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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone. I'm new as you can see.

I've started a new 60 gal salt aquarium. Using 20 lb lace rock, 5 lb live, Fluval 305 canister filter, crushed coral and live sand substrate and a heater of course. Oh and I used tap water to fill.

My seller indicated that I should start out with live fish to cycle my tank. I lost 17 damsels. First batch 10 then 7. Water quality tested fine the two times he tested it. No copper either.

Now I have a clear to cloudy slime growing on my rocks and it encased a dead fish overnight. I would post a picture but I can't - not enough posts yet. But contact me if you need to see it first.

Another forum I belong to said it's a phosphate problem. I need a phosphate remover. Agree/Disagree?

Some say I need more rock. Can I add to this gradually or do I need another 40lb?

Some say I need a skimmer?

Most say to let the tank naturally cycle before putting fish in.

Can you guys/gals help me? My heads spinning. Plus I don't have an unlimited amount of cash to keep putting into this.

Thanks so much!
Lee Ann
 

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Officer Tang
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well i would say stop putting the damsels for starters. You're right, you dont need them to cycle your tank. I would get some basic tests for yourself so you can test the water and compare it to what the fish store says. If they're recommending damsels to cycle a tank, I already can sense the classic LFS "we only care about making a buck" attitude. Be careful, dont take everything they say as gospel. You;'re new to the hobby and very susceptible to impulse buys and listening to exactly what the fish store employees say (as we all once were). Luckily for you this forum is dedicated to helping people get the best information available.

I think you do need more rock...not sure what "lace" rock is, but you need about a pound of live rock for every gallon of water. You can add it gradually, but unless it's fully cured when you buy it, it will start a mini cycle every time you add a new piece. best to add it all at once. it will cycle the tank on it's own...as parts die off, they release organics that fuel the growth of good bacteria in the system.

The slime sounds like a nutrient issue. You should be skimming and doing 10% weekly water changes, even during the first phases of your tank. Phosphate removers are all well and good, but you'll be fighting an uphill battle if you dont control the source of the problem, which was likely over feeding the 10 damsels before your good bacteria was appropriately established to handle the bio load. Hopefully some water changes will help this, I would also make sure you siphon the substrate during water changes to get all the gunk that collects down there.
 

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Officer Tang
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I always amazed when I read a comment like this, that there is not more research done before jumping in. :nuts:
A good many of us were guilty of the same thing when we started...it's very confusing with all the conflicting information out there. It's not a cheap hobby in general, but I think most can get by with a 60 gallon without breaking the bank too bad.
 

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Good Morning! First of all you will find some wonderful people here and lots of good information. There are a few questions everyone will ask so they can help. Some of them are going to seem basic but, you would be suprized at what fish stores will not tell you.
How long has the tank been set up? You used tap water, did you use anything to kill the chlorine? Did you add all the fish one at a time, the way this reads you did all at once (two batches of fish), which was way to much. The tank was not ready for that bioload. Have you done a water change recently? Your going to need to, I am sure one the long time members will be along shortly to help with that. Don't add anymore fish for a while, let the tank rest a bit.
Unless you are planning on having a tank of damsels, I would not put them in my tank, they are aggressive and hard as heck to get out later. Honestly for a 60gal I would think that 10 was too many for a established tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well I did have enough money when I started...rude comment for a newbie BTW. I just don't want anymore people sending me "around the block" and spend another ton of cash on product that's not going to help me get started. I understand this is an expensive hobby. It's just upsetting that I go by what one LFS says I need to start and then I find 10 others that say I should have a different setup. I bought what I thought was right now I guess I will just have to figure out how to make it work to support life.

Anyway. Thanks to the others trying to help.

The tank is NOT established. It was set up for a few days when the "expert" LFS tested my water and told me to add the 10 damsels to help start cycling the tank. Then they died...within 8 hrs. So I took my water in again to check it he said try another bunch and gave me another 7 (free). I acclimated them to the tank water/temp slowly and they were all dead within 24 hrs.

