Newbie tank: Temperate or Tropical?

Discussion in 'Tank Talk' started by Windsbro, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. Windsbro

    Windsbro Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Hello all,

    Please excuse the long post; I’m just getting started.

    As I’m sure many of you can relate, I have a personal obsession with the Octopus. To illustrate, you can see some of my Octo-themed artwork here: http://www.octomanart.com/Octomans_Web_site/Welcome.html
    or my fb page: https://www.facebook.com/octomanart

    After years of dreaming about keeping an Octopus, I have at last made the first step and purchased a tank, and am now planning how to move forward. Being new to the hobby, I thought I would put some questions before the group while continuing my research. I would like to gain as much knowledge as possible before I even fill the tank and purchase my LR. At the present, I have an empty tank, stand, and a cover with daylight bulbs that will work well for escape proofing- that’s it.

    I live near Monterey Bay in California, and a recent trip to the wharf got me thinking. Fishermen on the pier are bringing up Pacific Brown Octopuses in droves. Some are catching up to 30 a day, poor little guys. I would love to be able to rescue one to bring home, and as they are short-lived, I could continue to do so as needed.

    My main question is this: Should I make an initial attempt at a regular (tropical) reef tank to build up some experience, or should I dive right in and go for a temperate tank? There is substantially less information on this topic, but I’d love to have a little slice of the bay in our tank. I’ve been looking into chillers, and the cost is scary, but I could save for a while and make it happen eventually. I’d only need to cool the water by a few degrees. Either way, I plan on starting with some easier fish and some other inverts before I make an attempt at a octopus.

    The tank is a 60 gallon glass (not reef ready) and I will be working HOB style, as I simply do not have the room for a sump. I think with a little handy-work it won’t be too difficult to escape-proof.

    I would appreciate some thoughts on some equipment. Here is what I have been considering:
    SpectraPure Maxpure 60 gpd RO/DI system. I’m sure this will pay for itself over time.
    AquaC Remora Pro Hang-on Protein skimmer. Seems a little pricy, but it has great reviews and I like the slim profile.
    If I go with a temperate tank, I’m looking at an AquaEuro USA Max, mainly because it’s cheaper than the others. If any of you can make some recommendations here, I'd be willing to save a little more for something better. Drop-in chiller, maybe?
    Any thoughts on the necessity of UV sterilizers, lighting or other optional equipment?

    Looking forward to any thoughts and advise, and would love to continue the discussion. Thanks in advance!

    Paul
     
  2. Windsbro

    Windsbro Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Sorry- Should have posted this in Tank Talk- Can't seem to move it now.
     
  3. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    :cuttlehi:Windsbro!
    Since you live that close to the ocean, I would definitely start with a temperate tank. You will need to be very careful to learn the collection rules in CA as they are quite strict and pricey if you collect ANYTHING in the wrong areas (including small food items like crabs for food, note Roy's post here). Also note that you cannot legally "buy" one of these live bimacs from the fishermen (you can catch your own or buy a dead one) due to an inconvenient law. Most of the bimaculoides we have journaled are self caught in tide pools. You will need a fishing license but check the referenced thread and your local area rules and be diligent about placing rocks back as you found them in the legal areas.

    Since you won't have a sump (I suggest rethinking this if there is any possible alternative) for a simple filter and charcoal set up, you will need some other form of mechanical (filtering) and chemical (charcoal) filtration in addition to your biological (live rock). Cascade filters are not a good option because they are hard to octoproof (and IMO don't do a very good job, especially with heavy bioload) so a canister is your most likely alternative.

    We have several new members just getting started so be sure to read the most current threads in this (now moved) Tank Talk forum. For a few journals of prior bimac residence, check the List of Our Octopuses sticky (use the prior years thread as there are none this year) at the top of the Cephalopod Journals forum and use a browser search for "bimaculoides". The years after 2008 are linked to the journals on the animal name. If you find links that don't work, please let me know. I think I have modified all of them for the new software but we have reorganized some of the forums and they may not all function properly.

    Love your artwork. Feel free to post non-commercial references when you create something new in our members originals sticky in the Arts and Crafts forum! Welcome to the ceph fanatics den :grin:
     
  4. Windsbro

    Windsbro Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Thanks for the response and moving my post. I should have known better; I've spent enough time reading the forums :smile:.
    Temperate tank it is! Great point about the collection laws. I have some colleagues who can help me out to this point, but I had not thought about the legality of buying a live one from the fishermen. I'm sure that I could catch my own in a much more humane way, but seeing this guy pull them out of the water on a hook and toss them in a bucket just made me want to save them from his dinner plate.
    So now I'm back to thinking about attempting a sump. The problem is with no room under or next to where we want the tank, I will have to plumb it through the wall and build something to house the equipment on the exterior of the house. This of course opens up a world of possibilities, but also challenges (and expenses). I'm a little nervous about drilling the tank too, as I've never worked with tempered glass, but I'm sure there are some helpful threads out there. If I can get my wife to go along with it, I just might go down the rabbit hole. I did read rryyddeerr's very interesting thread about using exterior temperatures to cool a tank, which generated some ideas...
    I've been loving the journal entries as well. I just read about the life and times of "Legs" last night, which was a great read.
    BTW-My hat's off to the tonmo staff and community for developing such an amazing resource. I hope that in a year or so I'll be able to start my own bimac journal. Excitement continues to grow. Back to the forums!
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Note on the "rescue". If you don't PAY for it, it should be legal and we occassionaly have members catch and give them to other members.

