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a SW AquaOne tank


Callatya
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OK, I'm moving in a week and I'm going to bite the bullet. The axolotl is getting kicked out to a larger tank and I then have a spare AR380. What I would like to have is a bare-bones no-frills tank that looks good and is a breeze to maintain. I was looking into seahorses, but they are not being bred at the moment, and the variety I would like are not all that prolific in the wild, so I do not like the idea of wild caughts. SO I'd like hermit crabs. I figure that i'm reasonably good with FW crustaceans, and making the leap to SW I may as well stick with something that I understand a bit more than fish. Plus Strictly has then 4 for $10, which is pretty cool :D What would be the best way to make this tank suitable for say, 4 hermit crabs that are approx 1/2"? is that too many? what would other options be? I'd adore 2 banded coral shrimp, would they be ok in this type of setup? Any super-dooper-tiny fishies? Could I use the current filtration? Its quite strong for its size and provides decent curculation (its not a washing machine, but there are no dead spots) I could attach the intake to a UGF so that it would take advantage of the substrate and the media up top if that would be more beneficial, but I should imagine a UGF in SW is worse than FW after a while. is LR a necessity? If so, how do I choose something suitable? What am I looking for? must I smell it? I personally do not like the look, but if it is best, i'll grin and bear it :D maybe it'll grow on me. Lighting may be an issue, it has a single 8w tube. This can jump the temperature up a good deal, but leaving the lid ajar seems to calm this down. I *may* be able to squish in a single CF if I find a book on electrical fiddling, but that'd be the best I could do, I think. This will be a problem, yes? I *think* thats about it Oh, sorry, most important, the water. ordinary aged and salted water, or actual seawater for setup? I would be using the mixed stuff for WCs but unsure about setup as perhaps seawater has happy greeblies in it, or will have a small die-off that will cycle the setup, or has some other amazing benefit. About all I know is that it may be full of those stinking hydra as a shop nearby used seawater and has the most terrifying hydra exposion. All gone now, but geez it was creepy! OK, I'm open to all suggestions :tongue: only conditions: must be this tank must not be too pricey must not be attention-hungry

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Congrats on the leap! Salt water is harder anyway. Live rock is the filter once established. I was quoted 1kg / 10L of water. Has to be smelt! Stinky - die off, nice salty cured. Cured LR is good. mine has all sorts of life on it snails, feather dusters, worms,etc but can also bring in not nice stuff but depends on the tank inhabitants if they cause probs. Some nibble fish, some corals. Need more info on this myself. Cost of LR is the prob, I paid about $15 a kilo. Can't just use table salt for mix. I use Natural sea water (nsw) as it doesn't cost and I have a good spot to collect it. If not buy salt mix stuff from LFS. Then you have to monitor salt consentration as water evaporates but not salt. When I collect water was advised to store in a dark place for a week and then use. If not growing corals (really hard) you don't need to worry so much about light, maybe put in a different globe. Found that Half my test kits didn't read for salt water so another expence + hydrometer which I'm still not happy with. I'm getting some goby. They are small (2 or 3 inches) and come in different colours. What about tank breed clown fish? some varieties are small. I may not be doing sea horses either, still deciding. Hope this might help you decide.

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The snails should be fine. Because it is an All in one, you can get away with rock rubble, covered with LR, its a cheaper option and you can use the filter in the hood and perhaps add a small powerfilter in there. This is a good option if you don't want bulky LR in your tank. Just change the fluoro to a higher strength. You can add CF's later with some modifications if you want any SPC's etc. Also, be careful of the light fitting, I have heard of salt rot getting into the electrical fittings, a daily wipe down will be fine :(

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I'm going to silicone the lighting area closed :D should help. its an 8w tube, do they even sell higher wattages for those fittings? That'd be super if they do, but I've not yet seen one. I have a small pump i could use to get some water movement (its a pond powerhead) but those splashdown filters aren't too gutless, so i'm hoping its ok. My plan is to get my hands on some fine white sand and a chunk of LR (about the size of 1 1/2 coke cans?), and just seed the sand with the rock. I don't much mind avoiding SPCs for now, I just want to see if i can run the thing without it dying/failing. Apparently my only prob with the light might be bleaching. How serious is that? I assume it means things are dying off? Also, venting the light... if i have enough room should I try to install a PC fan to move the heat? Gobies are soooo on the list :D And something called Sexy Shrimp, but i don't know what they are yet :( unsure about clowns, I'm a bit worried that they might not be easy to keep, just easier to produce in quantities. Plus I'd have to call it nemo, and thats sooo uncool. :D

