New 40 gallon breeder saltwater build

kanzekatores

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 sw 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

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
 

Lchi87

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

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.
 

kanzekatores

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

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

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!
 

kanzekatores

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.


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.
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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.
 

Lchi87

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

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.
 

kanzekatores

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

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 angelfish 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 ; ]
 

kanzekatores

Hi,
Unfortunately I never got the chance to go out and get the little goby and blenny, and now I can't any time soon because of the pandemic (even though they are open, I'm not quite sure if it's safe yet). I'm eagerly waiting for a time to buy these new fish. But for now I don't think we can quite call the tank cycled. There isn't a trace of nitrates, however my clownfish are thriving.
I encountered a few new problems. First off, I think I identified the little "feather duster" as aiptasia. While the old one went away, new ones keep coming back. They stay quite small, and mostly die off as far as I can see, but they don't have the feathery tentacles of a feather duster, but instead the solid ones of aiptasia. I did some research and was hoping not to have to use any additives in case they harmed my clownfish, but I found that True Peppermint Shrimp would eat them. How does it sound to go out and get a few?
My other problem is some bubble algae. I recently discovered it on my live rock. I did some research for that as well and it turns out you can cut/suck them off pretty well but they can come back, and you can also buy emerald crabs to get rid of them, although some will ignore them. I was thinking of getting two, but hoping they wont fight.
I want to address these problems before they grow out and it becomes a mess. I'm hoping these two species can coexist. And will they harm the goby, blenny, or cleaner shrimp I plan to get? Any questions or comments appreciated.
 

AquaPhilNJ

I saw a video series on Youtube from BRS (bulkreefsupply.com) that talks about Aiptasia, they didn't have much success with peppermint shrimp eating Aiptasia. However, I would give it a try.

I've never had Aiptasia yet, going on 4-5 years, nor bubble algae surprisingly, one thing to consider is if your coral dipping process is thorough enough. New corals are very good at bringing unwanted pests. I have a 10 gallon QT tank, and do coral dipping several times for a few days; removing new coral from frag plug and placing on new plug is also a good move, if able. There is some videos on youtube BRS on coral diping. In the end it's hard to know where it came from, IMO I prefer dead rock over live rock, safer and cheaper.

I don't believe the goby or blenny will eat the peppermint shrimp, nor an emerald crab being an issue. A good reference for researching fish is liveaquaria.com ;

I've heard good things concerning emerald crabs eating bubble algae, therefore I suspect it will (I don't own one). I would buy one (instead of two) see how it goes (b\c hear it gets semi big) a good website for crabs and shrimp is reefcleaners.com (don't recommend their copepods). But at local LFS should be 9$ for one.
 

saltwater60

Agree with above posts.
only thing I’ll add is of the aptasia are dying off and not growing well I’d say they aren’t aptasia and likely something else. Post a picture. Aptasia usually grow and spread very well.
 

kanzekatores

Thanks for the replies everyone;
I syphoned up some snail poop in the gravel today and it's settling. I'm adding Salinity 1.024 water little by to the 1.025 tank water to fill it back up. I will soon go out and get those invertabrates for the aiptasia (If it is aiptasia ) and bubble algae. I was wondering if I could/should get the goby and blenny while I'm there, or if that would be too much to add at once?
Thanks
 

AquaPhilNJ

As long as you can still do a smooth acclimation process IMO you're fine.
My personal acclimation process is a time consuming one. I'm not so sure I could keep it smooth with 4 different fish bags. I do the cup and bucket method, I tried the drip method but too time consuming and water temp keeps dropping, feel it adds too much stress. I suppose just have a plan and you'll be fine.
 

kanzekatores

My family thought for now since the fish are doing okay, we shouldn’t add any more, only what’s needed and maybe get a few fish in later. I also lost a snail and buried him in the yard. But today I did pick up one Peppermint shrimp and one Emerald Crab from my lfs. The crab is fascinating to watch and he keeps picking things from the live rock to eat. I’m sure it’ll find the bubble algae in no time. The peppermint shrimp still hasn’t moved from its little cave. I couldn’t get great pictures but here’s one of the emerald crab

