Salt and Fresh Water Pool Upgrades! 2.5G Cycled

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Salt and Fresh Water Pool Upgrades! 2.5G Cycled

Post by Motörcrab » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:04 pm

After watching Courtney Karr's presentation on a bioactive crabitat I was fascinated at the water portion. Summed up very briefly she noticed after several days of not changing the water in her pools she had more activity. That led to her experimenting with her water pools. She ended up adding filters and allowed the water to cycle. Once everything balanced she noticed a conserable increase in water activity. Some crabs stayed in the water for hours! Rather than changing the water every few days the filter will need to be changed about once a month. It should only requite partial water changes between filter changes.

That got me thinking about upgrading my saltwater pool then eventually upgrading the freshwater too.

I purchased a 2.5 gallon aquarium 12x6x8, a basic air powered filter, charcoal, filter fiber, air tubing, air stones, control valve, connection "T's", aquarium silicon, water testing strips, and ammonia detector.

I started off cleaning the tank with apple cider vinegar followed by a freshwater rinse.
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I made a landing and ramp out of egg crate to allow access. I eventually added crab mesh to the bottom of the landing and added small stones between the egg crate to catch possible overspray.
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Next I used silicone and attached left over stones from my water cabanas to the rear wall on the inside of the tank. The crabs climb on the cabanas so figured they would allow more room for climbing inside the pool. I also cut a piece of egg crate and siliconed that to the outside rear of the tan. For more climbing area and and easier access.
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Decided to add a small landing and additional ramp to the bottom.
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Next up was adding stones to the bottom and setting up the filter.
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I did some rearranging in the tank to put it in the front corner. I thought about putting it in the substrate but decided against it. I didn't want to loose any molting area.
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I'm debating on if I should add any fish, or live rocks or anything else to make it appear more natural. I'm still waiting for my first explorers to check out the pool.

Courtney's presentation was so good! It really made me rethink some things about maintaining a crabitat. Here's a link to her presentation. I think it's well worth the 45 minute run time. The water part alone is 10-15 minutes.

https://youtu.be/4ZvBcrxy8Ic


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Last edited by Motörcrab on Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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ciaraalston
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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by ciaraalston » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:10 pm

Holy moly, that's awesome!!!!
I'll watch the video when I get home from work, but man that's an awesome view! Got me rethinking my pools!! Not sure if I can fit 2 of your pools in my 80 though
Awesome job M! You always have very educational and exceptional posts!

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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Motörcrab » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:20 pm

Thanks! The 2.5 gallong really doesn't take up much space. It's about as wide as a corner moss pit and about double the length. I was worried about space too. That's why I kept it above the sub.

Once you watch Courtney's video and see a bunch of crabs swimming you will want to do it too. She went into great detail about water, lighting experiments, Isopods, and diet. It was really good. I'm really glad she uploaded it to YouTube so everyone can watch it.
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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by aussieJJDude » Sat Jul 27, 2019 3:25 am

It looks really good! I think they will enjoy it, especially adding some items like plants and shells to explore!


IMO, in a 2.5g nano SW tank, you dont want to add fish or liverock. Especially without prior experience in keeping fish, marine aqua is a hard learning curve to start out with, without the addition of land hermit crabs. Liverock dont do well in anything other tank tanks with good water circulation, not to mention, you'll be performing daily waterchanges until the live rock has stopped the initial die back and the bacterial colonies have grown.

(Which reminds me. You still want to preform daily if not regular waterchanges until the pool has cycled!) If the budget allows, getting a liquid test kit would be highly reccomended, as strips are known to be terribly inaccurate. A liquid test kit can also be a lot more economical in the long run, and useful if you want to set up a fish tank out of the hermit crab tank.


