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Old 12-28-2006, 05:03 PM   #1
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Help me make up my mind!

Background info: I am a starving graduate student. it is post-Christmas. I just moved. Summary: I have very little money at the moment. Problem: I have reef-tank-itis. Bad. Very bad. Would like to get some soft corals and mushrooms, nothing more advanced than that.

I currently have a 10g FOWLR with 20 lbs live rock. I also have an empty 30g (36x12x16). My two thoughts are 1) upgrade the lights on the 10g, and get/make/modify a skimmer to fit such a small tank. Cheaper, but limited space, water quality issues etc. 2) Switch to the 30g, upgrade lights, get skimmer, more sand, more LR. More options for fish, corals, better control on water params, but much more $$$.

Given the monetary and tank size limitations, what would you do?
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Old 12-28-2006, 05:15 PM   #2
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Well, if you are going to cycle your tank and not use the stuff from your 10G, you have plenty of time to save up some money, while the 30G cycles. You really don't need much for the cycle......
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Old 12-28-2006, 05:22 PM   #3
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You know what to do. Bigger is better. If you're anything like me, you'll regret spending any money to go small. I just set up my first SW, a 20g. It's been running for 6 days, and I'm already regreting not going with the thirty. I had the same issue....space (I already have 6 FW set ups running), I'm in school, working part-time, and the finances are NOT rolling in. It would have cost me an extra 150-200$ to go with the 30g. I didn't want to spend the extra $, as I already have over 3 grand invested in previous tanks. I'm kicking myself in the a$$ for not spending the extra dough, and my tank isn't even cycled yet. lol. I understand the fever...believe me. I am on a first name basis with every fish store in a 50 mile radius. My friends tell me I need a 12 step program for my fish problem.
So go BIG!!!!! You'll be happier with your decision in the long run! And believe me, you will get the finances necessary. There is always sales, used equipment in the paper ect.... Shop around and compare prices. It'll be worth it in the end.
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Old 12-28-2006, 05:42 PM   #4
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Start setting up the 30gal.
When it's done cycling move the inhabitants from the 10gal and then add it as a refugium.
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Old 12-28-2006, 05:45 PM   #5
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I agree go with the thirty gallon. It will be more forgiving if you have any mistakes and more water volume is always desirable.
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Old 12-28-2006, 05:53 PM   #6
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OK, you've convinced me (although I really probably knew that anyway).

So....T5s or PCs? I saw a T5 setup on a 75g the other day and was impressed.
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Old 12-28-2006, 06:01 PM   #7
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I love my T5s!
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Old 12-28-2006, 06:14 PM   #8
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T5`s are a good choice
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Old 12-29-2006, 07:26 AM   #9
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BTW... If you have no problem with used equipment - I have found entire systems FOR FREE available on my local "Craig's List"... I got a 55 gal. system complete .. The guy had failed to sell in a yard sale so he was happy to give it away to me. I had to drive 45 minutes to get it - but it was well worth the trip. I threw away part of the stuff he gave me - but it was all working when I got it.

Go online and search for "craigslist"... Find one in a city near you and post your bulletin for free. Ask for what you want - you might find it or (as was the case for me) something better!

Good Luck!
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Old 12-29-2006, 02:27 PM   #10
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I love craigslist....got my 55 FW setup on ebay....I keep close tabs on both sites. I already have the 30g tank, stand, heater etc so my only necessary upgrades would be the lights and skimmer, plus some extras like PHs etc.

All this will probably be on hold until I get a little more $$$, but at least now I can plan appropriately, and keep an eye out for some good deals!
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