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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I've got a 55g tank sitting empty on a stand, but since I've never kept saltwater fish before, I thought I'd invest minimal cash at the outset and see how things go and try out some ideas before I go whole hog and buy the gear for the 55 and do up a sump, etc.

So, I decided to throw my hat in the ring for the Nano.

I've got:
  • 10g Glass Tank
  • Whisper 20 Power Filter (I inherited a 1-year supply of bio bags for it)
  • AquaClear 20 Power Head
  • Whisper Heater for 2-15g (claims to stabilize temp at 78F)
  • Mardel 5-in-1 Test strips
  • Red Sea Hydrometer w/ Thermometer (suction cup)
Still reading up reference material on coral substrate vs. live sand, so haven't got that yet.

One of the things I wrestled with was educational experience for down the road of making my own salt water (which is practical and cost-effective for a 55g tank) as opposed to buying ready-made salt water. I did the math, and for me to buy the material to dechlorinate and salt the water, cost just as much of not more at the LFS as it would to buy 10g of ready-made saltwater. So that's what I opted for, and bought 2 5g jugs. Kind of a cop-out on the learning thing, but in my opinion worth the savings at the moment since this entire project is a learning experience.

Pics will follow after I've done the leak test and filled the tank with the saltwater. Tomorrow I'll have to go out and get the substrate/sand/whatever.

I'm undecided on the rock. I've heard there's a saltwater store in Reston that I can check out, so may do that early this week and see if they have any rock of interest. The local PetSmart didn't have anything that didn't look...well...bad.

I plan to have maybe 3 or 4 fish in the tank at some point, the usual cleaner guys, and I honestly haven't thought about the inverts much. I guess I have a week or two (at least until I have rock) to decide what I want to do, and what lighting to work out. One thing I do want to experiment with is the "fun-factor" (another thread I posted on), and add some (hopefully) harmless silliness to the tank. It won't amuse the fish I'd imagine, but it might get smiles from folks. If my niece smiles at it, it'll be worth it.

I have my old 10g hood with two fluroescent sockets but I'm not sure if that will suffice for any saltwater tank or if I'll need to make a custom one at some point. It'll do for now, but I'm wondering if chucking a couple of full-spectrum fluroescent bulbs in will do the trick. The hood says it's maxed at 25W.

Very interested to see where this leads and how successful it'll be.

Mike.
 

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welcome to the Build off !

Buying premade water will be fine for the nano but for the 55 I'd invest in a RO/DI unit and make your own
 

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HOW MUCH!Ok I will take 2
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Welcome to the buildoff and good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Funny you should ask... Here's some of the gear I bought for the tank:



So I'm searching around today and I find that there's a specialty aquarium shop down the road from me! I went over after work and grabbed:
  • 10lbs Tahitian Moon sand - $10
  • 10lbs of dead rock - $20
  • 6lbs of Fiji rock cured - $40
Got home, rinsed off the dead rock, rinsed off the sand and started 'scaping. After the sand had settled somewhat, here's what the tank looks like (forgive the smudgies on the front, hadn't had a chance to clean that up yet):



I couldn't get a better angle at the time...will try tomorrow...but on the left is a piece of dead rock on bottom, with fiji on top on the right, and behind/on top is the last piece of dead rock. Over on the far right of the tank is fiji island that gets a nice jet over its right face. You can't tell from this pic, but there's a neat little dune between the left and right structures that I like. Also hard to see from this angle are the little caves under the left base rock, and the sheltery nooks created by the fiji and top rock. Took me all of ten minutes to come up with it, but I think it works for this tank. Went with the blue background to contrast the black sand.

Circulation looks fairly good. Did a water test about an hour after adding everything and so far so good.

I'll get some closeups of the fiji tomorrow and some better angles to give a better feel for how it really looks. And I'll clean up the glass. :lol:

I have a feeling there are wormy things on the LR, but I'm not entirely sure if they are worms, alive, or just dead klingons. Will try and get a closeup of them for ID as well.

Mike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So here I am on Day 2 of having something (LR) in the tank. A FTS from a better angle shows the nooks off in the corner structure...



