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Old 01/06/2008, 07:49 PM   #1
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Exclamation Very new to the hobby, need some help please.

Hello, i Just got a 46gal. tank about 10 days ago. It has both live rock and live sand in it. I have read a couple of books about aquiriams but none of them have told me how to check the different things in the water( like the nitrates and salinity ect.) I was hoping someone could take the time to tell me what i need and how to do it. I also need to know how to change the water in it. Thanks

Just today i noticed very very smalll bugs swimming around the tank. I tried to find out what they are but i couldnt. They are white and about tyhe size of the tip of a needle but i assume they just hatched from whereever. If you have any idea what they might be (bad/good) then please share... Thanks again

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Old 01/06/2008, 07:55 PM   #2
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some sort of pods, Copepods, they are good, fish and coral eat them, if you have a successful fuge, you will get tons.

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Old 01/06/2008, 07:56 PM   #3
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Well I dont know what the little bugs are but as far as salinity goes you need a Hydrometer or you can get a salinity refractor. As for testing you need to get a testing kit. I use the red sea marine tester. It has tests for PH, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. They also have tests for other things like calcium. Good luck.

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Old 01/06/2008, 07:57 PM   #4
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First thing you need to get is either a hydrometer or refractometer to check salinity. It should be around 1.025. Then a test kit for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. Directions will come with the kits.
To do a water change siphon out about 10% of the total volume of the tank into a bucket, and replace it with premade saltwater.
The small bugs you see are probably pods, and are a good sign that your tank is maturing.
Take it slow when adding things and watch your levels with the test kits. Good luck and keep us posted

$35-50 for a <1" frag of some stupid named thing that came from a colony you bought for $40-60 wholesale and chopped into 20-40 pieces? No thanks. "JasonH"

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Old 01/06/2008, 07:57 PM   #5
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Start with some reliable test kit. I like Salifert brand kits. Lots of people use others but I think they are worth the price. You should get an ammonia and nitrate kit to start.

How did you mix the water you already have in the tank?

You need to get a refractometer or a hydrometer to test it with.

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Old 01/06/2008, 08:01 PM   #6
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Those are good bugs. Copepods. Fishfood.
How on earth did you get the whole rig 10 days ago? Christmas, already set up?

1. testing. I use two instruments: a refractometer for salinity; a ph meter for ph. For the rest I use Salifert tests for alkalinity, for calcium [I keep corals]; and for magnesium. Those are the 3 big ones. The other things will be automatically brought back to proper balance if you will do a 10% dump of water and an equal addition of salt water weekly. A salt mix contains all the proper trace elements. YOu will not need to supplement calcium or magnesium early on, but may need a jar of alkalinity buffer. It will have instructions on it. You can treat your tank as a 50 gallon for purposes of easy math, just shade it a little shy.
You should have your temperature stable within 2 degrees of 80.
Your salinity should be 1.025 on the refractometer. Mark a fill line on your tank or sump when that salinity is perfect, and 'top off' with fresh ro/di filtered water to keep it so. [Salt doesn't ever evaporate.]
Use test strips for ammonia and nitrate: the correct reading is 0, so it's easy to read.
Correct alkalinity: 8.3-9.3
Correct calcium: 400-450
Correct magnesium: 3 times the calcium reading.
Correct ph: 7.9-8.3

To do a water change, prepare 5 gallons of new salt water and have a 5 gallon bucket handy. [Try to talk your local fish store out of a couple of old salt buckets. Or buy a white polystyrene bucket in the paint department at Lowes]
Mix 1/2 cup per gallon of your salt mix to arrive at 1.024 salinity.
Mix it very well, overnight, ideally.

Use a maxijet 1200 pump with a 4 foot hose to draw 5 gallons of your tank water into your waste bucket.
Put the same pump in your new saltwater bucket and the hose in the tank --- holding on to it carefully, or with help, and plug the pump in again. Pump water into the tank.
Caution: when you are pumping and cut power, water may continue to flow: this is called back-siphon. You want to lift the pump out of the tank when cut off so it doesn't start putting water back into that bucket.
Hope that helps a bit.
You need 46 lbs of that live rock.
You will not need a filter or any such, just the return pump.
Do you have a sump and skimmer?


Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, chromis, royal gramma basslet, tailspot blenny, ocellaris clown, yellow watchman, chestnut turbo snails, bristleworms, couple of hermits.
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Old 01/06/2008, 08:03 PM   #7
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How do you know what your salinity is now? What books?

The little bugs you describe are good.

For testing salinity you will need a hydrometer or refractometer and follow the instructions enclosed.

For testing, your tank is likely "cycling " right now, so ammonia then nitrites then nitrates should be tested for before the addition of livestock. Wait untill they rise and then go back down. This may take a few weeks. Ammonia and nitrites are most toxic and should be zero before you add any livestock to your tank.

Nitrates are least toxic to fish and inverts however, most people try to keep this number as low as possible too.

Are you planning on having fish, corals or both?

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Old 01/06/2008, 08:07 PM   #8
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i would go to a good local fish store tommorow and read alot on this site, even if the fish stores says not to read on this site and patience and be prepared to spend a little money, this hobby aint cheap. good luck

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Old 01/06/2008, 08:10 PM   #9
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heres a guild line on water parameters to shoot for

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Old 01/07/2008, 01:14 PM   #10
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I got the whole rig set up over the holidays by a guy from my local fish store who came out and did it so i dont know how he mixed the water to start with but i plan on talking to him about it this weekend. The live rock started to flourish only about 2 days after it was set up and the guy said it was a great sign. I plan on getting both fish and coral but for the first few months i am going to start out slow with only fish. Thanks for all the advice already.

I just measured my salinity and it was 1.019 so how should i add salt to make it correct?

also what exactly is a fuge and how do i make one?

Last edited by ironwalrus69; 01/07/2008 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 01/07/2008, 06:25 PM   #11
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I would also find someone at the local fishstore that can help with testing. Some tests are a little tricky and I would double check your results with those of someone who does them every day. Most fishstores that have saltwater fish can test and most due it for free. I also like the book saltwater fish for dummies. It is very simple to read and can help with the easy stuff

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