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Old 04-26-2005, 05:23 PM   #1
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40 gallon tank....equipment

Hi All,
Am taking the plunge and starting a tank. I would like to have fish and live coral. I am VERY confused on what equipment and lighting I will need. Any advise would be much appreciated. I am starting from scratch.

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Old 04-26-2005, 06:28 PM   #2
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If you want to keep it basic here's what you need to start. A good heater, appx 60 pounds of live rock/base rock mix/match, some kind of substrate(sand or cc), and a good skimmer. Then you will have to address lighting. You will need appx 120w to 200w of lighting. That's appx 3 to 5 wpg times 40gallons. I recommend power compacts unless you have a healthy budget in which case mh would be great. Do a lot of research and read the articles on our home page. There are also several good books listed on the homepage. Read alot. Don't get in a hurry.

Good luck! Kat
90 malawia cichlid
55 planted tropical community
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Old 04-26-2005, 06:58 PM   #3
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If you can get it, I would purchase "The Conscientious Aquarist". This book has a lot of information regarding setups, equipment, fish, corals, inverts, etc. I think it will help answer a lot of questions regarding SW setups.

BTW - Welcome to AA!

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Old 04-27-2005, 09:06 AM   #4
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Awesome, thanks much.......
I am go slow and researching everything. So your advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-28-2005, 07:06 PM   #5
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My 40 gallon has been up and running for 4 months now...and going well...this is what I did:

First let me give you a list of my Equipment:

All-Glass 40 Gallon Breeder Tank (36 x 18 x 16)
Eggcrate Top
CPR Bak Pak 2R HOB Skimmer w/ Rio Pump and Preskimmer & Bubble Catcher
Maxi Jet 900 Powerhead
Maxijet 600 Powerhead
MiniJet 404 Powerhead
200 Watt Marineland Submersible Heater
Coralife Lunar Aqualight 2 x 96 watt (192watt) 10,000k:Actinic
90lbs (3 x 30lbs) Carib Sea Aragamax Sugar Size (I used 75lbs and you could get away with 60lbs and save a bit of money)
40lbs of CaribSea SeaFlor Substrate
30lbs of “the Best” dry base rock from HTTP://www.hirocks.com
40lbs Live Rock from http://www.liverocks.com(20lbs Keys and 20lbs Gulf)
Black Oceanvisions Background (no tape…it goes on like a “window cling sticker”…looks wonderful. I got this from http://www.thatpetplace.com …check it out!!
Instant Ocean Salt…because I had a $50 Gift Certificate to Petco for Christmas and they had it on hand. I am not sure it is the best….but it is the most popular. When this runs out...I am changing to Tropic Marin Pro Reef...I have heard good thing about it.

I went with a breeder sized tank because…I had a desk it would fit PERFECTLY on. Also..I wanted a reef setup…reef fish like more room to roam vs. to go up and down…so height is not big issue…so the wider tank gives more space for the fish..and also more surface area for oxygen and other gas transfer between the air above the tank.

I had a Glass Top and first, but recently switched to having an eggcreate top. Many purists like an open top or use an ‘eggcrate top’ to keep the fish from jumping out. I had a glass cover due to kids…no cover…I know I would find plenty of matchbox cars in the tank. Also..the Aqualight states that it require a top so it has some protection. I left the back open (did not put the plastic ridge on the back) for air exchange…and I am not sure that was enough. You also have to keep that glass top clean on a regular basis so salt deposits do not block the light

I like the Bak Pak 2R…but I kinda wish I spent the extra $50 and got the AquaC Remora Protein Skimmer I think. The Bak Pak seems to work fine so far.…and may people praise the remora over the bak pak. The preskimmer is great though….it totally covers the Rio Pump..it is black..and total blends with my black background. I think the Remora takes up less room, is less bulky. I also had a little problem with “micro-bubbles” from the Bak Pak, but adding the ‘bubble catcher’ fixed it…but with all the extras I have bought for the Bak Pak..i could have had a Remora!

With the Powerhead and the Protein Skimmer I have a water turnover rate of 15x my tank volume…15-20x is recommended…so I think I am safe there. I would like a refugium at some point also…but where wanted the tank and the fact that have on a desk…I could not have one. I may get one of the CPR Hang on the Back AquaFuge if I find my Deep Sand Bed is not managing my nitrates enough.

Heater is keeping a rock solid 79 degrees…no complaints

The Light is providing 5 watts/gallon of light. That is enough do most corals except for the SPS Corals (hard stoney ones) and clams, and I should be able to pull off an undemanding Anemone with this light. Was only $200…and is quite nice…

