Inexperienced with 12 Gallon Saltwater Tank

Krislena

Member
I set up a 12 gallon saltwater tank about 2 months ago. I have fish who are living (yeah!) 3 Damsels and 1 snail. I don't understand much about cycling so I may need some help with this... As far as I can tell all levels in the tank are at normal with the exception of ammonia which is in the stress (mid, not high) zone. I have had a lot of algae but its much better now and also a lot of waste buildup. The waste is definitely much less but there is still some waste stuck to my filter sucker (whatever it is called). I went through 2 filters in 1 week to fix that situation... I'm not sure that my live rock is still Alive as most of it is white. I'm not really sure what the next step is to reduce the ammonia or if its just going to happen naturally... What is the next step other than that? I don't think I can really add more fish bc one of the damsels (medium blue with a black dot on the back) is very aggressive to the two smaller damsels (blue with yellow tail) He doesn't attack them but he herds them. Any thoughts?
 

Miss Mouse

Member
Hi, it should be coming to an end of the cycle. The only way to reduce ammonia is to do lots of little water changes. You can buy a liquid called "Cycle" which helps encourage the cycle process.

Your live rock will still be alive but takes a while to grow the purple coraline algae on it. Dont worry about that...
Dont add any more fish for now.It's a small tank and damsels are very aggressive and it will only end in tears!

The thing with marine is to take it very very slowly; I have had mine running for nearly 5 months now and its still settling in.I only have 3 fish for now as well although I think its finally time to add one or 2 more. You'll probably still go through some cyano breakouts - nasty sludgy algae and it will take a while for the good bacteria to grow enough to deal with the waste that the fish produce. What substrate do you have?Sand or gravel or none?

Oh and with your filter pads - keep them - just rinse them under some water from the tank and throw that out. It really helps cycle quicker because if you just throw them away you lose all the colonies of beneficial bacteria and then the new filter pad has to build them up again. It's basically like starting the cycling process in your filter all over again.
 
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Krislena

Member
It's gravel (coral) ... that's what the kit suggested I get. the reason I've been getting rid of the filter pads is because they get SOOO dirty I can't get the mess off of them. I guess I'll just try like you said. Do I CHANGE the water or do I just keep adding water. I haven't ever REMOVED water when I added it. I guess that could be a problem...
 

Miss Mouse

Member
You'll need to do small water changes weekly - maybe like 10%. Remove some water and replace it with clean water.

I recommend letting your water stand for 24 hours, then mix the salt and let it stand for another 24 hours. I normally heat it up in the microwave when its ready to go into the tank and meassure the temp with a thermometer. There's a lot of debate about how long to leave the water etc but I have found that it gives the salt a thorough chance to disolve. It can't do any harm anyway!

What colour is the dirt on your filter pads?
Ursula
 
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Mike

Moderator
Member
The blue damsels can be mean little fish, especially the all blue one with the dark dot which sounds like the "blue devil damselfish".  Fish stores used to tell people to start the cycle with them, but the problem is, if these damsels make it through the cycle they will pester most fish you put in the tank with them.  My little yellow tail damsels nip at any fish that goes by their cave, including much larger fish.  I wouldn't put anything else in a 12 gallon saltwater tank besides what you already have.

It'll take some time for the white live rock to bounce back, although I wouldn't expect it to completely bounce back if there has been a major die off, which may be what you're seeing in the filter.  If you have an algae problem, try cutting back on the amounts you feed the fish and do the partial water changes that Miss Mouse recommends.
 

bandito974

Member
I just bought a used nano, it had a little water in it along with live sand. I bought 13lbs of live rock and I bought 8 gallons of pet store saltwater, I put everything in the tank and after a few hours the tank is super clear, can I expect a cycle? what can I expect to see and when can I introduce critters?
My 1st saltwater tank BTW
 

agsansoo

Member
Please read the following.
 

bandito974

Member
agsansoo said:
Please read the following.
Yea thanks for the schooling, I am aware of what to do. What I was asking was what to characteristics to expect.. There really is not much posted on nano's and setup. I have read that in smaller aquariums the parameters change very quickly and you have to really keep any eye out.
I wanted to know when to expect the red slime. I've been doing cic's for some time now and have been succesful so now I try my hand at saltwater. At some point I'd like a large reef tank but want to practice on this nano
 
  • Moderator

Mike

Moderator
Member
Hopefully, you'll never get red slime algae (cyanobacteria). Use Reverse Osmosis water, frequent water changes, protein skimming, low stocking levels, and plenty of water movement.

