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New marine tank

SharkfletchSharkfletch Member Posts: 37
edited May 2014 in Marine / Saltwater Fish
So I started my first marine tank yesterday on a whim. I was at the beach (intercostal) where I live, here in South Florida, Atlantic Ocean side, with my wife when she sees a little tiny conch shell. So I picked it up and sure enoughf it was alive! I was so excited, it's was really cool and I had to keep it, after all I am a true conch myself, born in Key West Florida, so I grabbed up in a little cup with some intercostal ocean water and took him home. I then rushed to Walmart and bought a 10 gallon aquarium and two 5 gal buckets. I went back to the same place on the intercostal and got some sand and water from his natural environment. I set the tank up with a filter and heater ASAP and it seems to be doing great now. This is my very first attempt at marine tank keeping and I want to keep on top of it and make everything and natural as I can in it, and hopefully get some little fishes from the same area where I found my conch. It's a queen conch by the way, like the ones that Key West uses at there trade mark. Anyone familiar with conch keeping that could help me out. I have tropical algea wafers I use to feed my pleco. Is that safe to feed a conch that lives in marine water? Let me know what you think.
Marine tank photo image_zps85bb93b8.jpg
Queen conch elephant trunk photo image_zpsa600ccb5.jpg
Conch republic shot glass photo image_zps8974eba3.jpg

tank is still pretty cloudy but it's settled more since, I'll take more pics when the tank is clearer.

Comments

  • MoooMooo Moderator Posts: 7,653
    Many frown on taking things from nature over here :-O
    I personally think he was better off where he was :/
    But, I don't know your Laws in Florida ;)
    So good luck with him or her,
    Sorry tho, I have no idea how you care for a conch.. :-?
    photo mooo_avat.gif "I'm a Doug Addict" photo cow2heartkisses.gif
  • SharkfletchSharkfletch Member Posts: 37
    I know it's not really kosher to take things out of there natural environment, and yea he would be much better off where I found him, and as far as the "law" goes, yea it was a no no, but honestly I couldn't resist. And I can see myself putting him back now. He's been doing good in the tank so far, but like I said its my first marine tank. I need lots of help an advice for this thing if I want it to last. Right now it's growing these cobweb like blankets on the sand and I don't know what it is.

    Cobb web like blanket photo image_zpsf924248c.jpg

    More cobweb stuff photo image_zps42802053.jpg

    I scooped it out earlier today and now there back...

    I ordered an aquaticlife internal mini protein skimmer recommended for 30 gallons and I still need to get a pump. I have a heater and carbon filer in now, one recommended for 10 gallons (I'll be getting a bigger one eventually). I am keeping the temperature at 82F (28C) the conch likes it warm. I got a water quality testing kit and everything seems to be in good shape so far but I'm sure it won't be for long. Please any advice for a beginner would be awesome.
  • SharkfletchSharkfletch Member Posts: 37
    Anyway here's the tank now that it's settled.

    Marine tank photo image_zps9666d19f.jpg
  • DougDoug Member, Classifieds Posts: 2,371
    well, you all know its coming and you know i am going to be the one to say it.

    TAKING THINGS FROM THEIR NATURAL HABITAT IS BAD!

    I put money that the conch dies within a week or two because to cycle a marine tank take weeks and is a complicated process. the first issue is that you have taken sea water full of all sorts of nasty things that will grow and multiply in your tank. The web you are seeing on the bottom looks like a fungus or slime mold of some type and is symptomatic of taking things from the natural environment and putting them into a tank.

    what are you going to feed it?

    what water parameters does it need?

    do they deal well with being kept in small tanks?

    I'm sorry but I could not disagree with this more. Poor conch :(
  • Heintz.GHeintz.G Moderator Posts: 1,363
    Damn it Doug, you beat me to the punch. Poor little Conch =((
    Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes & dreams.
  • TallTree01TallTree01 Member Posts: 580
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    .......
    Please
  • SharkfletchSharkfletch Member Posts: 37
    Wow now in sad... :((
    I'm going to set the conch free today after work.... :((
    Although, now that I've already made my first effort at a marine tank, I'm going to continue on the project. That being said I still need advice (obviously)...
    And I always thought it would be better to start a tank with water directly from the ocean, just because the bacterial build up, salinity and all is already at an ideal measurement, and won't a carbon filter and a skimmer take care of all the nasty stuff that might have come along with it?
    Anyways I plan on starting from scratch as far and my water an sand source, and I'll be buying 10lbs of live rock, so I'm open to any suggestions.
    I also know that such a small tank is going to be harder to keep up with and I should probably go with something bigger for my first but... Unfortunately that's not an option right now... Any suggestions?
  • DougDoug Member, Classifieds Posts: 2,371
    good man :)

    Keep with it mate, Marine tanks are something that not many people have the guts to have a try at.

