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raoul duke
09-26-2012, 05:22 PM
Hi, Converting my 180 gallon freshwater tank to my first saltwater setup, did my homework, came up with a plan.
This is all new to me so I just need somebody to make sure the steps sound logical.

1.Remove all existing livestock, decor, substrate etc, drain and clean tank to eliminate any colonies of freshwater bacteria.

2. Remove existing media from my fluval fx5 canister filter, clean and dry it, replace with all new media (floss, inert porcelein, carbon maybe?) Is it a good idea to keep the mechanical filtration at all?

3. Install sump, skimmer, return pump, powerheads

4. Fill tank, mix salt, start up all the equipment, check consistency of temp, gravity, etc.

5. Add 1 pound of live rock per gallon (or a mixture of live and base rock to be seeded?) and a liquid bacterial starter (whats that stuff called again?)

6. If everything's cool after a week or two, start by adding one or two hardy, inexpensive fish (Chromis or Damsels)

7. start thinking about upgrading lights etc., adding LPS down the road in the future

Does this make sense? I Should be able to complete 1-5 over a couple of days yes?

Thanks

Skimmer King
09-26-2012, 06:01 PM
Hi, Converting my 180 gallon freshwater tank to my first saltwater setup, did my homework, came up with a plan.
This is all new to me so I just need somebody to make sure the steps sound logical.

1.Remove all existing livestock, decor, substrate etc, drain and clean tank to eliminate any colonies of freshwater bacteria.

2. Remove existing media from my fluval fx5 canister filter, clean and dry it, replace with all new media (floss, inert porcelein, carbon maybe?) Is it a good idea to keep the mechanical filtration at all?

3. Install sump, skimmer, return pump, powerheads

4. Fill tank, mix salt, start up all the equipment, check consistency of temp, gravity, etc.

5. Add 1 pound of live rock per gallon (or a mixture of live and base rock to be seeded?) and a liquid bacterial starter (whats that stuff called again?)

6. If everything's cool after a week or two, start by adding one or two hardy, inexpensive fish (Chromis or Damsels)

7. start thinking about upgrading lights etc., adding LPS down the road in the future

Does this make sense? I Should be able to complete 1-5 over a couple of days yes?

Thanks
looks good to me however why add a fish do it the natural way with some food and let it take it course over a couple of weeks or more. DONT RUSH ANYTHING. SKIP 6 FOR NOW and you dont always have to have 1 pound for 1 x gallon. For a FO system you can have a powerful skimmer to handle the crap in the tank. and a good UV or OZONE will work too. but remember with a OZONE it will convert AMMONIA to NITRITES fast ,but then you are stuck with NITRATES and they can build up fast,

But dont get me wrong rock is good to have for later down the road.

Skimmer King
09-26-2012, 06:04 PM
is Duke your real last name.

sphelps
09-26-2012, 06:07 PM
More details on #3 is key. Is the tank drilled? What size sump, skimmer, return pump, and so on. The canister filter is not likely needed, I know I wouldn't use it as it's more trouble than it's worth.

Depending on what rock you use it will take sometime to cycle the tank, we don't like to use fish for this process around here :)

Skimmer King
09-26-2012, 06:14 PM
More details on #3 is key. Is the tank drilled? What size sump, skimmer, return pump, and so on. The canister filter is not likely needed, I know I wouldn't use it as it's more trouble than it's worth.

Depending on what rock you use it will take sometime to cycle the tank, we don't like to use fish for this process around here :)


thanks Steve

raoul duke
09-26-2012, 06:14 PM
Thanks for the input so far, I'll take it into consideration and just progress with baby steps.

is Duke your real last name.

:No it's actually Gonzo... Dr. Gonzo to be exact! LOL

Myka
09-26-2012, 08:59 PM
2. Remove existing media from my fluval fx5 canister filter, clean and dry it, replace with all new media (floss, inert porcelein, carbon maybe?) Is it a good idea to keep the mechanical filtration at all?

I would not use the FX5 at all. Since you will have a sump and skimmer you will have all the filtration you need right there. The biggest filtration lesson to learn when moving from freshwater to saltwater is that in freshwater you want tonnes of biological filtration to process ammonia asap, and in saltwater you want to remove the organics before they breakdown into ammonia. That means you're best off with no biological filtration (other than the live rock). The only time a person would want biological filtration is when tanks are set up with no live rock (like fish only systems with plastic decorations).

3. Install sump, skimmer, return pump, powerheadsWhich skimmer/model are you looking at buying? For your fish marine tank, I would suggest you buy a good quality skimmer as this will really help you out by removing organics before they breakdown. I've seen many newbies get frustrated by algae issues and leave the hobby when a good quality skimmer (and a PhosBan reactor) could have made a big difference for them. The difference between a poor skimmer and an ok skimmer is little. The difference between a good skimmer and a great skimmer is also little. The difference between a poor/ok skimmer and a good/great skimmer is HUGE.

