New to Nano

reefguy24

New member
Heya,

Just bought a 24gal JBJ nano tank today. It's the one with the LED light.

The fish store guy told me to set it up, let it run for 24 hours, then add 1 damsel.

So I bought some live rock, some live sand and then added them to the tank, then added water to fill it to the top, then added the salt mixture, then turned the tank on and it's been running since 3pm on Saturday......yet it's 11pm as I make this post and the water is still a bit cloudy.

I was browsing the threads on here and it seems like a lot of you guys got some pretty crazy setups (with regards to all the extra "parts" such as skimmers/etc).

Do I really need all that with the 24gal JBJ nano tank?

Or is this pretty much a set-it and forget it and all I need to do is change the sponge and charcoal once a month and do a quick 5gal water change every 2 weeks?

I don't plan on getting a ton of fish....I just want a 3-4 pretty looking fish (I like colors) and some crabs at the bottom and maybe a starfish. And maybe some live coral that has lots of colors.

Also.....my local fish store had a decent selection of saltwater fish....but the majority of them were a bit "big" for my tank.


Can anyone point me to an online website that has more exotic, colorful looking fish? Price really isn't an issue.....as long as they don't cost more than $150 for whatever it is.

thanks
 

wnppmy

New member
Anxious to hear what others suggest.

Mines a 14G Bio, run very simplistic mostly stock setup. But careful to add the more demanding. Lots of color in the hardy selections and reasonable costs.

Some may jump on you adding even example a Dwarf Angel, as 30 Gal or more expected.
Mines very active in mine.

Adding fish right away even a damsel is not the norm, I waited over two weeks for the clown, still early. Also Damsel are aggressive may need removal depending on later selecting.

Go slow and easy, be patient let things at least make the first cycles before many additions.

Good Luck.
 

reefguy24

New member
Thanks.

I set the tank up yesterday afternoon. I looked at the salinity this morning and it was a bit low, so I added more of that "instant salt".

The tank is reading a high 1.023 on the meter.

But with the lights on, I see a huge "cloud" of particulate matter being pushed around by the force of the pump.

Is this cloud of matter normal? How do I get the water to clear up, or does it do it on its own?

I haven't added anything (fish/etc) to the tank at all.

thanks
 

terrypercula

New member
You won't need a skimmer. Something to think about down the road. DO NOT PUT FISH IN 24 HOURS AFTER IT'S SET UP. Your tank will be going through a cycle which will lead to ammonia spikes which is harmful to fish, invertebrates or corals or anything living. Do some reading on here about the cycle in a fish tanks and good procedure to practice to be a responsible reef keeper. Good luck smd happy reefing.
 

reefguy24

New member
Thanks, but what about the cloudy water? Is this normal?

I don't plan on putting fish for about a month and only when the local fish store gives me the "ok" on my water quality.

I'm just concerned about the cloudy water right now. I think the "salt" I mixed in is causing it (or maybe it's the live sand?) or lack of proper filtration?
 

terrypercula

New member
Did you add sane? That can make water murky until it settles down. Or maybe the water and salt wasn't mixed enough . Keep an eye out, it should clear up.
 

reefguy24

New member
I added live sand by the name of "Nature's Ocean". The guy at the fish store suggested I use one sack of live sand, and a couple of live rocks to jump start the tank.

He also suggested I get one single fish so it can poop and pee to help jump start the tank as well.

<<edit>> no I did not add "sane" (not sure what that is).

Just added Amquel and the live sand and rock. Hoping it will clear up soon....
 
Last edited:

chicagoreefer20

New member
Murkiness will go away as the sand settles.

Do not torture a fish - just add some pure ammonia or a bit of raw shrimp or even a bit of pee! Let nature do its thing.
 

terrypercula

New member
Live sand to start the cycle is a good idea. Fish poop would help the cycle but like I said it's also harmful to fish. There are a lot of steps you can take to get the cycle going and speed it up.
 

btmedic04

New member
Just let it sit for a bit and settle down. I just set up a 20 gallon and it took about a day for everything to clear up. it is possible that if you have very fine sand that it is getting stirred up. do you see any movement on the sandbed?

also it sounds to me like your LFS guy is doing you wrong. never cycle with a living creature when you can get the nitrate cycle going by putting a pinch of fish food in every day until you get a reading on your ammonia test kit or you can simply put a deli shrimp in your tank for a couple of days until you get an ammonia reading. some people put a toothpick in it to make removal easier, or you can cut out an old aquarium net from its frame, put the shrimp in it like a baggie and tie it so all you have to do is snag the bag.

lastly, are you using a hydrometer (the little swing arm deal?) if so, i'd look into a refractometer down the road as they are far more accurate. also a tip, never add any chemicals that you dont have a test kit for. reef tanks are very delicate ecosystems starting out and the simplest of things can crash them. take your time, read as much as you can and always ask questions here.
 

