View Full Version : New Tank Owners from Bear

Our First Tank
03/21/2006, 02:27 PM
We were very excited to find this forum!! We just got a 30 gallon and began our hobby of Saltwater fish :rollface:

Anyway, we have been going to the store in Fox Run on 40 called Just Fish. Is this place reputable? They have been very helpful and don't seem like they are trying to empty our wallets (although I know they will eventually) Please let us know!
Thanks everyone

03/21/2006, 02:32 PM

there are a few other places that you might like better.



03/21/2006, 03:04 PM

Both of those places are great for livestock. You may also want to try


you will not find lower prices for drygoods. Im sure everyone will chirp in with there opinions on Just Fish, but for me, i would spend the gas 10X over driving to any of the stores recommended so far before i would go to Just Fish. Also i have had a lot of luck buying livestock and drygoods online. Try taking a look at these....there livestock prices cant be beat. DFS also has a 14 day guarentee on livestock.



Our First Tank
03/21/2006, 03:43 PM
Thank you for the feed back?

Logan's dad, may I ask why you wouldn't go there? Did you have a bad experience? It seems really small, but the staff seems to know their stuff.

03/21/2006, 04:06 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7007549#post7007549 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Our First Tank
Is this place reputable?

i guess there reputable, in the sense that i dont think that they are crooks or anything. but if your looking for advice then this (RC) is the best place to get it. i haven't been in justfish for at least a year or 2. i would just suggest doing all your research here, ask all your questions here.ive had some strange advise from them in the past

03/21/2006, 04:22 PM
i wouldnt say that the staff knows their stuff although the younger woman with short hairs seems to be fairly knowledgable. take mmbuna's advice....ask your questions here at RC or pick up a couple of recommended books. as far as my experiences? they are VERY overpriced, they have a limited selection of drygoods, and their fish always seem to be sickly.

i will say this however, i was able to find a copperbanded butterfly that was eating mysis at there store about 6 months ago and bought it. it is doing wonderful in my tank and it only cost me about $50...woohooo!(<-sarcasm). take a look at some of the online vendors and the local ones that mmbuna and i recommended and make your own decision. my money is on you never going back to JF.


Our First Tank
03/21/2006, 04:29 PM
That woman is the one we deal with mostly. She may be the owner actually.....

Now, another question....you guys aren't cycling police are you? I have been a bit scorned on another forum about this procedure.

Last week after we had the tank set up and water levels ideal, we went to Just Fish and they gave us the go to add our first set of fish. We got a yellow tail damsel, a 3 striped damsel and a puffer for a total of 3 fish.

The week we were advised to add 2 more for a total of 5 for the end of week 2, and one more fish per week until week 4 or 5 depending on algae levels. It is too late now to go back on week 2 as we already have the 5 guys in there, so......

If we had made any mistake so far, oops.....as far as future goes what else should/could we be doing?

03/21/2006, 04:57 PM
I think that is far too many fish. I have 6 sm-md fish in my 75gallon and i wouldnt add 1 more(well maybe one more:D ). personally...i think you have been given bad advice already as far as the puffer goes. im not sure what species a "green" puffer is but he is not going to work out in your 30gal. my guess is what you have is probably a valentini toby since i have seen them at JF before. he wont get very big but is still going to be a handful in your 30gal tank. the damsels are also going to get MEAN, the three stripe more than the yellowtail. chances are, they already think they own the whole tank and they will bully any other fish you add. i would suggest you do a lot of research on fish selection before you buy 1 more fish. make sure that your fish are going to get along and that you are going to have the means to support the fish as it matures(i.e., you tank is big enough). a good idea is to know the exact fish you want before you even go to the LFS that way you arent even tempted to purchase a fish whose requirements you dont know and you wont have to rely on the advice of the LFS staff. my best advice is as follows:

SLOW DOWN...as exciting as this hobby is there is really no hurry...spend a few hours on RC(about 1000:D)...and learn as much as you can. you will be able to make more informed decisions and save some money. lastly....enjoy your fish, say goodbye to your money, and welcome to reef central.

Our First Tank
03/21/2006, 05:06 PM
Well, the puffer is called a "green spotted puffer F1" which i originally thought was for a brackish tank. He pretty much stays to himself, and every now and then explores a little. Its odd, but I think he recognizes us and swims up to the top for a greeting when we feed him. So far he has not even bothered with the other 2 in the tank and has only attacked my finger (which hurt). The striped damsel is the "jerk" of the tank as I named him. He is extremely teritorial and chases the yellow tail damsel away from his plant......I don't think the yellow tail minds though because she has her own plant anyway.

Thanks for the advise again....and I am sure we will have tons of questions pretty soon......like in a hour or so :lmao:

03/21/2006, 05:31 PM
the behavior from the puffer that you describe is very typical and it is what makes them so popular. a lot of people compare their behavior to that of a dog. i defintiely want one some day.

is this the fish you have?



Our First Tank
03/21/2006, 05:37 PM
No, we have this one....

The one in this picture is fat and small, but ours is a bit longer and skinnier. Most sites say he is for brackish tanks, but ones that use instant ocean are ok also. he is cute!

03/21/2006, 06:35 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7009133#post7009133 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Our First Tank
No, we have this one....

The one in this picture is fat and small, but ours is a bit longer and skinnier. Most sites say he is for brackish tanks, but ones that use instant ocean are ok also. he is cute!

holly mackerel!!!!!!! the sites say its a brackish water fish because IT IS. Instant Ocean is a salt water mix designed for salt water fish. the fish will die in salt water, please take it back!!

let me pass on the best advise ive ever gotten about this hobby.

