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James_O

James_O

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I would, because your going to have to keep topping off the tank for evaporation. No point until your about to get the rock. Just makes sure it’s set up prior to buying the rock.
Ok, that makes sense.

How do I measure the salinity, using the hydrometer? I will follow the mixing directions on the salt bucket, but should I check anyway?

Also, should I add the dechlorinator first and then the salt? Or vise versa? I have a powerhead, so I should be able mix very well.
 

BelieveInBlue

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On Amazon, it cost $60. I believe this would work?
Issue is I would have to wait for my next paycheck and that means no livestock or anything else for that matter.

Could I go ahead and start up the tank, with the live rock/live sand and the bottled bacteria? At least I could start the cycle and replace the regular water with RO water later.

Buy some saltwater from your LFS. That'll be made with RO/DI water. Shouldn't cost more than like 50c/gallon. And yes I got my unit on amazon too. Cost about $100 CAD (RO Buddie by Aquatic Life).
 
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Buy some saltwater from your LFS. That'll be made with RO/DI water. Shouldn't cost more than like 50c/gallon. And yes I got my unit on amazon too. Cost about $100 CAD (RO Buddie by Aquatic Life).
Will get it once I get the funds. Don’t plan on getting SW from my LFS, it’s just not convenient. If I need to perform an emergency water change, I would have to drive 15 minutes there and 15 minutes back.

Tank should get setup tomorrow!!
 
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I wouldn’t***** (edit) because your going to have to keep topping off the tank for evaporation. No point until your about to get the rock. Just makes sure it’s set up prior to buying the rock.
Just to be clear, I, Do not setup the tank until I’m about to get the live rock.
 

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Ok, that makes sense.

How do I measure the salinity, using the hydrometer? I will follow the mixing directions on the salt bucket, but should I check anyway?

Also, should I add the dechlorinator first and then the salt? Or vise versa? I have a powerhead, so I should be able mix very well.
For the dechlorinator, I don’t know, I use RO, hopefully someone els can help you with that.

As for do you check after mixing salt: 100% yes you check every time you mix salt.

Edit: took out bad information.

Side note: as water evaporates from your tank, your salinity rises. This is because salt doesn’t evaporate from the water. So always add fresh water to top it off. Only add new saltwater during water changes when you actually remove water from the tank.
 
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Brady4000

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Just to be clear, I, Do not setup the tank until I’m about to get the live rock.
You can do what you want, it won’t hurt anything if you set it up early. But water will start to evaporate. If you don’t mind topping it off with no rock in there go for it. Just seems to be more work to add water to a tank that won’t see rock for awhile.

Just make sure to add saltwater to the tank prior to getting your rock. So when you get home, you can add the rock and it won’t dry out.

You Need to be able to check for ammonia and nitrate, or you might be killing fish in the near future.
 

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For the dechlorinator, I don’t know, I use RO, hopefully someone els can help you with that.

As for do you check after mixing salt: 100% yes you check every time you mix salt.

hydrometer: put fresh water in it, adjacent it to 0, wipe it clean and drip saltwater on it. Then look through the hole. You have to do this every time after you mix, and it has to be adjusted every time you use it, if it’s been over a few hours since you used it.

Side note: as water evaporates from your tank, your salinity rises. This is because salt doesn’t evaporate from the water. So always add fresh water to top it off. Only add new saltwater during water changes when you actually remove water from the tank.
He has a plastic hydrometer that measures specific gravity by buoyancy (the kind with the little plastic arm), not a refractometer. Also, should calibrate a refractometer with R/O water & 35ppm calibration fluid.
 

Brady4000

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He has a plastic hydrometer that measures specific gravity by buoyancy (the kind with the little plastic arm), not a refractometer. Also, should calibrate a refractometer with R/O water & 35ppm calibration fluid.
Thanks, was thinking it was the same thing. You know what they say about assuming.. eh oops.

Glad you can help him, don’t know anything about that then.
 
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He has a plastic hydrometer that measures specific gravity by buoyancy (the kind with the little plastic arm), not a refractometer. Also, should calibrate a refractometer with R/O water & 35ppm calibration fluid.
I’ll just follow the instructions on the back of the package. So if it’s to much salinity, I’ll add dechlorinated water and if it’s not enough, I’ll add more salt.

