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Old 10-17-2005, 03:04 AM   #1
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Right setup for reef? Purchasing advice.

Hi all,

I am getting started setting up a reef aquarium after having some experience with freshwater fish. I am considering buying a used tank plus equipment, and thought I would ask some pros for feedback before doing so.

I would eventually like to have in the tank some corals, anemone, a few fish, and scavengers.

Here is the setup I am considering purchasing for ~$350:
  • 55 gallon Sea Clear corner unit with stand & canopy
    AF-92 Heater Module
    Two Fluval Type 430 canister filters for undergravel filtration
    Tropical Marine UV Sterilizer
    misc extras

I imagine I will need more powerful lighting than what is in there now, as well as some jets for circulation.

Given cost is a consideration for me, is this a reasonable setup, is it overkill, or is it incompatible with my goals? How much more should I expect to spend in additional equipment?

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 10-17-2005, 03:32 AM   #2
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The tank, sterilizers and heater should be fine. However. the undergravel filtration is obsolete. 2 maxi jet 1200's should be fine for that tank(~50 bucks for the 2). You will not need a mechanical filter. I would go with a good HOB skimmer($160ish). Someone else can refer you to a good skimmer. 70 lbs of live rock should be a good starting point. That should cost you ~350 or so. Depending on what kinds of corals you will be keeping will depend on your lighting costs. You could build your own MH setup consisting of 2 175watt MH setups will cost you about 300 bucks if you do them yourself.

It's real expensive to get setup, but once youre setup it doesn't cost to much.
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Old 10-17-2005, 08:28 AM   #3
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http://www.cpraquatic.com/products/bakpak2r.html

Check this one out. Others may be able to tell you where to get it cheapest.

I'd do a 4 x 65w PC light. Oops, I just looked at your post again. Corner unit. Not sure how that fits. But that lighting may be able to deal with the depth. MH setups may cause more heat on the water, but some love the intensity for light needy pieces.

Most of all, consider picking up a copy of Robert Fenner's "Conscientious Marine Aquarist" before you go too far.

Good luck.
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Old 10-17-2005, 10:42 AM   #4
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sounds like a good setup, but i dont really like the fluvals, if you gonna use that type of money look in to eheims they are a lot more reliable. I used to work in a fish store, customers always complaned about fluvals. The parts snap easily and they get clogged easily look into eheims!!
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Old 10-17-2005, 01:51 PM   #5
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I have had my fluvals for years and they have never failed me. I have 3 of the 404 models and 1 of the 303 models. A long time ago, there was problems in the design with the o ring that sealed the cannister, that has been greatly improved upon and I dont think you can beat the filter for the money.

You would not do undergravel filtration on the saltwater tank tho..
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Old 10-17-2005, 08:42 PM   #6
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Thank you for the replies. From all the reading and comparison shopping I have done so far (months of deliberation!), it seems like the major setup costs come from the Live Rock (>$300) and lighting (>$300). Am I correct in thinking a fish only setup would reduce these costs significantly?
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Old 10-17-2005, 08:58 PM   #7
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IMO yes, but try to hang in there with the reef setup - even if you gotta wait a little bit longer. You'll be glad you did.
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