Marines

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Marines

Postby markee » Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:02 pm

I know this is a tropical forum but does anyone keep marines as well? I'm thinking about trying it but i would start off with a nano tank for experience (i would hate to spend hundreds of pounds for it all to go wrong!) what are the pro's & con's with nano tanks?
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Postby dazzer1975 » Fri Jul 13, 2007 1:36 pm

cons are water temp fluctuation, water chemistry paramters (things can go wrong in a small body of water far quicker than in a larger one) physical size to arrange hardscape (presuming you are using live rock as your filtration ala the berlin method) and less space for equipment and lifestock but that depends on the type of tank you opt for, i.e. in terms of equipment space, some tanks are complete with a false wall which hides neccessary equipment away and thus leaves it easier to work with the aquascaping of rock and corals etc. Also evaporation could be a real issue in a nano resulting in salinity fluctuations in short periods of time which are very bad, but can be overcome with an auto top up.

As far as marines go, tanks of 130 litres are classed as nano, so some of the issues above may not be "such" a big issue as smaller tanks (I have kept a 25 litre nano but moved up to a tank double the size as I found it simply too restrictive for working on a tank of that size)

pros are as you have alluded to, the cost implications are far less, both in terms of initial outlay and running costs, easy water changes, and can be actually set up and run extremely simply and house suitable corals and lifestock, e.g. for a nano perhaps in the 25-50 litre range a cool little goby and pistol shrimp would make a nice and interesting addition alongside soft corals such as zoanthids and mushrooms etc.

Basically, the first thing to do is to decide what you want for the tank.

Do you want corals (sps = short polyped stonies, lps= long polyped stonies or softies such as zoa's and mushies etc, i'd recommend sticking with softies if your a beginner) fish or invertebrates?

Will it be fish only, or would you like to keep a reef which houses corals and fish.

I would suggest getting some books and/or doing lots of online research so you have the basic requirements and options worked out in your head and then of course, better informed means you can make a better informed decision about what it is you want for your tank and then you are in a better position to go out and achieve that.

However, I will cover loosely what my recommendations would be for the basic equipment list and tank set up.

I recommend an ro (reverse osmosis) unit with deionisation filter (osmotics.co.uk have been superb for me.)

tds meter (total dissolved solids meter)

thermometer, get a photography dark room one certified accurate to within 0.3c. I also have a digital ph meter and thermometer which is very handy and i use the glass dark room thermometer for calibration. Again the ph meter will need calibrating and the tds meter will.

Refractometer, essential if you want an accurate and consistent reading of your specific gravity, this will need calibrating also but the ro unit will produce the water suitable for this task.

Salt, any of the brands on the market really, but again, if you want corals go for a reef salt, if you are only interested in fish go for a general marine salt. General guidelines are to aim for an s.g. (specific gravity) of 1.023 for fish only, and if keeping corals too aim for 1.025-1.026, but whatever you decide and ultimately aim for, keep it consistently at that level.

spare powerheads, heater and a mixing tub to prepare fresh salt water, most people like to prepare it 24 hours in advance before a water change to ensure temp and salinity have equalised exactly to tank conditions.

Tank equipment can be as simple or as complicated as you like, however with technology and complications comes cost and to be honest, nano tanks are really suited to the simple approach, which for me ultimately consists of:

Live rock, this provides the bulk of the filtration and taking the nitrogen cycle one step further than is found in freshwater tanks by turning nitrate to harmless nitrogen gas. Generally speaking, biological filtration in the sense of freshwater tanks is a no no as nitrate will get too high so there really isnt a need for external or internal filters in a marine tank, however, you could if you wanted employ one of these and fill it with carbon and rowphos etc to remove impurities in the water or use live rock rubble to further aid the live rock in the main tank, but it's best not to use typical filter media in a marine tank, if you do, the advice tends to be to wash it weekly to prevent it going biological.

so thats basically filtration covered.