Also, you may not see the tank cycle if the live rock was indeed fully cured.
 

bandito974

Member
Mike said:
Hopefully, you'll never get red slime algae (cyanobacteria). Use Reverse Osmosis water, frequent water changes, protein skimming, low stocking levels, and plenty of water movement.

Also, you may not see the tank cycle if the live rock was indeed fully cured.
Thank you for the response, I have had the tank up since Sunday with the live rock in it and water flowing, I have not seen any change it looks crystal clear, Now I do not have lights turned on as I am waiting for some new bulbs I ordered to arrive, I plan to do a 20% water change once I add light to the tank then wait another week to add some critters. Does this sound like a good plan?
B
 
  • Moderator

Mike

Moderator
Member
If you don't already have them, you'll need to get the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate test kits to make sure that your tank is cycled. If you don't get any readings on the ammo and nitrite, then it's most likely safe for very small fish since it's a nano tank.
 

bandito974

Member
well I added 2 anenomies, 2 hermits and 2 snails! On Sunday I added a clown fish,
I think I am ok, I plan on doing weekly water changes since I added the anenomies, being it such a small tank I plan on buying my water direct from the aquarium shop.
I have one major question. If I buy 5 gallons of water and just use 2 1/2 can I keep the other 2 1/2 for a week in the container and use it for the follwing weeks water change? Or does it have to be fresh water?


I added a pic guys in the member forum please check it out!
 
  • Moderator

Mike

Moderator
Member
Any leftover new water will be fine for a few days.

What about the test kits? Did you test your water yet? If you don't know your parameters you risk losing your new fish and anemones. If you're seeing any ammonia or nitrite the clown may not make it. If you don't have a test kit, take a sample of your tank water to the store and have them test it for you.

Anemones are notoriously difficult to keep, even for the very experienced salties. Looks like you have a bleached anemone on the bottom of the tank in front of the rock? Is that a sebae? What are the other 2 anemones?

Some upkeep info on the anemones:
You'll need to get some really good lights over these guys like T5's or Power compacts at the least. Frequent feedings (like every other day or so) of small pieces of shrimp and silversides will help keep them alive. If you're not up to keeping these anemones well fed and providing good lighting you risk losing them and it might be better to return them because they can be somewhat demanding. They can live for an extremely long time in good conditions.

Mike
 

bandito974

Member
Mike said:
Any leftover new water will be fine for a few days.

What about the test kits? Did you test your water yet? If you don't know your parameters you risk losing your new fish and anemones. If you're seeing any ammonia or nitrite the clown may not make it. If you don't have a test kit, take a sample of your tank water to the store and have them test it for you.

Anemones are notoriously difficult to keep, even for the very experienced salties. Looks like you have a bleached anemone on the bottom of the tank in front of the rock? Is that a sebae? What are the other 2 anemones?

Some upkeep info on the anemones:
You'll need to get some really good lights over these guys like T5's or Power compacts at the least. Frequent feedings (like every other day or so) of small pieces of shrimp and silversides will help keep them alive. If you're not up to keeping these anemones well fed and providing good lighting you risk losing them and it might be better to return them because they can be somewhat demanding. They can live for an extremely long time in good conditions.

Mike
Thanks for all the info Mike, I took a sample of the water to the store, they told me it was excellent! Of course I bought the water there, when you say its good for a couple of days to store it I am looking at doing weekly changes and will be keeping it stored for 7 days. Is this ok?
Also on the anemones, When we 1st brought them home they shriveled up, then the next day they doubled in size! This morning the rice looking one looks like he has gotten bigger yet again. The bubble tip (purple) coughed up a dead clown first night in the tank! That was weird! So you suggest feeding then every 2 days shrimp?
what kinda shrimp? Popcorn? I had just been sprinkling extra clown fish food, Do I need to place the shrimp in the anemones, or just drop it in and it will make its way to them?
Thanks
JM
** Update**
I had some Tilapia Fillets in the freezer, I chopped them up in two a few small pieces I dangled the 1st piece in front of the smallest anemone IT GRABBED IT!@ it was the coolest thing ever! the other 2 guys did the same thing!
I think caring for the anemones is going to be more fun than seeing the fish!
I have 2 24 watt bulbs its the combo deal where half is white half is blue should that be enuff light?
Thanks Mike!
 

pistorta

Member
If you want to keep pre-mixed saltwater for a week, I would suggest throwing a small pump in the container to keep it circulating. You don't want to add stagnant water to your tank.

