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Old 06-04-2008, 11:55 PM   #1
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clueless

Well I went to the pet store today, and i stupidly let my eyes wander to the salt water section. I've had FW tanks forever and consider myself fairly competent in their keeping, but I've never even known anyone who owned a SW tank, much less owned one myself. But yeah, I love the colors of SW fish, and the little I know about their keeping fascinates me. One problem, I know almost nothing about them.

I've decided I'm tired of the mbuna cichlids in my 75gal, so I wanted to make a change. I considered converting it to SW reef. After looking into how much that would cost though, I shied away from it quickly, the lighting alone scared the crap out of me. haha. So I was thinking maybe I'd transfer the stuff from my 29gal planted tank and make a nice 75gal planted south american tank. This would leave my 29 open.

Now to my actual question, is it possible, and what would be involved in converting this 29gal to a nano reef...and is 29gal even considered nano? I currently have a 65watt PC bulb over the tank...dunno if that would be enough for a reef, I imagine probably not. anyway, please enlighten me, I'm 100% clueless here.
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Old 06-05-2008, 12:08 AM   #2
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Is it a nano? Probably not... but in that "in between" area. It's definitely a nano compared to your 75g! For folks that have a 12g... it's a huge tank!

Yeah... the $$ for SW stuff is enough to make you rethink things. But I really think you shouldn't throw out your original idea so fast. 65W isn't really going to give you much to work with over a 29g. You could probably do very low light soft corals like mushrooms, but that's about it. So you're going to have to buy lights for the 29g anyway.

Here's my suggestion - make up a list of all the equipment you'll have to buy for both the 29g, and the 75g. Total it up. I bet there isn't a huge difference in cost between the two. Granted, the 75g setup WILL be more money, but NOT 2x or 3x the cost if you just compared the tank capacity.

Now if you want a 75g planted south american tank... that's different! But don't let the initial sticker shock make the decision for you.

Here's a couple good books to supplement the stuff you can dig up on the SW side of the forum...

Michael Palleta's "The New Marine Aquarium"
Robert Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist"

Welcome to the saltie side. You know you're gonna do it... !
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Old 06-05-2008, 12:18 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. well, really I would like a 75gallon planted. But here's a problem, I know nothing about reefs, and therfor I have no idea what kind of equipment is needed.

I know I'm being a pain here, but I've tried to look this stuff up myself and got hopelessly lost. Maybe someone could write me up a list of materials I'd need for the 75gal and the 29gal? I'll decide from there. Thanks in advance!

btw, I think anemones are really neat, and I'd like to have some of those if not cost prohibitive. As far as fish go, I liked the tangs...but I'll settle for anything brightly colored and pretty. hah. also, I just now read the sticky saying anything over 20gal is supposed to go in the main reef forum...oops.
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Old 06-05-2008, 03:46 PM   #4
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well I did some number crunching and I thing my original plan is just going to be beyond my budget, but I still really want to try my hand at SW. I do have an extra 15gal sitting around that is just begging for a reef i think. After doing some research, I think I kind of have a handle on what kind of equipment I might need. I believe I read 4wpg is recommended for corals?

I was looking at this strip.
Catalina Aquarium 24" 65W 1 BULB COMPACT LIGHTHOUSE HOOD

or this one
Catalina Aquarium 24in SOLAR HOOD POWER COMPACT-2 X 55W

for live rock I was looking at either this
Fiji Live Rock: Select Premium Fiji Live Rock from Drs. Foster & Smith

or this
Drs. Foster & Smith Select Nano Live Rock

I could use a little help finding a skimmer. Most of the stuff I found is for big tanks...plus I don't know what is considered "good" how about this?

Visi-Jet Protein Skimmer

I also understand I need a powerhead to provide circulation in the tank. I was thinking this
Aquarium powerhead/water pump: Maxi-Jet Powerhead/Pumps provide vital water movement one maybe?

As far as stocking goes, what kinds of fish and corals could i expect to keep in this setup?
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:43 PM   #5
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I'd really discourage you from doing anything small for your first saltwater tank. The smaller the tank, the more difficult it is to keep everything stable, and reef inverts are lots more sensitive to changes than fish/plants are. I would recomend 55 gallon minimum, but if you're a very detail oriented person, you might be able to do a 20.

You can do SW fish with some live rock for not much more than the FW tank, and do it on the 20 gallon scale.

The moment you start talking corals or anenomes though is when it gets expensive. That's when you need the upgraded lights and the skimmer.

One major thing to consider is the sump. If you're going to get a skimmer later, you're going to want to plumb in a sump, and if you're doing a sump, you'll want a drilled aquarium with overflows. You can put plugs in the holes and finish the upgrade to sump filtration later, but if you want to slowly build up to a reef, it's an investment to make at the beginging.
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:51 PM   #6
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Personally, I'd spend the extra money and get a T5 fixture like this one.

T-5 Aquarium Lighting: Nova Extreme T-5 Fixtures w/Lunar Lights

It is safe to say you'd be able to keep just about anything with a T5 fixture, whereas you are kinda prohibited on what you can keep with only power compacts.

A lot of fish are out of the question with something as small as 15 gallons. I'd look at the 29 again personally, but understand your decision.

If you decide to stick with the 15 gallon you can probably manage the tank on bottled water (distilled or RO/DI) and avoid buying a skimmer and RO/DI unit all together. Just looking at ways to save money here. A skimmer isn't 100% neccesary. It is nice to have and definitley beneficial but not needed right from the start in my opinion.

For movement the maxi-jet powerheads are great, I'd get atleast 2.

As far as stocking... clownfish would definitely be a good idea, basslets, some cardinalfish. Also check out the nano fish from liveaquaria.

Nano Fish

HTH
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:58 PM   #7
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*sigh* maybe I'll just have to abandon the idea until I get out of college and get some real money flowing in. I think I'd probably cry if I sank a bunch of money into this and killed everything. hah. I'll stick with FW, it's safer. haha
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Old 06-05-2008, 05:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrp1588 View Post
*sigh* maybe I'll just have to abandon the idea until I get out of college and get some real money flowing in.
I feel your pain. I made the same decision after researching saltwater for a year or so. I have the $$ now, but my house does not have A/C, so I'm waiting until we have a house with A/C.
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