Newb To Saltwater Tank Build

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xiholdtruex

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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+ Freshwater tanks sucessfully I have obtained a nano cube dx 12 gallon 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. Im very excited on this build and welcome all input and advice
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KristaD

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Excited for you. Glad I’m not cleaning it...
 
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stella1979

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Hey there fellow South Floridian.

I couldn't agree more with KristaD :hilarious: 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.:smuggrin:

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?
 
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xiholdtruex

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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 Im 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.
 
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stella1979

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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.
 
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xiholdtruex

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Lol yep theres lots of salty lfs down here but not many Freshwater ones thats actually take care of there fish. When you use ro/di water do you dose with any reminerilization other than salt?
 

Culprit

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No, the salt remineralizes it.
 
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stella1979

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

I was actually going to ask you about your Freshwater LFS experience. I haven't had much luck with that either. I've been trying to find healthy nano Freshwater 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 Freshwater fish and plants.
 

KristaD

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stella1979 said:
Nope, the salt takes care of everything you need as far as minerals and nutrients.

I was actually going to ask you about your Freshwater LFS experience. I haven't had much luck with that either. I've been trying to find healthy nano Freshwater 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 Freshwater fish and plants.
Jealous!!!! Take pics!
 

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xiholdtruex said:
Lol yep theres lots of salty lfs down here but not many Freshwater ones thats 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!
 
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stella1979

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KristaD said:
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...

KristaD said:
stella1979 gives great advice!
Aww shucks, you're too kind.:joyful: Thanks!
 
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xiholdtruex

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I have bought some otocinclus locally at tophat aquariums on 187th st and 107th ave in cutler ridge and they have some decent Freshwater 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 havent seen any Freshwater 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. Im 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
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stella1979

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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

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Nice job on the tank.
 
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xiholdtruex

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stella1979 said:
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 Freshwater tanks. is there any heater in particular I should purchase for Saltwater?

Thanks in advance for all the input everyone I appreciate it very much
 
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stella1979

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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.
 

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looking good!
 

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I have an Eheim jager on my 20 gallon Freshwater 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.
 

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I have an Ehiem Jager as well thats 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 cant even calibrate it anymore given its age just doesnt 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.
 
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stella1979

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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.
 
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