New User/New Tank!

Discussion in 'Tank Talk' started by Amygdalan, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. Amygdalan

    Amygdalan Blue Ring Registered

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    Just wanted to say hi to everyone as I'm brand new here, but I've been reading the forums for a few months now while trying to determine what set up to buy to attempt to get a tank started.

    I decided on a 92 Gallon corner tank which I found for sale complete with live rock and cycled water. It's got a skimmer and sump set up, and custom lighting. It's beautiful! I've attached a picture. I love just having it in my room, the white noise of the bubbles to sleep to is wonderful.

    I've got it completely filled now, and just a warning to anyone buying a used tank... Look over it EXTREMELY well. You can see in the last picture I attached of what I thought was a crack AFTER I had the tank filled in my fourth floor apartment bedroom! What a nightmare. I completely freaked out when I saw this and worried about the tank flooding my apartment and the neighbors below! :bugout: :banghead: :sink: The "crack" was in a spot that I couldn't see when I purchased it, as it was under the canopy starting from the upper left corner. Anyhow, to my absolute glee I found out that it wasn't a crack at all, but a strand of silicone that had dripped from when the tank was sealed that had been there all along! I scraped some off and checked it with an LED light to make sure... no crack! Just some silicone! You can't imagine how relieved I felt. :grin: So be very sure if you're buying a used tank to look it over extremely well before you buy it.

    I'm sure I'll be posting a lot more once my salinity goes down (I had to add about 40 gallons of uncycled water and salt) and the tank is ready for livestock.

    I will be getting an octopus, probably O. Vulgaris. My first question will be, what, if anything, should I keep in the tank with it?

    Thanks, look forward to talking with you all in the future :)

    -Ray
     

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  2. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    :welcome: and I'm glad the crack turned out to be an illusion...
     
  3. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    We had one of those after purchase "cracks" too. Since the tank is acrylic we did not have your terror but were delighted to find that the crack was easily removed during cleaning.

    You might look at the mats they make for aquariums,http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=14697 to put over the carpet. Saltwater is not well suited for carpet and I have found these to be very useful (it looks like they are on sale now as well). I keep one in front of two of my tanks even on tile floor.
     
  5. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    Welcome to TONMO!

    As long as the previous owner can swear there was no copper treatments ever used in the tank you're good to go. It looks very nice. I can't imagine hauling that thing up 3 flights of stairs! Being from Florida you shouldn't have too much trouble finding a suitable octopus for your tank. O. vulgaris may get a bit too big for that tank though. I'd suggest an O. briareus or O. hummelincki.
     
  6. Amygdalan

    Amygdalan Blue Ring Registered

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    Thanks for the tip on the mat, I just ordered one. That must be the cheapest thing I've purchased so far! :lol:

    The previous owner swore to me no copper products were used in the tank. They had it set up as saltwater and I saw the tank fully set up with tons of fish in it. It did have some green hair algae overgrowth that needed to be cleaned off the live rock, but he claimed that was from lack of care.

    Thanks for the tip on the species decision. What size tank would you recommend for O. Vulgaris? Just curious. I'll probably try to track down one of those you suggested if the tank is truly too small.

    Hah, we have a freight elevator in the building so we just brought it up in that. The water and rocks were the worst part, the tank is acrylic and surprisingly light.
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    There are two current keepers of the octos Animal_Mother suggested. They are both Caribbean species.

    My hummelincki's journal: http://www.tonmo.com/community/index.php?threads/9957/

    AM's briareus journal: http://www.tonmo.com/community/index.php?threads/8735/

    If you look through the Journal section, many people include the octopus species in the title (helpful if you will do the same). Reading through the life recordings should both help prepare you for your encounter and get an idea of the differences in the species.

    Oh, and if that had been a crack, since the tank IS acrylic you could have made somewhat unsightly but fool proof repairs. One of our tanks, after weeks of delay, was damaged in shipping. The vendor replaced the tank but ultimately did not send a shipper to pickup the cracked tank. After several months and thoughts about trying to cut off the damage (about 7 inches from the top down the front center of the tank) we did some reading and injected acrylic cement into the crack. It spiderwebbed width wise but not further down and sealed the tank completely. We bought some black acrylic, and made a decorative band around the top and then a small acrylic plate (we were going to put a name plate on it but never did :roll:) to cover the rest of the ugly part. The band actually improved the looks of the tank so much we made another for the replacement aquarium.

