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Vincero
05/03/2017, 01:25 AM
Hi,

I'm a complete beginner, currently trying to wrap my head around the many aspects involved in making a successful start to this hobby!

I'm intending to start my journey with an Aqua Nano 40 tank. After reading around, I have a better understanding of what I need to do to modify this tank for a successful saltwater set up. (I'd like to keep corals and eventually, fish).

However, one thing I haven't given enough thought to is managing water changes. I know that for a small tank like this they need to be performed (at least) weekly. A 25% change on this tank amounts to 10 liters.

I'm planning to mix my own saltwater and store it, but I'd like someone more knowledgeable to tell me if my plan looks viable. So... here it goes:

Essentially, I'd like to mix up 40 liters of saltwater in a big plastic tub and then siphon it evenly into 4 10 liter buckets with airtight lids. That way, I'd have 4 weeks worth of water changes. When I need the water, I'd recheck the salinity and bring it to tank temperature in the buckets before performing the water change...

Is this viable or am I missing something here? -- And if it is okay, I'm a little unsure what size powerhead I should use to help mix 40 liters of salt water (or more!) in one go.

Any suggestions / advice would be much appreciated. Sorry if these are silly questions...

evokid511
05/03/2017, 07:09 AM
i have never been a fan of mixing my own water, so if at all possible and you have a local store you can get premixed or natural saltwater that would be best... and at first you may want to do weekly water changes but after your tank is a little more established twice a month would be more sufficient... now as far as storage goes, i just keep a small powerhead in my buckets but i never store water for more then two weeks tops

twitchy
05/03/2017, 07:44 AM
Check out this thread on mixing stations: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1711626

I'm planning something similar for my 25gal, using 2 12gal containers.

Currently I just have a water level line drawn on a 5gal bucket that I fill with freshwater, then add 7 scoops of salt, throw in mj900 and a heater and let it mix all night. Then next day check the salinity before I do the change just to double check. It isn't too much work to mix every week, but I will be making a station so I always have emergency water change in hand

Fish4life28
05/03/2017, 09:44 AM
Your plan sounds good to me. Maybe consider keeping it in the mixing container rather than individual jugs. My opinion is less space to use one container. Like you plan always recheck salinity, heat to temp and I would run a mixing pump or air stone in the new water for a couple hours to aerate it again before use. This can happen while heating to tank temp. Your off to a good start with your plans.
One suggestion I have is why not start with fish and then corals? You can learn your chemistry and parameters along with maintenance with fish only prior to corals. The fish will handle changes much better than corals while you are learning. Hope that helps.

ReefWreak
05/03/2017, 09:56 AM
I wouldn't plan on leaving saltwater around for more than 2 weeks. I would only plan on changing out water every 2 weeks. If it were me, I'd more likely do 10L every two weeks, and then reduce it to once a month as time goes by. It depends on how diligent you are, and if you will set aside the time to do a water change every week. I'd rather find something more sustainable and stick with that.

I do about 5g on a 29g tank (~22g of actual water volume) maaaybe monthly, though usually quarterly. I also dose vodka (carbon), and skim, but don't use any other filtration other than high flow.

Vincero
05/03/2017, 01:58 PM
Thanks for your replies! As for making salt water myself, I'm doing it for the learning experience. Also, buying it seems to add up quite quickly over here in NZ -- even for a small tank.

Based on the advice here, I'll make less water if storing it is a problem. I'll aim to make 30 litres of RO and turn two thirds into saltwater so that I have my water changes made up 2 weeks in advance, instead of four. This way, I'll have some left over RO too and I can use that for topping up the tank.

Another question... what size (wattage) submersible heater should I buy if I'm planning to heat the water in 10 liter (2.6 gallon) batches?

Bagabaga
05/03/2017, 02:08 PM
I had a throw away 100w heater I used in my mixing bucket with a mj900 with the propeller attachment for water circulation.

I do weekly changes because I'm not doing so well with maintaining alkalinity with kalk or 2 parts so my weekly change is for alkalinity and trace element replenishment.

I set it up to mix a few hours before my water change. I only do 3 gallons a week on my 26 gallon total system. And I make my rodi water a day or two ahead.

Everything for me is being more stable.

ryanvan
05/03/2017, 02:49 PM
I have two small brute garbage cans that I use in my unfinished basement. One has Rodi water the other has salt water . I have a pump and heater in the salt tank. I do weekly water changes in my 20 gallon . Takes me 15 minutes tops to do the water change. Salt water storage tanks Usaully lasts about three weeks before I mix a new batch.

b_evans06
05/03/2017, 03:47 PM
I prefer to make saltwater myself. Can mix it up at home in case of emergency when the local store is closed or a holiday or bad weather. I used to haul buckets to the lfs and do water changes 5g at a time in my nano but calculated out the price of a box of salt vs buying saltwater for $x.xx per gallon it only took a couple month to come out ahead saving money. I prefer to do waters changes every 2 weeks in both of my tanks. 25g in my 100g system and 5g in my 20g system.

b_evans06
05/03/2017, 03:51 PM
Another question... what size (wattage) submersible heater should I buy if I'm planning to heat the water in 10 liter (2.6 gallon) batches?

I use a small preset automatic heater believe it is made by tetra marine. I bought it at wal-mart for $10 or less couple years ago. It is only about 5" long not sure about wattage but its rated for up to 5g.

Vincero
05/03/2017, 08:46 PM
Thanks for the advice. Now to find a bucket big enough for mixing a large volume of salt water...

Vincero
05/04/2017, 12:16 AM
What about powerhead size if I'm mixing in a 20 Litres worth at a time? Not really sure how to work that one out... does it really matter?

Ritten
05/04/2017, 09:16 AM
I have two small brute garbage cans that I use in my unfinished basement. One has Rodi water the other has salt water . I have a pump and heater in the salt tank. I do weekly water changes in my 20 gallon . Takes me 15 minutes tops to do the water change. Salt water storage tanks Usaully lasts about three weeks before I mix a new batch.

This works well for me also. I have a 20 gallon brute on wheels that I keep filled with saltwater. I have an old nano pump in there and a heater rated for 20 gallons.

Berta600
05/04/2017, 04:05 PM
So it looks like weekly smaller changes are what people are recommending? I've been doing 4 gal a week on my 54 gal tank but was thinking about going to 8 gal every other week. Thoughts?

Vincero
05/04/2017, 06:43 PM
So it looks like weekly smaller changes are what people are recommending? I've been doing 4 gal a week on my 54 gal tank but was thinking about going to 8 gal every other week. Thoughts?

Everyone seems to do it differently and it looks like a lot of it depends on how well established the tank is, its size, and whether or not there's a skimmer...

I was thinking approx. 25% weekly water changes to start, but then lowering it accordingly. Also, I've botched my maths. The tank I'm getting is actually 55L capacity (not 40) :hmm5:.

This means that storing saltwater in 10L buckets doesn't actually cover a 25% water change as initially intended. Oops.

I guess it doesn't have to be a precise percentage as long as the water change is big enough and the salinity isn't altered during the change.

Bagabaga
05/06/2017, 03:17 PM
Some guys do 10 a week some do 20 two weeks some do 50 a month. It all depends on what you're trying to accomplish. If it's like me with alk and my corals aren't using it too fast yet then 10 a week works. If it's for nutrient reduction the 29 biweekly and 50 a month work. If it's because of sand bed vacuuming then all work.

First step is to find out why you need to change water. Because some people on zeovit and what not do no water changes at all. They just do too iff and salinity adjustments and dose all elements accordingly.