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Any last suggestions?


Jul 20, 2004
Before I go setting my tank up to cycle, I'd like to know if there are any last recommendations.

I got a long 40 gal tank (I know 55 is the minimum, but I got a great deal)
Fluval 404 Canister Filter
Prizm Skimmer
Air Pump

I'm probably going to pick up some live rock (30 lbs or so) and live sand Sunday.

I'm not running a sump because this is my first saltwater tank, and I'd like to get used to it. Once I do, I'll move on to bigger and better things.

Just a couple of fast questions too.

TO set up the aquarium, first I put in the sand bed, then the water, then the salt, then the live rock?


You are going to need more circulation for this tank. I highly suggest at least a couple of power heads (this may be against the forum rules, but I would advise AquaClear 402's, they are virtually indestructable. MAKE SURE YOU INSTALL PRE-FILTERS ON THESE, as well as the intake for your Fluval) in addition to the Fluval. One of the advantages to a sump is the ability to turn over a high rate of water per hour thereby saturating the water with oxygen. In addition, a sump provides the opportinity for evaporative cooling, as well as increased water volume which lends itself to a more stable environment for your inhabitants. I strongly advise the use of one in your next tank. That having been said, if you are going to go with an octo, it will be necessary for you to secure the top of the tank and as a consequence, limit the natural gas exchange which occurs at the surface of the water (contrary to what some believe, good water circulation is much more important for proper oxygenation of your tank water than an air pump.) Maybe some of the other members can put their two cents in on this, but I would advise you use a very small diameter drill bit (1/8"?) and drill a bunch of holes in the plastic strip which is typically found along the back of a glass top (I am assuming you have this type of lid). Make sure that the current generated from the powerheads create some turbulance on the surface of the water as this is the primary interface for gas exchange in your proposed set-up. Which model of Prizm skimmer are you going to use? Please advise. Ad your sand first (not the live stuff yet!) then your water and then your salt. After several days of good circulation at the proper salinity, ph, and temp, you can then add some good quality, cured (if it smells like rotten eggs, it ain't done yet!) live rock, as well as five or so pounds of live sand. Beware the temptation to fill your Fluval to the brim with carbon. A little carbon goes a long way, perhaps a cup or less in a pleated filter bag specifically intended for this purpose. Too much carbon can have an adverse effect on water chemistry in that it can cause your ph to flux to the point that it would hurt a delicate animal such as an octo. Change the carbon every three weeks or so as it will have exhausted its' ability to adsorb the organics you are trying to keep to a minimum by then.
I know this info may seem a little daunting, but keep in mind that you are trying to mimic an environment that has taken roughly 4 billion years to evolve; you can't expect to absorb all of this in one shot. The information the members at this site can provide for you will prove invaluable should you choose to do your reasonable best to care for these creatures. In the short time I have been visiting here the members that I have corresponded with have made me feel very welcome. I am sure others will ad to this thread; some may not agree with my recomendations, but the more information you aquire, the better you will be able to make educated decisions. The best of luck to you :talker:
Ah, didn't know about the powerheads. Would you recommend one at each end of the tank?

I did not purchase a lid yet. I work @ Home Depot and was probably going to buy a nice piece of oak and create my own. However, now I may just buy one. We'll see.

The protein skimmer I picked up was the normal one, not the deluxe.

As far as curing the live rock, is this the recommended way of doing it?
generally, you would place the power heads in the back right and left corners of the tank with the discharge from each pointing out toward the front center of the tank (45 degree angle). Alternately, you could place them at either end of the tank so they would discharge accross the front of the tank. As far as the curing of the live rock goes, will you be purchasing from an online vendor of your LFS? If it is the latter, the rock should spend a week to three weeks in their own tanks before they begin to sell to the public. As they take the rock out of their holding tanks give it a wiff or two to see if you smell on odor similar to rotten eggs. If you do, this is due to the critters that
are decaying due to their exposure to air durring the shippment process. The process of these organisms dying off is refered to as the "curing" process. If you are going to an online vendor for your live rock, it is best to do maybe 15 pounds or so initially. The reason for this is that the rock is also going to be shipped to you dry and you will go through the same curing process when it is finally in your tank. If the vendor were to ship the rock comletely emersed in water, you would pay through the nose for shipping charges. As these critters decay in your tank, the ammonia level of your water is going to go up. The level it reaches before the proper bacteria is established in your system to keep it undetectable levels, depends on many things, but it is best to add the live rock a little at a time until your system has had time to properly break in. Here is a link that explains the concept of biological filtration if you are not already aware of it. Beginner FAQ: The Nitrogen Cycle As I have not had time to completely read through this article(sorry, I am supposed to be working right now. lol), I would be warry of the suggestions made by the author; what is important here is the biological theory describing the break-in period of a new aquarium. Perhaps Nancy or Colin can provide a link to an article which has been properly screened by them for completely acurate information. Colin can be contacted at [email protected] and Nancy at [email protected]
although they are probably aware i\of this thread already. Good luck.

Actually, you can also reach Colin and me by private message here at Tonmo, but we encourage you to post your questions so that everyone can benefit from the answers.

Colin refers to some of the infomation on the About website (About Saltwater) in his Equipment List (everyone setting up a tank needs to read this article).

Here is a link to the section on cyling in About Saltwater...



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