Brand new to the hobby and have some questions

ScubaSteve4Life

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What's up guys? I just started the saltwater hobby and would love some knowledgeable and experienced enthusiasts advice on exactly what to do with my initial start up cycle and if you think I'm ok with the supplies I've got. I've done plenty of research the past few weeks on everything from the nitrate/ammonia cycle to the reviews of products. Here is a list of everything I have at the moment.
Craigslist:
•29g bowfront aquarium w/ stand (used)
•fluorescent aquarium hood (used)
•marineland c-160 canister filter (used)
•Aqueon ta100 100w heater (used)
BRS online:
•live sand
•30lb reef saver dry rock
•Red Sea reef mature pro kit
•maintenance tools/refractometer
Amazon:
• Hydor Koralia Evolution pump (750-850gph)
•saltwater test kit
•marineland replacement filtering for the used canister filter.

So that's currently what I'm working with. I know I would definitely need a lighting upgrade from the fluorescent hood light. Was thinking a Current USA Orbit Marine LED. Especially since I plan on growing beginner level corals. Also looking for a protein skimmer.

As for my next step, I just bought my aquarium and filter from a guy on Craigslist using it for his freshwater fish. Do I need to do anything special to make sure bacteria is rid of this before the cycling? Next, I set up my sand and rock and do I just mix up saltwater in a bucket to the right parameters and pour it in the tank? Also do I introduce live rock to my dry rock while using my reef mature kit? And at what timeline of the cycle do I introduce my lighting? Also, should I run a skimmer through my cycle?

I'm sorry this is so long but I am excited to start my new hobby and have so many questions to ask! Thanks for your time and input!
 
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Reefaddict305

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Welcome to R2R, and welcome to the hobby. First thing first make sure you sterilize the system meaning your tank. You don't know what kind of things happen with that tank so just to be on the safe side clean it well.
 

Pockets

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Yep mix it in a bucket first.the live rock will help the cycle. I'd run some vinegar through the canister first squeaky clean. Get every thing in and running lights and all and let the cycling begin. I'd opt for better lighting because this hobby can take hold of u lol and next thing you know your buying new stuff to replace everything else. SB reef lights are budget friendly and can grow anything you may want in the future I'm running them and there fantastic specialy at the price point. I'd opt for a good skimmer and ditch the canister lot of maintenance with canisters on reef tanks. IMO and be patient lots of patiants and did I mention to be patient the beginning is always the worst but slow and steady wins the race in reef tanks in sure more people will chime in for u
 

Nohate

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Wow such a broad question I don't really know what to reply not sure about canisters because I don't use them best advice I can give is it is all about stability you're not keeping animals or fish you're keeping water so you want to make sure you keep stability in mind at all times whether it's temperature or alkalinity or whatever you can almost avoid the cycling process if you're not using dry Rock and dry sand and brand new water in other words you buy live rock live sand and maybe get most of your water from someone's tank when they do a water change... of course you do want to keep an eye on the cycling parameters anyway which brings you to your test kid you said you got a test kit but you did not specify what type and that's very important I suggest salifert.... also one thing that I would have done different when you first put in your rock and do your aquascaping glue them together somehow I cannot tell you how annoying it is to be inside your tank moving something around and then your rock is just falling and giving you a hard time.... another thing you want to watch out for is only by from sources that do not introduce pests if you order online from some of these places that transship it comes right out of the wild and they just clip off the pretty tips of the coral and sell them right away and they come into your tank with unwanted hitchhikers find someone you can trust locally another great tip I wish I knew is everyone is ready to give advice but I say look at their tank before you take their advice next best thing to know is how important lighting and flow is if your water temperatures are perfect and your salinity is perfect and all your parameters are perfect you still need appropriate lighting and appropriate movement I would suggest for your tank a Radion, and maybe another koralia or two.. with your size tank I would definitely stick to smaller fish like Firefish or an assessor or butt or maybe a cardinal whatever you can find that's small, but don't stuff your tank like I said I don't have much experience with canister filters but other than your mechanical you are going to need most likely something for nitrates and something for phosphates personally the best phosphate remover out there I think is Rowaphos... you don't have a sump you don't have a skimmer neither do I so definitely make sure your water change routine is consistent speaking of water do not put tap water with Prime in your tank you're going to add all kinds of dissolved solids if you do metals and that stuff is just going to build up and build up in your tank because it does not evaporate you're going to either have to purchase water from a local store or you're going to have to make water with a ro di unit also you may want to pick up extra heater in case the water you get for a water changes is not heated in this small of a tank you can adjust your temperature greatly if your water change water is not heated..., at first this might not be important but it will quickly become important so you might as well go ahead and pick up a two-part dosing system, or you can make your own easily for example sodium bicarbonate is simply baking soda and if you put that in the oven for an hour at 350 you can turn it into sodium carbonate which has a different effect definitely don't have time to go into those effects here but the information is readily available for calcium and magnesium I make my own as well but Brightwell makes some really good dry supplements that you can make a stock solution with fairly cheaply I will add a picture or at least try to so you know that I'm not talking out of my butt and there is probably another books worth of advice you could use but I'm a little tired of talking to my phone right now and please forgive any spelling errors or punctuation or lack thereof since this is being dictated to my phone happy reefing brother
 

