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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, all!!! Im a noob to SW aquariums and I am gathering all my sundries for a new 40B reef tank .....So, this is where I shall post my pics!!! I will be good to have a record of its growth on here. I also have three FW aquariums.....my addiction is accelerating.....
Heres what I have so far:
One 40B Glass aquarium
Awaiting tank stand...... come on UPS!!!!
Toms RP3 wet dry filter/sump with attached protein skimmer with pump and return pump. Its supposed to be for 40-100 gallon system with 700gph output. (also has canister features with the ceramic media, bioball level, and middle level where I can put whatever I want).
Seio pump 1000
Tetra 150 gallon air pump with airstone
Taotronics dimmable 120W LED light fixture (will hang over tank)
I also built a top for my tank from an acrylic sheet and stuck some handles on it, and sealed the screws with 100% silicone.
I am also getting some black sand to put at the bottom (less than one inch), and plan on using perhaps about 25-30 lbs of base rock for aquascaping. May supplement with LFS live rock (havent decided yet)

I havent yet made arrangements for a RODI unit. I would really like to try it without, but everyone here swears by them and I may end up getting one.....

Other than the other little stuff: hydrometer, testing supplies, salt mix etc....... Anything I forgot?

Oh yes... almost forgot..... I made my own top for the tank, and its acrylic...... I have cut holes for the components to sit in, but should I drill some random holes for more gas exchange?

This was reposted from the 40B club thread.....
 

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Perfeshunal Hikk
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Take the bioballs out and forget you ever learned what they are. They will cause you more grief than you care to go through. As for the lid, the more air exchange the better.

What are you going to be keeping in it? And congrats on the new tank. And what lights are you going to have on it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! I am going to be drilling some more holes......Yay!!
I am using LED lighting, Tao tronics dimmable 120 W, and Im gonna hang it 10 inches above the tank.
What should I put in place of the bioballs? I think that youre referring to not making them into nitrate factories.... should i just put some more ceramic media in there, and give them a rinse. Or maybe some filter pads and rinse... what do you say.... weekly?

I just read your about your 4000 dollar week, ouch.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh yeah, what am I gonna keep in it........

To be honest, I dont have anything specific in mind because my brain is full of everything I am learning here, and its gonna be awhile until I can put anything in my tank.

I would like to have some small fish, perhaps a clown, and a bicolor dottyback, neon goby.......easy, hardy fish. I have only done a bit of reading about the various SW fish, so suggestions are appreciated.

I would also like to have soft corals, and maybe eventually some SPS. I have read that soft corals tend to be easier. I like the look of the toadstool corals and the leather corals that I have seen....

Again, my species knowledge of the SW fish and corals is seriously lacking.... I dont even know whats out there really....
 

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Perfeshunal Hikk
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I wouldn't put anything in the place of the bioballs. Leave it empty and as time goes on, and you learn more, you can figure out what and why to put in your sump. What goes in a sump depends on the setup, there is no "this is what goes in there" list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Also, when it comes time........ Should I put corals in first, or fish? Does it matter? I read that corals do best in established aquariums (like most things, lol)...but I dont want to wait a year before I get them.........
 

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found ya!

ok, now we can get into the good stuff.

first thing is first. water. water quality is everything in this hobby and it doesn't pay to skimp here. imo, an ro/di unit is, hands down, the number on most important piece of equipment you can buy for a tank. there are other things in tap water besides chlorine that are bad for our critters. things like nitrate and phosphates can lead to algae issues, and copper will kill any invertebrates. the gold standard in ro/di is www.spectrapure.com. the 90gpd refurbished deal for $130 is the one ya want. it is by far the best money you will ever spend in the hobby!

as ODH suggested, id leave any filter chambers empty. here is a little bit about why:

it has to do with the nitrogen cycle. ammonia is converted to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate in the presence of oxygen. this is pretty much everywhere in the tank. the surfaces of the rock, the glass, and in you filter/bio balls. however, nitrate is converted to n gas only in anoxic, or low oxygen, areas. these areas are found mainly in the deep pores of your rock. as you can see, there is far more oxygenated area available than anoxic, thus the need for periodic water changes to keep nitrates in check.

now, inside your filter, there is lots of oxygen so it does a great job of processing waste into nitrates, but no further. the better option, imo, is to allow the detritus to settle in a low flow spot where it wont rot as quickly and can be removed with your periodic water change.

