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Old 12-07-2012, 02:24 AM   #1
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Beginners guide to coral?

I'm currently running a 50gal FOWLR setup and I was interested in potentially changing it over to reef in the new year. Problem is that this is my first SW tank and I know NOTHING about coral. What is the absolute min (read: least expensive) lighting I could have to keep some hardy corals? What are the dif types of corals and aside from lighting and fish compatibility, what are the big differences I should be aware of with coral? Thanks
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:25 AM   #2
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I should mention: I currently have 2 24" t8 lights. My tank is 4ft long. Are there ANY corals I can keep with this minimal cheap ugly lighting?
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:42 AM   #3
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You might be able to do some Xenia mushrooms or Zoas. But idk for sure
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:30 AM   #4
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+1 maybe some low light zoa's but it's kinda hard to say what are low light zoas. Mushrooms would be your best bet, but with the 2xt8's your going to need to upgrade those before you really think about corals because there's probably a 50/50 chance that even zoa's or shrooms won't do well under those lights. You could get a basic light for that tank that would support mushrooms and zoas for sure for around $125, and you may be able to find something cheaper on eBay or Craigslist. I'd look for a 2 bulb t5ho light, that's probably the cheapest light your going to get that will support low light coral for your tank.

Here's a light that would work, about the cheapest your going to get and be able to get some low light coral. This light will probably have 4 times the power of your current light. You could Buy this light, buy some decent bulbs later down the road, and have a decent light to get you started. Or buy a 4 bulb fixture and grow all but the most light demanding coral.

http://item.mobileweb.ebay.com/viewi...id=09917444032
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:01 PM   #5
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Be aware that with a 2 bulb t5 zoas and mushrooms are gonna be about all you can grow. It you want way more options such as higher light softies and LPS then you will be much happier with a 4 bulb T5.

To answer whats different about coral compared to fish only. Well for one water quality has to be much cleaner. This means 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and near zero nitrates, most coral wont handle anything over 20ppm well. Some even more sensitive than that.

Also with reefs calcium, alk, magnesium and all other trace elements come into play so they need to be at proper levels and stable.

Large or sharp fluctuations also become more serious when corals are involved. Temp, salinity, ph, all must remain fairly stable and in acceptable ranges.

Generally softies will be your easiest to keep corals, with SPS (Small Polyp Stony) generally being the hardest and LPS (Large Polyp Stony) falling in the middle.

Softies include xenia, leather, polyps, zoanthids, mushrooms etc.
LPS include acans, frogspawn, brains, trumpets, torches, chalices etc.
SPS include acroporas, montiporas, porcillapora, porites, millieporas etc.

Hope that helps a little bit. Not a small subject and tons of info so read as much as you can on the subject.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:38 PM   #6
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Wow great info. Thanks guys. Lets say I just wanted to keep an anemone or two. What's involved with that?
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:58 PM   #7
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Definately 6 bulb t5 for most anemones. They require more light then even most sps.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:33 PM   #8
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If you are really 100% convinced you want to do a reef, trust me you want LED's. I'm bot talking about those really gimpy LED lights, im talking about real 3 watt a bulb LED's. Yeah I know they are really pricey but let me explain to you why to go this route. You probably are going to start doing soft corals and will get sucked into hard corals. Most people do this as of a fact I know some people who actually got 8 t5's and was going to do only softies but after a month or so, he wanted to do hard corals and got rid of his t5's and got LED's. Another reason I would get LED's is they get replaced every 10 years instead of every other light every year. So by the time 10 yrs comes around you will prob spent more money in changing bulbs than just buying the LED's from the start. You get to grow everything and will save money in the long run.

P.S- Don't buy ecotech radions, they are way over priced. Either build them yourself 200-300$. Or buy off brand ones like i did for 249 a piece. They have the same wattage but is a LOT cheaper. I hope this helped.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jtisle506 View Post
If you are really 100% convinced you want to do a reef, trust me you want LED's. I'm bot talking about those really gimpy LED lights, im talking about real 3 watt a bulb LED's. Yeah I know they are really pricey but let me explain to you why to go this route. You probably are going to start doing soft corals and will get sucked into hard corals. Most people do this as of a fact I know some people who actually got 8 t5's and was going to do only softies but after a month or so, he wanted to do hard corals and got rid of his t5's and got LED's. Another reason I would get LED's is they get replaced every 10 years instead of every other light every year. So by the time 10 yrs comes around you will prob spent more money in changing bulbs than just buying the LED's from the start. You get to grow everything and will save money in the long run.

P.S- Don't buy ecotech radions, they are way over priced. Either build them yourself 200-300$. Or buy off brand ones like i did for 249 a piece. They have the same wattage but is a LOT cheaper. I hope this helped.
I agree. Look at Taotronics on EBay. As long as the total wattage adds up to what you need, you are good to go.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:49 PM   #10
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Sorry to jump in on this. Are aqua beam 600 leds lighting any good then? For corals? Thanks
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