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Thread: Starting up a 30 Hex

  1. #9

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    30 Gallon Hex,
    The problem with hex tanks are the limited amount of surface area and minimal gas exchange. Crank plenty of flow through the tank and make sure the surface has PLENTY of disruption.

    Fluval 104 (temporary fixture)
    A canister? Not good for reeftanks, unless you plan on cleaning it out every other day or so. Remember, your goal is ZERO nitrates...anything above that can start playing havoc with inverts and corals...and anemones, too. I would ditch it altogether.

    300 Watt Thermometer with a 175 on hand for backup
    I would go with the 175W and that's it. You've got a halide over this thing, so that is going to heat things up already. The heater will most likely only come on at night...I wouldn't even bother with a 300W.


    Rio 1400 with a SCWD
    Rio's are risky business. Go to any reefing board and do a search on them. You will most likely find a long list of people who have had them explode on them--and I mean literally, explode (hole blown out the side, oil slick on the surface of the water, an entire reef tank dead). That's also a little low flow for a SCWD. Are you doing a drilless closed loop for this? Is this coming from a sump? I'm having a hard time seeing how well the wave action will do much in the verticalness of a 30 gal hex, especially with such a slow switchover rate from a low gph pump.

    fill it up with RO water
    Better make that RO/DI, unless you're just planning a fish only setup.

    After a few days, I am going to put egg crate on the bottom, but in some dead live rock for base rock, and then fill in around it with a procuct called arag-alive, which is sand packaged wet so the beneficial bacteria are still alive.

    The eggcrate is unnecessary unless you plan on keeping a pistol shrimp or something that's going to dig a labyrinth in the sandbed. How deep is your bed going to be? I would worry more about the rock hitting the SIDE panels of your tank rather than the bottom. Also, Arag-Alive is somewhat of a gimmick...it doesn't quite do or have what people assume 9e.g. it doesn't instantly prepare you for livestock, does little for jump starting your bio filtration, etc.). If regular dry aragonite is available to you, go with that and save a few bucks.

    i am cycling the tank with the live rock, no fish needed in this case.)
    To cycle the tank with LR, you need UNCURED LR...however, you said you were getting cured rock. To cycle with LR, you need to have plenty of die-off: organisms that kick it because they couldn't make the trip from the ocean to the tank. This massive die-off creates the ammonia, etc. that you need for a cycle. If you have cured rock...all that has already happened (some LFS guy may tell you you'll get die-off on the trip from his store to your house...that's pretty much bull. You might...but not enough to affect your tank). If you've got cured rock you can still do a fishless cycling of the tank: just toss a few raw cocktail shrimp in there. They will slowly decay, and all the bristleworms and 'pods will feats on them while the cycle is running its course.

    about twenty dwarf zebra hermits and 3 electric blue crabs, along with some pacific trochus snails. (I am only putting indo-pacific species in the tank.)

    That's a lot of crabs! Keep in mind, zebra hermits pretty much hail from HI, and there are a couple different species. One gets fairly large...and gains an appetite for fish. Even if you don't get this species, I think most zebras tend to get a bit larger than the more commonly available scarlets and blue legs. By electric blue...are you referring to blue hermit crabs? This is just a monstrous number of crabs...and a waste of money unless you plan on feeding them. Clean up crews are to the reefkeeping hobby what pleco's are to goldfish tanks. They can serve a limited purpose, but you still have to take care of them (feed, clean up after, put up with them occasionally killing and molesting corals, snails, etc.). They don't just live off poop and detritus. They will eat your coralline, snails, and whatever they can catch. They are "opportunistic scavengers." Be aware of that when dumping a mess of them into your tank.

    From IPFS.com I will purchas about 100 bucks worth of living sand macro organisms, such as beneficial bristle worms ...which will come for free by the hordes in your liverock...

    sea bunny snails (breed and lay eggs several times daily) a.k.a. lettuce nudibranchs, which have a VERY specialized diet and rarely last more than a handful of months in a captive tank before starving or getting stuck on the intake of a filter or powerhead. Nudibranches naturally have a very short lifespan (these ones around 1 yr)...so you might think twice about it...especially with the hordes of hermits you'll be keeping along with them.

    spaghetti worms, copepods, and so on, this attempt is to make the eco-system in the tank as diverse as possible.
    These will also come on your LR by the droves. Keep in mind, a lot of the maximum diversity notion has been spawned from the DSB fad over the last couple of years...which is now starting to dwindle since people are having meltdowns with their tanks. When you get down to it, the rock and sandbed are sponges for nutrients in the water column. However, rock and bacterial turgor, so the nutrients can be released back into the water. Sand doesn't...so it just accumulates it day after day after day. Eventually it reaches its maximum carrying capacity, and nutrients just overload the system. Nuisance algae, cyano, etc. bombard the tank. The entire system must be ditched and pretty much started with new rock and sand, or at least MAJOR overhauls of it.

    The DSB "gurus" suggest packing the sandbed full of critters so the top layers remain stirred up and so they will help break down detritus. The problem is (and this isn't often mentioned) that these things need to be fed more than just some occasional poop. You need to feed the DSB as well. Also, life within the DSB is fairly cyclical. One population of bacteria may die off, releasing the nutrients they've consumed and bound up within their organic mass back into the water column. Other bactiera may consume this...but eventually that population will die off as well, re-releasing everything back into the water. All the while you're feeding these things, changing out portions of your sandbed, re-introducing populations of critters multiple times a year (which is recommended to have an optimum sandbed)...only to have a fairly unstable environment.

