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Beginner Looking for setup advice

Discussion in 'Marine and Reef Chit Chat' started by Rich T, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. Rich T

    Rich T Member

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    Hi All, im looking for advice and exactly what I will need to turn my new tank into a marine tank.
    I bought it with the intention of starting up a freshwater tank but a friend has suggested a far more appealing prospect of setting up a nano marine tank.
    I have kept freshwater fish for many years but I have never tackled marine!

    I recently picked up a Fluval F60 tank (87l/22.5 US GAL):
    http://www.fluvalaquatics.com/ca/product/15105-fresh-aquarium-and-cabinet-set-f60/

    It came with the following accessories:
    Fluval 206 External canister filter
    Fluval 100w Heater
    Fluval LED light system
    http://www.fluvalaquatics.com/ca/pr...nt-full-spectrum-performance-led-strip-light/


    I have upgraded some of the items to improve performance and some things simply for aesthetics:
    The canister filter has been upgraded to a Fluval 306 as I always prefer to over filter and have options if I ever want to upgrade tank. The heater has been replaced with a Hydor 200w External In-Line heater purely to remove clutter from the tank. Unfortunately they dont make any lower power than 200w.


    Now my friends suggestion was to set up a marine nano tank with a pair of clown fish and some clean up crew. Would this be possible with my current setup?

    If I did do this my shopping list so far contains the following:

    Reverse Osmosis Unit with DI
    Live Rock - Quantity?
    Sand - What Type?
    Corals - (Unless my lights are inadequate?)

    Also I found this starter kit, is this good value for whats included? Salts, treatments, tests etc..
    http://www.swelluk.com/tmc-starter-kit/

    My friend did suggest a skimmer wasn't strictly necessary and I would like to keep the tank looking clutter free but I would appreciate thoughts on this.

    I appreciate this a big topic to discuss the many ins and outs of keeping marines and I am off to read through the FAQ's to get up to speed! If nothing else my main aim is for advice in the equipment im likely to need.

    Cheers
    Rich T
     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Your tank hold about 90 litres without rock in and will lose about 20-30 litres of water to the rock, maybe less depending on how much rock you use. This is suitable for a pr of the smaller species of anemonefish (clownfish), but is not suitable for the large species. Smaller species being Amphiprion percula or ocellaris (Nemo look-a-like). Skunk clowns like Amphiprion perideraion, A. sandaracinos & A. nigripes will also be ok.

    Tomatoe clowns (Amphiprion frenatus), Clarkii clowns (Amphiprion clarkii), and Spine cheek clowns (Premna biaculeatus), get too big and agro for that tank if you wanted other things in it.

    Amphiprion polymnus get big but are not as agro as the aforementioned group, but are probably too big for the tank.

    -------------------------
    If you want a pr of anemonefish then they do best with a sea anemone. The easiest anemone to keep is the bubble tip anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor). All clownfish will live in a bubble tip anemone, altho A. percula & nigripes can take a few days to use one. A. percula and A. ocellaris look almost identical.
    A. percula come from the Pacific ocean on Australias Great Barrier Reef, and up into the coral reefs around New Guinea. A. perculas are more expensive than ocellaris.
    A. ocellaris come from the Indian ocean on the west and northern half or Australia and into Indonesia.

    ------------------------
    A 200 watt heater is probably overkill for that tank. A 150watt would be ample, however if they only do a 200 watt then that is fine. Keep both heaters in case one gets damaged or stops working.

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    The lights have a 5200Kelvin rating and that is fine. Altho fish and coral show better colours if they get more blue light. However, you can add blue light with another light if you want it. The ideal for coral/ anemone tanks is around 6500K, but anything between 5000K & 8000K is suitable. Do not go above 8000K or below 5000K.

    The wattage (25w, 1495 lumens) might not be sufficient for corals, altho you can see how they do with the current light. If they don't develop much colour then they need more intense light. A good way to test a light on a marine tank is to run it on the tank for 12 hours per day, and if you get lots of green algae growing rapidly on the glass, then it is sufficient for corals and anemones. You can give corals and anemones up to 16 hours of light per day but start with 8-12 hours and go from there. If 12 hours isn't enough light then add another light or leave the light on for longer.

