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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well after lurking for a few weeks I figured I'd start my own tank thread. So without further ado..


This is right after all equipment was purchased, and the tank was drilled. Ignore my bad habit on the top.

I originally had the skimmer set up way to high in the sump, like you see below, but as of last night I adjusted it.


I literally fought it for 4 and ad half hours last night, and when all said and done it ended with the skimmer doing this:


I literally gave up and went to bed. But as of this morning, it's actually skimming. I will adjust the flow etc daily and hopefully drop the water level in it some, but that's Coralife skimmers for you I suppose.

And finally a tank shot as of yesterday :


There is a damsel in there that my "lovely" ex wife snuck in because it needed a fish. She did so while I was at work and came over to feed my cat :mad: But it will be removed after the cycle.

I am getting alot of brown algae now, and as of yesterday before fighting the skimmer, the paramaters were Salinity 1.025, temp 78. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 2.0, Nitrate 40 ppm, and PH 8.2. Was weird not seeing any ammonia..

But there you have it! Thanks for looking!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Please don't cycle a tank with a live fish :( a single table shrimp will do the same thing AND it's already dead.

Welcome to TRT! Any idea what your maintenance routine will be?
I hadnt planned on cycling with a live fish. As far as maintenence, Likely water change every two weeks, with changing filter media etc when the water is low. This will be my first foray into corals, so I'm going to go very slow on that front.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
When the water is low, you add FRESH RO WATER.

If you keep adding salt water to make it go back up (Called "Top Off") the Salinity will get way to high. Fresh water is for top offs, salt for water changes. This will keep you going.

Tank looks good, excited to see this thread!
I am aware of that. Sorry if I wasnt clear!
 

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I hadnt planned on cycling with a live fish. As far as maintenence, Likely water change every two weeks, with changing filter media etc when the water is low. This will be my first foray into corals, so I'm going to go very slow on that front.
Take em back for the lfs for them to hold him for the time being, a good lfs would understand. Did you use live sand and live rock? If you did It would be much better as you would only have a mini cycle probably lasting just a few days instead of a longer cycle lasting upwards of a month or more.

What kindve filter media do you have? I see it's a drawer type of deal, seems like a neat lil setup. I would suggest cleaning/changing/rinsing them out once a week. Any longer then that and they will likely become nitrate factories from the trapped detritus being broken down at a fast rate.

For a maintenance routine I highly suggest blowing off your rocks with a turkey Baster or powerhead once a week, let the water clear (about an hourish) then move as much sand out from underneath stuff as you can to make it easily accessible then vacuum the sand. This is where your water change comes into play. Vacuum the sand with a gravel vac into a 5g bucket, do as much or as little as you want but the more you do, the more waste material you can get out. Takes a little practice but you should be able to do your whole sandbed in 5gallons or roughly 10% of your water volume. The more waste material you can keep out the less you will have to worry about inorganic nutrients.

Or you can wait and clean once every two weeks, once a month, bi-monthly, ect.. But then you will have to worry more about inorganic nutrients and thus supplement with carbon, gfo, and all that jazz. All of which will still need reactors cleaned, chemicals replaced, more testing to see if and when the chemicals are getting exhausted, so fourth and so on.

Really up to you on how you wanna do it, but I find the first suggestion easier on myself, my tank and my wallet.
 

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Welcome chaosadnd to TRT!

What they are saying...is that if your tank has not yet cycled please take the Damsel back to the LFS to hold and drop a piece of shrimp from the grocery to cycle your tank and not use a live fish.

Otherwise, looks like a good start there, mate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Welcome chaosadnd to TRT!

What they are saying...is that if your tank has not yet cycled please take the Damsel back to the LFS to hold and drop a piece of shrimp from the grocery to cycle your tank and not use a live fish.

Otherwise, looks like a good start there, mate.
Let me clarify. I did not, nor do I want the damsel. If I could have caught the little jerk, he'd of already been gone. It was placed in my tank by someone else while I wasnt home as I said in the first post. It will be removed, and will not be coming back.

