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Old 11-08-2005, 11:40 PM   #1
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LFS Advice sounds fishy (sorry)

I'm gearing up to start a 35-gallon FOWLR tank. As it's my first endeavor into SW, I asked the guy at my local LFS (who specialize in SW) a few questions. Well, his answers didn't strike me as the most insightful, and I'd like to compare notes with you guys.

He was strongly of the opinion that LR would be a complete waste of my time unless I wanted to go full-blown reef and he kept trying to push me toward decorative rock.

He also tried to hard-sell me a Bak-Pak skimmer/filter combo. Now, I've gathered that these are well thought of, overall. But I would very much like to minimize the need for mechanical filtration if possible. I do not mean to say that I don't want a skimmer. I've seen enough here to believe in them.

When I asked him about a refugium, he expressed a dim view of them, stating that you need special mud that costs $75.00 for a small bag which you have to replenish every six months.

When I asked about sand, he suggested I go with crushed coral but could buy sand "if I really wanted to."

Please tell me I'm not crazy in wanting a 35-gallon FOWLR tank with the future potential for going full-on reef, with minimal mechanical filtration.

Any input is appreciated.
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Old 11-08-2005, 11:58 PM   #2
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If you ask me it sound like your LFS guy is dyslexic. You should get as much LR as you can, it will serve wonderful natural biological filtration. plus it looks really nice and your fish will love it because it will offer them many places to hide. a skimmer is a good idea for better quality of water. a regugium also a good idea if you pack it with some liverock and macroalgea you can reduce the nitrates in the tank also depending on the size it adds that much total water to your system which will help. hth
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Old 11-09-2005, 12:02 AM   #3
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also you should consider LS instead of crushed coral. i have crushed coral in one of my tanks and it holds onto all the stuff you dont want like all the fish poo and everything. and in the refug all you need is LS also. HTH
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Old 11-09-2005, 12:05 AM   #4
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Don't listen to him. You don't HAVE to fill your fuge with anything other than what you want in it. Sand is much better because it doesn't harbor nitrates like cc and it looks so much better imo. CC looks terrible once your tank matures. LR is the best biological filtration you can buy. It also provides food and hiding places and looks much more natural. Most likely the fake decorations will get algae all over them, and trust me they do not look good in the long run. Not many people here have fake decorations in their tank. KInd of a wasteof time and money. Just buy as much lr as you can afford, and try to keep it simple for your first tank.
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Old 11-09-2005, 12:11 AM   #5
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I REALLY appreciate the comments. Please keep them coming!

On the subject of LR -- with liverocks.com being temporarily out of commission, what other good sources, either online or local to the Detroit/Warren, MI area, can you recommend?
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Old 11-09-2005, 08:14 AM   #6
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Re: LFS Advice sounds fishy (sorry)

Quote:
Originally Posted by wparsons
He was strongly of the opinion that LR would be a complete waste of my time unless I wanted to go full-blown reef and he kept trying to push me toward decorative rock.
Not true. Live rock is one of the best things you can do for your tank rather it's fish only or reef.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wparsons
He also tried to hard-sell me a Bak-Pak skimmer/filter combo. Now, I've gathered that these are well thought of, overall. But I would very much like to minimize the need for mechanical filtration if possible. I do not mean to say that I don't want a skimmer. I've seen enough here to believe in them.
Skimmers are a great idea but not necessary. The same thing can be accomplished by doing more regular water changes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wparsons
When I asked him about a refugium, he expressed a dim view of them, stating that you need special mud that costs $75.00 for a small bag which you have to replenish every six months.
I don't run a fuge but have seen them run successfully using sand instead of the miracle mud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wparsons
When I asked about sand, he suggested I go with crushed coral but could buy sand "if I really wanted to."
Sand is much better in my opinion. CC is more maintenance as it will need vacuumed or it will build up waste and cause your nitrates to rise. Sand has more surface area as well, for nitrifying bacteria to grow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wparsons
Please tell me I'm not crazy in wanting a 35-gallon FOWLR tank with the future potential for going full-on reef, with minimal mechanical filtration.
I don't think your crazy. The only problem with a 35g tank is that you'll be limited in your choices of inhabitants. As for minimal mechanical filtration, I have five tanks and all of them rely on lr and ph's. Three of them do have skimmers though. The rest only have live rock and powerheads.

Good luck with your new tank.
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Old 11-09-2005, 08:17 AM   #7
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For live rock, you could try liveaquaria.com
I ordered rock from them and it was decent rock. It doesn't have the diversity of liverock.com's rocks. Actually, as far as I know it didn't have any critters on it. But, this is the only other place I have experience with to offer you. I'm sure you'll be able to find something local.
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:10 AM   #8
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Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com!!!
My first bit of advice to you is to go out and find another LFS.
I agree with everyone else here. Funny thing is that you could go the book section of the LFS, pick up a copy of "The Consceintious Marine Aqarist" by Robert Fenner and contradict all of the adivce the emplyee gave you. Good luck
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:36 AM   #9
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go the book section of the LFS, pick up a copy of "The Consceintious Marine Aqarist" by Robert Fenner and contradict all of the adivce the emplyee gave you.
Maybe hand the book to the employee and suggest he read it!
Tell him you'll be back when he's finished.
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Old 11-09-2005, 11:19 AM   #10
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On the subject of LR -- with liverocks.com being temporarily out of commission, what other good sources, either online or local to the Detroit/Warren, MI area, can you recommend?
I have been wondering the same thing. I have a couple of weeks yet before I was planning on setting and have been hoping they would be back up by then. Meanwhile I have been looking around locally (the Grand Rapids area). So far, I have not seen anything that I'd be remotely impressed with (one shop was $10/lb. and it had next to zero coraline algae). One LFS spoke very highly of a place in Lansing that they had picked up their own LR. He couldn't remember the name off hand, but I've been meaning to head out that way and check it out. Otherwise, I have heard some pretty good things about http://www.premiumaquatics.com.
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