Need Advice!

Discussion in 'New To The Hobby' started by Hippocampus, Apr 29, 2015.

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  1. Hippocampus

    Hippocampus Astrea Snail

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    Western Kentucky
    I've been doing freshwater aquariums for a pretty long time, but having a saltwater has always been a dream of mine. But I've always figured it would be too hard for me to do, until recently that is. I've been doing a whole lot of research and I figured, why not? So, I went out and bought a 12 gallon JBJ Nano-Cube DX. I also went ahead and got the heater, an Aquatop D1HT Digital Nano Heater.

    Now, I've got the tank...what to put in it? Well the basics...water, sand, rock. Right?

    I've done some more research about water, salinity, and all the mixing and such, and with my luck I'll mess it all up. So, I went ahead and bought about 14 gallons of Nutri-Seawater. Hopefully I made a good choice by doing this??

    Now for the sand...I went to BulkReefSupply and bought a 10 pound bag of Bahamas Oolite Arag-Alive! Reef Sand. Also hope this was a good choice??

    And for the rocks. The Nutri-Seawater and live sand are both supposed to have the beneficial bacterias already in it. And with my research on live rock, the only reason you should get that is if you want to cycle your tank faster, but you run the risk of unwanted pests. But since my water and sand will have the bacteria, there's really no need for the live rock, I hope? I'd rather have dried (dead) live rock than pests that are going to eat my future corals and fish. So I went ahead and bought 10 pounds of Reef Saver Dry Aquarium Live Rock and 2 pounds of Tonga Simple Multi-Branch Dry Live Rock, all from BulkReefSupply. Any input on this??

    A side note: I haven't put anything in the aquarium yet, I just have the stuff ready to go.

    Now onto the fish and coral. I know my tank is rather small so my options are heavily limited. But my plans are:

    -2 clowns
    -A small cleaner crew: two hermit crabs, and a shrimp (not sure what kind yet)
    -Some mushroom corals
    -Some small polyp corals (perhaps Zoanthus, Palythoa, or Green Star Polyp)

    Any advice on how to start or thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated!!
     
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  3. RHorton

    RHorton Pajama Cardinal

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    the live sand and already mixed water is the way to go.
    I wouldn't buy live rock, just use dead rock it will become live rock over time.
    (the rock you bought will do just fine)
    some people even put a piece of shrimp in to start the cycle.

    just take it slow and pick up test kits.
    wait for the tank to cycle.
    you should also pick up a refractometer(to test saltinity) if you decide to make your own water.

    when you add water from evaporation make sure it is rodi water or at least ro water.
     
    Corailline likes this.
  4. louy99

    louy99 Feather Duster

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    throw it all in there and let it do its thing, you dont need lights on for the cycle and top of evaporated water with plain (no salt) water. when your sand and rocks have brown stuff (diatoms) growing on it, you know its ready for live stock.
     
  5. saints fan 420

    saints fan 420 Expensive Colorful Sticks

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    Wecome to 3reef.. Be sure to post pics of your setup. Everyone here loves pictures

    With your size tank, while you are getting used to everything, the pre made water is probably easier. Its not hard to make salt water, RODI filter is a must to make your own. When I make water I use a 5 gallon bucket and put 6 1/2 cup scoops to get a salinity of 1.026. In a reef tank you want to shoot for 1.025-1.026. For just fish only 1.023 - 1.026 is fine.

    You will also need to get purified or rodi water from fish store for your top off water(evaporation). Make a small mark where your water line is on your tank that is kinda hidden so you can keep up with the evaporation. You will hear it a lot but stability is key for saltwater tanks.

    As far as cycling, the sand you bought should have enough bacteria to cycle your tank. Add some fish food or a piece of shrimp to start the nitrogen cycle in your tank. This will probably take about 3-4 weeks. Get test kits to make sure your ammonia and nitrites are zero. When that comes, do a 10% water change and you are ready to slowly start adding fish. Do this slowly, anytime you add fish(bio-load) you want to give your tank time to catch up(bateria) so it can break down the waste the new fish are producing.

    You will probably go through a couple stages of algae(normal for new tank).

    Like previously said, I would advise you getting a refractometer. Even if you don't make your own water, you still want to make sure your salinity is in check with adding top off water and what not.

    Again, welcome to the addiction. You will make mistakes but its all worth it in the end.
     
    mdbostwick likes this.
  6. Hippocampus

    Hippocampus Astrea Snail

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    Okay, so nutri-seawater, live sand, and dead live rock are all pluses. Great!

    Now as for the cycling, what test kits would you all recommend? According to my research, sometimes they can be heavily faulty. And just to clarify, when all the levels (ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate) spike, and then the nitrate level drops, it's ready for fish? And during this whole cycling, I only add the piece of shrimp and evaporation top-off water (distilled aquarium water), and that's it?? I don't do anything else to the tank?
     
  7. saints fan 420

    saints fan 420 Expensive Colorful Sticks

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    a lot of people use API, for what you need them for they will do fine and are inexpensive. A lot of guys with SPS dominated reef tanks use hanna meters to check levels. They are more accurate but also more expensive.

    cycling, yes once your ammonia and nitrite show zero, your nitrates should be pretty high, do a water change and then you should be good to go with slowly adding fish. cycling is easy, put in a piece of shrimp and wait.

    most people use dry(dead) everything to start a tank, sand and rock. And will get a small piece of live rock from a friend or fish store and use that to seed the other rock and sand.

    what you have will work fine
     
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  9. Hippocampus

    Hippocampus Astrea Snail

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    Alright, thanks! Just as soon as everything is delivered, I'll set it up and keep it updated on here. I also have a follow up question, can you use thawed frozen shrimp? I live in a tiny town out in Western Kentucky, you're not gonna find fresh seafood in any stores lol.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2015
  10. mdbostwick

    mdbostwick Vlamingii Tang

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    It should be fine so long as it is raw
     
  11. Sataly

    Sataly Coral Banded Shrimp

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    I'd like to chime in about the premade water! Some one explained this to me about the water and live sand that packaged and bottled. Bacteria doesn't live forever and without a source of energy it will die off eventually. The prepackaged stuff usually sits for a good lil while so you have to think that it's more then likely not "live" anymore. my recommendation would have been to buy both dead rock, dry argonite and have someone donate their water change water. That way you know for sure you're getting the bacteria you need and want foe your tank.
     
  12. Hippocampus

    Hippocampus Astrea Snail

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    I also had this concern! But I researched the Nutri-Seawater and it is actual ocean water, and it's been filtered so that none of the nasties are in it. From what I've read, bacteria is very hardy and adaptive, and will go into a dormant state if there is nothing for it to subside off of, and can live for a pretty long period of time. Supposedly, just mixing the Nutri-Seawater with your live sand makes for instant cycling. And with my freshwater aquarium experience, nothing is instant. I plan on waiting a few days just test out the water and see what it's parameters are.