Newb To Saltwater Tank Build

xiholdtruex

Hello Everyone not my first saltwater build but my first in over 15 yrs. Back then the communication was bad we didnt have much info in my area about salt water and my tank failed miserably. Now after many years and 10+ Fw tanks sucessfully I have obtained a nano cube dx 12g from my boss who was about to toss it He had a establised nano reef for 8 yrs in the cube and during hurricane Irma he forgot about the tank -.- and all of the specimens died and he was going to toss it until he heard me speaking of my tanks and told me If I wanted it I could take it . it has all the components that orginally came with it running and he added a small wave maker other than that its a bare calcified tank. Look for any advice on upgrading or adding components and specimens once the tank is ready and cycled.

My plans so far are as follows
1. Clean and sanitize the tank- currently soaking in vinegar and water to clean up all the build up and crude
2. properly inspect components once the buildup is gone and can see how they are running.
3. adding a heater
4. getting some dry live rock and starting the cycle

will add more as I make up my mind. I'm very excited on this build and welcome all input and advice
IMG_4758.JPG
IMG_4757.JPG
IMG_4756.JPG
IMG_4755.JPG
IMG_4753.JPG
IMG_4752.JPG
IMG_4751.JPG
IMG_4750.JPG
 

KristaD

Excited for you. Glad I’m not cleaning it...
 

stella1979

Hey there fellow South Floridian.

I couldn't agree more with KristaD Those were my thoughts exactly!

Seriously though, congrats on the nice score! You and I have a couple things in common.... failed tank 15 years ago? Check! Tank effected by Hurricane Irma? Check! I did not forget about my tank though. In fact I used car batteries and ran the car all day to charge said batteries just so I could have flow in the tank during the power outage. Sunlight sufficed to an extent.... some corals suffered more than others during this time, but ultimately, all survived.

So, your plan sounds great so far. My first thoughts are about the quality of used lights and pumps. That looks like maybe you have T5's in the hood? Fluorescent lights stop producing enough PAR for corals after about 9 months of use, so even if they are on, they may not be good for corals anymore. I'm running a T5 fixture myself, and I can say that ATI brand bulbs have been great.

I'm curious about the pump. I'm not really sure on the best pumps for small cube tanks.

One of the first things you should think about is how you're going to provide water for the tank. You could go all out, buy a RODI filtration unit and marine salt so you could mix your own. You could also buy RODI water and marine salt, then mix your own, or you could buy saltwater. You can buy RODI or saltwater from most of our local reef stores. Speaking of which, maybe we could share ideas there. I quite like VIP Reef on Saltwater 137th Ave., also Simply Fish as well as Ocean View, both on Bird Road. Do you have any favorites?
 

xiholdtruex

So Far The vinegar seems to be dissolving all the build upnicely so hope fully after a few days of soaking will come right off I have a RO system but not the DI filter could get one and add it to the system but have not decided on it yet. Might start off buying water then start mixing it later on down the line. For sure I need to pick up a TDS and refractometer for testing it. I have the other testers for nitrates, nitrites and ammonia. Need to also pick up some testing material for PO,Kh and Ca. The T5 bulbs are from febuary so they have 7 months on them, The balasts were rebuilt in febuary and noticed one of the cooling fans in the hood for the lights sticks and is noisy so need to change that one out and the bulbs out maybe upgrade to some leds down the line. looking at the rear filter compartment I will be changing out the sponge and adding in some biorings and some purigen down the line.

Do you know how much the water locally is running? I need to pass by VIP Reef it isn't very far from me and I'm always in that area but have never gone in it. Have a few customers ( In the Appliance repair field) with salt tanks that have told me to go check them out.
 

stella1979

I don't know the cost of water at VIP, but I think it must be fair because I've seen people lined up for it on the weekends. You won't regret checking them out. As soon as you walk in the door there is a beautiful display tank full of really nice rock flower anemones, or RFA's. VIP is known for selling high quality RFA's and that tank is something to see. That's not all though.... they have HUGE reef displays and nice frag tanks too.

Also though, the cost of a DI stage would eventually be less than the continual cost of buying water, particularly when you factor in your time and gas on multiple trips. You might want to look at the DI stage sooner rather than later. Of course, mixing your own saltwater means you need a spare pump to do the mixing and a spare heater to match temp.

