EmmaH's first saltwater tank

EmmaH

Well I went into Petsmart the other day for some fish food, and walked out with a 40b! Go figure, darn you MTS!! I decided to dive into the world of saltwater tanks. I have a fair amount of experience with freshwater, not that I'm a big expert, but I'm hoping it'll help a bit. I'm thinking a very basic reef with softies, and fish. I've been doing a lot of research, but there's a so much info to digest!!

Today I put together the stand and got the tank on top of it.
I have:
Substrate-40 lbs of Caribsea Arag-alive Bahamas oolite sand. I really liked the color, but now I'm worrying it may be too fine grained? Has anyone used this sand? Or know any issues with it?
Lights-36-48in orbit marine LED saltwater lighting system.
Salt-instant ocean
40g storage tub to mix saltwater

I still need:
Powerheads-any suggestions? I was thinking 2 Tunze 6015s?
Heater-Eheim Jager 100w?
40lb of live rock, probably going to purchase from LFS
Protien skimmer-still trying to decide if I want one. I've heard with a tank this small they aren't necessary. If I was to go with one I'm thinking the Reef Octopus bh1000? Need a HOB because I'm not going to be running a sump.
RO/DI system-probably going to wait on this one since I can get the water at my LFS.

This is going to be a long process, but I'm so excited!!! I'll keep this thread updated as much as possible. Please anyone who has any advice for this noob, please feel free to give it!
 

jessakitten

I started mine 2 weeks ago. rock, sand, salt water and a filter, and a light of course. still cycling. I only check it once a week since if I do daily, ill get really impatient. fishless cycle. ill be ready to do something further mid oct by my best guestimation.
 

EmmaH

Thanks for the reply! I gotta agree with you there, I'm impatient too. Having the tank just empty is driving me nuts! Are you using any powerheads?
 

TikiBird

HI EmmaH! I have no advice to give because I'm a total newbie, but I'm about to set up my first saltwater tank this month. Will be following along on your progress!
 

jessakitten

no, no powerheads right now. my filter is a bit overkill and creates quite the current in the tank! I figured I would watch and see if it needs it. :shrug: since I'm doing it slowly, and adding tiny tiny TINY little at a time, I should be able to judge what is going on easily
 

EmmaH

HI EmmaH! I have no advice to give because I'm a total newbie, but I'm about to set up my first saltwater tank this month. Will be following along on your progress!
Wow a lot of us starting up it seems! Good to know!
 

EmmaH

Ended up going with 2 Hydor Koralia Evolution 750 powerheads. I guess the stream is supposed to be a little wider than the Tunze which will work better because the tank isn't super long. They will be here Thursday! Once they're here I can get my live rock.
 

EmmaH

They're here! I put them in and filled the tank with tap water for a test run I'm very very happy. They're silent. I can't hear them at all, and they push a ton of water. 600-750 gph each.




Just lugged 45 g of RO water in 5 gallon buckets into my house from the LFS. It took me 2 trips because I drive a tiny car and could only keep 4 secure at a time. Hopefully I'll never have to do that again. It's almost making me want an RO/DI system. Gotta mix in my salt. Live rock and sand to come next.
 

TikiBird

Omg I'm right there with you, EmmaH! I bought saltwater from the store today and am doing the same thing.

It might be worth it to me to finally figure out how to use a RO/DI system....

Can't wait to see your tank set up!
 

EmmaH

Lol I'm pretending lugging water counts as my exercise for today.

I already realized I made a huge mistake when I poured my water into my mixing tub in the garage!! Now I'm clueless how I'm going to get the water into the house. I may be lugging even more buckets again.
 

TikiBird

Lol I'm pretending lugging water counts as my exercise for today.

I already realized I made a huge mistake when I poured my water into my mixing tub in the garage!! Now I'm clueless how I'm going to get the water into the house. I may be lugging even more buckets again.

