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Old 03-01-2006, 01:38 AM   #1
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Location: Wallington, NJ
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Best Setup for Saltwater

Hi There,

I'm new to this forum, but I want to hear what everybody's advice is.

I'm interested in starting a 55 gallon saltwater tank setup (I know this is small, but I can't go much bigger due to space limitations). I've read a few books, talked to a few local aquariums, and done research online and it appears that I can't narrow down to exactly what I'm looking for.

Here is the type of aquarium i want to setup:

1. 55 Gallon's (Saltwater)
2. Initially, it will be setup as a "fish-only tank", due to the initial cost of setting up such a tank.
3. I'm not looking into any seriously "aggressive/territorial" fish. Just small/med size fish that get's along well with others. I know choices of fish will become limited when I buy such a fish, but this is how i would like to "start" my new saltwater aquarium
4. I would like to initially use live rock and also live sand.
5. I will eventually like to introduce coral reefs, anemones, etc., to extend the setup as a more natural approach.

I'm kinda looking for two separate answers here.... If you only wish to answer one, thats fine, that'll atleast get me one step further than i already am. So feel free to give me any advice you may have.

1. If money wasn't a factor, what type of equipment will you buy. (for enthusiastics, this should be a fun question to answer) (By asking this, I mean EVERYTHING). By the type of aquarium (acrylic, glass), filters (all of them, or inclusive), UV lighting, Protein skimmers, etc.etc.)

2. If money was a factor, what type of equipment will you buy then. (Reason being: I want to know what the best is, vs what would the ideal be. I'm not rich, but I make enough money to have enough choices. I'm not interested in bare minimums/essential. But what would be a pretty good system for the price (regarding ALL equipment).

If you can, please refer to specific's. Like, im being told the Euroreef's have been highly recommended by ALOT of people, but which model would be good for this type of system? What would be the best, what would be ideal? How much live sand should I use (on average), and how many pounds of live rock should I initially invest in to get somewhat of a scenery going, etc. (you should get the idea)

I'm looking for specifics, since setting up a saltwater tank is a brand new thing to me (but i have owned and maintained a 29 gallon fresh water tank for most of my life). I know theres a big difference, but alot of similarities. I'm only mentioning this because I have previous experience with aquariums, just not salt water. Any equipment, terminology, etc., ---- if i'm unaware of it, i will research it, because i'm incredibly interested and motivated to start such an aquarium.... So speak as if you normally would. Any help will be highly appreciated.. ------

****Not only for me, I think this would make a great thread for any new beginner. I couldn't find such one ANYWHERE, and so thats the reason why I'm writing this one*****

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Old 03-01-2006, 10:26 AM   #2
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Welcome to AA!

First off, a 55 gallon is a great size! You have alot of options with a tank that size.

I'm not very familiar or have experience with a variety of product names, so I'll just comment on what I have.

I prefer glass tanks, some prefer acrylic. Acrylic is usually more expensive and lighter than glass, but stronger.

Filters: Varies greatly on whether you are going to have a sump or not. Regarding HOB filters and the such, ditch them. I wouldn't have any. A protein skimmer is a must for a reef tank, IMHO. The aquaC remora is a great brand that is affordable. Euroreefs and Deltec, you could dish out well over $500 for, but there are much more economical options.

Lighting: Greatly depends on what you would like to house in your tank. So start researching. Metal Halide systems are some of the best out there, but prepare to spend a few hundred dollars on them. Compact Flourescent systems can be just as good, but for some of the corals/anemones that need intense lighting you will want metal halide.

In regards to LS, LR you'd need 60+ pounds atleast of each to sustain a reef. Stay away from crushed coral. The type of sand, again, is up to you. Sand will become live over time, but if you wish to add live sand in your tank initially, to speed up the cycle or to add the extra goodies that LS has in it, adding half live and half dry sand would be a best option. Add the live sand on top, and the sand below it will become "live" over time.

Other equipment you'd need that I can think of....powerheads (atleast 2, preferably more, and again all depeding on amount of water flow needed for different creatures) a test kit made for saltwater, hydrometer/refractometer, salt, tub to mix saltwater in, quarantine tank...and I'm sure there are a few things I missed that someone else will pick up on.

Sounds like you are doing all the neccesary researching, good for you. You can find alot of good prices online, so shop around before you buy. Most LFS, while convienent, are expensive!


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Old 03-01-2006, 01:42 PM   #3
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I have just started my 46G that I bought 2 and a half years ago. After tons of research, I can tell how I did mine. Not saying it's right, but it's the way I decided to go after reading lots of posts on this site.

First, I knew that I wanted to limit my equipment in the main tank, so that meant a sump which is hidden below the main tank in the stand. Then I read about refugiums and thought that sounded like a good idea, so I bought a sump with a small refugium compartement.
I have my heater,return pump,probes,protein skimmer and float valve all within the sump.

If you decide to go with a sump, you need some way to get water out of you main tank and down to the sump, Ideally, it's best to have your tank drilled, but for me and many others, this wasn't an option. they make overflows that siphon the water out and send it down to the sump. www.Lifereef.com are very good overflow boxes, others require powerheads for keeping the siphon going, this is scary in my mind when you have a power failure.

As far as equipment goes, get Ebo-Jagger heaters, maxi-jet powerheads.

Lights is totally up in the air. It's difficult to recommend something not knowing how far you want to go. If you want to end up with a reef, buy MH, if you can't afford that but want some corals, Coralife aqualights, are relatively inexpensive and will allow you to do several soft corals/polyps, and the aqualights look cool too.

Many will tell ya that your 55G will be happy with a Aqua C remora pro. Aqua-C have nice skimmers, there are better, but pricier as Devilishturtles said, but you'll be happy with the remora pro, and it works.


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