    In a tank that size there are some things that you can keep but everything that goes for a freshwater tank goes for marine tanks double. Chief among this is the rule that bigger is easier. Maintaining water parameters in a small tank is hard but not impossible. I'd suggest daily checks of salinity and nitrates. I would also have at least double the volume of water ready mixed with salt to go in case need of water changes (salt water needs to be mixed 24hrs in advance).

    The process that I suggest you go through. (based on my experence in setting up many marine tanks for customers, there are many ways to do this and I am sure others will have ideas as well but this worked well for us).

    Note - you will also need a decent light, For a tank that size i would go with a high quality and output LED light. Even if you dont go with corals the rock still needs the light.

    Step one - Ditch all of the water you have, give the sand a really good rinse with tap water and give all the equipment a bleach bath to remove any nasties that may be hanging on to them.

    Step two - get some marine salt from your local aquarium store and mix up some water to go into the tank and fill it up. You will need a hydrometer to check the salinity. you are aiming for about 23-26

    Step three - for this first lot you can mix it in the tank or mix it in a bucket and throw it straight, in the future you will need to get a separate container to mix it up in and a spare heater to get it up to temp

    Step four - Wait! Give it a week to settle in. In this time you should have your filters running as well as your skimmer. I wouldn't go for a carbon filter. This will remove trace elements that you need in the water.

    Step five - go to your local aquarium store and get some 'live rock'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_rock
    This is rock that has either come from an established tank or the marine environment, normally a byproduct of some dredging or other activity that needs to remove rock from the ocean. though sometimes it just taken :( you will prob need about a kilo in your tank to start with. This is the trigger for the cycle. the rock will be covered in cool things, worms, polyps, little critters and more. Live rock is the bomb! You are expecting some of it to die off but hopefully most of it stays.

    Step six - monitor the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels daily. there will be a big ammonia spike and then it will settle, just like a normal cycle. You may want to do some small water changes if the ammonia gets too high (over 2ppm) but only like 10-15%. What you are waiting for is the ammonia to be all gone! AND I MEAN ALL GONE!! This can take up to 5 weeks :(

    Step seven - Get another kilo of live rock and repeat step six. keep doing this until you have a nice little reef setup. this will form the base of you tank scape and also performs a vital role in the filtration of the tank. The more rock the more stable the tank will be, though you do have to think about the amount of water it will displace in the small tank.

    Step eight - once you are happy with the reef and the ammonia is at zero then it is time for proper livestock (not just the stuff that hitched a ride on the live rock). In a small tank like that you could go a pair of clown fish (yes, Nemo) or some other small fish. You could also go for some hardy soft corals like mushrooms or even an anemone.

    Step 9 - constant vigilance on your levels and enjoy your little tank :)
  • MoooMooo Moderator Posts: 7,653
    edited May 2014
    ^:)^ Thank You for his freedom B-) It's kool you released, him & that blanket algae thingy is creepy :/ :-??
    photo mooo_avat.gif "I'm a Doug Addict" photo cow2heartkisses.gif
  • FraykFrayk Member Posts: 1,008
    Dougs last post says it all, absolutely brilliant, one should never take from the wild, nor try and keep something you know nothing about, onya for letting it go =D>
  • Errol WilsonErrol Wilson Member, Classifieds Posts: 526
    (1)Follow Dougs advise to the letter.
    (2) Don't be a Bad boy ever again.
    (3)The conch loves you.
    (4) Repeat 1 and 2.
    =)) =)) =))
  • BrengunBrengun Moderator Posts: 1,985
    I got a big enough kick out of the little critters which came in the live rock. Amazing little world I never knew existed.
    Photobucket
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