New to the saltwater game...

ray
  • #1
Well I'm new here and to the world of salt water fish etc... I've been reading a lot over the past few weeks and all... and a little over a week ago I kind of "dove" into setting up my tank...
a friend of mine was moving and had to get rid of a 55 gal tank with filter stand and heater... so I was like hey... I'd like that if you've got to get rid of it...
so all of that was free... which was cool...
since then I've added 50 lbs of live sand and 20lbs of not live sand.
50 lbs of live rock and I have 25lbs more of live rock that I should be picking up in a day or so.
a power head that says it will pump 400gph.
an aquarium systems seaclone skimmer (which is set up but I haven't kept it on any longer than to see if it works"
a 300 watt heater
and the light I'm using is a eclipse f40t10 if that means anything to anyone (I'm not sure the wattage etc... it came with the tank as well)

on Wednessdayish I put a dead shrimp in the tank to help it cycle (now realizing that the live rock would have cycled it... I could have grilled that shrimp! haha) and have been taking readings all weekend... from the test kit I have (API). My Ammonia is right at 1.0, my nitrite is at about 5.0 and my Nitrate is in the 10-20 range and my ph is at 8.2 my specific gravity is right at about 1.021 according to my hydrometer the temp is around 77ish... when I added the water to my tank I used distilled water from the 1 gal jugs in walmart (purple tops and label)

so with all that said I've been getting those readings from my test kit for the past 4 or 5 days... they are all about the same... should it be changing?
I thought with the ammonia just being at 1 and the nitrite at 5 that the cycling started up pretty good... but how long does it usually take for the second part of the cycle to get going? I figured by now I would at least see the levels going down a bit...

I bought some cycle from my LFS today... the guy there said it was good stuff... so I figured I could try it out... anything else here I should be doing?
I do see a little bit of what I would assume would be algae growth on some of the sand right now...

anyway just wondering what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong...

also as if this isn't long enough yet... I'm doing research on what I want to add to the tank after its all good and cycled...

I have 35 blue hermit crabs
and 10 turbo snails
10 red (or crimson) hermits
2 emerald hermits
and 2 mexican turbo snails
that should be here soon
if I understood correctly I should be able to introduce them pretty quick to the tank?
also I want to get a few cleaner skunk shrimp... how many would be needed for a tank my size?
I want a boxer or pom pom crab and purple lobster and maybe decorator crab...
I want some sort of Tang but it seems all the ones I do research on aren't suppose to be in a tank smaller than 70gal or are aggressive or are not reef friendly... any suggestions in that area? I was looking at the convict, yellow or one of the smaller ones like that...
the other fish I was looking into included
a Volitan Lionfish
maybe 2 Spotted Cardinalfish
Black Barred Convict Goby
Orange Stripe Prawn Goby
a pair of Firefish
maybe a Royal Gramma Basslet
I would eventually like to move into doing coral and maybe getting an anemone down the road as well... and these are just ideas right now...

now I AM NOT going to just run out and buy all of this stuff! haha... I'm trying to get a game plan down on what to work towards... so any info in any of these areas would be great!
also out of those fish which would be the ones that I would need to put in first and which ones last etc...

I know this is ALOT! but thanks so much!

all your help is greatly appreciated!

* ok after looking up some stuff (after I posted this) I relize that a Lionfish is maybe not a great idea... but I haven't found out if a dwarf Lion (Dendrochirus zebra) so my question moves to that instead of a larger one... *
 
Tumbleweed
  • #2
Welcome to the wonderfull world of Saltwater fish tanks. First off your cycle is still going and can take a little while longer. I would suggest just letting it go a couple more days to a week and see what happens. Do not add any more cycle to the tank, this will not make the process any faster. As for the inhabitants of your tank, from your list it looks like you want to add way too many fish to the tank. I recommend starting off slow with a couple to snales and maybe a couble of hermit crabs for a couple of weeks and see how things go. "This is after your tank has finished cycling" As for the lighting system you have I am not 100% sure on what that is but it doesn't sound like it would be sufficient enough for anenome or coral. The hardess thing about a saltwater tank is taking it slow. In my opionin you have to go even slower in introducing things to your tank then you do with a freshwater tank. So just be very patient and you will be rewarded.
 