So, the saltwater they sell at VIP is ocean water and they can send it through pipes in the wall to deliver the water straight to the outside. So, you can fill your container without even having to take it out of your vehicle. Speaking of water containers, I'd suggest looking at Brutes, (food safe, and they do come smaller than you'd think, I have a 10 gallon capacity Brute.) You would do well to keep spare saltwater around while you are unable to make it at home. You never know when you might have need to do an unexpected or emergency water change. You'll also need to keep RODI water around for freshwater top offs. Condensation can be an issue with nano tanks because salinity can change rapidly in a smaller volume of water. Your hood will help with that though you still might think about an ATO, (auto top off) unit. I run a 20 gallon long with a glass lid and I need less than a gallon of RODI per week for top offs. I don't have an ATO.... yet. I'd like one.

I've purchased coral and dry goods (both at competitive prices) from VIP, but not fish. They don't have a whole lot of nano fish there actually, mostly clowns and larger fish. One thing though, I did first introduce aiptasia, (a pest anemone), to my tank through their chaetomorpha, (a macroalgae for refugiums). I don't hate them for it though, most of us will encounter aiptasia eventually. Also, the chaeto tank appears to share water with another tank that they sell cycled wet (maybe live) rock out of. It does not appear to share water with the frag tanks, (though you should always dip corals anyway), and the RODI and Saltwater they have for sale is completely separate from livestock.

You know, you and I are lucky that we have a lot of salty LFS's down here. Yay!!! No shipping charges. Well.... someday I hope you can take advantage of the online live sales that World Wide Coral (WWC) has. They are in Orlando, but shipping from them is $10 cheaper than it is for those outside of FL. WWC is well known for having bright, beautiful and healthy corals.

There's also Reef Top on Saltwater 87 Avenue. Their tanks are a little messy, but I bought my firefish and my one of my favorite corals (a duncan) there. I particularly like the look of Ocean View on Bird for fish, I haven't bought there yet but hope to get a goby there very soon. And if you check out Ocean View, you may as well see Simply Fish, they're right up the road from each other. I'm even further south than you in Homestead, but I've made a few days of visiting the local reef stores. The ones I've mentioned here are the best I've found. Sorry for the long post and getting ahead of myself. I'm excited to finally share these LFS's with someone who can actually go to them.
 

xiholdtruex

Lol yep there's lots of salty lfs down here but not many fw ones that's actually take care of there fish. When you use ro/dI water do you dose with any reminerilization other than salt?
 

Culprit

No, the salt remineralizes it.
 

stella1979

Nope, the salt takes care of everything you need as far as minerals and nutrients.

I was actually going to ask you about your fw LFS experience. I haven't had much luck with that either. I've been trying to find healthy nano fw fish for almost a year now. If you're interested, the Gold Coast Aquarium Society is doing a little expo at a Roadway Inn somewhere in Ft. Laud next month. I'll be attending that myself hoping to find fw fish and plants.
 

KristaD

Nope, the salt takes care of everything you need as far as minerals and nutrients.

I was actually going to ask you about your fw LFS experience. I haven't had much luck with that either. I've been trying to find healthy nano fw fish for almost a year now. If you're interested, the Gold Coast Aquarium Society is doing a little expo at a Roadway Inn somewhere in Ft. Laud next month. I'll be attending that myself hoping to find fw fish and plants.

Jealous!!!! Take pics!

Lol yep there's lots of salty lfs down here but not many fw ones that's actually take care of there fish. When you use ro/dI water do you dose with any reminerilization other than salt?

stella1979 gives great advice!
 

stella1979

Jealous!!!! Take pics!
Hrmmm... this will be my first 'fish show' and Roadway Inn's aren't usually large as far as I've seen, so I'm unsure what to expect. I'm still excited though! I wonder if any other Fishloreans will be there...

stella1979 gives great advice!
Aww shucks, you're too kind. Thanks!
 

xiholdtruex

I have bought some otocinclus locally at tophat aquariums on 187th st and 107th ave in cutler ridge and they have some decent fw selection and some salt also, wasent looking for much nano fish when I went saw the otos and bought all they had lol other than that haven't seen any fw locally other than the big box stores and there fish are bad lol Need to pass by tophat and take a look again have a 36 bowfront cycling that I want to stock soon. I'm trying to make it to the Gold coast aquarium society event also looking for some subwassertang So I ran the tank all night with 3 gallons of vinegar and 9 gallon of water and then scrubed with a sponge and brush everything came off My boss is giving me his old dry live rock so hopefully I can start the curing/cycle soon once I get the water situatiuon sorted out Finally was able to see the tiny wave maker is a Hydor pico pump
IMG_4774(1).JPG
IMG_4777(1).JPG
IMG_4778(1).JPG
IMG_4779.JPG
IMG_4780(1).JPG
 

stella1979

Awesome! Glad to hear you're going to the Gold Coast thing too. Perhaps we'll be there at the same time and I can meet my very first fellow Fishlorean. I've had a single goldfish for years and years, (I did try to give him friends... he wasn't friendly), but I didn't really get the multiple tank syndrome until earlier this year. I can't wait to see what the expo has! I'm hoping for some super healthy cardinal tetras, a few ottos and a specific variety of vals, vallisneria americana natans. Perhaps some fancy moss too. After the holiday I'm getting down and dirty with the planted tank rescape, hopefully in preparation for the expo goodies.

