WHAT ON EARTH

Lynnzer

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I set up a small tank just to condition rocks ands sand before I transfer everything into another larger tank.
As I just scooped up seawater and live rocks and sand direct from the beach, and a couple of small bits of seaweed, oh and a crab, nothing needed heat.
Anyway, I've now set up a larger tank so the initial one has been empty for a few days with the water still in it.
I came into the room this morning and found this peculiar looking critter.
As the title says "what on earth is it?" Oh, this is from the North Sea off the coast of Durham

Ah, a Common brittle starfish.
Is it any danger to a marine tank I wonder. Only asking as I see it feeds on dead fish and other protein based stuff that they capture in the water movement.
It if would do no harm it could clear up bits of food that have fallen to the bottom, as my tank is so new as not to introduce blennies or snails yet.
 

Essjay

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Errr, Lynnzer, are you aware that the Coastal Protection Act 1949 makes it illegal to remove sand, pebbles, rocks etc from a public beach in the UK?
 

Donya

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Brittle stars are harmless unless you plan on keeping really tiny fish like neon gobies (not biotope suitable here anyway). A good brittle star can be worth many hermits as far as forming a cleanup crew.

Obligatory note regarding collection of rock/sand from beaches: taking rock specifically and often sand too is illegal in a lot of places. Please check local laws before collecting.
 
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Lynnzer

Lynnzer

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@Essjay + @Donya . Didn't know that a few stones of cricket ball size and a sandcastle amount of sand would amount to much. I normally have that much in my wellies after a days fishing.
Anyway I won't be taking any more. I do have a bucketful of shop bought rocks secured in the breakwater granite rocks to build up the bacteria. I'll be giving them another coule of weeks before collection.
Interesting about the starfish. I think i'll drop it into the tank for cleanup until the the tank is mature enough for blennies and hermit crabs
 

AmyKieran

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I set up a small tank just to condition rocks ands sand before I transfer everything into another larger tank.
As I just scooped up seawater and live rocks and sand direct from the beach, and a couple of small bits of seaweed, oh and a crab, nothing needed heat.
Anyway, I've now set up a larger tank so the initial one has been empty for a few days with the water still in it.
I came into the room this morning and found this peculiar looking critter.
As the title says "what on earth is it?" Oh, this is from the North Sea off the coast of Durham

Ah, a Common brittle starfish.
Is it any danger to a marine tank I wonder. Only asking as I see it feeds on dead fish and other protein based stuff that they capture in the water movement.
It if would do no harm it could clear up bits of food that have fallen to the bottom, as my tank is so new as not to introduce blennies or snails yet.
I’ve always wanted a marine tank but thought that getting seawater would somehow be wrong. I also live in Durham so I could be getting it from the coast.

When I initially asked about marine in my LGS they told me that ide need lots of different chemicals and it would be very expensive. Ide love to keep a pair of clowns but this put me off.

What was your process of setting up your marine tank this way?
 

Essjay

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Didn't know that a few stones of cricket ball size and a sandcastle amount of sand would amount to much. I normally have that much in my wellies after a days fishing.
Even if you are quite happy doing it, you shouldn't really put it in writing for all the world to see since it's against the law; and we do need to point out that it is against the law in case it encourages other people to do the same, not knowing it's against the law.
 

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When I initially asked about marine in my LGS they told me that ide need lots of different chemicals and it would be very expensive. Ide love to keep a pair of clowns but this put me off.
Marine can be expensive, yes - very expensive if you get all the bells and whistles for everything. Not everyone does that though and you don't have to. If doing fish it will always be somewhat more expensive than fw, but the idea of needing "lots of chemicals" is a bad way to view things. You should never just start dosing stuff without a reason for it. Fundamentally you need salt mix and possibly a couple different test kits if your fw ones don't already have sw charts with them. Depending on your filtration you might also run some carbon and/or phosphate remover. For tanks using live rock, the rock is often one of the bigger expenses.

I’ve always wanted a marine tank but thought that getting seawater would somehow be wrong. I also live in Durham so I could be getting it from the coast.
I've never heard of laws against collecting seawater, just rock and sand. However, if you are in a cold area (or an area where the water is cold for part of the year) and putting the water into a warm tank with tropical species, you will risk creating some nontrivial problems for the tank. Seawater has tons of micro life in it and a good amount of that life will very likely die and dump ammonia into the water as the temperature rises to tropical temps. Even ignoring that, the water may also not be as clean as you might think, and it can come with some very unwanted larval critters in it - and some of those can be VERY hard to get rid of if they become established. So, unless you live in a pristine area where the coastal water temps pretty closely match your tank temps year round, I would strongly recommend against using seawater from the actual sea - especially for a first marine tank. If you're doing a local biotope tank, then it's a very different matter but those are also typically more challenging setups for other reasons.
 

AmyKieran

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Marine can be expensive, yes - very expensive if you get all the bells and whistles for everything. Not everyone does that though and you don't have to. If doing fish it will always be somewhat more expensive than fw, but the idea of needing "lots of chemicals" is a bad way to view things. You should never just start dosing stuff without a reason for it. Fundamentally you need salt mix and possibly a couple different test kits if your fw ones don't already have sw charts with them. Depending on your filtration you might also run some carbon and/or phosphate remover. For tanks using live rock, the rock is often one of the bigger expenses.


