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Old 04-19-2007, 01:29 AM   #1
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Getting Started - Noob Asking Questions

Alright, I'm taking the SW plunge. I have a 33 gallon tank I can spare and I have some getting started questions.

A) Lighting. Right now I just have a fluorescent tube. Will I have to spend a bundle on a PC fixture or can I make what I have work?

B) What all will I need in terms of filtration? I just bought a used protein skimmer from a friend. It's something like a Red Sea Prizm skimmer or something like that. He said it's rated at 90 gallons.

C) I have a 100w sub. heater on there right now. Is this enough?

D) Bubbler or no bubbler?

E) Anything else I will need in terms of equipment?

F) Any suggestions for fish I should start out with?

G) What is the difference between corals and live rock? What should I get?

H) What kind of substrate will I need?

I) Additional suggestions?

Thanks people!
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Old 04-19-2007, 01:52 AM   #2
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Re: Getting Started - Noob Asking Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by gadgetguy
Alright, I'm taking the SW plunge. I have a 33 gallon tank I can spare and I have some getting started questions.

A) Lighting. Right now I just have a fluorescent tube. Will I have to spend a bundle on a PC fixture or can I make what I have work?
Depends on what you want to keep in the tank. Soft corals and large polyp coral will require a PC fixture. Hard corals will require metal halide. Fish only... you could probably get by with just the normal output fluorescent.

Quote:
B) What all will I need in terms of filtration? I just bought a used protein skimmer from a friend. It's something like a Red Sea Prizm skimmer or something like that. He said it's rated at 90 gallons.
I don't have any experience with that skimmer, but a skimmer is a good start. 1.5-2 lbs live rock per gallon of tank size should take care of the rest of your filtration needs

Quote:
C) I have a 100w sub. heater on there right now. Is this enough?
Probably not. But it all depends on the temperature of the room the tank is in.

Quote:
D) Bubbler or no bubbler?
No bubbler.

Quote:
E) Anything else I will need in terms of equipment?
Yes... but again, it all depends on what the goal of your tank is. At minimum you'll need equipment for premixing/storing saltwater, a refractomer, test kits and powerheads for water circulation within the tank.

Quote:
F) Any suggestions for fish I should start out with?
Anything you'd like, as long as its suitable for a small tank.

Quote:
G) What is the difference between corals and live rock? What should I get?
Live rock is rock that has been colonized by the bacteria that will break down ammonia and nitrites and turn it into nitrates. Coral is... well... coral. You should get live rock. If you want to keep corals in your tank, then that's an entirely different subject.

Quote:
H) What kind of substrate will I need?
It's a personal preference, but stay away from crushed coral. Depending on what fish you plan to keep, this may influence your substrate decision. Some fish want a finer sand bed, while others don't care.

Quote:
I) Additional suggestions?
Yes... get a couple books and read up. You're going to get 20 different answers from 20 different people when you ask general questions because everyone has their own opinions of what works best. Your best bet is to research, and get a good grounding on the basics of what is going on in your tank and why. Then, you can make your own judgements on the information you get here. While there's nothing wrong with asking questions here (shoot... that's what this forum is for!), you'll get more out of it if you do a little research up front. I usually recommend two books: "The New Marine Aquarium" by Michael Palleta, and "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner. Palleta's book is a good introductory overview, while Fenner's book is a more in-depth reference. Both, in my opinion, are required reading for anyone wanting a SW tank.
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Old 04-19-2007, 10:16 AM   #3
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Looks like Kurt beat us and took all the glory! Iagree with the above. Here are some easy to read Articles to help you understand more. This is a great article on Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank .
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Old 04-19-2007, 02:35 PM   #4
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Just remember to keep asking questions....
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Old 04-19-2007, 03:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by roka64
Looks like Kurt beat us and took all the glory! ...
I thought as the West Coast guy, I took the late shift! (Although it sure seems like a lot of you East Coast folks are up reaaaaalllly late!)

Another thing I was thinking of that helped me out tremendously when trying to figure out this saltwater stuff was surfing the internet fish stores. Three specific sites that helped me quite a bit were...

www.marinedepot.com
www.premiumaquatics.com
www.drsfostersmith.com

The reference information and user reviews on these sites were invaluable to get a feel for what kind of stuff was out there. Poke around the sites and you'll find recommendations on what size heaters you'll need to give you certain temperature differentials between tank and room, flow ratings for various powerheads as well as their power consumption, and all the stuff that might not make sense now but might stick in your head until you need it! (The prices aren't bad either!)
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Old 04-19-2007, 03:10 PM   #6
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Nice post Kurt. I would also point out the sister sites at the bottom of the drs site. Great resources there too, but etropicals hasn't had the Pederson Cleaner Shrimp available for quite a while!!!!
You can also get to the drs website on this forum's Home Page or some others on the Sponsors Page . Keep in mind, by going through this site, it helps to defrey some of the opereting costs.....
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