How to run your new tank without fallow and quarantine, post here for guidance live time, we track your tank out to eight months

HuduVudu

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So as a part of another post it was suggested that I set up a post for the 'alternate' methods. Gonna tag in @Paul B because he follows this path also and his experience is different from mine.

How I 'manage' ... read ignore fish disease. My experience.

I will put this out there because I think that it is semi-relevant. I have been in salt water for 35 years. I lived on the reef in the Philippines for 3 years worked at countless aquarium stores in the salt water section, owned a failed store for 2 years and have been actually reefing for 25 years. Blah blah blah ... that's out of the way.

When I made my first saltwater aquarium it was a 10 gallon that was a convert from my freshwater tank, so UG with air lift tubes and plastic decorations. I did use crushed coral for a substrate and I had a Penn Plax hood that covered the entire tank. Back then I was young and poor and lived in the back water of the salt water industry. I used tap water and it was city water, for make up and to mix. I used Instant Ocean salt. I was pretty lazy on water changes. I had a Niger trigger, and needless to say he didn't last long.

When I was in high school I worked in a fish store that had salt water and shamefully by hook or by crook I got creatures for my tank. I was able with the job and the store discount to upgrade to a 55 gallon breeder. I also upgraded other things like powered lift heads, but I couldn't keep anything alive for any length of time. The fish would die mysteriously or they would get some crazy disease. Hilariously I saw the same patter play out at the store I worked for. The owner's thinking I am sure was to simply move stock as quickly as possible to minimize loss. Loss leading was his modus operandi.

After high school I joined the military and then stationed 'permanently' in the Philippines. I was trying to set up a tank there and had a beautiful wood stand made (that cracked terribly lol), but I never got around to setting it up because I could dive everyday if I wanted and invested in dive gear instead. And expensive stereo equipment FWIW :) This is where I started to learn about what was really going on in aquariums. You can't always dive most of the year the visibility is garbage. The reason is because of the wave action. It stirs up the silt and sand. This didn't strike me as being important until later. Also there was a guy there with the nickname Drippy Dave, and he had a 20 breeder with literally a sponge bubbler and a bare bottom. He would buy fish out of the nets of the fisherman and put them in his tank. It was crazy to me that he kept so many fish in that tank with only the sponge. He also kept them much longer than I had seen in the store that I worked in. This was also important.

After I got out of the military and I got a job that paid well I really started to get into reefing. My first reefs were once again fish killing algae infested jokes. The fish would die inexplicably or get disease or never eat. Always the same. After many years of restarting my tank (like that was ever the problem) and upgrading the size of the tank (like that too was ever the problem) I ended up moving to Phoenix. I was arrogant and thought I could start a store, so I did. Oooopppss that was dumb. I lost my ... ummm ... money and lots of it. I had a tank though that was pivotal for me. I bought the store from somebody and the systems were quite old. There was a 175 gallon tank that was a display tank that was so full of rock I had to wonder why somebody would do this to a tank. The tank look terrible I so I took it down and rebuilt the stand. I saved the rock into a large connected fish system. I rebuilt the tank and put some of the rock back into the tank. I remember the wave action in the Philippines and so I bought an Dolphin AmpMaster tank with a Berlin skimmer in a small sump on the tank. HOLY COW!!! Nothing died in that tank. I put a Powder Blue in the tank with ich and literally the next day the ich was gone and didn't come back for the time I had the fish (a month or so). Also the live rock that I dumped into the large fish system became the basis for my live rock curing through literal randomness. I would bring in the Walt Smith half dead crap (best stuff at the time) pull off the sponges and visible death rinse in fresh salt water and the rock would be cured in 3 days ... it was crazy.

This last part is where I departed ways with fish disease. The 175 I had was turning the full tank volume over every minute and the VHO lighting was 2 feet off of the top of the water with nothing impeding the gas exchange. I was surface skimming the water for the open system and all of the flow from the closed system was directed at the top of the water. Also I from that point forward ALWAYS used cured live rock. THIS is the basis that I use to keep disease at bay. I have refined things over the years but this main point has stuck with me. Mostly now my fish death is due to jumpers or me forgetting that gas exchange is really important even for a half fast tank.

Also I am going to start thinking about @Paul B 's thinking on food. Currently I have so many amphipods my fish don't even really eat the flake that I put in.

Maybe this can help someone, but I don't think so because so many seem to believe that living in sterile hospitals is good for living beings.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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I will link this to my cycling thread in the portion that discusses fish preparation, we want new readers to see all options for fish and tank care. subbed. today's cycling rates for new tanks has decreased wait time, fish disease is going up in response. the hobby is needing methods to work in sync with todays stocking rates or some arrangement and timing to allow effective disease prevention.
 

aldrichg9

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As someone new to saltwater I hadn't considered gas exchange. (my tank isn't even set up yet)

I personally don't prefer the open top, bright lights in my eyes look of certain tanks, so what would you do if you really wanted a top/canopy/ whatever?
Use fans to move air?
 
