New and overwhelmed - but confident

Discussion in 'New Members' started by barryahern, 25 Aug 2014.

  1. barryahern


    25 Aug 2014
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    Hi All.

    Name is Barry, and I'm completely new to keeping a tank in general, let alone a marine tank. I have lived by the sea my whole life and fished in premier leagues, always having a very keen eye on marine ecosystems, tag and release, and various environmental initiatives. Naturally, when I was introduced to the possibility of keeping a living ecosystem in a tank, I was SOLD!

    So I bought my first tank, second hand, with a 5 compartment sump.

    Tank is 1500mmX500mmX600mm with rounded front corners and a central back overflow box with plumbing down to the sump.

    My questions are:
    1. Many information sources draw distinction between small, medium, and large tanks, and the ecosystems elasticity to change based on the size of the tank. So a small tank would be highly variable because a change would be faster acting over a small body of water than it would a larger one. So my question would be...would my size tank be considered small, or medium?

    2. I have not got a light source yet. Does living rock photosynthesize by the light source we provide, or is it just coral that need that light source?

    3. I believe via my research thus far, that corals and Anemones should only be added to a mature tank post 6 months. So idealistically, should an individual start with a sea sand bed (I read you don't need it...but really), followed by a considerable amount of living rock for a month, then maybe some hardy fish, and then finally corals and Anemones?

    4. The chap at the local pet shop uses living rock in one of his sump compartments, but warned that even though they are great at filtering and retaining the right bacteria, that they will need to be cleaned as the porous rock gets gunked up and will need to be cleaned to allow absorption again. If that is the case, wouldn't the living rock making the reef in the main tank suffer the same sedimentary build up? the the sump, got the overflow box. What more do I need?

    Shopping list:
    Protein skimmer
    Return pump
    Bio balls for sump
  2. Guest

  3. Q89


    25 Jul 2010
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    Welcome to the forum.

    There is a wealth of information, and people with lots of experience on the forum.
    I'm no expert but I'll try and help.

    Your display tank is 450L, you have no dimensions of the sump, so assume it can take a extra 100L, all and all it is a 550L aquarium. It is a large take (I might be wrong).

    Light is very important when keeping corals, and one need light to see the fish, but not for live rock.

    If you have enough flow in the display tank, there should not be a problem with sedimentary build up. You can always use a turkey baster and blow most of the debris out into the water column so the the filters in your sump can remove it.

    Looks good, but I'll leave the bio balls, just my opinion, but I feel that they can cause more harm than good. Maybe a light unit, or if you are good with DIY, you can make one.

    Be patient and there is never a dumb question, so ask away!
  4. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

    4 May 2007
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    I would class that as a large system.
    Living rock is in fact dead rock, it's just the organisms and bacterial colonies that are on and in the rock that are considered to be live. Any algae that is on the rock, be it beneficial or nuisance algae will require light to live. But I think what you're asking is if you can run your tank with rock in it without a light source? Yes you can. Ambient light within the room should be sufficient. Corals most definitely require light in order to survive.
    There are many ways to skin this marine aquarium cat, your method above is one of the ways, nothing wrong with that, as always, the slower the better when stocking up a tank with livestock.
    It does, to a certain extent, but not as much as in the sump area as there is a lot more varied flow in the display tank. That is why it is often recommended to occasionally blast the rocks in the display tank with a pump or a turkey baster to remove any settled detritus or gunk and bring it into the water column to be removed by the skimmer. Because of the linear flow in the sump, the rock often catches a lot of the muck from the display tank, so yes, it's always a good idea to give the rocks a shake or a clean now and again. You'll be surprised how much gunk comes off a rock when giving it a gentle shake in the water.
    In-tank flow pumps.
    Last edited: 25 Aug 2014

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