    Another way of testing light intensity is to see if things create a shadow on the bottom of the tank. Have the light on and put your hand in the water about half way down in the tank. You want to see nice bright white sand on the bottom with a clear shadow from your hand. If you don't get that then you need more light.

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    You can use beach sand (from the beach) and seawater from the ocean if you live near the coast and the water isn't polluted. Or you can use artificial marine salts like the stuff in the starter kit you linked to. You can also grab some rocks from the ocean to put in the tank. Just remove any seaweed on the rock because it doesn't travel well or do well in most tanks.

    If you can't get clean beach sand then any sort of sand made from calcium will do. Try to avoid Lime Sand, it is horrible and too fine.

    "Live Rock" is simply rock that has been in the ocean or an aquarium for more than 6 months. It is inhabited by various bacteria and other things and it is the bacteria you want. I use rock from the ocean for the main reef in my tanks and if I want a few decorative bits, I might buy a piece of live rock that originated from a coral reef. But it is all pretty much the same stuff, limestone with things growing on it. Live rock from a coral reef will sometimes have small corals and coralline algae on it. They can also have things like Christmas tree worms, however these usually die in an aquarium. coralline algae will grow in any marine tank given time.

    If you use artificial marine salts, you should try to make the water up a week before you use it. You get a clean container and fill with fresh water (mains or reverse osmosis). Add a dechlorinator if using mains water and check it for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and phosphate. If it has any of these then use R/O. Aerate the water and add the required amount of marine salt. Allow the container to aerate for at least 48 hours, before using it. While it is aerating you check and monitor the salinity (salt level) with the Hydrometer and make sure it is correct before using it. It can take several days for all the salt to dissolve, hence the reason you need to aerate it for at least 48 hours.
    If you don't want to aerate the mixture then use a small water pump to circulate the water around the container. But make sure there is some surface turbulence.

    ----------------------
     
  3. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    The TCM starter kit is fine and has what you need to get going.

    It has salt altho you will need more for water changes in the future, but there is enough to get going.

    It has trace elements that get added regularly for the corals.

    It has beneficial filter bacteria in a bottle (Nitribiotic) to help get the filters established sooner.

    The test kits include pH, ammonia/ ammonium (NH3/ NH4), nitrite (NO2), nitrate (NO3), phosphate (PO4) and carbonate hardness (KH).

    The acclimation kit sounds like a gimmick. If you have a marine tank it should have a pH around 8.4 and salinity should be the same as the shop. The only reason to acclimatise marine fishes is for temperature.

    Hydrometer is used to measure the salt level in the water.

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    Protein skimmers help remove protein waste from the water. They can help keep water cleaner for longer but they also remove plankton. If you keep feeding down and do water changes a skimmer is not essential.

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    You want about 1 inch of sand on the bottom of the tank.
    The amount of rock you use will depend on how much you want in the tank and the pieces you buy. You can get big pieces that are hollow in the middle or use a few small bits and put a large flat piece for a ledge.

    ------------------------
    If you have an anemone, put the anemone in first and let it settle. Then once it has found its spot you can add corals. Soft corals like Coral morphs (Corallimorpharia) usually do well in average light and are pretty easy to keep. Hard or stony corals are harder to keep and not recommended for the beginner.
     
  4. Rich T

    Rich T Member

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    Thanks guys some good tips there.

    One question regarding the lights, you say not to go above 8000k

    I was just looking at this which is a direct replacement for the light that came with my tank as it's the same design and mounting:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B013U25...t=&hvlocphy=9045491&hvtargid=pla-378310425535

    It is rated at 25000k and is the one that is supplied with the marine version of my tank the "Fluval M60"


    Also as a side note, is my canister filter going to be useless? Im reading that canisters are bad for marine tanks.
    That leaves me with a headache as my tank comes pre-drilled through the base for connection to the canister filter.

    Could I simply replace the canister filter with a stand alone pump for circulation or simply remove all of the filter media and run empty?
     
  5. NickAu

    NickAu Member
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    I do not know anything about salt tanks.

    That might not be a bad idea as it would give you 5 or so extra liters of water capacity.

    I did this to a 20 liter Aqua El cube with a wait for it 800 LPH canister filter, there was no media or sponges in the canister and I re-plumbed it with smaller hoses water intake and outlet I also adjusted the output of the filter to a trickle so it suited a Betta.