So I will not add anymore fish until I know they can survive. I felt so bad.

Like I said before I have a clear/cloudy "slime" growing on some of the rock. Only one person on another forum was able to give me some idea. He said it was a phosphate problem.

I want to cycle my tank but not sure what it needs to successfully start to cycle now.

I only have the 20lb of lace rock and 5lb of live. LSF said this is all I would need to start. That I can add more lace rock as I go along if I like.
 

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Reefer Madness
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Welcome to TRT! Research, ask questions, be patient and you will be rewarded. Here are some of the necessities you will need to spend money on up front to spare yourself problems in the future:
1. A refractometer (to measure the salinity of your tank)
2. A good in-tank thermometer
3. A good test kit
4. An RO/DI unit - tap water has bad things in it that need to be filtered out.

Yes, you should have a protein skimmer (also a good heater). The tank will take up to 3 months for the nitrogen cycle and another 6 months to a year to mature.

Sorry you had to watch those poor fish die. I would boycott that LFS and but online.

Good luck!
 

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Welcome to TRT! Lots of help around here.

First things first..What kind of flow do you have beside the fluval canister? any powerheads?

Your LFS deffinatley shouldnt have sold you those fish... when cycling a tank all you need is a little piece of shrimp buried in the sand.. the food and rot jumpstart the bacteria needed in our system. then it goes through a series of highs and lows...ammonia..nitrates..nitrites.. all that stuff takes about a month to work itself to level perameters in the system. During that month, the onlt things you want in the tank are the LR and LS nothing elses is need(excepth the shrimp of course).

You can add LR over time. That is how i do it. a piece every couple months.. give or take.. Make sure it is cured.

for now IMO do a 50% water change. Empty that canister filter and just put some carbon in a media bag in there. The canister filter is just trapping then releasing the detritus (poop and such) not such a big deal now but later on down the line it will be. then let the tank sit... you will start to notice stuff growing and thriving.. in that time get yourself a test kit... when all levels have been stable for 2 months or so your ready for the 1ST fish. try to space your fish purchases apart... each fish has to have time to become comfortable... the guy at your LFS is a fool. NEVER add 10 fish at a wack..

As far as the other equpment.. you dont have to have a skimmer right now.. its beneficial but will be ok without it for now. weekly/ bi- weekley Water changes will give you similar results.

Look into getting a sump and how they work. You might find out later that is another must have piece of Equipment. Many here including myself use them and find them very beneficial. Much knowledge on this site about them.

Welcome to the hobby... you will find if you take your time at the beginning you will save yourself much time, money, and frustration in the long run.
 

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10 fish at once is crazy!!!!! Listen to people on here. They are way better than the "expert" at the store. I also use "PRIME" when mixing my salt and water. You should look at RO/DI water. It makes such a difference. Just remember this hobby takes alot of patience. Research everything you put into your tank. Research it twice. I just started up 4 months ago and the people on this sight are great to answer all your questions..
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Welcome to TRT! Lots of help around here.

Thanks so much!

First things first..What kind of flow do you have beside the fluval canister? any powerheads?

All I have is the Fluval canister. You recommend power heads?

Your LFS deffinatley shouldnt have sold you those fish... when cycling a tank all you need is a little piece of shrimp buried in the sand.. the food and rot jumpstart the bacteria needed in our system.

Yes! I'm not EVER dealing with him again. I did because he has so many saltwater tanks on display I thought he must know something. Plus the amount of locals that go too him. But then again he is the only LFS in the area.-- You say a shrimp? Dead shrimp? "the food and rot" What food? Sorry for my lack of knowledge.

The canister filter is just trapping then releasing the detritus (poop and such) not such a big deal now but later on down the line it will be.

Fish didn't have time too poop. Too busy trying to survive. But I understand. Should I get rid of the canister filter and get something else?What do you recommend? Should I just keep that for now and just get the carbon bag.

then let the tank sit... you will start to notice stuff growing and thriving..

