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Old 08-14-2011, 10:37 PM   #1
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55G Build, First Timer, Need Help

Hi all!

So I just moved my cichlids over from their 55 to a new 120, so I now have an empty 55 on my hands and I was thinking of trying SW.

I was thinking of going with a FOWLR setup, as the idea of keeping up with a Reef is rather daunting. Looking up ideas for a 55G FOWLR setup online could kind of make your head spin though, since so many people say so many different things. I definitely want to research everything very thoroughly before I make any purchases, because I'd like to avoid those rookie mistakes as much as possible.

So here's my question: what kind of fish species should I look into? I'm looking for color and personality mostly, but I'm open to suggestions.

Any help would really be appreciated! And please excuse my lack of knowledge!
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:27 AM   #2
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Liveaquaria and saltwaterfish .com's both give guides to all types of marine fish species and give minimum tank size requirements as a guide. liveaquaria also has a good compatibility chart to ensure that all your fish live peacefully.

If you are looking for color I would suggest, gobies, blennys, dwarf angels (only 1 at a time) chromis, wrasse, firefish, hawkfish, and clowns.

One recommendation I have is to research each fish's swimming habits, and layer your tank with top swimmers, mid swimmers, perchers, bottom feeders... that way you have color at every level in your tank. Good Luck!
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:00 PM   #3
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Alright, I'm still in the brainstorming part, but I've got another question. I live on a canal that leads out to the ocean. It's completely saltwater.

I was thinking that for the PWCs, it might be possible to pump water from the center of my canal (away from the gunk by the edges) right into my tank, but would it be safe to use seawater like that? Are there any tests I could run on it to see whether or not it would be safe?

Sorry if that was a ridiculous suggestion, I'm entirely new to the SW stuff...
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:15 PM   #4
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I live in Michigan so I don't have that debate, however, from everything that I've read and heard, unless you go out around (1) mile into the ocean with deeper water, there is too much risk involved - contaminates / pollution / etc.

I'm not sure about the testing question... anyone?
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:53 AM   #5
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I'm still in the planning stages, but I've got some questions that hopefully someone can help me with, as I'm really trying to plan this out well before jumping in and making any purchases. I've got some questions in bold. My aim is to make a tank that is a FOWLR, but is ready to become a reef tank relatively easily should I want that in the future

Okay, so I've started making a list of what I need. But here's what I have:
  • 55 G Tank
  • Stand
  • Glass Canopies
  • Empty 10 G Tank to be used as QT (with lid, light, filter, heater, and thermometer)
lol not a lot, but here's what I think I need
  • Sump (but what size?)
  • Canister Filter (wouldn't want a HOB, want it hidden)
  • Heater
  • Thermometer
  • SW Test Kit
  • Live Rock (how many pounds? Fiji? Haitian? Does it matter?)
  • Sand
  • Powerhead (how strong? how many?)
  • Lighting (Quad T5 HO, good? Should I get something stronger?)
And here's a list of stuff which I might not need, but I want, please let me know if you don't think they are necessary
  • Protein Skimmer (can you recommend one?)
  • UV Sterilizer
  • Refugium?
Sorry about all the questions! I really want to get this right from the start and I know it can be very easy to make a mistake.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:56 AM   #6
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Oh and as far as the question I had earlier about getting seawater and using that for my tank, it turns out that many of the lfs around here do the same thing.

When the tide is coming in, they go out on Biscayne Bay and fill a massive tank with water to keep at the shop and supply customers looking to buy. Since I've got a boat and live on the water, I could probably do this myself. Still researching that though lol.
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:19 AM   #7
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If you went with a sump you wouldnt need a canister filter and vice versa.

I would think a good quality quad t5 light fixture would be good fo corals when you get to that point.

As far as rock a good rule is 1.5 to 2lbs a gallon. So at least 75 lbs. BUT you can get say 20lbs of live rock and the rest in base rock. It will become live within a short period of time and after a month or two it will look just like the live rock.

Sand I use about 1.5 lbs per gallon. Just put in 30lbs in my 20g. In my 125g I have a deep sand bed so I used 250lbs of pool filter sand.

I was using two koralia 750's in my 55g and loved the flow. I also was using a canister in that tank as well since I had no room for a sump.

I did use a hang on back skimmer though since I had no sump. If you go the sump route you can hide the skimmer and heater in there so the tank will look clean. The only thing hangin in my 125g is the overflow box and I love that theres nothign for anything to climb on or in. LOL

Hope that helped a bit!
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:54 AM   #8
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Thanks! That helped a lot actually! So does anyone have any recommendation of what size sump I should get for a 55G?

Based on the size recommendation, I'll measure the space in my stand to see if there's enough room. If not I'll probably just get a canister filter, like carey had.
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:03 AM   #9
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It depends on how much space you have under the tank dimension wise. I would have used a 20L (30") if i had the room.

I beleive a premade sump for your tank will be about 24" at least.

Here's a a link for ya to get an idea

Eshopps Refugium R-100, 75-125g, 2nd Generation - AquaCave
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Old 08-24-2011, 05:50 PM   #10
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Thanks! When I get home I'll measure the space I have to see what I can work with. If not I might just go the canister route and I'll probably have some more questions lol
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