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using old fresh water for new salt water

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connien View Drop Down
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    Posted: December 01 2003 at 4:54pm
Hi, i am a new user to utahreefs.com.  i am trying to set up a new salt water tank and and i am getting all kinds of contradicting information.  i am setting up a 55 gallon; fish only tank.  the dealer helping me to set up the tank said it would be ok to use the water i had from a pre-existing freshwater tank.  i have it all set up including the salt and now i hear from another dealer that that is a NO NO!!.... taking polls, i find some think it doesnt matter and some think it is a death knell to to any fish i put in the tank as the bacteria are not the same.  some say the salt has killed any bacteria that would have affected the fish.  it has been set up for 1 week with no fish yet.  someone in the know, please contact me as soon as you can.  thank you!  connien.

Edited by connien
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Adam Blundell View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adam Blundell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2003 at 5:14pm

Well since water is basically free, why even chance using old water from another tank???  I don't want to say it is good or bad, but it sure is easy to dump it out and start over so why not play it safe and do that? 

Adam

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2003 at 5:20pm
Wow! That's a new question!

You just took your freshwater tank and added some instant ocean?
Did the tank ever have copper in it? Copper won't hurt fish but you're
gonna want some hermits and snails and woodspolyps once you see
'em.......

It seems to me like the freshwater bacteria will die and quickly be
replaced with saltwater bacteria, though. I wonder if you will have a
lot of silicates and phosphates leftover. You might have a ton of
nuisance algae, but you would anyway, 'cause tanks have to go
through different cycles, some better than others. Maybe your hair
algae or cynanobacteria (both not preferred by anybody except
Adam) cycle will be longer than if you just started over with new RO
water. If you don't mind waiting and seeing.....

When you get your starter fish, get damsels that you won't mind if
they live! Sometimes they live a long time, which is good if they're
not mean a-- fish!

And we have 'shrooms that like to be in fish only tanks!


Let us know how it works!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote crazy-sps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2003 at 7:04pm
I agree with Adam, dump it and get r/o water.  I don't agree that its free though.  If you don't have a R/O unit, then it can be about $0.30 - $.50 per gallon.
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Carl View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2003 at 9:24pm

Ro is $0.25 per gallon at Aquatic Dreams. I believe that it's their price for premixed too, but I can't remember. I would say that it's wise to dump it, but there are alot of things to take into consideration. How has the water been treated? Were there any diseased fish? How clean is the water, I.E. water changes. But for 50 gallons after substrate and rock (real conservative guess) it would cost you... times .25... carry the 2.... divided by Pi...  $12.50.

Now, you can also ask your LFS to give you some water out of their tank to speed up the cycle process. If they are good folk and you trust their tanks, they'll do it. Another way to do it is to get someone that has a marine setup to do a water change and use their effluent. Also, you can get some sand from other people's tanks that is "seeded", meaning that it has all sorts of necessary goodies in it. All of this will expedite your process.

Good luck to you. I think that most here would agree that the marine aquarium hobby is alot more interesting than fresh. Alot more challenging too. Have some fun!

In Syracuse

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote crazy-sps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2003 at 9:43pm
Carl, help me out here.  How does water from an established tank help your new tank?  Nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria are not free-floating.  Water does not have this bacteria in it.  Sand and rock do, though.  You can do a full water change, and as long as you do not dry the sand out, not loose any ability for your tank to break down waste.  The only thing I can see you gaining by adding another tanks water to yours would be waste that may help your tank start a cycle.  But that's what fresh, stinky live rock and fish are for.  If you do not agree, please tell me why.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DutchDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2003 at 10:00pm
Plus I would make triple sure that you don't get the water from a LFS that uses any copper (like most of them seem to do lately)

I would agree with the rest - buy a cheap RO setup at your LFS / Ebay / Home Depot or something. You will need top-off water anyway in the future. Depending on the lights, it might evaporate anywhere from 1 gallon every few days - to 3 gallons a day :-)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfinch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2003 at 10:03pm

Most established freshwater tanks have high nitrates (over 100, depending on husbandry over 200 ppm).  Why would you want to start your marine tank with that much nitrate?  The nitrosoma/nitrobacter bacteria might be different strains, but nitrate is nitrate whether it's floating around in fresh water or salt water.  I'd change it out.  RO is best but tap water is fine too for the initial charge.  I'd strongly suggest using RO water for all make-up water afterwards.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adam Blundell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2003 at 10:08pm

There is lots of bacteria in the water, not just in the sand and rock. 

Water is free, many people are using tap water, and even if you paid $25 per gallon for water, 50 gallons is under $15.  That is free when talking about the marine hobby. 

But why even consider using the freshwater???? Where does that idea even come up as a good idea?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote crazy-sps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2003 at 10:18pm

There is lots of bacteria in the water, not just in the sand and rock. 

Adam, do you have a link or something for me read?  I am curious about the bacteria free-floating.  Again, possibly I have learned from the wrong source.



Edited by crazy-sps
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote crazy-sps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2003 at 10:27pm

"Don't be alarmed if during the next 24 hours the water turns a "milky white". This is caused by free floating bacteria that will eventually make its home in the gravel and filter system(s), and should clear up within 2 to 3 days."
That is a a quote from http://members.tripod.com/~lisajh62/SettingUp.html

That implies that the nitrifying bacteria is only free-floating if your water is cloudy.