Return pump optimal flow is 6.1x the entire volume of water. This means that 99+% of the systems' volume will pass through the sump in 24 hours. Flow through the sump faster than about 10x will often cause microbubbles from the skimmer to make it into the display tank which is unsightly and can irritate corals.

Powerhead flow varies by what types of animals you want to keep, and is calculated by the display tank volume only (don't include sump volume). Fish only around 10x turnover, softies and LPS 10-25x turnover, and SPS 25-100+ times turnover. This is just a rough guide to help you out.

Consider adding a couple filter socks that you change out 1-2 times per week that will help polish the water. They are machine washable (no soap, just use hot water/bleach/baking soda if you want), and last several years. They need to be changed often as mentioned or they will become biological media.

Also consider starting right off the bat (after the cycle is over) with a PhosBan reactor and some GFO (granular ferric oxide). GFO absorbs phosphate which is one of the main fuels for algae (nitrate also fuels algae). A GFO setup is relatively cheap, and the benefits are great. Choosing a compatible and appropriate algae eating fish to your stocking plans is also a wise idea.

4. Fill tank, mix salt, start up all the equipment, check consistency of temp, gravity, etc.I would suggest you buy a refractometer (not a hydrometer which is notoriously inaccurate) and calibration solution (which is cheap). I have had some poor calibration come from using distilled water.

5. Add 1 pound of live rock per gallon (or a mixture of live and base rock to be seeded?) and a liquid bacterial starter (whats that stuff called again?)I think if you start with 0.5-0.75 pounds per gallon that might be a better place to start from. You can always add a bit more if you choose. When you place the rock, place it on the bottom glass, and set the sand around it so that digging fish can't undermine the rock and cause an avalanche (potentially break the glass too!). Try to keep the rock off the side and back glass panes as this helps you get much better flow in the tank (poor flow = algae troubles often). Don't worry about bacteria starters...the rock you just bought has all the bacteria you will need.

I don't like base rock (often full of phosphate, often poor density). All that money you just saved by buying 0.5 lbs/gal means you don't have to buy base rock anymore! :p

6. If everything's cool after a week or two, start by adding one or two hardy, inexpensive fish (Chromis or Damsels)Absolutely not. If you buy used rock from another reefer it will be much cheaper and your tank will cycle much faster, but you may inherit many troubles (algae, Aiptasia, Majano, crabs, etc). If you buy "new" rock from the LFS it may take quite a bit longer to cycle if the rock is really fresh (which is actually good). Be prepared that it may take 4-6 weeks to cycle the tank.

Do not add any livestock to the tank until ammonia is undetectable for at least a few days, better to wait a week. Nitrite is not toxic in saltwater like it is in freshwater, so it is not important, but to be on the safe side, you could wait until nitrite is also undetectable. You should also do a 20-25% waterchange once the cycle is complete before adding livestock. After the waterchange, re-test ammonia to double check. The API kit is cheap and works well.

I suggest you leave the lights off until the cycle is complete and do large waterchanges (50% if needed) if ammonia gets above 1-2 ppm since this will kill off a bunch of cool critters on the rock, and will also prolong cycling if ammonia gets up real high. Salt gets pricey though, so it's perfectly fine to not do any waterchanges until after the cycle is complete.

Does this make sense? I Should be able to complete 1-5 over a couple of days yes?Steps 1-5 can be made as quickly as you want/can do. Step 6 will take the most time, and you will need a lot of patience. If you don't have the patience to wait for the cycle to complete before adding livestock, then saltwater aquaria is not the hobby for you! :p

mrhasan
09-26-2012, 09:11 PM
And no damsel as your first fish :P 180 is a way too big to catch a damsel (and there's a very high probability that you will have to catch it if you add it as your first fish)

Myka
09-26-2012, 09:16 PM
And no damsel as your first fish :P 180 is a way too big to catch a damsel (and there's a very high probability that you will have to catch it if you add it as your first fish)

HAHAHAHA!!!! This is great advice! Most Damsels (and Chromis too) become quite territorial little jerks when they mature. Sometimes to the point of killing all new fish! You need to be careful with Clownfish too (they are Damsels after all) as there are many species that are very aggressive!

mrhasan
09-26-2012, 09:21 PM
HAHAHAHA!!!! This is great advice! Most Damsels (and Chromis too) become quite territorial little jerks when they mature. Sometimes to the point of killing all new fish! You need to be careful with Clownfish too (they are Damsels after all) as there are many species that are very aggressive!