"only bad thing happen fast in this hobby"

it takes 3 to 4 weeks for your nitrogen cycle to be complete. there is no way that your tank has gone through its full cycle in one week, and then adding 3 or 4 fish is too much too fast.

what is your end goal of this tank? fish only, corals?

tell us everything about the tank. what size? what filtration? what lighting? how much live rock?

what test kits do you have? what are your test results?

03/21/2006, 07:22 PM
there you have it! i think this thread pretty much sums up the kind of advice you can expect at JF...and to be fair...many other LFS.


Our First Tank
03/22/2006, 09:25 AM
He is housed in salt water in the store, and is in a lower salt content environment (meaning the lower end of the acceptable amount.)

We have a 30 gallon, with a 17watt bulb? (we are new to this so tank-lingo isn't a strong point). Plus we have a Penguin150 Bio wheel filter and a heater.

Since this is our first we decided not to do live rock or live sand. We have a coral substrate, plus 3 decorative plants, a decorative rock and a small fancy castle (my choice).

Last night we fed them brine shrimp only after i read we should mix it up a bit for nutritional factors. What else should we be feeding them?

As far as testing kits, we have the salt tester (obviously), and we just purchased a water test strips which I haven't even looked at yet, but I plan on testing the water tonight.

I am fully aware that the cycling isn't done yet, but like I said we were going on the advice from the people at the store and what we read on various sites. If I knew about RC I would have done research here first. The only thing we could do now if just go forward with what we have and see what happens. You guys are a big help! Thank you :D

03/22/2006, 09:49 AM
you really need to take the puffer back. if anything it should be housed in freshwater as a juvenile. you are not going to have long term luck trying to keep a brackish water fish with saltwater fish. my guess is the only reason your fish are still alive is because you purchased "saltwater goldfish". damsels are VERY tolerant of horrible water conditions and just too mean to die. please take back the puffer, invest in some solid equipment(1 piece at a time if necessary) and ask all of your questions here. also, if you havent already, the "new to the hobby" forum would be a great place to ask your questions and receive broader feedback. good luck with everything.


03/22/2006, 05:13 PM
Don't a lot of brackish fish become tolerant of full "saltwater" salinity as they become adults?

I'm streaching my memory here, as it's been about 10 years since I tried a brackish aquarium.

Our First Tank - I've gotta give kudos to you for taking the comments graciously :thumbsup: - you'll find everyone has different opinions on how a tank should be set-up, and when it comes to corals we can go even more overboard on how to do it :D

Your tank is almost identicle to the first salt tank I started in college six years ago - a 30-gallon hexagon tank - I had a humu humu trigger, snowflake eel, and a few damsels; a 10-lb piece of live rock (that cost me a few nights at the bars :( ) and due to the bioload (because of my inexperience) it was an incredible algae-farm :D. Not that I would ever recommend this to a beginner - just trying to show that we all have to start somewhere :rolleyes:

Since you don't have live rock, you may not go through the classic saltwater "cycle" as there are many organisms that die in live rock, get eaten by bacteria, and then new organisms populate the inner crevaces and spaces in the rock (the stuff is like swiss cheese - very porus). This "death and rebirth" can take a few weeks to a month - hence the warnings about putting fish in a "polluted" environment.

Just keep an eye on your ammonia, nitrites and nitrates - you have a fairly good bio-load in there, so you may find that the above will gradually increase over time - ideally, enough bacteria will colonize the filter media, sand bed, and water itself to process any ammonia and nitrite. Ammonia and nitrite are non-existant in a cycled tank - however, nitrates will creap up over time as they are not processed by aerobic bacteria - there are ways to lower them, but at this point - just plan on keeping them down with water changes.

If you do test and have *any* ammonia, I suggest an immediate water change - due to the pH of saltwater, the ions in ammonia are 100X more toxic to fish than they are in freshwater - so the smallest amount may not kill your fish instantly, but will probably stress them out enough to have them croak in like a week :rolleyes:

I'm sure you have a lot of questions - or you will. I know we're not supposed to mention other websites - but for those entering the hobby, I like to recommend wetwebmedia.com - the information there is very easy to read, and best of all it comes from experienced professionals - so you can "trust" it as much as you can trust any advice in this hobby :lol: I agree the "new to the hobby" forum can be very good to, as long as you know where the advice is coming from.

Ask all the questions you would like here though - locals are always willing to help - maybe with some live sand to get some detritus-eating creatures in your tank - or if you would like to see other systems - mine is always open for a tour ;)

03/22/2006, 08:10 PM
"tolerant" is the operative word and i just dont think it is good husbandry. i am far from an expert on the subject, but drawing from my angling knowledge and experience, brackish fish are just that...brackish. species tend to live in areas where fresh water gets dumped into saltwater. often times these fish will follow the "saltwater line" in rivers. the delaware is perfect example. during summers where we have long droughts the saltwater line can come as far as the delaware memorial bridege and beyond. it is not unhead of to catch saltwater species in the delaware when this happens.

futhermore, typical forays of brackish fish into fresh and saltwater often coincide with mating behavior and does not reflect year-round geographical location. there are always exceptions...such as the rainbow trout which can either remain a medium size freshwater species....or become a large saltwater water species with identical DNA....so i am speaking in general terms. also...i will admit that i have absolutely no knowledge of the particular species this thread is about except for the link provided earlier. for what my .02 are worth....brackish fish in saltwater tanks = bad husbandry

btw...i hope i didnt sound harsh with my previous threads...i guess im still sour that i didnt get great advice when i started...like purchasing a $300 wet/dry and 6 months later replacing it with a $50 DIY sump/fuge that is a 1000X more effective. for what its worth...im not trying to be mean or insulting...just helpful:)