5C4F889F-35F0-44E0-9BAB-D10A23AA350F.jpeg
Thanks for the help! The new invertebrates are adapting wonderfully.
One concern I had while I was watching my mocha clown was his fins that seem a little torn. Is fin rot a thing in saltwater? Or could it be a physical injury from the live rock or crab? Here’s pictures to help you id

EFE037CE-89AB-414F-ACBE-83F3976C23A0.jpeg
A815D9D7-8021-4025-A711-F37FF8CA5688.jpeg
Thanks
 

kanzekatores

saltwater60 AquaPhilNJ ?? How do I go about treating this?
 

kanzekatores

Clownfish fin rot and crab death | 459112 | Saltwater Fish Disease
I made another thread here but I haven't gotten any instruction yet. As you'll see if you read it, my crab died a few days ago too
I'm not really sure about what fin rot is and how it's treated - if it's a parasite or infection or what. I will syphon out sand, do a partial water change, and rinse the filter media. Would freshwater baths or Melafix be helpful? I'm kind of hesitant about putting medicine in the whole tank because I do plan to get a few more fish still.
And about the crab, I acclimated him pretty smoothly and was active in the tank for a few days. Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates are at 0, pH at 8.4, and Salinity 1.025. I did not hand feed him or add supplements for his shell. These are the only causes I can think of
 

Rcslade124

Fin rot is alot like freshwater fin rot. Just stable water and clean water should help. The emerald crab may do well with bubble algea. Also foxface and rabbit fish but your tanks right. I would manually remove the bubble algea and try not to break it apart removing it.

Apista is a pain. I would look into apista eating filefish and maybe it will help. This ugly thing. But I hear they are great.
Aiptasia Eating Filefish, Captive-Bred ORA ®: Saltwater Aquarium Fish for Marine Aquariums
Or look into nudibranch like these
Berghia Nudibranch

Tank looks great though.
 

AquaPhilNJ

I have never had a sick fish so I can't help. I'm sure there's online resources out there. I would consider reevaluating if your water changes are precise enough, feel something may be causing some stress.
24 hours mixing for oxidation (using pump), matching salinity, matching temp, not pouring water too quickly or on fish, not filling over ATO line (salinity consistence), checking salinity more often, using a refractometer, ro/di water. Water first, then adding salt slowly into water change bucket (otherwise ALK precipitates).
 

kanzekatores

The rest of my snails died. I did a gravel vaccum and rinsed filter media, and did 30-40% water change with matching parameters except a little lower salinity. I poured it in filter not on top of fish. I'm trying my best to take things slow

Soon I'm thinking I'll go back to my lfs and get more snails and maybe a crab replacement. Its only been two days since the last one died but there's already lots of algae on the glass.
On the bright side the peppermint shrimp has eaten the aiptasia! All of the ones visible are now gone I can only see one I think. They are happy and healthy I hope and doing a great job.
 

AquaPhilNJ

how are the fish doing ? The snails died, that worries me. Are you using ro/di water ?
 

kanzekatores

how are the fish doing ? The snails died, that worries me. Are you using ro/di water ?
Yeah, I don't know what was happening with the snails. Fish still active and look healthy other than then torn tins. I'm trying to check the water more often. I still use RO water I bought from lfs, though I don't topoff that often. and for the water changes I it mix with instant ocean salt.
 

Rcslade124

Snails and crabs don't have long life spans in aquarium. Maybe they were just old. I have read that you need refill the cuc yearly or by yearly
 

AquaPhilNJ

That was a decent sized water change, I do a 10% one each Saturday. When I see nitrate getting higher and higher I know to increase WC as needed. Eventually, you'll see a pattern and not have to test for nitrate as often. I recommend the RedSea Marine care test kit. Seems you have limited filtration so I can't say for certain what the best WC % is for you.

Technically I am doing zero water changes (with special filtration setup), but that's off topic.
 

kanzekatores

That was a decent sized water change, I do a 10% one each Saturday. When I see nitrate getting higher and higher I know to increase WC as needed. Eventually, you'll see a pattern and not have to test for nitrate as often. I recommend the RedSea Marine care test kit. Seems you have limited filtration so I can't say for certain what the best WC % is for you.

