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Thread: New Saltwater Tank HELP!

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    incspir's Avatar
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    New Saltwater Tank HELP!

    Hey guys! I noticed that nobody's posted here for a while but I'll give this a shot anyway. So it's been a while since I've been on Terraforums; a move down south to Georgia and a job change and all sort of whisked me away for a while from some of the pleasantries of life...But good news!! Yesterday a friend of mine gave me this big old 80+ gallon tank that was sitting in the back of the warehouse where he works. I loaded it up into a van and brought it home and to my surprise I discover that it is a complete saltwater tank setup, complete with sump tank, protein skimmer, etc!!!!! SUPER EXCITED! But also mostly clueless as to the finer points of how marine tanks are meant to be set up and run. I did a research marathon last night (and ended up sleeping through my alarm and almost arriving late to work, but that's another story...) and figured out what I think are most of the basic first steps to getting my new tank up and running. So far I've got the tank full of RO water (still needs the salt) and I'm looking now for some live rock and discovered that's it's much more expensive than I imagined. Anybody got some to spare?So once that and the sand get installed, I understand I run the tank without light until ammonia content is down to zero....and that's about as far as I got. Can anyone point me in the right direction or show me something I can read that'll help me along with this project? I gotta say I am super excited to have saved a ton of money on the setup, but I confess I am still on a pretty tight budget, so as regards purchases I will always need the "budget option". THANKS GUYS!

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    Admin- I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az. adnedarn's Avatar
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    I have a newer build- and details are in it with photos. I used dry rock from bulkreefsupply.com then picked up just a few pieces of live rock to seed the tank.
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    incspir's Avatar
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    Ok, so will the live rock turn the dry rock into live rock then? And thanks!

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    Admin- I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az. adnedarn's Avatar
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    Yes it will. If you are looking for a lot of random creatures in your tank.. the more live rock the better. I was looking to set up a fairly clean tank where I could control what goes into it (there are quite a few pests that come in on live rock) so I picked a few pieces and watched them in a quarantine tank for a while before deciding they were clean enough to go into the display tank. What you are seeding is all the good bacteria that eats up the bad stuff like fish poop. My tank how has coraline algae popping up all over the place, so you can use that as an example from when I started the tank and such from my topic on how long it took to go that far using only a few pieces of live rock.
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    Axelrod12's Avatar
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    There's a couple marine specific forums out there with tons of info even if you don't join up and participate. I never got around to setting up my reef tank but did tons of planning, research, and even some building towards it. Those forums were a huge resource at that time. Reef Central was a huge one but there may be a lot of coral specific stuff there. Decide if you are doing fish only with live rock (FOWLR) or reef (with corals) that will help you determine your need for equipment and possibly how you set up your sump. Listing the specific equipment that came with the tank will help as well and maybe pics of the sump setup if you can?

    Bringing the ammonia down to 0 and keeping it there is definitely the first step. That is the symptom of your nitrogen cycle completing and a sign that you have a nice colony of beneficial nitrifying bacteria in your tank. Make sure there are no nitrites either though. Its a step step breakdown, ammonia -> nitrite -> nitrate, which then is removed through water changes and maybe the skimmer? That's something specific to salt I'm less familiar with.

    I'll probably mostly let the experienced people comment from here on, I know there's at least a couple on the forum, but I figured that may be a good starting point.

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    BS Bulldozer SubRosa's Avatar
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    BRS and MarcoRocks are both very good sources of dry rock and sand. I have A LOT of dry live rock sitting around, but most of it is of Tongan origin (Tonga rock has unique and very useful shapes and is no longer available) and frankly I wouldn't sell it and ship it to you for what those places can. There is an even cheaper way if you're willing to do the work. Rock can be made from a mix of aragonite and portland cement. Your proximity to FL makes cheap aragonite easily available as building sand in FL is usually aragonite. It is a laborious and time consuming process, but if you have more time than money it could be worth it. Just Google "aragocrete" for the instructions of the process. Do you know what skimmer came with the tank? A skimmer is the heart of the mechanical side of a reef tank, and a poor skimmer will give poor results, particularly with a newbie who will likely find it difficult to control the impulse of adding "just one more fish". It's no place to skimp, even if you are on a budget. I'm a lifelong aquarist and set up and maintain aquaria for a living, and would be happy to answer any questions you throw my way.
    Judge not lest ye be judged creates a cesspool. Judge others and prepare to be judged by them.
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    incspir's Avatar
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    OK, thank you so much guys. Everything said above is a big help!

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