Even just with the lace rock and couple pieces of LR?

in that time get yourself a test kit... when all levels have been stable for 2 months or so your ready for the 1ST fish. try to space your fish purchases apart... each fish has to have time to become comfortable... the guy at your LFS is a fool. NEVER add 10 fish at a wack..

Okay. Good.

As far as the other equpment.. you dont have to have a skimmer right now.. its beneficial but will be ok without it for now. weekly/ bi- weekley Water changes will give you similar results.

What percentage of a water change?

Look into getting a sump and how they work. You might find out later that is another must have piece of Equipment. Many here including myself use them and find them very beneficial. Much knowledge on this site about them.

Welcome to the hobby... you will find if you take your time at the beginning you will save yourself much time, money, and frustration in the long run.
Whew! Thank you.

Lee Ann
 

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powerheads are for sure. i would get 2 1,100-1,200 gph powerheads to get started. (you will need these. flow is important in reef tanks.)

shrimp: standard table shrimp will be fine. cut a 1/4 of it and bury it in the sand. that will create the food/rot/decay we need to start the cycle.

fluval canister: keep it, just remove all the media it comes with out and replace with only activated carbon (a big box at wal-mart will run about 10$) i use nylons as my media bags. cheap cheap cheap ;) this will also add to your flow. (which is why i say start with 2 PH's then see if you need more)

Not sure what "lace" rock is but im sure if its rock it will be just fine. (ill look this up) Just googled it.. looks like volcano rock. ive got some in my tank lol. it will be fine.

After the 50% water change you do in the next few days.... id wait about a month. then start 10-20% weekly - biweekly water changes... the more the better.

eventually (soon as possible) you wanna start using ro/di water.... this will help with the series of algae blooms to come later...a.k.a. the "uglies" they are normal.

IMO i wouldnt sweat the white film yet... the added flow and water change should help with that.

after about 3-4 weeks you will be ready for a CUC (clean up crew) start small. Many sites and lfs's will recommend waaayyy to many. A few snails should be just fine.
 

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as far as a phosphate problem..... im not sure to tell ya the truth. not to savvy there. if it is then that means the white film is an algae... phosphates = algae..

try adding flow to the tamk for a few day and see if conditions improve.
 

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wow i dont even know where to begin - you really got "took for a ride"

the heatbreak in your tone is so sad im sorry - I want you to pick your head up and move on with the hobby you have a lot of enjoyment ahead of you if you stick with it

best advice i can give you is to challenge any advice you get - everyone thinks they know best
 

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+1 there are many ways to achieve the same results in this hobby. it is well worth it in the long run.... P.s. Take the budget you had.. Now triple it lol! Im just trying to help you to the best of my knowledge. Like fishluv says.. Question everything. Believe me, its worth it in the long run
 

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Good morning, I am glad you have some answers. Alot of people fall into the trap thinking that the Local fish store knows everything will give them good advise, when most of the time they are out to make a buck. I would add alittle more live rock because this will be your "filter" for your good bacteria, water movement is a must, powerheads or jets, whatever your budget will support at this time. I have cheapy marinelands in mine right now and will upgrade will these start to do down hill. My LFS is awesome as far as QT and treating fish, but since I have been here, I have discovered he is a 70's or 80's reefer who hasn't changed much with the times. So I am learning here a more healthy way to do things. You will be fine just slow down take a deep breathe and enjoy. I hate that you had to watch those fish die, that is terrible. When you start adding fish again remember only one at a time every couple of weeks to let your biofilter catch up.
 

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Welcome to TRT!!

:wavey:

here is a thread that will help you understand what is going on in your system. it is a very long read, but worth it.

cyano is not uncommon in the first few months of setting up a system. the more nutrients released during the setup the greater the chance there will be a cyano outbreak. to control nutrients the best thing to do is remove the detritus. this is accomplished by skimmers and siphoning it out when doing water changes. you can use a HOB filter to collect some of it, but it will need to be cleaned daily to be most effective. once a week at the very latest. the longer it is not cleaned the more things rot in the filter and are released back into the water column.

G~
 
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