A few simple questions...


New member
Hi folks,

I normally post this stuff in the "New to hobby" thread, but often I do not get answers to stuff. I am new to a big tank, with some good experience with my 55G. But what I am finding is everything on a big tank requires much more planning and patience, and the pain of a screw up is much more intense and expensive, so I do not want to screw it up :mixed:, hence me asking here....

1) What do you guys use to keep your acrylic tanks clean magnet wise? I want to make this simple and easy for me, and the wife when I am on the road. I have the Kent ABS scraper, and the Kent long pad, but I am thinking one of those magnet type deals like the flipper I got for my 55G, but I am open. What do you use to clean the outside? I realize even a grain of sand can scratch.

2) I have new sand, and some cultured rock, and some dead rock. I added on bag of CaribSea live sand to the dry/new Caribsea special reef grade. How much seed sand do I need? In my 55G, I added all live sand, so I did it differently. Do I need to get anything special? I have some BIO-Spira for my QT tanks, should I consider adding this? Should I add more live sand? Is there any "critter kits" I should get to get off to a jump start?

3) When should I add critters to this size tank, and would I do well to put in invertebrates first? I have always heard that invertebrates never carry stuff like ick, but do you recommend a dip, or is it OK to just put them in (realizing ditch the LFS water). I can add fish after the ammonia/nitrite cycle in about 4-6 weeks if I understand correctly? I also have heard it is good to put a fish in after a few weeks.

4) What reef testing system do you use for calcium, mag, etc.?

5) I have some live rock available from my 55G. I plan on ditching the sand. I am wary of the live rock because the tank got overcrowded, and there was a week of poor maintenance, and some buggers set in. Not sure if ick, or another bacterial infection. The fish, some of which were native, some that came from the 250G at my buds house are going to cycle through QT and copper, so I am good there. Things are better now and I think they are healthy enough to take the copper. What about the rock? I am wary that I will get contamination of any ick that would be in the dormant phase. So, I was going to put the rock in my culture tank for 4-6 weeks to make sure there was ick cycles with no hosts. Is this making sense? I would then disinfect the culture tank.

6) Same as above regarding the invertebrates in the 55G.... banded corals, emeralds, sally lightfoot, serpent star, snails, hermits, and a Spanish mini-lobster. How do I insure no goop would be stuck on them?

Regarding 5 and 6, the one thought I also had was moving the fish from the 55G to the QTs as planned. Then leaving the rock and invertebrates in the 55G for 4-6 weeks. That might have the same effect with no hosts?


Active member
The first question I would ask you is what books on reef keeping are you following? Your questions suggest none. Also, it is possible no-one is answering your questions because they have been asked many many times already, and the answers are right in front of you if you do a Search, either of just RC, or use Google to see many other forums.

Although not the most thorough for background information, for the most up to date books I suggest you start with the ones by Mr. Saltwater Tank. If you can wait a bit, I see that Martin Moe is re-issuing his Marne Aquarium Reference at long last. This was a major reference for many years in the hobby and it is great to see it returning once again.



New member
Just ordered that book you suggested online, for $5.95 a bargain. I watch the Mr. Saltwater videos all the time. That is how I found autotopoff.com. Book is crazy good, but it is only the chemistry side. The others will be out in the next year.

And I agree, stuff has been asked over and over. And I do search as much as I can. It took me a week to find something on RC and reef builders. The new hobby thread has such a velocity of questions, and with only three pages visible, they blow by very quickly.

Here is what I found out as a captain, and boat as someone that has repowered many boats. While the basics of boating are the same, the details often change with size. For example, how you would plumb a water intake in a 26 foot boat with a diesel, differs from a 45 foot boat, mainly due to performance characteristics. Same basic science of water in and water out. But..... do it wrong on a new $100K Cummins engine, and you got an issue.

The information may be the same, or maybe not. I am also probably being a little squeamish here and not trusting myself enough. I know the basics just fine after 8 years with a good 55G.

On RC, there are small boat and big boat people. So, the reason I asked these very basic questions on this thread, is to try and get information from people that are driving the big boats.

Ok, lets throw all my stupid questions out... but I have one for the big tanks guys.... not in any book....

What are you using on your acrylic tanks both inside and out for the algae scrubber?
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New member
Magnet with magic eraser. I Googled it and came up with this.

This is more of a build thread forum as well. Maybe your questions aren't getting answered because of how long they are. Try asking one at a time in different threads. Use Google and add reefcentral.com to your question and many results should come up.


For my tank I use a Magfloat XXL magnet. But I don't use just the magnet.

Originally I used a plastic dobie type scrubby pad on the wet side, and soft towel on the outside.

But a company named See-Clear that does Acrylic tank refinishing out here in Los Angeles, has custom pads for the inside and outside parts of the Mag floats for all sizes. I am not sure if you can buy them direct, but you can get them from Scott at Unique Corals.

If you get some sand in the pad, or a snail you will still scratch your tank.

The pad for the inside of the tank makes cleaning tough algae much easier. However, it will not do anything for Coraline. You still will need a plastic scraper for that.

Dave B


New member
It seem the mag float XXL is pretty good. The discussions on the magic eraser are amazing, something so simple and cheap. At first I was like... "too good to be true", but given the testimonies of many (using the original only), it seems they will be added to my arsenal.