I have just pruchased and setup an Orca 450 tank. Im completly new to marine fish keeping, although I have kept tropicals before. I can see that a lot of people have this tank already and basically my question is that ive noticed that the main pump supplied (below the filter) which also supplies the protein skimmer makes quite a bit of noise. It almost sounds like if you were to tap it it would stop, kind of like a rattle. Ive stripped it down as much as i can but this pump is fixed in place. I was wondering if anyone else has experianced this or if its just my tank thats doing it. I spoke with the place where I got it from and they said it should be silent? My next question is can I turn that pump off over night as its in my bedroom so I can get a good nights sleep, I have a seperate pump on the spray bar which provides all of the water movement necessary. I would happily just put it on a timer so its off even just for the hours that im likely to be going to sleep, say from 10.30 till half 2 ish? Is this likely to cause me problems?
My next question is that ive got a marine test kit for water paramaters and I notice that it tells you what to do in certain situations if a reading is over, but not under. I was wondering if someone could tell me what my water paramaters should be and what to do if one is either up or down accordingly. Ive read a few books and loads of different web sites and all seem to give different advice?
Hi, sorry for the delay in answering...welcome to the site
Sounds as if the pump has an air lock and boy that can be noisy. A hard knock, or rock it from side to side for a while, will loosen the air bubbles and they will go. It should then run quietly. I don't turn our pumps off. You can for a while, but to be honest I would wait and see how it sounds without the air lock in it first.
Usual test results:
SG (using a hydrometer) should be 1.021-1.024. If it is too low you need to take out a sample of water add marine salt to it and pour back in. Retest until the level rises. If too high, you remove some of the tank water and add plain RO water to bring the SG back down.
Ammonia should always be zero Nitrite should be zero to 0.1 max Nitrate should be zero to 20 max. Phosphate should be always less than 1.0, (zero ideally)
Any of above that is too high, would normally be corrected by a 20% water change daily until safe levels have been reached.
Phosphate levels of over 1.0 can cause unsightly amounts of algae growth so best to keep it to a minumum.
Calcium should fall between 400-450 ppm. You can buy calcium buffer to add to the tank to raise the level. You can buy marine salt with boosted calcium so you do not ave to buffer it.
Ph should be 8.1-8.3. Tanks rarely go over 8.3 but can drop lower. You can buy a PH buffer to raise the levels.
What are you planning to keep and how far have you got with eg adding live rock if you are going to? Can we assume you are using RO water and not tap water?
We can talk you through your set up if you need us to
Thanks for the response. Well I had got to the stage of adding all my live rock and also live sand. The water was RO water which was matured for about 2 weeks. To my horror ysterday though I got a call from my flatmate who told me there was water all ofver my floor... Basically I had the tank from display in my local shop as they had sold out and they had attached a pump to the spray bar at the top. Tey had not used a large enough peice of hose to attachthis and it had slipped off and covered my floor. It burnt all the sockets out. Now im waiting for them to call me back to see about a refund (as they cant get any more for 6 weeks), I should have news today. They said they are getting a slightly larger nano in later this week which is about an extra 10 litlres I beleive but I dont know which one it is. I have kept my water (whats left of it) in buckets and my live rock is at the shop so I will keep you updated with the progress.
Stock wise when I eventually get to that stage I was thinking a cleaner shrimp 2-3 hermits and 2-3 turbo snails, possibly 1 or 3 normaly crabs fo clean up crew. I want a pair of clows and a goby and shirmp and after that im undecided on the rest. My understanding is once everything is set up properly I aught to be able to get 4-5 fish in there, of couse that is the smaller tank so if I have the bigger then im guessing maybe 1 more? I had about £50 worth of live rock in there and there was also fragments of rock filled in the far left compartment under where the additional pump goes.
I was planning on keeping some kind of blog to record my progress with the tank, not only for me but also for anyone else who might be looking to create a setup from beginner level. I notice a few people have done this already...
I did take a picture of the tank setup as I had it,
Sorry to hear about your disaster!! I have the Orca myself. You really should only have 3 fish in this size tank and after it matures for about another 3-4 months you could add a fourth as long as you pick the right species. Your pretty much spot on with your clean up crew though. There is a thread posted by the dragon lord and is now a 'sticky' on the nano specific forum that suggests possible stocking for this tank. I have a fair bit of live rock (about 9kg) and my coral collection is growing and there is a nice environment for my fish.
Im hoping to collect my new tank today or tomorrow so I will need to start all over again with maturing my filters and letting my live rock sellte in etc. I still have whats left of the water so hopeflly that should still be ok,
I will keep you posted with my progress.
One of the local fish shops had 1 of these setup with about 5 or 5 sea horses, a couple of clowns and also some very strange pipe thing that swims around?
Is this a bit over stocked? I like the idea of having a sea horse but I understand they are quite hard to look after? The guy in the shop said they can be mixed with things which move slowly? Would a clown and a goby be ok with a sea horse?
Hmmm...sounds a little overstocked to me. My fish store told me I could keep 6 small fish in my orca and that sounded far too much to me. I'm settling for 3 for the time being, maybe a fourth sometime down the line. It's probably best not to mix the seahorses with too many other species. They are slow feeders, and find it hard to compete for food. I've been advised in the past on this site to stay away from seahorses unless you want to keep them as a specimen tank.
the clown and gobies would be fine. I am personally very against sea horses. They need very peaceful environments and do not do very well in captivity. The way they are live caught and shipped over is horrible in my opinion so I won't buy them. We tried a pair when we first set our tank up but they didn't last long. My husband wanted one for our more peaceful nano tank but I have put him off so far.
I got my tank with a small layer of live sand in the bottom, but I wanted more so I purchased a bag of it which was 2kilos i think. it was 22.99 anyway which seemes to be fairly standard which has given me about 2inches of substrate.
Im not sure if this is a bit of overkill but i think it looks good and provides plenty of sand for filtration and space for things to burry in.