There's a first time for everything : 29 g newbie

Stang67

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We're going to give this thing a shot. With anything in life it just takes time and money and typically you don't have one or the other. So in my case I needed a new hobby to start. I scuba dive once or twice a year in the Caribbean so starting a SW tank made perfect sense. I could enjoy the underwater world all year long.
I am starting this as more of a personal journal for future reference as well as to help anyone else out there that may be looking for another opinion on how to get started in this hobby/addiction. We all know what opinions are like, am I right.
SO HERE GOES NOTHING.....
I do have a bit of experience with FW. I have a 55G set up now that I have been running for about 15 yrs. successfully I have a 13" pleco and 2 Ciclids in it with some plants. Nothing crazy.
Originally the plan was to convert the 55 to salt and move the FW family to a smaller tank (29g). I am limited on space that is suitable for a tank set up thus the 29g. Issue was the Pleco, he's really too big now to move to anything smaller. So instead I am reversing the plan a bit. Starting SW in the small with the intention of eventually converting the 55 and just use the 29 as the sump. I don't have a ton of money to throw around but I have managed to save up about 500.00 to start this project. The research is an endless maze of rabbit holes and digressions so its been very hard to stay focused. I found that as long as I kept the "end game" in mind it helped me to not go crazy with any aspect of the build. Plus it seems if you can make SW work in a small then you should have little to no trouble upgrading when the time comes. And the time will come.
So I found a spot for the new set up to live. I like to have all my tools ready before I start a project so I had a list, thanks to all that research from all over the interweb and my LFS. I knew what I "needed" and what I could "wait" to get. Yeah that worked great. So here is what I have ordered so far :
29 G starter tank set up from PetSmart (incl tank, heater, HOB filter, thermometer and lid w. LED)
Tank stand Petco Metal open front no shelving
Refractometer saltwateraquarium.com
All of the following purchased from Chewy.com cant beat free shipping :) plus $$ was right
40lb dry rock
40 lb live sand
Koval LED (to upgrade the light for Corals in the future)
Marineland Pump 400 and 900 (one for tank if needed and one to mix SH2O)
14 lbs of Instant ocean Reef salt (tank will be a reef tank)
Filter floss pads
Aqueon PRESET 200w heater
Aquatic Life RO Buddie 4 stage 50 gal RODI
Dr Tim's Ammonium Chloride
Seachem Prime
Eco 396 pond pump (water changes for both salt and FWT)
siphon covers
Misc items from HD and my local Ace Hardware
5 gal buckets, Acrylic sheet w cutter, egg crate, Plastic tubing, sponge rollers
So I have already pretty much blown the budget, but I think I have 99% of what I will need right out the gate and I have some backups, and multi use items and items for when I covert things over in the future.

Where I am today:
Stand assembled added a "top" from an old solid wood cabinet door so the tank made better surface area contact with the stand.
Painted back of tank plan on painting side tonight
Determined aquascape

Goals: (all subject to change as needed)
Next few days and this weekend: Hook up RODI machine to start water, rinse sand, add sand and scape to tank, mix salt water and after 24 hrs add to tank. let settle and warm up. add ammonia and bacteria.
2 wks : Cycle tank
3 wks: Add CUC
4 wks (aka May 1) evaluate and proceed accordingly 1 fish and a couple coral to start
2-3 months evaluate and proceed accordingly 2 fish Clowns and an anemone MAYBE
4-6 M eval and proceed once anemone settled pared up and doing well add addtl corals

I have taken a couple pix on my cell but I cant seem to get them to upload (work computer). Will try off phone directly tonight.

So this is where I am today. Let me know your thoughts, and if there is anything that I can clarify for you. Also PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give me feedback and I welcome any and all opinions. I just ask one thing, that you don't tell me what I am doing is WRONG just because you prefer a different way. Again we all have opinions and we all know what those are like :)
THANK YOU !
 

reacclimating 2 the hobby

patience is... oh look an acro pack fs!
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Welcome, main thing to remember is to take it slow. You probably won't cycle in two weeks or even three. Corals should be down the road a bit farther after you've learn to keep the tank stable. You may want to look into some Dr. Tims One and Only to help with the start up.

You'll also want to look into an ATO to help keep things stable. Everyone is here to help so ask lots of questions and do lots of reading.

Why paint the side of the tank?

welcome.gif
 
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Stang67

Stang67

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Thanks :)
Dr Tim's Ammonium Chloride
Seachem Prime
Both actually came in the mail today :)
I have a calendar next to the tank too so that i can write down all my test results daily. I understand it may take longer as well :) this if anything is "wishful" thinking on my part.
I am not going to rush it either. I have seen that SW tanks are like a good scotch, it takes time for them to "mature".
Got a new test kit (fw and Sw) from my LFS as well. I must have spent an hour there picking their brains so I thought I should really buy something.
I will be getting all of my critters from them as well as they are only 20 mins down the road.
 
