Getting started ... help please!

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by PeterLoubser, 22 Jan 2009.

  1. PeterLoubser

    PeterLoubser

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    Hi guys - I have been reading with interest the various discussions regarding tank setup etc. etc. and have been really impressed as to helpful everyone has been with guys like me starting out with marine for the first time .. so here goes with my own thread ....
    I have recently bought a Boyu TL550 and am in the process of setting it up - it is the largest tank I can fit into an alcove in the lounge that has been crying out for a tank for the past year since we moved into the house. I bought the TL550 28g rather than the JBJ 24g as although I had many recommendations that the JBJ lighting was better, I wanted the biggest size possible.
    The tank fits reasonably snuggly into the alcove with limited room on each side and at the back – I can hinge the lid fully but do not have enough space to slide it down the back. I can get access to all the compartments ok and can remove the lid completely if I need to as well. The alcove opens out to the right behind the wall so plenty of space for electrical connections etc which I can reach reasonably easily.
    I have added mirrors to the wall on each side of the tank which will increase the ‘depth’ perception of the tank and may also help with additional reflected light.
    I am keen to get going now but am very aware that once the tank is full there is not much opportunity to modify the tank other than what I can do from the top – so I am looking for any advice now as to what I should look out for….
    Also I am unsure as to what route to go as regards water – I had various advice from using water from the sea (I am on the beach so that is easy), water from the Two Ocean Aquarium or RO water (where can I buy that or should I buy my own RO unit?)
    I have been to a few LPS but could do with some advice as to where to buy the best LR, corals, fish, equipment etc.
    Hey seems like a long posting but I have much to learn and am very aware of making sure to start out right!
    Any advice would really be appreciated!
     
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  3. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    masahello

    glad you posted here before buying, first you will have to setup and cycle the tank, which could take a couple of weeks before you buy livestock etc, some livestock will need the tank to be 6months or older.

    there are plenty of threads here with regards to Nana tanks, there is even a nano forum.

    as for the tank being full, it all depends on what you want to keep etc but before posting there are many CT reefers here who could show u their setups and give personal advice.

    as for the water issue i cant help, i use senthetic water, but the real pro's will be answering soon

    good luck and remember patience is key, even more so with a nano :)
     
  4. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    Welcome to Masa. I don't have experience with those type tanks, but what I can say is, read a lot and ask before doing or buying something. Take it slow and wait the cycle out, you will only benefit from it. Most of all, enjoy this addictive hobby!
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  5. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Welcome Peter
    The choice is yours really, many people in Cape Town use the water from Two Oceans. You need to use RO water for your top-ups (water loss due to evaporation), most LFS should sell RO water, just make sure that where you get it from is a reputable place and ask them to check the TDS of their RO water in front of you. In the long run it is much more beneficial to buy you own RO unit.

    I'm not familiar with the shops in Cape Town, perhaps some of the CT boys can help out with where the best places are to shop.
     
  6. Kanga

    Kanga Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    masahello Peter glad you like it here



    I have added mirrors to the wall on each side of the tank which will increase the ‘depth’ perception of the tank and may also help with additional reflected light.
    I am keen to get going now but am very aware that once the tank is full there is not much opportunity to modify the tank other than what I can do from the top – so I am looking for any advice now as to what I should look out for….
    Your own R/O unit is the ultimate, but most LFS sell it, I would suggest buying a TDS meter (they are cheap) and testing the water yourself when you buy it.
    You could use salt mix or you can collect from anywhere where the water is clean, I would suggest checking Nitrate and P04
    Mhh I have only been here a while, maybe the other guys can be of more assistance. Bear in mind most of the MASA sponsors ship as well.


    Your at the right place to start out right :1:
    Just ask we are always here to help:slayer:
     
  7. sunburst

    sunburst

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    Welcome Peter. Firstly, congrats with the new tank.

    There are some great tanks out there that are being run on both NSW and RO salt mix. There is no compelling evidence to prove either one is better than the other.

    Some of us find mixing and then pumping easier than shlepping buckets and drums. Our river water is not good enough to drink; our tap water full of contaminants not suitable for our tank. I wonder ....if somebody could make the perfect salt mix...apparently not....and so the (forum) debate goes round in circles.:)

    Happy Reefing.
     