As Mike mentioned, most anemones are notoriously difficult to keep due to their high demands. They can be aggressive, grow large and even pollute the tank.

When feeding, you'll want to place the thawed shrimp (buy frozen and unprocessed) or other meaty foods on the tenticles. Depending on the type of anemone, it should bring the shrimp to it's mouth.

How big is the tank?
 

bandito974

Member
pistorta said:
If you want to keep pre-mixed saltwater for a week, I would suggest throwing a small pump in the container to keep it circulating. You don't want to add stagnant water to your tank.

As Mike mentioned, most anemones are notoriously difficult to keep due to their high demands. They can be aggressive, grow large and even pollute the tank.

When feeding, you'll want to place the thawed shrimp (buy frozen and unprocessed) or other meaty foods on the tenticles. Depending on the type of anemone, it should bring the shrimp to it's mouth.

How big is the tank?
I have a 12 gallon nano! Like I said in my update, I put the piece of fish about an inch away from the tenacles and they GRABBED it! So I shoul dnot use the stagnant water then hu? Just out of curiosity, petco sells premade water in a box and it doesn't seem to be circulating.. Any thoughts on that water?
 

pistorta

Member
You have a 12 gallon...that was a stupid question on my part.

The water at Petco you mentioned must be vacuume sealed. Otherwise, I don't know how it would be usable. Do you have any other info on it? - as I have never seen such a product.
 

bandito974

Member
pistorta said:
You have a 12 gallon...that was a stupid question on my part.

The water at Petco you mentioned must be vacuume sealed. Otherwise, I don't know how it would be usable. Do you have any other info on it? - as I have never seen such a product.
well its in a box, it really didn't look vacuume sealed, it is sold in 5 gallon sizes and is in a box very similar to a wine box so it might be under the cardboard, its sold for 11.99, wish is about double what a good local pet store would sell it for. I may do a partial change tonight so that water doesn't go bad, I bought it on Saturday.
 

bandito974

Member
bandito974 said:
well its in a box, it really didn't look vacuume sealed, it is sold in 5 gallon sizes and is in a box very similar to a wine box so it might be under the cardboard, its sold for 11.99, wish is about double what a good local pet store would sell it for. I may do a partial change tonight so that water doesn't go bad, I bought it on Saturday.
Ok the name of my anenomie is a purple tip seabay
and 2 condalacting anenimies.
the 2 condalacting will eat the cut up pieces of shish but didnt eat the entire piece? how long shoul dit take to consume, at what point should I take the left overs out of the water to avoid polution?
Thanks
 
  • Moderator

Mike

Moderator
Member
Give them tiny pieces of food, like 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch (1 mm by 1 mm). If they don't eat the pieces quickly then remove the excess food from the tank to prevent fouling the water. If they are hungry and you are giving them foods of marine origin, once the food touches the tentacles there should be some sort of feeding response. The tentacles should fold over and push the food towards the mouth.

Sebae Anemone - Heteractis crispa
Condylactis Anemone - Condylactis gigantea

I wouldn't mix anemone species in a small tank like this. The condies can/will move and could spell doom for one or both anemones. They need extremely bright lights, excellent water quality and feedings. I would take them back and get a store credit. The survivability of these species in smaller tanks is not good. And it makes the situation worse knowing their potential extremely long life spans.
 

bandito974

Member
Thanks!, two of my anenomes have died, and so have my clown fish, even with weekly water changes the green algae is getting worst! I am so discouraged right now!
 
  • Moderator

Mike

Moderator
Member
Aw man - I'm sorry to hear that. But running a smaller tank is actually more difficult than a larger tank. You get much greater fluctuations in water quality/parameters in a smaller volume of water. And you started with anemones which are really difficult to care for, even for those with lots of experience.

