Salt and Fresh Water Pool Upgrades! 2.5G Cycled

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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by aussieJJDude » Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:47 am


Motörcrab wrote:We noticed our first diver this morning! Mephistopheles has been hanging out pool side on the upper platform at the very top a lot. I saw him go down the first ramp partially a few times but never fully submerged.

Last weekend I modified the ramps with plants zip tied to them for more gripping area. Perhaps they were unsure of being able to easily get in and out of the pool. I don't know, crabs are weird.

Last week I did my first partial water change as well. About 1/2 gallon out of around 2-1/4 gallons.

My ammonia levels seem to have dropped to the good level. 0.02ppm. Nitrates are high but have lowered from 200 down to 160. The Nitrites are still really high at 10. I believe this is means I am still going through the water cycling process.

Hopefully once the cycling is completed the activity level increase too.

I already purchased a 2.5 gallon tank, silicone, and filter to begin the freshwater pool. I'm looking for a different color stones for the back and bottom. Does anyone know what stone types are not ideal due to raising pH levels?ImageImageImage

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Wowee, congrats! Once one starts going in, the rest soon follows!

Just a quick heads up, I would preform a good 80-100% waterchange due to those nitrates. High nitrate levels arent great for fish, and since crabs have very similar biology, I wouldnt be surprised if it was any different. Usually you want to keep it below 20ppm (40 ppm is usually a max, and anything over 80 ppm is considered toxic by many) so a good waterchange would really keep those nitrates low. (High nitrates can also affect cycling time according to some, stalling the cycle!)

Honestly, I wouldnt be too worried about stones causing a rise in pH with crabs - if anything, I'd encourage it since it usually goes hand in hand for high gh/kh; high levels of calcium in there! Since your not keeping fish (or inverts) in the freshwater pool for any lenght of time, it shouldn't be an issue.


But to keep it simple, consider using inert gravel? Or my personal fav, sand. Sand can be a pain to clean, but once cleaned it very easy to maintain since all the waste sits on top making it very easy to siphon out. (Black blasting sand and silica sands are two good choices, I've used quartz sand in the past and love it as its very inert - silica tends to cause diatoms..... if you want a bit of calcium in your freshwater pool - and marine pool, if you want to change it out for sand - I'd go with coral sand. I love coral sand in my marine pool, very easy to clean and buffers the ph to around 7.5-8.

Do you plan on keeping plants in the freshwater pool? Are you also using a sponge filter for the freshwater?

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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Motörcrab » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:56 am

I'll check my water levels again tonight and see how much they changed. Then I will preform a water change. I'm debating on leaving the filter alone so it still has the different bacterias. That way I won't be loosing all the progress in cycling.

The stones and gravel I was just looking for something different compared to what I used in the salt tank for variety. I still plan to add stones to the rear wall for climbing. I was going to try and collect some river stones that have been smoothed down to make ledges. I think I will look into coral sand for the salt as well.

I plan to add some simple plants to the fresh, duck weed, and those algae balls.

I purchased a simple filter for the freshwater. The air pumps through the bottom up through charcoal then through a cotton like material, similar to stuffed animal stuffing. No sponges in the filter although if recommended It would be easy to cut a piece to fit as extra filtration.
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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by aussieJJDude » Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:08 pm

Preforming a large waterchange will not impact the cycle. As you mentioned, the filter holds the majority of bacteria not the water column. So as long as its roughly the same salinity/temp (even then, temp isnt such a big deal for bacteria as long as it's not boiling) you should not impact your cycle. The only thing you may consider is adding an ammonia source to around 1-2 ppm in order to give a good source of nitrites (to be converted into nitrates).

Remember, nitrites is still increadibly toxic for aquatic organisms, which I would also extend to hermit crabs. Since it's currently 10 ppm, it can be quite damaging for their gills.




As for the stones/gravel, have you considered using something like scoria? It's basically small peices of lava rock, which you could silicone to the back wall of the pool. Since it contains numerous holes and tunnels it would form a good climbing area but also another site to grow bacteria, plants and algae (the crabs could pick off the algae from the stones)... good idea on adding plants, they will help greatly with water quality but consuming ammonia/nitrate, but also if from an established aquarium, will introduce bacteria to kick start the cycle.


