The biggest impulse purchase in my life...

Miss Mouse

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Today my boss told me he was selling his 4 foot long complete marine set up including 2 yellow tangs and a clown fish... I told him I would have it there and then! It's about £500's worth and I'm getting it for £150 ;D I'm SOOOO EXCITED! I thought my mum would flip but she's really excited too hehehe. We haven't told dad yet but he loves the little fishies so he wont mind and my brother is a typical non-excitable teenager grr. I've had tropical and coldwater fish for years but dont know much about marine tanks so I've got a lot of reading to do! Wish me luck
 

Mike

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Sweet

What all does it come with?

Just a heads up - depending on the size of the tank, 2 tangs might be problematic. Read, read, read.

Good luck and I'm excited for you too.
Mike
 
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Miss Mouse

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I dont know just yet because it was all done just as I was walking out of work last night so will have a chat with boss today - I know its a large tank but boss doesn't know much about it because it's his partners : DOH! He said it comes with 2 filters, heater, hydrometer,test kit, salt, food, live rock and the fish. They originally wanted it for an octopus but after watching Nemo they changed their minds hehe. I was also worrierd about 2 tangs cos I've read they can be territorial but apparently these 2 are inseperable; the clown is a solitary chap after his friend died a few months ago so will have to find him another I guess ;D
 

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Congratulations !!! Wow !! that is really awesome, and I wish you all the best on your newest adventure, Miss Mouse!
Denise
 
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Miss Mouse

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Hey guys - I've just been to see the tank - its 180 litres so quite big . It hasn;t got a protein skimmer but has a large external filter and a smaller internal one. Its got very little decoration apart from 2 bits of rock so i have to spruce it all up. On sunday I'm going to pick up the fish, some gravel as well as some water from the tank and put them in my small empty tank while I get their big tank set up. Does that sound reasonable? The filter will have the pads with bacteria etc in them but do I need to leave the water to cycle a few days like a freshwater? I'm scared.... :-[
 

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Ok - it sounds like they currently have gravel as the substrate? If it does, I would get some aragonite sand because it will help buffer the water (help keep the ph stable).  If it just has 2 small pieces of live rock you should plan on getting much more.  Do you have any local fish stores that carry saltwater fish?  They may also have live rock.  More info here on live rock .

I also highly recommend getting a protein skimmer.  Like many, I also tried going the cheap route by getting inexpensive skimmers only to eventually shell out the cash and get a good one. I really like the  aquac remora for a tank of this size (180 liters is approx 40 US gallons).  If you can't afford the skimmer right now, just keep the tank lightly stocked and perform small frequent water changes, like 10% every week.

You may also want to read the Saltwater aquarium setup page.

Things to get:

Hope this helps,
Mike
 
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Miss Mouse

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Mike... you're a saviour - thank you! I hardly slept last night trying to get this all to make sense in my head.I dont know if I'm just really dumb or if my blondeness is catching up with me >
I thought I would be ok after so much freshwater experience but i was wrong :-[
It's got sand and gravel as substrate and he mentioned the sand as a ph leveller. It already comes with 2 powerheards and 2 filters, test kit and hydrometer and he showed me how to use that. He says it should be at about 34 on the meter but i dont know what that measurement was.
I'm going to get some more live rock next week on my day off - any recommendations? And I'm going to get the skimmer asap - I'll see if I can get a few more shifts in ;D I'm not going ot get any more fish for a while - i just want to get it all right before I do any damage
I think it will all make more sense when I see it in action...
 

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Ok - it sounds like you only need the live rock and the protein skimmer. 34 is the salinity and the reading depends on what animals are being kept. If you can only get the live rock a little at a time, you'll have to cure the live rock in a separate tank/bucket for a couple of weeks before adding it to the main tank to avoid any ammonia/nitrite spikes in the main tank that could harm the fish. Hopefully you can get it from the store and they've been curing for several weeks already. If that's the case it may need no curing time at all.
 
