The Reef Tank banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys. My very post here, and its gonna be a pretty lengthy one. First, a brief intro to my fishkeeping history. I'm 24 this year, and have had a aquarium for most of the years. I dabbled in marine tanks for awhile, but that was 6 years ago when undergravel filters were still the rage. The tank fizzled out after a while, and since then the same tank (75g) has been home to only freshwater fishes. Recently, I've been thinking of giving marine a go again, and hence, here I am.

In hindsight, there were many things wrong with my tank. I was taking advice from the wrong people for one, and I was impatient as well (heck I was 18!) I'm determined to do it right this time, so I hope you guys will bear with the many questions I have now, and the many more that will surely be forthcoming in the coming months (expected setup to be done in august)

Ok. Here is what I would like to achieve. A marine tank that is as low maintance and hassle free as possible. Now, what I'm visioning is just sand, live rocks, less then 10 fish (again, my tank is a 75g), and other bare neccesities. I'll break up my question into groups.

1) Tank
1. My tank is a custom made 75g with a built in overflow compartment, where the sump, filter media etc will go. Currently, it is extremely well cycled and home to fresh water fish. Question, can I reuse the water when converting the tank? As in I'll just add marine salt directly to the tank, so as to avoid a nitrate cycle, or is salt water and freshwater beneficial bacteria different?

2) Substrate
1. I used an undergravel filter 6 years ago. It was messy, and there were spots were the sand turned black. I was thinking of just putting in a thin layer of sand now. What would be a good thickness?

2. Can I use sand from the beach? If not, what is a good commercial brand?

3. What is live sand?

3) Live rock
1. I still have quite a amount of live rock from six years ago lying in my garden. But they are completely white and dead now of course. Can I reuse them?

4) Buffer
1. I dimly remembered adding a huge amount of coral chips to act as a ph buffer to my tank. Can someone eleborate what was that about?

5) Fish
1. Right now, I'm looking at couple of 3-4 damsels, a common clown, a small angel, a goby, and a cleanup crew of shrimp. Based on bioload, how often should I do water changes?

TIA for any feedback guys. I would appreciate links to any good articles as well
 

·
Perfeshunal Hikk
Joined
·
8,887 Posts
Hi guys. My very post here, and its gonna be a pretty lengthy one.
Hi and welcome to TRT!

First, a brief intro to my fishkeeping history. I'm 24 this year, and have had a aquarium for most of the years. I dabbled in marine tanks for awhile, but that was 6 years ago when undergravel filters were still the rage. The tank fizzled out after a while, and since then the same tank (75g) has been home to only freshwater fishes. Recently, I've been thinking of giving marine a go again, and hence, here I am.
In hindsight, there were many things wrong with my tank. I was taking advice from the wrong people for one, and I was impatient as well (heck I was 18!) I'm determined to do it right this time, so I hope you guys will bear with the many questions I have now, and the many more that will surely be forthcoming in the coming months (expected setup to be done in august)
Ok. Here is what I would like to achieve. A marine tank that is as low maintance and hassle free as possible. Now, what I'm visioning is just sand, live rocks, less then 10 fish (again, my tank is a 75g), and other bare neccesities. I'll break up my question into groups.
1) Tank
1. My tank is a custom made 75g with a built in overflow compartment, where the sump, filter media etc will go. Currently, it is extremely well cycled and home to fresh water fish. Question, can I reuse the water when converting the tank? As in I'll just add marine salt directly to the tank, so as to avoid a nitrate cycle, or is salt water and freshwater beneficial bacteria different?
Start with new water. RO/DI preferably. The minerals in tap water are bad for a SW tank. The bacteria is different in a SW vs FW tank as well.

2) Substrate
1. I used an undergravel filter 6 years ago. It was messy, and there were spots were the sand turned black. I was thinking of just putting in a thin layer of sand now. What would be a good thickness?
My 90 doesn't have any sand in it at all. Neither does my 12G nano tank. It is a Bare Bottom tank (BB for short). It makes it easier to clean the bottom and keep the tank cleaner. For easier maintenance, BB is the way to go.