I know there is a lot of info comin' at ya right now, but it pays to do a little research at this point. kinda get an idea of what corals you like. softies, lps, or sps. none of the three types are really more difficult than the others(with a few exceptions) if the tank is set up for them.

a tank should be set up slightly differently for sps corals than it would be for lps or softies. things like flow and lighting may need to be tweaked for one or the other. this is why it is kinda difficult to keep a "mixed" reef, as if you keep sps and softies, you are gonna make compromises somewhere.

and yeah, corals tend to be a little more delicate than most fish and like stable water conditions. most people, I believe, will start with fish and add coral later. I added my first coral at about the 6 or 7 month mark, I think. I was/am very conservative on stocking, though!

for ideas on what is out there, check out www.liveaquaria.com, www.bluezooaquatics.com, and www.cherrycorals.com. also, www.marinedepotlive.com has some higher end corals you can drool over......lol
 

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Shark...fish are friends
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welcome! I'm working on a 40B upgrade from my 10gal. Finally got water in it today and have one of my powerheads running. I need to get more rock then cycle the tank then onward!

Check the 'fish list' link in my signature. Its a good place to shop for what fish will fit in your tank and get an idea what your options are =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow!! Thanks for all the info!!
GH- Dont worry, I did some more reading about last night and broke down and bought a RODI unit last night: the spectrapure refurb. I also bought an extra prefilter, the 1um carbon/sediment cartridge.

Question: I have some uber hard water where I live. I have read that the calcium is 220 ppm, coming right out of the tap..... and, indeed, all my freshwater tanks have to have precipitant scraped and cleaned off of them occasionally.....
Is this going to degraded my prefilter faster, with all the calcium? Should I change at six months, or sooner?

I have been skimming LiveAquaria for some time now, I do have one question regarding the aggressiveness ratings
Question: Should I even try to get some semi-aggressive fish? I plan on getting mostly peaceful, small fish. Will the semi-aggressive just turn into bullies if housed with the peaceful fish. Which species are likely to become the tyrants if I do this?

GH- Thanks for explaining the nitrate into nitrogen gas in the anoxic environment.... I didn't know it had to be anoxic to be converted into the gas. So, I am definitely gonna take out the bioballs.
Question: What about filtering out large particulate matter, should I leave the ceramic media in to trap that and then just give them a rinse every couple of weeks? What level should I put the media on if there is to be any left in? There are 3 levels in my filter bottom, middle and top.
 

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for the semi aggersive, i would ask about the particular fish that your interested in. sometimes the "semi aggressive" in reality turn out to be pacifists and vice versa. if you post about a particular fish, youll be able to get a gague on it by the feedback.

good deal on the ro/di!

a bit about filters and when to change them:

for the pre filter and carbon, most people just change them out evey 4-6 months regardless of any reading since they are relatively cheap. the main indicator of when they may need changed is your psi gague on the unit. when it starts dropping by a few psi, you know the filters are getting clogged and its time to rerplace them. most people dont let it get to that and just change em' on a schedule, though.

ro membranes can last years if the prefilters are kept in good condition and changed regularly. to se how well you ro membrane is working, you need two tds reading. your tap water tds and the tds coming right from the ro membrane before the di stage. i cant remember the specific rating for the membrane that comes with that unit, but it should be in the high 90s rejection rate. so say you have 100tds tap water, after the ro, it should beknocked down to 5 or less. the final di stage should be looked at and changed whenever you see even 1 or 2 tds in the final product.

the ro membrane life and effectiveness depend on the prefilters keeping the big stuff out and the di depends on the ro membrane knocking most of the tds out.

i would just leave the filters empty. any sort of media in there at all will trap detritus. any lage particles will settle out in a low flow area. i dont use any sort of mechanical filter in my tank and my water is always crystal clear. well, i use carbon and gfo in a reactor, but thats a different discussion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Okay...... I have a question now about cycling. Forgive me if me logic is incorrect here.....

