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My first true Salty Tank.....apart from when it was a temperate North Sea tank


The tank started off as a really cheap second hand AquaOne AR980 that needed a little TLC as the previous owner was....how can I say it a MUPPET!

Basically had a temperate North Sea tank for several months to see how some of the fish fed due to being a shore fisherman. And it opened my eyes how certain fish did certain things.

Anyway had a friend that had a marine aquarium and blame him for the change of my tank....as once I'd seen his fish in all their splendiferous colours etc. I knew I had to change over.

So off my fish went to one of my friends to join his fish in a well and truly established tank....may they be happy there!

Gave the tank yet another good clean and then started off with what I hope will be half as good as some of your tanks that I've been looking at on here.

So started off with what seemed like endless runs to a friends for RO water and then mixing my salt water in the tank with RSCP. Guesstimated on roughly how many litres had gone into the tank and measured out the correct amount of salt which ended up with a reading of 1.026 once it had all mixed in and had heated up to 26C, so I was really chuffed to have gotten it right.

Then it was time to remove 5 gallons from the tank whilst I put my two bags of dry and two bags of live sand into the tank, I went for the Ocean White by RedSea but wish I'd gone for the Reef Pink due to the OW looking like I'd emptied a tub of Johnsons talcum powder into the tank. But after a couple of days it had settled down and glad I'd made the right choice.

Once I could see what I was doing it was time to put my LR back into the tank with a couple of pieces of reef bones and a couple of pieces of I think lava rock just to fill the tank a little more until a later date.

Put some ammonia in the tank to kick start the cycle, set up my external filter again once it had been cleaned thoroughly, my two power heads back in and sit back and wait.

It only took two weeks to cycle and to be honest the Nitrites came but didn't spike that high compared to when I had it as a temperate tank. Kept an eye on everything.

pH 8.1 - NH3/NH4 0ppm - NO2 0ppm - NO3 5ppm

I didn't trust it and got a friend to test with his kit and came out near as dammit. Thought I'd leave it a little longer just in case and no change over the following week.

I was then asked if he could put a few fish in my tank as hit Nitrates had gone through the roof.....within the first minute of testing, it had already gone over 160ppm :eek: So I had to say yes under the one condition that if anything happened to his fish it was on his head and not mine whilst he tried to sort his tank out and eventually he'd got them back down. But I was checking mine daily just in case something changed and all that changed was the Ammonia went up a minuscule amount and the Nitrates went up to around 15ppm.

So my tank seemed to be working fine, decided I'd best put my skimmer in and get the muck out of the water. As the only problem that seemed to appear was the diatom outbreak on the sand bed due to all the fish waste. At first we thought it was the start of cyno :dft004: but it was diatoms along with a load of coralline growing on the sand :-d

My friend came to take his fish back two clowns and a lipstick tang that seemed so easy to catch as they just swam into the net.....but the bristle tooth tang was having non of it, he decided to try an coax it out the day after. But as soon as it saw him it hid behind the rocks....so it looks like I got a free fish for helping him out Big Thumbs Up I then decided I'd best get another fish in the tank, one so the BTT was not alone as all it did was follow the lipstick about and two to get something to help with the small algae build up.

So I got myself a lovely 4" algae blenny which settled in straight away apart from being a little shy now as the BTT keeps chasing him every time he comes out of his burrow he made under my piece of fiji and reef bones lol

So at the moment I have a a 4" algae blenny, a BTT of roughly 3 1/2" in size. A couple of silly turbo snails that can't right themselves a toadstool that has nearly doubled in size in the past two weeks and a small frag of pulsing xenia. Oh and a small muscle of some form and a clam type thing that has been inside a hole in my LR since before I put it into my temperate tank.

I think the Mrs is going to treat me to a couple of small clowns tomorrow with her first wage after being promoted at work....as long as the tank parameters are still the same.

So here is a quick pic of what the tank looks like now


A pic of the AB and BTT


And this is what is going in the tank once it has cured properly my home made Aragocrete....

2014-07-02 15.36.39.jpg

To give you a rough idea of how much there is the back wall measures 3' 7" x 10" and the flat Fred Flintstone tyre comes in at 12" x 10" so there should be plenty to fill the tank.

I got my friend to go halves on me with the aragocrete so that if it didn't work out I wasn't out of pocket as much....but I knew I could make it :dance: That's half of what I made out of a 25Kg bag of cheap aragonite, a third of a bag of white cement and a half bag of 2-6mm granulated salt. It's really light when all the water has drained out of it and boy does it hold some water.

That's all for now folks....hopefully I can give an update to it sooner rather than later.

And thanks for looking!!


Oh I forgot...I took out the two 3000l/h power heads and replaced them with one Jebao RW-8 power head, there's plenty of movement in the tank now both sideways flow as well as up and down.

I didn't think I would like the wave effect, but it has really grown on me and can't rate them enough!