tank finally together and maturing! what next?

Discussion in 'Tank Talk' started by Mikewise, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. Mikewise

    Mikewise GPO Registered

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    Hey everyone, I’m just posting an update to make sure I’m on the right track and to ask what needs to get done.

    As per everyone’s advice I have been taking things very slowly. I’ve spent the last two months just getting to this stage. A leak in the overflow hole drilled by the LFS set me back about a week, but I’m proud to say the tank has been fully set up now for almost a week and everything is running smoothly. Here are the final specs:

    40 gal. breeder
    80 lbs live rock
    1 1/2” live sand bed
    20W fluorescent light
    red lights for night time
    drilled 1” overflow and 3/4” return at 350 gph (both with glued bulkhead screens in place)

    in the sump:
    turboflotor 1000 skimmer
    foam and charcoal
    200W heater

    water specs as of today:
    NH3: 0.25 ppm
    N02: 0 ppm
    NO3: 5 ppm
    pH: 7.9
    temp: 74 F
    SG: 1.024

    my LR came to me fully cured (from a tank established over a year ago) and for several weeks I didn’t see any trace of ammonia. This week, when I finally got the rock into the main display tank, I started feeding the little rock dwellers combovital every few days in an effort to start building the up nice strong colonies for biological filtration. This seems to have produced a little ammonia (.30 yesterday, .25 today) which I understand to be normal.

    I am also somewhat concerned about the alkalinity, which was initially around 8.1, dropping to 8.0 and 7.9 today. What could be causing the gradual decline in pH and should I be worried?

    today I added 3 turbo snails and 5 hermit crabs just to keep me company during the next couple months while the tank fully matures. Should these friends be removed when the time finally comes to add the octopus or if I should allow them to stay and become food? I seem to recall some people posting about adding a bimac to a tank with a community of crabs and snails to snack on.

    I was also thinking about getting a fish or two to keep me company while I bide my time. But I am reluctant to add the standard damsel, as I have read they are damn near impossible to catch and remove from the tank, which would obviously be necessary before I add a baby octo. I was also wondering if I should be stocking my tank with many fish at this time, to create a large bioload and prime the rock for it’s task of dealing with lots and lots of octopus waste? Requesting advice in this department.

    I realize that this preliminary stuff is childsplay for the majority of you veterans, but I’m damn proud of myself for getting this far! I can’t tell you how delighted I was when the water cleared and I saw fanworms, bristleworms and pods crawling around my rockwork! Visible life!

    Lastly, here are some photos of things so far:

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  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    So far so good! All new tanks are fun, even after you have several established! I would rethink the LR set up if you are planning on anything but a dwarf though. The nice "bridge" looks like it might easily disassemble (Gorilla Glue works great if you want to keep it that way but it is messy and takes about 3 hours to set up and cure).

    Once you don't see any ammonia, you may want to add some serpent stars and feed them at night. They can be quite recluse but the ones in my octo tank come out as soon as I am at the tank in the late evening. They do not need to be removed from an octo tank and they will not become food.
     
  3. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    Re: pH swings... Are you checking the pH at the same time each day? During the day anything in the tank that photosynthesizes will be consuming CO2. The more CO2 in the water, the lower the pH (A can of Pepsi has a pH of around 2). Therefore the pH of your tank will naturally swing back and forth because of the light cycle: if you check it after dinner and then again after breakfast you might see two very different numbers.
     
  4. Mikewise

    Mikewise GPO Registered

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    I think you're right. a strong octopus arm could likely topple over those arching pieces. i'll do some renovating.

    I didn't know serpent stars were octo-safe. that's great news. I would think they'd chow down on an itty bitty octo. i suppose it wouldnt be a problem so long as they're regularly fed.

    nope, that probably explains it. even so, shouldnt the pH be slightly higher (more like 8.1-8.3)?

    i've been thinking about a dogfaced puffer to keep me company as things mature. from what i've read: they're hardy, plus i'd get used to feeding a carnivore, plust hey produce a pretty respectable bioload, and as a bonus, they're damn cute. i realize that cost would be a little high for a short term pet (obviously not octo-safe).

    I dont know; otherwise i would probably just add some mollies because theyre so dumb and easy to catch. what do you guys think?

    i'm still kind of unclear; is building up a bioload with animals even necessary before getting the octo? a guy at the LFS was trying to tell me not.

    would i be better off letting the LR do it's thing alone? maybe throwing in a source of ammonia semi-regularly?
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    If you are planning on a baby, I would suggest a critter keeper or other exclusion chamber (I used double sized breeder nets with my Mercs but they are not as prone to exploring as others) until your little guy grows into its tank. Unless you know of a source, you will probably not need to worry about this but the octo needs to be able to find its food so a tank can be too large for a baby for as much as a month (I actually kept mine in nets much longer but the Mercs are small even as adults). The serpent stars (not regular starfish) don't have any real way to grab live food and are scavengers. My Mercs have always accepted them and are curously gentle when the serpents try to eat the octo's Cyclop-eeze. One of my females has actually moved out of her den to allow the serpent to clean and then moved back in. I have one serpent that thinks it is an octopus (well, that is my take on its actions anyway). It is often seen inside one of the barnacles with its arms flailing for food.
     
  6. Mikewise

    Mikewise GPO Registered

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    hahaha, that's great. i'd love to get a young bimac if possible for the certainty of its age, but if nothing is available on the internets i will take one ordered by the LFS over nothing.
     
  7. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    Wow! That's a great looking setup you got there. The rock looks fantastic! Glue it!!! Glue it!!! Don't destroy your beautiful aquascaping!
     

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