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Thread: So you wanna start a Coldwater tank?

  1. #1
    Catalina goby
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    So you wanna start a Coldwater tank?

    So you've been thinking of trying expand your reefkeeping but don't know you need to start. Just ask away because it's easier than you think

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    Goby
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    This is very cool. Living in the Puget Sound area I have always been intrigued by a native tank. I will have a LOT of questions, but to start out can you contrast the plus and minuses of glass vs acrylic? Do you have condensation issues to cope with? Like a icy glass of beer on a warm day. How to you deal with condensation issues? Are filtration and lighting requirements equivalent to a mixed reef? So a sump with protein skimmer and reactors and LED lighting? Can you use a canister filter in place of sump/skimmer? Lots of questions, I know, but I am going to try and do this. Will be looking for equipment soon.
    Glass, water, and fish..
    all else is extraneous

  3. #3
    RF Staff
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    I'm going to follow along here as well. I'm not ready to jump in, but have always thought I'd like to try one one day.
    To add to the list of questions above... What are the local collection laws like, and are there specific vendors that you have to look too?
    -Stacey
    30 gallon nem tank /60 gallon softie tank/75 mixed reef /5 gallon pico (work tank)
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    Catalina goby
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    So when it comes to glass vs acrylic there are several advantages to acrylic. The first being is that it insulates the water especially when your talking 1/2" thick. 1/2" is the gold standard and allows for a smaller chiller to do the job. And of course the thicker the better. Glass has zero insulation capabilities. Just stand next to a single pane window in winter to see how much/ little it insulates. And the problem with sweating occurs happens easily when temp and or humidity hit the dew point. There are dew point calculators that you can use to determine this. But I just use acrylic and lobster tanks. Lobster tanks are glass but are dual paned. I say acrylic is the only way to go because of these attributes. 1/4" acrylic seems to do well but it doesn't insulate as well and some condensation may occur on the hottest days as my Aqueon 8 did last summer.more on lighting and filtration in a bit

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    Catalina goby
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    I manage my tanks like a cichlid tank. Basically water changes backed by mechanical filtration. Biological filtration takes many months to achieve. As long as 6 months to complete the cycle is common. This is where some of us differ in our approach because imo even when the cycle is established it only is a compliment. Nitrate are the main factor you need to worry about. The get very high and usually it requires water changes to take care of this. I use chemi pure and all gone to chemically filter out nitrates. But that is usually not enough. Some people have used biodenitrators with some success and some failure. Protien skimmers are usually a good idea on these systems since you are feeding daily to a couple times a day. I don't use skimmers I use mussels as a filter and a food source. You might be amazed at how much those guys can filter! So in a sump you might find a protien skimmer, mussels( my fav) and mechanical filtration. There is no need for reactors because well it's not a factor. I do allow mussle shells to degrade adding what little calcium is needed(if at all) I use a aquaclear 70 powerhead with the filter attachment and use a packet of all gone in it. I used a fluval 404 with great success but it needed insulation due to condensation. The toughest part is not treating it like a reef tank. Lol. And supplements are not used much. I used to dose microbactre7 and reef fuel but stopped mainly due to cost. I still use these on my nano tank. But now I dose water and food that's filtration as I see it. I don't think I'm the final answer on this either. We are still learning lots everyday. More on lighting in a bit

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    Catalina goby
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    Before I get to lighting I wanted to talk about collection. In wa it is illegal to collect any unclassified invert or fish. But there are few things that can be collected mainly certain fish, mussels, clams, scallops, octopus, squid, and sea urchins. Please read the regs VERY carefully before collecting and have the appropriate license. Oregon allows the take of unclassified inverts but not fish. Please the regs VERY carefully once again. As far as who can you buy from there are temperate species that are sometimes sold as tropical fish. But as far as a consistent place to go it's Coldwater marine Aquatics. They carry the most fish and inverts you can find anywhere and both stu and Josh are a dream to work with. Because they are hobbiests also, and have huge amounts of knowledge that few have. Collecting when done right can be one of the beat things about a Coldwater tank

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    Catalina goby
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    So when it comes to lighting this is where you will save the money to buy a chiller on my 4'x2' tank I have a 3' freshwater led light that has programable colors and effects. And that would be considered premium lighting. I light my tanks with single t5 lights and small led light bars. Really the lighting is for me. The Nems don't need any except for the green surf Nems and aggregating Nems. They are slightly photosynthetic but don't require more than an incadecent build or cfl lighting. Colormax bulbs take advantage of the red, pinks and oranges in Coldwater.

  8. #8
    Butterflyfish
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    I'm slowly working my coldwater build.
    1st acrylic tank, which I'm not happy about but seems required.

    A lil dish soap on a rag and wiped on the glass will solve condensation problems...
    I can't wait to stock and watch it grow.
    Now if only I can get er done
    D
    -299g display.

  9. #9
    Catalina goby
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    Try starting a build thread. I keep forgetting where your at in equipment and where in your at in your build.

  10. #10
    Rachel
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    Is there a general rule of thumb for chiller size? I will hear later this month if we got the space for our Marine Center. I am in the planning stages (aka dreaming)
    I glue animals to rocks.
    Home is where your tank is...

  11. #11
    Catalina goby
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    We are finding out what the rule of thumb is in this group by experimentation. But IMO use more than you think you need. Coldwater species are tough rugged and can withstand swings in parameters that would leave tropical livestock in the dust. But it has to be cold enough. Too cold is better, by far, than not cold enough. I have 140 gallon lobster tank and a 1/3 chiller. And my room mate has a 60 gallon 1/4" acrylic with a 1/5th and it does just fine.

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    RF Staff
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    What temp range do you actually shoot for, and about where is the 'too high' spot? I mean, I'm just wondering about the margin for error part...
    -Stacey
    30 gallon nem tank /60 gallon softie tank/75 mixed reef /5 gallon pico (work tank)
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    Butterflyfish
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    I think 45-60deg F

    Any colder and u would have an artic tank.
    Catalina gobys r a good example of a temperate species being sold
    D
    -299g display.

  14. #14
    Rachel
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    We find animals in our touch tank programs get stressed at about 60 degrees. Below 40 and they pretty much stop moving, but snap to when the temp comes back up. Heat is much more deadly.

    If you have strictly intertidal animals, you could get away with temporary swings of 80 degrees, mimicing the low tide on a hot day, but you have to mimic the cool influx of water on the incoming tide too. I would let them get to 80 for more than an hour and that is really pushing it. Most fish cant handle that much of a swing.

    Here in Puget Sound, it is not uncommon for the water to be 55 degrees, at high tide, then 80, then 55 again.
    I glue animals to rocks.
    Home is where your tank is...

  15. #15
    want more mini maxi

    reefman069's Avatar
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    i am getting very close to have my cold water tank up and running. what do you keep your salinity at. also after i set it up. how long do i have to wait to add live stock.

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