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Old 06-12-2005, 04:50 PM   #1
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Getting started

Hello all,

Me and the wife are looking at getting our first marine/reef tank.

The problem is the 3 pet stores around town that we have gone to, each have their own opinions on how to set them up. We realize that this is going to happen, and with out determination to find some non-biased information on the web, has come up empty.

Basically what I ask of anyone who is willing to help is to point us in the right direction...

i.e. we are looking at a 29-55 gallon tank... (keep in mind, we are not sure if we are going to want to keep the tank for years to come, as this is going to just start out as a hobby, after that we can see if we want to make it an addiction) We realize bigger is better, but the larger you get the more expensive things become.

one store pointed us in the direction of a 29 gallon tank, with an eclipse hood. From there we were told we needed to buy a "power pack" which was a lighting kit that would fit the hood so that we could get the needed light for the reef tank. While researching that hood, i found many people who did not like the hood. And, i later started reading about protein skimmers and sumps etc etc.....

If we are trying to start out cheaply but not buy items that we will eventually find out that we wasted money on, what would you recommend?

Anyone that takes the time to respond and help out, I am deeply appreciative.


mykpoz
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Old 06-12-2005, 05:43 PM   #2
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well, with a 29 gal. tank its pointlees for a sump so that would save you about 100-150 bucks...aslo, www.hellolights.com is a great site for reef lighting...look aroun on that site for the light(they have cheeper prices too)...as for everything else, you would need a maxijet ph and a heater like a 50-100 wat...id buy two incase one burns out...(it will save your fish too) as for a skimmer, thats highly recommended by anyone!! bakpak2 w/ preskimmer is a good hang on back skimmer....as for your live rock you would wan 1.5 - 2 lbs of rock per gal for a reef tank....the rock will act as a filter as well so that will save teh expense of a filter. I'd get a magfloat glass cleaner as well...its a nice accessorie to have(real cheap too.) as for the rock, www.liverocks.com and www.hirocks.com have a great supply...hirocks sell base rock which is cheaper than lr, but you still need some lr to seed your base rock(hirock)

HTH,
Ant

p.s. any other questions... you can Private message me and ask away...
I hope you follow through on the hobby, its very addicting.....
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Old 06-12-2005, 06:04 PM   #3
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Goodfish really summed that up!! mykpoz i have a 29 gallon tank and am loving it so far its exactly the size i needed for my room right now i have 2 powereads that were about 24 bucks a piece i also bought the bak-pak 2 protien skimmer for 180 and it is working very nicely also i bought 40 pounds of keys live rock from lr.com
and i have a power filter for the larger particles in the water and a 100 watt heater. Also for lighting i got a power compact light from coralife for 150$ and it is great it is 130 watts and will alow me to have alot of different corals it also has the daylights actinic lights and 2 led lunar lights it is very nice and thats all you need for a 29 gallon setup
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Old 06-12-2005, 09:24 PM   #4
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Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com!!!
Quote:
well, with a 29 gal. tank its pointlees for a sump
I have to disagree with this statement. One of the main benefits of a sump is that they add water volume to a tank. This is especially important in smaller tanks. That being said, a sump is never really NEEDED, but they sure do help.
A 29gal tank is a good starter size, as you know bigger is better, but 29 is okay. I would skip the eclipse hood. It does not really give you the option of customizing your system to meet your needs. There are better opinions out there.
Everything else mentioned by GoodFish and Zach is great. I suggest buying "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner. It is a great resource for getting started. Most importantly, keep stopping by AA with all of your questions. As you are finding out, there are more then one way to do things. But rest assured, you will not be led astray here.
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Old 06-12-2005, 09:31 PM   #5
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thanks for the feedback!

Ok,

Now that the wheels are spinning....

for the range i went over before... 29gal-55gal...

I was looking at the Seaclone 100 earlierhttp://www.petsolutions.com/Default....temID=51308112

I think I like the way the Bak Pak 2 looks a bit better... but if it comes down to cost, should be both perform roughly the same?

Also on the Bak Pak it has options for a Pre skimmer and a bubble trap, are both recommended?

For the Maxijets... There is a Natural Wavemaker System that has the Wavemaker with 3 Jets, pro's/con's? seems like a neat feature.

Then it comes to the lights....

i was looking at the orbit sunpaq's

either the
29gal- 30" ORBIT 2X65W SUNPAQ W/LUNAR & FAN @ 150ish
55gal- 48" ORBIT 4X65W SUNPAQ W/LUNAR & FAN @230ish

or the above mentioned
29gal - Coralife Lunar Aqualights Compact Fluorescent Strip Lights (30") 180ish
55gal - Coralife Lunar Aqualights Compact Fluorescent Strip Lights (48") @250ish


now the question comes to the LR. I know i will need to cycle the tank, but will i need to have the LR in place during that time? Or can it cycle for a week or two before I add the LR and then let it continue to cycle? (just a thought that crossed my mind.)

it seems all the equipment that has been recommended is suitable for the tank range of 29-55gal.

And if a 29 gal tank is too small for a sump, when do i need to worry about adding one?

