View Full Version : Start my first tank

09/23/2017, 06:43 PM
I want to be sure If I understand well how to begin my first saltwater tank. I have Fluval evo 13,5 gallons
1- I put good (RO/DI) fresh water in my tank and I start pump and heater. I add salt to have salinity of 1,024 or 1,025 and temp around 78-80.
2- When salt water is stable, I add live sand, base rocks and live rock (I think to put 10 lbs of base and buy 5 lbs of live rock). I start the skimmer and put my filtration media. I let that run many weeks, the time to make the amoniac/nitrite/nitrate cycle.
3- When the cycle is done, I cana dd my first invertebrates (probable stuff to clean alguae) and maybe 1 fish
4- IF all going well, I will be able to think to begin to add some easy corals
That make sense???

09/23/2017, 07:03 PM
That is an excellent summary of the process. Good luck!

09/23/2017, 08:05 PM
Sounds good to me as well [emoji108] I too just recently started my first reef setup. Had only done FW before. The absolute #1 rule of thumb, DO NOT RUSH ANYTHING! Patience is key when doing saltwater. Monitor your levels likes it's your job and you're getting a paycheck for it and looking for a raise lol.

I filled my tank on 9-1-17. Mixed in the salt, aragonite and added 15lbs of LR. From there I waited. Checked parameters on a daily/every other day for the first 2 weeks. Never got much of an ammonia spike due to the fact that I started with all LR. The highest it got was MAYBE 1.5ppm.

9-14-17 started seeing my diatoms. By 9-18-17 my tank was COVERED in diatoms! Glass, rocks, sand, skimmer intake/outtake, all covered in brown diatoms. I didn't scrub the glass or do anything to remove them, just let them do there thing.

9-21-17 picked up my CUC. 5 Turbo Snails, 10 Red Leg Hermits, 1 Emerald Crab and 1 Serpent Star. That was around 6:30 pm Thursday night. (I did clean the glass with my nano flipper that night.) By 3:30 pm the next day, my tank looked absolutely stunning! These guys definitely did a great job at cleaning the diatoms. I mean my rocks and sand we're back to the pretty white condition they were on 9-1-17 went I first put them in

9-22-17 got my first coral. Orange Leptastrea. I love my LFS because they gave it to me for free! Told me they wanted to see if I could keep it alive for a week before I even thinking about adding anymore corals or fish.

Tonight, everything is looking great and water parameters are still perfect. So I say, follow the plan you've put in place for yourself, and you'll be just fine. It's damn near exactly how I did it. And remember! Take your time! Be patient! Read! Study! Learn! And then learn some more! Lol. This hobby is so much fun

Best of luck to you!

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09/23/2017, 08:17 PM
Rock, then sand (doesn't have to be "live"), then water.

Also, you will need to add a source of nitrogen to start the cycle.

Mr. Eel
09/24/2017, 12:47 AM
Yea if you put sand in after water the water will be cloudy for like a week.

09/24/2017, 08:11 AM
I know it's not ideal to add sand after the waater but I already buy live sand and I suppose it's not like fresh water. I don't have a container big enought to prepare 13,5 gallons of salt water. It's why I decided to prepare the water first in the tank then add the live water.

DO the live sand could survive to a couple of hours in fresh water, time to add salt and mix?

09/24/2017, 12:57 PM
By "live sand", are you referring to a commercial package (e.g., Carib Sea) or from the ocean (e.g., from a live rock supplier)? The latter should definitely not be exposed to fresh water. I don't know if Carib Sea bacteria will tolerate freshwater or not.

How about mixing the water in a plastic trash can and then transferring it to the tank after all the salt is dissolved?

09/24/2017, 08:05 PM
I buy Caribsea Ocean direct Caribbean live sand

Like I don't have a lot of space in my house, I think to buy containers to make maybe 5 gallons of salt water at time. I need an other space to have fresh water too. So I will not be able to have 13,5 gallons of salt water ready at the same time. I will need to think to that. Maybe prepare 5 gallons of salt water. Put sand, dry rock and sand, then complete my water level before start pomp

Someone said I need a source of nitrogen to start the cycle. What is a good source of nitrogen? Do that need to be a fish or an invertebrate?

09/25/2017, 05:34 AM
If your live rock isn't completely cured it will contain plenty of extra nitrogen. Otherwise a cocktail shrimp works well. Just drop it in and let it rot.