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Old August 3rd 05, 05:29 PM
George Patterson
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Carmichael's wrote:

1) I live 5 hours away from Edmonton where the nearest sal****er lfs's
would be. Anyone else in the same predicament? and how did you manage? I go
there like once a year so what's you experience with mailorder... or ebay?

The problems you will have to solve are heat and oxygen. One method of handling
both is to transport fish you purchase in relatively large containers. I keep
two 5 gallon buckets with watertight lids for various aquarium uses. You can
fill one of these about 1/3 full and use it to transport fish. You can remove
the lid when there is no danger of water sloshing out, but I tend to keep it on
in the car. Set it where the car heater will blow on it and keep the car warmer
than usual.

Another method is to have the lfs top off the usual bag with oxygen instead of
air. Many shops keep a small oxygen tank for this purpose. Many of them will
also have some of the foam crates in which fish are usually shipped.

The only things I've ordered by mail are snails & crabs. All came through fine.
You *have* to be home when the package arrives. When I lived near Atlanta, I was
also able to make arrangements with a local fish store to pick up shipments from
overseas right off the plane and take them straight home in the bag. The shops
around here buy from wholesale holding tanks, however.

2) Is a protien skimmer an essential? Like i can't live without it. Anything
I should be looking for in particular? Once again, what about buying second
hand (can we say EBAY) *lol*

Yep, you need one. The most efficient models are venturi type, which make a
hissing noise. Because of the noise, I use the old-fashioned sort that has an
airstone. Do your research (perhaps here) and decide what you want -- after
that, Ebay may do well for you. I've found that Ebay is sometimes actually
higher than local stores, and it's full of vendors selling equipment, as opposed
to actual auctions.

3) I read that you shouldn't use aquarium epoxy-coated gravel in a marine
steup. Why is that? Can i use beach (sandbox) sand? I have that with my
freshwater tank, and there is no problem.

Many of the epoxies will break down in sal****er -- might be unhealthy for your
fish. You also need to keep the Ph high, and using crushed coral or some other
variety of substrate high in calcium is good for that. Sand won't help with the
Ph, but it won't make your fish sick, either.

4) What is the lowest the salenity (spelling?) should be at? One place says
1.018 at the lowest, another said 1.022 at the lowest. Is it that much of a

I keep my salinity levels around 1.020 or a little higher. That's with a tank
temperature of 79-80F. The range of acceptable salinity levels vary with
temperature, so one of the places you spoke to probably keeps their tanks warmer
than the other. Keeping the salinity level too high results in dehydration of
your fish, and salinity levels increase when water evaporates from the tank, so
staying on the low side and keeping the water level pretty constant are good ideas.

5) I would like to end up with these species (not sure how many of each i
should try for)
Yellowtail Blue Damsel, Yellow Tang, Goby (not sure what kind,
recommendations?), a clown fish (nemo), and a cleaner shrimp, starfish.

The Tang may eat your shrimp. He will also be in danger from many types of
starfish -- the star won't be able to catch him during the day, but may get him
during the night. Avoid Mandarin Gobies. They eat very small items which are
available in good reef tanks, but they will probably starve in the type of tank
you're planning. Stack your rock in such a way as to make lots of little
hidey-holes for the clown and goby.

George Patterson
Give a person a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a person to
use the Internet and he won't bother you for weeks.