Ugh! I hadn't thought of that. Lots of pitchers? LOL

I'm thinking this counts as my exercise for the WEEK
 

EmmaH

Omg that'd be like 80 trips. My pitcher is a half gallon

On the plus side I got my rock! Tank will be filled by tonight, pics are to follow!
 

TikiBird

Yay!! This is so exciting.
 

EmmaH

I know! Got my hubby to drag in the tub, so it's filling up.
Definitely need to get more rock though, I misjudged the amount I picked out today.

Well it's super cloudy still, I'm definitely regretting the fine sand now.
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For some reason my phone is capturing the blue light better than the white. The tank it actually a lot brighter and whiter than in person.
 

TikiBird

Yay!! I bet it'll settle down soon. It took mine overnight.
 

EmmaH

Got another 15-20 lb of rock. It filled the tank, and allowed for some cool structures. Downside is its even cloudier now. Hoping to post a clear picture in the morning!

Also added a bit of fish food to see what kind of bacteria is on them. Will check parameters in the morning


Nice and clear now, but still looking really blue. Anyone know how to make pics show the true color of the light?

Water parameter are
SG: 1.025
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: <5
Temp: 78

So I guess the rocks do have a lot of BB on them? They were aquacultured at the store, and were in a big tank with fish for ages. Does this mean they're already cycled?
 

EmmaH

So I'm thinking my powerheads are just too strong for my sand I'm getting bare spots


Can I add some heavier sand on top or mixed in to try and weigh it down?
 

jessakitten

are they pointed down at the sand? mine are double what I *need* in that tank, I just point them slightly up lol
 

EmmaH

Nope I have them pointed at the surface and they still blow the sand everywhere. I even moved them higher up and it's not helping. I have almost a 30x turnover rate.
 

jessakitten

I do as well. very interesting...
 

EmmaH

What kind of sand do you use? I'm thinking a bigger grain may help me
 

jessakitten

mine is not very fine honestly. it settled within a day- we filled the tank into a bowl to minimize the sand flying around.
 

EmmaH

Well I've been feeding my tank for 3 days now and have only had a tiny rise in nitrate it's maybe 5 now. No ammonia or nitrite. I'm guessing it is completely cured/cycled. The LFS said it was, but sometimes I'm hesitant to listen to them. I'm going to keep feeding, and testing for another week to make sure nothing changes, then maybe add a snail.

Picking up some heavier sand after work today to put on top of my oolite to stop the sand storms I keep getting. Does anyone have a suggestion for the type I should get?
 

DocRick

Dont rush it. I'm keeping my tank fish free for another month. Despite having similiar readings. This is the time to introduce the equipment you will use later. Skimmer, chiller if needed, ATO, etc. This gives you an idea of how it changes water composition as you make top offs and water changes. Also, your sump, if you have one, how will you incorporate a refugium, bio media, etc. Carefully plan the fish, corals, etc. you want now, so that you won't be frustrated later. I'm cycling mine without any added lighting, just ambient household light [no direct sunlight of course] during the day and dark at night. I already have the lighting system I need based on the future expectations of my tank, but won't put on until another couple weeks. Take your time, you will be happy you did when you figure out what you trully want out of it.
 

EmmaH

I've got a HOB refugium need to get some chaeto in it. I'm trying to decide if I want a skimmer. I don't have a sump so it'd have to be a HOB too. No chiller needed, small tank so not worried about a ATO I don't mind doing it manually.
 

DocRick

I'm getting a chiller, I'm hovering at 82 even with ambient air at 74. f you are going to hang everything on the back, a10 gal sump will benefit you more since you'll be adding a lot of stuff to it. Itll keep your water level consistent come cleaning time and you won't disturb your HOB equipment as much.
 

EmmaH

I've been having a hard time keeping the water warm, my heater is constantly running, not sure why.

I don't know much about sumps, but it's a bit late to drill the tank. I could do an overflow box, but I was trying to keep it simple since its my first salt tank. My stand also has shelves instead of cabinets.
 