That filter for the freshwater should be more than enough. You may find that you'll want to ditch the carbon after a while - it's really only useful for removing medications from the water - and add some ceramic media or another cut out sponge to further increase area for bacteria to adhere to.

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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Motörcrab » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:08 pm

Thanks for all the help. I just changed out 80% or more of the water. I checked the levels before changing and we're still similar to yesterday with the nitrates and nitrites. I am still using those strips, like you said they leave a good bit of guesswork to choosing the correct color. I scooped out as much water as I could with a small bowl. Only an inch or so was left. It took way less time changing a 2 gallons of water than the small pools actually, especially the cabanas I was using.

I was curious about different stone types. I was looking at dragon stone yesterday online. It appears to be somewhat similar to scoria. I want something that is crab friendly they can climb and pick algae from and look cool. I think scoria and dragon stone both could work, maybe a mix of both.

I'm debating on either ordering online or waiting until we go to this huge pet store (88,000 square feet) two hours away next month. Their prices are as good, or even better than online. Everyone is very helpful and have just about everything and then some. https://www.thatpetplace.com/visit-our-retail-store If I order online and get everything set up I could just get plants and other supplies. My indecisiveness is getting to me!

I saw the ceramic balls for the filters but thought you needed the charcoal to keep the pH in check. I was wondering how they worked. Basically bacteria grows on them and filters the water instead of the charcoal?
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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by aussieJJDude » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:00 am

I'll spilt up your post into seperate parts to make it a little easier for me to ensure I'm replying to all area. ^_^

Motörcrab wrote:Thanks for all the help. I just changed out 80% or more of the water. I checked the levels before changing and we're still similar to yesterday with the nitrates and nitrites.
You may want to add some type of ammonia source to ensure the cycle doesn't stall (and keep the bacterial colonies growing) if you haven't already. Since it's not a fish tank, you'll find that water parameters are unlikely to change rapidly since there's not really a constant ammonia source. :)

I am still using those strips, like you said they leave a good bit of guesswork to choosing the correct color.
The strips are fine - they pretty easy to use - just tends not to be as sensitive as a liquid test kit. I find taking a photo of the strip (or for a liquid test kit, the tube) on the colour chart against a blank white background - flash usually helps - can really be helpful in determining values, particularly if a second set of eyes arent available at the time. :) after a while, you'll begin to get the hang of it and be pretty much reliant on your eyes alone, without using a camera.

I scooped out as much water as I could with a small bowl. Only an inch or so was left. It took way less time changing a 2 gallons of water than the small pools actually, especially the cabanas I was using.
That's sounds rather painful. Consider getting a small section of hose - like airline hose, or a piece of plastic hose (9-12 mm will be more than enough) - or an aquarium python so you can drain the water directly into a bucket. Less work than using cups, and also has the added bonus of removing waste from the gravel if the crabs decide to drag 'floaties' in there. It's one thing that I can't live without for my aquariums, and once you change over you'll question why you havent done so sooner!

I was curious about different stone types. I was looking at dragon stone yesterday online. It appears to be somewhat similar to scoria. I want something that is crab friendly they can climb and pick algae from and look cool. I think scoria and dragon stone both could work, maybe a mix of both.
Dragon stone is kinda the same to scoria. Scoria is basically small peices of lava stone, which tends to be made of basalt. On the other hand, dragon stone is made up of hardened clay. If you do go with dragon stone (have it in my fish tank, beautiful stone to aquascape with, shrimp love it) wash it out throughly by using a brush (or a toothbrush) and ensure you scrub everywhere. If you miss a bit, once you add it to water it turns into a muddy soup that only waterchanges really fix.

The good thing is, dragon stone can easily be broken into small peices with a hammer, so you could easily buy a couple of larger pieces and break them down yourself...

Scoria will certainly be cheaper of the two, as it can be found in your local hardware store for landscaping (and I believe fire pits... it tends to be dusty, so wash it well...). The good thing is that due to its porousity, it has a high surface area and also serves as a good site for bacteria to grow (and algae, or plants).

If I order online and get everything set up I could just get plants and other supplies. My indecisiveness is getting to me!
In sure your aware, but worth mentioning just in case. Online is a good place to go for plants, it tends to be cheaper that your local pet store, more variety and usually in better condition even though it gets shipped to you. Highly reccomend online for plants!

