New to this, need clarification

Discussion in 'Tank Talk' started by chad, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. chad

    chad Cuttlefish Registered

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    Hello, i want to get an octopus tank. I have been reading up on equipment ill need and have been looking on craigslist. I have found an aquarium tank that comes with filters, light, tank, and a fan. Exact specs are these
    Glass Tank (48L x 12W x 21H) has some small scratches
    - Stand with 3 doors (55L x 20W x 32 1/2H)
    - 2 Filstar Filters 1 XP1 and one XP-S
    - 3 LED Lights 1 34 1/2L inch over tank light and 2 submersible 20 1/2L inch led lights
    - 1 underwater fan
    All priced for $275 (main reason i want to buy this "set")

    Now, it seems the previous owner used the saltwater tank for fish, what things should i look for or make sure of before buying? (i have read things about copper and am wondering if she used a copper based chemical if there is anyway to get rid of any trace of it, or if i should just stay away from this purchase and just buy brand new equipment from my LFS)

    If this equipment will work for an Octo-Tank? (i know i need some more things)

    And anything else you guys have to warn me about or any advice

    Thank you for any help
    Chad
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Buying a used, non-reef tank is iffy because of the copper issue. You can ask the current owner the names of the medications she has used to treat ich (Cryptocaryon irritans, pronounced ick similar to the freshwater white spot disease of the same common name) then look up those treatments to see if they contain copper. Often people think Malochite Green contains copper (it does in the chemical compound but not in the fish product) and have erroneously said they have successfully repurposed tanks that should not have ever been exposed to copper for use with copper sensitive animals. The concern is that the copper is absorbed by the silicone seals on a glass tank and then slowly leaches the copper back into the tank. Minimum lethal copper levels are lower than the ability of the inexpensive test kits.

    Things you need that are missing and may make you decide to keep looking:

    It is HIGHLY recommended (but not absolutely required) that you have a secondary tank, called a sump, for your filtration. The additional water of the sump is always beneficial but for an octopus tank it makes octoproofing and maintenance safer and easier. To use a sump your best bet is to have the tank drilled (at least 2 holes placed near the waterline and then sealed with a bulkhead to provide connections for the in and out hoses). There are over the back siphon that can be used but, unless you get one of the newer technologies (costing more than drilling a tank), they tend to be unreliable. Take a look at the thread marked Tank Buildouts at the top of this forum (marked in yellow) for a few views of member's tanks. You can use a canister type filter with a sump but a more normal process is to put the filtration media where the display tank water enters the sump and then a return pump in the sump itself. Canisters are used a lot in Europe for returning the water to the display but we typically don't use that set up in the US as the motors are not as powerful and canisters are a pill to clean.

    A protein skimmer - not something you have to buy with a used tank but you will need one and trying to put one inside the display tank with an octopus is difficult at best. The skimmer's purpose is to remove organics that the filtration system does not catch but for an octopus tank, a primary function is to quickly remove ink.

    A full cover - some tanks come with a partial cover but most of us end up fabricating something specific for the tank. This is likely to be the case even buying new but worth mentioning as you look. Any holes bigger than its eyeball (actuall the beak is the restriction but you can't measure it and the eyes are roughly the same size as the beak) are potential escape options.

    There is also a sticky, Posts with Info for New Octo Keepers at the top of the Octopus care section that contains a list of links to some of the more detailed new octo keepers discussions that should be helpful.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
  3. chad

    chad Cuttlefish Registered

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    thank you very much, i appreciate it. If the previous owner did in fact use copper solutions is there anyway to remove the traces of copper from everything? Its a good setup for a price i cant pass on. Thank you again, Chad
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    The consensus is no. Numerous methods have been suggested but the problem is the absorption and release over time and at undetectable rates. Do ask about the specific medications used rather than inquiring about copper directly (or do both). A reef tank is a safer bet than a fish tank as all inverts and corals are very intolerant of very low levels of copper.
     
  5. chad

    chad Cuttlefish Registered

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    is seems the previous owner use prime line products by Seachem, as far as i can tell they don't have copper in them. The previous owner even checked her the bottles and such and didn't find anything copper related, thank you
     
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  6. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Can I ask have you had a marine tank before? If not you're jumping in at the deep end (pardon the pun!) with about the most difficult to keep animal!!!
     
  7. chad

    chad Cuttlefish Registered

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    This will be my first marine tank, i have owned fresh water tanks for a while but once i saw that you can keep Octopus (an animal i have always thought was incredible) i was hooked, the only thing that's been on my mind for the last month is the Octopus, and in all my spare time i read, read, read on everything i need to know. It may be a huge step, and i may be skipping some easier more learner tanks to start out but I hope through months of research ( i wont be getting the octopus till propably June or July) and you guys here at Tonmo, i can do it.
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Chad, it should be later than June or July. Your tank needs to actively cycle for a minimum of 3 months to carry the bioload of an octopus. When you begin a tank, your water will start to show a completed cycle for the current bioload (no ammonia and no nitrites) but that is only enough bacteria to handle a few small hardy fish. You will need to continue to build that bacteria to accommodate a very messy, high bioload animal.
     
  9. chad

    chad Cuttlefish Registered

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    oh that's what i meant sorry, i plan to have my tank running next weekend. The projected time for June or July was for the cycle, i understand the minimum is three months but what do you guys recommend to allow my tank to cycle?
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I prefer to cycle a tank starting with live rock. After the initial cycle (about 3 weeks) I start adding cleanup crew (snails or hermits, brittle stars, pencil urchin) and over feeding them to keep the cycle going. There are several other ways (fishless preferred) to keep generating ammonia and growing the bacteria that you may want to review through the internet to see which one best suits your needs. If you start with dead rock the process takes much, much longer and mixing live and dead is better than only dead for the cycle but may introduce things you don't want (bristle worms in particular) along with what you do. On the other hand, you will miss out on a lot of very cool critters and, IMO, a more boring tank if you use no live rock.
     
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