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Many things about this hobby are not as hard as people are inclined to think...

Posted 01/30/2014 at 12:13 PM by Sk8r

...and it's useful to know these aren't magical rituals, but processes with purpose.

1. Cycling. 2+2=4 with most critters, but with bacteria, 1=2. They divide and multiply under favorable conditions, and fortunately their 'favorable' is pretty broad. To hasten cycling a wee bit, keep your tank temperature a steady 78 degrees and keep the water circulating to move the water around. You can 'ghost-feed' your tank a few flakes of flake food a day, which will supply any nutrient NOT provided...
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Old

Cannister or sump/skimmer?

Posted 01/24/2014 at 03:08 PM by Sk8r

Canister or sump/skimmer? how to decide.
Modern canister filters can cost as much as a large sump---
They ARE good: but their goodness mostly has application to fish-only setups. This isn't to say you couldn't run a softie tank with one---we ran a nice little softie/small fish tank in a 30 long with a Penguin filter, no sump. It had algae; but hey, it was healthy.
To run a fish-only, even with a monster filter, you're going to need to do filter-cleaning: to run a sump, nope,...
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Old

Acclimation! How to, how long to drip, etc.

Posted 08/05/2012 at 03:49 PM by Sk8r

1. FOR A FISH: Ask your dealer what his Salinity is, and set your quarantine tank to that, precisely. The minute you open your bag, test the water to be sure he's right, and that you are, within .001 of a salinity-match; and a quick ph check is not a bad thing either---(if your ph should be bad (remember bag-water ph starts shifting the second the bag is opened) or if the salinity is not what you were told it was, a drip acclimation may be your only resort, especially if you have an especially fragile...
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Old

HOW TO SET UP A TANK, condensed verions (retitled)

Posted 08/05/2012 at 03:18 PM by Sk8r

1. if you're going to have corals you need to aim at having either an all-in-one tank---or a sump, skimmer, and good lighting. Your rock and sand take the place of a filter.
a. stony coral and clams: need brighter light, good circulation. For sps (colored sticks) you need high flow and a super skimmer.
b. 'soft' coral is more forgiving, can exist without a skimmer if you don't push it, but it's a good idea to have one.

2. if you're fish-only you can get by with a filter:...
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Dirt-Simple Chemistry Must-knows for Tank Health

Posted 08/05/2012 at 03:12 PM by Sk8r

I'm going to start very slow, very basic, and work toward the lesser known things.

1. your salt mix is not just salt. It's dry seawater. And that means not only salt, it's calcium, magnesium, iodine, selenium, boron---read the label on your salt mix.

2. evaporation never evaporates the minerals. It only evaporates the water.

3. animals and plants suck up part of the minerals. So TWO actions unbalance your tank---evaporation increases the mineral concentration---and...
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