03/22/2006, 09:00 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7018971#post7018971 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by logans_daddy
like purchasing a $300 wet/dry and 6 months later replacing

:) we all have done it. if anyone ever want to stop by and rummage through our storage room full of useless equipment your welcome to it:D

i will also agree that its hard to convey emotions through a keyboard. we have all been there and are just trying to be helpful. i think ive meet just about everyone that post's in the club form and there all great people, that love there little glass boxes and will try to help in any way that they can. so ask away, thats what this whole thing is about!!

03/22/2006, 09:16 PM
also what MTM suggested about getting some sand from some one is a great idea. i have as much as you could want, if you want it just let me know

03/23/2006, 07:13 AM
"if anyone ever want to stop by and rummage through our storage room full of useless equipment your welcome to it"

Easy there! I am probably running that stuff on my main tank! :p

I have sand available, too. It has some nice gunk going.

Our First Tank
03/23/2006, 07:15 AM
I did a water test last night with one of those 5 in one strip kits and my nitrites are not ideal. I could kick myself because I left the numbers at home in my "Aquarium notebook" and I wanted to give an update. The color on the nitrite square was the second from the right (or left...it was pink) so I know it is spiking, and I read that when Nitrites are high ammonia is present. I am stopping and getting that ACE ammonia reducer tonight after work. They sell it at Petsmart which is probably cheaper then Just Fish. Does this stuff work?

MTM, Thanks for the compliment. I got one of those "no offence, but you're a moron" type statements from the new to hobby forum, so I wrote in caps back saying that was why I was in a new to hobby forum.....DUH!! I may have been yelling, but I was there to learn :) And Shawn you have been a great help also.

Thank you everyone for helping us!! I will have more questions I am sure.

Our First Tank
03/23/2006, 07:23 AM
I forgot to mention that my other half picked up another yellowtail damsel, tomato clown (with a lucky fin), and a hermit crab. Oye vey!!!!

I keep telling him to stop but he is being cute about the whole thing!!! We will however return the damsels when this cycling mess we got into is over. I promise!

03/23/2006, 08:40 AM
Good luck in catching the damsels! They are fast and darty!

I am going to "catch" mine within the next few days. The plan: Use a partition that I currently have to reduce the area of the enemy in question, remove the rock in said area, glare at the aggressor threateningly, scoop with net. $$$ (Video camera anyone?)

Btw... It is a yellow-tailed damsel, usually listed as semi-aggressive. I've had four over the past five years or so and they have all turned out to be aggressive, regardless of add order.

Anyone who calls you a moron when you are asking for help is not worth your time. Like anywhere in life, there are those who love nothing more than to bash others due to their own insecurities. I am sorry to hear that you had that negative response in a learning forum.

On the subject of ammonia: Advice was given to me when I first started in this hobby... "Don't overstock, don't overfeed, don't use 'magical fix additives, natural or man made' to ~fix~ your tank." Of course, I listened, but only heeded to some degree. We learn from our mistakes, but we have to remember that we are dealing with living things.

I know there are 'insta cycling' products and 'ammonia fix products', but I would steer clear until you've had a chance to ask here first. IMO the best way to cycle is to set up, test repeatedly, and wait. Yes, I know, we all want it NOW! :)

Best wishes with your tank, welcome to the forums and to the hobby!

P.S. There are good fixes to issues, but there are also "devastating" fixes. The people of DRC have been very reliable as well as patient in regard to advice I have sought.

Our First Tank
03/23/2006, 08:48 AM
He never said moron, but made a comment which seems like he was biting his tongue.

So i'm guessing say no to the ammonia fixers? The reading was not on the"terrible" side....but potentially it could get there.

Have I mentioned how happy I was to find this site?

03/23/2006, 09:01 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7021409#post7021409 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Our First Tank
The color on the nitrite square was the second from the right (or left...it was pink) so I know it is spiking, and I read that when Nitrites are high ammonia is present. I am stopping and getting that ACE ammonia reducer tonight after work. They sell it at Petsmart which is probably cheaper then Just Fish. Does this stuff work?

the whole purpose of the nitrogen cycle is to allow the ammonia to rise, when it rises it is a food source for bacteria that eats ammonia and converts it in to nitrites, so then the ammonia will start to fall and nitrites will start to rise, creating a food source for bacteria that eats nitrites and converts them into nitrates. if you use a product that removes ether ammonia or nitrites before the bacteria can grow and start to convert it you will never cycle your tank. thats why people are telling you to return the fish, because these things are toxic and can/will kill the fish. please take some of the advice that you are getting here, other wise you will be killing fish, having a real mess on your hands and selling your tank in 6 months.

Our First Tank
03/23/2006, 09:24 AM
That totally answered every question I had about the cycling process!

So the ammonia reducer is a no go....got it. I am still getting more filter pads (which are on sale) and food pellets which I learned cause less of a mess in my tank and can be more nutritious for the fish. What kind should I get? Also, should I get another testing kit besides that 5 strip one? What is a good ammonia kit?

Our First Tank
03/23/2006, 09:27 AM
And what do Nitrates do for the tank?