I've never heard of laws against collecting seawater, just rock and sand. However, if you are in a cold area (or an area where the water is cold for part of the year) and putting the water into a warm tank with tropical species, you will risk creating some nontrivial problems for the tank. Seawater has tons of micro life in it and a good amount of that life will very likely die and dump ammonia into the water as the temperature rises to tropical temps. Even ignoring that, the water may also not be as clean as you might think, and it can come with some very unwanted larval critters in it - and some of those can be VERY hard to get rid of if they become established. So, unless you live in a pristine area where the coastal water temps pretty closely match your tank temps year round, I would strongly recommend against using seawater from the actual sea - especially for a first marine tank. If you're doing a local biotope tank, then it's a very different matter but those are also typically more challenging setups for other reasons.
Thanks for the very in depth response, I would love a marine tank but it all just seems extremely difficult to keep rather than fresh. I applaud those who do and to them they keep awesome fish
 
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Lynnzer

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I’ve always wanted a marine tank but thought that getting seawater would somehow be wrong. I also live in Durham so I could be getting it from the coast.

When I initially asked about marine in my LGS they told me that ide need lots of different chemicals and it would be very expensive. Ide love to keep a pair of clowns but this put me off.

What was your process of setting up your marine tank this way?
Durham eh? Which shop?
I use both Fish Alive in Durham, and Tropical Supplies N.E.
I prefer the latter for marine things, and Fish Alive for freshwater, after the amazing Horizon Aquatics at Newton Aycliffe.
As for water collection I have now started buying the water. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that Tropical Supplies sells saltwater, properly formulated, at only 30p per litre. That might sound hefty but once you fill your tank, it really only needs an occasional top up when you do a water change. For topping up for evaporation you do that with RO water, that they sell at 12p per litre, Compare that to buying Asda bottle water at £1.30 for 5 ltrs.
It's important to keep the salinity levels correct and buying the salwater is best for that. When I filled the tank, I marked the levet of the water on the rear glass. When the level goes down I top it back up with the RO to keep things right. Not difficult to do.
The tank that I'm using right now is NANO. About as Nano as you can get from Waterbox. However it looks gorgeous and the fish and the LPS frags are happy enough in it. The Damsel Fish are a bit on the pushy side but they'll be going into a 135 Ltr tank eventually.
At present the filtration is simply by an internal small filter taken from one of my freshwater tanks, but the live rock is also doing work on the bacterial control, as all live rocks do.

I am transferring all the stuff into the next tank size today after clearing out the tank that had become overgrown and dreary looking from my documented build around April or May.
I'll be taking my freshwater fish over to Fish Alive for store credit as soon as I recover from the worst bout of flu I've had for donkey's years.
What I'm saying here though, is that giving the marine tank a go needn't be traumatic at all and not too much of a risk. A couple of Yellow Tail Damselfish and common Clownfish aren't partularly expensive, and the coral frags aren't too expensive if you consider the cost of freshwater plans and the numerous times they die back.
The marinal cost increase to set up a "trial" nano starter tank will leave you itching for more, More, MOr, MORe, MORE.
Go gettem. Drop into Tropical Supplies.
 

AmyKieran

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Durham eh? Which shop?
I use both Fish Alive in Durham, and Tropical Supplies N.E.
I prefer the latter for marine things, and Fish Alive for freshwater, after the amazing Horizon Aquatics at Newton Aycliffe.
As for water collection I have now started buying the water. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that Tropical Supplies sells saltwater, properly formulated, at only 30p per litre. That might sound hefty but once you fill your tank, it really only needs an occasional top up when you do a water change. For topping up for evaporation you do that with RO water, that they sell at 12p per litre, Compare that to buying Asda bottle water at £1.30 for 5 ltrs.
It's important to keep the salinity levels correct and buying the salwater is best for that. When I filled the tank, I marked the levet of the water on the rear glass. When the level goes down I top it back up with the RO to keep things right. Not difficult to do.
The tank that I'm using right now is NANO. About as Nano as you can get from Waterbox. However it looks gorgeous and the fish and the LPS frags are happy enough in it. The Damsel Fish are a bit on the pushy side but they'll be going into a 135 Ltr tank eventually.
At present the filtration is simply by an internal small filter taken from one of my freshwater tanks, but the live rock is also doing work on the bacterial control, as all live rocks do.

I am transferring all the stuff into the next tank size today after clearing out the tank that had become overgrown and dreary looking from my documented build around April or May.
I'll be taking my freshwater fish over to Fish Alive for store credit as soon as I recover from the worst bout of flu I've had for donkey's years.
What I'm saying here though, is that giving the marine tank a go needn't be traumatic at all and not too much of a risk. A couple of Yellow Tail Damselfish and common Clownfish aren't partularly expensive, and the coral frags aren't too expensive if you consider the cost of freshwater plans and the numerous times they die back.
The marinal cost increase to set up a "trial" nano starter tank will leave you itching for more, More, MOr, MORe, MORE.
Go gettem. Drop into Tropical Supplies.
I have used both fish alive and tropical supplies NE. I got most of my African cichlids from both of those. I have to say tropical supplies have given me some very questionable advice in there regarding cichlids.
 

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