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Old 01-08-2004, 07:34 PM   #1
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Considering starting a tank, need some advice.

The notion came over me the other day, that I'd like to start a Saltwater Aquarium. I've spent the last couple days scouring the internet for whatever information I can come up with. I'm finding lots of great information, but I'm not really

I'm minutes (well, maybe hours) from ordering some books from Amazon.com or swinging buy the local Barnes & Noble for some good starter material. But I'd really like to start making a list and shopping right now.

Is there a checklist of rquired equipment out there anywhere? Is there a list of reccomended equipment? I'd like to make a list and start researching different products/prices, but I'm honestly a little overwhelmed with everything I've found so far.

It'd be really handy if there was a vendor that I could checkout that has starter kits. So I could at least start to recognize what equipment the most basic beginning equipment.

Anyways, I suppose you guys want to know a little bit about what I plan to build. I'm not sure of the size, but I'd like something nice-sized. At least 55 gallons (I'm not sure of this so far). I'd like to replicate a tank I took care of for my middleschool oh-so many years ago. We had a couple clown fish and an anemones. I have read that beginners should steer away from anemoes, is that absolutely necessary?

Anyways, I'm off to scour more of the information I can find on the Internet. I'm sure the books will also help alot.

Thanks for your help
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Old 01-08-2004, 07:53 PM   #2
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Do you want to have a reef tank, a FOWLR tank, or a FO tank? Since you mentioned an anemone, I'm guessing a reef tank. I would probably steer away from any "starter kits" as I've found that they usually come with substandard equipment. One thing you need to decide before you purchase a tank is if you want to have a sump and/or a refugium or if you prefer to use HOB equipment. If you want a sump, you'll be way ahead to buy a reef ready tank with internal overflows. You'll want to plan on getting a protein skimmer. I like the Aqua C Remora for a 55 gal tank. Or, if you have a sump, the Aqua C Urchin. You'll want to get a pair of heaters that add up to enough to heat the tank. Probably around 4-5 watts per gallon. I prefer the Won Pro Heats. The Pro Heat II has a digital temp readout on the control unit that makes it easy to check tank temp. You'll need a couple of powerheads to create flow in the tank. You want at least 10x tank size. About 550gph for a 55g tank. You'll need lights...preferably MH if you want to keep an anemone later. Standard NO lighting won't get it. You'll need a hydrometer to check SG in your water. You'll need test kits for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, alkalinity, calcium, and pH. I know I've left some things out and I'm sure someone else will point them out. I can recommend "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner as almost required reading. If you can give us a better idea of what kind of tank you want to set up, we can make more specific equipment recommendations.
As fas as anemones are concerned, they really can be difficult to keep healthy. They tend not to do well in newer tanks. It's best to have the tank up for at least a year before adding one.
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Old 01-08-2004, 07:54 PM   #3
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i am not really in to SW tanks at the moment mostly just fw but i did manage to scoop a bit of info out for ya..not much but something..if i were you i would just talk to someone at your LFS they can always help alot..although try to avoid big names like petsmart of petco i ve always found that they dont help much.
as for the books? buy a few they will help you alot!

http://www.masla.com/beginner/beginequipment.html
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art1841.asp
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Old 01-08-2004, 08:12 PM   #4
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Of the three you described, I'm probably leaning most towards a reef tank. But frankly, I'm such a newbie, I can only begin to deduce the difference between those three.

Anyways, I honestly doubt I'd purchase a starter kit. But it gives me a basic idea of everything thats considered essential. I could probably take one of those, and start building my shopping list.

However, you've given me a lot of information to get started with.

So, I'm thinking of a reef tank, about 55 gallons in size (or bigger, depending on my budget and more especially my tax return this year). I'd like to HOB equipment, if thats at all possible. But thats just because HOB seems simpler to me and I could be wrong. Heaters and lighting and so-forth seem pretty straightforward.

Does anyone have any good links for sites that sell aquariums and stands? Or am I better off finding a local fish store?

Edit: If anyone can reccomend some nice helpful fish stores in the Dallas-area (I'm in Irving) I'd appreciate it
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Old 01-08-2004, 10:30 PM   #5
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For a reef tank one of the largest expenses will be live rock, I would recommend using LR and LS for filtration along with protein skimmer and a lot of flow as mentioned. As long as you will have enough room behind the tank and don't mind the look, then HOB is fine. Definitely pick up "The Concientious Marine Aquarist" its a great beginner book, I also like "The Natural Reef Aqarium" by John Tullock.

