Newbie tank setup idea

DWhatley

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One other suggestion I would make along this line would be to find zippered mesh filter bags for your charcoal and to buy 3. DO NOT buy bags with a string type closure (wet string is almost impossible to deal with). Velcro closures work but will rot over time with the saltwater where the zippered have held up very well. I recommend buying three so that you can swap them during changes rather than having to clean/rinse them immediately. I keep two filter socks and charcoal bags for each tank and then do my cleaning after I finish with the tanks. This way I always have a clean sock and a rinsed charcoal bag available.

I highly recommend using the 7" and not the 4" filter socks. A 4" will usually not hold a weeks worth of dirt and will overflow before you are ready to do your weekly maintenance. You will not find a holder for the larger sock and have to make something but a piece of PVC pipe and 4 90 degree elbows makes a simple holder.
 

ceph

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This all sounds good to me - don't forget to cycle for at least a month, two would be better. The overkill in size will give you extra buffer for mistakes. The aquarium advise above is great.

You can make your own custom sized sump or tank from acrylic but I'd recommend that you go with your 10 gallon for now. It's already paid for and you know it holds water. Drilling through you main tank is a pain (go slow! even better, have someone else do it) but is generally worth it.

Be careful with putting more than on octopus in a tank. . . It's a risk and I advise against it. Especially if this is your first octopus.

Pygmy octopuses can be shy.

James
 

Gridlox

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I do plan on drilling my own tank just for cost reasons. I definantly want it drilled, but dont want to pay to have someone else do it.

I had been planning to wait about 3 months before adding an octo to the tank. I had planned to get it all set up, get the LR and sand in, wait a few weeks, then and a clean up crew(although I have no idea what) and then let the tank mature for awhile.

I have been looking at other peoples setups and I really like the painted back pane of the tank. I have read several forms on how to do this yourself(basically seems like I should just buy some spray paint and go at it from what I have gathered). However, I can not find any information on if I should do this before or after I have drilled the tank. Does anyone have an opinion on that?

Also, what are people opinions on sand? Is live sand worth the price? If I have liverock will it eventualy "seed" my sand? What brands(if any) are better or worse sand wise for octos?

As always Ive tried to carefully comb threads for info to eliminate repeat answers!

Thanks for any and all advice!
 

SandV

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As for drilling your own tank, see if someone from you local reef club would be willing to help you. The smaller tanks have thinner glass and it really isn't the easiest to drill (without cracking the tank anyway). You can also ask at your local fish store how much they would charge you to drill it, I think we have paid like $10 per hole before for a previous 120 gallon (cheaper than buying a new tank if we cracked it, not they had a guarrantee, :) ) Also, just a side note, if you do crack the tank and have to do another, practice on the other panes, as the tank is no good to you now, but the practice is helpful.

As for painting the back, yep just spray paint from home depot or where ever. We always do black but I guess you could really do any color you like. I would paint after drilling. One you will just scratch it up with touching it and drilling it. Two if you crack the tank and have to do another you wont waste the paint! You can use cardboard or a paper towel in your drillled hole while you paint it so you dont get paint in the tank.

IMO live sand is not worth the price. Your rock will seed your sand, or if you want to speed up the process or add additional organisms buy a cup of live sand from your local fish store, they may call it grunge, or see if someone from your local reef club will give you some from their tank. You only need a small amount and with time it will all become live sand. Every time we have moved we just trash our sand and start with new dry sand.

I don't know that any "brand" is better or worse, what you need to worry about is an size of sand. I believe sugar sand is the finest, but it is really hard to keep down, it blows around a lot and can cloud up the tank. Hopefully someone else can comment on what sand they find to be best.

Hope that is helpful.
 

CaptFish

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Also, what are people opinions on sand? Is live sand worth the price? If I have liverock will it eventualy "seed" my sand? What brands(if any) are better or worse sand wise for octos?
I use Carib-Sea Arag-Alive(fiji pink). Love it.
 

DWhatley

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I started a cross reference sticky entitled HOW TO ... that I hope to maintain with links to threads that discuss DIY issues. For some of the initial posts, I added a link to a thread on how to drill a tank that might be of help.
 

Gridlox

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So this question is less octopus and more reeftank in general, and I've tried asking on other forums first but they arent nearly as helpful as you all.

My question is this, can I set my tank up now(i have nearly all the supplies needed) and add one piece of LR and some other base rock and sand and "seed" all of it so that by August when I move in to my apartment my LR and LS are ready to go and I've saved some money.

My concerns are these:
1. How long does it take to turn base rock into LR? will 5 months be enough?
2. How much work will be required? I cant set this up in my dorm, it would go in my GF's apartment and i dont go over everyday. If it does require daily maitenence just for the rocks, is it something simple enough that I could teach her?
3. What are the chances that the LR/LS survive the move from gf apartment to my apartment come august?
4. Are there any pitfuls im not considering?

Thanks in advance!
 

DWhatley

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There are as many opinions on best tank care as there are tanks :biggrin2:. I have only moved, relocated or upsized well established tanks but here is my thinking on your situation (Hopefully others will chime in):

You should be good with your plan as long as you understand that you will have a "mini-cycle" during the move. You will also have to carefully plan your move so that your rock (all of it) is fully submerged at all times during the transport (a little sloshing exposure will not be a major impact but nothing should approach dry. There are pros and cons about moving the water. Since you will have nothing live other than the rock in the tank, I would only transport the water that is used to keep everything wet and fill with new saltwater at the new location. As I mentioned, you will have a mini-cycle and should expect to wait another month.

While the tank is cycling, it is pretty much a watching paint dry phase. You will need to encourage the cycle much more aggressively than if you used all live rock. Since you have the time and will be disrupting the tank look into using dead shrimp to keep producing ammonia to create your curing cycle. You may wish to position the rocks so that the sides you hope to view are exposed as the sides on the bottom will not produce the needed bacteria and will be essentially "dead", even in the initial live rock. Since you are only using one (more would be better, even if they are small pieces) piece of live rock try to place it so that almost nothing is touching it, exposing as much as possible to the water. Elevating all the rock to expose as much surface as possible would be ideal. Normally you would start adding critters at about 2 months and start feeding the tank. Since you are planning to move it, I would avoid this and add the extra time after it is in your appartment. Using a dead shrimp weekly, will accomplish part of what you want and will ultimately make the move safer. You will want to light the tank, have currrent at all times and probably start using your protein skimmer after about 3 months. Setting up your sump is unnecessary and you can cap your inlets and outlets (or keep the water below them depending upon where they are located. I would still do water changes about once a month to help remove algae. Weekly or every two week internal glass cleaning is recommend because build up is much harder to clean and propogates algae. I don't use the algae magnet often because they put the algae back into the tank, more so if you are not filtering. In stead I use the Mr. Clean (be sure to get the ones WITHOUT SOAP) erasers and rinse often with tap water (the sink sprayer works best) and then wring them dry before continuing.

The amount of time to turn dead rock into live rock varies and the more live rock you have the faster it will occur. It can take as long as a year and IMO a tank is not really cycled and stable until it is a couple of years old.


I am not a proponent of live sand. IMO, it creates more of a nitrate problem than any benefit it provides but it is popular and may help because you are using so much dead rock. You could cycle your rock without a substrate, making it easier to transport in August. Since you will have a min-cycle anyway, you could add your sand (live or dead) at the time of the move rather than now without much impact.
 

Gridlox

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DWhatley

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You might look for reviews on the internet. I have tried several low end skimmers and not been at all happy with any but the Coralife but this one is new so you are kind of on your own.
 

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