TundraGuy

MantisOholic
Pix will aid us in advice on the "matter in the water" thing. It could be sand could be dedirs from the live rock could be the salt you added. A tip on bringing up the salt up, mix up a bucket with higher salt content then do a w/c. Knowing this tank was just set up you can get away with adding the salt to the tank but I must express you will cause damage to your live stock doing that again. If need be you can take some water out of the tank mix this with more salt then add that back in.

I am one of the people that says no damsels in a nano at any time (excluding clowns or cromis they are more or less good nano fish). Take your time I would hold off on adding a fish for the first month of the set up (I bet you hate reading that). Believe me its good advice.

A good tip buy a light timer and limit your lighting to only a couple hours a day for the first month (again hate this advice I bet). if you can keep the lights off or atleast immited you can skip the normal algae blooms that all new people to hobbt end up fighting.

What water are you using to make the saltwater with? Avoid tap water get ro water at bare minimum ro/di water would be best. What salt mix are you using is it instant ocean? Its good salt not the best but still a good salt to use.

On the topic of the crazy amount of filter upgrades and add ons. These are done to keep the water quality up while making it easier to own. You could do constant water changes with real ocean water to keep everything in check but that's not practical so instead we add things that can remove the bad stuff (skimmers and carbon list goes on) and other things to add back in the good stuff that gets used up (calcium reactors and paristalic pumps to liquid sumplimts list goes on). It seems very over wellming when you look at some of the more elaborate set ups I know hour thinking that stuff is nuts. But with the advent and proper usage of this gear you can keep organisms alive and thriving in between glass sheets. But let's be real honest for a nano you can get away with w/c and a proper mix of live stock. Don't be shy of skimmers do some searching around and you will find no one with a good skimmer feels like going back to not having one. They are easy to use and the results are undeniable. There are a lot out there to choose from that will work on your set up.

Most people don't use the sponges that come with the tank. I would use them till the tank cycle is completed but after that you can toss them. There are so many different options for prefilters out there that will be just as easy and cheaper then buying replacement stock sponges. Care must be applied to changing out sponges they can function as a producer of unwanted elements in the tank. Basics on this are the collect nasty stuff from the water hold onto it then this stuff given time will break down and end up moving back to the water column invisible to the eye but a food source for nasty looking stuff that can grow in the tank or worse yet poison the animals you want to keep. So you are going to use them remiber to change them. I will go out on a limb and say most people with nano reefs use chemical filtration in the form of carbon, and gfo. For a nano most (again on a limb here) find it easy to use products like chemi pure elit. Somple to use. Comes in a bag you simply rinse it and through it in the back.

Stacking the rocks. Most new guys get caught up in the old 5lbs per gallon, or some such none since. Don't overload the tank with rock at the same time how do you know if you have enough? Well let's keep it simple. Stack the rock you have in the tank in such away to create caves cliffs pillars arches and overhangs, avoid solid rock wall looking formations. Stack the rock in such away that as little *** possible is touching the sand. Build it so that water flow can easily move through it. By doing these steps you will find the structure is more interesting to look at, give the animals something to climb on or swim through. You will also allow for coral placement. Now once you have gotten a sturdy structure if it looks like you tank has some big open spaces that you think you could add more rock to get the look your trying for then go get some more. Don't over do it and try for pieces of rock with interesting shapes avoid builders! If you search the top tanks section you will see most have big open areas for coral growth and fish swimming areas. Gone are the days of more is more with regards to live rock. Its important to have it. Most beginners start with a pile in the sand pushed to the back wall and in the center of the tank, then get more rock and end up with a solid wall of rocks on the back wall of the tank. This is the normal trend but you can be better. Look at other tanks see how they use the rock to create open spaces try to duplicate tanks you like the looks of.