  8. crispin

    crispin

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    welcome to MASA peter, really nice to have you here.

    sounds like that tank fits like a glove, which as you say is agood and bad thing, but its great to know that the space will be full with a lovely tank.

    Nano tanks are tough to start out with, less forgiving on your mistakes, so its best not to make mistakes. The best will be to ask and ask again in forums so that you are sure that what you are doing is right for your tank and its inhabitants. That way we can help you keep that snug corner looking great.

    Nano's can be restrictive in ways in the sence that the space is a little tight for some things you might want to keep, or not have suffiecient quality and light. I am thinking of nennies and nemos which most people want, but the lighting in a nanos hood is often too weak and the nennie needs a descent mature system, so dont think of starting out in that way.

    But with a practiced eye and a good understanding nano tanks really are a wonder to behold. You'll see a few guys on here have managed beautiful systems in nano tanks, just heed the warning that those guys know what goes where and how to look after it really well before putting it in:)

    MASA is here to help, the more you ask the more answers you get:)
     
  9. crispin

    crispin

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    much like sunburst above i seemed to have totally skirted your question regarding saltwater, Natural or salt mix.

    Personally in a nano system I would get a RO unit (use the waste water from the RO unit for drinking as its still better than tap water) and mix my own salt....even if you live near a beach. But many people use water from two oceans and thats a viable option.

    i just think that in the long term you will need RO for top up and for water change so not being able to get you own or have it on tap will be more expensive and you wont be CERTAIN what you are putting into the tank. I would however add that if you get a RO unit you need to have a refractometer (not a hydrometer as they are too inaccurate for a nano system) and that will be an added expense, but still worth it in long run.
    for short term i would go two oceans water. For long term i would go RO unit and mix my own.
     
  10. scubaninja

    scubaninja

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    welcometomasa
     
  11. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Hi Peter! A VERY WARM WELCOME to MASA! Great to have you on board!

    The 3 sponsors we have that is in Cape Town, is:
    - Sam's Aquarium
    - Aquality
    - Pets Aquaria

    Have a look in our sponsors area....

    There's the shop in Bothasig (Northern Aquatics), the marine shop behind the new Builder's Warehouse (Aqua Concepts), the one in Ottery (Exotics), one in Fish Hoek...
    Another one that sell's marines stuff in Flamingo Vlei mall... (Bloubergstrand)....

    Please have a read through the threads on our other New Members forum - you should get a lot of questions and answers there....

    Hope you enjoy your journey in keeping marines! Please asl as many questions as it takes for your to become a successful marine-keeper!
     
  12. Jaak

    Jaak

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    Welcome to MASA!!
     
  13. PeterLoubser

    PeterLoubser Thread Starter

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    Thanks for all the ongoing advice and encouragement ….. looks like this is a hobby that is going to need lots of assistance ….
    After the pain of queuing and paying a late penalty for my car license Saturday morning I decided to cheer myself up and took a ride out to Sam’s. I had never been there so was keen to see what they had – I had no intention of doing anything other than browsing …. but you know how things get out of hand … LOL!
    Anyway long story short – they have a stunning Boyu TL550 set up in the shop with minimum mods and after chatting to Ebrahim I decided that enough is enough – you can only do so much research and eventually you have to just jump in and get things going.
    So … I bought all the necessary test kits etc. etc. aragonite for the base, lots of RO water and salt and one little LR (he didn’t have much of a selection) and spent the afternoon setting things up (hmm looks like I may have to take out a second bond for this hobby…).
    All I added was a Chemipure filter bag at the back and a Seio powerhead, otherwise the setup is standard. Added some Stability and PSB Bacteria and tested everything yesterday and apart from Ca being a little low everything else is spot on …. The tank looks really great and even the missus is starting to get enthusiastic about starting to see some life in it – had to restrain her from bring some corals and fish home …..
    I am really chuffed with how things are turning out – almost looks like it was custom built for the alcove – and so far access is not a problem - even my daughter was impressed when she visited ….
    Some questions – how does the UV sterilizer work? The little black box has some stickers on it so I assume it gets stuck on the tank on the outside .. is that correct?
    Also I have a selection of shells collected during my travels in Asia and Middle East which I would like to put in the tank – is there a problem with doing this or does it mess with the chemistry – my common sense tells me they would provide a source of calcium?
    I plan to get some more LR ASAP this week and then will see how things go for the next week or so …..
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  14. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    hi and welcome.