DocRick

No need to drill. I have a HOB system to the sump. You might not have the correct heater for 40g. Get a 300w one. Itll be much easier to do it now, than much later when you decide to add to it, especially if you want corals, etc. The sump can house the second refugium and the skimmer, plus your filtration. As you can see it in the previous picture, I run a sock.


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jessakitten

I will have my tank running empty with only live rock and water for 6 weeks or more. I am cycled now, but waiting til I am home from our wedding to add anything. I was told to add a cheaper fish- such as a damsel- first and see how it does. then I can add a cleaning fish, then an anemone- they will move around until they find a happy spot, THEN I can add in corals and the other fish I want. the guy at the fish store is a marine biologist and he said he gets people who come in upset that their corals got wrecked after they added an anemone, not realizing that the anemone was going to move around for a bit before settling on a happy place
 

DocRick

Yeah, I am going to do the same. Anemones settle well with a clown fish as a companion. Getting two anemones at the same time is ideal, with clown fish that are not aggressive to each other, so that they can settle quickly. Then ill add coral. Prior to damsel you can add a cleaning crew and see how they work out. I'm going for a red white and blue theme with the fish and of course finding nemo and dorI for the little one. I'm debating on a small 1in blue tang. And yes I know a 4ft reef is not as big. But I made a race track from the live rock to allow it to swim around in circles. Eventually I will trade up.
 

EmmaH

You think an anemone before coral? I've heard anemones are more sensitive than corals and need a more established tank
 

jessakitten

Yes because they move and they won't be careful about where they go. They will wreck the corals
 

DocRick

You can get a couple corrals to establish it. Just place then higher than what an anemone will venture. But most buy corrals and start at the bottom up, that's where the issues take place. That's why I am also letting the tank cycle for 2 months. Get the rocks, sand, and refugium really working at a good capacity.
 

EmmaH

How high will anemones go? I saw one at the store that was being hosted by a pair of maroon clowns, and it was in the top corner of a 55g. All the way at the top, and was facing downward. I'd never seen one like that
 

DocRick

That's weird lol usually ive seen them mid tank. Maybe due to overcrowding or being picked on by bigger anemones?
 

jessakitten

lol that's why I just want the anemones first, let them do their thing and call it a day. I don't really feel like trying to guess where they are going to want to be
 

EmmaH

Lol I'd be very displeased if I got one and it decided to go to the top corner on its own, can you reposition them if you don't like where they end up? Or will they just move again
 

DocRick

Not really. You can damage them trying to move them. Since they use their foot... with great suction. You can however reposition the rock lol. Itll also be based on the lighting they desire... so make sure the lighting is constant
 

jessakitten

they will just go to where they want to be lol
 

EmmaH

What type of anemone are you going to be getting? Bubble tip?
 

jessakitten

yep my salt store has a beautiful green one I am lusting after lol
 

EmmaH

They only have rose by me. I'd love a green one
 

EmmaH

Say hello to my new friends!
The LFS had them already paired.
 

TikiBird

Adorable!! Congrats!
 

mg13

ooo!!! cute! let me guess, one is Nemo?
 

EmmaH

ooo!!! cute! let me guess, one is Nemo?
I haven't named them yet! I'm open for suggestions I already know which is the female.

Adorable!! Congrats!
Thanks so much! They had all sorts of crazy patterned and colored designer clowns, but these 2 just stole my heart.
 

TikiBird

You've gotta go with what calls out to you!
 

esdwa

Nice and clear now, but still looking really blue. Anyone know how to make pics show the true color of the light?

Try adjusting "white balance" setting in your camera and set it accordingly to type of light bulb you are using. That should help.
 

mg13

do you know the name for the female or which one is a female?

name suggestions. find someone you want to link to and create a chain. example

someone dressed in a Captain America costume for Halloween. American = Uncle Sam = Sam. so you could name your fish Sam. or whatever. Just something I have fun with.

Nemo would be cute though. XD so original!
 

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