03/23/2006, 09:55 AM
you should have a hydrometer to test your salt level, you will see people refer to salt level as SG= specific gravity(you want that between 1.023SG and 1.025SG)for a fish only tank you can have it as low as 1.018SG but don't make any changes fast, no more then.01 up or down per day.

you will need a PH test kit, a PH anywhere between 7.8 and 8.5 is safe but you want to try to keep it around 8.2, you also don't want to make adjustments to your ph that will raise or lower it more then.2 in one day. your PH will move around alot in one day depending on whether your lights are on or off and for alot of other reasons so its good to pic a time of day to test for it and test at this same time every day.

you will need an Ammonia test kit, you want it to read 0, you never want to see Ammonia in the tank.

you will need a Nitrite test kit, again it should read 0.

and a Nitrate test kit will be useful. for a fish only tank you can have higher nitrate levels but you really want then as low as you can get then. the lower the Nitrates the less chance of a nasty hair algae out break. after your cycle is complete(its going to take a while with all those fish in there, that's why you really should remove them,along with that they may die) you will control Nitrates with water changes

for good test kits it can get expensive. i will list some from good to not as good.

Salifert(IMO you dont need these), Seachem,Red Sea. try to stay away from the test strips. there not very accurate.

try to stay away from magic potions, there just band-aids, if you set up the tank right it will just about take care of it's self

Our First Tank
03/23/2006, 10:12 AM
We have our salt at a steady 1.021. Our PH is at 8.2 and doesn't really change. The past tests at the store have always been there, and last night it was the same. We keep our lights on the tank for the suggested 10-12 hours a day.

I really wish I brought my aquarium notebook to work so I can give exact numbers, but I forgot it (busy morning).

03/23/2006, 11:36 AM
i agree 100% with chris and bloopbloop...there are no quick fixes exactly because of the reasons outlined by chris. however....and i might take some heat for this....there is a product called stresszyme. unlike the other products you are referring to, this doesnt attack any individual parts of a nitrogen cycle...rather it directly adds beneficial bacteria to your tank. i bought some after carelessly removing all my filter media at once when changing over from a wet/dry to a sump/fuge and spiking my nitrates. if i recall correctly, it cut my nitrates down drasticallly in a little over a day with water changes. if your not going to take back the fish....and more importantly....stop buying fish like everyone has advised then maybe this will give them a sporting chance.

btw....i have the exact same test strips(Jungle quick dips) and the second color from the right is 160ppm. even in a fish only tank those are potentially lethal levels if you dont act quickly.


Our First Tank
03/23/2006, 11:46 AM
I know it was light light pink.....and maybe I am thinking nitrite and not nitrates. I wish I had my Book!!! And no, we are not returning the fish (gulp!)

03/23/2006, 12:16 PM
"however....and i might take some heat for this....there is a product called stresszyme"

No heat from me! I see no harm with adding bacteria with a reliable product. I try to err on the side of caution when dosing any product though.

I was just saying beware of any quick advice from sources that are (maybe this will clarify): selling a product and/or claim to know everything there is to know about any given tank (because each tank varies in what works and what doesn't). That statement is not directed at any person or store in particular.

On the topic of stores... there is good and bad with everything.

Local Stores - conveniently close, good for emergency dry goods replenishment. live stock - research livestock before buying; not only what it needs (lighting, salinity feeding, compatibility, etc.), but how you 'may' tell if a being is ill, how ill, what type(s) of illness it could be, and chances of recovery. Nothing is foolproof.

Online Ordering - subject to shipping prices/policies (ask DRC members for experiences/reccommendations). may or may not live up to guarantees. Some say to stick with the 'what you see is what you get' merchants. I've had nothing but luck with that one, so far. Convenience is a plus with online oredering, yet if you are buying livestock it is important to be ready to receive as soon as it arrives to your door.

Regional stores - There are some fabulous, reputable, and dependable stores in our region (many threads in the DRC forums have info.) The drive is not convenient, yet the time and distance are commonly worth a nice day trip on a weekend, in my experience.

Every merchant has lulls in merchandise; especially livestock, as it is subject to so many factors (disease before they got it, shipping, availability... to name a few). If you see constantly diseased livestock over a period of months, if you consistently get advice that doesn't work, or if they try to tell/sell you (You HAVE to have THIS... You MUST have THAT in the way of product) be cautious and concerned! Every creature needs some specific things as each tank does, but when they begin to make your head swim, there may be something amiss.

P.S. Keep reading the forums for later livestock sources. People sell/give away things from their own tanks.

Like MadTownMax, I highly recommend wetwebmedia.com for information. The solutions may not always work, yet they will not steer you wrong from what I've seen.

03/23/2006, 06:29 PM
Hey Joie (AKA Bloopbloop) if you need help catching that damsel just LMK, I will bring my fishing pole and hook over. :)

03/23/2006, 07:06 PM
Dude, you and T are soo Saltwater Pond Anglers! $$

Our First Tank
03/24/2006, 09:21 AM
Last night we picked up filter pads (pack of 3), an ammonia test kit, that stresszyme stuff, and floating pellets (all from petsmart which came to 30 bucks...which I did not think was bad).

I tested the ammonia levels before I put the stresszyme in, and it was btwn .75 and 1. So i added only 10 ML of the stresszyme in. The bottle suggested more, but since I didn't want to totally kill all cycles in there I put in less then the recommended amounts. This morning when I tested again it read .25 which is not ideal but better then last night. Nitrites before I added stesszyme was still that second pad (light pink)...and everything else was stable.

