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Old 12-19-2011, 01:38 AM   #1
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Beginers with 55g need some tips

Hello and thank you all for the great advice we've read over the past month. My boyfriend and I have started a 55g Thanksgiving weekend and the hobby has been lots of fun so far! eventually we'd like to add corals to our tiny bit of the tropics. We live in Minnesota and hope a reef escape in our dining room helps take us away from the cold depths of winter!

We're starting this thread to ask questions about our tank that seem to be difficult to get answered elsewhere. Here is where we stand today

55 gallon tank
Heater
Two power heads - Seio 620 & 820
Hanging filter - marine land emperor 400
40 w shoplight style light
~52 lbs live rock
Live sand about 4" can't remember the lbs

Livestock...12 hermit crab...6 turbo snail...3 green chromis and 1 skunk shrimp (chromis & shrimp new today!)

surprisingly ammonia and nitrates are near 0...seems odd others on this forum state this is difficult to achieve perhaps as our aquarium becomes more complex we will struggle with these levels?

We've been using Kent Purple Tech to help coraline growth.

We Are thinking of investing in a better light next... Are we on the right track here?

Any other livestock recommendations to keep the tank clean and balanced early in the process?
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Old 12-19-2011, 02:24 AM   #2
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Um, you don't need anything to grow coraline algae. Regular water changes to keep your water clean and healthy and you will grow coraline. I did it without trying. Mine is growing slowly this week, but could speed it up by spreading the spores around with a toothbrush. If this stuff really does help though, let me know. I'd be interested in trying something new.
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Old 12-19-2011, 02:26 AM   #3
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My first recommendation is to decide if you're going reef or fish only, a lot of your decisions should be based on this...
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Old 12-19-2011, 03:06 AM   #4
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Glad you decided to get involved in the hobby and best of luck to you two first off.
As for the Purple Up, it won't work if you don't have coraline algae initially in yor tank. Plus, becareful with playing around with calcium, iodine etc. especially without a test kit to test levels.
I don't know what a shoplight style light is...is the bulb a full spectrum bulb?
Without a protein skimmer, you are going to want to be more dilligent in terms of frequent water changes for optimal water parameters. I would add some more live rock for increased biological filtration as well as move some of the rock to create an island, atoll appearance for water flow optimization and realism.
good luck
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:57 PM   #5
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Hey thanks for the tips so far. I hope we're off to a good start but I know we have a LONG ways to go.

We do have coraline in the tank from live rock. Appears to be several different species. We do have a test kit but can not test Calcium so it sounds like we should take it easy on that stuff.

The bulb we're using is a Sun-Glo. It came with the tank for $0 but I know it isn't enough to fit our needs.

We would like to get into corals and I imagine the SPS corals will be in our future at some point.

We'll have to work on the rock placement.
Is there an ideal rock configuration for future coral growth? Should I be concerned that we'll add lots of rock and not have room for fish and coral? Is there a rule for coral size/tank like fish 2" / 10 gallons?

Also, what can you suggest for fish/invertebrates for us next considering our tank size, experience level, and goal of adding corals? We like clowns...sounds like there is not enough room for Tangs

Sorry for all the questions, I have more but trying to keep it short! Thanks All
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Old 12-19-2011, 11:04 PM   #6
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Well for SPS coral you`re gonna need lots of light. Talk to the people at the fish store and let them know you`re looking for some good light for coral. There are some good LED units out there now that should fit your need but they are pricey.

Get a protein skimmer, this removes unwanted goo like food and poop from your water, ever tank should have one.

Google reef safe fish. For a 55 you`re right, tangs are too big but you can have clowns and chromis stuff like that...
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:05 AM   #7
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Bought 12 more lbs of live rock today. This is an addicting hobby!
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:22 AM   #8
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Yes it is.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:28 AM   #9
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:31 AM   #10
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Love to hear other additions starting still. It will only pull you in deeper as your tank progresses.

Definite skimmer. I'm a huge fan of reef octopus skimmers but not sure if they make hang on skimmers which you would need. Always get skimmer rated higher than tank.

Lighting. Need better than a shop light. Led is the wave of the future but expensive. T5 is good lighting.

You should have minimum of 1 lb of rock per gallon in a reef tank. And lots of water motion. I forget the rule of thumb for turnover rate tho.

Clowns. Chromis. Cardinals. Some Gobies dwarf angels although they can pick at coral so choose wisely. My favorite reef inhabitants are pistol shrimp and goby pair.

Some easy care corals are frogspawn Leather corals. Hammer corals. All Zoanthids. Brain corals could work too.

Hope this puts you in right direction. And just read and research online. When you love it you will learn it. I been a reefer for 7 years and still read everyday about one thing or another.
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