Nohate

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Sorry I did not address your specific questions with this size tank you really don't need a skimmer personally I think if you don't have a sump you don't need a skimmer other people may disagree with me but if you do two 5 gallon buckets that's a major water change for you or me so we can take care of nutrient export and all kinds of things with water changes regular water changes you talk about mixing up water yourself but once again do not use tax water with Prime ever.... not sure about your question about reading bacteria if you're talking about the canister just clean it out good and you should be ok it should have a place for mechanical filtration plus you can put some other things in there different options once again I suggest nitrate removal and phosphate removal for your first setup of water I would strongly suggest finding someone local that has a really nice system preferably a big tank and see if they will do a big water change and let you get their water that is your best bet for your first initial setup it will help in the cycling process greatly if that is not an option then yes you can mix up your salt with RO/DI water and then let it sit at least 24 hours maybe throw a pump in there to keep it mixing not sure about a reef mature cat never heard of one but your best bet is to use all live rock if you must use dry Rock you're going to go through a cycle but the answer to your question would be yes put your live rock with you dry Rock also you can see you're saying with a little bit of sand from a mature tank and it will bring in some beneficial Critters... you can introduce your lighting at any point
 

Ksturg

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I use a canister filter on a 55 gal and it works fine. I don't have any problem with nitrates or any other water parameters. I never rinse the bio media when I clean it I just change out the one white filter pad I use. I clean mine once a month but I only have 4 fish and a ton of corals so I don't have a big bio load. I dump out the old water rinse the canister out and mix up my saltwater right in the canister to 1.025 to match my tank and I match temp as well. I put the trays back in and bam back in business. Since you are just starting your tank you won't need to clean it for quite a few months just leave it be during the cycling process. If you wat yo upgrade lights you can get the China black box leds for cheap on eBay. I have 2 165w leds and I'm growing anything I want. A lot of people knock the China boxes but hey everything now a days is made in China. You can get one for anywhere from $70-$80.
 
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ScubaSteve4Life

ScubaSteve4Life

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Wow thanks for all the great responses. That helps a bunch! How exactly do I make RO/DI water? Do I need a rodi setup? I thought I read somewhere that I could get distilled water from the store and use that for my salt water.
 

Ksturg

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Yes you have to get a setup for that kind of water. I personally have only used tap water and have never had a problem but it depends on how good your tap water is.
 

Nohate

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You can pick up a TDS meter pretty cheap and it will show you the dissolved solids in your water, most local fish stores will sell water if you don't want to set up rodi system, these are the only options in my opinion, you will be needing lots of water as you will be topping off all evaporated water as well as doing water changes. Distilled water or tap water are not options for any reefer I know who has a successful Reef tank, from my experience. The phosphates and metals and other solids will build up over time as they will not evaporate out, and they will continue, this hobby is challenging enough already, tell you what... You can go online and look at years of Reefkeeping mag tank of the month and those articles will tell you the practices of the most successful guys in the hobby, that is a good place to get some ideas...
 

