/2009, 03:13 PM
Well i am looking at having atleast around 100 pounds of live rock. I found a skimmer that is rated for a 200 gallon tank that i am looking at purchasing. I basically looked on liveaquaria.com for the basic fish size when adult and the minimum tank size required to house the fish. I pasifically chose these fesh because I would like to have some color in my tank. I've had fresh water for some time now & they just got to be a lil dull to look at.

sean A.
06/03/2009, 03:18 PM
Have you guys or gals have any info on a Tassle File Fish? A friend of mine was lookin at gettin one. I just wanted to give him some more info on it before he purchased it.

LisaD
06/03/2009, 04:44 PM
very nice and unique fish, but...

1) they get big - 12" - and that's pretty much length AND height, so they need a good sized tank,

2) they are slow - don't keep them with fish that would pick at them - they need a fairly peaceful tank.

sean A.
06/03/2009, 05:57 PM
Ok thanks Lisa D. I will tell my friend about that

sean A.
06/04/2009, 06:53 AM
Now as far as Skimmers go. Is there a specific brand I should look for? I am lookin for a hang on back skimmer.

unleashed13
06/04/2009, 07:41 AM
I have an octopus on one tank and a CPR back pack on my other both work very well.. we added the skimmer back on for the corals

sean A.
06/04/2009, 08:50 AM
There's a lady trying to sell me a Coralife 125 Super Skimmer saying that it
Worked good on her 220 Gallon tank.

MatthewLaw
06/04/2009, 09:01 AM
I have an Aqua C Remora Pro and use it as a HOB Skimmer in my sump. BUT i do not think it will be powerful enough in your 135.

i have read good reports on the Octopus skimmers.

NPCivic
06/04/2009, 09:40 AM
I have an Aqua C Remora HOB Skimmer also and it works really well. But I agree with Matthew, they only go up to 120 gal.

I, too have read and heard a lot of positive things about the Reef Octopus Skimmers. Google Reef Octopus HB 300 Dual
Hang on Back Protein Skimmer, its recommend up to 150 gal. for around $160. This should be fine for your tank and bioload.

Here is a link where I found it but its on back order:

http://www.aquacave.com/reef-octopus-hb-300-dual-br-hang-on-back-protein-br-skimmer-1012.html

anbosu
06/04/2009, 01:20 PM
I have an Octo HOB on my 120 gallon and it works pretty well. Ideally an in sump skimmer is best just from a potential mess standpoint, but the HOB Octo I have works really well for me and I have a fairly heavy bioload in my 120 right now.

sean A.
06/04/2009, 02:07 PM
Ok thank you. I will be looking into those right away

sean A.
06/05/2009, 09:45 AM
Are there any other Tangs that are compatible with a Powder Brown Tang.

NPCivic
06/05/2009, 11:37 AM
Probably a Purple, Yellow, or Scopas Tang. These guys along with Powders can be very aggressive. Purple Tangs are up there in the aggressiveness. Powders can be aggressive and bold as they mature so you'll need tangs that can keep up with them. Just remember to put tangs of the same genus in at the same to avoid territorial issues or you'll have to move your display, so that they can establish new territory and also, put the most aggressive tang as one the last fish you put in your tank.

I've always had bad luck with powders. Sometimes, when you just look at them, ich spots pop up right away! Beautiful fish but very delicate.

unleashed13
06/05/2009, 06:54 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15132403#post15132403 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by sean A.
There's a lady trying to sell me a Coralife 125 Super Skimmer saying that it
Worked good on her 220 Gallon tank. here is what she is offering do your reading and see what you think
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=13924&cmpid=aff-_-ls-_-Fish-_-Super%20Skimmer%20Needle%20Wheel%20Protein%20Skimmer&ref=3665&subref=AA&GCID=C12188x007

sean A.
06/06/2009, 05:47 AM
ok well I have decided to go with crushed coral for my flooring in my tank. How much do I need for it. I am also going to have around 100-130 lbs. of LR too?

LisaD
06/06/2009, 06:22 AM
There is a sandbed calculator on the home page. Try that for a ballpark of how many lbs you will need for a certain depth. I'd go for no more than 1-2" of crushed coral or aragonite sand.

unleashed13
06/06/2009, 01:46 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15145352#post15145352 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by sean A.
ok well I have decided to go with crushed coral for my flooring in my tank. How much do I need for it. I am also going to have around 100-130 lbs. of LR too? 2 inches is the standard for crushed coral for aquariums from125 gal to 150 gal you will need approximately 125 -250 lbs of substrate.. as for your LR 100-130 lbs should be good but that will also depend on the porousness of the LR some weigh in less than others the more porous the better .But will also weigh less . Base rock normally weighs in heavier due to being less porous.. either way it should do well.. You may or may not wish later on to add more.

unleashed13
06/06/2009, 01:47 PM
I used this chart to help guide you http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?&acatid=427&aid=1106

sean A.
06/07/2009, 05:48 AM
thank you. That helped alot