Jkkgron2’s first saltwater tank!

jkkgron2

Hi guys! A couple days ago I got my fluval evo, and I’m planning on setting it up once it’s Christmas Day . Right now I’m doing a 24 hour leak test, but after that I’ll be draining it and putting it away until Christmas.

My plan for the tank is this:

Stocking-
One clownfish, some snails, maybe a shrimp, and eventually some beginner coral.

Live rock and sand-
I’ll be using 10lbs dry rock, but I’m also going to order some gulf live rock to help add to the bio diversity of the tank. I’m also going to be using live sand to help cycle.

Other equipment-
Hydor Koralia 240gph powerhead

Here are a couple pics of the tank!

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Fishproblem
 

AggressiveAquatics

Nice! What size tank is it? I’m hopping to get mine up and running by Christmas as well.
 

jkkgron2

Nice! What size tank is it? I’m hopping to get mine up and running by Christmas as well.
It’s 13.5 gallons, but the swimming space is about 12g.
 

AggressiveAquatics

It’s 13.5 gallons, but the swimming space is about 12g.
Ok. What kind of corals do you want to put in? I didn’t realize how cool saltwater was until I started researching the stuff about it
 

jkkgron2

Ok. What kind of corals do you want to put in? I didn’t realize how cool saltwater was until I started researching the stuff about it
Probably just zoas, and whatever random corals (if any survive) I get from the gulf live rock.
Kind of random, but I noticed a piece of silicone looks like an angelfish lol

1F13B0B1-3D09-47FE-BC9F-8E7C9BCF8EB1.jpeg
 

aquachris

Nice... just watch the smaller ones, you have to be really on top of everything. Maybe look at getting the skimmer option since your thinking of corals?
 

jkkgron2

Nice... just watch the smaller ones, you have to be really on top of everything. Maybe look at getting the skimmer option since your thinking of corals?
In the future I’m probably going to get a skimmer. The corals (unless they come in on the rock) won’t be added to the tank for a couple months, so I have a bit of time before I need a skimmer. Are there any cheap ones that would work?
 

ChrissFishes01

Maybe it's just been my experience, but the words "cheap" and "skimmer" don't go too well with eachother. You either get a skimmer that doesn't work, only works with adjustments every few hours, or you get a piece of equipment that's poorly made and can overflow. I had a HOB skimmer dump around 10 gallons of water on my floor after less than a month of use. I wasn't super happy, lol. Not all cheap products are bad, but I've yet to find a cheap skimmer that's worth my time.

In such a small tank, weekly water changes work just fine, IMO and IME.
 

jkkgron2

Maybe it's just been my experience, but the words "cheap" and "skimmer" don't go too well with eachother. You either get a skimmer that doesn't work, only works with adjustments every few hours, or you get a piece of equipment that's poorly made and can overflow. I had a HOB skimmer dump around 10 gallons of water on my floor after less than a month of use. I wasn't super happy, lol. Not all cheap products are bad, but I've yet to find a cheap skimmer that's worth my time.

In such a small tank, weekly water changes work just fine, IMO and IME.
I’ll just stick with water changes then. I didn’t really think there’d be a good, cheap skimmer.. I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t one.
 

ChrissFishes01

I’ll just stick with water changes then. I didn’t really think there’d be a good, cheap skimmer.. I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t one.
There may be one out there that I haven't found - I honestly just gave up. If I ever start another large reef I'll look into another skimmer, but until then, water changes will do the job just fine.
 

CannonsFish

Thats a nice tank. If your going to do so begginer corals, my favroite ones that still look cool are gsp and zoas, palys are pretty easy too.
 

aquachris

In the future I’m probably going to get a skimmer. The corals (unless they come in on the rock) won’t be added to the tank for a couple months, so I have a bit of time before I need a skimmer. Are there any cheap ones that would work?
Probably only decent small skimmer is the tunze but it ain't cheap.
 

jkkgron2

Could I remove all the filter media except for the bag of carbon (plus one other bag I forgot the name of) it came with? Since I’m going to be having about 2x the amount of rock recommended (half from the ocean!) would the rock take care of all the filtration?
 

aquachris

Could I remove all the filter media except for the bag of carbon (plus one other bag I forgot the name of) it came with? Since I’m going to be having about 2x the amount of rock recommended (half from the ocean!) would the rock take care of all the filtration?
Thats the idea of live rock.. The only thing your missing is mechanical filtration, to remove things floating/etc. I use a canister in my 75 with sponges to trap it. I don't use any carbon, just live rock, canister and skimmer. The skimmer comes out with the nastiest stuff tho.
 

jkkgron2

Thats the idea of live rock.. The only thing your missing is mechanical filtration, to remove things floating/etc. I use a canister in my 75 with sponges to trap it. I don't use any carbon, just live rock, canister and skimmer. The skimmer comes out with the nastiest stuff tho.
I have some sponge I can use, but I thought that it tends to cause high nitrates? I definitely could be wrong though, and it’d be a great option if it doesn’t. Thanks for helping me with this
 

ChrissFishes01

I keep a small amount of sponge in my HOB on my 10 gallon. It WILL cause high nitrates if you don't clean it often - just because particles are caught in your mechanical filtration doesn't mean they're not breaking down in the system.
 

jkkgron2

I keep a small amount of sponge in my HOB on my 10 gallon. It WILL cause high nitrates if you don't clean it often - just because particles are caught in your mechanical filtration doesn't mean they're not breaking down in the system.
If I take it out weekly and squeeze it in water (fresh or salt?) would that work well enough? I can do it more often or even replace it weekly, if needed.
 

