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Old 07-30-2011, 11:24 PM   #1
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First SW tank - my 20g build

After building a stand for my 20g long, I've since been fighting a middle + outer ear infection in both ears whilst waiting patiently for all the goodies to arrive to put the tank together. My shopping list included:
  • 2 x Marineland Maxi-Jet PRO 400 Pro's - one as a powerhead at 110GPH and the other as circulation pump at 500GPH
  • Aqueon QuietFlow 10 HOB - 100GPH
  • Theo 100W heater
  • 20lbs of Caribbean Live Sand
  • 30lbs Florida Reef base rock from reefcleaners.org

This was with the hardware all in place. I lowered the 400 Pro on the left as I realized it was sitting a little high by the time I had water in:



I got some really good sizes and shapes of rock from John at reefcleaners.org, and spent a little time going over some different aquascaping layouts I'd thought up in my head before settling on this. The pieces all seemed to come together nicely for it, and should give plenty of spaces for any smaller inhabitants I end up with in the tank:



The live sand was a little harder to work with than I was expecting having never worked with it, as with it being just a tad damp or simply sticking together it didn't pour out easily and work it's way around the rock. Once the water started going in it was fine:



And the ubiquitous shot of not being able to see a thing until the sand then settles down after adding water :



I mixed up 5g batches of water using Instant Ocean salt, and was quite happy with myself that the tank ended up with a SG of 1.023 given it was my first time mixing salt

The water is slowly starting to clear up and I should then be able to re-arrange any sand that has been moved around, and get a feel for how the rock work looks with the sand in place. With 700GPH water movement from three different units, I feel I have plenty of flow, and realized I'm going to need a little patience in letting the base rock build up some growth?

My plan is to start cycling with a shrimp tomorrow and order in the 30" 48W Marine AquaticLife T5 HO Dual Lamp Light Fixture, as although I'm not initially going to be looking at setting this up with any corals, I'd like to have the ability to add some basic corals in 6-12 months if I have a light unit doing almost 2.5W/gallon?

Overall, I'm very excited about this SW tank! I've kept FW for years and wanted to do a SW tank pretty much since I started in the hobby but always shied away. With so much helpful info here on AA, I finally feel comfortable + confident enough to successfully maintain it though.
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:08 AM   #2
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Looking good. I will be following!
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Old 07-31-2011, 02:40 AM   #3
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Def off to a great start the watts per gallon guideline is pretty much worthless now, is the fixture a dual bulb setup or single?
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my 125g Sw...Round 2!http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...220171-33.html
ever see someone cut a 125g in half??
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...-286438-4.html
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Old 07-31-2011, 03:39 AM   #4
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Welcome to a piece of ocean in your home.
Looks great so far. I only wish that u started with a bigger tank. Oh well u will upgrade soon as I am doing.

IMO cycle with the bacteria way faster, than get few pieces of rock from a friend with established tank or put 2-3 of your most pours rock in his tank for few weeks.

I know this will turn out to be great so I will be following.

Ps: just started my 75 gallon build! So check that out too.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:31 AM   #5
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Looks good, great start! Following along as well
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180g Reef - 60g Rimless Reef -90G FOWLR- 125g Malawi Cichlids- 40b REEF- 34g Fresh Planted-working on- 20L FOWLR- working on
I have a mix of many different saltwater fish amongst my tanks, but I love my Tangs most of all.
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:19 PM   #6
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Thanks guys!

huma-huma - the light unit is dual fixture and provides one 24" 24W Actinic bulb and one 24" 24W 10,000°K bulb. I've heard a lot of good things about the AquaticLife units. So is watts per gallon more a FW plant thing?

And Heera, this is actually the size I was wanting to set up I simply don't have the space or resources to build a bigger tank right now, and didn't want to push for something bigger and not be able to equip it right. I know it doesn't give me much room for error with the water quality, but I think it will be plenty to learn with so that when I can make a jump up to something bigger (ahhh 175g ), I'd be in pretty good shape to handle it. Your tank looks awesome though, some of those corals are beautiful!
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Old 07-31-2011, 03:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fouldsy
Thanks guys!

huma-huma - the light unit is dual fixture and provides one 24" 24W Actinic bulb and one 24" 24W 10,000°K bulb. I've heard a lot of good things about the AquaticLife units. So is watts per gallon more a FW plant thing?

And Heera, this is actually the size I was wanting to set up I simply don't have the space or resources to build a bigger tank right now, and didn't want to push for something bigger and not be able to equip it right. I know it doesn't give me much room for error with the water quality, but I think it will be plenty to learn with so that when I can make a jump up to something bigger (ahhh 175g ), I'd be in pretty good shape to handle it. Your tank looks awesome though, some of those corals are beautiful!
Thanks,
I started 30 gallon as fish only tank 7 months ago. Don't know when reef bug got me. So I turned to reef. And now it's too small for the fish I want to keep. so getting 75galon.
Can anyone relate, lol
This is why I said larger tank.

But I do hope u stay happy with this tank.
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Old 07-31-2011, 04:32 PM   #8
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I'd go with a 4 bulb min light fixture other wise you'll be forced to upgrade to a new light save the cash and go big right from the start I have 96 watts (AquaticLife) over my 20H and have no problem keeping coral and a Condy nem happy
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:25 PM   #9
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Idk how some people can stand to run the fixtures that they do, my coralife 72 incher has 4-96w cf bulbs and its insanely bright...to the point where I can run just my actinics and I don't need the room light on.....those 8/10/12 bulb t5's have to be absurd
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my 125g Sw...Round 2!http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...220171-33.html
ever see someone cut a 125g in half??
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...-286438-4.html
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:52 PM   #10
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4 bulbs over a 20g sounds like it would be a whole lot of light! I guess the nice thing about the AquaticLife units is that you can easily chain 2/3/4 together if I did want to expand. The quad-bulb AquaticLife unit admittedly has a built-in digital timer and lunar lights, but is three times the cost of buying an initial dual-fixture, and I can simply add another dual-fixture unit if I feel the need for more light. And again, from a cost and upkeep point of view, I just can't see myself being able to go all that crazy with invertebrates but some very basis soft corals. I think I'll stick with the dual 24" 24W T5 HO for now.
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