The tank looks great! I can't believe the difference a little vinegar can do. It's a great little tank, nice score!
 

Wild Bill

Nice job on the tank.
 

xiholdtruex

Awesome! Glad to hear you're going to the Gold Coast thing too. Perhaps we'll be there at the same time and I can meet my very first fellow Fishlorean. I've had a single goldfish for years and years, (I did try to give him friends... he wasn't friendly), but I didn't really get the multiple tank syndrome until earlier this year. I can't wait to see what the expo has! I'm hoping for some super healthy cardinal tetras, a few ottos and a specific variety of vals, vallisneria americana natans. Perhaps some fancy moss too. After the holiday I'm getting down and dirty with the planted tank rescape, hopefully in preparation for the expo goodies.

The tank looks great! I can't believe the difference a little vinegar can do. It's a great little tank, nice score!

Lol I have had multitank syndrome since I was 15 lol driving my mom crazy back then and now my wife lol One day she is going to kick me out 10 tanks atm only 8 setup lol I ran up to her last night and was yelling MY RCS GAVE BIRTH. her response your a shrimp daddy lol Goldfish are not nice to small buddies lol Vinegar is great always have a few gallons on hand for cleaning the house, And washers at work. Yes I hope the expo is good its nice to put names to faces.
Have not purchased a heater in ages usually I just buy the aqueon pro adjustable heaters for my fw tanks. is there any heater in particular I should purchase for sw?

Thanks in advance for all the input everyone I appreciate it very much
 

stella1979

Heaters.... Nart and Culprit both really love their Cobalt Neotherms. I have a Jager that serves it's purpose, but I don't love it.
 

Jayd976

looking good!
 

Culprit

I have an Eheim jager on my 20 gallon fw tank. I honestly don't like it. Doesn't keep very consistent temp, hard to calibrate well, takes forever to get the right temp and even then it fluctuates. When I got my neotherm I put it in plugged it in, pushed a button to set to 78 degrees, came back a day later temp was 78.6, next day was 78.6, week later 78.6. Its so steady, no calibration needed, always stays at right temp, sooooo easy to set. You literally just push a button.
 

Jayd976

I have an Ehiem Jager as well that's probably about 8yrs old now and I have to agree with everyone over time they lose their accuracy. For example, I have it set to about 68 to achieve my desired temp of 74. At this point I can't even calibrate it anymore given its age just doesn't really seem to work so its a guessing game. I will be replacing it soon. It used to be set to 74 and hold 74 but over time that jumped up to 78. So I have to lower more and more to find where I wanted it to be which was around 68.
 

stella1979

My Eheim Jagers are fairly new at less than a year each. They are still difficult and finicky with calibration and setting and maintaining a constant temp. I've purchased temperature controllers for each tank they're on and that fixed everything, plus I like being able to see the temp from across the room. Still, it was an additional purchase that wouldn't have been necessary with a better heater.
 

Culprit

My Eheim Jager heater is only about 3 months old and its the exact same problems as stellas
 

stella1979

My Eheim Jager heater is only about 3 months old and its the exact same problems as stellas

If a Jager remains a problem for you Culprit, you could look into controllers... that is unless you just want another Cobalt now. Anyhow, I have two different controllers...
This one keeps temp within 0.5 degrees I believe, and I have it on my planted tank.

This one keeps temp within .2 degrees of the setting, and it's on the reef tank.
 

grantm91

That looks like a good product, stella1979 on the add, do you know why it has a fan and a light bulb plugged into it ? Also is it just plug and go, like plug your heater in and punch the temp in? So say it could make even one of those Chinese knock off heaters trust worthy ?
 

