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Setting up new micro reef tank...advice is appreciated
Posted on: 14/11/2008 0:29
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From: Lanarkshire
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Hi Everyone

I have kept a successfull 180l tropical tank for around 10 years now but the lure of marine keeping has finally become to strong to ignore!

I am going to be purchasing a 94l Interpet river reef aquarium. I have read a few reviews on the aquarium and by all accounts it seems to be a good little set up. I will change the filter media to live rock rubble as I have read this is beneficial. That is the only change to the standard set up that I am currently planning.

I want to keep a mix of fish and corals. I know I can't keep too many specimens in a tank this size but I am planning on the following:

2 clownfish (have not decided exactly what kind)
another couple of small peaceful marine fish (suggestions welcome)
couple of Cleaner shrimp
Some hermit crabs
and some assorted soft corals (again suggestions would be appreciated)
If there is anything else that would go well with this set up advice from anyone will be gratefully recieved.

I will be using live rock and live sand in the tank and will be using ro water to set up and maintain the aquarium which I will purchase from my local marine shop.

This will be my first attempt to keep marine and I have been reading lots of online forums and help pages but it does all seem a little daunting but at the same time I am very excited!

Would love to hear any opinions on the tank, the fish, coral and critters that I am looking to keep and also any pointers and suggestions would be great.

I also have been wondering how you guys heat your marine water (for water changes) I know you are better leaving it to mature for a couple of days but was wondering how you then heat it before adding to the tank? (prob seems like a bit of a newbie question but it was just somthing that sprung to mind).

Hope to hear some good ideas from all you seasoned veterans!

All the Best

Joe


Re: Setting up new micro reef tank...advice is appreciated
Posted on: 14/11/2008 8:46
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28/3/2007 12:01
From: Hampshire
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I can offer a couple of tips, appologies if you know some or all of these already.

RO Water
Even good stores make mistakes so get a TDS meter and purchase the RO pure and unsalted. That way you can dip the TDS meter in and confirm its not contaminated.

Salt
Buy your own. They're not all the same but most of them are good enough as long as you stick to the same brand. Using lfs salt means you get whatever was on offer at the time and that can lead to stability problems.
Use a refractometer not a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity. Callibrate it with a drop of RO water or even tap water each time its used.

Evaporation
Top up evaporation with unsalted RO water, salt doesn't evaporate.

Test Kits
Salifert are generally considered the best for marine, especially Mg, Ca, KH and PO4. API Saltwater kit is also good for Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, PH. These are the 8 basic things you should be testing for. A digital PH meter (calibrate every 6-8 weeks with calibration fluid) can make things easier.

Fish
Tank bred clowns would be good, other than that perhaps an Algae Blennie/Jewelled Rockskipper?

You've not mentioned these yet but I assume UV and a skimmer is on the shopping list too?

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The Fishless Cycle

Re: Setting up new micro reef tank...advice is appreciated
Posted on: 14/11/2008 9:47
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28/3/2007 12:01
From: Hampshire
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Posts: 8176
forgot about mixing and heating the saltwater.

The normal method is to use an seperate container and airstone to mix with salt and aerate the water overnight and drop a spare aquarium heater in there too. Homebrew containers are good for this.

Personally I've got a quite lot of water to mix so in winter I mix one 25L Jerry can to double salinity cold by simply adding the salt and shaking well (weigh the jerry can to find how much water is actually in it first) and I have another 25L of pure RO in a homebrew bucket with a brewers immersion heater and airstone. The brewers immersion heater seems to heat quicker than an aquarium heater and to a hotter temperature so then I mix the two in a third bucket before use.
In the summer I mix the saltwater to normal strength in two Jerry cans and leave in the conservitory with the airstone in where it gets to 24C with the suns heat.

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The Fishless Cycle

Re: Setting up new micro reef tank...advice is appreciated
Posted on: 14/11/2008 23:06
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From: Lanarkshire
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Thanks for all the good info. The tank comes with good lighting that is strong enough for a reef tank and also has a cool blue led lighting feature that really highlights the corals etc. I had read that skimmers dont fit on this tank but a lot of the info I read seems to indicate a skimmer wasnt needed as long as you have your live rock and you do reg water changes (weekly) of 10%.

Please tell me if im wrong i really don't want to mess this up!!