2. Can I use sand from the beach? If not, what is a good commercial brand?
No, don't use sand from the beach. It is normally contaminated from industrial run off. If you decide to use sand, purchase sand. Either online or locally. What a good brand would be depends on what is available to you.

3. What is live sand?
Live sand is supposedly sand with the live bacteria already in it that you get on LR as well. It is usually a total waste of money. If you start with Live Rock and "Dead Sand", the sand will be live in under 6 months. Save the money and spend it on something else.

3) Live rock
1. I still have quite a amount of live rock from six years ago lying in my garden. But they are completely white and dead now of course. Can I reuse them?
It is dead base rock now. You can still use it (after cleaning it) and seed it with some new live rock to get the bacteria to restart in the original rock.

4) Buffer
Most quality salts have all the buffering you need for a FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock) tank. What buffer did you have in mind specifically though?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow thanks for the quick reply!

1) Good to know. Have to check out the price for a RO/DI unit now

2) Thanks for the info. My plan is now to just place a very thin layer of sand (<1cm) for a natural apperance.

3) The marine fish shop where I bought all my stuff 6 years ago is still around. I'm gonna ask if I can seed my rock in their tanks. Hopefully I can convince them with the promise I'll get all the new stuff I need from them...

More questions though.

1) What should I put in my overflow compartment? Currently, the water runs over the cotton bed onto bioballs, with several bags of coral chips underneath.

2) Filtration - I'm using a large canister filter that sucks out water from the overflow compartment and expels it directly to the main tank. Is this fine?

3) Since I have only one outlet providing water flow, I'm anticipating a water current shortage. How do you guys position your powerheads so that it provides maximum current with minimum visibility?
 

·
Perfeshunal Hikk
Joined
·
8,887 Posts
Wow thanks for the quick reply!

1) Good to know. Have to check out the price for a RO/DI unit now

2) Thanks for the info. My plan is now to just place a very thin layer of sand (<1cm) for a natural apperance.
I don't like the looks of a BB tank. It looks too, well, bare for me. What you can do is make what is called a FSB (Fake Sand Bed). You take kitchen cutting board (white), cover the bottom of the tank, and then glue sand to it. It looks like a sand bottom but it is solid so you get the looks of a SB but the benefits of a BB tank.

3) The marine fish shop where I bought all my stuff 6 years ago is still around. I'm gonna ask if I can seed my rock in their tanks. Hopefully I can convince them with the promise I'll get all the new stuff I need from them...
Use what you have now, create a display for it. Then, buy 10 pounds or so (5kg) of Live Rock. Put it in the tank and within 6 months all of your rock will be "Live" again. It will "color" up for you and get all of the bacteria/algae for filtration you want on it.


More questions though.

1) What should I put in my overflow compartment? Currently, the water runs over the cotton bed onto bioballs, with several bags of coral chips underneath.
Are you planning on a reef tank or a Fish Only tank? The Live Rock will give you all the filtration you need for a Fish Only tank (FO for short). If you are planning a full scale reef tank, then it depends on what you plan on having in the tank. With a FO, I would remove the bio balls as the bio balls will actually compete with your LR for food and make both of them less efficient.

2) Filtration - I'm using a large canister filter that sucks out water from the overflow compartment and expels it directly to the main tank. Is this fine?
Honestly, I can't answer that one. I have had tanks for almost 30 years and have never used a canister filter. :( Sorry.

3) Since I have only one outlet providing water flow, I'm anticipating a water current shortage. How do you guys position your powerheads so that it provides maximum current with minimum visibility?
Mine are simply behind the rocks right now. I have MaxiJet powerheads with the flow diverters on them that allows me to direct the flow around the tank. In short, you hide them behind other things in the tank :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks again for the feedback and welcome.
OneDummHikk<SCRIPT type=text/javascript> vbmenu_register("postmenu_1336412", true); </SCRIPT> , what do you mean when you say the bioballs will compete with the LR for food? I'm planning a FO tank.

