ready for octopus?

Discussion in 'Tank Talk' started by octomatic, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. octomatic

    octomatic GPO Registered

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    hey peoples a little about my tank. its a 37 gallon with a ten gallon sump:

    25lbs live sand
    45lbs live rock
    250w heater
    295 gph koralia nano powerhead
    custom top that is octoproof and so is my overflow box
    75 gallon eshopps gen 2 skimmer

    well now that you got the basics my question is? how long do I have to wait before I can get a octo? its been about 3 weeks. i got my rock from my LFS so its really matured and has lots of coraline algae on it. this is my testing results:

    salinity: 1.025
    PH: 8.2
    nitrate: 0
    nitrite: 0
    alkalinity: 300ppm
    calcium: 450ppm

    i also use RO water ONLY!

    also should I test for other stuff? I mean when do you know that your tank is mature enough for a ceph?
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    You will need to feed the tank to grow your bacteria (three months minimum recommended). I recommend starting by adding a clean up crew and overfeeding it with weekly disruption of any bottom substrate (sand) to release and remove nitrates. I like to use serpent stars, urchins and snails with a few polyps for color but any critters that will eat chopped up shrimp are a good idea. Others recommend using cycle fish for the same effect, removing the fish when it is time to add the octopus but the idea is to reach a bioload similar to what an octopus will produce without creating detectable ammonia and nitrite cycles.
     
  3. octomatic

    octomatic GPO Registered

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    I have 2 turbo snails, a chromis, a. Banded coral shrimp, and 3 small starfish that came outta my liverock, plus 5 hermits. And a black blenny
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    The starfish, hermits and snails can stay but the fish will need to be rehomed (the chromis will likely prove hard to catch without disrupting the LR). The fish will either be killed or pick on the octopus, either keeping it shy or set up a situation for potential harm as well as adding to the bioload of a small tank. The bandid will be eaten.

    In the meantime, overfeed the tank (not with huge amounts of food but more than the recommended minimums). The chromis should take chopped up frozen shrimp (I recommend using frozen, not dried food to maximize the bacteria and minimizing waste build-up in the bottom substrate). One frozen shrimp will feed everyone for more than a week (you can also use frozen mysis shrimp be we have found regular table shrimp to be readily accepted, less expensive and is the same food the octo will be eating). You can freeze it in small cut up slices and then thaw and cut up into cooked rice sized bits. Feed enough so that it all gets eaten and watch to see if your stars take any of the fallen chunks (some stars will eat meat, others will not. Brittles and serpents are meat eaters).
     
  5. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    In addition to the great advice by D, you also have to perform frequent tests for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. When you see your ammonia go up and then come down as the nitrates go up, you'll know you're almost done cycling. The water has to get bad before it gets good. Not sure you should have all that livestock in there already -- do you have another tank you could move them to or a friend who could take them? You don't usually add any livestock until AFTER the tank has cycled.
     
  6. octomatic

    octomatic GPO Registered

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    I think the tank is cycled, its been 3 weeks now, with cured live rock from my LFS. im just wondering because of the rock that i have and based on my tests is my tank ready for an octo. Is the 3 month wait just a safety issue and how do i know when im ready?
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    The problem is, we can't test for many of the things we WANT in the aquarium, only two of the things we DON'T want (ammonia and nitrite). You can get a no ammonia, no nitrite reading by just keeping a tank of water, it is the bacteria that we can't (as hobbiests) calibrate that is what a cycle is all about. The goal is to build the bacteria that will prevent spikes (and death) as you add bioload. The tank cannot sit fallow for three months and be ready, you will need to feed it. A three week old tank will pollute very quickly when you add the heavy bioload of an octopus because it has not built the needed bacteria to quickly convert waste and decomposing matter. I am not a fan of cycle fish but the reason they are so often used is because they add a bioload to the system and keep the bacteria building. As difficult as it seems to you now, wait out the minimum time and feed the tank. In another month add a serpent, more hermits or snails, small crabs (which will become food) or even a pencil urchin (things that can remain in the tank with an octopus but will scavange and let you add food that will be consumed).

    When your LSF takes your readings and tells you you are ready to go, what they really mean is you are ready to begin building bacteria by slowly adding animals. When using live rock, this varies highly depending upon the condition of the LR. There is a well known expression with aquarists, New Tank Syndrome (google it). It occurs with most new saltwater hobbiests and is costly and avoidable.

    Are you pulling any protein off with your skimmer or does it stay pretty clean?
     
  8. QueenB

    QueenB Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    :welcome: Octoatic

    It's better to be safe then sorry. I am in your same situation. I to am exited to get my first one. I have 2 29's that have been cycled for over 15 months and were going to be my original Octo tanks, but I splurged this year and bought a RSM 250 65g. Which my replacement tank will be in this week. The first had a crack in the plastic frame. :(

    I thoroughly believe in the cycling of the tank the slow natural way, it stabilizes the tank, and the payoff is well worth the wait. I agree with DWhatley, you can crash the system very fast if it's not cycled correctly. You don't want to chance putting the Octopus in and losing it for what seems no apparent reason.