Shawnie
  • #3
welcome to fishlore ray!!!! you are a brave soul to jump into a sw tank !! LOL kudo's to you! I'm not familiar with sw tanks, other than I LOVE the pics...but I think the cycle is the same for both sw and fw..cycle is something that you would have to use for life if you continue to use it and not let the bacteria build on its own...that tanks isn't small so it will take a few weeks to finish the nitrogen cycle...the live rock will cycle the tank on its own..I think I read you need 1-2lbs of live rock per gallon...then just let it go until the cycle is complete...goodluck you brave man!!
 
ray
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
yeah the list of fish I put up was just stuff I was looking into and nothing I was going to jump into... i'd read something like only introduce 1 per ever 5 weeks at most or something... but I doubt I'd even be adding them that quick... and if I do coral or anemone it won't be for quite some time! that's well down the road... I'm just wantint to prepair for wanting to do that some time in the distant future...
so yeah I wasn't so much planning to throw all (or actually any) of those fish in the tank any time soon... I just was wondering out of those who has experience with them and do any of them work together... and when I'm done cycleing which ones I would want to add at which points...
so they cycle isn't good stuff like the guy told me? haha well I just put it in yesterday so I can cut that out if I need to...
 
Shawnie
  • #5
you will find that your LFS tell ya a lot of things...and not that it isn't good, its just something that would have to be used everytime!! I'm still hurray'n ya for jumpin in feet first...alot of sw experts here will jump in after work or whenver they get on..you will be amazed at the knowledge on this site..
 
Tumbleweed
  • #6
Yeah I didn't think you wanted all of those fish and invertibrates in your tank. The cycle will just happen on its own with the live rock and live sand in it so don't worry and with the rock and sand it can happen fairly quickley. My 100gal tank cycled in just under 2 weeks. As for the fish I would recommend starting out with something like 2-4 green chromis. They are hardy fish that can handle a new tank setup situatation, and they are fund to watch. I have 6 in my tank and love them. I have had dward lion fish before, but your have to watch out for them because they will eat anything that will fit in there mouth and try to eat things that might not. The gobys and firefish are also a nice choice, but I would not recommend those with a lion fish. If you went with the lion fish it would limit you greatly on fish only because you would need fish bigger then it so it cannot eat it and that would decrease the # of fish you can have in your tank.
 
ray
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
that's what I was worried about with the LFS... haha the guy at ours here is quite a character... he looks like bon scott (original singer from AC/DC) in a base ball cap.. and he is very positive about everything! ("yeah man... that's a great fish..." "yeah man... use that chemical its awesome...""yeah man get some damsels they will cycle that tank for you" etc...)
about the lion, that's what it was looking like from everything I was reading... at first I was just finding stuff that said they were great but after I posted this I found some places that were telling me the lions would eat everything in my tank that it was able to! haha...
I was just wondering cause I think my tank has been stuck on the same levels for about a week... the ammonia is on 1.0 and the nitrite is on 5 or so.... and there has been no change... is that normal for it to stay that way? I guess none of the secondary bacteria has started to grow yet? or is just getting started...
and actually while I was typing this I was waiting for test results this morning and I think my ammonia is down to .5...
 
Shawnie
  • #8
the fact that you have nitrites, means its on its way...patience is something they don't sell at the LFS unfort LOL...

some of these threads will be great information for ya
 
ray
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
haha thanks!
yeah I'm just wanting to make sure everything is going right... i'm not trying to rush anything or be impatient... I was just worried since it looked like maybe there was a stop in the progress... I wasn't sure if I was missing a step or if I had done something wrong... it seemed like everything was right... I'm just being paranoid! haha
i've been reading through as many of the post on here as I can... and all the articles etc...
 
