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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a 55 gallon salt water tank off of CL a few months ago. It only had a couple of pieces of liverock, 4 damsels and a crab in it. After spending way too much money on 2 peices of liverock from the pet store I decided to check out CL for liverock. Found a 29 with 1 small damsel and lots of rock and coral. Combined the two in the 55. I like the way things are begining to shape up, but I need some advice on how to properly care for this tank and how to add some corals. I also have some equipment I just really don't know what to do with. I am hoping to find someone that knows what they are doing that is willing to come to my house, check out what I have and let me know what I need to do. I have been doing some research online, but an experieced person would be far more helpful than any website! Thanks - Robin
 

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Well if that doesnt work out you could just ask here on this forum.... and equipment you dont know about just post a picture and someone will tell you what it does and how to set it up....
 

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Well if that doesnt work out you could just ask here on this forum.... and equipment you dont know about just post a picture and someone will tell you what it does and how to set it up....
agreed, alot of experience here
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am from Eau Claire. Some of the items I have right now that are not set up are two powerheads (I think) and a refugium (probably). Right now I have 2 canister filters running - a Magnum 350 and a Fluval 405 (and a protein skimmer), so I think I am getting adequate circulation and filtration, but at some point I would like to set up the refugium. It has a big wheel - like a biowheel without the fins that the previous owner did not have set up. I don't know if it is better to have the wheel in or out. I know there is "stuff" to put in your refugium and I can research that some more; right now I had been doing more research on proper water parameters, light cycles and coral care. I don't know where to place the powerheads and if they should be on some kind of timed cycle. I am not sure about the light. I know I probably need to have the bulbs replaced. It is raised above the tank and has a white light and a blue light. I have been having both lights on for about 12 hours a day and no light at night because the corals seem to prefer that. I have some tree corals (I think) that were tipped over in the original tank and the stress of the moving made them change colors but they are now turning green again and I hope they will also start to stand up again.
 

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Hey, Robin. I'm glad to see you back on the forum. :) Since you're so new, I'm not sure I have the time to go into much detail right now, but I'll do my best for a few minutes before I head to bed.

1. Powerheads--Put them wherever gets you the best water flow throughout the tank. You will probably end up putting one in each upper corner, and having both of them pointing down and toward the middle.

2. Refugium--is it hanging on the back? It sounds like you don't have a sump, so I'm going to assume it's on the back of the tank. To be honest, since it has a bio-wheel, I don't think its really a refugium. I think it's just a regular hang-on-the-back type of filter, but I could be wrong without seeing pics of what you've got. Either way, the bio wheel should go if you're going to use it. Also, you'll need to clean those filters VERY often, at least once a week, and probably change the media once a week... :(

The reason for not using the bio wheel is that you want your live rock and live sand to do the bulk of your natural filtration. Freshwater and saltwater bacteria are very different, so the bio-wheels used for FW are not useful for SW. The reason I say you'll need to change the filter media and clean them weekly (at a minimum) is that nitrates are your ENEMY when it comes to reef-keeping. Waste breaks down into ammonia, then gets converted to nitrite, and then finally ends up as nitrate. That's how the bacteria convert wastes from the fish and food and such..."organics" as we call them.

Because nitrates are your enemy, you don't want fish poop and other organic particles to get "trapped" in your system where they'll be forced to break down. You want them, instead, to be floating around in your system so that your protein skimmer can remove them. Your carbon or filter pads, etc, will trap little bits of waste and fish food, and it will break down and cause your nitrates to rise. Once your nitrates get up there, the only really simple way to lower them is by doing lots of large water changes.

As you can see--what I'm getting at is that you want lots of filtration, but nothing that really "catches" or "filters out" the particles while keeping them underwater. This is where your protein skimmer comes in. You want to keep everything suspended up in the water currents so that your (preferably) large and awesome protein skimmer can remove the wastes. Protein skimmers remove some of the wastes that are already dissolved in the water, thankfully, but they're also good at actually lifting "chunks" of crud out of your water and into the collection cup where you then pour them down the drain. It's good stuff. :D Anyway....moving on!

Lights--You'll want them on a cycle, for sure. You can get decent light times for cheap at Menards, etc... What type of lights are they? (As in metal halide? T5? Regular "cheapie" fluorescent tubes found on FW tanks?) Also, do you know what "color" the bulbs are. Bulbs that are around 10K (yellowish) tend to lead to algae problems, which is why many people prefer to have a more "blue" color of their tanks, and many people use 20K bulbs because they have lots of blue spectrum in them.

