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So how do I set this thing up?

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  • Offline sputnik
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So how do I set this thing up?

« posted: 4 years ago »
I've got a 60 gallon cube that I am looking to set up as a seahorse tank.  My husband has always done this part of the hobby but I really want to understand how this all works.  We have a submersible skimmer that came with the tank a few years ago that isn't shown in the pics as we have never used it.  Here's a couple pics of the tank.  Can someone help me figure out how to set this thing up?  I don't know how to begin.


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  • Offline ejbaer
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Re: So how do I set this thing up?

« Reply #1 posted: 4 years ago »
Hi,Is the pick of the thing below the display tank  what you are referring to as a submersible skimmer setup in your refugium/sump?  I guess I'm not familiar with those unfortunately.    do you have a model number or something to refer to?  I have a 60 gallon reef ready as well for my seahorse tank, but i just have a sump/refugium below with a hang on skimmer.  If you have plumbing questions a great resource is Best Fish down in Milwaukee.  They are 2 blocks north of the Bradley Center on MLK.  He will be able to point you in the right direction with parts etc. 
  • Offline sputnik
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Re: So how do I set this thing up?

« Reply #2 posted: 4 years ago »
The pic is of our sump without the skimmer.  Here is the model we have. 

http://shopping.yahoo.com/771893651-sump-filtration-system-model-c3/

Wondering if I need to get rid of the biowheels, or if we just leave those in there, set the skimmer in there, and are ready to go?  If not, what do I need to do with this contraption?
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Re: So how do I set this thing up?

« Reply #3 posted: 4 years ago »
I would personally take the biowheels out. Keep the skimmer in the sump.   Put a simple cheap 10 dollar fluorescent lamp below and get some chaetomorpha to put below to act as a natural biofilter.   I'm happy to give you some, but I'm up in port washington.  Best Fish will have for 4 bucks, so just with gas it would make more sense to get there, unless you want to see another persons setup :D.  I would also put as much live rock as you can below in the sump to help with the biofiltration.  Others might have different advise.  I started with a reef tank and then added a seahorse tank, so I keep a lot with that train of thought in natural filtration. 

I hope that helps some  :-\.

Best Regards

Eric
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Re: So how do I set this thing up?

« Reply #4 posted: 4 years ago »
Thanks for the help so far!  I can yank out the biowheels easily.  I bought my live sand and some marine salt and a hydrometer.  Tell me if my plan sounds good or not.

1.  Buy some RO water.  Mix it with my salt for a salinity of 1.021 to 1.024 and have it ready in my 5 gallon buckets at home. 
2.  Find and purchase live rock and chaeto.  Bring it home and set rock up first in tank so it sets on the tank bottom not on sand.  Add any hitching post contraptions to tank.
3.  Add live sand to tank.
4.  Add rock to sump.
5.  Add pre-mixed water to tank.
6.  When tank/sump water is at proper level, toss chaeto in sump with light above it.

If this is correct so far... then what do I do?  Just test my water for a few days/weeks and see where I'm at?  Do I need to add anything to the tank to feed the bacteria in the sand and live rock?  I thought I read something about that but now can't find the article.  Thanks for any help!
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Re: So how do I set this thing up?

« Reply #5 posted: 4 years ago »
Was the tank yours or someone elses before hand?  If it were me, I would initially fill the tank with just regular water, and switch everything on to make sure there aren't any leaks first of all.

Once you are happy that everything is working as it should and there aren't any leaks or problems, I would then drain it and fill with mixed RO.

I'm the same as ejbaer and prefer natural filtration.

Your plan is pretty much spot on.  There are several different methods of cycling a tank, but you will need to add a source of ammonia so that you can feed the nitrifying bacteria.  This can either be pure ammonia (my preferred method), or some frozen food which is left to decay in the tank and thus providing a food source for the bacteria.  You don't need to add a starter culture, but its definitely not a bad idea.  I will leave others to recommend which ones to use as I know there are some good ones out there at the moment.

Good luck - keep us posted with lots of pictures and ask ask ask questions when you have them :)
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Re: So how do I set this thing up?

« Reply #6 posted: 4 years ago »
Hi, just a couple words of advice and comments on your list:

1.  Buy some RO water.  Mix it with my salt for a salinity of 1.021 to 1.024 and have it ready in my 5 gallon buckets at home.

----I would use RO/DI water since it is much more pure and will have all the silicates out etc.  If you add just RO you will be promoting algal blooms constantly in your tank with every water change.  Again, Best Fish will sell and will be close to as cheap as grocery store RO(plus if you get it from grocery store they typically don't change filters as often, I've tested some and it was "dirtier" than my tap water at home)  As a matter of fact Best Fish even sells premixed saltwater as well and they also sell cycled water so you get a lot of the bacteria along with the live rock.


2.  Find and purchase live rock and chaeto.  Bring it home and set rock up first in tank so it sets on the tank bottom not on sand.  Add any hitching post contraptions to tank. 

