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Novice needs help!

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jpoush

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2004
Messages
7
I just set up my first saltwater tank and I've got a couple questions for you experts! My tank is a small 5 gallon with a clownfish, cleaner shrip, 2 hermit crabs and 2 bumble-bee snails. I also have 3 corals (mushroom, button and something else that looks like a brain). Anyway, I'm going out of town for 5 days and I'm worried about my tank!

Do my corals need to have the light turned on daily, or will they be OK with just the natural daylight?

Also, do I need to have someone come feed them while I'm gone, or can they hang for 5 days without food?

The shop that I bought my fish from sold me Marine Plankton (Liquid Life) and told me to feed the fish once a week. That has made me nervous fromday one. Do you agree with him?

thanks so much for your input!
 

plumber_bob

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2004
Messages
207
Location
Federal Way
IMO:
Yes your corals need light daily, because it might be cloudy.

I would also say you only need to feed once.

And I've used Marine Plankton before and honestly I love that stuff and have notice the fish do to. If you have someone watch your tank you should be more worried about the temperature, water evaporation and something dying poluting you system. Also, with the use of Marine Plankton it makes someone watching your tank who doesn't know what they are doing, make their life very easy. Just tell them to squrt one thing of the MP in your tank half way on your trip.
Good luck,
Bobby
 
Last edited:

plumber_bob

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2004
Messages
207
Location
Federal Way
I also, wasn't a big firm believer in the whole feed everyday or every other day. I always believed that your fish could adapt themselves to eating once a week. I used to have tons of Anthias back in the day that lived forever off of 1 feeding per week. They are now in a much better tank because I got bored of them. The school of anthias are still eating once a week. However, every fish is different. I was fortunate enough with these anthias because they constantly picked at the rock work. Also, if the tank were to be setup for awhile. You would have enough life natural foods to feed your fish throughout the day.
Good Luck Again,
Bobby
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
WELCOME TO REEF FRONTIERS!!!!

I agree that your tank will need to be lit while you are away. You can set the lights up on a timer, so they will turn on and off with the regularly scheduled program. I also agree on being concerned with water evaporation and temperature more than feeding while you are gone, especially because of the tank's small size. What I did when I left my tank recently, is measured out what I normally top off with and set out the (in my case) buckets of RO/DI water...one for each day. Another thing, I wouldn't change the room environment while you are gone either (i.e. turn off the A/C if you use one).....I would be concerned about the potential to "heat up" the tank durning this part of the year. About feeding....unless you specifically show your sitter how much to add to the tank, I wouldn't have him/her feed. You could feed the tank right before you leave, then feed upon your return. That way....the sitter doesn't go crazy with feeding..... thinking, "Oh they must be hungry....look at them eat"....you will only end up with a polluted system. Your inhabitants should be fine for 5 days.

You could give it a practice run by yourself and see how it goes if time allows.

Good luck, and again...Welcome to the board!
 

jpoush

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2004
Messages
7
Thanks so much, guys! This info really helps...if anyone else wants to add anything, I'm willing to listen!
 

jpoush

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2004
Messages
7
unfortunately our filter and light are hooked up to the same power source (one cord for both functions), so if we set a timer...when the light goes off...so would the filter! This is turning out to be a tough dilemma...

Also, we just noticed some brown spots in our gravel...is this algae? Any guesses?

thanks. We are so NEW at this!!!
 

Curtswearing

Mantisfreak
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
2,203
Location
St. Louis, MO
Go to the hardware store and get one of those powerstrips for $5. That way you can put the timer only on the lights and the filter can run non-stop.

The brown stuff on the bottom could be cyanobacteria, some sort of algae, or a buildup of fish waste and food waste on the bottom. You might want to lower how long your lights run a little while you are out of town.
 

jpoush

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2004
Messages
7
Thanks for the tip on the brown spots. we'll see what we can do.

The power strip is a great idea, but the light and the filter really are ONE unit. The electric cord keeps the filter going non stop...and the light is just an on/off switch hooked up to the same unit. Does that make sense? We really can run without the filter at night, can we?
 

Curtswearing

Mantisfreak
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
2,203
Location
St. Louis, MO
That would concern me a little with such a small amount of water volume. At night, pH automatically falls as the Carbon Dioxide naturally increases. Without movement at the surface of the water, the CO2 will rise even faster causing pH to drop even further.

A small powerhead aimed at the surface would help. I don't normally recommend airstones for reef tanks but this might be an occassion for one so that when the pump goes off, you are getting good gas exchange on the surface. (Be prepared to clean a lot of salt creep which happens when bubbles pop on the surface when you get back).

If you have a good neighbor who would be willing to turn the light off and on for you, then that is ideal.
 

plumber_bob

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2004
Messages
207
Location
Federal Way
Open up the hood and re-wire it. It shouldn't be that tough of a wiring scheme and should only take about half an hour. Save you the hassle later on.
 
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