So, last words of advice: Water quality. Just about everything related to success and failure in this hobby is water quality. It's why we all desire really nice protein skimmers, good quality live rock, and regular water changes. If you expect your fish and corals to do well, you have to give them really good water to thrive in. :)

You may find that over the next few months you need/want to get rid of some of your current equipment and upgrade it to "better" equipment. That's part of the fun and expense of this great hobby. lol

We're here to help, but really, Google searches and websites like this one are your best source for info. There are hundreds of ways to keep a successful tank, but you'll find that the majority of them do the same thing in very similar ways to achieve that success.

-Joe
 

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THE VILLAGE IDIOT
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what info joe gave you is great starter info to help you out...

i would DITCH that magnum 350 ASAP.....for canisters they are great on freshwater but saltwater tears them up fast and once the sand starts eating at the impeller shaft youll have iron shavings in your tank....TRUST ME..i used the same thing when i started out...

the fluval is plenty of flow and temporary filtration....you actually dont need filtration on a sw tank like you do a fw tank. the LR(live rock) is your filtration for sw. all you really need is lots of LR and a good skimmer. as joe stated for natural filtration...

and i too agree on the media in the filters.....it would be best to ditch the media and do weekly water changes with rodi water and not risk a nitrate overload with the media in the filters.

the refugium sounds like a marineland style since they love to use biowheels in thier stuff.
what does it look like? if its a clear box that hangs on the tank the its a refugium. if its kinda grey opaq or black then its a backpack filter and is no use to you unless you need a quick carbon filtration done...which you wont need unless your nitrates get way outa line or any other issue that is resolved by carbon.

there is no tru RIGHT place to hang powerheads since ever tanks needs are different. some people have them facing the fronts or sides or towards the top for surface agitation or just about anywhere that extra flow is needed. mine for example are blasting behind the rock work. and one bouncing off the front glass.

if you only have 2 bulbs then im gona guess you have either an el-cheapo 2x54watt t5 coralife fixture of CF(compact florescent..BAD BAD BAD) in which case neither is really good for corals..granted if its the t5 you better with that than the cf fixture....can you describe the light more so we can determine what you have? if it is a CF lighting i wouldnt recommend getting anymore corals untill you get correct lighting for them. CF lighting or PC(power compacts..still flouresent style) lighting also tend to grow unwanted algea faster as well in my experience and from what ive seen in other tanks.

on your 55g tank all you need is t5 and youll been fine...unless your plans are to house more expensive and light demanding corals then you MAY need a mh lighting but i doubt it im growin some nice stuff in a 90g with t5 and so is joe in his 75...good t5 lighting that i like is NOVA EXTREME PRO (which is what im running) or the TEK lighting which i believe is what joe is running. both are GREAT t5 fixtures and wont break the bank on purchasing them. i think my NE PRO light was $300 and i think the tek lights are just a lil more that that. both can be found on MARINEDEPOT.COM they have GREAT descriptions of the lights on there and others to chose from. your options to buy light from of course dont have to be restricted to just them..
we also have a LFS that helps us out ALOT with our needs and wants..the guy that runs it,MATT, is a great guy and can help you with anything you need. he is a member on here as well. his store is located in lacrosse but WORTH the drive down.

would be mush easier to give you some more pointer with more info and pics and better yet seeing what you have in person.
im sure one of us can get by to help you whenever you are available.

sorry for the BACK TO BACK NOVELS but dont want to see you make costly mistakes that deiscourage you and force you out of this GREAT HOBBY....

OH AND BY THE WAY..........we all are picture hounds....so if ya start talkin about new stuff or whats going on in your system...youll see alot of this:needpics: LMAO......just fair warning ya!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I figured out what I have is a sump. I will post pictures after I have 5 posts............ I have a question about the overflow, It has two tubes inside the box - each is connected to a hose under the box. One of the tubes is longer than the other (sits higher inside the box). Why is one higher and I know the hoses would go to my sump, but why are there two?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I also have a crab that I am pretty sure is eating some of my corals. He is a thin striped hermit crab. He is fun to watch and loves changing shells - but I guess I will have to start an other tank for him without coral............. Now I should be able to post pictures!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Here is a picture of the sump - I also have a return pump for it.



My lights that I have available to use:

This is the one I have been using.

This is the other one that actually fits the hood that goes with this tank.


My skimmer:


The overflow:


A part that I don't know where it goes:


My naughty crab and the coral he has been eating:


On of my corals that is wilted, but turning green again. If anyone knows what it is I would like to know the name of it.


The whole tank:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am thinking about building a box to hid the sump and putting it next to the aquarium since trying to put anything under the aquarium of any size is not going to work well. Ideally I would like to modify the sump so I can have a refugium in it (more than the little plastic box I have hanging inside the tank). I have seen designs to DIY. Does anyone have experience with this?
 