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In my reef tank, I have only 1 banded coral shrimp (too territorial to have 2), a sailfin/algae blenny is better than a goby since it cleans up the live rock (but once it's in you can no longer put in a goby bec. it would definitely be in 'kill-mode'). I use a 2-tube, 30w light (1 is marine blue UV, the other, marine white). Hermit crabs are very hardy and they will eat anything (but I feed Hikari Sinking Wafers and sometimes stick-feed feeder guppies). It would be nice to add a brittle star and some chocolate chip starfishes (will eat any dead matter), I also have a sea urchin which is very fun to watch (it sucks up gravel from underneath and expels the filtered gravel from a hole on it's top). I have about 20 snails in my 50gal tank. The hardiest coral is a bubble coral (in my experience, and they need calcium, too). I also use natural seawater (but use treated tap to top-off). Percula clownfish (aka 'NEMO') is the cutest you can put in :) . Don't forget the protein skimmer (it will skim dissolved organic compounds DOCs)! Check out this compatibility chart (which could actually save fish lives):

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(source: liveaquaria.com)

Edited by jtvbetta
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OK, I have a few solutions I found a light! its a 50:50, still only 11w, but at least the colour will be more suited. Thats about $27 and just slots into the current hood setup. According to LFS guy and the local marine board this is the common way to convert these tanks to SW nano, and it should be able to handle "most of those soft corals, but not stuff like acropora or brain coral" so I'll need a bit of a translation on that. I got some prices on things today. LR $12AUD/kg sounded ok. I took note of a few other things too, Can someone yea or nay them please? I could only get common names, I'm sorry Feather Stars - $20AUD - green and tentacley. looked delicate but thought i'd check. Anemone Shrimp - $11AUD - does it require an anemone? looked delicate too. Redleg hermits - $24AUD - looked like they have "huge growth potential" but seemed to be hardy. not too fussed on red colour Decor hermits - $9AUD - assume these are the ones that stick random items on their shells? if so, i'd love one! (though they are pretty average-looking) Red Star - $15AUD - looks a lot like a blue star, just red. thinking it may also be delicate. Do they get large? these were erm,about the size of Green Shrimp - $8AUD - looks like someone stole its middle and re-glued its head and tail back together. Quite liked these I looked for gobies and shrimp, but the only gobies i could find were something called gold head, and i couldn't spot them in the tank. This is all of a sudden looking a bit more doable. Oh! and i looked at a Xmastree worm and it ducked back into its rock. I love those things! are they destructive or useful or too big or too small? Any way I could have one?

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Not sure on any of these really. I was told to stay away from hermits as the can be distructive especially to corals. Seastars (not fish :) I was corrected before on this) need lots of small stuff to eat and are suppose to go into a mature tank so there is enough stuff to eat. I like my 1.5 cm one should be ok on 10kg of live rock. feather stars and christmas tree worms I was told were also hard. Meaning very exacting on water quality etc. Not much help but I'm only learning too! I really love it!!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ok here we go, this will probably be edited many times as I continuously think of correction, additions and better ways of phrasing things.

If you really, really want sea horses, you can definitely get them. They *are* pricey though. I would have to double check as to how many are in stock (only a phone call) but Sea Horse Australia (located in beauty point, tasmania) breed two tropical hippocampus - kuda and barbouri. I am providing quick web sites to basically get VERY general information and more importantly a picture

Kuda http://www.saseahorse.com/species_4.htm

Barbouri http://www.saseahorse.com/species_5.htm

And SH AUstralia's website, just in case you want to check it out http://www.seahorse-australia.com.au/

Hippocampus Kuda retail from Sea Horse Australia at $55 each, but last time I went on a spending spree there they were out of stock and there was a large waiting list.

The barbouri are spikey looking, very cute and friendly and cost $65 each. One note - my girlfriend has had problems with her barbouri's in the past. I got her a male-female pair. They contracted a bacterial skin disease that we had to treat with a vet prescription medication called panalog. It's actually designed for farm animals - cattle and the like, but it works wonders with any sort of fish legion, abrasion and the like. Little tip for you all there at no charge =)

After that, the male got gas bubble disease. It wasn't pretty and I ended up euthenasing him. I know I have just related some very negative things about sea horses, and personally I think they are more suited to a tank that has a larger water capacity as water quality is very important in trying to minimise the chances and effects of these diseases, but we currently still have the female barbouri and she is living very happily in the tank - and it's an aqua one tank too, I think it may be the same model, or the next one down in size, it holds approx 30ish litres of water, maybe a smidge under.

