I have a really good friend that I can turn too when I have troubles. He recently created a article that I thought that I would share ... its a great way to jump start a new reef tank ... please don't give me credit for this write up .. but again I though that I would share ... Some of it I did edit .. as it would partain to utah .. however only the base rock .. we are lucky enough to have a Lake bonneville local to us ... if you would like to read the unedited version of this write up you can find it HERE
Admins Maybe we can put this as a sticky????
Admins Maybe we can put this as a sticky????
For a few years now, I have been sharing my experience of setting up a reef tank without having to wait for the traditional "cycling". The method involves the use of four components: LS, LR, LW, and Macroalgae.
LS = Live Sand. Bacteria, algae, worms, and other critters living in and on the sand.
LR = Live Rock. Bacteria, algae, worms and other critters living in and on the rock.
LW = Live Water. Bacteria, algae, invertebrate larvae and other microscopic life suspended in water obtained from an existing, healthy reef aquarium.
Macroalgae = Types of plant-like algae which absorb waste. Caulerpa and Chaetomorpha (pronounced "kaulerpa" and "kate-o-morfa") are common macroalgae in the hobby.
These four live items compose 80-90% of the filtration of a reef aquarium. In effect, these are the most important components of the aquarium. The greater the quantity of these components used in set-up, the faster the tank can be stocked with coral and fish.
For the record, but a little abbreviated, here are steps that I have developed for setting up my reef aquariums. I have used this method for about four years. The method has been used for more than 10 of my own tanks and I have instructed countless hobbyists in the method.
1. Place 2-3" screened and washed CaribSea Oolitic Sand in the bottom of the tank. Caution when placing Oolitic sand: A big wet clod of sand can easily slip out of a bucket and crack the bottom glass of an empty aquarium.
2. Fill with LW to just cover the new sand.
3. Add wet LS from an established reef tank for an additional 1/2 - 1" of depth on top of the Oolitic sand. If that much LS is not available, use a combination of rinsed CaribSea Special Grade Reef Sand and at least a quart of LS for each 30 gals of tank volume. Cover the CaribSea sand with LW and place the LS in several small depressions. Completely covering the Oolitic sand with larger particle sand is preferable. Oolitic sand can cause quite a dust storm when water is circulated or added. It takes 1-2 weeks for a biological film to begin holding the Oolitic sand together so it's not so dusty.
4. Add several more inches of LW.
5. Place previously prepared base rock. Try to set the bottom pieces on edge pushed partly into the sand for stability with second level pieces stradling the lower rocks. This ensures water flow over as much exposed sand as possible.
6. Add more LW and premixed saltwater to fill the tank at least 3/4 full.
7. Place selected pieces of LR, preferably kept submerged when moved from another hobbyists tank, on top of the first and second tiers of base rock. If it was not possible to transport the LR submerged, or if the LR was purchased from the LFS, be sure to twist turn and shake it to get all possible air out of the pores. (Air kills marinelife, thus requiring many weeks for decomposition/cycling/recovery.)
8. Finish filling the tank with LW or mixed saltwater.
9. Place Macroalgae in the aquarium. Strands of Caulerpa and/or Chaetomorpha macroalgae are usually available free from hobbyists in your area and on this Message Board. Various well lit positions in the tank are best for this fourth componant. The use of Macroalgae is part of the secret to setting up a livable tank as quickly as possible.
10. Place and plug in the pumps. Position water flows to push water along the top surface creating a rippling effect. This rippling effect aerates the water. Aeration gets air to the coral and fish so they can breath.
That's it for day one. Leave the lights on as long as possible, all night if possible. We want algae to grow immediately.
DAYS 2, 3 & 4
Add a few soft coral frags.
DAYS 5, 6 & 7
If the coral frags have been expanding and showing polyps, add 5-20 snails, 2-5 Hermit Crabs and 2-5 Green Chromis fish. The number of snails hermits and fish added at this point is totally dependent on the size of the tank and the amount of LS, LW, LR and Macroalgae used.
More snails may need to be added over the coming weeks as more soft microalgae (brown and/or green) begins to grow on rock and glass.
This is a start. More coral and fish can be added in the following weeks, but be cautious of adding fish too quickly. Fish are water polluters while coral are water filterers. Anemones are also water polluters, sometimes even worse than fish. An anemone should not be tried for at least 2 months.
Another important point for new hobbyists is to know the three most important water parameters of the Reef Aquarium; Alkalinity, Calcium and Nitrate levels. I recommend checking these parameters weekly through your LFS or by the purchase of these three test kits. If using the LFS, be sure to ask for the actual numbers. Don't accept their response that "everything is fine".
Please feel free to ask questions here and please feel free to copy, print and utilize all of the information contained in this entire thread. It's my 2 cents worth of contribution to the hobby.