Substrate…I currently have what I call a 4 inch Deep Sand Bed. Some people will stay that you can’t call it a DSB unless you have 6 inches or more. Any more than 4 in my tank would be too much! I almost wish it were a ½ inch smaller..that is why I would recommend 60lbs of the Agaramax. I have the Argaramax on the bottom..and the Sea Flor on top of that. The Seaflor is a bigger sized grain of sand…and keeps the Agaramax in place. RINSE BOTH VERY WELL. I could have used to rinse the seaflor a little better to decrease the “clouds” when the sand is disrupted. The finer Agaramax Sand is what is recommended for a “hypoxic” area for Nitrates to be converted into Hydrogen Sulfide Gas and evaporates from the tank. A DSB, a Refugium, water changes, and a very obscure nitrate reducing generators are the only means to rid the tank of Nitrates. I did NOT buy LS in the bags at the LFS. The Agaramax and the Sea Flor are DEAD sand. No life! The Live sand in bag at the LFS are pretty much useless. It will have some bacteria to speed up a cycle...but you are spending a lot more money then you would with the regular sand. My cycle has added the beneficial bacteria to the sand, and I am hoping my LR seeded my sand with Copepods and bristle worms, etc. You couldl also place an order with http://www.ipsf.com(indo-pacfic) or http://www.inlandaquatics.comand get some Live Sand Activator after you add the live rock and wait for any further cycling. Looks like some great critters in there! You can also buy REAL LS online (like Live Aquaria)...but why pay for overnight shipping on 20lb of LS. You can get the life you want from the Live Sand Activator...and in a smaller 4lb box without paying for sand shipment.

I love the Base Rock from hirocks….was only like $1.5/lbs including shipping. The rock is dry…but has many holes, fossilized life…and are of nice sizes. I felt bad covering about ½ buried in the DSB. I put the Base Rock directly on the bottom of the tank..so if the sand is moved by a sand mover or dissolves under the rock..it will not tumble my Live Rock Aquascape. I also seeded my tank with about a cup of substrate and some filter media from a friend’s tank to help introduce beneficial bacteria to the tank

I ordered my Live rock from liverocks.com. I got a mix to give me the color with the Keys Rock and the Life and Hitchikers with the Gulf Rock. It only cost $212.50 shipped…which I think is great!

I cycled the tank BEFORE I added the live rock. Many people cycle the tank WITH Live Rock (and let the die off cause the ammonia spike). I wanted to preserve the most life as I could on the Live Rock…so I did a cycle BEFORE I added it. After you add the LR, you may have another mini cycle…but one that should be able to be handled by the bacteria from the first cycle. The tank was crystal clear for 8 days….then I had a HUGE algae bloom while cycling. Green Algae grew all over the substrate and base rock. I did nothing..and in 3 days…it cleared all by itself and just left a white residue (which is what is called algae “burning itself out”. As I used RO/DI water…there was very little nutrients for algae to sustain itself). I the had brown Diamotic Algae…which should do the same thing. This algae is normal…and is an indication the cycle is almost done…as the alage is using the Nitrate that the ammonia and nitrite had been converted to as a food substrate.

I did a 50% water change before I add the liverock to decrease my Nitrate from the cycle.

I look a lot of this info from the AA forums, the New Marine Aquarium Book, and the Conscientious Marine Aquarist book by Fenner. I also took bits and pieces of information from some LFS that I trust. I can’t tell you what I am doing will work…but I felt this was the best way for me to start one. I hope this info has helped


I also purchased:
Water General RO/DI Filter ($90 on Ebay)-can find on ebay and the seller is “filterdirect” -
I was tickled with it! No problems what so ever installing the system. I have it running into a 30 gallon commericial rubbermaid trash can. I got the automatic stop float valve...when it is full...it stops!

I also got the $25 TDS meter from filterdirect. My house well water was 150ppm....I tested my RO/DI water 2 hours after I started it up...and it was down to 4ppm. I used all that water....and the next day I tested it again...and guess what.... ZERO ppm (like none). I thought the TDS meter was not working...but it worked...as my well water was still 150ppm! I could not be more happy!

110 Gallon/day sounds like a lot...but it is just a trickle. I filled my 30 gallon trash can overnight though. You just can't watch it or it will take for ever.

I will be using my RO/DI for my Freshwater 90gallon (50:50 Mix with Tap water), and 100% for my SW tank. I also have plenty of RO/DI to share with friends!

Best $90 I have spent so far (...well $90 + $25 shipping + $15 float turn off + $15 additional DI packet + $25 TDS meter + $10 Saddle Valve with tubing from Lowes + $25 commerical trash Can + $15 for 2x7 gallon jugs for carrying and mixing SW)...so it came to $220 for just the RO/DI setup...don't tell my wife!

Anyway...Tanks is doing very well...stable parameters...and I have not lost a fish or invert (except for a few snails) yet.
90 Gallon Fresh Water Planted w/ CO2:
7 Brilliant Rasbora, 6 Harlequin Rasboras, 3 Dwarf Neon Rainbows, 1 Red Tailed Shark, 2 American Flag Fish, 4 Skunk Botia Loaches

40 Gallon Breeder Salt Water: 4 inch DSB (2/3 Agaramax & 1/3 Sea Flor), Bak Pak 2R Skimmer w/ BBX, 2 x JBJ PHs, Coralife Lunar Aqualight (2x96w), 30lb Base Rock and 40lbs of Live Rock.
Inhabitants: Purple Firefish, Pygmy Angel, Lawmower Blenny, 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, Pistol Shrimp(HH), 1 Emerald Crabs, 3 Porcelin Crabs(HH), varying amounts and varieties of hermit and snails.

3 Gallon Eclipse:
1 Goldfish (won free at a fair...cost $50 in equipment)
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Old 04-29-2005, 09:59 AM   #6
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You are awesome...thanks for all the details, which is what I need.

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40 gallon, equipment, tan

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