Final check

Discussion in 'Tank Talk' started by Ryan Smith, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. Ryan Smith

    Ryan Smith Wonderpus Registered

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    Sorry about posting a new thread. you may delete this after i get an answer, but this is very important. I need to know absolutley everything that is needed for an octopus. I mean tank acessories. I am making a contract for my parents that allows me to use funds from my bank acount for octopus expenses. in return i will deposit 4x the amount that i use for octo, tank, and supplies. and i need to define supplies. i have filter, heater, powerhead, sand, and live rock. Am i missing anything? (for hummelcki)
     
  2. Omega

    Omega GPO Registered

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    protein skimmer[buy one that is rated to clean twice the size of your actual tank]
    type of filter your using could be important, as well as sand.
    and here is a real important thing not to forget---testing supplies for ammonia nitrate nitrite etc
    salt =p
    something to keep live food in...
    and live food.

    other than that i think you covered everything.
     
  3. Ryan Smith

    Ryan Smith Wonderpus Registered

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    Thank you SOOOOO much. heres my chance to get my octo stuff.
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    You are right, you are a PITA today but my folks made me do the same kind of thing when I wanted something (like a German Shepherd) so here is what I can think of:

    The monthly consumables are the water, salt, food and carbon. The rest are needed but are either one time expenses or purchased every few months.

    Water (for freshwater top offs and to make saltwater for water exchange)
    You will need a source of RO/DI water. If you have no place to put a filtration unit (cost is roughly $130) and it takes a day to make 15 gallons of water, then you will have to buy it regularly from your LSF. You cannot use tap water without an RO/DI unit do not try to use a dechlorinator and expect that to work. You can use distilled water but it is usually cheaper to get the RO/DI.

    Marine Salt
    You will need marine salt mix or buy premixed water for weekly water changes. I change out 5 gallons a week (regardless of my tank size since smaller tanks pollute faster I don't use percentages but have found that 5 gallons each week works for anything 15 gallons to 145 gallons (sometimes I will do this one every other week as it has a very low bioload at the moment). Making your own is cheaper even if you buy the RO/DI water. Some LFS have it at a reasonable price if you bring in five gallon containers for them to fill (so you can't take a bike even if they are close by).

    Food
    Fortunately hummelincki accept frozen grocery store shrimp very well and a dozen large, cut in half will last about a month (I recommend a monthly purchase as once they freezer burn/dehydrate, the octos will refuse them).
    Unfortunately, you also need to feed some kind of live food (crabs recommended) once or twice a week and finding an inexpensive source is tough. You can get 10 fiddlers from Paul Sachs for $15 including shipping that should round out the months requirements. You will also need a small container for keeping these alive and don't tell your mom that they can get out of a shallow bucket (just be sure your container has high sides. There are several prior threads that talk about housing them but a bucket, a little sand and water is all they need.

    Test Kit
    You will need to be able to test the Ammonia, PH, Nitrite and Nitrates in your tank. You can buy a combination strip for PH, Nitrite and Nitrate and a separate one for Ammonia. Roughly $25 for the first 3 months supply. After the tank is cycled you will only need to check weekly (or if you had a problem in the prior check or are acclimating an animal) and they will last longer.

    Miscelaneous
    Small net
    Algae scrapper
    Mr. Clean erasers or some other sponge THAT HAS NO SOAP OR CHEMICAL component to clean the glass
    Siphon to take water out of the tank to do your water changes
    Small pump or air pump to put in with the salt and water to mix and aerate
    Bucket/s for mixing your saltwater (5 gall is a good size)
    Bucket for accepting old water from the tank (5 gallon still a good size)
    Carbon for your chemical filtration (should be changed out monthly)
    Temperature sensor (this can be the $2 stick on kind)
    Possibly a heater - best if it is not necessary but that will depend on your house in the winter (it can wait until next winter though as you should be good by the time the tank is cycled)
    Air pump and air stone if you are not using a sump and have on open flowing water. If you use a canister filter and no sump you need to areate the water (cause the CO2 to exit and exchange for fresh air containing O2)

