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Old 10-08-2012, 09:44 PM   #1
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36gal bowfront or 55gal?

I plan to start a reef tank sometime next year, but as I look up the info for what I'll need, I suppose I'd like to get a few basic sayings from you guys. I have two options: a 55gal or my 36gal bowfront, both lowly stocked with freshwater fish and I plan to move all into one of them. I guess I'm unsure of what I should use as my first tank. I know that I'll need a light, sump, live rock, and all that.. I'm just unsure of the prices. WIll it cost much more to set up my 55? I suppose money guidelines would help me.

I'm also questioning what fish to get. Beginner experience, of course, but I'd love interestingly colored fish or fish that have odd behaviors that are fun to watch. I do love the gobie that cleans the sands through his gills--but I do not know much about him yet.

I plan to pick up a saltwater magazine to get me started on what I should be thinking about. What I'd like from you guys:
Money guidelines
An interesting website (or your words) about saltwater fish and their requirements
Everything that I'll need exactly for my tank
How much live rock for both tanks? Does it matter on what I'll be doing or the fish?

And I suppose I'll ask mores questions if I think of any!

I also planned to do just a little coral only 6gal saltwater tank for my first.. but I heard bigger is better, but is it really if I'm only going to grow corals to get experience?
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:48 PM   #2
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The cliche saying "bigger is better" definitely applies here. Less room for error, like you can go longer without doing a water change (not saying that you should be lazy and not do them frequently) or if you add too much salt it will have less of an impact than with a smaller tank. Plus more choices for fish which is always great! I don't thin 14 more gallons will cost a whole lot more. So you're wanting to make this FOWLR? It will be much cheaper and you won't need to spend money on lights. Any lights will do really. I think a watchman goby and a pistol shrimp pair would be awesome for your tank, or any tank under the appropriate circumstances!
Here's a great online store w/ quick stats:
http://www.liveaquaria.com/
Another
http://www.bluezooaquatics.com/
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:13 PM   #3
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I would do the 55g. Your fish selection choices will be greater, and you can have a few more fish in there too. The sand sifters are great, but if you get a pistol shrimp, he's not going to sift. I have one, and he NEVER leaves the pistol's side to sift, which was kind of a disappointment to me cuz watching the sifting is so cool IMO. For my 55, I have 3 PH, in my 30g I have 2. It'll be more for the 55g, but not a lot more, really. Do you already have both size tanks?
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Old 10-10-2012, 04:55 PM   #4
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Yeah, I have had both tanks and both are with freshwater fish. I'm going to sell my bowfront and gather up the equipment overtime for my tank. I'm about to get a T5 216 watt light from craigslist for 100$ so thats a good start!

I have a lot to learn about saltwater, so I'll have to go verryyy slowly. I might try a little frag growing tank first to try and get a hang on it because I have a few small tanks. I'm more interested in growing corals first and then adding fish, unless its easier to focus on fish first as the corals grow?

As for fish I absolutely love the bright colored gobies! I wanna learn about those guys for my future tank.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:24 PM   #5
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I currently have a 36 bowfront and a 55 saltwater, the 55 being a reef and 36 fowlr that was originally a reef. I'd suggest the 55 as your setup as it will increase the fish that you would be able to house.

I would suggest looking at liveaquaria.com and their nano fish section. For the most part, a 55 is the middle ground between nano fish and larger tanks in terms of what fish you can hold. But LA is a great resource for requirements for fish, so look around through it and you'll see what I mean about a 55 being the last step until the larger setups in terms of fish.

How many bulbs is the T5? It might be a good deal, but if it doesn't have many bulbs then it won't be able to support many types of coral. What kind of corals are you thinking about keeping in the tank? I would personally recommend holding off on the T5 unit and have you look into LED units. Many love the Taotronics LEDs and they are very cheap, especially since you don't have to replace bulbs every 6 months.

Any other questions and such ask away, I'd love to help out as much as I can. I don't get to see many setups that are similar to mine. If you want to see it, the thread is UPGRADE 55 gal build in the Getting Started section. It can let you see the good and the bad...I've accidently murdered lots of stuff in that tank.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Sniperhank View Post
I currently have a 36 bowfront and a 55 saltwater, the 55 being a reef and 36 fowlr that was originally a reef. I'd suggest the 55 as your setup as it will increase the fish that you would be able to house.