—-

You can do what you want, it won’t hurt anything if you set it up early. But water will start to evaporate. If you don’t mind topping it off with no rock in there go for it. Just seems to be more work to add water to a tank that won’t see rock for awhile.

Just make sure to add saltwater to the tank prior to getting your rock. So when you get home, you can add the rock and it won’t dry out.

You Need to be able to check for ammonia and nitrate, or you might be killing fish in the near future.
I think I’ll set it up a day before I go get the live rock.
 

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I’ll just follow the instructions on the back of the package. So if it’s to much salinity, I’ll add dechlorinated water and if it’s not enough, I’ll add more salt.

—-


I think I’ll set it up a day before I go get the live rock.
As far as mixing salt water, I would follow the instructions on the salt (it’s usually a half cup per gallon of water) and then measure it with your hydrometer. It always easier to add more water than it is to add more salt because the salt takes time to fully dissolve whereas adding water to saltwater will mix in in less than a minute. This may be better advice for when you’re mixing salt water for water changes down the road than it is for setting up an aquarium (where there’s no livestock and time might not be an issue).

I know you said you plan on getting an RO/DI unit in the future, but I really implore you to either get RO/DI water from your lfs or distilled water from the grocery store to start up your aquarium. The reason being that tap water can have dissolved metals, chloramine (which is different than chlorine), tons of phosphates, nitrates, silicates, trace levels of insecticides, and tons of other undesirables (the metals and insecticides once introduced will all be present even if you do 100% water changes). I know it’s inconvenient, but it’ll cost you at most $15, and save you a ton problems in the future.

Also, you can set up the tank with the sand and the bottle bacteria and then put the live rock in later, it wouldn’t hurt to get a start on your bacterial cycle. Once you add the live rock, you’ll still want to monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, and wait to introduce fish accordingly, but you can get a leg up on the cycle by starting sooner with the sand and bottle bacteria (and some ammonia source, ie fish food, shrimp from the grocery store, etc).

I know you’re limited by budget and probably don’t have a car to go get water at the lfs, but you really, really, should avoid using any tap water at all costs, it will save you so much headache in the future (algae, diatoms, cyano, etc.), not to mention the potential toxins in it. So ask a friend or your parents for a ride, it really is one of the most important things if you plan on keeping any invertebrates.
 
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Maybe I should just wait to setup the tank all together? Got a little gift at work today, so that will help a bit.

I think I may just get the RO system and wait to setup my tank. That way if I want to get corals in the future, it should be a non-issue.

(Also where I’m moving to has very hard water, and I have moderately soft water fish now. That will come in handy up there to. ;))
 

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Maybe I should just wait to setup the tank all together? Got a little gift at work today, so that will help a bit.

I think I may just get the RO system and wait to setup my tank. That way if I want to get corals in the future, it should be a non-issue.

(Also where I’m moving to has very hard water, and I have moderately soft water fish now. That will come in handy up there to. ;))

100%. I've always heard that the only thing that happens fast in this hobby is disaster. Especially if you have very hard water/water with high TDS, an RO/DI unit is going to be a godsend. Nothing like 10ppm phosphates in your tap water to make you quit before you've even started.
 
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100%. I've always heard that the only thing that happens fast in this hobby is disaster. Especially if you have very hard water/water with high TDS, an RO/DI unit is going to be a godsend. Nothing like 10ppm phosphates in your tap water to make you quit before you've even started.
Gotcha, I’ll definitely get it before I get the tank setup.

—-

With the RO system, it’s like a filter, correct? Also, that means I don’t have to use a dechlorinator?
 
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You know what, I changed my mind. I’ll go ahead and get it setup, cycle it, and add the live rock.

Then, once I get the funds for the RO filter, I’ll perform a 100% water change and then fill her back up.
The problem with this plan is that if there are any heavy metals in your tap water, you’ll never get them out of the tank or the live rock. Also, if it’s loaded with phosphates your rock will be full of that water that will then leach out for potentially months. It really is worth it to wait for the RO/DI filter (and yes it will remove chlorine, but not chloramine, so you need to find out what your city/municipality uses, should be on the city’s utilities/waterworks website). And if you absolutely can’t wait, buy 29 gallons of water from your lfs or distilled water from the grocery store (5 gallon bottles of distilled water are like $2, so six of them would be $12, and then you’ll have six 5 gallon bottles you can use to mix/store water). I know you want to get started as soon as possible, but trust me, you will thank yourself later for doing it the right way from the start. Dealing with crappy water chemistry can suck all of the fun out of the hobby, and can take months and months to fix and stabilize, so being proactive and doing what you can ahead of time to avoid problems down the line will save you time, money, and heartache. The age old saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is especially true in this hobby.

