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Old 11-24-2008, 01:09 AM   #1
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A Few Basic Questions

So I picked up this lovely 75 gallon tank for 75 bucks today. Now I am faced with a challenge...what do I do with it. Well, I would love to have it be a high-tech, planted tank. If I go this route, I could use one of my other tanks for..."other" things. However, a SW tank is not out of the question, but it does raise some questions.

Scenario #1:Instead of using the 75 gallon tank for a high-tech planted tank, I set it up as a saltwater tank. The tank would begin as FOWLR, and ever so slowly it would evolve into a reef of some sort.

*Lighting

Whether I use the tank for SW or FW, I plan on ordering the Catalina Aquariums 4x54 T5 fixture. What options does this give me as far as corals go?

*Filtration

If I decide to use the 75 gallon tank for a high-tech planted tank, I will filter it with either a Rena XP3 or a Rena XP4. However, if I decide to go with a saltwater tank, what kind of filtration would I need? Would a canister still be appropriate? Or would a cheaper HoB(Hagen AC 110) be sufficient? A sump is out of the question. I'd like to keep things as simple as possible right now.

I also know that most of your biological filtration in a SW tank comes from your live rock. I have heard theories that you should use 2 lbs of LR for each gallon of water. This is where one of the cost concerns comes in. Live Rock does not appear to be cheap. This would be a major cost for this aquarium, especially if a canister is suggested.

Also, I've heard about skimmers, but I know nothing about them. Are they necessary? What exactly do they do?

*Substrate
If I decide to go with a planted tank, I think I will use a mixture of pool filter sand and something similar to Schultz' Aquatic Soil. However, if I go with SW, can I just use pool filter sand? Do I need to go with something like "live sand" or crushed coral? How much sand would you suggest for a 75 gallon tank?

*Circulation

I have heard that the only time you have to much water flow in a SW tank, is when your fish appear to be pinned up against the glass, rock, etc. What do you think the minimum amount of flow for a 75 gallon SW is?

*Feeding
It is my understand that many SW fish and corals especially, are picky eaters that require specific foods and even target feeding. This may pose a problem. I am going to be living 45 minutes away from the tank Monday-Friday afternoon during the schoolyear. My parents would have to take care of the tank, and I'm not sure they'd be all too thrilled about putting so much effort into MY tank. Can I set up a nice tank that only requires feeding one or two different foods?

*Tank Care
As I previously mentioned, I will be away from the tank most of the time. Will this pose a problem? I will only be home to personally take care of the tank for about 3 days. What are your thoughts?

*Water Quality

What do I need to pay attention to with regards to water quality? Can I use tap water, or is it mandatory that I use RO/DI? If I do water changes once a week, how much do I need to change at a time?

*Expenses
I already picked up the tank($75), and my dad is going to help me build a stand. What can I expect to spend for salt(on a regular basis), live rock, a cleanup crew, and equipment(heater, filtration, skimmer)? I already plan on spending $150-200 for the light.



Scenario #2
: I turn the 75 gallon tank into a high-tech, planted tank, and I free up one or more of my other tanks: 29g, 30g, and a 20g(tall).

*Lighting
I currently have a 24" 65 watt CF fixture on my 29g tank. What would my options be if I left it on the 29g tank and turned it into SW? What if I moved it over to the 20g(tall) instead? What would you suggest for affordable lighting if I were to turn my 30g tank into SW?

*Filtration
What would you suggest to properly filter either the 29g or 20g if I were to turn one of them into a SW tank?

*Livestock
How limited would my fish and coral options be if I decided to use either the 29g or 20g as a SW tank? I also have a 30 gallon tank, Would this limit my options very much?


Thanks in advance.

Mike
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Old 11-24-2008, 01:16 AM   #2
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lighting: soft corals or lps corals i believe

filtration:the hagen would be fine but a cannister would be better. many people think that they need to go 100% lr when they could use mostly br or base rock. it is lr without the life basically. much much much cheaper. skimmers get extra protines and grime out of the tank. some people think that corals and fish benefit with the extra protines, others dont, its all opinion so its not nessecary.

Substrate: fine aragonite would be best. stay away from crushed coral. nvr heard of pfs sand for sw so idk bout that.

circulation: no specific gph but 3 korila power heads pointed at eachother the tank would be fine. (depending on what # u get)

Feeding: make your own food, much cheaper and youll be feeding viriatey. get some fresh seafood blend it up, throw in some selcon and garlic and freeze it, then ur good to go.

tank care: u should be fine as long as u have a proper cuc.


water quality: youll need to watch for nitrates and ammonia. ro water is great but not nessecary, i use tap with some dechlorinator and the tank is fine.

cant help u w/ expenses as i got a cube tank plug and play style.

lighting: ither way ur lookin at soft corals qith low light lps unless u get more or better lighting.

filtration: a good hob style filter rated for double the water volume would be great.

Livestock: depending on the size ur lookin at 4-6 fish max.
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Old 11-24-2008, 03:09 PM   #3
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*Lighting

You should be fine for mushrooms and some lps with that fixture


*Filtration
Get 75% base rock at under $2.00/lb and just a bit of LR. You want about 1Ĺ - 2 pounds of rock per tank volume in gallons (76 gal tank = 112 – 150 pounds). The rock and a good skimmer are all you need for filtration. No need to add a canister or HOB too. The skimmer removes DOC (dissolved organic compounds) from the water column.

*Substrate
Pool filter sand may be too fine. You want beach type sand. Playsand used for a child’s sandbox is fine, or you can buy aragonite sand at the lfs.

*Circulation

You want to have 10x – 20x or more gph turnover in the tank form all sources. That’s 750 gph at a minimum with 1500 gph being a better number. A couple of power heads should be good to for that.


*Feeding
Most sw fish are not picky eaters. Corals get most of their nutrition form light and the water column. The tank should only get fed 2 -3 times per week. A vraitet of fresh, frozen, freeze dried and flake should do. My preference would be for Rod’s Food or home made blender much, supplemented with some freeze dried and possibly nori, depending on the fish you get.


*Tank Care
In the beginning you need to keep an eye on the water parameters. After cycling I would recomment check water parameters every couple of days for a month or two till you get a feel for the tank. Most people just test once a week so you should be fine. Just make sure to stock SLOWLY.


*Water Quality
I would strongly recommend that you start with RODI and continue to use it for all top-off and pwc. A rodi unit is about a hundred dollars on eBay and will save you much potential misery.


*Expenses

Unless you are getting a used light I don’t think $200 will cut it. You probably need to spend about double that for a decent 4 bulb T5. With T5 lighting it’s all about the reflector and you want a high quality individual parabolic reflector behind/around each tube.

A good skimmer (Octopus) will probably cost about $200.
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:54 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input guys! I'll take any info I can get. Please keep posting I appreciate it.
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