Heating, any standard heater thermostat will be sufficient ensuring it is the right size for the tank.

powerheads to provide water circulation and flow, important for lots of corals, and can requir as much as 60 x times tank volume turn over per hour or even higher if keeping sps corals but if keeping softies which are photosynthetic (gather their nutritional needs from the zooxanthellae which in turns gets their energy from the provided light) this can be even lower at perhaps 20 times water volume turn over per hour, but again this can be changed with increased power or number of powerheads as and when tank requires it.

lighting, generally speaking marine tanks require lighting between 10000k and 20000k.

You could use t8 tubes, t5's or metal halides but whichever you go for (tank you choose may even provide the correct lightign in the hood already and away you go, but if your throwing your system together from disparate parts and sources, then its worth bearing in mind that in a marine tank with corals metal halide lighting at around 2000k really does make a big difference to the visual effect of the tank.

If you went for t5 tubes, you may choose e.g. a t5 10000k tube and an actinic tube to cover the spectrum, and it has been known for some who use 20000k metal halide tubes which produce a very blue colour on their own for people to augment this with a white light tube to compensate for the abundance of blue light.

Anyway, for me, the first thing to do is decide what sort of environment youw ant to create, reef, fish only etc?

Then you are in a better position to decide on tank size and equipment choice.

Look up the berlin method though, pretty much most marine tanks now employ this either in its entirety or in parts, but the live rock filtration is the basic principle and works very nicely in a nano tank.
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Postby markee » Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:02 pm

Thx for your reply dazzer, i was thinking along the lines of a tank this size to begin with

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Orca-TL450-Marine ... dZViewItem

Ideally i would like to go for a mix soft corals & fish because i think both look stunning...i'm only in the 'thinking about it' phase at the moment & i would do plenty of research until i knew what i was doing properly
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Postby dazzer1975 » Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:31 pm

Good choice, but I am biased as I am using that tank myself at the moment.

Things to bear in mind with it however is that, the skimmer has a micro bubble issue, some people turned the skimmer off completely, others found after a bedding in period the bubbles subsided, others again had to use sine filter foam in the compartment next to skimmer to eradicate bubbles (be sure to wash out each week to prevent it going biological if you use the fine foam option)

Soft corals and fish would be a good choice, but personally I wouldnt have more than 1 or 2 small fish, and probably not clowns.

But again thats for the future actual stock choice, and good call on the soft corals, but as ever research compatibility and sizes and such like when the time comes to make those decisions.

That tank also comes with a pump, but you will have to purchase a couple of other powerheads though as that pump alone isn't sufficent for that tank.

Id go with 4-5kg of live rock for filtration in that tank, rip the bioballs out of it, maybe throw some live rock rub ble in one of chambers or even buy a small light and try and have a fuge going on growing some chaeto (marine algae) for nutrient export and away ya go.

I have a wicked little thread about that tank bookmarked, check this lout, should give you lowdown on it.

http://www.nanoreefs.co.uk/forums/index ... =1150&st=0

you might need to reigster though to see thread and/or pics?
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Postby dazzer1975 » Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:39 pm

p.s. the suggested stocking limit is way over egged for that size tank, marine stocking density is far lower than freshwater, and usually consists of a clean up crew of shrimp, snails and crabs, the corals and then the "main" stocking would be looked at such as the fish, but in that tank I wouldnt push it past 2 small fish tbh.
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Postby markee » Sat Jul 14, 2007 2:06 am

I'm seriously tempted now! lots of info on the site thx, why wouldn't you recommend clowns?
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Postby dazzer1975 » Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:51 am

markee wrote:I'm seriously tempted now! lots of info on the site thx, why wouldn't you recommend clowns?


I actually want a pair of clowns myself but imo would probably be too much for that size tank.

I know others have clowns in that tank, and of course it depends on the species chosen as the sizes do vary a little.

As ever though, don't take what I say as gospel, take a wide and varied range of advice and opinions and sources and then your giving yourself the best chances of success, I am still learning myself with marines and I could do with doing more research on clowns and their needs yet myself to know if 1 clown would be a suitable proposition. Anyway, where my ideas/knowledge stands at the moment I wouldn't get a pair of clowns for there but there are lots and lots of awesome species to choose from.

Whatever you decide good luck with it mate, maybe you could start another thread if/when you get the tank and set it up with pics too, I'd love to see it.
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