Just an update on what has been happening. I will test the water again tonight and post up findings tomorrow.

03/24/2006, 04:24 PM
Not a bad price IMO. Thank you for the update!

03/25/2006, 10:25 AM
OFT- the best advice given on here was about the fast cures etc.

One of the biggest failures in the hobby previously, and maybe still to date, has been the fact that many people still equate freshwater tanks and saltwater tanks similarly, somewhat.

Patience and good practice go a long way in the saltwater hobby.

Patience speaks for itelf, any changes made should be slow and carefully applied and researched beforehand, especially and including the addition of animals.

Practice means basically water changes, water chemistry, filtration, lights and the like. To be succesful with your new hobby you want to make sure you do things at least semi-consistantly. The maintanence part is critical, don't lose sight over time.

The most important factor of course, is water changes. The old addage 'junk in equals junk out' is even more applicable in this hobby than many are led to believe.
It's not uncommon to have a few hobbyists who will use regular tap water and do fine with it, to a point.
To have real quantitive success though, the quality of the water that goes into your tank is of the utmost importance. You'll understand this better as time goes on and you pick up more information.

Over the next several years you'll learn and earn the basic knowledge of bio-chemistry faster than you'd ever though possible lol. This is an inherent side benefit of the hobby.

All the "good" advice you need will be found on here through DRC club members as well as people who also post on the forum.
Taking LFS advice with a grain of salt is a good practice to keep in mind!!!

Collectively you'll find almost any and all answers in this forum which will guide you safely through the building process of creating and enjoying the hobby and at the same time, stearing you clear of questionable advice and products. The club alone can and will save you hundreds of dollars over a year or two easily.

As you've already discovered, many on here specialize or direct there skills towards specific species or skills that they're either very good at or have developed into a true talent, in there quest for success. Add to it, the fact that everyone is happy to share there knowledge and experiences which you can learn from and you've got the mix for VERY good results in the hobby.

Welcome to the saltwater hobby and as you'll see, the payoff is much more intensly rewarding than the investment.

Our First Tank
03/27/2006, 02:12 PM
We invested in a protein skimmer this weekend (coral life 65g), but we have a microbubble problem (mbbuna I sent you a PM). All water levels are the same, and nothing died.......

And....clapton shedded his shell, and is now sporting his new home.

03/27/2006, 02:37 PM
Did you get the needlewheel version? - If so, nice work, it's supposedly a very nice skimmer for a good price.

A lot of people have problems with microbubbles with that skimmer - and there are a few modifications that are common to stop the problem.

Here's the funny thing - first, wait a few days :D . The inside of the skimmer will get covered with a very thin layer of bacteria (just like everything else) and this will eliminate about 90% of the bubbles.

If the bubbles are still present after that - you can try some common modifications - such as cutting the return pipe so that it is just slightly lower than your water level, and then turning it so that it is on an angle - so the returning water is open to air (you want to avoid having this submerged to avoid flooding your collection cup)

Do give it at least a week to get some slime built-up inside of it before taking it to the saw :thumbsup:

If you got it from Just Fish, you overpaid a little (I think their price was $150 and you can get it for $80-$90 online), but that is still cheaper than most skimmers :D

Our First Tank
03/27/2006, 03:06 PM
Yes, we priced it all over actually, but we could not get out of DE to go pick it up anywhere else but just fish. We were under time restraint :( It was 142 exactly and yes we are fully aware we over paid. It is the needlewheel version.

The thing is, after playing with the different valves we had microbubbles, but we could not just isolate them to the skimmer , like we were supposed to, without them producing wayyyyy to many in the tank. So we just left it alone....as suggested. Supposedly we wait 72 hours and then turn the thing on full power.

03/27/2006, 05:39 PM
OFT you may want to consider buying online from That Pet Place or many other sources if transportation and time are a problem.

I've ordered from them many times over the last 4 years and have never had a problem. Plus the shipment arrives ALWAYS within 2-3 days.

This will allow you to get the exact product you want for a reasonable cost, even with the shipping charges included.

MarineDepot is another great source that I've ordered from as well who are equally reliable.

The Marinedepot web site is another great source for product information as well as tips on animal care. It's well worth a visit.

Good luck with the skimmer.

Our First Tank
03/28/2006, 09:15 AM
Thanks, but given the tank issues we needed it ASAP and could not get anywhere far :( We will take road trips to other places soon!!

The skimmer produced bubbles all night and we now have "gunk" in the collection bucket. However....still bubbles.....

We are going to let it ride and hope for the best. Any other suggestions???

03/28/2006, 09:40 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7059397#post7059397 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Our First Tank
Any other suggestions???

Patience grasshopper:smokin:

03/28/2006, 10:45 AM
As MTM suggested, patience here is the key.
What is now happening is your skimmer is creating a coating of colloidal proteins that will enable the removal of unwanted elements and waste freely. Biological teflon for a skimmer lol.

I've not used that particular type of skimmer but most all of them are the same in there operational process.

The one thing you will notice soon is the pungent odor of Hydrogen Sulfide (rotten eggs) in your collection cup. This will also include some green and brown gunk that will include everything and anything you don't really want floating around in the water.

Protein skimmers are perhaps the best and biggest leap the hobby has had in filtration and waste removal in the last 25 years. You'll absolutely benefit from this in your road to success.
Don't let the skimmer fool you into not doing water changes though. They're still required.

Happy Skimming.

Our First Tank
03/28/2006, 11:12 AM
Hahaha, My other half was thrilled to find out he has to sniff the skimmer when he gets home.