Mnk9569

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I'm using a canister filter on a hexagon 25 that I set up to house a lg maroon clown and it's is a 3 stage with bio media but unless you are gonna clean it weekly it's just a nitrate factory you would be better off loosing it from my experience anyway gonna cause more harm then good unless you use it to clear particles when cleaning tank or something like that
 

Mnk9569

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I would also agree with the lights upgrade as soon as possible even a 2 bulb t5 they have came down a lot and very affordable but it's all going to really come down to what you plan on keeping in your tank
 

Skynyrd Fish

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Scuba Steve!!! What's up? Welcome. I would start with a BRS value plus RO/DI unit. It will save you a ton of headaches now and in the future. You May want to get a Rubbermaid Brute 19 gallon trash can for making RO/DI water, put a float switch on it from BRS. This will kick your RO/DI unit off so it doesn't over flow. You can use this to cure your rock if you don't want to in the tank. You can get lights any time, but its hard to reverse the effects of poor water quality. Also a refractometer will last you forever, and is the best way to read your salinity. If your not up for a RO/DI just yet you can use Steam Distilled water from the grocery store. Also a good heater is mandatory. I have had best luck with Ehiem Jager heaters. You have plenty of time to research your next purchases. Start curing that rock and have fun.

There is a great write up on aquascaping here.

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/tips-and-tricks-on-creating-amazing-aquascapes.97209/

Post some pics when your up and running. Welcome to the Addiction.
 

Salty1962

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Welcome to R2R! Glad to see you changed your name:)

welcom.jpg
 

Mr_Banana_Pants

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I agree with ksturg... I used a canister on my first reef without an issue, however I also used a current light and will never use another again... for a tank that size you could purchase a kessil 160 that would be more then enough for just a little more... avoid the current models, save you on headaches and wasting money
 

SantaMonicaHelp

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What's up guys? I just started the saltwater hobby and would love some knowledgeable and experienced enthusiasts advice on exactly what to do with my initial start up cycle and if you think I'm ok with the supplies I've got. I've done plenty of research the past few weeks on everything from the nitrate/ammonia cycle to the reviews of products. Here is a list of everything I have at the moment.
Craigslist:
•29g bowfront aquarium w/ stand (used)
•fluorescent aquarium hood (used)
•marineland c-160 canister filter (used)
•Aqueon ta100 100w heater (used)
BRS online:
•live sand
•30lb reef saver dry rock
•Red Sea reef mature pro kit
•maintenance tools/refractometer
Amazon:
• Hydor Koralia Evolution pump (750-850gph)
•saltwater test kit
•marineland replacement filtering for the used canister filter.

So that's currently what I'm working with. I know I would definitely need a lighting upgrade from the fluorescent hood light. Was thinking a Current USA Orbit Marine LED. Especially since I plan on growing beginner level corals. Also looking for a protein skimmer.

As for my next step, I just bought my aquarium and filter from a guy on Craigslist using it for his freshwater fish. Do I need to do anything special to make sure bacteria is rid of this before the cycling? Next, I set up my sand and rock and do I just mix up saltwater in a bucket to the right parameters and pour it in the tank? Also do I introduce live rock to my dry rock while using my reef mature kit? And at what timeline of the cycle do I introduce my lighting? Also, should I run a skimmer through my cycle?

I'm sorry this is so long but I am excited to start my new hobby and have so many questions to ask! Thanks for your time and input!

Hi ScubaSteve4Life,

Welcome to the forum:)
Congratulations with your new addiction!
What fish and corals do you want to have?

Zhenya
 
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ScubaSteve4Life

ScubaSteve4Life

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Hi ScubaSteve4Life,

Welcome to the forum:)
Congratulations with your new addiction!
What fish and corals do you want to have?

Zhenya

Hey SantaMonicaHelp! Thanks for the hospitality! I've dedicated most of my research to finding quality products in my price range and how to properly get through the cycle that I haven't really thought about the fish or corals too much yet. I know I want just a couple clowns but that's all I got right now. I figured I could just tailor the fish and coral to my setup when the time came. I want beginner corals that are easier to grow than others but also want a great looking aesthetic of color. I like the bright greens and oranges I see in some of your reefs! Got any suggestions?
 

Ksturg

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Green star polyps are good but they can quickly spread. I've had some prettt good luck with zoas they are pretty easy depending on what you get and very colorful.
 

40B Knasty

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Welcome to R2R. Easy corals are candy cane, frogspawn, & Zoanthids.
If you want great growth, pm me.
See the rasta zoanthids(slow growers)on the left with 8 polyps and green with yellow skirts with 7 polyps to right of them.
After 2 months now the rasta has 18(24 if you count the ones popping out under the skirts) and 33 for the yellow and green. Probably 35 since last week.

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