I saw the ceramic balls for the filters but thought you needed the charcoal to keep the pH in check. I was wondering how they worked. Basically bacteria grows on them and filters the water instead of the charcoal?
Charcoal is used mostly to remove compounds from the water - mostly organics, but also some inorganic molecules. Its primarily a form of chemical media, but over time it reaches its 'absorbiton capabilities' and becomes biological media instead unless its replaced. However, the molecules it absorbs can also be 'de-absorbs', and it has relatively low surface area to a good aquarium biological media.

To keep pH in check, good surface agitation and kH (hardness) will keep pH in check. To buffer pH, the addition of tannins - wood/leaves/botanicals - will lower pH, while calcium - coral, shells, bones - will increase pH. But honestly, I wouldnt worry too much about pH. Saltwater tends to have a rather consistent pH due to minerals present in the mix, so sticking with marine grade salt and you should be fine! ;)

And yes, bacteria grows on surfaces, not the water column. Hence why performing large scale waterchanges ultimately have little affect on bacteria - only time bacteria is affected is due to rapid swings in environment. For example, I regularly preform large scale (75% +) on my aquariums without issues, without worrying about losing my cycle.

Biological media is basically something that has a high surface area, so it tends to have small holes/network where bacteria can grow.


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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Motörcrab » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:15 am

This morning when I checked my tanks I saw two crabs in the water. Upon further inspection I noticed lots of tiny floating things. Zoea! I'm completely unprepared for this! But will give it a go! I turned my filter off so they don't get sucked up!

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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by aussieJJDude » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:55 am

Congrats on the zoea! Hopefully you have a tank waiting for them to go into, so they have a fighting chance! (Kinda glad you did the water change prior, hate to think if they were released in high nitrite/nitrated water! :o )
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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Motörcrab » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:04 pm

Thanks! I'm was totally unprepared. I am glad I took your advice and changed the water! Perfect timing. Perhaps they were waiting for cleaner water? I had two different straws with eggs this year! The first one, Abby I gave to Mary with the eggs. Unfortunately she dropped the eggs and Mary couldn't find them.

On Sunday I saw the male holding the female like they were mating. I think he was helping hold her so she could adjust the eggs in her shell. Yesterday evening she paced and paced every inch of the tank for hours. This morning I saw them both in the pool. Once again the male holding the female helping her release the eggs. Mary and I are thinking Abby dropped them at random because she didn't have the help of the male. Mary noticed the assistance with some of her other crabs, Gotbutterflies noticed it too. There is so much we don't know!

I managed to set up three Mason jars with bubblers for all the zoea. I siphoned out the pool of what I could after work. It took about 3 hours! I'm thinking I have 500-700 zoea. I fed them decapsulated brine shrimp eggs and blue spirulina powder. I have more foods on order and should be here for their feeding tomorrow evening.

Mary thinks they will be ok without heaters since its still summer. She also read that straws have a shorter time frame to get onto land compared to other species. 16 days compared to 40!

Fingers and Pinchers crossed!ImageImage

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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by aussieJJDude » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:14 pm

Oh my, what on earth is that airline tubing network!? :hlol:

I was thinking similar too, that the change of water would of kicked into motion. It makes sense for me, since in the wild I believe the release of eggs is usually timed with tidal activity - where they would be 'washed' out to sea... Fresh water usually corresponds with a rise in tidal level, flushing out older water from rock pools and such.

If you haven't already, I would really consider filling the space out of the mason jars with either fresh or salt water. Not only does it reduce rapid changes of temperature from happening within the mason jars, but the external area could also form as a 'water ageing station'. Basically, if I was ever lucky enough to raise zoea, I would set it up so the water outside of the jars is at the proper salinity and temperature, so when it comes to the daily/hourly/secondly water change, it should be of similar if not the same values to reduce shock on the zoea from minute temp, salinity or pH differences.

If you haven't already, a refractometer would also be a good investment! And a sieve for brine shrimp so when it comes time for waterchanges, it easy to capture zoea escapees with a small syringe or turkey baster back into the mason jar.


