Happiestcamper Getting Salty

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquarium Builds' started by HappiestCamper, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. HappiestCamper

    HappiestCamperWell Known MemberMember

    Just wanted a place to track my saltwater journey!

    Starting out with a 25 gal, we put live rock in yesterday now we wait for cycling!

    Ill post pictures when I get home.

    If this goes well the goal is to convert our 125 to saltwater but that is $$$$$ so starting smaller for now
  2. ValerieAdams

    ValerieAdamsFishlore VIPMember

    Yay! I'm jealous but can't wait to follow along
  3. OP

    HappiestCamperWell Known MemberMember

    Its already so expensive but amazing how even just the rock is pretty.

  4. ValerieAdams

    ValerieAdamsFishlore VIPMember

    Yes, I'm buying everything slowly because it's so expensive lol. I'm going to do a 29 and the lights and RO/DI unit are what I'm waiting to get mainly because those are the most costly up front.

    Are you planning on doing fish & corals?

  5. stella1979

    stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to the salty side!!! :D:D

    I know just how you guys feel. It took me months to gather everything I needed to start my own little reef, but you know what? Patience pays in spades in this hobby. I was once Stella the slow-poke, but am now sometimes called Stella the patient and wise, lol. Seriously! :p You are both doing things just right by starting slow and small(ish).;) It gives us plenty of time for the most important aspect of all... research, research, research.

    If you haven't found them already, this is a GREAT guide, followed by a GREAT playlist. Both of these resources were instrumental in my own journey. :)

    Nart's Budget Nano Saltwater Guide For Beginners

    Let me know if I can help with anything. :)
  6. OP

    HappiestCamperWell Known MemberMember

    Very basic layout for now, were still deciding if this is the tank we want to try this in.

    The plan is to start FOWLR and eventually pick up pieces here and there and have a full reef.

    And another eventually after the tank is WELL established (another reason we are debating starting a little bigger) we really want a mandarin goby/dragonette despite the effort involved in keeping one.

    Thanks for the links I'll add it to my research material lol

    What im struggling the most with is figuring out future stocking like you can with freshwater. Compatibility is more or less easy to find but calculating bioload/how many fish can safely be contained and such.

  7. Culprit

    CulpritFishlore VIPMember

    Stocking is something you have to gain from lots of research and talking to other reefers. It really varies as each reef is completey unique. With something like a fuge to get good nutrient export (you can DIY an easy one with an Aquaclear 70 or 110) You can stock a lot heavier then something you don't have good nutrient export on. There's lots of stocking options for this tank as it has a good footprint.
  8. OP

    HappiestCamperWell Known MemberMember

    Any suggestions?

    So far we all we know we want everything to based around the eventual inclusion of a mandarin goby
  9. xiholdtruex

    xiholdtruexWell Known MemberMember

    If you want a mandarin goby a fuge is a must and for pods. You will also be dosing pods and phyto to supplement because they will destroy a well established population in a small tank. If you are worried about a bio load a decent skimmer should help also.

    I believe stocking is personal to people. Bio load as long as you dont add more than one fish every month you should be good as long as it can live in the tank with the inhabitants and is the right size for the tank.

    I personally love fire fish, clown fish, mandarin goby, chromis.
  10. WraithenWell Known MemberMember

    Wow. You certainly jumped way faster than me lol. I remember us starting out here at about the same time and im only on a huge fw tank!
  11. OP

    HappiestCamperWell Known MemberMember

    Back in 2016? Lol my boyfriend is what we call a pusher aaaaand impulsive aaaaaand he seems to have an affinity for expensive hobbies

    If it was just me we would wait another 1.5 years till I'm finally out of college and have extra $$$$

    That's partially why we're considering starting even a little bigger but we shall see.

    We're also finding people are having luck with fuzzy dwarf lion fish in reef tanks which is also tempting. (Whenever we go bigger)

    Some of the designer clowns are super cute and i like that they are often captive bred.

    My personal faves are blenny/goby types

    My boyfriend really loved the chocolate chip starfish but again not reef compatible
  12. WraithenWell Known MemberMember

    Yep. I bought a 10 gallon for my daughter and realized I was in way over my head so I joined here since all the google searches wound up here anyway.

    Im the pushy one lol. Thats how my 180 ended up in my front room a month before i left the country for a while
  13. OP

    HappiestCamperWell Known MemberMember

    In theory...if we wanted to just set up the 125, it is my understanding that we could slowly acquire enough rock vs. Buying 125 lbs up front.

    True or false?
  14. stella1979

    stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    First of all, the pound per gallon rule in saltwater is an imperfect one.;) It doesn't take into account the density of the rock. For example, let's consider two rock types. Fiji dry rock, which is what I have, is rather dense and heavy. It's certainly porous enough for a reef tank, but the porosity of Pukani dry rock makes it much, much lighter. So, 20 pounds of Pukani might fill a box, and 20 pounds of Fiji might only half fill the same size box.