    Another key thing to note is that the heaviest proponents of the DSB and fauna-rich sandbed are those people who primarily deal with sandbed fauna: worms and such. These organisms could care less about nutrient levels. Also, in nearly all of the studies done in the wild regarding areas of heavy sedimenation (e.g. sand) and it absorption and release into the water--there are little to no corals around. Why? Because corals and the like don't appreciate nutrients. DSB's in captive systems rely on anoxic and anaerobic layers (and the associated bacteria) to break down nutrients. This is the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what occurs in the wild. The vast majority of the substrate on a reef proper is extremely aerobic. So why would we want this type sandbed in our tank? That's exactly the question the "gurus" tend to avoid or leave out...and what the people selling sandbed fauna either don't want you to ask...or don't know themselves.

    The best method for removing nutrients is to keep detritus suspened in the water column (via heavy flow) and removed before it can begin to break down (via aggressive skimming). Notice I didn't say decompose...but simply begin to break down.

    Just something to think about before you actually go through with it...

    one thing to remember is that your 'cleaner' crew is more of a positive impact on your eco-system than a negative.
    I would say that a LIMITED cleaner crew is more of a positive impact than a negative. It's still part of your biomass, albeit a relatively small one. Just remember, if you're not feeding them...they'll find something for themselves to eat.

    Then I'll put a very young lion fish in there and wean him off live food, and once he is weaned, and I am sure he will prefer what I feed him to his tank mates, I'll move him over to the 200.
    Very much wishful thinking...and I can assure you that if it can fit into its mouth, it will end up food. All the discipline and weaning in the world can't subdue pure and natural instinct.

  2. #10
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    wow...

    I don't have time to answer everything you have said right now, but will try to get into it later...

    first... the 30 is what i have right now... so it's what i am going with. Second, as I said before, the canister is a temporary filter...

    I know the halide will heat up the water, and the heaters will only come on at night, but it is always a good idea to have a backup heater when running a tank, normally, I would get two smaller ones, but I am jumpstarting this tank on a budget, so both will stay.

    You can cycle a tank with cured liverock, it is a proven known quantity, especially if you use a product such as cycle, which I and my friends, and our local marine aquarium society raves about. Remember, we are setting up SLOWLY here.

    RO water will have to do. I have an RO filter 5 stages with UV which is more than quite a few of my friends use for reef systems, and they are getting by just fine.

    As I think I said, the lion won't go in that tank for weaning purposes until the tank is emptied of it's inhabitants, and they are happy in a larger, or different home. In the absence of other food supplies it will not be easy, but it can be done, the lion will be weaned to accept live food, thousands of people have done it and I have no reason to believe I can not do the same. When I was naieve and thought lions grew slowly, I posted this plan over at wet web media and they said everything about the plan was great, with the exception of the lion fish as the primary inhabitant, now, the inhabitants are a going to be a pair of maroon clowns, so that is taken care of.

    (Oh, and i have good husbandry practices, so yes, as long as that fluval is attatched to the system, I will be cleaning it a couple times a week if not more.
    \"Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: \"Mankind\". Basically, it\'s made up of two separate words - \"mank\" and \"ind\". What do these words mean ? It\'s a mystery, and that\'s why so is mankind.\" ~ Jack Handey

  3. #11

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    Cool. I'm still curious though, what is the purpose of having the Fluval on the system? Water flow? Carbon? You didn't mention a specific purpose for it, and if it's just temporary or serving a very minimal purpose...in my opinion it would just be better left off in the first place.

    You can cycle a tank with cured liverock, it is a proven known quantity,

    I would be interested in seeing your references on this. If by "cycle" you mean ready for introducing inhabitants...then I might agree with you. With cured LR you're already set to go for some inhabitants because the bacteria and organisms are established and ready to go (having made a comeback from the previously occuring cycle). If by "cycle" you mean that it will kick start ammonia, nitrites, etc...then I will tend to disagree with you. As I said before, the die off from the LFS drive to the house isn't going to make any difference in a tank. And as for the use of a cycling product off the shelf, well, I'm just not going to get on the soapbox about how there is nothing beyond sketchy anecdotal evidence that this kind of thing even does much.... It's not going to HURT your tank...but it may not help it much, either. I say save the couple bucks for your clowns and drop $o.13 worth of cocktail shrimp in there.

  4. #12

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    when ever i setup a reef tank i use water and rocks/live sand from my other tanks - but i still let the tank sit for weeks before i add any live animals. a bare tank needs to sit for 6weeks. also a hex tank isn't the greatest style. you have to make sure you get water flow on the top and bottom with hex tanks the water can get stale or to still in the middle to bottom of the tank.

  5. #13

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    *EDIT*

    nevermind.

  6. #14
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    hey guys, I hear ya on the hex not being the ideal situation, but I am on it! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img] I have twenty some odd years of aquarium experience behind me, so I am not approaching this as a total newb.

    Skysdale, you may be right on the saving a couple bucks (now a moot point as I allready have the CYCLE) but the tank will reach it's equilibrium long before any fish and anemones are added, so I think were gonna be ok. I do thank you for your concern. I don't want you to think I am adverse to accepting help, it is just from all my experience and research, I know that this method of starting the tank will work, it has physical evidence backing it up. (Friends experiences.)

    So, since were not really putting anything at risk here, and since I will be driving my liverock home from austin (over an hour away) I think we are both getting what we want here! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]
    \"Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: \"Mankind\". Basically, it\'s made up of two separate words - \"mank\" and \"ind\". What do these words mean ? It\'s a mystery, and that\'s why so is mankind.\" ~ Jack Handey

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