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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok here is what I have setup, This tank was a former cichlid tank. Peacocks and Haps. I have now decided to go saltwater. The tank itself is a 125 gal. w/ an FX-5 canister and a Cascade 1200 canister on it. It has been sitting with just a pleco in it for a month. I got rid of the pleco the other day and bought salt to convert, a nice protein skimmer. It already had a sand base and I added a second power head. The current rock I left in the water and added some from another cichlid tank I have set up. At this point I have added the salt and am trying to get the salinity value correct on this. It is going to be a reef tank. I do already have H.O. lighting. What I'm currently running in the filters are FX-5, cotton in one tray, bio balls in another. fluval biomax filter media. In the Cascade there are cotton filters, a bio filter and 1 bag of carbon. I have gotten different opinions on what to run in what filters but what is the best way. I have been told to put live rock in the bottom tray of the FX5 and remove the cotton and to leave the other filter as is. I'm just wondering if one bag of carbon is suffient or should I had other media to that filter or change media in either filters.

Next I was told all the freshwater bacteria would have to die and that would cause a spike in amonia, nitrite, ect. and that would start to cycle the tank into the correct bacteria for saltwater. They say this takes 3 to 4 weeks. Is there a way to speed up the process. The FX-5 filter has not been touched since starting the saltwater process but before I started I did change all the filters in the Cascade but left the carbon bag the same.

I know I'm going to have to add at least 30-50 lbs of live rock to the current dead rock in my tank. I just want to make sure I do this right the first time. This is my first saltwater venture.

I appreciate any help.
 

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I certainly don't know what the reprocussions are to just adding salt to a freshwater tank this way, but the few things I can add are:
1. The SW bacteria won't just magically grow. You need to introduce some to the tank via live rock. I would wait at least a week before you try this. There are ways to speed up the cycle, but patience is key at the beginning.
2. What kind of sand is in the tank already? I also have a chiclid tank and I decided to use crushed coral to buffer the pH. So I'm assuming you have aragonite sand in there and not play sand correct? If you have silicate sand, you'll be battling diatoms forever.
3. I wouldn't use the canister filter at all. Stock with at least 125 pounds of live rock (1 pound per gallon) total and run the skimmer. Your dead rock will be seeded with the live rock you're going to add.
 

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Welcome to TRT!!

:wavey:

the bacteria will populate the system without any intervention.

the filters that you have are not really suited for SW.

the Remora skimmer is undersized for a 125g tank. for SW it is better to have a sump below the tank. in here is where the heater/chiller/skimmer will be located. there are not any hang on back skimmers big enough to handle a tank of that size. adding more skimmers does not work very well.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Welcome to TRT!!

:wavey:

the bacteria will populate the system without any intervention.

the filters that you have are not really suited for SW.

the Remora skimmer is undersized for a 125g tank. for SW it is better to have a sump below the tank. in here is where the heater/chiller/skimmer will be located. there are not any hang on back skimmers big enough to handle a tank of that size. adding more skimmers does not work very well.

G~
I understand that a sump system works better but have heard many people running FX5's on saltwater sufficiently. I bought 20 lbs of live rock earlier to put in the tank to speed up the cycle process. The remora skimmer I was told by a guy at our local pet store who I trust since he has had many saltwater tanks said it is fine for a 125. Obviously the optimum setup is a sump but I'm not going that route at this moment. I have a tank in my garage that is ready to be a sump set up. It's a 30 long already tapped for a sump type setup. I also have a 10 gallon laying around and have heard that adding a refugem(sp?) along with the canisters would be a major help as well.
 

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i would start by reading this thread. it will explain what is going on in the SW environment and why canister filters are generally not recommended. as for the skimmer. take a look at any of the skimmers people recommend for a 125g tank. look how big their diameters are. these would be unacceptable behind a tank. there is a reason for them being so big. their functionality just can not be reproduced in a HOB skimmer. i would think you would be better off not even using that skimmer on the system and just using water changes alone as your prime nutrient export mechanism.

as for the live sump (hobby refugium) the thread i linked to in the beginning of this thread will explain why these do not work as described, and how they can become problematic. they are nothing more than a settling tank for detritus with a fancy name.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok, so I found a local place that deals only with saltwater setups. I bought a HOB reef Octupuss protein skimmer. He also suggested that i gut my filter down to just live rock in the bottom tray and carbon in the other trays and to remove my cascade filter. I am working on putting live rock into the tank. I have put 65 lbs so far and will have another 45 lbs to add on wed. I know I will need quite a bit more added to be sufficient but I think I have a slightly better handle on how to make this work now. Thanks for the help. It is greatly appreciated.
 
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