    We have also done extensive rework on an old used tank, including completely relocating the overflow and sealing the bulkhead hole. Worse yet, this tank had had a cracked and repaired bottom before we acquired it and the top support band had not been properly sealed and had to be removed and reworked. That aquarium is in my living room and has had no problems for over 2 years. Needless to say, I am sold on acrylic but wish they were either easier to polish or would not scratch so easily.
     
  8. Amygdalan

    Amygdalan Blue Ring Registered

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    Thanks for the links, those will make for good Friday readings.

    It's nice to know they can be fixed, but still, it's not what you want to deal with when you've just shelled out a substantial sum for your very first saltwater tank.

    My tank has literally no noticeable scratches... I haven't seen one. To that effect, what do you recommend for cleaning/polishing? I currently just use a paper towel and a little bit of 1 to 8 vinegar to water to wipe down the front if it gets wet.

    Another question... my salinity is still really high. I changed out 10 gallons last night adding only fresh, and the hydrometer is through the roof. Keep in mind that I mixed the salt in the tank on Sunday, so it could still be dissolving? I still see particles floating around. I swear I added less than suggested on the Red Sea salt instructions. Weird. The good news is, my PH, ALK, and Nitrites test out all right. Should I be testing for Nitrates as well? That test didn't come with the kit.

    -Ray
     
  9. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    Hydrometers are notoriously inaccurate. Perhaps a LFS has a refractometer they can measure your salinity with.
     
  10. Amygdalan

    Amygdalan Blue Ring Registered

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    Good to know, but I think this is giving a true reading as I can see a good amount of undissolved salt granules floating around.
     
  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Actually, if your salt is still dissolving, you can expect the salinity to rise, not fall. I find the simple hydrometers to be pretty consistent but do keep two and ALWAYS rinse them well with fresh water. If you have let it dry without fully rinsing it, your readings will be way off (you can test is somewhat for this problem by filling it with fresh water, the needle should stay all the way at the bottom and not rise even a little). I keep a second one (different style and brand) handy in case I get a questionable reading but they have both pretty much told me I needed to add salt :oops:.

    I know it will be difficult in an apartment but you will want to find a place to make up a full water change and keep it areating for 24 hours. Tank mixing, although often recommended when starting up a tank, takes much longer to properly dissolve. It is not an acceptable method once you have live stock.

    I can think of two explanations for the high salt content but it will not be the salt mixing instructions as I find the recommended mixture tends to be a little low (many people keep their reefs and FOWLER tanks at a minimum salt content to help control parasites and the mixing directions produce water closer to .021 than the full ocean salinity of .026 ish). Did you measure the amount of water you added and only use the amount of salt needed for the new water? More likely, the old water may not have been topped off for quite some time and evaporation would have made that water much saltier than it should have been. The floating, undesolved salt may be a sign of satuartion and you will need to do more water changes with fresh water to resolve the problem.

    If you are lucky enough not to have scratches :grin: don't add them by using a paper towel. Use a micro fiber cloth instead. Home Depot sells a very nice acrylic polishing cloth in a pack of four or so that is inexpensive (look for the sheet acrylic - they will be close by and are white with a red trim at my store) and will actually help polish the tank. You seem aware that ammonia is a no-no around any aquarium but plain water is really the best to ensure nothing enters the water in mist form. Getting off the "salt grease" as I call it is never easy. I usually use one cloth wet and then go back with a dry one, folding it several times as it picks up the salt residue. As an aside, most of my many scratches are on the inside so your tank was a real find.
     
  12. Amygdalan

    Amygdalan Blue Ring Registered

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    I got the salinity down, it's actually a little low at 1.019ish now, but that swing arm is all over the damn place to be honest.

    I dumped in four damsels, five snails, and two fire crabs. Three of the snails were dead by morning. I'm not sure what caused this, but I will do some tests this evening when I get home. The fish and crabs seem fine and are eating and pretty active.

    Thanks for the tip on the micro fiber, I didn't know paper towels would scratch it!

    I don't know that I can mix for a full water change in my place, we'll see, but it's doubtful. I probably need to purchase water pre mixed for future changes.
     
  13. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    Those damsels are going to be a major pain in the butt to get out if they live through the cycle and salinity shifts.
     
  14. Amygdalan

    Amygdalan Blue Ring Registered

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    Well, the salinity is now TOO low. I took the hydrometer out and rinsed it, and of course now it's too low... so, is there a formula that I can use to determine how much salt water to add back in? Also, all of the snails are dead. The crabs are all right. The snails were all feeding on some green hair like algae on my live rock though. Not sure if that's what caused it or the salinity being off.
     