I keep telling myself that patience is a virtue :)

03/28/2006, 08:06 PM
I think after a few good wiffs of the skimmer by-product, you won't have to worry about making any deviled eggs anytime soon.

MTM can give you some tips as to how to get better results such as "tweaking" the skimmer to get more and better quality skimmate also. You'll notice that on some days it will operate much more efficiently than others also.
When you do go to clean out the collection cup, make sure that you remove all the waste that collects in it and on it. The skimmer body itself will hold enough colloidal protein coating inside to easily regenerate the same process on the throat of the cup. Instead of it taking days or weeks it will only take about an hour or two if that.

03/29/2006, 07:06 AM
good points wds - I clean my skimmer collection cup about every 2-3 days - if desired, you can clean it daily for top performance -

It is important to clean it completely as wds mentioned - not just emptying it out - after a few days the dry-er stuff that collects on the "neck" of the skimmer will stop the skimmer from working at all.

As far as levels - some people run "drier" and some "wetter". For your tank now, I'd go for fairly "wet" skimmate - meaning the bubbles that are coming out the top might only pop after about 10-seconds or so - and the bubbles rising in the neck will be popping fairly frequently (meaning that the bubbles only pop after like a second)- skimming "wet" like this should get you a full skimmer cup (or two) of light-green liquid every day.

As you tank matures, you can try going "drier" and collect darker skimmate.

If that's too much too fast, just let me know and I'll go sit in my corner for a while ;)

Our First Tank
03/29/2006, 09:14 AM
Good news everyone!!
We have gunk in the skimmer, and no bubbles in the tank. I saw my first foam spurt this morning and was so excited (which I think may mean I am officially obsessed with this skimmer).

My other half questioned me on how we actually clean the thing out though. Do we turn it off and take it apart? The place where it detaches looks like it would just be really messy. And just sticking a paper towel in it wouldnt clean it. I know it is probably intuitive, but still.....we don't want to screw this up.

03/29/2006, 10:34 AM
There should be a collection cup on the skimmer. It should just pop right out, rince under hot water maybe use a finger to remove the thick green waste and pop the collection cup back on.

Our First Tank
03/29/2006, 10:38 AM
I am leaving him in charge of that. All gook, gunk, scum, and ick gets cleaned out by him. I just point it out :) I will pass word along.

03/29/2006, 10:45 PM
I use a toothbrush made to reach into crevices and cotton swabs to get those hard to reach areas from brushing. Works like a charm! Don't forget to clean the collection cup inside and out!

Our First Tank
03/30/2006, 12:22 PM
Ok...another lame question

Our collection cup does not come off. We can detach it right where the red ring is, which is what we did last night (as we are having guests and we did not want the funk lingering in the air).

However, we had to turn in off in order to do this...


03/30/2006, 12:49 PM
you will have to turn off the skimmer to remove the collection cup and clean it - sounds like you did the right thing, but I've never had that exact skimmer, so I can't be sure.

Our First Tank
03/30/2006, 01:01 PM
Thats what he kept saying, but it really looks like it came apart. Oh well, I was wrong he was right....

More importantly, we did it right :)

Our First Tank
03/31/2006, 01:08 PM
We have the skimmer turned on all the way, and it is sucking out gunk :)

I have a question about the hermit crab. If all the gunk is bing sucked out, what will he eat? To me it makes no sense getting algae wafers for the bottom just for him.

Also, we have been feeding them 3 times a day. Flakes in the morning, 2 freezed dried shrimp for puffy and flakes in the afternoon, and brine shrimp at night.

Too much?

03/31/2006, 02:09 PM
for my 65-gallon, I feed my tang a .5"X2" piece of dried seaweed daily because violet looks better when she's fat :D

for the rest of the inhabitants : two percula clowns, 4 chromis (like damsels) and midas blenny (picture by my posts) they get about 8 BB-sized soft pellets a day - probaby equivalent to a good pinch of flakes - and I think I'm still overfeeding :lol:

The hermit crab and skimmer are competing for two different kinds of food - the hermit will be fine getting the scraps of food dropped by the puffer fish (they're messy eaters) so the two of them make a good pair - this doesn't mean that you should feed your puffer extra food - just enough food for it to eat in a minute or two while you watch - if it gets dis-interested, feed less the next time.

Keep in mind - crabs are opportunistic - they'll eat food scraps, algae, small 'pods, and if they're hungry enough - or looking for a new home - they'll eat snails too - I'd use that as a good indicator of if you're feeding it enough - if you see a lot of empty snail shells, you might want to toss the guy a bone to chew on.

Personally - I don't have any hermits in my tank, as I like my snails a little more than them (they just eat that algae I don't like) - but that is a matter of preference. As long as the hermit is pretty small they shouldn't harm any fish and just harmlessly graze on nusiance algae - but some of those big bruisers that are the size of a golfball or larger definately have the capability of grabbing a damsel or other similar small fish while they're sleeping - just so you know.

If anything, the micro-fauna (small copepods, bristleworms, and the very, very small stuff you can't see except for with a microscope) are the animals that would be eating what the skimmer is pulling out - but this shouldn't worry you, as you don't have live rock, so you won't have an abundance of these critters - crank that skimmer up and pull out as much gunk as you can :thumbsup:

Brine shrimp have a pretty bad reputation for not having any nutritional value; If you have "enriched" brine shrimp, those aren't too bad, probably about as good as anything else - flakes are also appropriate for the type of livestock you have.

