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Old 10-18-2004, 02:59 PM   #1
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50 Gallon -- Newbie


I'd like to set-up a reef saltwater aquarium (50 gallons). Could anyone please point me in the right direction as to where to get reliable instructions and literature to the subject? What did you do?



44 Gallon -- Hexogonal.
Lee's Undergravel Filter (with 2 powerheads @ 40 GPH each)
Emperor Hang-on back Filter
Fresh Water:
2 Black Loaches
1 Silver Dollar
1 Neon Tetra
1 Glolight Tetras
1 Bali Sharks
1 Rainbow Shark

110 Gallon Marine Reef:
85 lbs. Live Rock
White Sand Aragonite 3"
30 Gallon Oceanic Sump with Magdrive @ 1100 GPH
650 Watts VHO/MH Lighting
2 Yellow Damsels
1 Firefish Gobi
1 Fire Shrimp
Hermit Crabs
(being rebuilt from a move - planning a new Innovative Plastics Skimmer [better with Ozone and QUIETER] and to drill the tank for an Overflow Box)

40 Gallon Paludarium
Plant Gro CO2 Natural (?)
Undergravel Filter (for some other Bio)
-giant river rocks / logs-
1 Watersprite
1 Rotala
1 Wisteria
2 Yellow Minnows
(set-up near completion)
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Old 10-18-2004, 03:05 PM   #2
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Read for at least 2-3 weeks before you buy anything!

the conscientious marine aquarist by robert fenner is a good start.

54g all-glass bowfront corner planted FW

Red tiger lilly, Rotala Indica, Sagittaria Subulata, Micro Sword, Cardinal Plant
Fluorite Black sand and gravel
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Old 10-18-2004, 07:44 PM   #3
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Coming to AA is a good start. You can never do too much research. I agree with Jaiden that Bob Fenner's book will give you all you need to know and more. I regret not reading it before I started.
46g SW, 65 lbs Fiji LR, 4" Aragamax DSB, Coralife 2X96w CF, CPR Bakpak II, CPR Aquafuge 12 w/ 2x9 Coralife Mini Aqualight, 4 Maxijet 600's, PCI 200W Titanium Heater, 2 Blue Green Chromis, 1 Gold Bar Maroon Clown, 1 Purple-Stripe Dottyback, Finger Leather, Trumpets, Rose Coral Open-Brain, Pagoda Cup, Xenia, Star Polyps, Yellow Polyps, Various Mushrooms, Toadstool Leather, 12 Astraea, 10 Nassarius, 4 Bumble Bee, 6 Cerith Snails, 12 Red Tip Hermits.
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Old 10-18-2004, 11:16 PM   #4
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Though I did not buy any books, I talked to a friend that had a small sw tank. I also visited the lfs's alot and asked all the dumb n00b questions. I figured, what the hay, Im a potential client if they help get me into this. (Boy did I have a lot to learn about lfs's..but thats another topic all together..) I did all of my official 'research' online. I read as much as I could for about 3 or 4 months. (Since I was also still buttering up the old lady for the purchase..the first of many..) Some stuff you read is nonsense. Some stuff is fact and then theres the in between. (Personal experiences, what worked well in this given scenario, etc) You'll know your ready when you can read something and say, thats bs, I have read 4 other articles/posts/etc that say otherwise. (bet you didn't think you'd get an answer this long..almost done..) Once you have the confidence, means your probably as ready as your going to get. It helps you not to freak when something bad or, as in most cases, appears to be bad happens. Theres a great bunch of smart peeps here too, so coming here was a great start (No not me, the others, Im just a research freak..) Id be happy to dump all the links I've got if your interested, though if you got the dough to burn, buy a book. Either way, the best advice (And most common) is read, read, read..
Best of luck..
To fail to plan is to plan to fail.
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Old 10-18-2004, 11:27 PM   #5
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Yup, read the books and post questions here. We love to help, but it is easier if you have a little background on a particular subject.
Also, reasearch what your LFS tells you. There are many, many, many excellent ones out there, but there are a few that are in it for the quick buck and will tell you anything to make a sale. You will find out pretty quick which category yours falls under.
Also take the time to read some the 1000s of posts on this site, especially in the getting started category. Just about every beginners problem has been cover in there at one time or another.
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Old 10-19-2004, 10:08 AM   #6
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So, bottom line, is a "reef aquarium" terribly difficult? Is it worth the effort? How forgiving is it? I would start out with LRFO and then move on to corals and fish later.
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Old 10-19-2004, 11:10 AM   #7
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It's very worth it! I started in this hobby about 7 or 8 years ago and knew nothing aside of what I learned from a few helpful people on the web. I bought the biggest tank I could afford, a 55g standard- not reef ready, standard single light strip, a wet/dry filter, an extra power head for the other end of the tank, a big hang on the back filter from walmart, I bought a few bags of sand, crushed coral and salt from the LSF. I filled my tank, added salt, stirred, added substrate, let my tank clear some, added about 25 pounded of figi LR, waited a few days added cycling fish. (NEVER DO IT THIS WAY) but my tank cycled, I bought a new piece of LR every week. I bought a clean up crew after the cycle completed, I had 4 out of 6 damsels left. Then I added another double lightstrip so I then had 3 long strips, 2 white, one blue and the only thing that changed after that was I removed the bio balls and added a seaclone 2nd hand skimmer to the wet/dry/sump. My tank never crashed, had any problems, I was not overly faithful about water changes, my fish thrived, my low light corals, shrooms etc... spread and grew. I was picky about my foods, I spent extra and bought the newest best frozen foods, I'm southern and food means a lot LOL, I even broke the rules with my fish at times (not knowingly)... I had a royal gramma, regal tang, yellow tang, a maroon clown, a scooter blenny, a pr of yellow pearly headed gobies, a cleaner shrimp, these lived happily for years with no illness, ever, my tank specs were always in line and fine. I tested frequently and added iodine, calcium and I can;t remember what else off the top of my head, but I only added that half of the reccomended dose. Now, years later, knowing more and being better educated I can say I think this hobby can be very forgiving, but I also have to add it's not worth the risks by not educating and testing. I think being as educated as you can and testing often when you arent sure makes all te diff. in the world. I followed the best advice I had for that time period I think and with all that has changed I might have been real lucky... but I am researching again before we set up the new tank. I want to know all the newest info, I want to have better lighting so I can keep a few new things, but I will bascially be having the same type set up, LR, LS, Sump with Skimmer, HOB with carbon, and I will think I will have the same fish aside of the yelllow tang and I might try a smaller pair of clowns, not sure which are the hardiest, but I will go with those. The only real changes Iwill make are better lighting and little bigger tank.

Read read read.... and GO FOR IT!

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Old 10-19-2004, 01:16 PM   #8
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For quick fish/coral profiles and ideas, I'm fond of liveaquaria.com

Be aware that the information there is fairly limited. Once you decide (or think you've decided.. ug.. I've "decided" exactly how I want my tank to be about forty times..), wetwebmedia.com is a great place to browse through.

For question answering, I don't think anything beats AA. The things you'll hear from an LFS or an isolated hobbiest.. well.. let's just say I've heard some whoppers. I thought the information I got about FW was bad.. "Sure, two fantail golds will be fine in this one gallon bowl. Make sure to empty it weekly and scrub the glass and gravel"

"A snowflake eel will definately eat your brittle star.. but the crabs should be fine"

As with anything expensive, important to you, or concerning someone (fishies and inverts are "someones" too..), it's always best to double check, double check, and double check until it's actually a quintiple check. That saves sooo much grief, it's not even funny..

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50 gallon

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