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nice pics....the first lite pic is PC's.....not good for corals....hard to say waht hte other is....if the bulbs are FAT then its eitehr pc or vho if they are skinny then its T5. if its vho or T5 than i would use them. is there any writing on the fixture with 3 three bulbs?

yep thats an old sump tank.....i would get it hooked up soon and ditch the canisters....

k...you have a dual overflow....means LOTS of flow. do you have a return pump?

both of the tubes on the overflow will run into the sump as your DRAIN then you would have a tube that runs from the sump back to the tank as your return. but youll need some kind of return head unless you can use the return head(S) off of the canister filters which would work perfectly.

you can get a descent return pump at petsmart for a good price....get the 2200 QUIET ONE...it should give you enuff flow and i think they are only like 50 or so buks. UNLESS they have one with more flow. i havent been in there in awhile since they dont carry much for sw stuff.

or you can go to tropic waters and take your chances with a RIO....they are good lil pumps but not very trust worthy in my experience...i had a tank crash when one that i had went bad. but the RIO will have more flow than the quiet one pumps BUT are gona ost you more...

that is your everyday BAD BOY HERMIT.....they eat EVERYTHING.....very bad critters for reef systems.....they do however do a killer job in FISH ONLY tanks.....just keep an eye on him untill you a new home for him...UNLESS you can get the sump runnin then you can house him in there.

that UNKNOWN grey part kinda looks like a sponge filter taht goes in the overflow. is there more to that over flow? should have a part that sits into the tank with either U tube(S) that syphon water into the over flow or it should a thin sealed plate taht syphons water into the overfow.

that sponge(if its for the overflow) would fit onto the tubes that drain into the sump to help stop debri and fish and stuff from goin into the sump as well as help with filtration of particles into the sump. BUT can become a nitrate breeder if not kept clean....

would be much easier if one of us came over to help you get things goin...what are your plans the next 2 days? im off and maybe able to come by and help ya out some. just let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I do have a return pump with heads. The overflow has an other part (the part with teeth) that goes in the tank and a wide, flat u-tube.

D.J. it would be so awesome if you could come over and help me out getting the sump set up. :jump3: I am going to pick up a float that will shut the pump off if the water in the sump gets too low. I think I have everything else I need to get things going. I figured out the RO filter I got with the 29 gallon aquarium works (I have a little meter to test it with -000 is a beautiful number!) so I will run to Walmart in the morning and pick up a 50 gallon container to "brew" the salt water in and to fill up with RO water. I have 15 gallons of RO water made right now and hopefully the rest would be made by the time I get home on Wednesday - I have only been able to let the RO filter run when I am able to watch the container, still had one minor overflow issue. Is there a special way to mix it? I just had been circulating it with a HOB filter to ariate it and mix the salt, along with putting a heater in it to make sure it gets to the right temp. I work 12 hour night shifts. I have tonight off, but tomorrow is the day I go and spend the day with grandma. I work Wednesday night, but I am home by 11am Thursday and plan on staying awake because I don't work Thursday night, so anytime Thursday 11am-9pm would be fine. Friday is open as well 7am-1pm. I will send you a message with my phone # and address. Thanks a million!!
 

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Here is a picture of the sump - I also have a return pump for it.


This sump is good, but I would definitely do away with that bio wheel, it will give you nitrate problems in the future.

My lights that I have available to use:

This is a Current Sunpod, 150watt MH from what I can tell. Good fixture.


PC lights are fine, bulbs will need to be changed fairly frequently and color choices are limited. White/Blue/White&Blue


This is a T5 fixture of some sort. Not sure the brand on that one. Would be bad either, bulb choices would be much better with it.


Coralife Super Skimmer 65 from the looks of that, not bad I've got a modified 125 on my 45. This piece you were wondering about hangs inside the tank to prevent micro bubbles from getting into your display.




My naughty crab and the coral he has been eating:

Typically the bigger the crab and bigger the claws the more stuff they will eat that they are not supposed to.


On of my corals that is wilted, but turning green again. If anyone knows what it is I would like to know the name of it.

Colt coral, or a Finger Leather.

If you can, do some water tests and let us know what your results are that might help us figure out whats going on with our corals.
 

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ummm ya i was thinkin mh sunpod as well BUT if you look at the second pic i dont see anything but PC bulbs....so unless there is another bub in there that isnt in the pic....i dont believe it to have mh lighting.....
 

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I think the MH one was available to use and the PC one was what she is currently using. Or at least thats the way it read to me....
 

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that unknown part is for your coralife skimmer its a micro bubble filter to prevent micro bubbles from entering your display tank
 
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