    putting the shells in is not a good idea as they generally not well cleaned and trap dirt in them causing bad water chemistry, unless of course to break them open with a hammer to allow water flow, rule of thumb, its better to keep them out, also a little safer depending on how they were cleaned.

    u uv filter works by allowing water to flow around a uv tube killing off algae and water bourne bacteria etc these are external and dont need to be run 24/7, you can if you want but its not necessary.

    just remember to take things slow, let the tank cycle, about 3-4 weeks, test every couple of days in the beggining or one just wastes the kits, after the cycle, then add the livestock slowly, but feel free to ask here before you buy as there are plenty of knowledgable people here.

    all the best with your new endevour
     
  15. Apollo

    Apollo

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    Hello Peter and Welcome to MASA ( I think I've already welcomed you in another thread , but welcome again)

    Your UV sterelizer power box sits on the outside of the tank. You affix it by means of the suction cups.

    I see you really have a pretty tight alcove in which the tank is sitting. Just check your ventilation. One issue with all Nano tanks is temperature stability. They can experience huge temperature swings which will not do your tank inmates any good.

    IMO the UV sterelizer on the Boyu's is not really worth much. The "cheap" construction of the UV does not really lend itself to contributing positively to the water quality.
    Your choice whether you run a UV or not.

    You can check out various threads on Boyu TL550 mods that have been done by the memebrs. Have a look at the threads from Matt or Quinton.

    I run a TL450 , so the layout of the compartments is a little different to yours.
    You can still have a look at some of the mods I've done. This may give you some ideas on how to change your TL550.

    Here's my thread :

    My Nano ... has started ! (Finally) - Nano Tanks

    Using shells is not a great idea , like some of the other members have said. All that happens is that they become covered in algae and they do trap detritus, so be mindful of that.

    Insofar LR is concerned , I would suggest that you look at adding approx 10-12kg's to your setup. Just make sure that you don't pack in too much LR so that you end up with dead spots in the tank. Proper flow is very important and you want you want to avoid having areas of low flow where detritus can settle.

    Ask as many questions as you like and good luck with your journey !
    :)
     
  16. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    Looks good so far, now to add more LR and wait the 4-6 weeks to cycle. Don't be in a hurry to add anything, only add a clean up crew (hermits and snails - not sand sifting gobies or sea stars) once the water tests fine after about 4 weeks.
    Just check that the shelf is able to hold the weight of the tank. It will be tank weight dry + each litre of water is about a kg + live rock. You don't want your heart to fall to the floor :(
     
  17. PeterLoubser

    PeterLoubser Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the advice guys ....
    The tank is sitting on a well built-in cupboard (not a shelf). I also added another 22mm board under the tank which is shaped to the front of the tank (painted black so not so obvious in the photos) which also helps to support the front of the tank as it projects slightly beyond the original cupobard top .... so i am happy that it is sound enough ... i was pretty conservative as i have my whisky collection in the cupboard below :)
    The alcove opens up to the right behind the wall which has space for power points etc and allows for some circulation - also the top of the alcove goes up to the slab above so there is a bit more space than it appears - but i agree that i will have to keep an eye on the temperature. The whole set-up is on an inside wall of the house which is also pretty temperature stable which should help.
    Am trying to get some LR from Aquality this week.....
     
  18. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Very nice Peter, looks like a great little setup.
     
  19. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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    Nice, but I would have swapped the TV and tank around. :whistling:
     
  20. PeterLoubser

    PeterLoubser Thread Starter

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    Hey i did think that the cheapest would be to get a nice marine aquarium screen saver .....:p
    Spent some time with Liaquat of Aquality last night who gave me some really good LR. Latest pics attached .. now i need to just control my impatience and wait i guess ....:(
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 28 Jan 2009
  21. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    looking awesome :) now its time for the waiting game
     
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