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Stang67

Stang67

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Update #1
this weekends goal was 99% accomplished. Everything is up and running and I am in the process of dialing in the salt content. I did chose to rinse off my rock and my sand but still got a soupy mess that I was trying to avoid. but it did ultimately cut down on the silt in the water. Slowly adding and letting it sit for about 4 hrs and testing. I am almost there. I have made enough water to fill the tank and have some made up and ready as back up. I also ordered my ATO unit and I will be using one of the Marineland pumps that I have to run it. I will also be switching over the HOB filter from the 30g capacity that came with the kit to the 40g extra I had laying around. Hopefully this will be enough flow for when the time comes. If not I can add flow with the other pump.
My aquascape has changed a couple times but I am vowing not to change it again. Its a trade off between what I like visually and surface area for corals.
I think now we just wait an maybe figure out how to change the size of the pictures my phone takes. They are all too big to post :(
Found a local club here in CLE and they seem nice. I hope to attend some meetings and make some contacts.
Thanks again all!
 
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Stang67

Stang67

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Cycle Started
4/1 added Dr. Tims per the bottles instructions (4d/g) left to cook overnight
4/2 this am tested for ammonia got reading of 4ppm w. my freshwater test kit. added a capful of Seachem prime for bacteria. Also have "live" sand.
Now we test daily and wait.
***discovered that seachem prime was not the right product to add to introduce bacteria, it actually just removes the ammonia but doesn't add any bacteria. off to the store to get the correct additive. waiting 24 hrs to retest for Ammonia levels and add***
 
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sfin52

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Cycle Started
4/1 added Dr. Tims per the bottles instructions (4d/g) left to cook overnight
4/2 this am tested for ammonia got reading of 4ppm w. my freshwater test kit. added a capful of Seachem prime for bacteria. Also have "live" sand.
Now we test daily and wait.
***discovered that seachem prime was not the right product to add to introduce bacteria, it actually just removes the ammonia but doesn't add any bacteria. off to the store to get the correct additive. waiting 24 hrs to retest for Ammonia levels and add***
Does t remove ammonia just changes the make up so its not harmful to inhabitants
 

count krunk

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The light you have.. the koval LED. Doesn't really look like it will be sufficient for reef tanks.

I have one from ebay that looks the exact same, and it does great on my natural planted tank, but I do not think it is strong enough for corals.
 

sfin52

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Can the bottled bacteria and my live sand still eat it? I wasn't going to add any more ammonia if I don't need to. Only about 30 lbs of rinsed live sand.
Should but I always add live bacteria from the bottle. I believe dr. Timms is one of the best if I remember right
 
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Stang67

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The light you have.. the koval LED. Doesn't really look like it will be sufficient for reef tanks.

I have one from ebay that looks the exact same, and it does great on my natural planted tank, but I do not think it is strong enough for corals.
Oh no count... What is it missing that I should look for in a different model? I guess I relied in the reviews on the website and didn't research the Pera meters enough. I guess I thought since it had all the colors I was OK as well. Any inexpensive suggestions to replace it?
 
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Stang67

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Should but I always add live bacteria from the bottle. I believe dr. Timms is one of the best if I remember right
OK great I picked up some bottled bacteria on my lunch today. Not from our cafeteria bu my LPS. Gonna add it tonight and see what happens. It's a 3 day dose.
 

sfin52

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Oh no count... What is it missing that I should look for in a different model? I guess I relied in the reviews on the website and didn't research the Pera meters enough. I guess I thought since it had all the colors I was OK as well. Any inexpensive suggestions to replace it?
I like t5ho with an led. The t5 gives great light saturation and the led is great for depth and shimmer. You get the best of both. I run a coralife t5ho coaralife t5 and a fluval 4th gen on my tank.
 
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Stang67

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I like t5ho with an led. The t5 gives great light saturation and the led is great for depth and shimmer. You get the best of both. I run a coralife t5ho coaralife t5 and a fluval 4th gen on my tank.
Awesome thanks! I'm gonna just use this on my 55 g planted cichlid tank then or use it for my sw until I save up for a better one or start getting corals in a few months. Misstep #2 check[emoji5]
 
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Stang67

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Update Wk #2
I have nitrites! yippee!
ordered my CBB and a knock off ATO.
I have not added any additional Ammonia to the tank as it remained at 2.0. Question is once i hit 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites do i do a WC and cycle again to confirm the bacteria i have can get rid of the ammonia in 24 hr or is it assumed i am good to go? Also am i guaranteed to get algae at some point in this process? just wondering. i don't care that i get it bc i have read if everything is good in the system it eventually goes away on its own i just wanted to have something for the CUC to eat when the time comes. see you next week.
PS no pic as nothing has changed just white flecks like really really fine sand floating around the water.
 
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