TIA
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Old 06-12-2005, 09:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
but if it comes down to cost, should be both perform roughly the same?
The bak pak 2 is a better skimmer. The SeaClone, for the money, should do just fine though. YOu can get them online for under $70. It is fussy and has a longer then normal breakin period, but once skimming does a nice job.
Quote:
For the Maxijets... There is a Natural Wavemaker System that has the Wavemaker with 3 Jets, pro's/con's? seems like a neat feature.
I use this and really like it. It is an in-exspensive alternative to a wave-maker.
Quote:
Then it comes to the lights....
I am a fan of Coralife fixtures. Venders say they are built better and have great customer service. Check out www.captivereefs.com for some reef lighting options. Darin is a member and sponsor of this site. He is very helpful. (and I believe AA members get a 6% discount)
Quote:
now the question comes to the LR. I know i will need to cycle the tank, but will i need to have the LR in place during that time?
A good option is using the LR to cycle the tank. If you order LR on the internet, it will generally have some die-off on it from the shipping process. This die-off will jump start the NH3 cycle for you.
Quote:
Or can it cycle for a week or two before I add the LR and then let it continue to cycle?
This will work as well as long as there is something added to the tank to start the cycle (like a raw shrimp from the grocery store.)
Quote:
And if a 29 gal tank is too small for a sump, when do i need to worry about adding one?
As I mentioned, it is not too small for a sump. In fact, smaller tanks can benefit from the added water volume created by a sump. In a 29 it is not needed, an if this is your first tank you do not really need to complicate things by starting off with a sump (but it would not hurt.)
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Old 06-12-2005, 09:57 PM   #7
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i recommend cycling with lr.com thats what i did and i dont think i lost many hitchhikers cuz im seeing new things everyday lol. Also the keys rock i got is absolutely beautiful. Also for the lighting i still recommend the 24 inch coralife 130watt with lunar lights it is a great light i love it
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Old 06-13-2005, 10:05 AM   #8
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picture?

Zach119,

Can you take a picture of your coralife light? I am curious as to how it fits the top of the tank.

I was also kicking around the idea of buying the ballast, and lights and making the hood myself.

If you can post it, that'd be great!

TIA,

mykpoz
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Old 06-13-2005, 10:40 AM   #9
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I agree with lando about adding a sump. IMO sumps are great for a tank no matter what size. It adds water volume, a place for the skimmer and heaters and if large enough a place for some macro algae.
You need to know that this hobby is not a cheap one and cutting cormers will only cost you more in the long run. LR is one of the most important parts of the tank so get at least 1 lb per gal.
What type of water do you plan on using? Tap, ro, ro/di? If your going to use tap have you had it tested?
29 is a nice tank but I'm willing to bet that within a few months of setting it up your going to wish you went with a 55. I know a lot of people who wish they went bigger.
Before you get a 29 do some research on the fish you want, you will see that you are very limited with a 29.
No matter what size you go with I would have the tank drilled and add a sump.
its good to see your doing some research on this before you buy..
I have heard nothing good about the seaclones.. There are a few people in a reef club I belong too that say they have used them and they are crap and are sitting in their basements collecting dust with their rio pumps..
Good luck...
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Old 06-13-2005, 02:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
I agree with lando about adding a sump. IMO sumps are great for a tank no matter what size. It adds water volume, a place for the skimmer and heaters and if large enough a place for some macro algae.
I like the idea of sumps too, especially when it comes to the ease in water changes. As well as, keeping the tank full.

Quote:
LR is one of the most important parts of the tank so get at least 1 lb per gal.
What I am thinking that I will do is start with the 29 gallon, and getting 20-30 lbs of Key, and around 20lbs of Gulf.

Quote:
What type of water do you plan on using? Tap, ro, ro/di? If your going to use tap have you had it tested?
I honestly haven't had the water tested.. I figure I will either buy DI water form the LFS or walmart. IF/When this hobby catches on to a full time obsession then I will honestly probably buy a osmosis rig to fix my needs.

Quote:
I'm willing to bet that within a few months of setting it up your going to wish you went with a 55. I know a lot of people who wish they went bigger.
I agree, my original range was 29-55, and i was leaning closer to the 55gal But due to other costs, i think the 29 will be better within my price range. Keep in mind, if a few months go by and i want something larger... i can always turn the 29gal into a sump where i can grow some corals (hopefully?) At which time the 55+gal aquarium that i get will probably be drilled.

My only concern now is how the 29gal - Coralife Lunar Aqualights Compact Fluorescent Strip Lights (30") will fill out the top of the tank (i.e. if i am going to need anything else to help enclose the tank.) then, if i keep the 29 gal for a while, what sorts of limitations will i have on the inverts/corals that i can put in the tank.

Quote:
Before you get a 29 do some research on the fish you want, you will see that you are very limited with a 29.
for me the main reason of doing a reef tank is not really for the fish, but more so for the soft corals. Fish are secondary... so stocking the tank with tons of fish is not my highest priority. if this is the wrong approach, please let me know.

For now i think i have decided on:

Bak Pak 2R with the bubble trap and pre skimmer additions...
the Wavemaker system with 3 powerheads
the coralife 30" lunar aqualight
30lbs key LR
10lbs Gulf / 20lbs hirock or just flat out 10-30gulf
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