"Now that the ammonia has given birth to nitrite, the nitrite in turn give birth to the third and final nitrifying bacteria, nitrobacters. These bacteria are living entities that require oxygen and food (an ammonia source) to survive, grow on the surfaces of everything in the tank, and the waste from nitrobacter are shown in the form of nitrate with a test kit." is a quote from http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/bionitrogencycle/a/aa073199 _2.htm

The phrase is bold says that the bacteria has to grow on a surface.

The nitrosoma/nitrobacter bacteria might be different strains, but nitrate is nitrate whether it's floating around in fresh water or salt water.  - from Jfinch

The last phrase of the second quote, "the waste from nitrobacter are shown in the form of nitrate," confirms what Jon said about there being nitrate in any water, but not the bacteria itself.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfinch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2003 at 10:46pm
Perhaps I was misquoted.  I actually think everyone's right on this topic.  The bacteria will be free floating in the water column, but the majority will be found on solid surfaces such as rock/sand/bioballs/ect.  I think the actual strains of nitrifying (and denitrifying) bacteria are different in salt water and fresh water.  At least that was the last thing I recall reading about it.  My statement from above was only in regard to the actual end product, nitrate.  That will be the same in any water.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 02 2003 at 6:52am
Hey, Connien! Be careful about using tapwater if you live on the
southwest part of our valley. Riverton uses well water, and Kennecott
has sorta cleaned up their vitro tailings pond use, but for years they
dumped a lot of crap into the land which will seep for decades to
come! (Don't worry, Mike Levitt will protect us now!)

You can get RO H2O from the grocery store for 39 cents....

Who told you to just use your freshwater tanks water? Was that a
dealer in our valley?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 02 2003 at 7:52am

Crazy, my thought process behind using water from an established tank does not focus on a specific strain of bacteria. In a water column, there may be many different strains of bacteria found. Some will attach to a substrate when they find a food source using their cilia. Cilia are complex appendages, sometimes longer than the bacteria, that permit motion. In most of our tanks, they will tend to ride the current and then propel themselves to a food source. Also, cilia are formations present on some bacteria, especially Gram Negatives, that permit adhesion.

Something to remember is that bacteria ia not affected by gravity in a flowing body of water. They tend to suspend and multiply. Now, when a particle of whatever they are feeding on drops out or settles out of the free flowing water column, so do they. From there, they can then spread to other food sources within the substrate. Think of it this way, have you ever heard of people getting sick from swimming or bathing in a pond, lake or even a pool? I have, it happens all too often. Generally, it is due to a high bacterial count in the water column. It will be in the substrate as well, but most people don't get sand in their nose or ears or down their gullet. It's in the water.

Now also consider that bacteria will generally multiply every 15-30 minutes. You start out with one cell and in 18 hours, you have millions from that one cell. To me, if it is from a tank of someone that I trust with water quality, I want whatever good bacteria is suspended in their water as well as what is in their sand. I won't go into the MANY forms of bacteria, other organisms, beneficial minerals, etc that are generally present in an established, healthy tank.

Class is over for now. Sorry if I bored you, but you asked!

In Syracuse

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote crazy-sps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 02 2003 at 8:39am

Carl, you have not bored me at all.  I enjoy learning and reading your quality of writing.  What you said makes sense, it just doesn't go along with what I have read and what I have posted from sources on the internet.  I'm not saying that the internet is the bible or anything, but do you have a source where you learned this that I may read?  Thanks!!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 02 2003 at 9:15am

Well, I am sure that I can find referencing sources on the web but I can find contradictory as well. I am just utilizing my experience and training with biologicals in industry. I also try to use common sence. As viruses can pass through contact with surfaces, it can also be atomized and airborne. Well, bacteria mobilize the same way in fluid. Just do a search regarding bacteria and how it moves around. I am glad that you don't read everything that you read.

Thanks for the comment on my writing. I guess that the schooling has paid off.

In Syracuse

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote crazy-sps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 02 2003 at 9:59am

I am glad that you don't read everything that you read.
Huh?

I guess to sum it up, from everyone's posts.  There is some bacteria that is floating trying to find a home on a surface.  The majority of it is surface based, though.  Therefore, the main concern of this thread was whether or not to use existing fresh-water and convert it to salt-water.  I would not do it.  I think it would work, but more than that, there is no need.  Most fresh water tanks have lava rock and other items that may introduce metals into the water.  Plus, as Jon said, the water will have nitrate in it.  It seems to me, that the existing water would be the same as tap water.  Some people have used tap water with great success, like Mark.  The other concern that Carl brought up is using water from existing salt water tanks to help "kick-start" your own tank.  As we have discussed, there is some nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria floating, so you will get that.  But you will also get ammonia & nitrate, which shouldn't hurt anything since the tank you are starting is a new one.  I now think that it may help a little, but not much (again, just my opinion).  I think a better way to do it would be to get some sand from an established tank, as Mark gives out, to get your bacteria.  That way, you also have the possibility of getting some pods.  Thanks guys (and Suzy), I hope connien got as much from this as I did, since it was his thread.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 02 2003 at 10:51am
Sorry... believe everything that you read.... I need another cup of coffee I guess....

Edited by Carl
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote crazy-sps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 02 2003 at 10:56am
pour one for me too!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 02 2003 at 12:05pm
What dealer would give that advice?
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