At this point, I'd recommend keeping up with the water changes and start researching some of the smaller fish species. The saltwater inverts such as snails and hermit crabs are really cool too. Look into getting a good protein skimmer if you don't already have one. The aquac-remoras are really good.

Don't be discouraged. Going forward, just remember to research the animals BEFORE you buy them and you'll be more successful. Hang in there
 

agsansoo

Member
bandito974 said:
well I added 2 anenomies, 2 hermits and 2 snails! On Sunday I added a clown fish,
!
This is the part that gets me so mad .... Many LFS don't care what you buy for your fish tank, so long as they're taking your money . They should have discouraged you from buying all that livestock for such a young tank. ( I know, they did it to me too !)
 

bandito974

Member
I agree with the both of U's I have a couple blue legs living it up in there and I have atleast 1 snail still around,
What is your best adive from this point? I have green algae growing now and the sand looks yucky!, I plan on doing a water change tommorow but what can I do to clean up my tank?
if some one really can help me I can post a video of what my tank looks like right now.
Thanks
 

pistorta

Member
Depending on what you will eventually buy, the algae is a good thing. It serves as a food source for many marine animals. I never remove algae from my tank with the exception of the glass side I look through. Green algae may not be aesthetically pleasing to look at, but is not doing any harm to the tank. I would suggest you leave it...but perhaps limiting the amount of light will reduce its growth.
 

bandito974

Member
pistorta said:
Depending on what you will eventually buy, the algae is a good thing. It serves as a food source for many marine animals. I never remove algae from my tank with the exception of the glass side I look through. Green algae may not be aesthetically pleasing to look at, but is not doing any harm to the tank. I would suggest you leave it...but perhaps limiting the amount of light will reduce its growth.
I plan on just putting in 2 clown fish or damsels, and at some point would hope for some mushrooms.
so will the clowns or damsels eat the gren hair algae?
I have noticed since the bloom my nitrates have gone to 0
 

pistorta

Member
Algae, like freshwater plants, will consume nitrates, phosphates, etc. as these are a food source for them.

The clowns and damsels will not need the algae. If, in your mind, the benefits of not having the algae outweigh the benefits of having it, limit the lighting and it will disappear. Keep in mind, you will need to make sure your current inhabitants (hermit crabs/snail) have food as you can bet they are living off this algae now.
 

bandito974

Member
well I pulled a major Cop out, I traded on Craiglist my 12 gallon nano for a complete 55 gallon tank. I am really good at keeping cichlids, I am going to stick with that or I may try and breed some of those angels I posted about. I took each of your advice to heart and the more I read the more I am learning that small tanks are much harder to keep than the larger. I may give salt another try down the road but it will be in a larger tank.
Thanks to everyone
 

pkmiller

Member
HI everyone! Like Bandito, I am becoming overwhelmed (and running out of money). I am in the process of setting up my 33 gallon tank for saltwater but after much reading I doubt it will succeed. I have 28 lbs of live rock and live sand. No fish yet. Can I just take the water out and refill and go back to freshwater? Can I keep the rock and sand since it cost me $300?
 

bandito974

Member
pkmiller said:
HI everyone! Like Bandito, I am becoming overwhelmed (and running out of money). I am in the process of setting up my 33 gallon tank for saltwater but after much reading I doubt it will succeed. I have 28 lbs of live rock and live sand. No fish yet. Can I just take the water out and refill and go back to freshwater? Can I keep the rock and sand since it cost me $300?
PK, I learned a lot in this forum, what trouble are you having? a 33 gallon is a nice size, do you have the proper equipment? Heater, Light, Skimmer? strong power head?
if you just want to get back into fresh water you might want to try and trade your tank online like I did, I traded a 12 gallon nano for a complete 55 gallon set up

Don't laugh but I jumped back in it, I found a better 17 gallon tank on Craigslist with 25lbs of live rock, sand, a high dollar light, backpak filter, skimmer and awsome power head for 125! I could not pass it up. Th eLive rock alone is worth the 125! This time I am going to take it slow, It has a lot of green hair algae and has been up for like 2 months, I am going to clean it up a little and add cleaner snails and do my water changes every week and take it from there, I have my new 55 Frontosa/blue dolphin tank to occupy me as I baby this 17 gallon salt tank, NO ANENOMES for me!
 

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