Technically I am doing zero water changes (with special filtration setup), but that's off topic.
It was more of gravel vac I filled it back up with mixed water.


2997D733-3327-4F17-AFCC-C1CCF6622025.jpeg
New emerald crab will drip acclimate.
They gave us the wrong snails so I will go back for the right kind tomorrow
 

kanzekatores

Well, turns out I messed up. They gave us the right kind of snails. When we ordered for curbside pickup, and asked for nerite snails, and when we got home with them and I looked in the bag, I was convinced that they were freshwater. They were only $3 apiece, so I just took them for my freshwater tank. I acclimated them, and put them in overnight. I woke up in the morning and they weren't moving.

Then I realized that they might actually be saltwater. They were small, and the orange-ish one looked like a tiger nerite, but I looked online and sure enough, they're the pacific variation of saltwater. So I quickly put them back in the bag with store water, took them to my tank, and poured in some from that tank. When I hold up the bag and look under, they're definitely attatched. I checked just now and they’re movincan't believe they survived 10 hours of freshwater.
I will put them in today.

1DC52301-D9D6-4A1C-8E2C-9186701D1643.jpeg

B05FF4FB-CA6E-457E-A0BD-781230256DCD.jpeg
 

Rcslade124

Nerite snails of all kinds are brackish saltwater snails. So you lucked out there. They were probably just in shock like what's going on lol. Glad they made it though.
 

kanzekatores

Everyone in the tank looks active, the apista is gone, and the snails are eating up the algae. Only thing was that the bubble algae remained untouched, so today I did a partial water change and sucked out some of the bubble algae. My family has promised to buy one fish and one anemone, so soon I think we'll go to the fish store to buy the tailspot blenny and clown goby to help kick the cycle, though the sea anemone will probably have to wait until after the cycle. I am hoping that if the two new fish aren't enough to kickstart the cycle, that everything will be hardy enough to withstand liquid ammonia if I have to add it. Thanks for the help everybody I've found this tank, despite the few problems, very rewarding even more so than freshwater. In a few days I'll go get the new fish. Stay tuned!
 

Rcslade124

Anemone need very stable water. Most sayy wait 6 months to a year before adding one. They are very difficult to establish in new tanks. Glad everything is going well for you!
 

kanzekatores

Anemone need very stable water. Most sayy wait 6 months to a year before adding one. They are very difficult to establish in new tanks. Glad everything is going well for you!
Thank you, I will be sure to wait at least 6 months after cycle to add the anemone.
So this morning I turned on the light and looked in at the gravel, and saw little things jumping around on it. What are they?? I've attatched some videos below. I read that they are probably Copepods/Amphipods which are usually harmless, but could they also be fry? Will they be harmless to fish?
We called in and requested the two new fish, and they get in a new fish shipment today, so if these things aren't a problem I'll go ahead and buy them.

 

Rcslade124

It could be some sort of pods. Too me it looks like fish fry. Pods kinda float and actually swim in a direction. Copepods tend to be a red color. Idk about amphipods. But that looks like fry but I'm not 100% sure
 

Rcslade124

Yes rewatching the first video I see 2 eyes. I'm going to bet on fry but again not a pro. Pods tend to be much smaller
 

AquaPhilNJ

I have pods. I've never seen them move like that, in mine or other people's tanks. I don't know what that is; I have this feeling your tank isn't in any trouble concerning those. But I just don't know.
 

kanzekatores

So these are probably clownfish fry? I'm not really interested in keeping more clownfish, maybe it'd be cool to raise a few, but these will add a whole lot to the bioload if they're fish fry. Is there anything that will eat them?
 

Rcslade124

I mean if they survive with the other fish in the tank good trade at lfs. What all fish do you have again?
 

kanzekatores

Just two clownfish. And my lfs only takes fish for free doesn't pay for them. Could I still get the goby and blenny and would they eat the fry?
 

Rcslade124

They would eat the fry. But if u don't want to raise them might as well be food
 

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