New To Reefing

Dean Lovett

Member
Apr 11, 2015
377
146
Penrith
New Setup Pointers And Advice!
Hey All!

My name is Dean, and I am a long term freshwater fish keeper but I am about the make the, or what seems to be, giant leap!

So a bit about me, I'm a 20 year old from Australia, I graduated University last year with a Bachelor of Science with a major in Pharmacology. Currently I work full-time as a patent analyst, in which I help develop patent landscape reports for generic and innovator pharmaceutical companies.

Since I was 13 I have kept fresh water fish - i started with swordtails and guppies and moved then to angelfish and some natives then up to cichlids. I then began to breed Kribensis and supply them to local fish shops in my area.


THEN I took a very premature leap and began setting up a 44L marine tank. I had about 6kg of live rock and a standard coral ground cover. I had the whole set up (filter and heater and LED lights and also cooling fans) EXCEPT a protein skimmer.

I let the tank cycle for about 3 weeks and I then purchased, after testing the water - an obligatory Clown Fish and then a few weeks later a Goby. I also purchased a few weeks later, a soft coral....

Things were going okay but then the coral began to swell up and break up over a few days and I came home from school one day and everything was dead.... (I have a suspicion it was the old heater I may have been using)

BUT

I am back and I am much more patient and I earn more money so I will be able to afford much more reliable equipment. However, I want to make a conscious effort to ensure that I do it properly this time - proper precautions.

So, I will be purchasing a micro set up, I believe it is the 34L Ocean Free tank which has back filtration. And thats it...

I want to start fresh - What grown material should I use? How much live rock to begin, what filter media, what starting chemicals - the whole set up. What do I need to make sure this tank prospers? This include fish, corals, test kits, shrimps - what ever!

I want to thank you all in advance and I look forward to having a great discussion and keeping you all up to date with my reef tank journey!

All the best!
 

slin1977

Member
Jul 13, 2011
3,476
1,661
Sydney
:welcome

The biggest hurdle you need to overcome is a thing called salinity.
Any swings will cause coral necrosis.
Evaporation will cause these swings. You will need a reliable method to keep salinity in check.

Welcome and feel free to set up a tank journal.
 

Lesley

Member
Apr 2, 2013
2,086
1,079
Welcome to the "fuge" . You will enjoy your time here and get tons of great advice.advice. Unfortunately I cant help you, I have never cycled a tank before, but many others will be able to answer your questions, you have come to the right forum. Do start a journal its a great reference to look back on over time. You and we will enjoy it too !
 

Azedenkae

Member
Jun 17, 2013
191
40
Hi mate! Welcome (back) to the marine side of the hobby!

That's a nice aquarium you have there. Nowadays there are so many options to go for. I myself also graduated with a Bachelor of Science, though I am more on the molecular biology side of things.

Which is why I am rather biased to whatever is 'natural'. >.> Or maybe 'biological' is the better term.

So anyways, there are plenty of things you can do, and so many combination of media that can be done. My advice is determine what 'problems' need to be solved for your tank specifically, and cover all the bases.

For example, a standard setup with LPS, soft corals and fish really only need to see you worried about ammonia and nitrite, and moderately so about nitrate and phosphate. Calcium and stuff may be of consideration as well, but personally water changes is what I find is all that is needed to top those up.

As for PANN (amm, nit, nat, phos), I like to use Marine Pure as a biological filter media to lower at least ANN. The last setup of a similar size to yours I ran with just Marine Pure, and Poly-filter to lower phosphates when I couldn't afford to do water changes (I was injured for like two months and the tank went for about a month without any water change since I couldn't really lift anything properly). Poly-filter saved the day phos-wise.

If you go for say half a block of Marine Pure, then live rock isn't even necessary. And you can probably hide all that in the back filter. Leaving you to decide how much live rock you'd want based solely on an aesthetic perspective. :)

Just my two cents. Others may suggest the same, or something widely different. Again, as long as you have all your bases covered, you're sweet. :)
 
E

ezza

Guest
Hi @Dean Lovett :) , aren't you a cutie?! ;) welcome to the forum!

I have a 400L system. There's one earth shattering thing I've learnt in my reefing journey... If you don't have adequate filtration/nutrient export, then you'll fail miserably. There are heaps of great nano and pico systems around the web. Some of them are on this humble place. Perhaps research how they deal with filtration to give you ideas.

Having a really decent skimmer is the FIRST thing you should look at. Systems that run without skimmers will have time on their side. Others with tiny systems just change all the water regularly.

Being able to invest the money in good equipment will put you ahead from day one.

I owe everything I know and have today to the guys on this forum and some of the amazing shops that support our habit.

image.jpg
 

Andrew B

Member
Mar 14, 2015
618
189
Kangaroo Ground
Welcome to the "fuge" . You will enjoy your time here and get tons of great advice.advice. Unfortunately I cant help you, I have never cycled a tank before, but many others will be able to answer your questions, you have come to the right forum. Do start a journal its a great reference to look back on over time. You and we will enjoy it too !
Didn't give me this advice :)
"Do start a journal its a great reference to look back on over time"
 

ReeferRob

Solidarit├ę
Oct 22, 2014
2,661
931
Bel Air
Read and listen to what people tell you. You're a smart person, you majored in pharmacology so you've got a decent head on your shoulders. I wish the internet had been around when I started with reef tanks 30 years ago next month.
 

Dean Lovett

Member
Apr 11, 2015
377
146
Penrith
Dear All!


Thank you immensely for the information you've all provided me!

Later today I'll copy and paste all this information and read through it thoroughly and summarise it!

I am so damn excited, but mindful of patience and doing things correctly!