  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Neither the algae nor the salinity should have killed the snails but if you did not acclimate them (most people don't with snails but I have found they are actually pretty sensitive) there is a possiblity a drastic change in salinity could have effected them.

    I would not alter your tank directly but simply do saltwater top offs until you reach the salinity desired. The damsels can survive in the lowered salt if they acclimated OK and by topping off with saltwater, you will not be inducing major swings in the enviornment. You will wish you had not chosen to use the damsels I fear. As AM mentioned, they are a major problem to remove and are not octo friendly.

    It sounds like you are using one of the newer in-tank hydormeters. Forget leaving it the tank. They are not better or worse than the others for accuracy but they do not work well just left in the tank (hopefully you have kept the little black stopper that needs to be removed for in-tank use but needs to be in-place otherwise). When you next test your water, do your top off and then test it the next day starting with a well rinsed hydrometer, draw from the middle of the tank about mid-way down the then set the hydrometer on a flat surface then count to 60 :grin:. You should be able to do this repeatedly and get exactly the same reading. Don't forget to rinse it (I use warm water) immediately after you dump out the water (and don't leave the salt water in it overnight). If you are anal about rinsing it both before and after use and it will last for years.
     
  16. Amygdalan

    Amygdalan Blue Ring Registered

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    Thanks for the tips on the hydrometer. I don't think it came with a black stopper, to be honest. I will check, but I know I threw nothing away.

    Lol, the damsels really don't seem like they will be so hard to remove... maybe I'm being naive. You guys have been correct so far. Oh well.

    What would you recommend as a process to acclimate the octopus when it arrives? You are correct in assuming that I didn't acclimate the snails or the crabs. The crabs are fine though. Three of the five snails died.
     
  17. Amygdalan

    Amygdalan Blue Ring Registered

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    I found the black stopper, and success! My salinity measured 1.018 four times in a row, so that's much better than it was. I still see white granules floating around in the tank that I didn't before I added the salt and it's been a week and a half.

    It looks like only two snails may have died as some have miraculously moved... unless the bigger crab drug them off somewhere.

    You guys are awesome, thanks for all the pointers thus far.
     
  18. Amygdalan

    Amygdalan Blue Ring Registered

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    Well, better news... I just tested all of my chems and they are all golden, nitrites are about .05 though.

    And even better news... I flipped the snails over as they were on their shells and they are moving around now. I just assumed they were dead... I mean, they were hanging out of their shells partially, but now they're back on the rocks moving around. Shows what a newb I am.
     
  19. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    If you wonder about a snail's viability, pick it up and take a good whiff. If you are still standing, put it back in the tank :yuck:. When you order more, put them in the center of a plastic container (the microwave meal kind with a flat bottom work well) and put in a small amount of tank water in with them. As they move to the edge, you can put them in your tank. It there are any left in the center after a couple of hours, see above.

    While you are playing with the tank (and after you get your mat), you can net out the white floaty stuff. If you don't have one, I would recommend that you buy a brine shrimp net (Tom's also makes a very fine (as in hole size) net that is entirely plastic, is very inexpensive and is my personal favorite). I find that the brine net and/or the soft one by Tom's do well for removing ink if (as is usually the case) you are in front of the aquarium when it happens. A second item you should have on hand is a decent turkey baster. This will be helpful for disrupting your bottom substrate, blowing off your live rock during clean-up and is also useful for collecting ink that is mucusy (thin ink will be difficult to catch but will be handled by your filtration).

    There are several threads on acclimating an octopus and several things you should read about acclimation in general before you are ready for a sensitive creature. I tend to acclimate my octos a little differently than the best recommendations on the site and the site methods may be best for a novice.
    However, if you don't find enough in the care section, PM me and I will give you the link to my write up for the website I webmaster for some general considerations (not octo specific).

    A good source specific to octopus acclimation (with special octo specific tips) is the book written by TONMO's Nancy and Colin.
     
  20. Amygdalan

    Amygdalan Blue Ring Registered

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    Thanks again for even more tips, I will pick up the items you've suggested to keep in my tank bucket. I'll also be reading a lot on acclimating the octopus before I get it.

    I'm really happy that the water is so healthy so far, being the newb that I am. Also very happy that the snails weren't actually dead. What's the deal with those guys? Do they fall off the higher rocks and end up on their backs and need to be flipped, or will they right themselves?

    I'm also thinking about changing my substrate. Currently it is crushed coral/shells and I'm not sure it will be good for the octopus. I know the crabs probably hate it.
     

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