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Old 10-05-2005, 02:19 AM   #1
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10 gallon clownfish kits

i work for an LFS. we only do freshwater but i suggested an idea to my boss and he liked it. i want to put together 10 gallon saltwater kits. the aquariums will already be full and cycled. containing 2 false perculas and 5-10lbs of live rock. the aquariums include an aquaclear power filter, heater, crushed coral substrate, a hydrometer and a bag of salt mix.

this idea is designed for the freshwater aquarist who is nervous about saltwater. we're also trying to capitalize on the whole finding nemo craze. i am going to write out full maintainence instructions to make care simple and easy. we are planning to use tank raised perculas and aquacultured live rock for ethical reasons.

what do you think of my idea? how much water do you think should be changed weekly to keep nitrates at a safe level? could we get away with only 5 pounds of LR? any suggestions are appreciated.
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Old 10-05-2005, 10:36 AM   #2
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The tanks are going to be full and cycled? This might cause problems, because now the customer is going to have to transport a full SW tank home with all that rock and water sloshing around in there (the poor fishies). I guesstimate a 10gal tank to weigh about 80-90lbs and that is pretty heavy for your average person to be lifting! I don't think it would work out to the benefit of the customer to have everything established prior to buying. JMO though!

I think you would be better off doing a type of sale where the customer would buy the tank, the equipment and 5lbs of LR ... set everything up and cycle the tank .... then come back and get the other 5lbs of rock and the fish ... of course after proper water tests were completed by your store to insure the survival of the fish! You could take it one step further and provide the services of setting up, cycling and maintaining the tanks.

My LFS does this type of thing with NanoCubes. I personally think it's a bad idea to get someone who has never had experience with SW into a tank less than 29gal. IMO 29gal is still tough to maintain and anything smaller requires more dedication and maintenance! I jumped head first into SW with a 29gal FOWLR tank, and then a 12gal Nanocube and have to say it's been the most fun ever, but ALSO hasd been a lot of work!

As far as the water changes go .... in my 12gal I do about a gallon every week right now ... as things start to maintain I may be able to go 2 weeks, but I may be pushing it. Usually 10% is the norm for water changes, but in a small tank a LITTLE change may bring BIG problems!


Good luck and when you guys start racking in the money remeber my screenname!!!
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Old 10-05-2005, 10:51 AM   #3
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My other suggestion for your store is to start selling RO/DI and premixed saltwater. That way if you start selling these, the customer will have an easy source. If somebody just wants a 10G SW for a starter tank, they might try using tap water, not mixing the salts correctly and messing up the salinity, etc.

Also, isn't 2 percs in a 10 pushing it for a new tank (or even an established tank)? A tank will look nicer IMO if it had 1 perc, a couple shrimp(peppermints), a couple turbo snails, and a couple nassarius snails. A lot more interesting life in there.
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Old 10-05-2005, 11:13 AM   #4
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you could do 2 percs in a 10gal. You would have to have a nice amount of LR in there as well as an additional mechanical filter. But it has been and can be done!
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Old 10-05-2005, 12:06 PM   #5
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I do not think it is a good idea, sorry. Only experienced saltwater enthusiasts should attempt tanks that small. In saltwater, smaller does not equat to easier. They are very difficult to mainitain.
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Old 10-05-2005, 12:16 PM   #6
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I agree with Hara. Too much to go wrong in such a small environment, not to mention the stress and potential problems moving the tank....
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Old 10-05-2005, 12:42 PM   #7
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I agree that it's a bad idea. I wonder how many perculas have perished because of that Nemo movie. People see that the fish is cute, and decide to rush into things without knowing what the are getting into. It reminds me of the dalmation craze after "101 Dalmations."
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Old 10-05-2005, 02:18 PM   #8
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thanks for all the input, guys. i have a 15 gallon and i have no problem keeping the water properties stable as a rock. i replace water very slowly (about 45 minutes) when i do water changes and was going to instruct the customers to do the same.

oh and about the selling full tanks, i was planning on emptying the tank to about 30%, making it less than 50 lbs. and bagging the water and possibly the fish.

so here's a quick revamp of my idea; 20 gallon tanks, 10lbs of LR, 2 percs, a cleaner shrimp, and some snails. unfortunately there is a large price jump from the hagen econo 10 gallon to their 20 gallon. and live rock will be the most expensive part. our cost on the 10 gallon kits would have been about $170CAD, retailing for $300. cost on the 20s is gonna be more like $250 or more. i do agree that 20 gallons would be easier, it's just the cost of the LR (7.50/lb) that makes it a bit less feasible.

the customer would buy the aquarium kit, set it up, come back for LR, add about 4 oz of Cycle, and then come back 2-3 weeks later with a water sample and hopefully goes home with a clownfish.
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-pair of false percula clowns
-royal gramma
-convict blenny
-bubble coral
-clove polyps
-green hairy mushroom
-cleaner shrimp

pics
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Old 10-05-2005, 05:09 PM   #9
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I think if you're set on doing this you should stock them with 20# of live rock. Insufficient bio filter + newbie + no filter + no skimmer = disaster. To save on the live rock culture your own. Seed base with a little bit of purple rock (or some purple up). Even giving them 5# of live with 15# of cycled base rock with enough bio capacity to handle a little misfeeding in the beginning and you'll have a more likely success ratio.

Rather than sending them with "cycle" have them use 1/4 of a coctail shrimp to get their tank going and have them come back in 3 weeks or when the brown stuff comes and goes.
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Old 10-05-2005, 09:31 PM   #10
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The other worry I have is that many new aquarists tend to overfeed, regardless of what you tell them. IMO, with a tank that is just barely past the initial cycle, there would be a good chance of large algae blooms for months (hair algae, etc.).

If I were you, I would start hosting a monthly day at the store where you gave people and up close look and info on keeping saltwater tanks....and hope this increases your business. Kits are setup for failure and angry customers with dead fish/ugy tanks are not the most fun repeat customers.
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