Tumbleweed
  • #10
The stage your at in your cycle can be very nerve racking. You get that first sign of ammonia and get all excited and then you start showing nitrites, and all is going well then it will seem to stall for a while "the stage you are in" and you start wondering what is wrong. This is all normal so don't worry. One day you will do a test and see low ammonia readings and your nitrate will get really high.
 
ray
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
I was pretty sure that it was doing what it needed to be doing... but being new to this and it stalling like that made me wonder since I have NO experience in all of this!
 
Tumbleweed
  • #12
No problem. Glad to see all is going well. Good luck with the tank. In my opion I would keep it simple for a while just a couple of easy fish, and I would decied if you really like this Saltwater tank idea, and if you do I would save up to buy new lighting sytem for the tank as a next step, followed by a protein skimmer. These 2 items will open a lot of doors as to what you can have in your tank, not to metion the light itself will make the tank look 10 times better.
Post some pics up of your tank so we can see what it looks like.
If you want to see my tank I have a blog in the members section and it has pictures of the tank in it.
 
ray
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
I have a light and a skimmer right now...
are you saying I need a new one?
I know I read some reviews on my skimmer and it seems it wasn't a great one (fortunatlly I got it for real cheap!)
i'll get that camera out soon and give you a view of it...
 
Tumbleweed
  • #14
sorry yeah missed the skimmer from your post up top. As for your light what I can figure out is you have a fluorescent light in your tank which will be not enough for any anenomes or coral. For those you will nee at least a Power compact light fixture.
 
ray
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
oh yeah I knew it wouldnt be enough for coral or anemones etc... that's down the road thought.... and the light I have now was free... so I figure I can get a little milage out of it.
 
Tumbleweed
  • #16
Free is my favorite price.
 
ray
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
hey... me too! haha I'll end up upgradding it eventually... but right now we'll let it be!
 
Salvatore
  • #18
Hey Ray, Welcome!!!

Remember, nothing good comes out of a rushed tank!! Take your time, especially waiting for it to cycle! It took me a long 7 weeks before mine was done. Then I hear stories about people with a week or two drives me crazy. You can see if your LFS will sell you some bagged media from one of there tanks and throw it into your filter. It won't happen over night but it may help make our tank a bit stronger. Just a thought. Good luck and keep us posted
 
ray
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
thanks so much I may look into that...
but now after wondering if I was doing anything wrong it seems like my ammonia levels just keep dropping... and it seems like nitrates are rising... nitrites are the sameish...
thanks to everyone for all the warm welcomes!
 
ray
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
my amonias are at 0 and my nitrites are at 1.0 and nitrates 10-15 area... so its getting there! i'm so excited...
 
ray
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
Post some pics up of your tank so we can see what it looks like.
If you want to see my tank I have a blog in the members section and it has pictures of the tank in it.
this is what ive got so far

25.jpg
 
Tumbleweed
  • #22
Looks nice Ray. My only suggestion would be to either place some thing between the LV and the bottom of the tank, or dig the sand out from under the live rock and place it directly on the bottom of the tank. The reason for this is it make the rock fixture more stable, and if you ever add some fish that like to burrow in the sand, they may dig under the rock in the sand and cause it all to colapse.
 
ray
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
there is live rock under the sand... I dug out the sand and put the live rock into it then placed the other ones on top of those... they all seem to be very sturdy...
 
Tumbleweed
  • #24
there is live rock under the sand... I dug out the sand and put the live rock into it then placed the other ones on top of those... they all seem to be very sturdy...

Great that will work. Another opion I have seen is using 2" PVC pipe and placing that on the bottom of teh tank and placing the rock ontop of the PVC and then filling in sand around it.
 

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