Anyway, i'm digressing, she is great, she swims up to say hello when you look into the tank, and the current from the trickle filter does seem a bit strong at first glance but sea horses love currents. They anchor to something and just sway in it. However, it must be noted if you are going to go with that sort of deal, anemones and spikey pointy hurty things are a no-no. You don't want anything that the horsie can potentially be pushed into by the current accidentally. In the case of sharp things, she will just get a cut that may become infected and need treating, but an anemone could potentially eat her if she got caught by it.

Another important note regarding sea horses. Not too many things are that compatible with them. They are quite delicate and peaceful little animals, so they can easily be bullied by rowdy fish. The biggest reason however, is the fact that they are very slow eaters. If you go putting in clownfish, damsels and whatever, you're going to end up with them all zipping about scoffing down all the food and the sea horses missing out. If you absolutely *have* to put in a fish (we have a bicolour blenny in with the girl), only put in a small one/number. The blenny *is* always the first to the food and he does scoff it down, but there is always enough left over for the girl to get her fill too.

If you want to use collected sea water, provided you're certain about the quality, then fine =)

We however just use coralife marine salt mix. It costs something like $90 for a box of 3 6.5 ( i think it's 6.5) kilogram bags. 1kg will mix up 30 litres of salt water, so you should get about 3 water changes from a kilo as you're only going to be wanting to change something like 10 litres in one go, and be doing it at something like once every 10 days or so.

Personally I wouldn't bother with a protein skimmer, you won't need it. If you did want to put one in, you're going to have problems, you'll either have to pay through the nose for some sort of custom hang on thing that is designed to work with your tank, or cut parts of the hood out so you can stick a convential type skimmer in.

As for live rock . . . . those little aqua one tanks won't fit much of it in, but it is beneficial provided you're careful with your selection of it. $12 / kilo sounds like a good price. It's about $13 - $15 a kilo here depending on where you go. It's generally better to get it by the box (20kg), but you can't fit that in your little tank. It does help buffer the water, act as an auxiliary filter of sorts, and does look nice once it's got a bit of algae on it. Sometimes you're lucky and can get bits that do have little corals growing on them. Be very careful of mantis shrimps and fireworms (commonly called bristleworms). They are both micro-predators that can wreak HAVOC in your tank. If you get some, be vigilant. Look for an edit in here, I am going to come back to this, probably in too much detail.

If you want to go fish, your tank is very small, so you're going to be rather limited in what you can put in. You could go for a couple of damsels, or a pair of clowns. I personally would steer clear of dragonets as they tend to need a large amount of live rock which is seeded and supports the phytoplankton they tend to only want to eat. I'd also avoid boxfishes, cowfishes, they might come in small, but can get quite big. You could go for a goby or blenny. Midas and bicolour blennies are very popular, they have awesome little personalities and I've spent many an hour watching ours with fascination.

Something you could consider is a dottyback. They are generally VERY territorial so should be added last, but depending on your choice, could co-exist quite happily with your other selections. I would go for maybe an orchid dottyback if you could get one, or maybe a royal dottyback (looks sort of similar to a royal gramma). If there is something you really, really feel you MUST have, I could try and come up with a list of things (fish and inverts) that you could keep with it if you like.

Ultimately, fish choices will affect invertebrate choices. I remember seeing a fish compatibility chart posted up. Don't take it literally like it came out of a burning bush, but it's pretty accurate, so you can use it as a guide. There are exceptions to some of the things it says are/aren't compatible, so keep it in mind and if you aren't sure, researching can always shed more light on things =) If you want a fish only, you could get one of the smaller more peaceful wrasses, but they just about always nail inverts, so if you want all your little crabs and things, bad idea. Cleaner wrasses however, one of them would probably be fine. I've found websites saying they are a bad choice because they won't eat blah blah, but I've personally seen one eating fish foods, frozen foods, anything, so as long as you made sure he was eating a variety of things before buying him, you should be fine.

Umm, janitor hermit crabs are a good choice. I intended to start looking up the things you were posting names of before writing this but i'm slack and haven't gotten around to it yet. I will though so expect another edit here. I haven't played with choccy chip stars but there is a warning flag going up in my mind when I think about them so I will definitely edit about them. Umm brittle stars can be cool, avoid green ones though, they get big and eat fish when they can catch them.

The little black ones are awesome, but they are a nocturnal critter so you will NEVER see them. They always hide under things, but they do scavenge about so provided you're happy never seeing your cleanup crew, you could get one. If that red star fish is a red variety in the same family as what I have (blue linkia star) then yes, it will get quite big., they tend to just wander about at a leisurely pace eating algae and other detrius that they can find.