Puffy would probably enjoy some fresh shrimp (a 1/4 lb of the fresh tiger shrimp at the grocery store won't have preservatives (phosphates) and will probably be cheaper than LFS-bought food) and all other types of freshly-bought seafood from the store - it can be fun to experiment in the kitchen with some new seafood recipies for you and your family, and save a small stockpile of fresh seafood in the freezer for puffy. shrimp still in the shell will help their teeth - as would a crayfish (not everyone is too cool with that though :rolleyes: ) feeding a whole shrimp will probably be way too much - small 1/4"-1/2" pieces would be best.

As far as feeding frequency and amount goes - you can probably not feed your tank for a month without your fish looking "skinny" at all; It has been done with reef tanks - but they can cultivate a lot of supplemental live food - so I wouldn't try it with yours quite yet. As hobbiests, we tend to really over-feed our fish, and this can lead to a lot of problems over time - which won't make sense to you as you don't feel like you're over-feeding, but water quality will suffer and algae will begin to over-grow your tank in epic proportions for no apparent reason.

If you want to feed your tank three times a day - that's good, but make the feedings as small as possible - keeping a good eye on how much the fish actually eat, and how your nitrates climb over time. Keeping a log book during the first few months should let you know how fast your nitrates are rising - and what kind of water change schedule you will have to use to keep them at acceptable levels.

For example, if you can feed your fish 1/2 as much, and they're still healthy, and your nitrates only climb 1/2 as fast - you can reduce your water change schedule from once a week to once every two weeks. If you can reduce feedings by 1/4 - 1/4 the water changes (or so) - you get the idea.

I guess my point is that it is extremely easy to over-feed your tank, I personlally think that it is probably the reason that a lot of people fail at keeping saltwater tanks - they think they require more care - which they translate to mean more feedings.... leading to poor water quality and dead fish - so when it comes to feeding, err on the side of Less is more

did I mention that I love Fridays at work :)

03/31/2006, 03:04 PM
your supposed to feed the fish?:):)

Our First Tank
03/31/2006, 03:22 PM
We were going to get snails for puffy to help his teeth, but we are trying to refrain from anything live until the tank is stable. The same goes for fresh seafood as of right now. Am I wrong?

Puffy eats anything in the tank we throw in. He did get into a fight with the striped damsel over a freezed dried shrimp which was pretty funny. No one got hurt, but puffy's feelings. He has so much personality!

I guess I am just more concerned that they are getting the best nutrients, considering we are stressing them so much cycling.

Our First Tank
03/31/2006, 03:23 PM

I needed a laugh :)

03/31/2006, 05:30 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7084443#post7084443 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Our First Tank
The same goes for fresh seafood as of right now. Am I wrong?

nah - sounds like he's in good hands :)

04/02/2006, 12:16 AM
If your still in the process of cycling your tank, you may want to cut back a little on your feedings.

Most likely there is already enough backlog of leftover food in the tank to sustain them in between feedings already. 1-2x a day is enough. Many go with just once a day.

No need to get your levels too high and hang there for too long from overfeeding.

Welcome to "The World According to Gunk". Happy to see your skimmer is working for you now :).

04/02/2006, 07:48 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7093533#post7093533 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by wds21921
1-2x a day is enough. Many go with just once a day.

we feed once a week(when i remember)

04/02/2006, 11:52 PM
There fish are on the newest Oprah Ethiopian diet. JK

Actually the one thing I noticed about Chris & Barb's tanks were they were exceptionally clean of detrius.

I'm sure theres some in them but not nearly what you'd find in some medium to large size tanks. Plus they've got an incredible filtration system ;). And yes the fish are VERY healthy looking too.

04/03/2006, 12:11 AM
dang, i must feed mine too much. they get fed several times a day. two types of flake food to start in the morning. then a mix of frozen brine and mysis shrimp in the evening. they never stop eating.

04/03/2006, 12:34 AM
I think you've got a slightly larger load of fish than most tanks that size but they're very well diversified by species and the filtration seems adequate enough. Kudos on the species balancing too.

I love to hear people that say "they'll continue to eat until they blow up". If I had a nickel for each time.........I'd have a lot of nickles.
Maybe they've spent too much time watching Oscars blowing fish out of there gills at feeding time?

I don't think your having any problems with the quantity or amount of times your feeding Ken. I think watching your ammonia and 'trite and 'trate levels would tell you if you were overfeeding? Considering also, any delayed reactions or readings into the mix also.

I only advised OFT to keep it minimal because of the duration of the break in period.

04/03/2006, 12:40 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7099398#post7099398 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by wds21921
There fish are on the newest Oprah Ethiopian diet. JK


every system is different!!!!!

what you need to feed your fish will not be the same as what we need to feed ours.

the main concern about feeding is, what type fish do you have,what do they eat and can your tank make that food on it's own?

with a new tank you will need to feed your fish more often. but be very cautious not to over feed.

our system has been up for over 2 years now. most of the fish we have eat pods. if you compare gallions to fish to live rock we have a very small fish load.

our live rock can provide just about all the food our fish need. we still need to add nori for our Tangs but thats about it

04/03/2006, 12:49 AM
Oh yeah, new tanks are different. but my 75 reef is 7-8 years old with an old plenum deep sand bed and lots o rock and corals to eat all the waste. Ive only got 14 fish in the tank, i think? 2 percs, 2 green gobies, 1 yellow gobie, 1 blue mandarin,1hawkfish, 1 damsel, 1 yellow tang, 1 misc. tang, 4 green chromis. i think thats all. anyway, they eat all that i drop in the tank. and the pods and micro stars and bacteria and stuff eat the rest. older tanks can handle more load it seems. but you are right , it takes a while to get there. i havent tested for amonia,nitrites or nitrates in years.

