New 40 gallon breeder saltwater build

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watermelon46

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Hi everybody,
I really hope this gets replies because it’s my first saltwater tank and I’m looking for advice. I knew the basics more or less, but read a book on reef tanks just to be sure, so I know a bit about it but I’m willing to bet lots of you know much more. It’s a 40 gallon aquarium with a black stand we purchased online. It has semi fine tan sand, about an inch or an inch and a half. I know it would be nice to have more since I’m planning to get gobies and blennies who like to burrow in a deeper bed but I hope it’ll do. I’ve got a 150Watt heater in there and an Aquaclear 70 aquarium filter. Also about 40 lbs of live rock. So far I’ve got two clowns in there that I named Milo and Olga. I know it would be nice to have more equipment in there such as a protien skimmer, power head and Auto top-offs system but this is a gift from my family and they think I go overboard with getting equipment and just want this one to be simple. Plus they’re buying the starting stuff (I’ll buy new fish or medicine or top off water and water change water) and don’t want to spend much. Plus the guy at the store said I didn’t need a power head until I had corals. And about that I want to get into corals; I know you all probably don’t recommend it with it being my first Saltwater tank and all but I want to make this a reef tank. I’ll take it slow I promise but that’s probably one of the things I’ll need the most help with in this thread. But just for today my question is about cycling it... so I had another thread about this titled How long until ammonia rises? Saltwater tank, and in it I talked with Nart about cycling the tank. So I mentioned I had live rock and nart thought if I got it from my lfs then it must be cured, and I asked there but can’t remember what they said. I also asked if it was big enough of a cycle for ammonia to just go up to 0.5 and back down and they said yes but do you have any other opinions? I feel like cycling the tank means the levels including ammonia go up drastically, more than 0.5 ppm. But the other thing is I haven’t seen levels of nitrites or nitrates or it is possible I missed the cycle. Please look at the thread I mentioned before it will help you understand. So to be honest I’m not really sure if my tank is cycled or not, if the live rock I bought was already cycled at the store or if I cycled it and missed it, if it’s halfway through the cycle or if it didn’t happen at all. So what should I do to see if it is cycled or not?
I really hope I get a response. This is my first question but believe me there will be others. I hope you all on the forum help me out as I continue my journey with saltwater. And I am planning to add more fish including a goby, blenny, angelfish, cardinals, royal gramma and fire fish.
I’m sorry if this post is hard to read - I wrote in on my iPhone.
so I hope I get some help. Thanks in advance.
 

Gouramiwhisperer

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Do you have access to get a test kit? To check if it’s cycled, I add ammonia to 2ppm and then after 24 hours check and see if ammonia is at 0. That’s when I know my tanks are done cycling
 
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Lchi87

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Definitely agree with getting a test kit, red sea and salifert make good ones. If you want to get into corals, testing will be even more important so you can ensure your nutrients are at the correct levels. You’ll also need to invest in a good light for a reef tank. I don’t think its too much for your first saltwater tank to have corals either, I did it ;) Going with a FOWLR ( fish only with live rock) is the best way to ease into this though, so you can get a handle on basics like keeping your salinity stable.

Do you have a refractometer?
How are you making your water? (Buying premixed water from the store? Making your own saltwater at home with salt mix and and RODI system?)
 

saltwater60

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If you have fish in the tank I would not add ammonia to 2Ppm or any at all.

I’d get test kits as mentioned and add another fish or two. Then test to see what happens.

I’m sorry but I see this as a trend on here of I want a reef tank or a salt water tank but I don’t want to spend too much? That’s not really an option. Saltwater tanks and especially reef tanks are expensive. Buy all tour equipment and good equipment before you get corals. It will cost you less in the long run and you will enjoy it more.

You’ll need proper lights, make sure tour sand is suitable for saltwater tanks. Brown is usually not. How much love rock do you have? I recommend 40-60lbs, you’ll need a protein skimmer, RO or RODI, and power heads. You’ll need test kits for alk, calcium, PH, magnesium, phosphate, and you’ll need the minerals to adjust these except phosphate.

Also you could need a chiller if you water will get over 84 for more than a few consecutive days over the summer. A day here and there won’t do much harm but it still not good for it to get over 80. Also an auto too off to keep the salinity stable is recommended.
 
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watermelon46

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Thanks everyone,
I do have an API test kit and I was informed the color chart for ammonia in API is the same as it is for freshwater. So I have been using that to test the ammonia. And I did forget to mention I already have a light too. It is a fluval LED strip I think that goes from 36 inches to bigger, maybe in the 40s inches. At first we accidentally had bought the wrong one that went up to 34 inches so we had to go back and return it for the one that could do 36 inches (The length of the tank). It has different color displays like blue and white, white, deep blue, purple, etc and I believe the store people said it could be hooked up with your phone and you could set it to ramp up/down through the colors throughout the day but I haven't gotten around to setting it up yet.
And to answer Lchi87's questions, I have a refractometer. I think last time I read it it said 1.025 which I know is slightly high so yesterday we bought some RO water for top-offs. For the water that is in the tank now we bought RO water from the store and mixed it with salt. and I'm not doing water changes right now because it could be cycling and you are not supposed to do water changes during a cycle. But for when I do after it is cycled, I don't know if I'll mix the salt I have, a big bag of Instant Ocean sea salt, with RO water I'll buy periodically from the lfs or just buy premixed saltwater from the lfs. RO water is cheaper and since I already have salt at home it would be the cheaper option to mix it but I've heard it's pretty hard to mix your own water. I mean, I did do it when I set up the tank, but I'm no expert. So I might need some help with that on this thread as well.
So saltwater60 if you think I should add a few more fish and test to see what happens that's what I'll do. It sounds like a good plan. To answer your questions below, I have 40 lbs of live rock and I will get test kits and minerals to adjust other levels that are essential to observe with corals. Sorry but I'm afraid we won't be getting an aquarium chiller. It adds too much to the budget and we're expecting the tank's temp to stay stable in summer since it's in the basement and it generally stays cool down there even in hot months. For the ATO systems, is there a favorite people like and use and works consistantly? It's a bummer they cost so much. Also is there one you don't have to hook up to a pump?
And so my last question is, when I add these new fish and watch the levels, how often should I test my water to catch the cycle in action? I want to be sure it happened.
Again thanks to all for quick responses :)
 

saltwater60

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If you’re tank is I. The basement it’s likely no chiller is needed.