ChrissFishes01

If I take it out weekly and squeeze it in water (fresh or salt?) would that work well enough? I can do it more often or even replace it weekly, if needed.
That's all I do. I actually just take it out and rinse it out in the tap - that same sponge can be used for cycling a hospital or QT tank, in a pinch.
 

aquachris

I do same as HarrisonAquatics and wash out in two but once a month. You have to stay on it though.
 

jkkgron2

That’s awesome news! I guess I don’t need to replace the fluval media, after all . I’ll make sure to wash it every week or so. It’ll also be nice cause then I can use it to setup a qt tank, if needed!
 

jkkgron2

I’m trying to figure out when I should get the live rock, I’m in MN and I have a question regarding the shipping. Is it better to order the live rock before Christmas when there’s no snow and it’s warmer (somehow It still hasn’t snowed?! Usually it’s snowed by now) , but there could be some delays, or after Christmas when it’ll be colder but there’ll be less delays?
 

St4rving_4rtist

I personally think it be better to ship post-christmas, as there has been a TON of random delays on packages. You could also message the seller and request some heating pads in the box if they don't already add them. Looks like its coming together well !
 

jkkgron2

I personally think it be better to ship post-christmas, as there has been a TON of random delays on packages. You could also message the seller and request some heating pads in the box if they don't already add them. Looks like its coming together well !
I’ll wait then. I’m just sooooooo excited to finally get this tank started!
 

jkkgron2

Alright, after doing Some more digging I’ve decided on a somewhat different plan for the live rock. I’m going to start by curing the dry rock, and the gulf live rock and then a month or so later I’m going to remove some of the dry rock, and order some KP aquatics or LiveRockNReef live rock to add some more diversity to the tank. I’m also getting a salifert nitrite test, to make sure the nitrites don’t get too high during the curing process.
 

Jesterrace

Maybe it's just been my experience, but the words "cheap" and "skimmer" don't go too well with eachother. You either get a skimmer that doesn't work, only works with adjustments every few hours, or you get a piece of equipment that's poorly made and can overflow. I had a HOB skimmer dump around 10 gallons of water on my floor after less than a month of use. I wasn't super happy, lol. Not all cheap products are bad, but I've yet to find a cheap skimmer that's worth my time.

In such a small tank, weekly water changes work just fine, IMO and IME.

Couldn't agree more. I always recommend going skimmerless on smaller tanks with lighter bioloads. Skimmer ends up being a waste of money and more hassle. I also don't miss the days of my HOB Skimmer and watching it like a hawk to make sure it wouldn't overflow all down the back of the tank. Man that thing was touchy, a 1/8 inch turn on the flow valve was the difference between not skimming at all and overflowing. Keep in mind I also had one of the better rated HOB Skimmers to boot.
 

Fishproblem

Ahhh! I was on a little Christmas hiatus and this is such a great thread to come back to! So excited to follow along and try to care for some zoas together!
 

jkkgron2

Ahhh! I was on a little Christmas hiatus and this is such a great thread to come back to! So excited to follow along and try to care for some zoas together!
Same! You’re a little bit ahead of me, so it’ll be nice to follow along with your build and see what you’re doing with your tank!

Also, I forgot to rinse the rock so now the tank is insanely cloudy ! I’m hoping everything will settle overnight, especially because the 1lb of live rock I got from my LFS (for 5 bucks and it is COVERED in coralline algae!) isn’t visible in this pic. I’m going to look on Craigslist for some possible deals on more live rock, and I’ll get some more rock from gulf live rock if I can’t find any on Craigslist or Facebook.

0DA4E098-7D0C-4DE2-BCDF-232CDB6B160F.jpeg
 

aquachris

Couldn't agree more. I always recommend going skimmerless on smaller tanks with lighter bioloads. Skimmer ends up being a waste of money and more hassle. I also don't miss the days of my HOB Skimmer and watching it like a hawk to make sure it wouldn't overflow all down the back of the tank. Man that thing was touchy, a 1/8 inch turn on the flow valve was the difference between not skimming at all and overflowing. Keep in mind I also had one of the better rated HOB Skimmers to boot.
I have a 75 gallon with the tunze 9012 in the tank.. seems to work quite well - however cheap is not a word to use with this skimmer LOL. I bought it of eBay and saved some that way as used, but still.

