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Old 05-27-2010, 01:52 AM   #1
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20g long tank start up???

So I am not new to the aquatic world I have 2 fresh water tanks currently, but I am new to AA and to the world of salt water. I have been doing some research on salt water set ups, but it all is confussing and contradicting at best. I am looking into getting a 20G long tank and starting a SW aquarium. How difficult a project will this be realistically? I don't really want to go over the top, manly looking for a little coral life, maybe some rock life, a few smaller fish and possible an invertibrate or two. What are the BASICS I will need to get started? I will have about $1000 to start with...gotta love late tax returns :p...Any advice and help will be greatly appreciated!!!
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Old 05-27-2010, 04:40 PM   #2
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Hi, welcome to AA! SW can be a bit confusing but if you do your research and plan carefully you will be fine. I jumped straight into SW with almost no aquarium experience at all.

If you want to start out small, a 20G tank is a good size. Generally speaking larger tanks are easier for beginners because they have extra water volume that can make mistakes a bit less costly. The basic SW aquarium consists of the tank, substrate (usually sand), heater, filter and/or powerheads, live rock, and lights. In a tank as small as 20G you will not need a protein skimmer. Some prefer to go natural and use live rock as their only filtration while others use filters as well--canisters or HOBs are generally good. For corals you will need strong lighting, T5 is recommended.

There is a great article here called Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank that goes into depth about everything I mentioned. It should be very helpful. If you are starting out simple, I would have a FOWLR at first and go reef once you have some experience. I think $1000 would be enough to start out.

I don't know what specific information you're looking for, so if you have any questions feel free to ask
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Old 05-27-2010, 06:49 PM   #3
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So far I have figured out that I need, to start the list, sea salt, I'm going with Oceanic sea salt mix, 16 lbs of live rock to help start the cycle, an EHiem Jager Heater for a 30g tank, EHiem aquaball powerhead, and a Top Fin HOB power filter 30 with adjustable rate for a 30g tank. Now as far as substrate goes, I am at a cross roads. Do I buy some Natural Oceans White sand from LFS, or do I drive the 1.3 miles to the Atlantic ocean and get some when I go snorkling later this weekend? Any suggestions on how a new tank would react to this? Also, what am I missing? Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:10 PM   #4
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For a 20 gallon L tank, i'm sure $1000 would be plenty. I mis-read and thought I read $100 thinking, he might not even get the lights for that price !! I've been here for about 2 months and love the site. Everyone has great advice on what he/she did to their tanks. There are going to be the guys that have links, list do's and don'ts, all of which are great advice.

Please read the threads. I rushed my first SW tank and although it looked good for about 2-3 months, the everthing hits you at once, water parameters, algea, fish deaths, some more algea. I've started up another tank and i've read till it seems my eyes and head hurt.

I started my cycle with just a small set of T5's, 42 total watts. I use a CC (crushed coral) as my substrate and about 15lbs of LR. Had a HOB filter for a 55 gallon tank for ciculation, a heater and thermometer. I used the fish food method to start my cycle.

Have fun and be patient !!
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:15 PM   #5
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Thanks for the support. Any advice at using sand substrate I pull from the ocean. I am not going to take it from anywhere near the beach, i will go out near an uninhabited island or a shallow reef and pull some from there with salt water to keep all the natural nutrients intact. Good/Bad idea? Input, as always, appreciated.
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:19 PM   #6
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IMO i don't think that would be a bad idea. If you were getting it from right off the beach then i'd say otherwise.
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:22 PM   #7
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Yeah the beach is kinda nasty all around. People really don't care for them at all. I figure and uninhabited island would be perfect as there are litterally hundreds of them in the south florida area that are very easy to get to. Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:25 PM   #8
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I'd still be wary of ocean sand. Dry arogonite sand rinsed well will work. I'd be wary of contaminants that a large ocean can dilute, but a closed system, 20g tank couldn't deal with. Don't ask what kinda contaminants. Dunno. I just wouldn't chance it.

I also think for $1,000, you could go with a larger tank. How about a 55g? More water is more forgiving as a rule.

Use this calculator for how much sand you want. I like a 2-3" sand bed for reef. Sand Bed
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Old 05-28-2010, 08:10 AM   #9
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I don't have the space for 55g or I would definitly go that route!
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