    This little trick gave me 8 liters of extra water.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    The only bad canister filter is a dirty one. If it is cleaned regularly they are fine to use. I would put a couple of sponges in the filter to trap the gunk in the water, otherwise it will settle under the rocks and make a mess. Then use it like you would on freshwater.

    There is another option if you have a hole in the tank for the filter. Add a trickle filter/ sump. They are basically another aquarium that sits under the main tank and water from the main tank flows into the sump and gets pumped back into the main tank. It increases water volume and helps compensate for the water that is displaced by the rock. But you need a double tier stand and the sump, and a pump.

    The third option is no filter and let the live rock house the beneficial filter bacteria. You get aerobic bacteria on the outer layer of rock, and anaerobic bacteria in the rock. It's a fine balance when doing this because if you don't have enough rock you can cause ammonia spikes when feeding. If you have too much rock you lose lots of water volume.

    Personally I would use the canister filter with a couple of sponges. Just take it apart every month and clean it like you do with freshwater tanks.
     
  7. Rich T

    Rich T Member

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    Ok so it sounds like the easiest setup is to keep my canister and just use foam filters, it currently has bio tubes and bags of carbon in the compartments, would I remove those?

    The sump option did cross my mind however it would be quite small. The tank frame has a divider running straight down the centre so I can't use the full width.
     
  8. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    what are bio tubes?

    I would remove the carbon and throw it away. It is only useful if you want to remove chemicals from the water.

    If the bio tubes are small spheres designed to house bacteria, you can keep them or replace them with a sponge. But make sure you have at least 1 sponge in the filter, so there is something to trap the gunk.
     
  9. Rich T

    Rich T Member

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  10. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    gotcha, standard ceramic beads for holding bacteria. You can keep them if you like and add a sponge. :)
     
  11. Rich T

    Rich T Member

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    Colin_T

    Any comment on my question about the light kelvin?

    You said not to go above 8000k, what was the reason for that as I see the fluval one I linked to its 25000k and its the one fluval ship with the m60 marine tank.
     
  12. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    sorry forgot about the lights.

    I have never seen a 25,000K globe over the years. Once you get to 10,000K you start to hit ultra violet so 25,000K is way off somewhere in the universe. There are a few places online that are selling compact fluros with a 25,000K rating and they are ultra violet (commonly referred to as black lights or actinic).

    A lot of corals glow when under U/V light, and corals do have a natural sunscreen to protect them from U/V light but fish don't.

    I have concerns about U/V light reflecting off the water surface and potentially causing damage to people's skin or eyes.

    If you want that light unit it would probably be ok, but personally I would stay with what I know, anything between 5,000K & 8,000K.
     
  13. Chief Brody

    Chief Brody Fish Fanatic

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    Throw a little sump together. Free tanks are everywhere, ask around. Three chambers with a skimmer, live rock refugium, and a uv sterilizer and some mechanical filtration somewhere along the line you should be good to go. I'm even planning a tank using fine-filtered seawater. It needs to be kept in the dark for 24hrs but then you can use it, supposedly. Might have to be a native tank, I'll post my results

    Sent from my SM-G730V using Tapatalk
     
  14. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    You don't need a U/V steriliser on a marine tank.

    For Chief Brody, why do you need to keep seawater in the dark for 24hours?
    Most marine organisms can survive 24 hours of darkness without any problems, and using a micron screen to filter them out is not really necessary. I use natural seawater all the time and I even try to collect at night for more plankton.
     
  15. Chief Brody

    Chief Brody Fish Fanatic

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    glad to hear it! I was under the impression not killing the photo-cycle would be detrimental to captive bred fish. A much more experienced reef keeper than I advised against using seawater at all saying:"they'll die as soon as they hit the water!" I just can't help but think that due to my close proximity to the ocean coupled with our poor quality municipal water supply seawater is my best bet for not only a more natural but also a more efficient system long-term.
    This same guy (who teaches marine biology, operates a lfs, and maintains reef systems on the side) swears by uv. I don't personally own a unit as of yet. I'm converting a 55gallon to a sump now and am still hunting down a few parts. Just obtained a lovely skimmer the other day:
    Tank is a 180gallon reefer but currently FW
    [​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-G730V using Tapatalk
     

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