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Inherited a tank, need help!

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Hi all, I have moved into a house and the previous owner has left their marine tank behind. They gave us some instructions but they are somewhat vague so I'm hoping you all might be able to expand on them for me!

We have roughly 20 fish, 2 coral shrimp, various snails and crabs, a star fish, a couple sea-cucumbers and a bunch of coral. The instructions say to feed as much as they will eat in 2 minutes every other day, I was left some brine shrimp with spirulina and I've been defrosting about an inch cube for them, is this right? Do they need any other type of food?

Filter sock - rinse under tap water every 2-3 days. Seems easy enough. I did this last night but just want to check that is correct!
Protein Skimmer - I'm not entirely sure what this actually looks like! I can't get any decent photos of the equipment in the sump tank but I have attached what I could get. The instructions for this say "take the top cup section off, clean and rinse". How often do I do this? How do I clean it?

No information on how often I should test the water quality just that I should replace 50 litres every 2-3 weeks. I have been given a list of what the readings should be but no instructions on how often to test.

Thank you in advance!


ajm83

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Reply #1

Hi @Georgeypudding  welcome to ReefBase!

The protein skimmer is the Bubble Magus thing in the bottom picture.  The main body of it ought to be full of foamy bubbles most of the time (is it definitely switched on?).  Gunk will stick to these bubbles and get pushed up into the cup. Your cup looks like it has a drain attached, so follow that tube and make sure you empty wherever it drains to!  I'd empty and clean that top bit every few days else it might start stinking! 



The food thing is hard to say without knowing exactly which fish and creatures are in there.  Can you get a pic of the tank and maybe a further out pic of the sump (bit underneath full of equipment)?



In addition to water changes, has the previous owner told you about topping up the evaporation loss with fresh water (not saltwater, since the salt stays when water evaporates)?

PS.  where are you getting your salt and fresh water from?

Last Edit: Jul 13, 2018 12:30:53 pm by ajm83

Georgeypudding

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Reply #2

Hi ajm83, thank you!

I've been and had another look, the skimmer is actually over flowing with bubbles in the top cup (can't attach the video but you can kind of see the bubbles flowing out of the top of the skimmer in the photo) and nothing seems to be coming out of the drain pipe which goes back into the sump tank. The main body of the skimmer also has lots of bubbles in it now.

I've attached a photo of the tank, I believe we have 2 x clown fish, 1 x yellow tang, 3 x three striped humbug, 1 x royal gramma, 2 x domino damsel, 1 x sixline wrasse, 1 x coral beauty dwarf angel, 2 x banded coral shrimp, 2 x sea cucumber, 1 x starfish and there are also 3 or 4 silver fish with yellowish fins and 3 smaller silver fish which I'm not sure what they are (to the left of the photo you can see 1 of each of the unknown fish)

Edit - no there was no mention of topping up with fresh water! I've been advised to go to a local aquatics place to get my water, Oceans Bay Aquatics in Grimsby. How often should I be doing a fresh water top up?
Last Edit: Jul 13, 2018 1:37:43 pm by Georgeypudding

Gav

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Reply #3

Pictures 1 ,2 & 3 also look to have a reactor in , probably would be worth finding out what media it is running inside as this may also need changed .
The skimmer as Andy said is the Bubble Magus in picture 4 . The drain comes off the bend under the sticker on the collection cup , with the drain plug shown on the right of pic 3 , a white plug in the end of the short hose . The cup itself should also be cleaned out periodically and the pump with in the main body attached to the base should also be occasionally stripped and cleaned .
Tests for salinity , alkalinity , calcium and magnesium cover the basics of what needs to go in to the water and tests for phosphate and nitrate for what needs removed . Testing would be best done regularly to start to work out the consumption and removal of above elements .
Food would depend on stock etc , I use frozem mysis , krill , chopped mussel , chopped prawn , red plankton , algae seaweed sheets , as well as occasional pellets or flake . I'd say the main I use food is mainly mysis and algae seaweed sheets .

ajm83

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Reply #4

Hi ajm83, thank you!
Edit - no there was no mention of topping up with fresh water! I've been advised to go to a local aquatics place to get my water, Oceans Bay Aquatics in Grimsby. How often should I be doing a fresh water top up?
You're welcome! Well done for taking this on just after moving in! Not sure I'd fancy that myself...  lol

Yeah so as I said, water will evaporate, but the salt will remain in the water. So you replace that with fresh water otherwise it will get more and more salty (salinity increases)! 
Usually this freshwater is called RO, RO/DI or de-ionised water because it's been filtered. That shop probably sells it. You can't use tap water unfortunately. 

What you need to do is mark the water levels on the outside of all the sump chambers and the main tank with a bit of masking tape or something.  If you see the level drop in any of these then slowly add RO/RODI/de-ionised water to the tank until the level goes back to where it was.

Most likely it will be the chamber in the sump where the return pump is which drops. Return pumps usually look like this:


To add a tiny bit to what Gav said about tests, I would check those things once a week to startwith , if they stay stable then maybe every fortnight would be enough.

There a loads of apps which can help you track these things, I use Aquarimate - The Best Aquarium Maintenance App for iPhone, Android, Mac & Windows.