Curious on what foods you guys plan to feed the little ones? Be interested to see if they take to them like brine shrimp - seems to be a firm fav.
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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Motörcrab » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:06 pm

That is a mess of airline isn't it! Lol! Even with gang valves to control the air I couldn't dial it in as I wanted to. My pump is for a 5O gallon and above tank. Way overkill. With having the two valves for three air stones one would get all the air and the others little or nothing. I was trying to even the pressure between each main line. I added T's to try and evenly distribute the air on each side. This is the best I could rig to get a somewhat even flow. My supplies were a run and grab at Wal Mart so I could start taking care of the zoea. Tomorrow I will get some more supplies at lunch and add valves to each stone. It will be look and function a lot better tomorrow. I promise!

It was just full moon on Thursday. I talked to my mom telling her about my crabby adventures. The thinks they may have released the eggs after the full moon so they would be taken out to sea since the tide will lower every day until the new moon.

With a conversation with Mary she thinks baby brine shrimp, nannochloropsis, brine shrimp eggs and spirulina should be enough for feeding based on her breeding observations.

I was thinking about adding water to the outside tank. I can fill it with freshwater and store premixed saltwater in jars to keep them a constant temperature. That's a great idea! Thanks again!

I've been looking at refractometers but didn't order one yet. I need to look into a sieve too. Our local pet shop is pretty basic. They also did away with most of their marine supplies a while back. They have instant ocean, test kits, water additives and a few bags of live sand. Looks like I will be placing an order to Amazon.

I picked up a turkey baster the other day thinking that would be good to siphon my water! It failed miserably at that but worked great for the zoea! I also picked up an eye dropper. That's a bit too small though.

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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by ROSIEonFIRE » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:43 pm

Haha love the tiny toilet

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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by GotButterflies » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:07 pm

This pool is so beautiful! Do you not have the bubbler anymore, or is the air stone hooked up through the filter that you have?
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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Motörcrab » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:46 pm

Thanks. I have a "T" in the airline then a control valve for the filter and air stone. I just downsized to a small airstone because I was getting over spray. I'm really trying to be super cautious with it after our floods earlier this year.

I also just changed the filter fiber for the first time and did my second big 90% water change. Even though it is bigger than the normal pools I think it's easier to monitor. Especially when you need to change and clean water every other day.

Image
I just took this after the clean up.
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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by GotButterflies » Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:12 pm

Looks beautiful! I love the craft mesh on the ramps too! :)
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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Motörcrab » Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:57 pm

aussieJJDude wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:00 am
That's sounds rather painful. Consider getting a small section of hose - like airline hose, or a piece of plastic hose (9-12 mm will be more than enough) - or an aquarium python so you can drain the water directly into a bucket. Less work than using cups, and also has the added bonus of removing waste from the gravel if the crabs decide to drag 'floaties' in there. It's one thing that I can't live without for my aquariums, and once you change over you'll question why you havent done so sooner!

This is what I'm looking at. I figure with two 2.5 gallon pools this should be plenty.
https://www.amazon.com/Zacro-Fish-Tank- ... s9dHJ1ZQ==

Scoria will certainly be cheaper of the two, as it can be found in your local hardware store for landscaping (and I believe fire pits... it tends to be dusty, so wash it well...). The good thing is that due to its porousity, it has a high surface area and also serves as a good site for bacteria to grow (and algae, or plants).

here is the Lava Stone I am planning to order from Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000B ... 0DER&psc=1

In sure your aware, but worth mentioning just in case. Online is a good place to go for plants, it tends to be cheaper that your local pet store, more variety and usually in better condition even though it gets shipped to you. Highly reccomend online for plants!
That Pet Place is about a 2 hour drive for us. They do a lot of sales online and with their pet rewards they beat most online prices. I think their 10 gallon box of Instant Ocean is like $7-$8 in store compared to around $9-$10 anywhere else. They also really take care of the animals they sell compared to most stores, even their hermit crabs!
https://www.thatpetplace.com/aquarium-l ... nts?page=8


Biological media is basically something that has a high surface area, so it tends to have small holes/network where bacteria can grow.
I'm planning to order some bio media for the filters. These are the two I am considering. I'm leaning toward the BrightWater balls. They may be fun to place outside of the filter too to let the crabs play with!
BrightWater[b/]
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TD ... UVQ9&psc=1

Fluval Biomax Rings
https://www.amazon.com/Fluval-Biomax-Bi ... Caps%2C160

Finally here is the refractometer I am thinking about getting. I think it will serve it's purpose
Refractometer

https://www.amazon.com/Professional-Com ... 154&sr=1-6



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