Her heart was in the right place. (Buying it for my daughter because it had the colors of "dory" ) But my ex doesnt know about a cycle, or anything. Only pretty fishes.

As far as maintanence goes, I havent truly decided on a routine yet, as I have yet to change the water until the cycle completes. But it will likely be weekly small water changes. I just added a power head to the bottom left of the tank to help blow up some of the nasties lying on the rocks and sand to be sucked up by the filter. As for the three trays, I currently only have A filter pad in the top. I clean it weekly. I was going to throw carbon in the second.

As for siphoning the sand, will a regular siphon do? I would imagine it would suck up way to much of the sand during weekly cleaning. I shall have to google it.

Thanks again for tagging along! Now if only the water level of my skimmer would go down a few inches..
 

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Looking good! Your ex had the right idea - a blue damsel would be a great alternative for a 30g tank to "Dori" who needs a HUGE tank - just a little later. :p The ammonia during the cycle can hurt a fish, that's why the others are suggesting removing him until it's ready. Well, that and fact they can be mean little brats! If your daughter likes the damsel though, I'd just do as the others suggested and have the LFS hold it for a bit. Also, you should stock from least aggressive to most - so if other more peaceful fish are on your list to get I'd add them first and the damsel last.

For siphoning your sand - depending on the grade of the sand and the newness of it you could suck up a little to a lot. Sand gets heavier as the tank ages. Also the size of the siphon seems to make a difference (to me anyway) my larger siphon sucks up more detritus than sand, but my smaller one sucks up more sand. When you stick your siphon in the sand you'll see a little cloud rise up - it's lighter than the sand so should get sucked up faster. If you find yourself sucking up a lot of sand you can either A) pinch the tube (like a garden hose) to reduce suction B) just go ahead and suck up the sand then rinse and return it or C) just toss it - you can always add more down the road if it starts getting low.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sorry, missed that comment about your "lovely ex" adding the damsel when you were out like others...sorry for jumping on the band wagon.

Now, back to the build out. We of course will want more pics :D
It's all good. I've been around forums long enough to realize they mean well. The damsel is going to be an experiment of the soda bottle trick tomorrow as I've given up for the day.

I'm kind of getting twitchy wanting to do a water change, but I have been patient on everything thus far, so i can fight myself on this.

I will try and get an updated tank and sump shot later tonight.
 

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We love pics :) I use a very big siphon for my sand, I also have aragonite which is pretty big but more on the medium size. The siphon is maybe a foot long for the bigger tube and then has a 1/4 in hose I think, it does well for me, I usually don't get any sand or very little if I do, it really takes practice lol (I've got it down so my 55g takes about 20mins for a waterchange start to finish including cleaning the sand). When thinking about your maintenance you need to think of what your corals need and sps need very low inorganic nutrients and a lot of incoming food.
Sorry I ramble about maintenance, it's kindve my thing lol, wanna know about fish, ask chi I don't know fish :p but you can pm me if you wanna know about bacteria lmao
 

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How long has the skimmer been in there doing nothing? With new pipes it could take a couple days to get going, but longer than that might mean something is wrong. It does not look like there are many bubbles in there. Can you try taking it out and cleaning out the air hose and the little air inlet on the pump? It might have salt so encrusted inside it takes a drill bit (by hand) or metal stick to clean it out.

I don't have any experiance with that skimmer mind you, but it just looks like it might not be pulling enough air.

Whiskey
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I adjusted the intake flow and the outake flow, it is skimming now perfectly. Yay. As for my sump I bought a custom sump that my local lfs had used. If you look in my pictures you can kind of see. Water empties from the return through 3 filter trays. (Currently I only have filter media in one). then into the "tank". It then hits the skimmer, then is finally returned via the pump up top.

Years ago when I did FOWLR I never saw the point of af sump, but now that I have one I'll never do another tank without one. More water volume, no wires in the tank etc. Luckily my LFS will custom make alot of things. They drilled my tank, build the screen lid, gave me all the hookups to the sump, and sold me the sump. They can be a little pricey at times, but they are good people who specialize in saltwater. They have yet to steer me wrong.
 
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