You could potentially add some marine macro algae, but the water parameters have to be pretty much constant. If you haven't already, a refractometer - dont get hydrometer, they cheap but extremely inaccurate - then I would suggest getting one prior to obtaining the algae. Mine didn't like rapid swings in SG, which I keep mine around 1.024-.026. The crabs do enjoy snacking on the algae, mine is practically gone from the crabs consuming all my macro algae.

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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Motörcrab » Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:13 pm

Thanks for the always helpful information.

I'm probably getting ahead of myself thinking about adding fish and other things. I was mainly trying to think of things for the crabs to snack on if they choose to. It sounds like the micro algae will be the way to go. I did hear marine tanks are a lot more work than fresh water. I can see where a smaller tank will be a lot more difficult to monitor and keep in check. Pretty much like smaller crabitats and humidity.

I did a quick Amazon search for a refractometer. It looks like you put a few drops on the end then look through it like a telescope to get the reading?

I will look into a liquid testing kit too. Since I'm new at all of this with the correct ways to check and control the variables.
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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by aussieJJDude » Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:30 am


Motörcrab wrote:Thanks for the always helpful information.

I'm probably getting ahead of myself thinking about adding fish and other things. I was mainly trying to think of things for the crabs to snack on if they choose to. It sounds like the micro algae will be the way to go. I did hear marine tanks are a lot more work than fresh water. I can see where a smaller tank will be a lot more difficult to monitor and keep in check. Pretty much like smaller crabitats and humidity.

I did a quick Amazon search for a refractometer. It looks like you put a few drops on the end then look through it like a telescope to get the reading?

I will look into a liquid testing kit too. Since I'm new at all of this with the correct ways to check and control the variables.
Haha, sorry. Aquariums are a massive passion of mine and it's pretty common to get advice that's wrong or at least, not setting you off on the right foot. I know I have had my fair share of 'misleading advice'.

I do think down the track you could potentially add some small inverts like MHC or a snail or two... just in a setup better catered toward marine aqua, once some items have to be upgraded/changed out.

Macro algae is something that even if you manage to kill it, a lot of reef people are constantly selling or throwing it out, so you could constantly replenish if it doesnt survive. But keep in mind, anything that dies in the pool has the potential to foul the water, which can lead to further deaths of loving organisms in the water.

Yeah. That's a refractometer. They pretty fun instruments to play around with - hahha, I sometimes enjoy just checking on my system for fun! - and while it can be an initial pricey investment, they highly accurate. Especially some of the more expensive models, with reefing/marine aqua, you pay for what you get! Cheap refractometer have the tendency to become inaccurate and often require constant calibration.


I do want to mention, the strips will work fine. But if you have the funds, the liquid will set you up for the best chance of success. Initially you'll want to monitor ammonia/nitrite, however once cycled you ideally want for nitrate. If you can pH, gH and possibly kH test kits would also be good to have on hand (the last 3 while not critical, can greatly influence water conditions!)

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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Motörcrab » Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:24 pm

My first check about an after I got it up and running seemed low on the KH. Perhaps from adding the charcoal and reaching in and out of the tank getting it set up. Maybe even the aquarium stones play a factor too? I used 1 gallon of tapwater that was mixed with 1/2 cup of Instant Ocean (purple box) then two drops of Prime added. I try to let the water sit in a dark area at least a day before I use it.

Readings from 26/07/19
Ammonia <0.02
Nitrate 20
Nitrite 0
Alkalinity kH 40
pH 7.4

I just checked again. 28/07/19
Ammonia <0.02
Nitrate 0
Nitrite 0
Alkalinity kH 120
pH 7.4

So far I haven't seen any crabs even near the tank. Nothing has been disturbed yet as far as I can tell. From the strips the color codes are telling me my KH and pH are still low. I can see what you mean with the strips being inaccurate due to the different shades.

I'm trying to base my numbers off of Courtney's 20 month water study and what she observered as the most activity. She said they prefer a water temperatures between 73-77 once it reaches 82-83 activity drops off.