Post pix ask questions don't be shy and good luck with your new addiction.
 

reefguy24

New member
Just let it sit for a bit and settle down. I just set up a 20 gallon and it took about a day for everything to clear up. it is possible that if you have very fine sand that it is getting stirred up. do you see any movement on the sandbed?

Thanks for the advice all.

Yes, I do see movement on the sandbed....I will try to move the nozzle up a bit and see if that helps.

Yeah, I'm just going to let the tank cycle on its own, no fish. Will run out and buy some fish food tomorrow (and throw in 3-4 flakes every day for a week) and then start looking for ammonia around the end of the week. I got a really good fresh/salt water kit (test tubes) that I will use.
 

reefguy24

New member
A good tip buy a light timer and limit your lighting to only a couple hours a day for the first month (again hate this advice I bet). if you can keep the lights off or atleast immited you can skip the normal algae blooms that all new people to hobbt end up fighting.

I got a JBJ 24gallon nano cube....so there's no timer on there. I guess I could go to Big Lots and buy something to plug the light into? Is that ho most guys do it?

What water are you using to make the saltwater with? Avoid tap water get ro water at bare minimum ro/di water would be best. What salt mix are you using is it instant ocean? Its good salt not the best but still a good salt to use.

Tap water....and the guy at the fish store told me to come back in 2 weeks and buy "real ocean water" from them for water changes. He said using "instant salt water" was only good for setting the tank up.



Wow thanks for the well thought out reply. Yeah, going to take my time with this tank....can't wait to post some pics on here!
 

chicagoreefer20

New member
Simple timer for the lights is good enough, but in this hobby there is always the option to spend more. There are very nice controllers, but I use a belkin wemo to control the lights. Set up and control is easy from my iphone. I actually use one for main lights, another for stunners, and a third for a fuge light. I prob should have just bought a tank controller! Btw, make sure you have a gfci outlet.
 

TundraGuy

MantisOholic
Chicago go buy a controller. *** man that's to many. Lol but really my first controller changed my life.

Yes a normal timer will do. Reefguy wear in the world are you located at? West cost guys have access to Catalina water, east coast guys get the 5 gallon jugs/box things from one of 5 different sellers depending on regain.

Tap water is a no no. Even when starting the tank. Also go get a one gallon jug of distilled water to keep on hand for the tank. Water will evaporate out of the tank the water goes but the salt stays so as the water evaperates you will need to replace it ( of from the tap lol).

What grain size of sand did you put in the tank? If its real fine you may want to rethink that part of the set up. In a reef there are five key components to being successful. They are as follows: flow, chemistry, nutrition, lighting, and stability.

Flow is more important then most people think. Corals are sessil creatures that need waste washed fromthem and food brought to them, sseahorses swim with tiny (in comparison to the body) fins so to much flow will wear them out and kill them, waste can only get to the filtration if it is suspended in the water and brought to the filter, many reef fish are stimulated to swim by the currents. I could go on but those examples seem to show why flow is critical.

Chemistry. The livestock of your tank could be described as living in a spaceship on a different world. They require certain chemicals to be in check or they will die. So keep your salinity in check and your waste low. Stony corals have heavy demands on things like calcium with low levels the corals grow brittal sceletons (I am over simplifying this). Long story short learn about calcium, dkh, and magnesium. Those are the first three key components to chemistry you need to learn for keeping heathly stony corals. The fish store guy probably told you about the "cycle". This is chemistry 101 for fish tanks. Start with ammonia (toxic) this broken down to nitrite (less toxic) then on to nitrate (toxic when in high quantities). You should wait till the first two come and go as the nitrates start to level out you can safely start adding fish. The more you learn the more you realize that nitrates can be removed as well but don't worry about that now. Focus on the big three of the "cycle". The cycle FYI is a constant evolving process in the tank.

Nutrition. Yep everything living eats. Think in these terms for a minute if I ate like it was Thanksgiving every day of my life at every meal, then I would not have 28 years experience with keeping saltwater fish I would have died of obesity or diabetes years ago. Why is that? Doesn't Thanksgiving dinner not have nutrition value? Well of course it dose. All that nutrition is wrapped up in some wonderfully tasting fat carbs and bla bla bla (you get the point). Problem number two about with me and thanksgiving is I eat like I never ate before in my life! Everything I can fit on my plate is going to find a place in my stomach, seconds yes please dear will you pass the gravy? So its apparent we can't eat like that at every meal. So why then do we overfeed our fish at every meal? Feed only what is consumed in a short period of time. Also understand your filter dose not need finish food to live so make sure you don't over feed or allow the food to go down into the filter.