I would suggest looking at liveaquaria.com and their nano fish section. For the most part, a 55 is the middle ground between nano fish and larger tanks in terms of what fish you can hold. But LA is a great resource for requirements for fish, so look around through it and you'll see what I mean about a 55 being the last step until the larger setups in terms of fish.

How many bulbs is the T5? It might be a good deal, but if it doesn't have many bulbs then it won't be able to support many types of coral. What kind of corals are you thinking about keeping in the tank? I would personally recommend holding off on the T5 unit and have you look into LED units. Many love the Taotronics LEDs and they are very cheap, especially since you don't have to replace bulbs every 6 months.

Any other questions and such ask away, I'd love to help out as much as I can. I don't get to see many setups that are similar to mine. If you want to see it, the thread is UPGRADE 55 gal build in the Getting Started section. It can let you see the good and the bad...I've accidently murdered lots of stuff in that tank.
> The light is a 48" t5 odyssea. 216 watt light with 2 white and 2 blue bulbs along with moon lights. The light was bought brand new in April of this year and hasn't been used since the end of June. We moved up here from Florida and I sold my aquarium. Excellent light if you thinking if doing a reef style tank.
>
That was the email from the guy. It sounds like something that'll be pretty useful. I'm gonna offer him 90$

As for a filter, does a canister do better for a saltwater? I have two BIO-wheel filters on it now, one for 75 and another for 40, as my tank is freshwater atm.

When I have all the equipment I'm gonna try to be aiming of growing corals instead of focusing on all my dream fish. if I'm successful with a saltwater tank I'm gonna get a 90gal bowfront in my future and focus on the corals and fish.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:48 PM   #7
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What kinds of coral are you aiming on keeping? A 4 bulb T5HO probably won't support any sps corals, but shouldn't be an issue with softies and lps.

As for filtration, the live rock is most of the filtration in saltwater. Biowheels don't really do much and canisters need cleaned weekly, usually used on FO systems. You will usually see sump/fuge setups on reef systems as many corals need pristine water. This gives the extra room for skimmers, a refugium, or any other equipment you'd like to remove from your display tank. A DIY sump is actually quite cheap and when I made mine it only cost me 54 bucks using a brand new aquarium and some glass cut from Lowes.
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:02 PM   #8
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What kinds of coral are you aiming on keeping? A 4 bulb T5HO probably won't support any sps corals, but shouldn't be an issue with softies and lps.

As for filtration, the live rock is most of the filtration in saltwater. Biowheels don't really do much and canisters need cleaned weekly, usually used on FO systems. You will usually see sump/fuge setups on reef systems as many corals need pristine water. This gives the extra room for skimmers, a refugium, or any other equipment you'd like to remove from your display tank. A DIY sump is actually quite cheap and when I made mine it only cost me 54 bucks using a brand new aquarium and some glass cut from Lowes.
I did plan on making my own sump. Would I still need a filter with a sump?

I wrote down this list for easy coals from LA.
Green Polyp Leather (maybe.. somewhat unlikely)
Long Polyp Leather
Green Fluorescent Mushroom
Lavender Mushroom
Colony Polyp, multicolored
Colony Leather Coral
Plate Coral, short tentacle
Candy cane coral
Trumpet Coral

I was gonna visit my LFS to see other future options tomorrow.
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:18 PM   #9
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No, you do not need a filter with the sump.

All of the corals that you listed, most of them are soft coral aside from the plate and candy cane/trumpet (they are the same thing btw). The T5 unit listed should do a fine job keeping all that you want.
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:46 PM   #10
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No, you do not need a filter with the sump.

All of the corals that you listed, most of them are soft coral aside from the plate and candy cane/trumpet (they are the same thing btw). The T5 unit listed should do a fine job keeping all that you want.
Splendid! And he accepted my offer of 90$ (: Now i gotta plan out on how to make a sump. Not having a filter releases some stress and somewhat amazes me.. did you use a website for a guide on your sump? I have some extra tanks lying around, so I can start making it now. What size sump should I use for my 55?
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