    Clean-up crew
    Once you start getting a balance in you new system (1.5 - 2 months) you will want to add a clean-up crew to help maintaing the water quality. These are things like snails, serpent stars and hermit crabs. A decent crew for a 40 gallon tank will cost you around $125
     
  5. Ryan Smith

    Ryan Smith Wonderpus Registered

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    Wow, thats about $200 more than i expected. So i need a water distilation system? arff... Do they make smaller ones? well im guessing brita filter water is a no go... how does the distilation thingy work? pour water through it and it purifies it? Luckily crab expenses go down cause i can catch my own. Hmm i will have to buy shrimp because the shrimp that i catch are only about 1.5 inches long, might work for when its small.
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Any thing it will eat that you can catch is quite acceptable and you can reverse the live to frozen if you can catch enough food. I still recommend feeding some frozen weekly so that you it is already eating it if you have trouble finding food because of weather.

    Water is one of the biggest humps to get over. An no, a Britta system is not acceptable. The typical RO/DI (Reverse Osmosis/ DeIonizer) filter begins with a set of particulate filters (like big britta filters) followed by reverse osmosis filtration (basically a VERY tiny film filter), followed by a bath in Dionizing sand (that removes the minerals, particularly copper). The system connects to a sink and is left running to drip fill a bucket. There is waste water that will be between 4 and 10 times the amound of water collected so it has to have a drain. Check with your LFS for your first tank and see how much they charge for RO/DI water (ask how much if you bring in your own bucket and how much if they furnish at least the first containers). Keep in mind you need both fresh and saltwater to maintain the tank. If you buy the RO/DI in 3 - 5 five gallon containers at one time, it will help keep the need to go to the store down. Also ask them how much they charge for premade saltwater and then look at the cost of salt. The more salt you buy the cheaper it is per gallon but it is not cheap. I maintanin 8+ tanks and buy the 600 gallon boxes through DrsFosterandSmith because my local chain stores charge an arm and a leg for it (sadly, I have no small locally owned marine store near by and the two freshwater stores are poorly maintained).
     
  7. bluespotocto

    bluespotocto Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    i get all my water at a water store.:lol: they have these machines that run through an ro/di machine like 3 times and its about $2 for 5gallons. not bad, i think. i did the math and with all the filter things you have to change it cost mores for me to get an ro machine on sale(if i said something please correct me).
     
  8. Ryan Smith

    Ryan Smith Wonderpus Registered

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    Well, I finally got the OK to get an octo i think, But i have no funding atm. Im selling my old drums, guitar, and various video game stuff, So i hope ill get $300 or so.
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I like the way your folks think and I hope you follow through :wink:
     
  10. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    Is there a public aquarium near where you live? I live in San Diego, and the Birch aquarium (which is publicly funded) filters natural sea water for it's tanks, and provides it free to the public. Such deals are rare, but you may have such a think where you live.

    I hate paying LFS prices for things, so I look for used equipment on Craigslist, where you can expect to get 50-80 percent off retail prices for things like skimmers, pumps, sumps, liverock, tanks (watch out for copper contamination), etc. The best way to go, IMO, is to watch craigslist every day until you see a whole system (without livestock) that is just what you are looking for, that someone is sick of, and ready to dump. Ignore the unrealistic people who are asking 75% of retail. There is a steady stream of people for whom their aquarium has become a big noisy thing that demands time, money, and space, and is just a PITA, and they are ready to take a small sum just to get you to haul their tank away. When you see such a deal, be the first guy there, and you can get a great deal. Be sure you've done your homework, know what you want, and don't buy something that you can't use.

    What about buying water from those machines at the grocery store? Their "distilled" water is certainly RO, and uv sterilized, but is it DI too? Does it have to be? It costs between 15 and 50 cents per gallon (depending on local competition) so maybe that's a viable way to go. If it were me, I'd buy the RO/DI filter unit and make my own at home (you can find RO/DI filters cheap on craigslist too!)
     
  11. Ryan Smith

    Ryan Smith Wonderpus Registered

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    Hmmm good advice thanks. My parents wont let me buy used tanks, i dont know if they will let me ge used gear.
     