Lighting. Note this is not at the top of the list. Not because its not as important as the others it just the above things can kill a tank faster then lighting can. Lighting is now and has always been a huge disscution starting heated debates. I remember in the 80s people having no idea why corals should die when they ate so well. MHs changed that but where cost prohibited (and the color options where on or off) so VHO t12s and t8s came along and offered colors and if you had enough of them you could keep coral. Then power compacts showed us all a new light to head towards boasting the best colors and prices. Then came the t5ho all the pros of PCs but none of the draw backs, and way more colors. All along MHs kept getting better to keep up. Then came a company that showed us all what LEDs could do, noone believed them. Up till this point you needed to get X amount of watts per gallon to keep your corals, but LEDs used a one tenth of the watts to get to the same Par and on its ear the hobby flipped again. Truth is the best light for your animals varys on the animal. I keep a mantis shrimp and in my SIG you read keep it away from bright lights. But on the other hand if I wanted SPS I would need high par values. Two very colorful critters two different lights requiments. So its better to know the requirements of the animals you want to house. Things that photosentate will require light to live but the light that gets to the organisms can be directly affected by the first three more then the power coming from a bulb ever could.

This brings us to number 5.
Stability. Once everything is in check you want to keep it that way. Natural disasters happen in the wild and life comes back stronger every time. But when disasters happen in a spaceship on a different world bad thing happen quickly and life is slow to make a come back. Long story short nothing good happens fast in a reef tank, bad bad stuff can happen to your reef in a hart beat.

I hope I have not overwhelmed you I kept this all basic there is a lot more to go into everything I wrote but these are the basics. Take your time remiber some of the best tanks I have ever seen were owned by some of the densest people I know. On that note I want to send shout out to Steve. Lol
 

reefguy24

New member
Chicago go buy a controller. *** man that's to many. Lol but really my first controller changed my life.

Yes a normal timer will do. Reefguy wear in the world are you located at? West cost guys have access to Catalina water, east coast guys get the 5 gallon jugs/box things from one of 5 different sellers depending on regain.

I'm over in Newport Beach. When you say "Catalina water", do you really mean Catalina water? As in someone takes a boat out there and scoops up water then sells it?

Why Catalina water over Newport Beach or Huntington Beach water (I think I already know the answer to this question and it might have something to do with how you can see 100 feet down in the water in Catalina and the water off our coast will make your skin glow bright green after touching it).

Tap water is a no no. Even when starting the tank. Also go get a one gallon jug of distilled water to keep on hand for the tank. Water will evaporate out of the tank the water goes but the salt stays so as the water evaperates you will need to replace it ( of from the tap lol).

Does Ralph's carry it or other supermarket? Why is tap so bad?

What grain size of sand did you put in the tank? If its real fine you may want to rethink that part of the set up. In a reef there are five key components to being successful. They are as follows: flow, chemistry, nutrition, lighting, and stability.

Ummm the guys over at Strictly Fish showed me a bag that most people get. I guess it's small.....but I just woke up an hour ago and looked at the tank and it looks MUCH clearer than when I posted last night.

Also, my JBJ tank came with a plastic "rake" that the instruction manual told me to put over the intake to skim waste.....I removed that completely last night and things seem to be clearing up in the tank.
Flow is more important then most people think. Corals are sessil creatures that need waste washed fromthem and food brought to them, sseahorses swim with tiny (in comparison to the body) fins so to much flow will wear them out and kill them, waste can only get to the filtration if it is suspended in the water and brought to the filter, many reef fish are stimulated to swim by the currents. I could go on but those examples seem to show why flow is critical.

I can't point the valve anywhere in the tank without it disturbing the bottom sand....it's pretty powerful (or seems so).

Nutrition. Yep everything living eats. Think in these terms for a minute if I ate like it was Thanksgiving every day of my life at every meal, then I would not have 28 years experience with keeping saltwater fish I would have died of obesity or diabetes years ago. Why is that? Doesn't Thanksgiving dinner not have nutrition value? Well of course it dose. All that nutrition is wrapped up in some wonderfully tasting fat carbs and bla bla bla (you get the point). Problem number two about with me and thanksgiving is I eat like I never ate before in my life! Everything I can fit on my plate is going to find a place in my stomach, seconds yes please dear will you pass the gravy? So its apparent we can't eat like that at every meal. So why then do we overfeed our fish at every meal? Feed only what is consumed in a short period of time. Also understand your filter dose not need finish food to live so make sure you don't over feed or allow the food to go down into the filter.