I'm not from TX but you could try posting in the Texas local forum on this site...

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewforum.php?f=48
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Old 01-08-2004, 11:00 PM   #6
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Do some research before you decide to go with HOB equipment. The sump setup is great...especially with internal overflows. It gives you a place to put most of your equipment...skimmer, heaters, ect... It's also a great place to dose additives because they are mixed up a bit by the time they reach the main tank. It's really easy to set one up although it can add to the cost of the system. You can have a successful tank using HOB equipment as well. Really, the only HOB piece of equipment you'll need is the skimmer. You can go two different ways for the flow in the tank. You can set up a closed loop using an external pump routed through a SQWD. This device switches between two different outlets which creates varying currents in the tank...a good thing. Or, you can use powerheads inside the tank. You can get a wavemaker which is a timed switch for the powerheads. It switches them on and off to create the turbulent currents. I would recommend Maxi Jet powerheads over any other brand. Also, check out the articles link on this site...lots of good info in there.
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Old 01-09-2004, 12:28 AM   #7
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Well, I can't honestly say I'm in a good position to pick a setup yet, considering my lack of knowledge.

Can anyone point me to a resource online that explains the difference between all the different systems? I swear I'm getting the books, and I'm reading everything I can. But right now, lots of it blurs together
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Old 01-09-2004, 08:05 PM   #8
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alright. I've been reading various forums, websites and I'm going to B&N tomorrow to pick up the reccomended books.. I think I'm a little more knowledgeable. This is what I understand so far

Some of my terminology might be FUBAR, so feel free to clarify anything I say.

I'm waffling on the size of my tank. I'm thinking of sizing it anywhere between 30 and 55 gallons. This'll be highly dependent on my budget.

I've been spending a lot of time the last two days reading about reef tanks. Apparently, you can use all sorts of different filtration methods. Everyone seems to have a different idea. Which leaves me out in left field.

This is what I understand:

- Biological filtration is the MOST important type of filtration and can be accomplished w/ live sand and live rock.
- Biological filtration needs to be supplemented by other types of filtration (wet/dry, canisters, HOB equipment, protein skimmers. etc..)

I read about other people's tanks. And it seems like they have EVERY single possible filtration device. I think its because I'm a newbie, so I just try and figure it out.

I'm making a list of everything I need to start out. Then I'm going to price things out. I'll mix/match and fit it to my budget. So, if you could review this, I'd appreciate it.

1. aquarium & stand
2. improved lighting
3. testing kits and what not
4. 3-5" sand base
5. one pound of live rock for every gallon in the tank
6. water & salt (duh)
7. heater(s)
8. power heads (to create current and supplement the biological filtration)
9. mechanical filtration


My biggest question mark comes with the mechanical filtration. I read the wet/dry is the best kind, and that it kicks butt because it increases the volume of your water which makes it more stable. They seem to be priced just as reasonably as everything else, so I don't see why I wouldn't do that.

How necessary is it to supplement the wet/dry and live rock with a protein skimmer?

I'm sure that list has tons of empty holes. I've over simplified things. Let me know if i have.

Thanks
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Old 01-10-2004, 11:54 AM   #9
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You have already gotten a hole bunch of great info. I would add that some items can be purchased later to help with budget. For example you really will not see a whole lot from a protein skimmer for the first month or two. Also I would take a look at this website if you have not already, they have some good info (some crap also). http://www.peteducation.com/index.cfm?cls=16

Having just gotten into this hobby myself about 5 months ago I have come to realize that if you ask 5 different people the same question, you will most likely get 5 different answers. I finally just tried to absorb what I could, and trial and error with the rest.

Good luck
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Old 01-10-2004, 04:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
My biggest question mark comes with the mechanical filtration. I read the wet/dry is the best kind, and that it kicks butt because it increases the volume of your water which makes it more stable. They seem to be priced just as reasonably as everything else, so I don't see why I wouldn't do that.
With a good selection of clean up critters the mechanical filtration isn't necessary. Hermits, snails, crabs etc. will eat up a lot of the leftover food, fish waste etc. Stay away from the wet/dry if you plan to have LR and LS. The bacteria that will grow on the LR/LS will need ammonia and nitrite to thrive, a wet/dry is mainly a biological filter that will hold the same bacteria and thus compete with the LS/LR. If you must have mechanical filtration, then I would get a HOB filter and run it with a floss pad and activated charcoal. Let the LR/LS be your bio-filter.
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