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Miss Mouse

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Thanks Lokky - will gets pics up when i get it all set up and looking good. Mike, my lfs has cured live rock in this huge glass tank and you can choose what you like the look of  They also have thousands of crazy looking mushroom-like plants and polyps and anemones that i look forward to investigating! They also have a whole wall of marine fish and things - it take about 20 minutes or so just to look at it all in detail. Very nice place...This is their advert "Swallow Aquatics' Fish Houses offer over 200 species of marine fish and 100 invertebrates for sale at any one time and, most importantly, we have specialist staff on help to answer questions and offer advice on what is undoubtedly the most sophisticated and rewarding of the three branches of fishkeeping - coldwater, tropical and marine fish" They're about 20 miles away from me but definitely worth the trip becaise the other marine place a bit closer is always grubby and looks so run down >
 
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Miss Mouse

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Hey guys - its all set up and running now! Just trying to get calcium levels right and salt levels sorted  ;D The clown and damsels are happily settled in my biorb until the big tank is cycled. We used some of the water that was already in and the same filter sponges so hopefully wont be too long! I just wondered if anyone could help me with the chemical side of things... a man at the pet shop mentioned putting magnesium in the water but was called away and I had to leave. I cannot find many references to it anywhere else except about it helping the plants grow... can someone fill me in please? Do i need to put it in while cycling?
Thanks!
 

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Some of the elements in the salt mix get used up by the system over time. These are usually replaced when we do the partial water changes in our tanks.  The only elements I supplement in between water changes are calcium and iodine.  These elements are supposed to be used up rather quickly and hence the need for supplementation.  I use the calcium (rarely) hoping for increased coralline algae growth and the iodine for the shrimps (for molting) and pulsing xenia I have in one of my saltwater tanks. I've kinda been researching in a very unscientific way the results of using the iodine and whether or not it has any effect on the pulse rate of the xenia. In fact, I see better pulse rates right after water changes and not after supplementing with iodine.

If you plan on using these supplements you really need to have a test kit for monitoring the addition of these elements.  You can follow the manufacturers directions on the bottle but without a test kit how can you really know if you need to be supplementing or even how much?  You could easily do more harm than good I would think.

My advice is to perfrom regular partial water changes.  The amount depends on whats in the tank but in a lightly stocked fish only setup with live rock, I think 10% water changes every week or every two weeks is not a bad regimen. 

So, to answer your question, I would say not to worry about the addition of magesium because it should be getting replaced when you perform a partial water change.  Sorry for the long winded response. 
 
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Miss Mouse

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No thats very useful - thanks Mike! I have test kits for everything because I am so paranoid about it all going wrong. I didn't expect to have to to put so much calcium in though - I've used a pot of 511 grams and it says my count is still only about 120 mg/L. Does that seem right to you? And also we have a pot of buff but no directions or description of what it does... any ideas?
Thank you so much again! ;D
 

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What is the brand name for the salt mix you're using? Natural sea water has a calcium measurement around 400 mg/L.

Rather than trying to dose out the right amounts of calcium or magnesium (elements that get used up) - just do small partial water changes daily (20 liters) until you get to were you need to be. The salt mix should have the proper ratios for all these elements, i.e. calcium and magnesium.

The buffer is probably carbonate or bicarbonate and it is used to raise the alkalinity of the water to prevent drops in pH. Again, this should not need to be added to a fish only system if you are doing the partial water changes. Just my opinion
 
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Miss Mouse

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Hello! Its a brand called "Tropic Marin" (no E at the end) and it says "containing all the trace elements found in natural sea water"; it lists all the elements except calcium, hence the reason I bought and added some seperately. I've been lucky enough to add some water that has already been cycled to help the process so just waiting for the levels to be right ;D
 

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I've not used that brand before. That reading is on the calcium level is low. The calcium levels should be in the 400 - 450 mg/L range. Keep us posted and post some pictures if you can.
 
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Yeah I have to get to the store and buy some more calcium but I've been working every day till 6 so cant make it over in time and I'm shifts all this weekend too but sending my brother to get some mroe tomorrow. PH is about 8.2 I've read it should be aboout 8.1?
Thanks!
 
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Miss Mouse

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WOWEE got nemo in the tank and my first piece of live rock too! Its Fiji rock with some little purple things growing on it. It cost me £8. Nemo looks much happier in this tank rather than in the quarantine tank with the damsels. I think they were bullying him. Is it wise to introduce them in slowly in the next week or 2? I managed to get some ready cycled filter pads and some gravel from another tank in to help with the cycling and they worked a treat! All parameters are good to go!!
 
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