    You cannot drill tempered glass. HOWEVER, many current tanks have tempered glass only on the bottom, finding out however can be difficult. There are several websites that have information on how to determine if your side and back panels are tempered. Here is one but it was an arbitrary choice from googling, "determining if aquarium has tempered glass". They DO make hang on siphons (I have not had much luck with siphons but others have had little trouble). Again, the internet is your friend. Here is a video that nicely explains how to set one up and the basic concerns of needing to keep a siphon when the power is off. There are numerous configurations available so do some surfing.
     
  6. Windsbro

    Windsbro Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Thanks D,
    I'm going to test the glass to see if it's tempered. I had just assumed that it was, then read that typically only the bottom pane is. There are no markings on the sides, but I'll check just to be sure. I'm dubious about the hang-on syphons.
    Lesson learned: Assume nothing.
    I'm looking into sump setups to see if I can figure out a small arrangement and keep everything indoors. Lot's of good info out there.
    I now wish that I had done more research before picking up my tank and stand. The stand is nice, but totally impractical for housing a sump. It was a good deal, but I should have held out until I knew exactly how I wanted I wanted everything configured. Once I figure everything out I'll start posting my build.
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    You COULD think about abandoning, selling or even modifying the stand since you have not started. It might be cheaper than some of your other alternatives but be sure to consider the weight. Water weight about 8 pounds/gallon and then there is the live rock ...

    If you determine you can drill the tank, mikewise has a nice post on this forum. Look at the HOW TO ... sticky at the top. The post there has reference links to other posts and drilling is one of the topics.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Coldwater Marine Aquatics is a TONMO partner. There are not a lot of cold water animal suppliers so you may want to keep an eye on Stu's posts as he occasionally offers specials to our group. He is also on Facebook if you want to watch his inventory while you are just window shopping. Just remember, NO FISH (there are a couple that are hard to resist if you have a cold water tank but you can worry about catching MTS after you establish your first tank :wink:)
     
  9. Windsbro

    Windsbro Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Thanks again, D! Excited about Coldwater Marine Aquatics; couldn't ask for a better resource. Great fb page, too.
    Not much to report, but I've tested the glass and the sides are not tempered, so I'll be drilling. First will come a lot of drawing and planning to work everything out beforehand (currently looking at overflow options), and I'll be posting my designs once roughed out. I'll start a new build thread once I make some progress. I can't believe how much time I spend researching and just THINKING about this stuff now...:bugout:
    I'm also going to completely hack the cabinet to make room for the sump. No big deal- I'm sure I can do this in a way that will hold all the weight.
    Have a great Holiday, everybody!
     
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  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Most wooden cabinets can be modified with creative thinking. If you remove any vertical bracing, be sure to add a joist type horizontal replacement. If it has a back, you will want to cut a hole for the plumbing AND it will need to sit out from the wall about 6 inches. You can set the unit closer to the wall if you use a side exit but typically this is a bad esthetic choice if not designed from the get go.

    Plan on 2 out flow bulkheads. Over time they will build up a bit of sludge and slow down. Additionally, snails and other debris will find there way temporarily into the exit points. With two, each taking the flow of your pump, you will eliminate any possibility of overflow as well as have better filtration.

    Consider getting a ground faulted outlet plug and be sure your holes will not allow splash onto the outlet. Placing your power strip, although convenient, inside the cabinet is a BAD idea so think about attaching it to the back (or side if it won't show) but be sure you have good access. Access and ease of maintenance need to be included in your planning. It will make SOOOO much difference in your enjoyment of the tank later. Anything that is hard to get to is a niggle at first but quickly grows into a PITA.
     
  11. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    I wouldn't just consider a ground faulted outlet plug, I think it is necessary... I've experienced the "refreshing" feeling of electricity entering and exiting my body a few too many times... :bonk: Plus, I once had a fire start that probably would have been prevented with a grounded the outlet. Probably shouldn't have had an outdoor tank, but that's another story...
     
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  12. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    +1 on the fire and I was holding the surge protector when it caught.
     
  13. Windsbro

    Windsbro Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Duly noted. Going to put in a gfi for sure.
    The sides are definitely not tempered so I'm good to drill, and have been playing around with some layouts. Will also be going with dual out flows. Tossed around the idea of a skimmer bar but from what I've read they are somewhat inconsistent with their flow. Going to keep looking looking around...
    I also found a cheap 20 gallon that will work as a sump. I had some glass handy so I've already cut the baffles, but still need to purchase the tank lol. I'm going to hack the cabinet to make room this weekend; shore up the sides and expand the depth another 6 inches and keep the entire unit 6 inches from the wall. After the alteration I will have nice, easy access down there.
    Will post some drawings soon and would love some feedback when I do. Tonmo rules.
     
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  14. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    When I had a temperate tank, I used AquaLogic chillers. http://www.aqualogicinc.com/water-chillers.htm I used plural, because I had a back up chiller - my tank was outside (under a shade) in Long Beach, California - whenever the chiller failed, it was always the middle of the summer, Friday afternoon at 4:55 pm... The company has great customer service, but they have to be open to help you... You probably won't need a back up chiller, I also kept blue ice in the freezer that I could pop in ziploc bags to float in the tank if I needed.

    I don't think you would need a UV sterilizer for your tank.
     
  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I keep frozen RO/DI bottled water in the freezer for power failures in the summer. Some years they get a lot of use, others none at all. They work minimally for a warm water tank but it would be pushing it for a cold water environment even in a cooler part of the country. I do have problems with my son sealing them when he goes running but the bottles can be refilled and frozen from my RO/DI unit so it is not really a major battle as long as he does not destroy the bottles.

    As CG mentions, UV sterilization is not required and there are a few anecdotal concerns that suggest it may have a negative side. Octopuses (and cephs in general) do not carry the normal fish parasites and those that they do carry inhabit the gills or internal organs and can't be found on the live animal.

    Sounds like you are having fun :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013

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