8.day... Tell me, what I am doing right and what terribley wrong!


Reefing newb
I made my introduction on Introduce your self topic...

Hi, my name is Arvis :)

I wanted to prove the world, it is possible to have beutiful reef tank without chemistry tests, high costs, only thing is required is logical thinking.

So this is my experiment, I think It`s because due to my international studies ( I study in AMsterdam, although I am from Latvia) I have gone crazy, due to fack that i live in 4 X4 room, with a bathroom (no kitchen).

I will try to finish this project with low costs, and no chemistry tests, and making this thing as easy as possible, due to my previous experiance with many, many sweet water fish aquariums and pond.

What I have bought is a 72 liter aquarium, it`s a juwel aquarium, probably made for tropical fish not saltwater fish. I bought this aquarium for 35 euros (~ 45 dollars). If I was in my country, I would simpley made one by myself, and it would cost me 10 dollars, but never mind.

--> You don`t have to be scared to use tropical fish aquarium for saltwater aquarium projects - Because the aquarium will hold saltwater as well. And there is no special Saltwater silicone. Usually it is the same silicone for bouth types of aquariums. (I have done a lot of research on this subject), I did this because, In petshop the girl told me, that she can`t sell me that tropical fish aquarium, because the salt would destroy the silicone. I smiled and walked away, because I understood that she wont have any valuable advice for my new project.

Next thing I bought was a 4 kg rock (which is not enough for 72 liters). You can use formula: 20 % of liters your aquarium have, should be the weight of your rocks :) .
I spent 40 euros for that....
I also bought salt and live sand (10 kg) . Spent again a lot of money - in my country it is 5 times cheaper :( ...

Then I started to prepare the aquarium and the results you can see in my album. Due to my cocky attitude and I know everything, water turned like in milk :) , but in day 3 it was clear as my but - after shower :) .

Currently I am on day 8. (2011,11,11).

I have spotted many new growths on my rock (You can check youtube - [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLf8DBhtVt0]Day 7,Reef aquarium :) - YouTube[/ame] ) .

Of course, I have no clue, what there is growing, so it is very exciting for me...

What else...

Oh, yeah.. I joined this forum ,because I need professional`s help... I really do...

I started aquarium with a water from petshops aquarium, to speed up cicling process, and I think I have done it... The growth is growing quick (although I currently have T8 15 watt bulb - thats so sad :( ) . I have spotted many living things like the pods... (don`t remember the exact english word, but it is main food source for mandarin fish :) ) , I have spotted red and white worms.

I need Your help on this:

TOmorrow, 2011.11.12 I am going to petshop to buy (I hope) a halogen light bulb, (because I can buy the frame in construction shop) ... Then I gona take some few more liters from petshops aquariums... and also I gona buy few bacteria balls from their active filters to put in my small sponge filter (which I got for free :) ).

So my crazy idea is to buy hermit crab and maybe some starfish and put them in my aquarium, is it too crazy? I mean - will they survive? Next question - can I buy artemia (amm,, brine shrimp ? ) and put them in my aquarium as well, so they repopulate and then provide upcoming fish with food source? . Or, shjould i try to buy those pods? Oh... About the hermit crab, will it be able to survive on few algea that is growing on my rock? And will the crab leave my new growths alone?

Basically I need all Your suggestions! And tomorrow gona make a new video with what I have done, and this time in english! :)

Regards and big tnx for help, Arvis. :)
Welcome to the site!

I honestly rarely test my parameters now (except for salinity) since my tank is well established...but when I first started, it was necessary to test everything all the time to make sure nothing is fluctuating a lot. I'm curious why would you take on an expensive hobby and not get the necessary tools to ensure you don't end up killing things off and wasting more money?

Will you not test your salinity either? I know you're getting your water from the lfs pre-mixed...but I would be too paranoid to not know what I'm putting in my tank. Don't forget to get distilled or rodi water to top off!!

It's actually not the water that will speed up cycling -- it's live rock, live sand, or a piece of shrimp. There's not much bacteria in the water column to populate the tank with nitrifying bacteria.