Re: Setting up new micro reef tank...advice is appreciated
Posted on: 15/11/2008 1:10
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From: Hampshire
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A skimmer isn't essential but ... the and most popular system philosophy in reef keeping is the Berlin method. For this the live rock homes the bacteria that convert ammonia and nitrite into nitrate and the skimmer removes the organic proteins. This allows for smaller water changes and thus more stability and so the reef thrives. Small regular water changes and chemical buffering maintain the ionic balance and the stop the nitrate getting out of control.

There are other methods and people mix methods up to get hybrid systems quite often but they almost all use a skimmer.

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/ ... of-reef-filtration-6.html

ps. you can always fit a skimmer, where there is a will...

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The Fishless Cycle

Re: Setting up new micro reef tank...advice is appreciated
Posted on: 15/11/2008 7:51
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From: Middlesex
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Hi Joe, and welcome to fk. If you're starting off with a new tank, then you can do it all in the tank, put ro water in, heater on and leave it for a day or two to get the right temp which is 24-26C. Once that is done then you added the salt in and leave for a few days to get the sg which average is 1.024-1.026. Also have a powerhead in to help to mixed the salt. Then you add the live rocks and sand and leave it to cycle. The rest I'm sure you know about. The water changes is simply a bucket with small heater and airstone or powerhead and that can be done in 24 hours for water change. Invest in uv sterilizer also in my opinion best to have a skimmer. The skimmer take 85% of the organic waste and the rest by live rocks etc. HTH.

Tony

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Re: Setting up new micro reef tank...advice is appreciated
Posted on: 15/11/2008 12:20
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14/11/2008 0:14
From: Lanarkshire
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Thanks for the warm welcome guys!

I have just had a look at uv units and to be honest I had never seen these before. These look like great additions to a set up I like how it can prevent algae and whitespot etc. When EagleC mentioned UV I thought he meant the lighting for the tank (Doh).Will def addone of these to my set up. I am currently trying to find info about skimmers that will fit into the tank..my wife is buying the tank for my christmas present so I have got loads of time to research everything and get it right. You guys have been really helpful. I think im really starting to get an idea of what I am doing now...Im heading off to a couple of local marine shops today so I can have a good look at what stock they keep and get an idea of prices for different bits and pieces.

With regards to the uv can I keep this in one of the filter chambers at the back of the tank or will it need to be in the main tank?

Heres a link to a forum with some good pics of the tank I am getting.

http://www.ultimatereef.net/forums/showthread.php?t=233497&page=2

Thanks so much for the help and support so far guys...really does make this new world of fihkeeping a lot less daunting!!


Re: Setting up new micro reef tank...advice is appreciated
Posted on: 15/11/2008 23:29
Joined:
14/11/2008 0:14
From: Lanarkshire
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Well my wife has just bought my tank after my day out in a couple of different shops that sell aquariums. I did have my heart set on the interpet river reef but I came across the Betta lifespace nano. Its very similar in looks to the interpet but.....it has a protein skimmer and uv unit as part of the filtration system and according to the Marine expert in the shop I bought it from I should not need to change any of the filter media as this tank comes with filter medias that are good for marine use. The only downside is that it only holds 90l instead of 94 (not a biggie) but I weighed that up against having the skimmer and uv unit and it was a no brainer, Stangely the set up does not come with a heater though!

Now I just need to convince the wife that filling the tank and poss adding live rock does not mean I'm getting my pressie early


Re: Setting up new micro reef tank...advice is appreciated
Posted on: 15/11/2008 23:37
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10/8/2008 20:59
From: Pembrokeshire
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i seen that tank in my lfs the other day cool little tank its got a good skimmer on it strange u dont get a heater.

what media did u get with it?

no filling it with water is defo not getting ur pressie early lol..

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Re: Setting up new micro reef tank...advice is appreciated
Posted on: 15/11/2008 23:48
Joined:
14/11/2008 0:14
From: Lanarkshire
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Posts: 25
This is going to sound terrible but I dont know exactly what kind of media is in it...It has the coarse sponge in the first chamber, the second chamber has 3 individual baskets that lift out. The first has the little ceramic rings, the second looks kinda like broken coral (whitish in colour) and the third has lumps of a reddy orange rock that looks porous! I know im a newb and I should have asked exactly what it was but I expected it to be in the manual but I found the manual to be a 2 page leaflet that didn' really go into any kind of detail.

Thought the price was great though it cost 225 for the full set up including the stand and a 25 livestock voucher!

Will def need to start some kind of poll to show my wife to convince her that until the first fish is added its not really a present lol


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