And now here are three pics of I'm not sure what. They look wormy but they don't move except for the current. Could be dead wormy things or possible live growth? Maybe someone recognizes it... Tried to get closeups but they're pretty small and my camera didn't like focusing on something that small through glass.







Mike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Pretty sure I'm starting to see some sort of feather-duster type of thing growing out. Too small to take a decent picture of, but it's definitely larger than what it was a couple days ago and the feathery/finger things are more pronounced...gonna keep an eye on that!

I took some readings tonight and they aren't much different than two days ago, but I was wondering about the Alk reading. There's nothing in the tank but some base rock and some LR.

Ph - 8.4
Alk - Well over 300 (I would guess 450+)
Nitrite - 0.5 or less
Nitrate - 0
SG - 1.023 or 1.024
Temp - 78F

Is the Alk too high (is that possible?) and if it is, what should I do to bring it down a bit? My scale ends at 300 which is a sea green, and my reading is a deep blue.

Aside from the Alk reading, I gather at this point it's just a waiting game for coralline to start growing before I get some CUC guys? Likely another couple weeks.

Mike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I was at the Centreville Aquarium store today checking out pricing on lighting and protein skimmers. They have a Rio for $35 or so and an Oceanic in-tank skimmer for around $45. I don't see a lot of mention on the Oceanic...has anyone had any experience with them? Are the prices comparable to other mom & pop stores? I know I can probably save $10 (that includes shipping) by getting it online...just making sure I'm not paying anything exorbinant.

They also had a lighting unit for a 10g tank that comes with a 50/50 40W PC bulb (10K) and moonlight for $95 or so. I'm still trying to figure out the lighting stuff. I know what I generally should be asking for for a starter nano, but I'm not sure I would know what I'm looking at when browsing online yet. I've seen stuff available for about $58 + shipping that I *think* is the same brand and setup but I'm not entirely certain. I know I'll pay more at a local shop, and I generally have no real issue with that if it's like $10 or $15 after factoring in shipping for instant gratification and convenience, but if it's severely out of whack, then I'd opt for the online product.

Any thoughts are appreciated!

Mike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've finally moved into the 10K neighbourhood after picking up a Corallite fixture with a 50/50 65W bulb. The tank looks great with the new lighting. I ended up picking it up at PetCo for $80. Ended up being $10 cheaper than what I could get at the LFS, and I get 25 extra watts.

Will be interesting if the added wavelength and actinic will induce anything else to grow.

Mike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks KaK! :) Will post some later tonight for sure... I was out today at one of the LFS and picked up what I think is either a candycane coral or a trumpet coral frag. Hard to tell...it wasn't labelled. It was in their $10 frag tank.

I don't really have any algae growing in the tank yet, so I opted not to get any CUC yet. I did pick up some Cyclopeeze in addition to the coral. I imagine I just feed a pinch of that via baster to the coral every couple days?

Also picked up a Rio Nano Skimmer from a different LFS today. Got it up and running and fiddled until it was more or less quiet, but I'm noticing that there are lots of very small pinpoint bubbles being introduced from the outflow feed, no matter at what height I have the water level thing. Anyone use a Rio before have this issue?

Mike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You're right, KaK, and it looks like they're having the exact same issue I am. Sounds like I just need to be patient and the bubbles will go away. Hopefully the noise goes down as well as it goes through its shakedown...

Here is a FTS of the tank with the new lights. The coral frag (my first coral! :dance:) was added on the left hand side, wedged between the glass and a large piece of base rock. I'm hoping as it grows that it'll leech on to the baserock and start growing on it. Flow over at that area of the tank is moderate.



Can someone ID this coral? As I mentioned, I got it from a $10 frag tank at a LFS, so they weren't labelled. Not sure if its a form of trumpet coral or candycane or something else. The girl at the LFS thought it might be a form of brain coral but she wasn't sure. If it requires a different flow rate, let me know so I can move it. Thanks!



Mike.
 

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It's not a candt cane or Trumpet - I can't think of what it's called though I need more coffee

It's a beautiful piece though Congrats
 
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