In any case, don't get the startfish yet. It will just starve in a brand new tank. I would wait a week or two before putting any live things in there since you won't be testing....just to be sure that the bacteria in the used filters you're getting can spread out. It's tricky without testing the water.

Finding new critters is fun :D
Well, of course I checked my salinity...
And I got in this Hobby as a way of experiment, because I think this hobby is also for people who earn 300 dollars per month, like I do :) ... If you are handy enough :)...

Amm, I didn`t buy premixed water, I took it from active tank, who is established for few years... So i Think thats how I added few bacteria...

And If I have the pods... and they still are alive, doesn`t it mean that amonia is low?

I`m asking, because, as I explained I have no experience in salt water aquariums.


Still - I have unanswered question about hermit crabs :)

P.s. Thanks for gratz and sharing your experience :)
Once the tank is established you will most likely be able to forgo the NH3 NO3 and NO4 but as water evaporates your salinity changes. You might be able to devise a formula as for how much water to replace. Then the PH still needs to be monitored. There are a great many things that can effect your PH and I doubt you could logically think the PH problem away.
Rather that use no testing you might consider how to reduce the cost of testing to a minnimal amount. Perhaps tests that can be performed accuratly and cheaply with household items?
LOL..I remember when I was asking all those questions myself. We all did. Is there a sump? What is there to make flow in the tank? Flow is very important. Do you plan to keep fish only or full reef? Halogen is not the recomended light to consider for your tank. PLEASE SLOW DOWN. If you buy first and ask questions later, you're asking for trouble. The brown tint on the sand is called a diatom bloom. Expected of every new tank. You can do a tank on a tight budget but you really have to do a lot of homework to pull it off. I have a 10 gallon running 3 years and i have about 600 US dollars into it so far. I would consider that cheap for this hobby. Lots of great tips and pointers to be learned here. The LFS is out to sell you stuff and make money (or at least 95% of them). But we have nothing to gain from your successes or failures. BE PATIENT, ask lots of specific questions and let us help you get on your way to a happy, healthy aquarium.
THanks for Your answer! No, there is no sump, I did a research on the sumps! I found out, that is possible to keep that small tanks (about 18 gallon) without sump and protein skimmer, yet have to do weekly water changes, so that`s not that bad... about the waterflow, Today I`m going to shop, I see what I can do... And about halogen... - well the bulb costs 28 dollars and the frame 14 dollars, so it`s not that big of a problem.
Btw, the bioballs you are talking about are nitrate factories, they store and actually are not good for your tank.

Sponges and filters will need to be changed very regularly or they also become nitrate problems.

Next halogen lights are not very good for the tank if you want to keep corals, For the cheapest option, go buy T5 lighting or Metal Halide lighting.

You need pumps to get the waterflow going. If you go into the newbie section and read the cycling thread that I wrote that is stickied there, you will learn all about cycling and the chemical side to getting your tank ready! Please read this as you will learn a lot of very useful things.
Thanks Jmck! So no bioballs...

And I was talking about metal halide lights - it`s just that, You know... we Europeans aren`t good at english :( . I was thinking about 150 wats, and putting it very high above aquarium, because I think I need more like 70 wats...

What else... yeah, I now the stream is very, very important, It`s not that I am doing this without previous research...

But if I have taken water from already stabled aquarium who has been runing for many years, doesn`t it mean, that my cycling speeds up?
Well, Metal Halides are the way to go! How big is your tank and how deep? I wouldnt place it too high above the tank. if your tank is deep, you will just be placing more light sensitive corals lower in the tank.

Do read the article though, it will teach you about the cycle.

The water coming into the tank holds very little bacteria, most of the bacteria is in the sand and in the rocks. So you will need to cycle your tank for a about a month or until your ammonia and nitrite completely disappear.

It may speed it up slightly, but not much.
you would need to find the par rating of the light and work that out. Or even just by checking how corals go. I would probably try to place it about 60-70 above to start.
300 dollars a month ! i would never make it a month off that !!! let alone have enough money to start a saltwater tank and live