    The rock in a salty tank is your biofilter, and also what makes the fish comfortable. I would say no to starting very light on rock. Since beneficial bacteria colonize the rocks, you will need enough of it for a large enough BB colony to support your stock. So, I wouldn't start very light on rock, but if you had at least half and stocked slowly, you shouldn't have to worry about the cycle Beyond that, most salty fish are quite territorial, and it's the rock work that establishes that territory. Also, it's where all your biodiversity lives... all the pods and such that makes for an established mature tank. Lastly, there's a concern about adding new rock to an existing tank. You'd do best to cure any rocks before they go in the tank, and who wants to be curing rocks all the time. If you start with all the rock, you can do an in-tank cure on the rocks, cycle them at the same time, and do it all before turning on the lights to limit algae growth. Algae loves growing on a fresh new rock.

    Here's the thing though... rock can be cheap. Just thought I should point out that you don't need live rock. Most choose to start with a little live and a bunch of dry. For instance, if we wanted 20 lbs. of rock, we might get 3 lbs. live, and 17 lbs. dry. This saves a lot of pennies, and that small amount of live rock will seed the dry rock, making the cycle and the biodiversity all happen/come quicker. However, again, you don't need live rock... at all.:) I started my tank with dry rock only, and not a single chunk of live rock ever entered it, though that original dry rock is certainly live now.:) I did a fishless cycle that took 30 days, and it did take a little longer for pods and coralline algae to show up. I was okay with that because the best thing about dry rock is that it's guaranteed to be best free. Hmmm, I actually just was commenting on a new thread about live rock that came with aiptasia, (nasty little pest anemones), and possibly a murderous crab.:nailbiting:

    It's entirely up to you, of course, but you can pick up nice dry rock for under $3 per pound. BRS Reef Saver is excellent to rock scape with. :)
  15. OP

    HappiestCamperWell Known MemberMember

    Should have known the rule was too simple $3/lb is much better but still $2-300.

    Thank you for all the tips to research!!

    We're leaning toward waiting till we build our house and doing a sweet salt water custom build and using the 25 to help us learn and grow through our beginning phase so we can have and easier time when real $$$ is on the line.

    Yikes! Should we be lights off right now?
  16. xiholdtruex

    xiholdtruexWell Known MemberMember

    I started with dry rock and purchased 12lbs and ended up having to take some out because it over crowded the tank and my tank has been fine without it.it. also have to take into account water displacement which would also drop the amount of rock. I would day day pukani is problably the most porus and is advantagious for bb.

    I personally has no issue with my light cycle during cycling.

    Also with live sand which I used caribsea fiji I had nutrients leeching into my water collumn and random nitrate spikes for the first two months.
  17. stella1979

    stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    I left the light off for the full 30 days of cycling/curing of our Fiji rock in the tank. Zero algae growth during that time, not even diatoms, which was surprising since the tank gets filtered sunlight since it's in the living room. One the lights went on, fish and a small CUC were added, the diatoms did come. It wasn't terrible though, so we didn't mind looking at them between weekly water changes. Also, knock on wood, I'd say we had very, very minimal algae ever since... that is, until recently when we upped the stock with a couple new fish and a shrimp, AND started feeding heavier. It is only now, after that and a year and a half in, that the tank is growing more gha than I'd like. Prior to the new fish and with careful feeding during that time, we had almost zero algae growth for more than a year. (Seriously, I had a few dots of bubble algae that came with a frag, and very, very little of anything else.) I do think that limiting growth from the get-go has something to do with that. GHA loves a cycling tank and fresh rock. I will always cycle and cure rocks with lights off. Just my opinion.;)
  18. OP

    HappiestCamperWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for the input guys! Unless a wild deal appears we're sticking with the 25 for now for sure.

    We have mostly live rock, the one purple piece isn't. And just BDBS.
    Reading this makes me glad we didn't do live sand.
  19. Culprit

    CulpritFishlore VIPMember

    I've always kept lights on during cycle. And my live sand didn't ever leak nutrients. When I first put live sand in I stir it up really really well and keep stirring it over the course of a few days, replacing the floss often. Eventually, I can completely stir my sand and its cloudfree completely.

    Imo running a fuge as soon as the cycle happened is what kept me free of algae. It just outcompetes it. Once corals go in, of course, I back off the light so there's nutrients but I ran it almost 24/7 when I frist started the tank.
  20. OP

    HappiestCamperWell Known MemberMember

    Starting to notice random life on the rocks, how is an empty tank still this fun to look at ?

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