Your basic aim with marine tanks is to keep everything stable as possible.
Last Edit: Jul 13, 2018 1:58:06 pm by ajm83

Mike

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Reply #5

Hi, @Georgeypudding

Keep an eye on the Yellow Tang and Coral Beauty especially. If their diets aren't right, they can lose weight and can be very difficult to build back up again. If they start to look thin in the stomach area, then you need to up their food intake.

The coral beauty can be especially difficult. The Yellow Tang just needs plenty of greenery. Buy sheets of Nori from eBay it's much cheaper there. It's the same stuff that wraps Sushi, so you can get it from a supermarket but at much higher cost.

For one small yellow tang, a piece around half the size of a credit card per day should be enough, the Tang will eat other foods too, but Algae is its main diet, not meaty foods.. It should be the brightest yellow you've ever seen, if it isn't, it's not getting enough greens. :) It'll also mow any macro algaes that try to grow in the tank

The coral beauty likes meaty foods and won't really bother with algae, same with the six line wrasse. You can get algae clips which will peg the sheet of Nori to the bottom or glass of the tank so the Tang can tear bits off.
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Georgeypudding

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Reply #6

You're all so helpful, thank you!

Re top up - there is a 3rd small tank mentioned and this has min-max marks on it. The instructions say that when this gets low I should switch on something (I assume it's a pump, instructions just say flick the switch labelled top up) This fills up the sump tank from the filters that are in the utility room. On another page it also says this pumps water up into the main tank.
No mention of if this is salt or fresh water so I'm not entirely sure if this is the same thing you guys are talking about. Apparently this used to be on 24/7 but it got stuck and over filled once.


Reactor - this is a carbon something (carbon-ils or its not sure?). No idea what this does or how I know when it needs changing! Any tips on that? Apparently the pump for this is in the small tank I mention above.

Water checks - probably a stupid question but do I just check the tank with the fish in or should I also be checking the sump tanks? Will check that app out, I have an awful memory so that sounds helpful!
How do I clean the top cup of the skimmer? Is it a case of just a rinse or does it need scrubbing?

Fish food - Mike that is a great help thank you! I've attached a photo of what I think is the coral beauty (centre of the photo), could you just double check that? Also do you happen to have a comparison of a healthy vs thin yellow tang? I have no reference for this so have no idea how mine is supposed to look!
Gav I'll have a look into all those types of food, thanks!

I've attached a photo of the whole bottom tank system, I have no idea what the very left tank is, it seems to have a light or something in it? No mention of this in my instructions! Have attached a photo of that too.
2nd from the left with the min-max is mentioned above.
3rd from the left I believe has cheeto algae in? With a grow light. Instructions say I don't need to do anything with this one?
then the right hand tank is my main sump with the filter sock, protein skimmer etc etc in.

Also attached a photo of the 2 unknown fish, does anyone know what these are? I can't get a decent photo of the little one but you can see it in the 5th photo I have attached

Georgeypudding

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Reply #7

ps - yes feel rather insane taking this on as well as the house move but what's a tank full of fish when you have 5 cats and a dog lol!

Paddone

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Reply #8

The left sided tank is probably your fresh water top up system (ATO). You fill it with RO water and as the level goes down in your main tank due to evaporation the top up system should automatically replace it. You do water changes with salt water and top up evaporate with RO water.

I say probably because I would be very surprised if a tank that large didn’t have an ATO. The other thing it could possibly be is a quarantine tank. Does the tank have a pipe to a big water container outside the sump?
Last Edit: Jul 13, 2018 10:57:32 pm by Paddone

Georgeypudding

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Reply #9

These are the filters I mentioned in an earlier comment which actually supply water to the very left hand tank, I'm not actually sure where the water comes from though I assume it is hooked up to the mains or something as there is no large water container anywhere and no mention of one in the instructions the previous owner left me, just tells me to turn the valve on the blue pipe when I'm needing to top up the sump.

I guess this mean I don't need to buy fresh water?

ajm83

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Reply #10

Yes that's an ro or rodi system.  Follow the lines see where they go, presumably it goes to the tank on the left in the sump and is controlled by a float valve in there to prevent it overflowing

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Last Edit: Jul 14, 2018 10:18:20 am by ajm83

Paddone

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Reply #11

Yep that’s an RODI unit which “cleans the tap water” so it has no chlorine, minerals or metals in it. You won’t need to buy RO water but you will have to very occasionally replace the RODI filters.
Last Edit: Jul 14, 2018 10:47:12 am by Paddone

Georgeypudding

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Reply #12

Great :) how will I know when to change the filters? Been to the local aquatics store and hopefully one of the blokes will be able to come out in the week to give us a run down of all the equipment. Thank you all for being so helpful!

Paddone

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Reply #13

I don’t have an RODI filter, I buy RO water from a wholesalers. When I looked at getting a unit it suggested first 3 filters every 10k litres or 6 months (whichever comes first). And 4th every 2 years.

Gav

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Reply #14

You'd be looking for a TDS (Total Dissolved Salts) pen / meter , water in the RO tank should measure 0 . When it starts to rise the filters need replaced , I picked mine up from eBay for a few £ .

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