However it is extremely touchy on the valve (I have the DOC version that you can use a separate unit to adjust rather than the air valve) but it I have found slow and small tweaks is the way to go...

I opted for the in-tank style because of all the horror stories of HOB types.
 

Fishproblem

Same! You’re a little bit ahead of me, so it’ll be nice to follow along with your build and see what you’re doing with your tank!

Also, I forgot to rinse the rock so now the tank is insanely cloudy ! I’m hoping everything will settle overnight, especially because the 1lb of live rock I got from my LFS (for 5 bucks and it is COVERED in coralline algae!) isn’t visible in this pic. I’m going to look on Craigslist for some possible deals on more live rock, and I’ll get some more rock from gulf live rock if I can’t find any on Craigslist or Facebook.

0DA4E098-7D0C-4DE2-BCDF-232CDB6B160F.jpeg
I don't know how far ahead I really am! With that live rock you'll probably see a way faster cycle than me. From what I can see through the clouds, it's looking great!
 

jkkgron2

I don't know how far ahead I really am! With that live rock you'll probably see a way faster cycle than me. From what I can see through the clouds, it's looking great!
Yeah, although I’ll have a lot of die off so the curing time is going to take forever. I’m debating between getting the nano package, which is 17lbs or just getting 10lbs. What do you think? I feel like there’d be no harm in getting some extra rock, and it’d give me more options for scaping the tank.
 

Fishproblem

Yeah, although I’ll have a lot of die off so the curing time is going to take forever. I’m debating between getting the nano package, which is 17lbs or just getting 10lbs. What do you think? I feel like there’d be no harm in getting some extra rock, and it’d give me more options for scaping the tank.
That's fair! Honestly I might save a few bucks and go with 10lbs if I were you, given you're gonna have a good amount of other rock in there.
 

jkkgron2

That's fair! Honestly I might save a few bucks and go with 10lbs if I were you, given you're gonna have a good amount of other rock in there.
Yeah, I already have 11lbs in there so I suppose adding another 17 would make the actual swimming space really cramped. I think I’ll go with the 10lbs
 

jkkgron2

The tank has cleared up a lot, and now it’s way easier to see what the scape looks like Also, does anyone know if there will be an ammonia spike from the rock, or if I should start adding in fish food to start the cycle?

CAFF83B4-6B25-4BE5-B747-D22701E7AABC.jpeg
 

SanDiegoRedneck

The tank has cleared up a lot, and now it’s way easier to see what the scape looks like Also, does anyone know if there will be an ammonia spike from the rock, or if I should start adding in fish food to start the cycle?

CAFF83B4-6B25-4BE5-B747-D22701E7AABC.jpeg
excited to see end result, looking great
 

aquachris

The tank has cleared up a lot, and now it’s way easier to see what the scape looks like Also, does anyone know if there will be an ammonia spike from the rock, or if I should start adding in fish food to start the cycle?

CAFF83B4-6B25-4BE5-B747-D22701E7AABC.jpeg

Very nice. Only reason I think you might get some ammonia would be a die off on the rock. I'd keep watching the ammonia level for now.
 

jkkgron2

Very nice. Only reason I think you might get some ammonia would be a die off on the rock. I'd keep watching the ammonia level for now.

Thanks! I’ll be using my api freshwater test kit with a saltwater chart, but I’m going to be ordering a salifert nitrite test kit to make sure I don’t have any excess nitrites to stall the cycle. Does high ammonia also stall a saltwater cycle?
 

aquachris

Thanks! I’ll be using my api freshwater test kit with a saltwater chart, but I’m going to be ordering a salifert nitrite test kit to make sure I don’t have any excess nitrites to stall the cycle. Does high ammonia also stall a saltwater cycle?
I would imagine so. I kept mine at 3ish. Also the api fw works fine the ammonia just looks more cloudy than clear when testing
 

jkkgron2

I would imagine so. I kept mine at 3ish. Also the api fw works fine the ammonia just looks more cloudy than clear when testing
Do I put in the same amount of drops for saltwater as I do for freshwater? Thanks!
 

aquachris

Do I put in the same amount of drops for saltwater as I do for freshwater? Thanks!
Yep. Only difference is that chart.
 

jkkgron2

I just realized I made a mistake. Possibly a major one. So, in the winter it gets really cold here and sometimes I need a higher watt heater than usual. I didn’t take that into consideration when I got this heater, so I may need a new one because the tank is currently at 50°F and the temp hasn’t been rising.

I’m guessing the heater just isn’t keeping up, as it was warm to the touch when taken out of water (AFTER unplugging) or it was my fault since I put it above the pump, where barely any water was being moved since the pump was taking water from the bottom (where there’s an opening between the back areas). I tried moving the heater, so we’ll see if that helps. Worst case scenario it’s defective and I need a new one, in which case I can just get a refund.
 

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