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HuduVudu

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As someone new to saltwater I hadn't considered gas exchange. (my tank isn't even set up yet)

I personally don't prefer the open top, bright lights in my eyes look of certain tanks, so what would you do if you really wanted a top/canopy/ whatever?
Use fans to move air?
If you do a canopy you can just leave the top off or have it made without a top, this helps. Fans cost electricity and they aren't really efficient at moving air quietly. This problem happens in stands quite frequently too.

My wife is always complaining about the lights so I build minimal facades around the light to keep it from interfering with my viewing. You can make the facade as long as is necessary keep your viewing angle clean. Here is my solution:

image0.jpg
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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the typical reef start is all dry rocks + bottle bac that handles waste + fish, usually two clowns.


whats the best way to tune such an intended start for the least crypto/brook problems
 
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aldrichg9

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If you do a canopy you can just leave the top off or have it made without a top, this helps. Fans cost electricity and they aren't really efficient at moving air quietly. This problem happens in stands quite frequently too.

My wife is always complaining about the lights so I build minimal facades around the light to keep it from interfering with my viewing. You can make the facade as long as is necessary keep your viewing angle clean. Here is my solution:
Thanks for the reply.
If I were to have a completely closed in top, but a sump that is open to surrounding air, would the sump gas exchange be sufficient?
There would still be trapped gases between the water surface and the top, but would it be detrimental to inhabitants if gas exchange were happening at the sump?
 
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HuduVudu

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the typical reef start is all dry rocks + bottle bac that handles waste + fish, usually two clowns.


whats the best way to tune such an intended start for the least crypto/brook problems
I would NEVER start this way. I ALWAYS use cured live rock. It's not to say I wouldn't use dry rock, I do, but a large chunk of your rock needs to be live for what I am doing to work. Honestly if you don't like the live rock then get rid of it after year because your other rock will be seeded by then.

As an aside.

I put the fish in the tank as soon as I temp acclimate. Honestly it is less stressful for the creature from my experience.

I know that the stores run 1.019ish for specific gravity and I used to try to drip acclimate for that (I run 1.025), but my LFS owner said just dump them in so I took his advice and haven't looked back.
 
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HuduVudu

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If I were to have a completely closed in top, but a sump that is open to surrounding air, would the sump gas exchange be sufficient?
With a skimmer ... yes. It is tricky sizing a skimmer doing that because you want one big enough for gas exchange but not so big as to strip your water.

There would still be trapped gases between the water surface and the top, but would it be detrimental to inhabitants if gas exchange were happening at the sump?
Gas exchange is gas exchange. My aquarium has a HOB that I put on specifically for gas exchange. I have no surface skimming so I get the DOC layer that totally impedes gas exchange even though my top is open. Most of my gas exchange is happening in my skimmer. I prefer to run skimmerless but this was the best solution for me a the time.

Because you seem to be new, something you can do is watch the PH this is a proxy to your gas exchange. Also remember your house has needs gas exchange too for all of this to work.
 

KrisReef

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The only problem I've seen with that much water movement is that the water tends to get warmed up from the friction in the system.
It makes sense that if the fish isn't bathing in stagnant ich filled water that the ich gets blown away before it can attach? Also, that much circulation effects a TTM (without the sterilization effort) continuously.

An observation snorkeling reefs is that the dead stuff is deposited near shore while the wave swept fore reefs are cleaner with lots less algae.
 

KrisReef

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the typical reef start is all dry rocks + bottle bac that handles waste + fish, usually two clowns.


whats the best way to tune such an intended start for the least crypto/brook problems

I think it would be to start the rock in a bucket without light, ample circulation, and a little piece of (dirty) live rock thrown in to jump start diversity.
Note: This doesn't work for most folk because they want to add fish by day 10.
 
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HuduVudu

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The only problem I've seen with that much water movement is that the water tends to get warmed up from the friction in the system.
I don't like to use power heads and I use external pumps for return pumps and closed loops. I have baked systems because of this issue. BTW Dolphin pumps are essentially pool pumps. I choose them specifically because of their efficiency (allegedly) and the head is away from the pump.


It makes sense that if the fish isn't bathing in stagnant ich filled water that the ich gets blown away before it can attach?
No, the flow is purely for gas exchange. I don't care about the ich or any other parasite, Including dinos.

Also, that much circulation effects a TTM (without the sterilization effort) continuously.
What is TTM?

An observation snorkeling reefs is that the dead stuff is deposited near shore while the wave swept fore reefs are cleaner with lots less algae.
My experience is that there is usually a 'garbage' area based on water flow that is high in nutrients. Different things live there. Usually lots of macro algaes and the bugs and fish that feed and shelter from that.
 