Even during a cycle you could or should need to change water especially if your ammonia is rising.
As for testing I’d get 1-2 small fish or one medium size fish and test every day or every other day.
 

ForceTen

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OP. Why he walls of text? I cannot believe people actually read those posts.
There is a thing called a paragraph. I suggest you use paragraphs as people including myself will just bypass these walls of text.
Also the tab key is helpful but the enter key rules!
 
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watermelon46

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Thanks, I will add a yellow clown goby and tail spot blenny and be sure to check every day/every other day, and thanks for telling me about water changes during cycling! I didn’t know you still had to do them during a cycle.


ForceTen said:
OP. Why he walls of text? I cannot believe people actually read those posts.
There is a thing called a paragraph. I suggest you use paragraphs as people including myself will just bypass these walls of text.
Also the tab key is helpful but the enter key rules!
Sorry about that I will be sure to separate my text into paragraphs

And just thought I’d add pictures:)
.jpg

Above are my two clowns milo and Olga. Olga is the orange one who is just a normal ocellaris clownfish and she is the female in the pair. Milo is a mocha clown and he is the male.
B93DCAA7-8D72-487C-815E-2CABD57CE98A.jpeg

Here’s a better picture of milo though the live rock looks different since it’s under different lighting.
.jpg

Live rock is growing algae! I’ll add some invertebrates to clear that up.
.jpg

Sorry for the blurry photo. This is a feather duster growing on my live rock.

So thanks and I really hope you stay posted for questions in the future.
 
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Lchi87

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I would make sure that is in fact a feather duster and not aiptasia, a pest anemone. Those are a pain to get rid of.

Otherwise things look great!
 

saltwater60

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watermelon46 said:
Thanks, I will add a yellow clown goby and tail spot blenny and be sure to check every day/every other day, and thanks for telling me about water changes during cycling! I didn’t know you still had to do them during a cycle.
Certainly looks like aptasia to me not a feather duster. Kill it and fast. You’re talking on out the left rock on the right side of that rock right?


Sorry about that I will be sure to separate my text into paragraphs

And just thought I’d add pictures:)
.jpg

Above are my two clowns milo and Olga. Olga is the orange one who is just a normal ocellaris clownfish and she is the female in the pair. Milo is a mocha clown and he is the male.
B93DCAA7-8D72-487C-815E-2CABD57CE98A.jpeg

Here’s a better picture of milo though the live rock looks different since it’s under different lighting.
.jpg

Live rock is growing algae! I’ll add some invertebrates to clear that up.
.jpg

Sorry for the blurry photo. This is a feather duster growing on my live rock.

So thanks and I really hope you stay posted for questions in the future.
 
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watermelon46

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Hello FishLore,
I know it's been a while, but not much has changed other than that we added 3 turbo snails to clear up the algae. I think it was a little two much. The algae is gone, but now there's a lot of solid waste at the bottom. This post is to ask about the next steps to take stocking-wise; here is my long term plan:
Fish
- 2 clownfish
- 1 tail spot Blenny
- 1 Yellow Clown Goby
- 1 Royal Gramma Basslet
- 1 Firefish
- 1 Flameback Angelfish
- 3 banggaii cardinals

Invertebrate stocking ideas (What's the best mix?)
- Turbo snails
- Cleaner shrimp
- Scarlet reef hermit crab
- Blood red fire shrimp
- Starfish (not sure what kind)
- Emerald crab
- Peppermint shrimp
- Nassarius snails
- Bumblebee snails
- Anemone (Eventually, I hope)

In what order should I stock my tank with the fish? Should the fish come first, or the invertebrates? And how long can I wait to put the anemone in for the clownfish?
Edit: Sorry, earlier in the thread it was mentioned that the blenny and goby should come next. My question is what after that?
 

AquaPhilNJ

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As long as the invertebrates can eat you can add either first. There is a lot of info above sounds like you already added several fish.
The anemone can be challenging for many people, be careful with water changes. Important things to consider is the water temperature matches the tanks and salinity matches the tank. Do not add new water directly on the Anemone. Stay on top of evaporated water which can cause salinity swings, some people buy ATO. In general people say wait 6 months before adding corals to new tank, the choice is yours.

Flameback Angelfish : people say add more aggressive fish last, being this one. The angel fish can pick at corals causing them to die, they especially like the brain corals. Reef safe with caution.

Banggaii cardinals: I also added 2 of them. Sometimes people have issue where the males fight to the death. I had mine for ~6 months before they decided to hate each other. I have one now. I would still give it a try, see if they can get along.

Yellow clown goby: will pick at acro corals, can not keep with these corals unless Acros are already large colonies.

Me personally I don't worry about the order of adding fish too much. This is my outlook and beliefs concerning the your situation. thank you. good luck ; ]
 
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