Questions About Starting Saltwater Reef Tank Soon - Page 4

abarb

Maybe I will first buy a few nassarius and if they don’t clean enough then add a conch.
I will have to ask the lfs if I’m allowed to use other containers but probably not. I’ve only seen 1 person buy water from there and that was a 12 year old kid doing saltwater and he had 1 pound of live rock in a 10 gallon with a blue/green chromis and 2 ocellaris clowns.
 

Jesterrace

Sounds like a plan.
 

abarb

Which ro/dI system should I buy?
 

Jesterrace

All depends on what compromise you are willing to make. The aquatic life RO Buddie unit only costs $60 up front and is portable and easy to hookup (you can even hook it to a garden hose if you want). The downside of these units is that you only get 4 stages of filtration which could be an issue if you live in an area like NYC which has a notoriously high TDS in it's tapwater. You also only get 50 gallons per day production (still plenty for a 20 gallon tank) and the unit has higher costing and more frequent cartridge replacements. They also tend to produce more waste water (ie 1 gallon RODI water to 6-7 gallons of wastewater).

The liquagen 5-6 stage systems are more expensive upfront (ie $130-$150) and generally require a more permanent mounting and install. The upside is that it can produce 75 gallons per day (which means it's a bit faster), has cheaper and more generic cartridge replacements that last longer, is better suited to areas with high TDS water (ie NYC area), produces less waste water (ie 1 gallon RODI to 3-4 gallons of waste water).

For a 20 Long honestly the demands would be fairly light on either system. You will need 5 gallons to mix with salt for a weekly partial water change and then maybe another 5 gallons of fresh RODI water to be used for top up for evaporation. So a total of 10 gallons per week would be all that is required for a 20 Long, which either system could easily handle. The biggest question is what the TDS is in the tap water in your area. You can buy a TDS Meter from Amazon for $15-$20 and that will help tell you where you are at with your tapwater. If it's 200 or below the RO Buddie could probably handle it without much difficulty. If it's over that I would be looking at the Liquagen or comparable systems with additional stages of filtration. Ideally you are trying to get your TDS down to 0 before you add the salt to ensure a completely pure water source for your tank.
 

abarb

Tds of my tap water is 80. 100 if it’s warm (water heater pipes). I already have a tds meter and refractometer but I didn’t calibrate the refractometer yet.
Do I have to change cartridges when the tds is above 0?
 

abarb

Lfs has tiger conchs for around $5 each. Is this cheap?
 

Jesterrace

Very cheap. Go for it.
 

abarb

That’s probably one of the only cheap things there. The water is expensive, fish food is expensive, most plants are expensive, meds are expensive, water chemicals are expensive, tanks are expensive, wood is $15 for a small piece, and some of their fish are overpriced. 1 normal ocellaris clownfish is $20. But this is the only fish store that is close to my house and not a chain store so I don’t have many choices.
For 40 breeder how many conchs would I need?
 

Jesterrace

1-2 would be fine. I have 5 in my 90 gallon with 60lbs of sand and they keep it clean.
 

abarb

I found 40 pounds of dry rock for $40 on amazon. Would more than 20 pounds of live rock for the 20 long be beneficial? I can use the rest for the 40 breeder.
 

Jesterrace

More than 20lbs would make the 20 long very cramped for swimming space. I would save the extra 20 for the 40 breeder. It should be noted that dry rock will not be cured so it will need to be scrubbed down and rinsed multiple times in RODI water in order to get all the dead matter, phosphate leeching type stuff out of it. Some people actually bleach it but I am wary of such things personally. You will know how much crud is on it by how cloudy the water gets and it should get clearer with each cleaning process.
 

abarb

Does it have to be washed in ro/dI water? I have to ask my lfs about their live rock prices. I don’t know if it is cycled or just cured though.
 

Jesterrace

Absolutely it needs to be washed in RODI water. You could be adding insult to injury by putting nitrate and phosphates from your tap water into the dry rock by scrubbing it in tap water. Be aware that although live rock is great it can come with an assortment of pests and goodness knows what else if it came from some random tank.
 

abarb

Can I wash it with distilled water? If the live rock is cured does that mean it has no pests?
 

Jesterrace

I wouldn't trust distilled. In some cases it's actually worse than tap. Cured has nothing to do with pests, it has to do with whether or not the dead or decayed matter has been scrubbed down from it, got rid of residual phosphates, etc. Cured simply means it's ready to go in a tank and start the cycling process. Regular Live Rock is a gamble with pests that simply can't be avoided. As a compromise you could go with the Caribsea Life Rock (Dry Rock with a Man Made Bacteria Coating), it has already gone through the curing process so it is ready to go. It is what I have used in both of my tanks:

 

abarb

I'll probably buy the dry rock from amazon. How hard is it to scrub/rinse dry rock usually?
 

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