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I think it would be to start the rock in a bucket without light, ample circulation, and a little piece of (dirty) live rock thrown in to jump start diversity.
Note: This doesn't work for most folk because they want to add fish by day 10.
bacteria in a bottle products are cool but in my opinion having a clean up crew as early as possible (0 ammonia) is key. Their shells are like tiny live rocks - bringing tons of microbes to seed your tank. lots of people say not to add CUC early but you can easily just feed them seaweed/sinking pellets.
 
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HuduVudu

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I think it would be to start the rock in a bucket without light, ample circulation, and a little piece of (dirty) live rock thrown in to jump start diversity.
Note: This doesn't work for most folk because they want to add fish by day 10.
If you have quality cured live rock you can add fish immediately. And yes I have done it and will continue to do it. Stony corals on the other hand that is a different beast all together.
 
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HuduVudu

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bacteria in a bottle products are cool but in my opinion having a clean up crew as early as possible (0 ammonia) is key. Their shells are like tiny live rocks - bringing tons of microbes to seed your tank. lots of people say not to add CUC early but you can easily just feed them seaweed/sinking pellets.
Not all clean up members go for prepared foods FYI. Start with members that will take prepared foods so that you can implement that plan.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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I myself would never reef with anything but rock like this below, such a powerful ammonia scrub + coralline seed +pods galore+ natural food webs all set. I can see how that would help in effective disease control compared to dry marco rocks. coralline as a bioindicator is awesome. .
line.jpg
 

KrisReef

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I don't like to use power heads and I use external pumps for return pumps and closed loops. I have baked systems because of this issue. BTW Dolphin pumps are essentially pool pumps. I choose them specifically because of their efficiency (allegedly) and the head is away from the pump.
Moving water requires energy and it shows up in elevated tang temperatures imo, unless you employ a chiller?

TTM is "Tank Transfer Method" which is a method of completely changing water to beat Ich. In that method you transfer fish into clean tanks and sterilize the old one and repeat for a few days to eliminate Ich. I was making a "clever" :) :( comment to suggest that perhaps water motion could substitute for sterilizing the tank.

I agree with you that water motion in very important for living animals and have also observed that the depositional parts of the lagoon have the algae and corals struggling to grow faster than the algae. I believe we have seen and observed the same life zones present on natural reefs.

@brandon429 was asking how your method would work with dry rock starts, and my answer was that they would probably need to modify those starts using live rock or a modified dry rock method.

HTH.
 

mike550

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As someone new to saltwater I hadn't considered gas exchange. (my tank isn't even set up yet)

I personally don't prefer the open top, bright lights in my eyes look of certain tanks, so what would you do if you really wanted a top/canopy/ whatever?
Use fans to move air?
Couple of thoughts for you to consider. First, I have glass tops and a canopy that sit a couple of inches above the water. I have one of my water returns that is half way above the water surface of the tank to create some surface agitation. Second, my sump is open and the skimmer seems to inject a lot of air into the water column. I don’t have anything measuring oxygenation but I think a lot of folks have similar setups.
 

aldrichg9

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Couple of thoughts for you to consider. First, I have glass tops and a canopy that sit a couple of inches above the water. I have one of my water returns that is half way above the water surface of the tank to create some surface agitation. Second, my sump is open and the skimmer seems to inject a lot of air into the water column. I don’t have anything measuring oxygenation but I think a lot of folks have similar setups.
Thanks for the reply.
This is exactly what I have been thinking of doing, making sure there is surface skimming going on in the tank, then gas exchange can happen in the sump.
 
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HuduVudu

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Moving water requires energy and it shows up in elevated tang temperatures imo, unless you employ a chiller?
There is friction for sure on the water but my Dolphin did not raise the water temp. A quality external pump won't, because most of the heat is coming from the motor, not the head. I currently have a power head with the motor in the water (Tunze) and the protein skimmer pump is also in the water so there is heat from that. I use a fan to keep things cool. I also have a high house ambient temp. It is near 87 to 88 in the area where the tank is on most of the days in the summer. Like I said I don't want the motor in the water, it adds heat and that to me is a waste unless you live in a climate that is colder most of the year. It is also why I would never run metal halides ... been there done that ... not worth it in the heat.

TTM is "Tank Transfer Method" which is a method of completely changing water to beat Ich. In that method you transfer fish into clean tanks and sterilize the old one and repeat for a few days to eliminate Ich.
Ohhhh ... never heard of it. Thank you for explaining. Knowledge is power. :)

I was making a "clever" :) :( comment to suggest that perhaps water motion could substitute for sterilizing the tank.
LOL lost in textlation :p

@brandon429 was asking how your method would work with dry rock starts, and my answer was that they would probably need to modify those starts using live rock or a modified dry rock method.
Yup. I think it is the combination that is key, though gas exchange itself can really help even in a dry rock start. The warning there though is that gas exchange affects CO2 too and the more CO2 a tank has the more the food the algae has to grow.
 
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