---My recommendation is to add sand first and let settle( will take a couple days unless you get course stuff). 


3.  Add live sand to tank.---Then buy a couple pieces of live rock you can put in sump

----I would suggest dry rock from Best Fish for the display.  It's cheaper like 2.50/lb @best fish and is pest free(stinging anemones, bristle worms, etc.  Since you are cycling anyway it should be fine and eventually it will be "live". 



4.  Add rock to sump.---see above

5.  Add pre-mixed water to tank.----do this right after adding sand.


6.  When tank/sump water is at proper level, toss chaeto in sump with light above it. 

----yup after about 3-4 weeks of cycling i would do this step....you want to naturally stress the tank to get the microbial and chemistry balance to equilibrate first.  Chaeto too soon will throw off this equilibrating period by sucking nutrients out too fast and you will have too clean of a system.



One other note:  you mentioned a hydrometer.  They are great for being consistent.  One HUGE issue is the reading errors are WAY off frequently on them.  I would suggest that you take your hydrometer into best fish or i am happy to do as well and compare the reading to a refractometer.  ie. my hydrometer is like 0.006 off from the actual refractomer reading.  So to prevent against having red sea or brackish salinities I would HIGHLY suggest doing this especially before you add the seahorses!!!


Hope it all makes sense if not feel free to ask more questions!! 
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Re: So how do I set this thing up?

« Reply #7 posted: 4 years ago »
A couple more notes: 

You don't really need to add more de-nitrifying bacteria if you add live rock and sand.  They will have plenty to seed the tank.  I forgot to mention also that during the cycling period keep the skimmer off in case you didn't know that ;).

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Re: So how do I set this thing up?

« Reply #8 posted: 4 years ago »
So if I get dry rock how long will it take to cycle?  The appeal of live rock is that the cycling process should be dramatically reduced.  The potential risks of hitchhikers has been a serious consideration, though.  I have patience to wait for a more established tank to add seahorses, but obviously I'd like to get them as soon as is safely possible.  What sort of time frame should I be preparing for if I do live rock?  And also for dry rock? 
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Re: So how do I set this thing up?

« Reply #9 posted: 4 years ago »
If you add live rock and sand right away to the sump and dry rock to display.  My guess is the cycle will be complete in 1 week. You just have to keep testing ammonia and nitrite to make sure they read zero.  Things to be aware of if you add seahorses earlier say at 3-4 weeks after setup is realize that the total balance in a young tank is not complete.  You will run into cyano and hair algae  outbreak  issues.  Which is completely normal and will balance out in time.  Lots of people panic and start trying to make changes when they don't realize that the ecosystem is balancing itself out.  The important thing is that the water quality be kept in check via water changes as to not allow for too high of nitrate buildup(less than 10 ppm ideal) and phosphates(less than 0.05 ppm) ideal.  If you have too much buildup it can affect the quality of health of the seahorses due to more potential of disease causing organism exposure.
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Re: So how do I set this thing up?

« Reply #10 posted: 4 years ago »
So I could put live rock in the sump and dry rock in the dt and the cycle could still go that quickly?  Wow.  My ideal best case scenario was to have horses in the tank by Halloween, and it looks like that is still a possibility if I use dry rock so long as I'm using some live rock.  Barring something going wonky of course.  :)
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Re: So how do I set this thing up?

« Reply #11 posted: 4 years ago »
yup absolutely the dry rock is essentially just decor that is going to cure and become "live" over time.  The only concern with the dry rock is some leaching of phosphates and other minerals initially that will increase algal blooms initially.  Hence, why I would wait at least one month of tank running before adding livestock.

Re: So how do I set this thing up?

« Reply #12 posted: 4 years ago »
The information and much needed advice is like my life line.  ;D I think im on overload with how I intend to set up my first 4 ft marine tropical tank...however this knowledge will indeed hopefully start me off to have success with my horses...
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Re: So how do I set this thing up?

« Reply #13 posted: 4 years ago »
I would appreciate some advice...I have purchased my first 4 ft sunsun all in one tank. Was planning on setting it up with some live rock and live sand..using brought fresh salt water from a local marine aquarium. I understand I will let this slowly settle for at least 2 months to bring all the levels to the safe readings....is it wise to wait...to add h/o protein skimmer until closer to adding my seahorses? Or earlier on
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Re: So how do I set this thing up?

« Reply #14 posted: 4 years ago »
I would appreciate some advice...I have purchased my first 4 ft sunsun all in one tank. Was planning on setting it up with some live rock and live sand..using brought fresh salt water from a local marine aquarium. I understand I will let this slowly settle for at least 2 months to bring all the levels to the safe readings....is it wise to wait...to add h/o protein skimmer until closer to adding my seahorses? Or earlier on

I would wait to add protein skimming until you have a bioload from the seahorses.  Doing before hand will not do much and potentially make your tank too clean to cycle properly.

Best Regards,