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Old 07-09-2006, 08:27 PM   #1
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First SW Tank Advice

I am looking for some advice with starting my first SW tank. I have had a FW tank for about 6-7 years but never anything over 20 gallons. Through a stroke of good luck with my cousin moving overseas I have acquired a 50 gal tank and would like a FOWLR SW tank and over a year or two if I can transistion into a reef tank.

Here is what I have so far:

50 gal tank 36"x 12.5"x 21.5"

Fluval 304 Canister filter

2x 36" Fluroscent 30 watt Bulbs built into a custom hood

1 24" Fluroscent 20 watt hood light

As of today I set up the tank and got everything running. Over the next week I am going to add the substrate and purchsae some LR then let the tank cycle for 2-3 weeks. I imagine I should purchase sand for the substrate. I need suggestions here. Do I purchase the live sand or what are my other options. Also with the live rock how much should I add at first? I am thinking about starting with 20lbs and using base rock for my aquascaping at first.

Protein Skimmer? Yes or No?

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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Old 07-09-2006, 10:42 PM   #2
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LR if you can afford it add it all at once so that way you wont have ammonia/nitrate spikes, each time you add LR if its not 100% cured you will have spikes unless you have a heap of already cured LR in the tank then the LR will absorb the nasties.

the skimmer is up to you, Most people on this forum will say you need one, i dont use one myself, i just make sure i do 10-15% PVC weekly and all is good. Although once again if you could afford it do it.

the filter will do the job but again this will require attention other wise nitrates will build up. I also have a canister as i dont have the luxury of money and room for a sump... (wish the tank was predrilled and i would have a sump)
sumps are a great thing if again you can afford do it, you wont regret it.
otherwise be prepared to change the filter media once a month on avg.

you lighting will suffice for FOWLR but dont expect the corline to grow quick it will be a long process as the lighting you have mentioned is not to strong, if you are going to reef later i suggest VHO or if you have money to burn MH.

and of course good luck

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Old 07-10-2006, 07:19 AM   #3
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i don't have a skimmer yet, but i would recommend it. i would also recommend at least 1.5 lbs of live rock per gallon, but that's only because i don't know anything about using base rock. hopefully somebody else will let you know all those details.

you will need some powerheads, at least two of them. your canister filter will help a little with movement, but you will still need the powerheads just to make sure that you have good water movement.

as for sand, you can get live sand, you can get playground sand, and i think that there is another kind you can get. if you get play sand, it is not supposed to be silica based. i've been told that you can use it in an emergency, but i wouldn't get it.

with the lighting set up that you have, you will only be able to do the FOWLR, which you said that you want. it you wanted, you could upgrade to just a little better lights for the tank and help some things grow on your live rock. you could upgrade ahead of time to a 2x96 light set up or something, and that would make a huge difference.

you already have a heater? that's important too. some people suggest getting two of them just in case one fails. i only use one, but it's up to you. and once you get those powerheads installed, you should get multiple thermometers. that way you can put them in different places around the tank so that you can make sure that you have no dead water.

good luck with everything, and you should keep us updated with pics. and welcome to aquarium advice.
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Old 07-10-2006, 08:19 AM   #4
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Over the next week I am going to add the substrate and purchsae some LR then let the tank cycle for 2-3 weeks.
You need a test kit, especially for ammonia and nitrites. That's when you know the cycle is complete after those two spike and get to zero. I wouldn't guess it if I were you.

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Old 07-10-2006, 10:31 AM   #5
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1. Substrate; Bare, CC or aragonite sand (you can use silica based sand, but that will limit your clean up crew and other fish selections, since it would be like your critters crawling around in small glass shards). Live sand is not worth the $ IMO, I have a hard time believing it is actually live, after being shipped and sitting on a shelf. I bought the Carib Sea sand.

2. I have that same filter, no complaints. I think the sponges are a Nitrate factory and am in the process or removing them slowly. You may have to do this in about 6 months or so, if you don't clean the sponges regularly and have enough LR for filtration.

3. I have read, it is recommended to have 1.5LBs of LR per gallon. It sounds like you should be good, for your cycle.

4. I don't have a skimmer, I have a FOWLR. Some say, get it if you can afford it, but I don't think it is vital to FOWLR.

5. You hood might cause a low pH. A pic would be good. I'm not sure about FW, but SW needs good gas exchange in order to keep a good stable pH. This is simply surface ripple. I had problems with my lid and once I removed it, I didn't have to buffer my tank (I am working on keeping it as natural as possible).

Well, I hope some of this helped.
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Old 07-10-2006, 08:59 PM   #6
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IMO , LR and skimmer will handle your filtration needs.

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first sw, tan

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