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Supab4real
12/04/2012, 08:16 AM
Hi Everyone! I have been reading these boards for quite a while, along with other sites, youtube vids, etc. I am in the final planning stages of starting a 55 gal FO tank. I will probably just have a few clownfish in the beginning. I have a few questions that I haven't been able to find definite answers to yet.

1. If I want to setup a true FO, with no live rock, just base rock, and base sand, would a bacteria and ammonia solution like Dr. Tims one and only be fine for the cycle? Will it take forever to cycle if i use the shrimp method with nothing live in the tank?

2. From what ive read, in FO, I should get a filter, would you recommend a canister filter? Wet/Dry? Or Protein Skimmer? Or Both?

3. If I am doing base rock and sand, after doing the cycle, would either ever become live or not?

4. Is it ok to use artificial corals and such?

Thanks in advance!

Driver13
12/04/2012, 08:22 AM
Any decent bacteria from your LFS will do. Live rock would be preferred, of course not a must though. I would go Protein skimmer over canister filter, but you can run both if you'd like. Both would become live after your bio load stables out (a few months in). It is okay to use synthetic corals etc. Just make sure it's rated to be in saltwater.

thegrun
12/04/2012, 08:31 AM
1. I would take your time with the cycle and skip Dr. Tim's, just use a dead raw shrimp or pure ammonia to start the cycle. Figure 4-5 weeks to cycle.
2. I would stay away from a canister filter, they are difficult to maintain. Also stay away from wet dry filters, they increase your nitrates. A sump with a protein skimmer and if space allows a refugium is the best method IMHO.
3. Yes after the cycle your base rock and sand will be live. True live rock does add some diversity to the life in your tank but certainly is not necessary.
4. Artificial corals are fine to use, but they usually get covered in coraline algae and don't look good at that point (at least to me). If you keep them clean there are some nice looking artificial corals available.

Guygettnby
12/04/2012, 08:38 AM
1. no point to add any chemicals bud. cycle it naturally and take your time. this hobby takes time, so get used to it. using a dead shrimp is also not needed. i have never been a beleiver of starting a tank with a dead shrimp. does it work? yea but it is not needed. grab a small amount of live sand from an established tank or a few small pieces of actual aquacultered rock or real live rock from an established tank. that will work just as good.

2. FO tanks dont really need any specific filter. skimmer is always a good choice, but not needed with a FO tank IMHO. a good HOB filter rated for double the tank size or a decent canister filter will work fine as long as you keep up with your maintenance. clean the filter "clean", clean and change media as needed on a regular basis. there are millions of people out there just simply using a cheap HOB filter on their FO tanks with great success. like i mentioned, just keep up with the maintenance and regular water changes. if you have room for a sump, they are always a good thing as they also add extra water volume to your setup, allow for better filtration and a place to hide everything. but they are not needed.

3. absolutely! the rock and sand is not what is actually live. it is the bacteria,algea and critters that live on the rocks and in the sand that makes it "live". having rock in your tank is also helpful as over time it becomes a natural filter.

4.of course it is. people do it everyday. it is all in what you like and how you want your tank to look. if you like the way it looks in your tank then go for it. just remember that you will have to keep cleaning it as it will get covered in algea.

have fun with your tank. set it up how you want it too look. make sure you do regular maintenance!! that will be the huge factor in how healthy your fish are and how your tank looks.

MrTuskfish
12/04/2012, 01:35 PM
A comment on your 1st paragraph: Don't start out with "a few clownfish", start with just two juvis. Juvi clowns can be kept together by the hundreds; but two will form a bonded pair. At that point, they will not tolerate any other clowns, even other clown species, in their territory.

Supab4real
12/04/2012, 03:21 PM
Thanks for the advice! What would be considered pure ammonia? And the shrimp method, would you take out the shrimp at any point or let it rot until gone? I'll try my lfs to see if i can get a little live sand..dont know anyone else around with a sw tank. As for the clowns..when i said a few i meant 2. Guygettnby, im in MD too! Where abouts are you? I live in Frederick.

Mrscribbled
12/04/2012, 04:29 PM
Dr Tim's one and only or instant ocean bio spira are great products. Buy a small bottle of ammonia chloride or if you order from Dr Tim's site he will send a bottle with for free. Why wait months for bacteria to start growing on base rock when you can add it instant ly. The thing with the shrimp is you have to wait for a totally different bacteria to form and break it down to ammonia and it also clouds the water big time and takes forever. YouTube Dr Tim. He has good videos and ive personally tested it and trust it 100 percent.

MuffsAbby
12/04/2012, 05:14 PM
I run a FO tank. When I initially set it up (over a year ago), I had no live rock, no live sand and no base rock...just an artificial coral "reef" structure and sand/substrate (not live). I also had a wet/dry, a protein skimmer and a canister filter. The tank took 6 weeks to cycle with pure ammonia.

Back in July, I was having issues, primarily with algae. Long story short, I ditched the wet/dry and the canister filter, but kept the sand, the protein skimmer and the artificial corals, and added some base (dead) rock. Since making those changes, I have had (so far) zero issues with algae and I'm seeing more life in the tank.

Pure ammonia is just that -- the only ingredient is ammonia (and perhaps water). I bought mine in the grocery store, under the brand name "Goldex", if that helps.

Guygettnby
12/05/2012, 07:13 AM
Thanks for the advice! What would be considered pure ammonia? And the shrimp method, would you take out the shrimp at any point or let it rot until gone? I'll try my lfs to see if i can get a little live sand..dont know anyone else around with a sw tank. As for the clowns..when i said a few i meant 2. Guygettnby, im in MD too! Where abouts are you? I live in Frederick.

fort meade. kind of a hike from you.

and again i mention to you doing it all naturally. there are alot of other reefers in MD who would help you out. there are also a couple of stores in Md who sell aqua cultured live rock. that is how i almost always cycle my tanks and of course add some live sand from another mature tank.

alot of people are fine with the shrimp method. i just dont like it and prefer a different route. this is just my opinion.

just remember everything takes time in this hobby. dont rush anything and you will get great results.