So only feed them once every 2 days? And they will be "ok" with it? My main concern is the quality of life for the fish (I'm a bit of a animal lover freak...) and then of course the joy they bring to me when I watch them.

Lighting. Note this is not at the top of the list. Not because its not as important as the others it just the above things can kill a tank faster then lighting can. Lighting is now and has always been a huge disscution starting heated debates. I remember in the 80s people having no idea why corals should die when they ate so well. MHs changed that but where cost prohibited (and the color options where on or off) so VHO t12s and t8s came along and offered colors and if you had enough of them you could keep coral. Then power compacts showed us all a new light to head towards boasting the best colors and prices. Then came the t5ho all the pros of PCs but none of the draw backs, and way more colors. All along MHs kept getting better to keep up. Then came a company that showed us all what LEDs could do, noone believed them. Up till this point you needed to get X amount of watts per gallon to keep your corals, but LEDs used a one tenth of the watts to get to the same Par and on its ear the hobby flipped again. Truth is the best light for your animals varys on the animal. I keep a mantis shrimp and in my SIG you read keep it away from bright lights. But on the other hand if I wanted SPS I would need high par values. Two very colorful critters two different lights requiments. So its better to know the requirements of the animals you want to house. Things that photosentate will require light to live but the light that gets to the organisms can be directly affected by the first three more then the power coming from a bulb ever could.

Yeah....I got the LED JBJ 24 gallon nano. Just kinda hoping they got the lighting right. Not sure if I can upgrade the lights?


Thanks for the well thought out post....I'm fairly new to saltwater, but not to fish. I used to keep piranhas back in the day (red belly) and freshwater setup here and there.


I'm just looking to have a tank with a few pretty looking coral (the ones with the green circle and the red dot inside) and at this point in time I'm thinking a clownfish or two. Then I want a starfish and a cool looking cleanup crew.....shrimp and a crab or some sort.

I have no problem doing maintenance/etc as I'm home most of the day.

I also remember reading that tank lids aren't good for saltwater tanks....but I have two full-grown Savannah jungle cats and they are extremely smart and can open doors/latches/etc. So I'm already having to design a new locking mechanism for the top of my JBJ nano so the cats can't open it.

If and when I move into a house (apartment now), I would be more confident in getting a 120 gallon tank and really going balls-out with everything.

thanks
 

reefguy24

New member
Simple timer for the lights is good enough, but in this hobby there is always the option to spend more. There are very nice controllers, but I use a belkin wemo to control the lights. Set up and control is easy from my iphone. I actually use one for main lights, another for stunners, and a third for a fuge light. I prob should have just bought a tank controller! Btw, make sure you have a gfci outlet.

The tank sits on my home office desk....and the cable situation down below is not pretty. I'm going to go out and buy another power strip and connect it to another outlet and run that along the wall.

The JBJ nano comes with two lights.....both are LED. The first light is the daytime light and the second light (it's purple in color) is presumably the night time light?

I wake up around 6am....so what would you recommend for the lighting schedule? Do I have to be religious about putting the lights on and off at a certain time? What time should the "night" light go on?


Yeah I saw that Apple makes that product you're talking about and it's only $50.....will most likely be picking one of those up once I get fish in the tank.
 

Sharksfan94

New member
So from personal experience, my tank stayed cloudy for 2-3 days after I set it up. You might think about getting some filter floss and adding it to one of the back compartments until the water cleans up. The floss will trap the debris in the water and aid in the clearing up.

Lighting wise, rapidled sells some DIY light upgrade kits. So if you decide you want to up the lights that would be a good place to start. Or you could always go the fixture route. I went that route and I love my Kessil A150. I have the Sky Blue one. 10,000k I believe, but if I had the chance to redo it I would have gone with the 15,000k light. As for a lighting schedule, 8-9 hours is the recommended amount of time you let the lights run. And if you have an algae bloom cut it down to 4 hours and potentially 0 hours per day for 3-4 days.
 
Top