Culprit

Ehhhh on my Freshwater it isn't too big of a problem, and if I was going to spend $30 on a controller... I'd just geta cobalt haha! Definitely be a good investment on a reef or a fw tank with lots of expensive fish in it. Even the best heaters can go haywire sometimes
 

stella1979

That looks like a good product, stella1979 on the add, do you know why it has a fan and a light bulb plugged into it ? Also is it just plug and go, like plug your heater in and punch the temp in? So say it could make even one of those Chinese knock off heaters trust worthy ?
No idea why they have a fan or a light.... didn't actually see that myself since I just quickly found them in my orders and copied it here. Anyhow, yes, they're super simple to use. Just plug it into the wall, click a few buttons to set the temp, then plug the heater into the unit. It wouldn't save a tank from getting cold if the heater just won't heat, but it will save a tank from a heater being stuck on and cooking everything. Heat is generally more of a concern for me. If I have a power outage, I have to worry about tanks getting too hot at most times of the year.


I figured on that being the case Culprit - you guys have definitely convinced me for when I need another heater.
 

xiholdtruex

The eheims have always been a mission with calebration issues.For now I'm putting a tetra nonadjustable spare 100watt I have during the cycling/ rock curibg process then will upgrade to the cobalt down the line. Just got the live dry rock he use to have in the tank. Was thinking of soaking them in vinegar for a day and scrubing them down. Or should I just buy some new rock or do you guys have any other ideas you recommend for cleaning them. They have been in the sun for about a month now.
 

Attachments

  • 15125802282171147541377.jpg
    15125802282171147541377.jpg
    80.4 KB · Views: 127

Jayd976

The eheims have always been a mission with calebration issues.For now I'm putting a tetra nonadjustable spare 100watt I have during the cycling/ rock curibg process then will upgrade to the cobalt down the line. Just got the live dry rock he use to have in the tank. Was thinking of soaking them in vinegar for a day and scrubing them down. Or should I just buy some new rock or do you guys have any other ideas you recommend for cleaning them. They have been in the sun for about a month now.

if using them for the cycle you can just put them in as is. As you notice organic matter on them through the recurring process just take them out scrub off and put back in. No need to really "clean" them.
 

xiholdtruex

if using them for the cycle you can just put them in as is. As you notice organic matter on them through the recurring process just take them out scrub off and put back in. No need to really "clean" them.
Thanks


As far as sand I was lookinh at the fijipink sand is there any other sand similar thatd dry or do they all sell live sand?
 

Jayd976

I myself have fijI pink sand and I love it the grain size is perfect and the pink bits here and there add a bit of color. It comes in both live and dry versions. My LFS had 40lbs bags of dry sand for around $35-40 I picked up 80lbs for my 75 gallon. You won't be disappointed if you choose that sand. You could also get the live sand type, but keep in mind 1/4-1/2 the weight is water weight so you will need more of it.
 

Culprit

me and Nart have the biminI pink I like it better then the fijI since it has more varietation in size. FijI pink is all the same size, biminI has a range.
 

Jayd976

it comes down to personal preference in the end. Go to any of the major online retailer sites check out the different options and decide what you like.
 

xiholdtruex

how do they do with flow in the tank? might put a orange spotted goby in there so just keeping in mind the posibility
 

xiholdtruex

Is there any tds and refractometer you guys recommend? or should I use a hydrometer tillI can get a decent refractometer?
 

xiholdtruex

stella1979 , went to VIP reef today, very nice and organized plus the people there had no problem providing any information, picked up 10 gallon of saltwater only .50 cents a gallon, there prices are fair, but I love how organized it looks compared to the few I have been to in the past. Started looking into test kits for phosphates, Was reading on other thread of people saying the API phosphate test kit is no good compared to the Salifert Phosphate test kit. There prices are the same only difference is the amount of tests out of the kits. does any one have any experience with them. Saw in a few threads That you has the reef test kit then had to upgrade the phosphate test kit, is there a specific reason why?

Just ordered 12lbs of dry live rock and 20lbs of fijipink live sand

Thanks in advance everyone for all input!
 

Culprit

went to VIP reef today, very nice and organized plus the people there had no problem providing any information, picked up 10 gallon of saltwater only .50 cents a gallon, there prices are fair, but I love how organized it looks compared to the few I have been to in the past.

Wow 50 cents a gallon!? Lucky lol. I pay a dollar and it definitely adds up quick!

Is there any tds and refractometer you guys recommend? or should I use a hydrometer tillI can get a decent refractometer?

Nart, stella and grant I know have the cheap ones off of amazon at about $20, nart I think got a brs brand one to see if it was better. I got this one on black friday and it was $24. I like it a lot but I don't know if the others work just as good.
 

xiholdtruex

Wow 50 cents a gallon!? Lucky lol. I pay a dollar and it definitely adds up quick!



Nart, stella and grant I know have the cheap ones off of amazon at about $20, nart I think got a brs brand one to see if it was better. I got this one on black friday and it was $24. I like it a lot but I don't know if the others work just as good.