    Here is a simple explanation that I found when I first started.

    The nitrogen cycle of a saltwater aquarium is a chain reaction in nature resulting in the birth of various types of nitrifying bacteria, each with their own job to do. Each new bacteria born consumes the the byproduct of the previous one, and in turn gives birth to the next bacteria.

    The biological filter is the heart of every saltwater aquarium. Without a strong, healthy biological filter, a tank will never be able to support a healthy population of fish and invertebrates.

    http://saltaquarium.about.com/od/bionitrogencycle/a/faqbiologicalcy.htm

    It sometimes takes months to build it up, but you have a small head start with the LR that you got from your LFS.

    Here is another great site with a detailed explanation.

    http://www.versaquatics.com/biologicalfiltration.htm

    If your using a protein skimmer, you may want to turn it off during the initial cycling period. This will help the bacteria spread in your biological filter faster.


    Being patient is the hardest part.

    Which Octo are you deciding on?

    I'm thinking Merc, but since I got the 65 I may change my mind. Waiting till my 65 is cycled before I finally decide. Although a Merc in one of my 29's would be fabulous!
     
  9. octomatic

    octomatic GPO Registered

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    My. Skimmer stay purdy clean, but what it pulls out is greenish. Its just not alot
     
  10. QueenB

    QueenB Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    Sorry for the miss spelling in your name. My new laptop keys don't want to work sometimes.

    I'm fine tuning the Tunze 9002's I bought for my Biocube, one produces really NASTY green skimate. The other is like yours, light green but not a lot. I'm still tinkering I think it could be pulling more.

    The RSM 250 I have has a monster skimmer in it. It's the factory one that came with it. I haven't heard any bad reviews on it so I may just keep it once the new tank gets here and its set up.
     

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  11. octomatic

    octomatic GPO Registered

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    I just got my skimmer yesterday, so im hopefull it will be skimming better. It is starting to skim more now( i gave it a vinegar bath before i put it in my tank)
     
  12. octomatic

    octomatic GPO Registered

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    So after 3 months is there any tell tale signs im ready for an octo? Or do i just wait the 3 months and that will be long enough for my tank to grow a considerable amount of benificial bacteria?
     
  13. QueenB

    QueenB Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    Make sure to rinse it off well after the vinegar bath, it takes a few days & it primes itself and skims more.

    I use distilled white vinegar and it works really well on tough salt creep that builds up on the sides and back of the tank. Nice old spray water bottle works nicely. I normally swap my pumps out about 6-8 months and soak them for a day. You'd be surprised what grows in them. I had these hard tube worm like things once years ago, that literally got so bad in my sump, they stopped the propeller in an old pump. So keeping up on the maintenance is a key factor to.

    My advice would be to wait it out and let it cycle and create the beneficial bacteria. Give your tank a good running start.
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    You will need to help your tank along by increasing the bioload but I would wait a month before adding any more animals. During a normal full cycle, you will see an algae bloom and at least one bloom of amphipods/copepods (they will look like little white bugs but if you look closely, you will see they are tiny shrimp like creatures and are a positive addition). You may or may not have a bout with hair algae (a nuisance but not dangerous unless you have corals but needs to be contained or it will take over your tank). Three months will be too early to see natural sponges (sometime they don't show up for three years) but you should start seeing little feather dusters and worms.
     
  15. octomatic

    octomatic GPO Registered

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    I all ready have dusters, worms, and those little bug lookin things. Some of my rock had algae on it but i think its dying because its falling off.
     
  16. octomatic

    octomatic GPO Registered

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    Please dont get me wrong, i want to have the best possible chance for survival for my octo. I know that if i got one and it died right away i would be tottally bummed. But im also super impatient so i wanna have all my bases covered so i can get an octo as soon as i can. Thanks for all the help!
     
  17. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    It sounds like you found good rock (often not the case) and a nice start on the tank. I am not sure why algae would be falling off on its own (usually you would have to scrub it or get something to eat it) so that is a mystery. Since you just started up your skimmer (appropriate for just now and not earlier), hopefully you will start seeing a coating of greenish grey mud accumulating in the cone. IME, with a new tank, you should see quite a bit of it the first month or two and then a falling off but never an end. If the mud smells foul, you know you still have a ways to go as that will be dead stuff coming from the LR.
     
  18. octomatic

    octomatic GPO Registered

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    Ok sweet, thanks dwhatley u have been very helpful!
     
  19. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Wonderpus Supporter Registered

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    I don't know if this happens in all tanks but I always seem to get a diatom bloom right at the end of my cycle. It's happened in all my tanks and at first it bothered me but now I welome the sight because I know it's a good sign.
    Sue
     
  20. SabrinaR

    SabrinaR Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    +1 here. I get the same thing, if it takes the tank 6 weeks to cycle or if it takes 2 doesnt matter that brown icky nasty looking stuff coats almost everything and I know I am good to go.
     

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