Relatively new to the hobby this is my story

Voodoodauley

New member
Hello, I started our first marine aquarium in Feb of this year. Our 7 year old son wanted a Nemo Tank. Needless to say, so did mom and especially DAD! hahaha... So Santa Claus brought him his wish. What Junior didn't know was that dad isn't rich and he cut a deal with a guy at work to get the tank.

Cut to the chase, it took a while for us to gather the needed things to get things started. Most notably a good book to read up. The booked helped a lot but I find that it only got me started and I have so much more to learn.

We cycled our tank well. We put Crushed Coral for substrate. After the tank leveled off we added out first specimens. We picked up a Chocolate Star Fish, a couple turbo snails, and a couple of Shrimp. We also added a couple Nemo clowns and three Green Chromis. We added everything spread out over time. Needless to say, it was hot or miss with us. We lost all of the fish pretty quick. The Chromis the first week and the clowns we lost after about a month from starvation. They simply wouldn't eat.

I made the mistake of adding a Red Banded Shrimp with our other shrimp and the Banded shrimp ending up getting arms ripped off in the process of killing our other shrimp. We got wise quick about mixing species.

We slowly have added live rock to our tank and still have about 50% (20 LBS) more to acquire. We use a Canister filter it has been working well for us. I was never a fan of under gravel filters when I was doing fresh water and this is why we chose a canister. I am happy with the results. I have been partially lazy and partially scared about water changes. I have been quite surprised at how well our tank has stayed leveled with the small bio-load and very few water changes.

We have begun adding new species again and are doing fabulous. I will have to pick up the water changes again now. We have A turbo snail, three bumble bees snails, and a Banded Snail. We have a green brittle star and a chocolate chip star. The inverts are doing fabulous. We have had the chocolate Chip since march or april. The Brittle since last month.

I decided it was time again and added a pair of Nemo's again. This time I was very careful and they are eating pretty well. They look happy and healthy so far. They worried me at first because they were being reclusive and hiding in the back towards the top by the filter tube. I left the light off for a day or two. Then flipped it on and they came right to the front and said Hello... we are your new neighbors... got any food? YAY!

We are slowly building our tank up a little at a time. I buy a species, then some live rock, and then equipment, etc. We need a skimmer soon I think. We intend to have a reef system eventually but being so new I am not in a hurry. I need to get a hang of the FOWLR first.

So far I am happy with my progress. I know some of my mistakes and have been careful to learn from them. We eventually will get a much bigger tank. For now, the 46 gallon seems to be a pretty good learner tank. We need to improve our lighting as we are using a regular full spectrum fluorescent intended for a freshwater system. I am hesitant to buy a good light as we are going to move to a larger tank once we get the live rock we need for this one. This bow front has a few issues I am not happy about. No need for that info at this time.

Thank you for reading about my experiences and I am looking forward tro learning from the community of Aquarist's.
:beer:
 

SushiGirl

Premium Member
1st thing to remember is that the tank in Finding Nemo was an example of a bad tank LOL.

I'm gonna sound like a negative Nelly here, but to keep you from losing livestock:

Green brittle starfish tend to eat fish when they get larger. Your clowns will probably be ok since usually they don't sleep on the bottom at night.
Chocolate chip starfish is a snail eater, so keep an eye on your snails.
Unless you're feeding your clowns a lot, you're probably going to have to spot feed your starfish to make sure they don't starve or eat your other inhabitants (not that it's a guarantee they won't if you feed them).
Green chromis will generally tend to knock each other off until there's only one left. Maybe go with pajama cardinals (your kid would probably love them).
What kind of clowns did you get? They can be aggressive as they begin to mate and bully other fish (and your arm LOL) so this will limit what other fish you can add in that size of a tank.

You're on the right track with not worrying about the lights until you upgrade the tank & decide to go reef, no need to waste money there until you're ready for corals.

Glad to hear your new clowns are out and about and feeding, and welcome to this addictive hobby! There's a lot to learn in this hobby, and it seems you're already quite observant so you should be fine. Do a lot of reading here (the search function is helpful) and go slow and your reward will be a great tank!
 

Dazmguk

New member
I have a chocolate chip starfish also and I really don't like it very much anymore. I knew it might eat the occasional snail, but I had a 12 hour old Pajama Bangai, that was hiding next to one of my pumps; the starfish ate it! Not happy.
 

Voodoodauley

New member
"1st thing to remember is that the tank in Finding Nemo was an example of a bad tank LOL."

Well... our idea of a Nemo tank is just the False Percula's and the Tang. Everything else is flexible! lol I understand your point though... lol

"I'm gonna sound like a negative Nelly here, but to keep you from losing livestock:"

No worries here... I expect to learn... that requires me finding out what I am doing wrong... so no issue.

"Green brittle starfish tend to eat fish when they get larger. Your clowns will probably be ok since usually they don't sleep on the bottom at night."

I am aware of this and am not planning on have to many bottom dwellers. I guess they all have to sleep though. My thoughts have been about keeping the tank clean and I do like my star fish a lot.

"Chocolate chip starfish is a snail eater, so keep an eye on your snails.
Unless you're feeding your clowns a lot, you're probably going to have to spot feed your starfish to make sure they don't starve or eat your other inhabitants (not that it's a guarantee they won't if you feed them)."