Chromis are quite peaceful as far as I know but still caution should be applied. Marine fishes have many undiscovered personalities :P But yes clowns, particularly those maroons (which people are more tempted to buy) can take over a tank in a matter of few days. I think if anyone wants to add clown as their first fish (now that nemo 3D is here :P), percula or ocellaris could be considered. I added mine in a 20 gallon tank as the first fish and all the other fishes (fire and sixline) are like buddies and they sometimes swims together (other than the fire which is just too lazy to swim :P)

Flash
09-26-2012, 09:22 PM
don't rush, go slow, read lots and have fun! i just set-up a 6' 135gl across from my 90gl (the 135 was from my boss) just like everyone else i'm in tank set-up mode! all the rock was cured (half mine, half his as i liked some of mine better!) the tank had live stock in it, but i took it to my LFS as i knew the tank wouldn't be ready for fish again for a while. There are a few hermit crabs and snails that lived through the move on the rock and they are doing just fine! I have the skimmer in, but not turned on as I won't need it for a while, rock and filter floss in my sump and it's looking really good! But patience is the most important part for it to be done right! The only thing I added to my water was my normal prime and a little bit of stability as I added a bunch new water. I try and keep additives out as much as possible!

A refractometer I say is a must in this hobby! don't use the thermometer stickers, actually get a in tank thermometer! Filter socks are a great idea! trying to figure out how to make them work on my end!

I have about 150lbs of rock in my display tank, and about 40lbs in my sump!

Everyone does things differently, so you best bet is to read as much as possible and find out what will work best for you and what you want to do with the tank in the long run!

mrhasan
09-26-2012, 09:26 PM
don't rush, go slow, read lots and have fun! i just
A refractometer I say is a must in this hobby! don't use the thermometer stickers, actually get a in tank thermometer! Filter socks are a great idea! trying to figure out how to make them work on my end!


Sticker thermometers are the worst piece of "thing" in any aquarium! I don't know why it is still in the market. Glass and water can practically never reach thermal equilibrium, a.k.a that thing will always show glass temperature (which is going to be lower theoretically) and not the water temperature.

Flash
09-26-2012, 09:32 PM
yup, super dumb.... i like things that are acurate! i have two floating one in sump and one in tank!

mrhasan
09-26-2012, 09:41 PM
yup, super dumb.... i like things that are acurate! i have two floating one in sump and one in tank!

Reefers say hydrometers are the worst equipment ever. They should give the stickers a try ;)

Flash
09-26-2012, 10:34 PM
i say they tie!!

mrhasan
09-27-2012, 06:32 AM
i say they tie!!

Not really. Hydros do give good reading after washing them with vinegar :P

gregzz4
09-27-2012, 08:09 AM
Not really. Hydros do give good reading after washing them with vinegar :P
I'll have some of what he's having please
Especially since it may become legal soon ....

raoul duke ...

There's been some really good advice sent your way in this thread
I hope it helps you ...

mrhasan
09-27-2012, 08:26 AM
I'll have some of what he's having please
Especially since it may become legal soon ....

raoul duke ...

There's been some really good advice sent your way in this thread
I hope it helps you ...

Come on that was rude :surprise: Hydrometers do give "quite" accurate reading but not always of course (I missed that). I stopped using mine after getting the refrac but I did cross refer once and they matched. Just to double check whether my refrac is out or not, I took it to LFS and they found out that its calibrated. :lol:

And ofcourse you will have to agree that sticker thermometers are totally useless while hydros do hold some degree of accuracy, at least for the start.

gregzz4
09-27-2012, 08:54 AM
That wasn't meant to be rude in any way :wink:

Hydros are notoriously fallible

I was only pointing out the fact that IF you are relying on a hydrometer you are asking for trouble and most reefers would tell you that using one is crazy .... :smile:

gregzz4
09-27-2012, 10:01 AM
Hydrometers do give "quite" accurate reading but not always of course (I missed that). I stopped using mine after getting the refrac
So are you saying hydrometers are "quite" accurate, or are they "but not always of course" ??

Refractometers are the only reliable way to read Specific Gravity that I will use ......

mrhasan
09-27-2012, 04:07 PM
So are you saying hydrometers are "quite" accurate, or inconvenience y "but not always of course" ??

Refractometers are the only reliable way to read Specific Gravity that I will use ......

Nop I personally use refrac since I had bad experience with hydro. I was just bringing in a comparison between hydro and sticker thermometer thats it :p

This is the power of misunderstanding I guess :p sorry for the inconvenience. :redface:

raoul duke
09-27-2012, 05:45 PM
Wow, quite an earfull of info here. Thanks all. I've already recieved several pms regarding my WTB equipment ad, and it looks like some of the members are going to hook me up pretty well. I guess if the consensus is that I don't need the FX5 at all, I'll be putting an ad up to get rid of it!