I don’t want to get too deep into the ethical part of this and I’m not trying to be harsh or discouraging, but at the end of the day, reef keeping is animal husbandry, and if you’re unable or unwilling to provide something that really is the bare minimum level of care, then maybe this isn’t the right time for you to be getting into the hobby. The amount of fish and inverts that die in the pet trade because people are either willfully ignorant, unwilling to provide proper care, or because they view fish and inverts as disposable is staggering. I’m not saying you’re one of those people, but it really is a thin line. If you’re willing to cut corners here, where else are you willing to cut corners (that’s a rhetorical question, and I don’t necessarily mean you when I say ‘you’). There are plenty of areas in this hobby where you can cut corners and save money and you absolutely don’t need top of the line equipment, but an RO/DI filter (or RO/DI or distilled water from a store) really is a necessity. Water quality is not something you can cut corners on. That is maybe the only universally agreed upon thing in this hobby (though I’m sure there are outliers who will disagree), that unfiltered tap water should never be used.
 
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I’m going to go ahead and setup the tank, but not add any livestock until I get the RO system.


The problem with this plan is that if there are any heavy metals in your tap water, you’ll never get them out of the tank or the live rock. Also, if it’s loaded with phosphates your rock will be full of that water that will then leach out for potentially months. It really is worth it to wait for the RO/DI filter (and yes it will remove chlorine, but not chloramine, so you need to find out what your city/municipality uses, should be on the city’s utilities/waterworks website).
Here is what my water company says:


Quoted from https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/system.php?pws=KY0030239
EWG's drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by the water utility and provided to the Environmental Working Group by the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection, as well as information from the U.S. EPA Enforcement and Compliance History database (ECHO). For the latest quarter assessed by the U.S. EPA (January 2019 - March 2019), tap water provided by this water utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

  • Legal does not necessarily equal safe. Getting a passing grade from the federal government does not mean the water meets the latest health guidelines.
  • Legal limits for contaminants in tap water have not been updated in almost 20 years.
  • The best way to ensure clean tap water is to keep pollution out of source water in the first place.
Also, live rock doesn't draw much if anything into it so even if there is phosphates in the water, it will be taken up by fish, algae and other life forms before it gets into rock.

Phosphates and nitrates are readily taken up by algae and aren't a big problem unless I’m going to have live corals in the tank, which I won't have while cycling my tank.
 

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I’m going to go ahead and setup the tank, but not add any livestock until I get the RO system.



Here is what my water company says:


Quoted from https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/system.php?pws=KY0030239
EWG's drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by the water utility and provided to the Environmental Working Group by the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection, as well as information from the U.S. EPA Enforcement and Compliance History database (ECHO). For the latest quarter assessed by the U.S. EPA (January 2019 - March 2019), tap water provided by this water utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

  • Legal does not necessarily equal safe. Getting a passing grade from the federal government does not mean the water meets the latest health guidelines.
  • Legal limits for contaminants in tap water have not been updated in almost 20 years.
  • The best way to ensure clean tap water is to keep pollution out of source water in the first place.
Also, live rock doesn't draw much if anything into it so even if there is phosphates in the water, it will be taken up by fish, algae and other life forms before it gets into rock.

Phosphates and nitrates are readily taken up by algae and aren't a big problem unless I’m going to have live corals in the tank, which I won't have while cycling my tank.
Well, I tried.
 
BRS

WHAT DOES THE TERM "GOOD WATER QUALITY" MEAN TO YOU?

  • Your aquarium water is in acceptable ranges measured by consumer level water tests

    Votes: 153 45.4%
  • Your aquarium water is in acceptable ranges measured by ICP type testing

    Votes: 52 15.4%
  • Your aquarium water is good based on how your corals are growing and look

    Votes: 202 59.9%
  • Your aquarium water is good based on how little nuisance algae is growing

    Votes: 60 17.8%
  • Your aquarium water is good based on how it looks to you

    Votes: 54 16.0%
  • Other (please explain in the thread)

    Votes: 7 2.1%
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