What I am doing is placing dried kelp on clips in various spots where they can find it easy. So far chip has stayed away from my snails. So far so good there.


"Green chromis will generally tend to knock each other off until there's only one left. Maybe go with pajama cardinals (your kid would probably love them)."

We are considering Damsels. Cardinals are another we have been considering. I am looking at some info and it appears I need a bigger tank for the Blue Tang. I was planning on stepping up to a 75 g or so.

"What kind of clowns did you get? They can be aggressive as they begin to mate and bully other fish (and your arm LOL) so this will limit what other fish you can add in that size of a tank."

We brought home juvenile False Perculas. From everything I have read, they are good, mellow, hardy fish.

"You're on the right track with not worrying about the lights until you upgrade the tank & decide to go reef, no need to waste money there until you're ready for corals.

Glad to hear your new clowns are out and about and feeding, and welcome to this addictive hobby! There's a lot to learn in this hobby, and it seems you're already quite observant so you should be fine. Do a lot of reading here (the search function is helpful) and go slow and your reward will be a great tank!"
 

Voodoodauley

New member
I have a chocolate chip starfish also and I really don't like it very much anymore. I knew it might eat the occasional snail, but I had a 12 hour old Pajama Bangai, that was hiding next to one of my pumps; the starfish ate it! Not happy.

:headwally:

Do you spot feed your chip?
 

Microcosmos

New member
A protein skimmer is definitely a good idea. I would save up for one of those before adding any more livestock or LR. I'm glad your new clowns are okay! Sorry about your previous fishes. If you do want a Dory you'll probably want a humongous tank, otherwise it will grow too big for the 75. If you're lucky and have a good LFS they will happily take a fully-grown fish (for no money) and find it a new home, so if you do get a fish that grows too big you're covered; however, "renting" fish is quite expensive and some here would say it is not fair to the animal, that you should just stay away from fish that grow too big. I feel that if the fish is thriving while you have it, and then placed into the caring hands of a reputable LFS, then no harm is done. Long story short--get a baby Dory and keep it in the 46 until you have the 75 set up, then carefully move everybody over to the 75 (except for the 2 starfish--one's a fish-eater and the other is an everything-that-can't-swim-away eater, yes that can mean corals). Once Dory is too big for the 75, return the fish to the LFS (expect nothing in return except for a safe haven for the fish, though if you've been a good customer and talk to the LFS owner you MAY get a discount/credit if the fish is in outstanding good health). Good luck, and take my advice with a grain of salt, as I'm sure you will see differing opinions! ;)


Sean Bartel
 

Voodoodauley

New member
Sean... you say not to add more LR without the skimmer... could you tell me why? I thought live rock is supposed to help with the filtration why would it be bad to add more without the skimmer in place?
 

Microcosmos

New member
Yeah LR *definitely* aids in filtration--once it's completely cured (in other words, once the beneficial bacteria have multiplied to the point that they are keeping up with all fish waste and initial die-off from the LR itself). Until it's completely cured, the LR may cause a spike in ammonia and increase the time it takes for the nitrogen cycle to finish. Hence the skimmer first because it will suck up excess nutrients that your LR isn't ready to process yet, which means you probably won't have to change your water daily while the curing is happening. You may get lucky and not see a spike in ammonia when adding new LR, but why take the chance? In any case, a protein skimmer is a handy little thing to have, it helps to prevent nuisance algae and makes water changes less frequent. I hope this helps!

Sean Bartel
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
Bring your 7 year old along in a learning project, and be very sure he understands every step AND the chemistry involved: it's a great learning tool, and if the kid's willing, he'll get a good experience. I started in freshwater, managing my own tank at 7, and many decades later, here I am handing out advice. This also includes what to feed, why it's vitally important to limit feeding, how feeding affects chemistry, etc, and how the bacteria in the rock work. IE, both of you learn together, and you'll have something to share lifelong. There's a great set of FREE manuals up at the top of this forum: the files with a triple asterisk are the most basic of the how-to information, and they will give you a lot of help. My blog (blue live link under my avatar) has a lot of info of a more advanced level; and this site will be a good resource before you actual implement anything you're nervous about.
 

Voodoodauley

New member
Thank you... My son is very involved with every step of the Aquariums. From feeding... to water changes... to adding the new specimens. Everything. He can tell most people more about fish and aquariums than they will ever learn already. Quite proud of him. He is Autistic and is kind of obsessive about the whole thing. I wonder where he gets that from? hahaha

Needless to say, we are both learning very well together. He is pestering me big time about Reef stuff. He doesn't understand the challenge and money involved. He is starting to grasp a little though. He sees a slow and methodical process I am using and is learning patience.

He doesn't want the fish to get sick so he stands back and watches when he can. But when it comes to feeding and stuff. He won't do it without my involvement. But is very eager to get his hand wet. I let him practice on a 10 gallon fresh water tank. He has been learning how to vaccum the gravel. I recently let him start with our 20 gallon. but that has live bearers in it with bitty bitty baby fish and we don't want to hurt them so we are a bit more conservative with that one still.
 
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