  12. Ryan Smith

    Ryan Smith Wonderpus Registered

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    Ok, I think this is my last equipment question. I read to detirmine how big of a powerhead/ filter/ protein skimmer you take the size tank and x that by 6-10. For example my 40 gal tank needs a 400 gph filter/powerhead/skimmer. Id probably want a 400+ but has anyone heard this? And know it to be true? Or have a new equation as a rule of thumb. When Im looking for stuff it says xxx gph not what size tank its rated for.
     
  13. Ryan Smith

    Ryan Smith Wonderpus Registered

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    Hello, I was wondering what do powerheads do, and are they 100% nessisary or are they reccomended? I havent left TONMO, Iv just been reading. Im steadly working on my octo tank. Im getting the ro/di next. I should have my octo by september.
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    A powerhead is a small (usually) pump placed inside the main aquarium used to move the water around in the tank. Some form of water movement is needed to help keep your rock healthy, more is needed if you keep corals. The impeller and intake need to be octo proofed (remember that dark places are attractions to octo arms). Many of us use the Koralia's successfully without additional screening but the jury is still out on how safe they are and there a reports of voltage leaks (note the linke is not a purchase recommendation, just a place to look at them - I would only go new, not used, on them because of the reports of voltage leaks). That being said, I use them in all my tanks (there is a front cap that is included that is not clear as to purpose and a bit hard to align but be sure an use it if you get one) but cover much of the intakes with live rock (KaySoh used one of hers to shed suckers).
     
  15. Ryan Smith

    Ryan Smith Wonderpus Registered

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    Thanks for the quick responce. Is the powerhead needed to start the 3 month countdown? So far I know I need a ro/di, filter, LR, sand, salt. Anthing im missing? besides the obvious like buckets.
     
  16. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Not needed immediately but a good idea to put in somewhere along the cycle process to keep water flowing around the LR and helping the dead stuff to exit to the filter.
     
  17. Ryan Smith

    Ryan Smith Wonderpus Registered

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    Do I need the LR in the tank to start the 3 month countdown? A description of everything needed would be helpful. Thanks so much. Iv been lookin into an internship at the national aquarium in DC or the aquarium in Baltimore... Sadly I cant apply for 2-3 years... Im starting to think that I might want to be a marine biologist. When Im a successful marine biologist Im going to give a shoutout to TONMO which I believed influenced my choice. Good thing I signed up for AP Marine Biology next year. :D
     
  18. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, the LR is the primary ingredient of your cycle and has to be in the tank before you begin your count down. It will contain the starter bacteria and appropriate growing media that needs to grow for your biological filtration. After the first month and a half or so (at the point you see no nitrates) you will start increasing the bioload by adding your clean-up crew and then feeding the tank.

    Here is an article I found that you may want to read as you think about getting started. Note that he mentions knowing what you are planning to put in the tank before you begin is helpful and may alter how you set up the tank. For an octopus, longer cycle time is required (and really should be required for any tank, short cycles are the primary reason for New Tank Syndrome, the die off of most of what you put in the tank). Additionally, you will want a specific gravity of ocean water (1.026) rather than the standard lower salt content he lists for fish (the lower salt content is thought to help minimize parasites but octos need full salt and the higher end of the PHP scale.

    Depending upon what you use as a "filter", you will need water movement (even an air pump and air stone with help) and by the time you are into your first month you will pretty much need to have everyting on my list above and your protein skimmer by the end of the second month.

    Cool that they offer Marine Biology as an AP course. Nothing even close in my day :old:. My best friend in high school found a college that would let you roll your own science degree so she created a marine ciriculum in the bio department.
     
  19. Ryan Smith

    Ryan Smith Wonderpus Registered

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    Thanks for the link, it helped a lot. It didnt mention anything about plants, can I add saltwater plants to my aquarium? Are there any types to stay away from?
     
  20. bluespotocto

    bluespotocto Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    I just saw that marine depot has protein skimmers on sale. The coral life super skimmer is only $95. Dont know if thats a good brand but check out marine depot for some skimmers.
     

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