Also, I've been reading around, and some people have been recommanding a deep sand bed of 4 inches for denitrification. What is the general view on this?

Finally, since its a FO tank, are there strict requirements where lighting is concerned?
 

·
Perfeshunal Hikk
Joined
·
8,887 Posts
Thanks again for the feedback and welcome.
OneDummHikk<SCRIPT type=text/javascript> vbmenu_register("postmenu_1336412", true); </SCRIPT> , what do you mean when you say the bioballs will compete with the LR for food? I'm planning a FO tank.

Also, I've been reading around, and some people have been recommanding a deep sand bed of 4 inches for denitrification. What is the general view on this?

Finally, since its a FO tank, are there strict requirements where lighting is concerned?
The bacteria that inhabit the live rock is the same type of bacteria that lives on the bioballs. They both need nutrients (typically fish poo) to eat. With both, they compete for food. The LR will be more than enough filtration so you can get rid of the bio balls. The LR will actually have more surface area for the bacteria to live on so you get more of a good thing with the rock.

Deep sand beds (4") become a "nitrate sink" where it absorbs it until it can't absorb anymore and then it dumps it back into the tank causing a tank crash. With a BB, you don't have that issue as you don't have the nitrate sink. Look into a RDSB (Remote Deep Sand Bed). It is built in a 5 gallon bucket and does the nitrate job. When it "dies", you simply refill the bucket without having to mess with the tank.

Lights in a FO tank. The only reason for lights on a FO tank is so that you can see the fish. The fish don't really care. With that said, you can use NO (Normal Output) flourescent bulbs on a FO tank. Just about any kind of light you want to use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
476 Posts
It's hard to believe I know; a pound per gallon of live rock and good flow are all that is required for the nitrogen cycle to work in a marine tank, provided you supplement with good skimming, husbandry and mechanical filtration (floss or sock) so you don't overload it. That's why most don't use the canister filters; not only are they a pain to service but they're just not needed. I use a refugium where I grow chaeto under a 24 hour light, a good skimmer, floss and live rock and I have 0 nitrates.
 

·
Perfeshunal Hikk
Joined
·
8,887 Posts
It's hard to believe I know; a pound per gallon of live rock and good flow are all that is required for the nitrogen cycle to work in a marine tank, provided you supplement with good skimming, husbandry and mechanical filtration (floss or sock) so you don't overload it. That's why most don't use the canister filters; not only are they a pain to service but they're just not needed. I use a refugium where I grow chaeto under a 24 hour light, a good skimmer, floss and live rock and I have 0 nitrates.
How much rock is required isn't a set rule though. It depends on other factors, even with the rock itself. Density and surface area are big factors. Our local club president only has 1/2 pound per gallon in his 90 gallon tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,371 Posts
In singapore, I believe there are some areas you can use Natural seawater and natural sand. Johan Susanto on ReefCentral has a tank in singapore. He used natural sea water, sand, and even mangroves and mud from a local beach, and his tank looks great. I think you should ask local reefers to you, on their experiences with using natural items.

As for your sand depth and what not, everyone will try to talk you out of a different substrate. Those who are BB, hate sand, and those who have sand, hate BB. If you are a lazy reefer (I am), Barebottom is the way to go. Its 10x easier to siphon out detritus. If you can keep up on water changes, and vacuuming the top of the sand, then sand is the way to go. Ive had both, and Ive enjoyed the sand more, as long as Ive kept on the water changes that is.

I think you'll be ok as long as you keep up on water changes, and have a nice skimmer overrated for your tank. with your 75g tank, Id get a skimmer rated for 150g and up. An octopus would work nicely in the tank.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top