I will also come back and edit about shrimps. I can talk from personal experience about stenopid hyspidis (coral banded shrimp). They are a boxing shrimp (have a pair of big nippers to defend themselves and yes it hurts when they nip you) They can't be put together unless you get them as a mated pair from the supplier.

They are great though, easy to look after, scavenge about for things, can be a bit territorial about the place they have decided to live in in the tank, and if you have a mated pair, they may even set up a cleaning station in the tank where other fish can rock up and be cleaned by them. Other shrimps you could go for are umm, peppermint shrimp or maybe a redline shrimp (he would be very pricey though)

Avoid harelequin shrimp. They look cool but they only eat starfish, big problem there. Enough said.

Aside from hermit crabs. Avoid ALL crabs like the plague. They are ALL opportunists and will eat fish/inverts/anything if they can get the chance. I have found crabs that hitchhiked in on my live rock that were munching on my linkia stars and i'm sure they got one of my gobies and the female from my coral banded shrimp pair. I can't emphasise this enough. they are a MENACE and should DIE.

Lighting . . . . to really go into corals, you're going to have problems with that tank. Generally the most successful coral setups combine flourescent and metal halide lighting. The sort of lighting you're looking at is probably going to be a problem regarding the temperature of your water.... If you weren't careful you could end up with a seafood stew. With a bright flouro light, you should be able to keep mushroom corals (corrallimorphs) without any problems.

Another thing here. Corals are living animals and they WILL fight and kill each other. In a small tank, you can't put too many in and you have to restrict the contact they can have with other kinds in your tank. I will look into corals a I can't remember what i was going to type here. I had something I wanted to type when i started typing this and now it's slipped out of my mind into the ether, expect another of those edits here.

Ok I've been working on this for umm, an hour and a half, so I am going to have to come back and edit things that i've forgotten. Hope it helps, there's plenty more to say but i'm just not too sure what i should be saying. I hope it helps a bit. I'm far from an expert in this field, but have learned a lot from when I made the leap into marine fishkeeping and hope that my own personal experiences can benefit others who are willing to venture into this aspect of the squarium hobby.

My marine tank is my most favourite tank. It's so amazing to watch all the symiotic relationships between so many animals (clowns and their anemones, fish and cleaner shrimps, watchmen gobies and pistol shrimps to name a few).

It really is like having a window into the wild, moreso than any freshwater tank i've ever seen or kept. It's not easy, and it's certainly not cheap, but anyone who is interested in doing it, and willing to put the time, money and effort in will have my support and can certainly ring me at 3am with panic calls about problems with the tank.

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wow, thats a lot to digest! Thanks Starwing! :o If i went with seahorses, i'd only have seahorses, and possibly snails of some sort. :o its unfortunate that I haven't seen a way to mimic a grassbed, because that would be ideal, but yeah, if it was seaponies, it would only be seaponies :P And I have a tube on Panalog here :o never thought that it would have any place on a seahorse, but there ya go :P I don't feel that any sort of anemone would be good for me, I'm pretty certain i'd just kill it. Either that or continually prod at it. Yes, I'm an anemone prodder ;) Corals fight??? Like as in biff smack etc? are there any calm peaceloving corals? I'm not all that concerned about getting special ones, just easy to care for that look a little interesting.

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To add panalog, you have to catch the little fishy you want to apply it to (obviously) then you have to lift him/her/it/them/whatever out of the water to apply it to them. With sea horses you can easily catch them with your hand and lift them out, fish are a little harder. We used a cotton bud to apply the stuff to the affected area, it seemed to work ok. Obviously you have to work rather quickly so as to get the little fellow back in the water as quickly as possible, and when they get back in, you will see an oily sort of film as the panalog you just put on washes straight off. I honestly couldn't see any indication that the panalog was still on the sea horses, or the fish in the pet shop when we used to put it on them, but some of it appears to be absorbed into the wound / manages to stay on, while the excess amount that is applied rubs off. I don't really know the scientific info on it, I just know for a fact that it works. I've seen a fish that has lost its entire tail survive thanks to this stuff!!

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Corals fight??? Like as in biff smack etc? are there any calm peaceloving corals? I'm not all that concerned about getting special ones, just easy to care for that look a little interesting.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Have you watched that amazing documantary film called DEEP BLUE? It is truely amazing, every one should watch it :yes:

It showed corals shooting out stinging cells, paralizing their neighbours and eating them alive :o They can't exactly sway from side to side and hammer eachother, because their shells are hard mineral deposits like a snail's shell, so the actual corals inside shoot out stinging cells to do the dirty work. ;)

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