Our First Tank
04/03/2006, 11:14 AM
We have algae!!!! Normally I would not be happy about this, but this is a good thing correct (as far as cycling goes)? It is a rust color which I am assuming is red algae. It is on one of the decorative plants and skimmer inside the tank driving my other half crazy!!

I am reading mixed feelings about this now, so I am relying on my trusty DRC members for truthful advice as usual :) Do we clean it off? Do we leave it alone?

04/03/2006, 11:24 AM
diatoms - if everything goes OK, it should totally disappear in a week or two.

It may make you feel a little "funny" but this is just part of your tank growing up, and yes, it is totally natural.

04/06/2006, 11:51 AM
LOL it's fcool how happy people get when they see 'something' growing in there tank.

I remember my first huge outbreak of blue/green algae in my old 30 gallon saltwater. I thought I'd created the first REAL alternative to astro-turf. Yeah it rubs off on your clothes but so what?

You're well on your way OFT, enjoy the scenery :).

04/06/2006, 11:51 AM
LOL it's cool how happy people get when they see 'something' growing in there tank.

I remember my first huge outbreak of blue/green algae in my old 30 gallon saltwater. I thought I'd created the first REAL alternative to astro-turf. Yeah it rubs off on your clothes but so what?

You're well on your way OFT, enjoy the scenery :).

04/06/2006, 04:08 PM
~snorty laughing at wds21921, then remembers that cool red slimey stuff she thought was a wonderful discovery in her tank~

~sits down and shuts up~

Our First Tank
04/07/2006, 09:12 AM
Don't laugh at my diatoms!!!

Hahahahahaha, thanks for keeping it light guys :)

I still have the gunk though....grrrrr

04/07/2006, 01:03 PM
Patience grasshopper.

Our First Tank
04/11/2006, 01:14 PM
Our hermit crab is sad :(

Seriously...he has been hanging out inside our decorative rock for 3 days now. What gives? We just did a water change on saturday. Could that have shocked him?

04/11/2006, 09:13 PM
Well, personally... I've never seen many pictures of Clapton where he was not sitting with his guitar. Maybe he thinks he is King Krab and owes no entertainment responsibility. Hey! Is he union? Maybe he is striking!

How much water did you change? Are you using anything copper based in the tank? Has anything been harassing him? Is he hiding wine and women inside the decorative rock?

04/12/2006, 06:20 AM
Hows your PH... Inverts become lathargic when the PH drops.

Our First Tank
04/12/2006, 10:02 AM
:) its odd how I cam up with his name actually. whenever I hear the word hermit, I think of Herman's Hermits....which gets me thinking about Derick and the Dominoes....which it turn gets me started on Clapton. And as far as I can tell he has no naked pin ups in his rock keeping him occupied.

We changed about 1/3 of the water. I checked the PH last night and it is in between 7.8 and 8.2 which signified a drop. How do we get that back up? ( I have some powder stuff which i think lowers it) Also our ammonia is down to somewhere btwn 0 and .25 which is a good thing. There is nothing copper based in the tank. Our nitrates spiked, how do we get those down as well?

Oh, and bad news....we will not be making the meeting this evening. I have to work until 8 :(

04/13/2006, 03:07 PM
Sorry you couldn't make the meeting! Hope to see yas next time!

04/14/2006, 08:38 AM
I wouldn't overly worry about your Nitrate spike so much right now. That could simply be a fluctuation in readings depending on how close that was done to your water change.

The pH though is a concern. The fluctuations in pH (IMO) can create a cycle of events that if not handled correctly and soon, will have slow ongoing effects that can make other parts of the breakdown cycle unmanageable, as well as effects to your inverts. Fish (for the most part) are a little more forgiving when it comes to the pH.
Test your water again to see if you get a similar reading first. If you do, and this is a concern to you, you may want to consider "SLOWLY" raising the pH up to the 8.3 - 8.4 range. 'Slowly' here, is the key word.

I've had better results (especially with reef) in a higher pH range of at least 8.4. Not only do the fish seem to do better but good algaes and inverts seem to fair better also.

One product you might want to consider to handle this is Aquarium Systems Sea Buffer. It will raise both your alkalinity as well as your pH. I've used it for many years and have always had good results. Keep in mind that you don't want to raise your pH any higher than .1 per day. In other words if you started today at say 7.8, your target for a 24 hour period would only be 7.9. You want to continue this .1 target per 24 hours, until you reach the desired level of pH. I know it sounds tedious but pH increases must be introduced slowly so you don't shock your animals.
Some people do fine with lower pH in there systems so I'd suggest reading up on it and then decide for yourself if this is even necessary.

Something else to consider is your perceived reading. A range of 7.8 - 8.2 is a pretty big gap. You may want to have that tested by someone else and then conclude an average. Getting a better fix on the actual number will be more helpful, i.e. 7.9 or 8.0 as the real number and not simply using a range.

04/18/2006, 06:31 PM
How is it coming along, Our First Tank?

04/22/2006, 06:15 AM
Hmm, is there a possibility we could circumvent the end results of a 70's Charlton Heston movie if we started saving our skimmer gunk now and making it into chips for the future? lol

04/22/2006, 11:07 AM