I was thinking of getting that cheap amazon one for now its at 18$ atm lol

Have a few question on the cycle here, I was reading that marine cycles differ a little from Fw cycles, Does the bottled bacteria work good for Saltwater aquariums? Bio spira or the dr tims.
with Freshwater I have used TSS on 3 tanks and cycled in a week.

I was reading the Saltwater cycle goes from Ammonia to nitrites to nitrates, then there is a stage when you start the photo period and you start growing Diatoms, then cyanobacteria then green/brown algae begins to grow and the tank is ready to add a clean up crew or your first fish. is this how I should wait for the cycle to complete? or is it just the initial first 3 stages?
I had a similar even happen to me in my Fw tank where I got diatoms then algae and my tank was super solid after that never had any issues with chemistry.
 

stella1979

I haven't had terribly good luck with bottled bacteria. Yes, it has worked for me, but only about 20% of the time and that isn't great odds. I've tried TSS+, Dr. Tim's One & Only and BioSpira. It might be worth a try, but it really depends on the viability of the bacteria in the bottle, and it's my opinion that the bacteria is more often dead that alive with the 3 products I've used.

You can go ahead and start the photoperiod while you cycle. Yes to seeing diatoms, but no to cyanobacteria!!! Cyano isn't part of start up and usually means phosphates are very high when they should be very, very close to zero. It's my opinion that the best way to cycle is by using pure ammonia and testing regularly. You'll know the cycle is complete when you can dose ammonia to the tank, and 24 hours later that ammonia has converted all the way to nitrates.
 

xiholdtruex

I haven't had terribly good luck with bottled bacteria. Yes, it has worked for me, but only about 20% of the time and that isn't great odds. I've tried TSS+, Dr. Tim's One & Only and BioSpira. It might be worth a try, but it really depends on the viability of the bacteria in the bottle, and it's my opinion that the bacteria is more often dead that alive with the 3 products I've used.

You can go ahead and start the photoperiod while you cycle. Yes to seeing diatoms, but no to cyanobacteria!!! Cyano isn't part of start up and usually means phosphates are very high when they should be very, very close to zero. It's my opinion that the best way to cycle is by using pure ammonia and testing regularly. You'll know the cycle is complete when you can dose ammonia to the tank, and 24 hours later that ammonia has converted all the way to nitrates.


so phosphate from what I have deduced from threads is nutrients for algae and that is the reason why people keep chaetomorphato soak it up so that stuff like Cyano does not grow? Do you cycle with just ammonia even with dry live rock?
 

xiholdtruex

When cycling with pure ammonia what is the procedure you have followed? Have been reading up on it and see conflicting methods around the forums.

thanks in advance!
 

thesoulpatch

I've always just done it to 3-4ppm wait till it goes back down to 1 and dose up to 2-3ppm and keep going until nitrites/nitrates are forming then go until everything goes from 1-2ppm down to zero over 12-24 hours. It's how I'm about to cycle my new 40 this starting tonight!
 

JR. Reefer

Hello Everyone not my first saltwater build but my first in over 15 yrs. Back then the communication was bad we didnt have much info in my area about salt water and my tank failed miserably. Now after many years and 10+ Fw tanks sucessfully I have obtained a nano cube dx 12g from my boss who was about to toss it He had a establised nano reef for 8 yrs in the cube and during hurricane Irma he forgot about the tank -.- and all of the specimens died and he was going to toss it until he heard me speaking of my tanks and told me If I wanted it I could take it . it has all the components that orginally came with it running and he added a small wave maker other than that its a bare calcified tank. Look for any advice on upgrading or adding components and specimens once the tank is ready and cycled.

My plans so far are as follows
1. Clean and sanitize the tank- currently soaking in vinegar and water to clean up all the build up and crude
2. properly inspect components once the buildup is gone and can see how they are running.
3. adding a heater
4. getting some dry live rock and starting the cycle

will add more as I make up my mind. I'm very excited on this build and welcome all input and advice
IMG_4758.JPG
IMG_4757.JPG
IMG_4756.JPG
IMG_4755.JPG
IMG_4753.JPG
IMG_4752.JPG
IMG_4751.JPG
IMG_4750.JPG

great start clean all the white than scrub everything... cycling with live rock is faster but you might get unwanted things... most hitchhikers are good and help clean tank
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
8
Views
432
aquachris
Replies
8
Views
723
Ash1176
Replies
6
Views
139
silverado61
Replies
1
Views
364
saltwater60
Replies
1
Views
193
MoshJosh

Random Great Thread

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom