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*blackback butterflyfish*
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Discussion Starter #1
OK....
I have 2 55 Gallon tanks, one is a freshwater with large chiclids, etc.
I just started my saltwater, last thursday... The tank was a community freshwater and i gave away everything, including the fish.
Replaced everything and am now running a Canister filter, power head and heater.
60 lbs of Live Sand from LFS and 20 lbs of Live Rock, was all we could afford just yet. Once the water cleared and salinity was good, all levels were normal... We bought one clown, he looked lonely, so we bought another the next day. They are happy, healthy and eating... We also bought a cleaner shrimp and an emerald crab. Everyone looks great, but no jumps in ammonia or PH, Salinity sometimes goes low, so we take out some water and put in more saltwater... So i'm happy with how it all works so far, aside from being out $700. lol... Am i rushing things??? also any opinions on protein skimmers??? for a FOWLR, is it needed??
 

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~/root
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A skimmer is a personal choice some people will refuse to have a tank WITH them (that would be me) and some people refuse to have a tank WITHOUT them (not me)

I would keep a close eye since you started from scratch and did not give time to run a cycle keep your eyes on ammonia.

Personally in my opinion you need to STOP buying anymore livestock and keep an eye on it for a month or so before you start doing any more additions. You could technicaly shock the system and make it re-start it's cycle.
 

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Saltwater Section Specialist
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411 Posts
Yes, you are definitely rushing things. Your tank has far too little live rock to establish an effective biological filter. You need to have at least 60 lbs of good quality live rock. You can do half live rock and half dry base rock and give the base rock some time to colonize bacteria. That will save you some cash. There are some thoughts that an algae turf scrubber may eliminate the need for a skimmer but the consensus is that a good skimmer capable of handling twice your system volume is essential.

Your canister is probably colonizing the additional bacteria that you need to keep your ammonia in check. I would not add any more livestock until you get the live rock and skimmer. I also wouldn't remove the canister filter until after you have the rock. If you clean the canister filter, do it with saltwater from your tank (not fresh water). Freshwater will kill the bacteria that the canister has established and possibly cause an ammonia jump.

Hope that helps.
 

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~/root
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i forgot to even touch on that point drhank is very correct you need A LOT more live rock then you have now. 1lb LR to 1gallon is a thumb measurement theirs no such thing as not enough LR.

Look on craigslist or something for someone selling LR. paying $8 a lb for LR at your LFS is not a good idea I buy all my LR from a guy about an hour away, sells it to me at 2.50/lb
 

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*blackback butterflyfish*
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Discussion Starter #6
Ok, i was referring to everything bought so far for the tank, for the $700.... do the math... yes $8.99 per pound for Live Rock and it's the good stuff, not that junk from petco... We wanted to buy more as time goes on, it's already cured anyway. We weren't planning on buying anymore fish for a month after the tank cycles. Ok on the canister note, i was planning on keeping that.. are you saying i cannot use this over a long period of time? I would like a wet/dry but we just couldn't afford the one we wanted yet... You know i feel like sometimes, people attack you on these things and make people not want to ask for help.
 

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~/root
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if you want to keep FOWLR i don't see an issue with a canister filter. However if you want to do any inverts or coral i would eventually go to a sump/refugium
 

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Saltwater Section Specialist
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Marine tanks are quite an expense. You may want to look at the used market. There are always folks moving up or getting out. Often if you are patient and can wait, a good deal will come along. $700 is a lot of money but it can also be just scratching the surface. Many reef tanks run thousands to set up and stock. If there is a local club in your area, that can be a good place to meet others in the hobby and come up with good deals.

If you were doing a fish only tank, I would advise that a good wet/dry and frequent (weekly) water changes might be all you need. When you set up a FOWLR, the live rock becomes your primary biological filter. The skimmer removes dissolved organic compounds (DOC) to reduce the amount that breaks down into Ammonia. This reduces the nitrates. Nitrates and phosphates fuel algae growth which really isn't desired.

A relatively new concept, which you may want to look into, is a Algae Turf Scrubber. They are inexpensive to build and take advantage of algae growth to remove it from the display tank and to remove nitrates and phosphates.

I would recommend that you take your time research all the different possibilities available to you and then make a determination on how you wish to proceed. The real key though is water quality. The better it is, the better chance of success you have. Again, Good luck.
 

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newbiefishielover Im sorry for the feeling of being attacked, im sure that was not the intent, as we try to maintain a level above here, perhaps some of the wording could have been different and some of it has been removed, that i felt personally offensive, but for the most part everyone i see in this thread has knowledge beyond reproach. so again accept my appology on behalf of the site.
 

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Moving right along here, I think you might be ok with the rock. Rock is very variable, if you got porous rock you may have gotten a lot of surface area with the same amount of pounds. So its really relative not knowing what kind of rock you have. You may have enough, nobody knows. Some of the rocks I have I got when I was 13 years old and back then you could still get Atlantic rock, and it was HEAVY stuff. The imported rock nowadays is usually not nearly as heavy.
Also - please answer the questions -
Was the rock cured yet?
How much do you plan to feed the tank?
How often will you honestly do water changes?
How many fish do you want to eventually have?
Are you planning on getting an anemone for the clowns any time soon? (please wait if you can!)
What are your long term plans with the tank?
Do you plan to keep coral?
Why would you not want a skimmer?
 

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Ok, i was referring to everything bought so far for the tank, for the $700.... do the math... yes $8.99 per pound for Live Rock and it's the good stuff, not that junk from petco... We wanted to buy more as time goes on, it's already cured anyway. We weren't planning on buying anymore fish for a month after the tank cycles. Ok on the canister note, i was planning on keeping that.. are you saying i cannot use this over a long period of time? I would like a wet/dry but we just couldn't afford the one we wanted yet... You know i feel like sometimes, people attack you on these things and make people not want to ask for help.
Sorry you felt that way. One thing you will notice about us marine folk we are all passionate, and there is no shortage of opinions.

My .02 is this.

You know you plan on getting more rock, and upgrading as you can. We all start somewhere and it sounds like you have a good basis. There is little that I think more tempting then a new tank, with nothing in it. Can't wait to put critters in em' Clowns, as I am sure you know are related to damsels, and therefore a very very hardy fish. If you were going to rush, at least you chose good fish to do it with! Try to be patient with inverts, as they are more susceptible to water spikes and problems.

I am a little concerned about what you were saying about your salt level fluctuating. That is weird, it should be constant for the most part, or perhaps increase as water evaporates, but should not be going low??? Are you sure it is not inconsistencies in your hydrometer?

Regarding a skimmer, it is one of the opinion things I was talking about earlier...lots of people have differing things here. My take, if you lean towards a heavily stocked tank (which it sounds like you will :)) then you can never have to much filtration. A good skimmer can be found for about 100 bucks, which is a cheap price compared to loosing hundreds of bucks worth of fish.

Canister filters can be used, but you need to be careful as they can actual be detrimental to water quality over time. Eventually when you have enough live rock, and possibly a skimmer you can just gut the canister of all media, and use it empty, getting all the filtration you need from LR and skimmer.

Hope that helps and keep posting. This forum is not one like the others, and no one here should be blasting anyone. There is always a moderator or admin around if you want to report a problem too!
 

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ok i have a few questions:
what hydrometer are you using?
Have you ever had it tested for accuracy?
and where are you finding a skimmer for $100 salth2o?
 

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You know i feel like sometimes, people attack you on these things and make people not want to ask for help.
Dont want you to feel that way. But understand too, that if you fail, many of us here feel as though we have failed too, I being one of them! Bottom line is if you ain having fun you aint doing it right. So try not to take it personal if someone gets a little too sensitive on you. Most here want to truely see you succeed and have a good experience.

I just started my saltwater, last thursday...
I didnt see anything in your post that indicated that the tank was "cycled" before being stocked. If thats the case then thats a HUGE mistake, although one thats commonly made. Even if you use live rock, live sand and all that stuff you need to let the tank cycle. This generally will take 4-6 weeks to occur. Using cured Live Rock and Live Sand just merely gives you a bit of a jump start by providing some benefical bacteria to speed things up and make the transition smoother. Its no substitute for cycling a tank.

Replaced everything and am now running a Canister filter, power head and heater.
60 lbs of Live Sand from LFS and 20 lbs of Live Rock,
A Canister filter willwork for the purpose that you have intened it for. The trick with a Canister fiolter is cleaning and maintaining it regularly so that it doesnt become a Nitrate factory. Since your not planning at the moment to have Inverts this isnt usually a huge issue and shouldnt pose a problem. Even should you choose to have inverts later down the road its still quiet possible to use this form of filtration although it can have its limits. 60 lbs of Live Sand is a good start. If you have the thickness in substrate that you want then this is fine. I am guessing off my previous experience on tanks this size that you have 2 to 2.25 inches of sand. 20 lbs of Live rock is hardley enough. This is something that you should defintiely address as time and moeny permits. I mean lets face it not all of us have long arms and deep pockets and cost is usually a factor in any SW set up. I would work on this though. If you are using typical run of the mill Fiji Live Rock you will need about 75-80 pounds total. If you are using some high grade premium Live Rock like Marshall Islands then about 60 lbs will fill the bill. It cost more for this premium rock but as you can see you need considerably less of it per a gallon of water. Another option isntead of buying more live rock you could get some sun dried rock for just a couple of bucks a pound and use snail mail for shipping and then add that to the rock you already have. The Live Rock you already have will seed this rock and turn it live in a few weeks and it will be gin to function as a biological filter for you. I am notorious for doing just this. In fact I have a 55 gallon rock tank with a lot of this in it that has been there for several months with some live rock added to seed it for the sole purpose of providing me high quality live rock if I need to set up another tank. This is how I get around the high cost of starting a new tank and find pieces of rock that is just the right size and shape I want for a new tank.

So i'm happy with how it all works so far, aside from being out $700. lol... Am i rushing things???
If the tank hasnt been cycled yet please do not add any more live stock. If and when the tank goes into a cycle you will see swings in Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates that will seriously stress them to the limit. They might survive it none the less for wear and tear, but then again you could end up loosing all your live stock in a tank crash. This hobby is not a hard one to break into but it is seriously unforgiving and and can get expensive fast if you do dumb things, accidently or intentionally, it matters not. Dont want to see you posting any "911 threads" here on the forum even if it aint my tank or my money.

About the money side of it. This aint a cheap hobby to begin with but it can be a lot more expensive if you dont have a good game plan and stick to it and reframe from buying things that you havent researched thoroughly. I have a saying I am well known for but havent added to my signature yet..."Sometimes a lack of funds is a blessing in disguise - It forces you to slow down!" Nothing good happens in a SW tank fast.

Am i rushing things???
Just a little bit. Sit back and relax a bit. Get a plan together and research it thoroughly. Figure out where you want to go with your tank down to the Nth degree. It will take you some time, slow you down and allow you to move forward methodically and avoid many of the common pitfalls many new to the hobby experience. There are a gazillion ways to have a great jaw dropping tank, not all of them work for everyone. By researching and asking questions you can garnner a lot of valuable information and minimize set backs. There are lots of piss poor gear out there to waste your money on, there are lots of inapproprate live stock sold in the aquarium trade that you have no business even attempting...even at the advanced aquarist skill level. But they are commonly available in the trade becuase uniformed people who dont know better buy them. We are consumers and they are suppliers, its just as simple as that. Some quick examples are Mandarin Goby fish. They rarely do well in a tank thats not at least 55 gallons plus and well established mature tank with a huge population of Mysis, Gama Shrimp and 'Pods as they have a lot of difficulty in getting them on frozen preps before they starve to death. However LFS sell them like hot cakes just about as fast as they can order them and get them in! Gonioporas! They look stunning and are an interesting coral however they have a dismal survival rate in the aquarium in most circumstances for more than a few months before wasting away. Flame Scallops are another one. These are difficult to feed properly in the home aquarium. They will do well for a few months and again slowly starve to death. The same can be said for most species of StarFish as well. So buyer beware!

also any opinions on protein skimmers??? for a FOWLR, is it needed??
I am going to dare to go against the wishes of many here. In all but the most lightly stocked fish tanks, I most highly recommend a Skimmer, especially if your kinda new to the hobby. Do you have to have one? No. But I think more tanks benefit form using one than not. Nano Reefs are one of the few exceptions to this general blanket statement. Unless your tank is plumbed to a sump with a large Refugium stocked with Macro Algae or as the good Dr mentioned an well designed Algae Scrubber adding a Skimmer is a prudent move on your part.

Ther is a lot of Junk out there for skimmers. Buy quality!!! The difference in price is often just a couple of 20's or so in difference between prices. While there are some nice models out there and many new ones I havent tried personally. Two Hang On The Back skimmers I will recommend is the Ramora with a Maxijet or Mag Drive 3 pump, the other one is the CPR BackPak. If you go to a sump then there are a number of much better and more effcient skimmers I can recommend. This unfortunately is a piece of gear where you get what you pay for although price is not always a guarentee of performance.

HTH's you out a bit. Please feel free to ask questions. Looking at the experienced and knowledgable folks we have here you will get a couple of different angles and veiw points and can choose which is best for you and your situation. Still research it just the same despite!
 

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*blackback butterflyfish*
Joined
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Quoted" Sorry you felt that way. One thing you will notice about us marine folk we are all passionate, and there is no shortage of opinions.
It's ok, i'm over it :)
My .02 is this.

You know you plan on getting more rock, and upgrading as you can. We all start somewhere and it sounds like you have a good basis. There is little that I think more tempting then a new tank, with nothing in it. Can't wait to put critters in em' Clowns, as I am sure you know are related to damsels, and therefore a very very hardy fish. If you were going to rush, at least you chose good fish to do it with! Try to be patient with inverts, as they are more susceptible to water spikes and problems.
The clowns were instead of getting blue damsels, yes.

I am a little concerned about what you were saying about your salt level fluctuating. That is weird, it should be constant for the most part, or perhaps increase as water evaporates, but should not be going low??? Are you sure it is not inconsistencies in your hydrometer?
The hydrometer is one of those cheesie plastic swing arm ones, and it's reading 1.020
Regarding a skimmer, it is one of the opinion things I was talking about earlier...lots of people have differing things here. My take, if you lean towards a heavily stocked tank (which it sounds like you will :)) then you can never have to much filtration. A good skimmer can be found for about 100 bucks, which is a cheap price compared to loosing hundreds of bucks worth of fish.
I do not plan on having a stocked tank, I plan on 1 gramma, 1 pajama cardinalfish, and possibly a butterfly
Canister filters can be used, but you need to be careful as they can actual be detrimental to water quality over time. Eventually when you have enough live rock, and possibly a skimmer you can just gut the canister of all media, and use it empty, getting all the filtration you need from LR and skimmer.
I do plan on getting a skimmer eventually
Hope that helps and keep posting. This forum is not one like the others, and no one here should be blasting anyone. There is always a moderator or admin around if you want to report a problem too!
Thank you!!! I do plan on keeping the posting up!
 

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*blackback butterflyfish*
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Quoted" Moving right along here, I think you might be ok with the rock. Rock is very variable, if you got porous rock you may have gotten a lot of surface area with the same amount of pounds. So its really relative not knowing what kind of rock you have. You may have enough, nobody knows. Some of the rocks I have I got when I was 13 years old and back then you could still get Atlantic rock, and it was HEAVY stuff. The imported rock nowadays is usually not nearly as heavy.
Also - please answer the questions -
Was the rock cured yet?Yes, it is cured!!
How much do you plan to feed the tank? What do you mean??
How often will you honestly do water changes? I actually I don't do any, lol, my boyfriend faithfully does the chiclid tank every single week, he has fridays off, so he does it.
How many fish do you want to eventually have? 1 gramma, 1 cardinalfish, 1 butterfly, 1 wrasse
Are you planning on getting an anemone for the clowns any time soon? (please wait if you can!) They are tank bread, so i plan on waiting till we can handle that
What are your long term plans with the tank? small community and evenually a small reef
Do you plan to keep coral? yes evenually
Why would you not want a skimmer? We ran short on the cash and i did alot of research and most people say that with a rish only tank, it's not needed
 

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*blackback butterflyfish*
Joined
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Quoted" Dont want you to feel that way. But understand too, that if you fail, many of us here feel as though we have failed too, I being one of them! Bottom line is if you ain having fun you aint doing it right. So try not to take it personal if someone gets a little too sensitive on you. Most here want to truely see you succeed and have a good experience.

We love all of it, the entire experience is awesome and great to have a really great guy to share the hobby with. We do want to suceed, but i feel like i do soooo much research leading me one way and then after it's done, i hear a completely different opionion, which has gotten frustrating. At this point, we have stopped adding, we are focusing on keeping the levels right, and getting more live rock, first. I want to get a protein skimmer too but the money isn't here yet :)

I didnt see anything in your post that indicated that the tank was "cycled" before being stocked. If thats the case then thats a HUGE mistake, although one thats commonly made. Even if you use live rock, live sand and all that stuff you need to let the tank cycle. This generally will take 4-6 weeks to occur. Using cured Live Rock and Live Sand just merely gives you a bit of a jump start by providing some benefical bacteria to speed things up and make the transition smoother. Its no substitute for cycling a tank.
False info let me to believe that the tank only cycles when you get damsels, so i got clowns instead. The tank is not stocked, we are only getting these for now.


A Canister filter willwork for the purpose that you have intened it for. The trick with a Canister fiolter is cleaning and maintaining it regularly so that it doesnt become a Nitrate factory. Since your not planning at the moment to have Inverts this isnt usually a huge issue and shouldnt pose a problem. Even should you choose to have inverts later down the road its still quiet possible to use this form of filtration although it can have its limits. 60 lbs of Live Sand is a good start. If you have the thickness in substrate that you want then this is fine. I am guessing off my previous experience on tanks this size that you have 2 to 2.25 inches of sand. 20 lbs of Live rock is hardley enough. This is something that you should defintiely address as time and moeny permits. I mean lets face it not all of us have long arms and deep pockets and cost is usually a factor in any SW set up. I would work on this though. If you are using typical run of the mill Fiji Live Rock you will need about 75-80 pounds total. If you are using some high grade premium Live Rock like Marshall Islands then about 60 lbs will fill the bill. It cost more for this premium rock but as you can see you need considerably less of it per a gallon of water. Another option isntead of buying more live rock you could get some sun dried rock for just a couple of bucks a pound and use snail mail for shipping and then add that to the rock you already have. The Live Rock you already have will seed this rock and turn it live in a few weeks and it will be gin to function as a biological filter for you. I am notorious for doing just this. In fact I have a 55 gallon rock tank with a lot of this in it that has been there for several months with some live rock added to seed it for the sole purpose of providing me high quality live rock if I need to set up another tank. This is how I get around the high cost of starting a new tank and find pieces of rock that is just the right size and shape I want for a new tank.
The live rock was in a tank at my favorite LFS, which is one of those family owned places, it was already in a tank and cured and was sitting there getting beautiful, we plan on getting some each week, as the pay checks come in. That seems like a really good idea, it works?? For the canister filter, it has carbon and bio cylinders, should i leave both??

If the tank hasnt been cycled yet please do not add any more live stock. If and when the tank goes into a cycle you will see swings in Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates that will seriously stress them to the limit. They might survive it none the less for wear and tear, but then again you could end up loosing all your live stock in a tank crash. This hobby is not a hard one to break into but it is seriously unforgiving and and can get expensive fast if you do dumb things, accidently or intentionally, it matters not. Dont want to see you posting any "911 threads" here on the forum even if it aint my tank or my money.
I assumed that people have blue damsels, during this time?? so i got clowns instead and that is all, i will only be out $40, i'm ok with that, but when the levels jump, then i can get more live rock??
About the money side of it. This aint a cheap hobby to begin with but it can be a lot more expensive if you dont have a good game plan and stick to it and reframe from buying things that you havent researched thoroughly. I have a saying I am well known for but havent added to my signature yet..."Sometimes a lack of funds is a blessing in disguise - It forces you to slow down!" Nothing good happens in a SW tank fast.
We have stopped with the most of it and are watching and waiting for the tank to do it's thing, at least after the biggest portion of money spent, we have something to look at.


Just a little bit. Sit back and relax a bit. Get a plan together and research it thoroughly. Figure out where you want to go with your tank down to the Nth degree. It will take you some time, slow you down and allow you to move forward methodically and avoid many of the common pitfalls many new to the hobby experience. There are a gazillion ways to have a great jaw dropping tank, not all of them work for everyone. By researching and asking questions you can garnner a lot of valuable information and minimize set backs. There are lots of piss poor gear out there to waste your money on, there are lots of inapproprate live stock sold in the aquarium trade that you have no business even attempting...even at the advanced aquarist skill level. But they are commonly available in the trade becuase uniformed people who dont know better buy them. We are consumers and they are suppliers, its just as simple as that. Some quick examples are Mandarin Goby fish. They rarely do well in a tank thats not at least 55 gallons plus and well established mature tank with a huge population of Mysis, Gama Shrimp and 'Pods as they have a lot of difficulty in getting them on frozen preps before they starve to death. However LFS sell them like hot cakes just about as fast as they can order them and get them in! Gonioporas! They look stunning and are an interesting coral however they have a dismal survival rate in the aquarium in most circumstances for more than a few months before wasting away. Flame Scallops are another one. These are difficult to feed properly in the home aquarium. They will do well for a few months and again slowly starve to death. The same can be said for most species of StarFish as well. So buyer beware!



I am going to dare to go against the wishes of many here. In all but the most lightly stocked fish tanks, I most highly recommend a Skimmer, especially if your kinda new to the hobby. Do you have to have one? No. But I think more tanks benefit form using one than not. Nano Reefs are one of the few exceptions to this general blanket statement. Unless your tank is plumbed to a sump with a large Refugium stocked with Macro Algae or as the good Dr mentioned an well designed Algae Scrubber adding a Skimmer is a prudent move on your part.

Ther is a lot of Junk out there for skimmers. Buy quality!!! The difference in price is often just a couple of 20's or so in difference between prices. While there are some nice models out there and many new ones I havent tried personally. Two Hang On The Back skimmers I will recommend is the Ramora with a Maxijet or Mag Drive 3 pump, the other one is the CPR BackPak. If you go to a sump then there are a number of much better and more effcient skimmers I can recommend. This unfortunately is a piece of gear where you get what you pay for although price is not always a guarentee of performance.

HTH's you out a bit. Please feel free to ask questions. Looking at the experienced and knowledgable folks we have here you will get a couple of different angles and veiw points and can choose which is best for you and your situation. Still research it just the same despite![/QUOTE]
 

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*blackback butterflyfish*
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Discussion Starter #18
ok i have a few questions:
what hydrometer are you using?
Have you ever had it tested for accuracy?
and where are you finding a skimmer for $100 salth2o?
One of the plastic arm ones, i checked it in plain water and reads nothing?
Yes can i know too, i'll buy it :)
 

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250 Posts
ok i have a few questions:
what hydrometer are you using?
Have you ever had it tested for accuracy?
and where are you finding a skimmer for $100 salth2o?
I found an add in Craigslist here last week and the guy had three reef octopus skimmers for sale, all brand new. He only wanted 60 bucks for the HOB model, and 100 bucks for a DNW 110. So they can be found it you look and are patient enough. I almost bought them both and figured I would sell them to someone on here for the same price, but the funds did not allow it!

Hydrometers like you have with the little plastic swing arms are NOTORIOUSLY incorrect. For example I keep my reef at about .025, and to get it there it reads .018 on my swing arm. Also FYI .020 is low for a reef tank, you should work on slowly raising that at least to .023. Take a water sample to your LFS and have them check it with a professional grade hydrometer that adjust for temp and all, then compare it to your plastic one. I just took a marker and marked the spot where it should be on my plastic one to equal what I want, and I really don't even look at the number anymore.
 
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~/root
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661 Posts
Also let me add water quality is of the utmost importance.
WATER CHANGES
WATER CHANGES
WATER CHANGES
WATER CHANGES

and when in doubt
WATER CHANGES


:) I want pictures of this bad boy!
 
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