View Full Version : My noob tank thread.

09-10-2015, 03:56 AM
Set up this tank a week or so ago.
Dropped in a piece of live rock and all the live parts are really alive. Tons of stuff comes out when I turn the pumps off. There were even two crabs. Can't really ID the one cause he's always hiding but he looks quite different from the green guy and he even molted yesterday (at first I thought I had a dead crab). There's even a mushroom that still seems to be doing rather well. He puffs up quite big when the lights are on and the water is flowing. I've been ghost feeding and monitoring all the variables associated with the API salt water and reef master kits daily. (And plotting the data in Excel because science) After more than a week ammonia, nitrite and nitrates are all still zero. Phosphate was super high the first two days but is now down to 0.25. Salinity is a bit low at 1.021, but water changes have slowly been bringing it up. The pretty red algae on the live rock seems to be spreading and I think I even saw a baby starfish once... Not to mention a ridiculous amount of serpent stars and tons of weird things I have no idea about. I never thought staring at a rock could be so much fun. My girlfriend thinks I've gone crazy. When will this ammonia spike happen? I'm under a lot of pressure to add fish but I really don't want to hurt them. I'm really quite concerned for the crabs and coral too (that I didn't notice till the rock was in the tank). The cycle isn't complete till I get nitrate starting to rise right? And the only way to get that out is water changes? This hobby is truly a test of patience.




09-12-2015, 01:42 AM
Finally got a pic of the elusive molter. He's got some weird pimply looking white spots on him... How bad is that? His claws don't look very sharp and I've only ever seen him eating algae,but if anyone could ID him from this terrible pic that would be super.


09-12-2015, 03:06 AM
Based on the pic, I'd guess it's a crab. :)

09-12-2015, 07:48 AM
When will this ammonia spike happen? The cycle isn't complete till I get nitrate starting to rise right? And the only way to get that out is water changes?

The ammonia spike will happen when it happens. Not helpful I know, but like you said, patience. Your cycle will be complete after your nitrates drop after they peak, which will happen once you have enough bacteria growth. Again, every tank is different, so times will vary. Water changes will only help remove nitrates a bit, not much I'm afraid. You really need to give the bacteria time to populate. You can help the cycle along by dosing MicroBacter7, or something similar. Wait for your nitrates to drop below 25ppm before adding any fish, and even then, add fish slowly. I made the mistake of adding too many fish too quickly and my nitrates shot up. Sensitive corals can be added once it drops to 5ppm, roughly. Prepare yourself for some bad algae growth, with phosphates around 0.25.

Give us some more info on your set-up. Sump? Equipment, etc, and start a photobucket or flikr account to post pics.

09-12-2015, 08:05 PM
It's a 46 gallon bowfront... Possibly 36... Honestly don't remember...
The "sump" at this point is just a ten gallon with a skimmer and filter. Haven't turned on the filter yet though. The plan is to put a hole in the wall and then build a proper sump on the other side to keep the water level stable for the skimmer. It's a crappy 70$ sea clone so that might require an upgrade. I also need to get real lights too and I'm leaning towards LESs...

09-12-2015, 08:22 PM
What kind of 'filter'? I'd get it running now, none the less... get it populated with bacteria.

09-12-2015, 09:01 PM
Okay thanks! I'll take that advice.
It was also kinda cheap. Fluval was the brand I believe. Bought it a long time ago from petsmart. It has a basic filter, a carbon pad and some weird pellet things that I'm not overly sure about. I'm a chemist so I like to fully understand what I'm doing before I do it... Especially where living creatures are involved.

09-12-2015, 09:54 PM
Your setup may sound cheap and basic, but you have everything you need for a FOWLR or soft coral tank, which is a great starting point for anybody entering the hobby. Once your cycle is complete you may also be able to add some LPS and even the 'easier' SPS. Just remember the basics: A healthy population of bacteria, nitrate/phosphate removal, aeration, decent skimming, adequate flow in the tank, good lighting, and a dedicated water change schedule. If you are still enjoying it several months from now, you can start adding fancier hardware, depending on your stocking requirements... and take it slow, nothing good happens fast in this hobby.

Read through members tank journals. Lots of good ideas and plenty of learning from others mistakes.

09-16-2015, 03:33 AM
The other crab just molted so I can't be doing everything wrong... Ammonia and nitrites are still zero (but I missed two days of testing) and it looks like nitrates may be going up... Looks like 1ppm, but possibly just an unclean test tube so we'll see in another few days. Got fancy 3 stage lights hooked up and the mushroom seems to be enjoying them. He gets all big and purple and floaty during the day and at night he shrinks up and turns green. The skimmer finally started acting like a skimmer too, so that's good. Noticed snail tracks all over the glass and overflow pipes too. Another few weeks and I might have to introduce some fish... Maybe even a zoa if I'm feeling adventurous.

09-17-2015, 10:36 PM
Does anyone know what this is? He looks quite a bit different from the emerald...

09-18-2015, 02:15 AM
He still appears to be Mithrax sp.

09-19-2015, 04:21 PM
Cool thanks!
The claws don't look super threatening so I think they should be friendly.
The tank has been up for almost three weeks now and I haven't seen ammonia or nitrites but the nitrates appear to be rising slowly. The AC got turned off without me knowing and the temp jumped to 81.5 which seemed to start the red algae spreading to the formerly dry rocks and I haven't seen any other colours yet. The crabs are constantly picking at the rocks so they seem to be keeping that under control for now. Thinking of adding snails soon...

09-22-2015, 02:11 AM
Added 5 snails and they quickly got to work... Some green algae started sprouting from the sand in the lower flow areas... Looks kinda like grass. I rather like it. Did a bit of reading and I think I've decided on a neon goby, a clown, a cardinal and a royal gramma. Not sure what the ideal order to add them would be... Probably the clown or gramma first. Likely this weekend after a good water change if the ammonia stays at zero and the nitrates keep slowly rising.

09-28-2015, 11:42 PM
Added two cardinals and a bicolour angel. I think the angel has ick. He's breathing really heavy and has orange spots on his head and along his gills. He just started rubbing against the rocks and he will swim up to the crabs to try and get them to pick at him. I don't have a hospital tank... Would neon gobies help at all or do I just need to medicate the poor guy? I've had him for three days and he just started showing symptoms last night. I feel so bad for him now. He was super happy when I first put him in but I just wish there was something I could do, I'm just worried about making things worse.

09-29-2015, 02:30 AM
There is nothing you can do in-tank to treat ich. Try feeding garlic soaked nori, that often works to increase resistance, but once it's in there, it's there for good unless you remove all the fish for a few months.

09-29-2015, 03:19 AM
Yeah.. sounds like I'll be setting up a hospital tank

10-03-2015, 12:56 AM
I'm starting to think maybe my test kit is broken. Rather embarrassing considering I work for Mars Petcare... I've had three fish in there for a week now and still not even a hint of nitrates. The angel seems rather sick and I'm quite worried about him,but the cardinals are doing fine so that makes me think it's stress related. When he isn't hiding he's flashing and he keeps getting the green emerald to pick at him. I'm starting to think my only option will be to set up a hospital tank and give him some meds once I get a proper diagnosis.

10-03-2015, 01:54 AM
Are you sure the Angel doesn't have Flukes? They are very common in Dwarf angelfish IME. That red algae, can you blow it off the rocks easily with a turkey baster or is it stuck on the rocks real well?