I am wanting to get maybe 20-25 pounds of live rock (hopefully Figi)
30-35 pounds of white marine sand (not live)
I will use my 20 watt fluorescent light for now (after I get all this I will save for a real nice 150 watt light
My questions after more study are these:
1 Will I in the future be able to add maybe a small 2 inch Scooter Blenny? I'm talking maybe 7-8 months down the road after all of the above has already been added.
2 Is my Penguin 350 power filter even worth a thing? I'm not sure what good it will be doing. It just has the bio-wheels and the 2 filter cartridges that just have black diamond carbon in it. I am hoping to get a protein skimmer whether or not my filter will be doing anything. I am also curious if maybe I heard wrong or if you can put some live rock in the filter instead of the filter cartridges. Not sure how that will benefit me or if it does anything at all, but if it's better than the filter cartridges I will do it.
3 Which is more important, a protein skimmer or a high wattage light strip (150 wattage area)?
4 Is my tank at a healthy stocking level? Or, can I add more to this tank (in terms of small fish), but that would put me at an unhealthy level and make me more prone to problems involving my bio-load? I'm fine with what I have, but am curious if it's at a good healthy level.
5 Could I feed this tank small feeder Guppies? Or will the Guppy die real fast? Would the BCS go for any of the Guppies I'd add some Mysis shrimp or something else for the crabs and snails to get to. I could buy a bunch of feeder guppies and add them to my 55 gallon freshwater tank and house them there temporarily until I fed them to the saltwater tank.
6 Just clarifying, will my live rock be fine just being under 20 watts of light? It doesn't recquire any specific requirements right?
7 After I add the marine sand and mix in the salt, I will add the live rock and I'm not sure how long I should let the tank cycle like that before I add some snails and hermits. I'm figuring that I will give it 2-3 weeks of cycling with just the sand, live rock, and of course the salt.
The tank has been running with the filter and heater on for about a week and a half now so obviously the chlorine is out of the water.
Please tell me if any of this seems out of order, or if I should change something
What I will hopefully do, in order is this:
buy the 30-35 pounds of marine sand, buy a background and a large amount of sea salt
add the sand, add the background, and mix the salt to the water already in the tank
Next visit buy about 7-10 pounds of live rock (buy a few snails and hermits)
Give it about a week or more and buy about 10-15 pounds of live rock and the Banded Coral Shrimp
Give it a while and then buy the Purple Firefish and the rest of the snails, hermits, and Emerald crabs. If I want more, buy more live rock.
Give it a while and buy the Green Banded Goby
Give it a while and buy an Ocellaris Clownfish pair (or buy 2 of equal size and add at the same time)
save up and buy either a protein skimmer or the 150 watt light (whichever should be purchased sooner)
buy whichever should be added later when I have saved enough for it.
Does that sound good? The only thing I can see wrong with it is maybe add the Goby with the rest of the snails, hermits, and Emerald Crabs instead of the firefish and then buy him a little while later.
I'm not sure if this is true or not but I've READ that you should put rock in first because:
1. It will be easier to get any dieoff off easier.
2. I've read that putting LR on top of the sand can create deadspots. Anerobic (can survive without air) bacteria forms and creates some kind of gas. I don't remeber what gas, but it said it is HIGHLY toxic to fish.
Like mentioned above, I'm not sure if it's true or not, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.Also, is the rock going to be cured all ready??? If not, then you will have to cycle the tank again, OR cure the rock seperatly. Heres my suggestion:
1. Get all LR you are going to use and set in tank. (Add background whenever.)
2. IF it is CURED go ahead and put sand in. IF it is UNCURED, wait so dieoff will be easier to clean. THEN later on add sand once dieoff has ceased.
3. After done cycling, start adding fish over time and enjoy!
Questions. 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 I will leave to the expert.
7. All ready stated my opinion.
8. I would say you need a skimmer most. Although your current fixture won't show off the fish, a skimmer will help keep water quality up. Even IF you ARE planning to get corals, you wouldn't be getting them for about 9-18 months. Since corals need matured tanks. Both would be nice, but I would try to get a good skimmer first. _________________ If at first you don't succeed... skydiving is not for you.
First your stock. I would reconsider the CBS and, perhaps, the emerald crabs in such a small tank. See those big pincers, they are for catching prey. They are opportunistic feeders and anything in the tank will be at risk if they happen to get to close at the wrong time. If you want colourful inverts consider Skunk cleaner/sexy/blood/peppermint shrimp and crabs with small scavenging pincers. Some of you other stock choices I'll leave up to someone with more insight.
Next the skimmer/light issue. Add the skimmer now if you can. The organisms on the L.R. will begin giving off waste right away and you will need to deal with it somehow. The lights can be added down the road when it's coral time. The L.R. does not need special lighting.
The power filter. Disable the biowheels and clean the filter cartridges weekly/biweekly as per the article previously linked. I don't know how those cartridges stand up to constant cleaning (I like the sponges in the Aquaclear models for that reason). There's really no point putting L.R. in the filter if you have L.R. in the tank although you could put carbon/phosphate pouches in if you like that sort of thing.
Adding rock. A.C. is right, add all your rock at once. Even if you buy cured rock later (unless you are very careful transporting) you will have some die off and start a mini cycle. In such a small tank maintaining good water parameters (even with a skimmer and water changes) will be your biggest challenge.
My course of action:
Turn on skimmer and filters
wait a month or so...
Test water parameters
Add clean up crews
Add hardy fish and corals
Add remaining fish and corals
Hope this helps,
Don't forget the pictures! _________________ Intelligence is not having all the answers; it's knowing how to think!
Thanks for the wonderful help Dale and AquariumChicky. I still think I will stick to my stocking plan even though I am aware of my decision. I think I will only buy 1 Emerald crab and for the Hermits I will try and get a bunch of different types. The CBS is a tough choice though. That is the only thing I am still considering. Answering these questions will help my choice. Is it true that the female can become twice the size of a male? Isn't it more the larger specimens that actually catch fish? If those are what I'm thinking then I will get a male.
My other question is for Dale: I have an Aquaclear 500 on my 55 gallon planted tank. If I switched the filters and put the Penguin 350 onto the 55 gallon tank and the Aquaclear 500 on the saltwater tank, would I need to alter the Aquaclear filter? And would you reccommend the Aquaclear filter on this saltwater tank?
About the CBS,
For a long time now I have kept overt predatory species out of all of my tanks (F.W. & S.W.) so I am a bit biased there. I just don't like my livestock attacking each other. I think, male or female, an opportunistic predator will strike at a viable target relative to its own size so it depends on the other inhabitants I guess. Hopefully someone with more experience can offer more insight.
I really like the A.C. units myself and have quite an assortment of them . They are simple to clean, the sponges stand up to repeated washings and you can add pouches of carbon or other chemical scrubbers quite easily. Just don't put the bio media in it, no other mod's neccisary. If you add floss (as in the article previously linked) you can remove quite a lot of gunk (just remember to clean/remove the floss regularily). The only drawback I've ever encountered is the spillway return, it creates a lot of turbulance. The 500 is a big filter too, so there is lots of flow. Do some experimenting with different ways to deflect or direct the flow to your advantage. Positioned correctly, it will eliminate the need for one powerhead anyways.
The other advantage to the A.C. units is the ability to add on a surface skimmer ($17.99 CAN.) This allows water to be drawn from the surface and removes that oil slick look (There's a pic of this in that article too).
Hope this helps. _________________ Intelligence is not having all the answers; it's knowing how to think!
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