This is how I am planning to start up: I am going to fill the tank with RODI water. Also, I am going to use base rock to aquascape and seed with 1-2 lbs of live rock from the LFS. Now..... here's the question: What if I leave the bioballs in ONLY to cycle the tank? Will it make it the cycling faster, and provide more nitrates for the anaerobic bacteria in the nitrifying base rock, and live rock?
Here is what I think will be happening:
1) base rock will start to grow nitrosomonas to deal with ammonia. Live rock will increase its nitrosomonas bioload. Bioballs with become colonized with nitrosomonas.
2)ammonia levels start to wane/nitrites and nitrates start to rise. Why? Because nitrifying base rock with then become increasing colonized with nitrobacter, live rock follows suit, increasing it's nitrobacter bioload. Bioballs now have both nitrosomonas and nitrobacter colonized.
3)ammonia and nitrite disappear. Nitrates should be there, but minimal at this point (no fish, no poo, and no coral). Live rock and base rock should be about equally nitrified at this point, but perhaps the live rock with have more anaroebes to convert nitrates into nitrogen gas. Bioballs will have no anaroebic bacteria, as they live in oxygen rich environment. Bioballs will be producing nitrate which will feed the anaroebic bacteria within the live rock and perhaps some of the base rock.
4) Over the next few weeks, I would slowly remove the bioballs, so as not to shock the anaroebic bacterial colonies in the live and curing base rock.
5) Nitrates- what level should I aim for if I plan to keep corals? 5-10ppm?

Does this sound like a logical plan, or is it not worth the bioball work? Would it save me any time with cycling?
 

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Perfeshunal Hikk
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Okay...... I have a question now about cycling. Forgive me if me logic is incorrect here.....

This is how I am planning to start up: I am going to fill the tank with RODI water. Also, I am going to use base rock to aquascape and seed with 1-2 lbs of live rock from the LFS. Now..... here's the question: What if I leave the bioballs in ONLY to cycle the tank? Will it make it the cycling faster, and provide more nitrates for the anaerobic bacteria in the nitrifying base rock, and live rock?
Take the bioballs out before you ever start. They will cause you more trouble than they will solve. I think you are but I hope you plan on adding salt to your RODI water before adding base rock :D
 

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I would just not use the bio balls period.

imo, what the initial cycle s about is building each bacterial population to match the initial bio load(your first fish).

imo, this is best accomplished by running the tank just the same as you will a year from now. think about it like this. say you want to add two small clownfish as your first additions. now, why wouldn't you just simply run the tank as if those two fish were already in there? that way, you are virtually guaranteeing that when you put the fish in that the bacterial populations will be exactly what is needed to handle their waste.

the anaerobic bacteria don't "need" nitrate, per se. the bacteria are there BECAUSE of the nitrate. what will happen with the bioballs is that they will simply make more nitrates than the available anaerobic aeas in the rock can process and you will just end up with high nitrates.

nitrates arent just produced directly from fish poo or rotting food. nitrates are the next to final product in the ammonia-nitrite-nitrate-n gas reaction.

that is a bit scattered, but I hope you get the idea. in short, there are no real shortcuts......lol.

aquascape your dry rock, fill the tank and get it all runnin', mix your salt in and start feeding your make believe fish. if you want to at this point you can add a bit of live rock, but it isn't necessary. feed the "fish" daily, do weekly siphoning and water changes.

use this time to learn your system. see if the aquascape is working or you wanna change some things. adjust the flow and learn how to do water changes. it took me a few times to really get my routine down and its better to make mistakes when there isn't anything alive depending on ya.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I would just not use the bio balls period.

imo, what the initial cycle s about is building each bacterial population to match the initial bio load(your first fish).
Yeah, this makes sense..... thanks!! I was just trying to "preload" with the bacteria...... but I am just going to have to be satisfied with going slow with everything.......
Its difficult, bc my tank stand is taking FOREVER!!!!!!! There are lots of DIY people here, and their work is really awesome, but intimidating---especially the plumbing bits. I made my own tank lid, thats my limit for now. I am also gonna have to wait for my RODI unit...... I think I saw mounting holes on the unit and I think I have a pretty good idea on where to put it.

As for aquascaping......I have read on some of the threads that people use the plain ol' Gorilla Glue to attach the base rock while its dry and let it cure before sticking it in the tank.......

Should I paint the back of the tank black as well? Im gonna have black sand, less than an inch. Also have a black stand. I havent really seen any pics on the forum set up like this, not sure if it will be overkill
 
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