Saltwater
Salinity 1.021-1.028
PH 8.1
KH 9
GH 22
TDS 7169

Fresh
PH 7.7
KH 6
GH 18
TDS 830

She also stated that low nitrate livels are ok but if they reach between 8-10 you should do a partial water change.

I am really considering switching to the Instant Ocean Reef Crystal salt in the future. It contains extra calciums, trace elements, and vitamins. For starwberries the added content may be beneficial to them.

I will have to start searching for micro algae once this tank cycles. I was debating on purchasing some live sand for it in order to give it a jump start. I'm not sure how much that would help. Our pet stores around here are lacking in a lot of marine supplies. They don't really carry the plants and sea life.

I would love to hear your take on Courtney's presentation, especially on the water portion. With understanding marine aquariums you will be able to relate to a lot more of her information and sort what is pretaining to just crabs and understand it a lot more than me. Right now I'm like a parrot and can only revert back what I say and hear without knowing the full breakdown of what it really means.At least for now until I get more comfortable with all of this.

https://youtu.be/4ZvBcrxy8Ic
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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by curlysister » Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:57 pm

That looks awesome! But you folks may as well be speaking another language for as much as I understand all of that jargon! LOL!
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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Motörcrab » Sun Jul 28, 2019 6:56 pm

curlysister wrote:That looks awesome! But you folks may as well be speaking another language for as much as I understand all of that jargon! LOL!
I still don't understand all of it. That's why I was shying away from trying this for so long. Courtney explains a lot in her presentation. I would try and explain it better but I would probably confuse you more.

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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Scarletfire » Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:38 am

2.5 gal is really small;not big enough for most fish, and even if you do, only 1. You could do a colony of neocaridina (shrimp). They breed easily too, and they're crustaceans. You can add Java moss for flora, which is also cheap,and the shrimp will graze on the microfilm on that, without any extra food needed.

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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Hermiesguardian » Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:44 am

curlysister wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:57 pm
That looks awesome! But you folks may as well be speaking another language for as much as I understand all of that jargon! LOL!
I'm with you on that!
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Raising daughter's hermit crabs, Shelder, Paras and Derek. Added 2 more of my own (of course) Pete and Stryper. Former mommy to 2 guinea pigs and beloved cat, Nissi

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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Motörcrab » Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:48 am

Scarletfire wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:38 am
2.5 gal is really small;not big enough for most fish, and even if you do, only 1. You could do a colony of neocaridina (shrimp). They breed easily too, and they're crustaceans. You can add Java moss for flora, which is also cheap,and the shrimp will graze on the microfilm on that, without any extra food needed.

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Thanks for the advice. After a good bit of thought and the responses I got on here I'm definitely going to stay away from fish. I believe after the cycling is complete I'm going to stick with algaes, cheaper plants, and possibly some shrimp or snails.

I figure if the seven crabs start to really swim it would be nothing for them to devour all the plants and vegetation in no time. So I believe inexpensive is the way to go.

As for starting the cycle. I was given this link to check out.
https://modestfish.com/how-to-cycle-your-aquarium/
It pretty much just says the humane way to start the cycle is to add fish flakes to the water. Once that starts to breakdown the ammonia level will spike. Once the bacteria forms the ammonia level will drop, raising the nitrite, then to nitrates. Then the cycle should be complete. While it is cycling check the water every other day to monitor the levels.

Is there any major information or advice on this process or is that it?
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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Scarletfire » Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:45 am

When I restart a fish tank, I just use seachem stability after prime. It gives me a sense of security. There's a lot of beautiful low cost/low maintenance nanotanks on the forum "the planted tanks" , if you want to go for an aesthetic appeal as opposed to just functional.

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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by LeeHasCrabs » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:27 am

This is amazing! I’m excited to follow along with the progression. Pushing new boundaries!


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Re: Saltwater Pool Upgrade! Crabmas in July

Post by Motörcrab » Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:31 pm

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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