New to SW- what substrate and a dead live rock

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquarium Setup' started by Sturty, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. SturtyValued MemberMember

    Ive been offered two clown fish and some unidentified black coloured fish from the local pet store that closing.
    Ive got till saturday to set up my 200L tank.
    Quick history- im new to fish keeping but i learn quickly.
    The four fish have been tank mates for almost a year in a 100L tank and the tank contains live rock.

    Heres my three questions
    1. What substrate can i use? I love very inland so i can only used bagged substrate. The current tank has fine rocks (not sand) that i'll use to cycle the tank to start with.

    2. The store owner (doesnt know anything) says the live rock is dead? Is that possible? Its still in use in the tank with the fish. If it is possible how to i "fix" it.

    3 im currently setting up 100L of water be adding salt and heating the water. I'll be adding the water from their current tank to make 200L- what is the ideal salinity and water temp for a clown fish?

    Thanks :)
  2. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    I would purchase some Bio-Spira (same as Tetra Safe Start, only for saltwater, and sold under the Instant Ocean brand name.)

    The organisms in the live rock could be dead, yes, but the Bio-Spira should replace those organisms. I'd still put the rock in the tank for them to colonize. Keep it wet in case some of it has survived.

    Beyond that, I do not know.
  3. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Hi Sturty,
    I'm not sure we can get Bio Spira here :( Most bacteria supplements don't make it past our strict Quarantine (AQIS) requirements. And I'm pretty sure Dr Tims One and Only is not available either.

    I know you want to do the right thing, but please, take the time to read and understand SW systems. A SW system bought on "impulse" is destined for disaster (IMO). Read the stickies in the SW beginners section here, I have written a 3 part guide to setting up the system.

    You'll need powerheads, you'll need test equipment (refractometers, sw test charts or kits), you'll need to decide on a water source for salt (ASW or NSW), RO/DI?, heaters? Protein Skimmer? Sump? Nutrient Removal?

    Please consider this "You cannot rush into SW, nor can you rush SW"

    If, after reading everything you can, you decide you can handle SW, then:

    First and foremost, what is happening with the setup they are de-commissioning? Could you not bargain a price for the whole setup?

    Next identify all fish that you will be caring for, it may determine what you can and can't do later down the track, as well as what food you'll require.

    Your specific questions
    1 - substrate, I prefer sand, it is reflective of the natural reef that the fish may have been caught from. HOWEVER, I would also look to replicate the captive environment they have become accustomed to. If going sand, then I recommend aragonite sands (such as CaribSea Aragamax) as they also aid in maintaining higher pH and calcium.

    2 - If the rock has been in an active tank, I doubt it is dead. The term Live Rock refers to the rock being full of live bacteria (beneficial bacteria), the rock itself is not living (this is explained in part 2 of the guides I wrote)

    3 - what salt mix are using? are you mixing with RO/DI or tap? What was the store using? What is their salinity?
    The ideal salinity for most marine fish is from 28ppt up to 33/34 ppt (1.021 to 1.026 specific gravity). I would also recommend being familiar with drip acclimation to avoid osmotic shock.
  4. SturtyValued MemberMember

    Thanks for your reply ryan. Ive read the three stickys twice now over two days to try and wrap my head around it.

    1. Im going to do what you suggest and use the same as what they have in their tank currently, i know that its a 5kg of a product they have in stock and i have purchaced another 5kg to add to the tank. I'll make a lower layer of the new substrate then add their current mix on top of that. Later down the track when they have settled in theres no dramas i might look at changing the substrate if need be.

    2. Your guide (part 2) is the reason behind that question, from what i read in the guide it didnt sound as if it coyld die if its in active use with no issues. You have confirmed my thoughts

    3. Im using tap water thats been treated with vita pet water ager then ive added Aqua One synthetic sea salt. Ive got 100L in the tank at the moment sitting at 1.014 but im going to leave it overnight to see how it settles (ive got a small pump circulating the tank and heating up (i'll also match the temp the their current temp)
    I didnt think to measure the tank at the pet store but will do that tommorow and make sure i get my water at the same level.

    The tank they are currently in has been sold but the new owners dont want the fish and if i dont take them they will be very likely put down.
    Everything within the tank is available too me including the substrate, live rocks, fish, water ect ect with the exception of the filter.

    Im not familar with the drop acclimation is there a thread on here explaining it? Im still getting use to finding my way around the forum.

    Thankyou for you reply i appreciate the time you have taken
  5. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

  6. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    More on acclimation:

    The difference with SW is that you are also matching salinity. If matching specific gravity, within 0.001 is fine (i.e. if they are in 1.025, and you get to 1.024, you'll be fine)

    At 1.014 (salinity of 18) you're going to need more salt ;) probably a minimum of 900grams for 100L :D

    I would also suggest looking up MASA (Marine Aquarium Societies of Australia) and/or MASONSW (NSW specific).