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Old 09-01-2006, 09:50 PM   #1
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Help me get started?

Okay, i'm looking to get into salt water aquaria. Salt water is what REALLY got me into fish keeping to begin with, i just didnt have experience or resources to maintain a salt water aquarium, so i went fresh.

Anywho, now i have a 55 and 37 gallon tank, i'm also looking at buying a 125 gallon.
Which tank would be the best tank to convert to sw? I'm looking to ease into this, i want the easiest to maintain but also i want to have some options on critter selection.
I dont want any big fish for my first SW tank, four or five inches max. I also want to have critters. Starfish, crabs, shrimp, things of that nature, that being said, would the 55 be big enough to have a wide selection of small fish and be easy to maintain without being to expensive?
Would my heater that i already have work if i converted the 55 to saltwater?
Would my HOB filter work temporarily until i am able to buy another filter?
I want some good lighting, lighting good enough for corals, i guess like medium range (if there is such a thing in SW).
I also want moon lights.
I do NOT want a sump yet, i dont have the room for it (the 125 would be after i got into my new apartment).
So what all equipment do i need and what range of cost am i looking at for each set up?
Thanks for any input.
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Old 09-01-2006, 10:42 PM   #2
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In SW larger tank gives you more room for error, fewer PWCs (depending on bio-load and filtration).
Quote:
also i want to have some options on critter selection.
There are lots of critters you could fit in a 125G, plus that depends on your substrate. If you go with CC, that will limit your clean up crew and any possibilities of sand sifting critters...like a goby/pistol shrimp combo.
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would the 55 be big enough to have a wide selection of small fish and be easy to maintain without being to expensive?
Yes. IME, the initial start up of all the equipment is the most casualty part, after that, the monthly cost is a heck of a lot less.
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Would my heater that i already have work if i converted the 55 to saltwater?
If it is glass/titanium or plastic...no "stainless-steel". Remember SW will rust most metals.
Quote:
Would my HOB filter work temporarily until i am able to buy another filter?
It could, but if you get about 1.5-2LBS of LR per gallon and a sand substrate, you wouldn't really need a filter. I use my filter for extra water movement and to run carbon, if needed.
Quote:
I want some good lighting, lighting good enough for corals, i guess like medium range (if there is such a thing in SW).
Hmm, I'm not too sure about lighting for coral, so I will let one of the "reefers" help you out there. (Man, I need to learn that stuff, LOL!)
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I also want moon lights.
There are plenty of lighting systems that come with lunar LEDs, you you could make your own.
Quote:
So what all equipment do i need and what range of cost am i looking at for each set up?
Hmmm, tough one there, without scaring you away. This would depend on how good of a shopper you are...one thing I can say is don't skimp, you could do more damage and end up paying out more.
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Old 09-02-2006, 12:40 PM   #3
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In addition to what Roka said, one big cost is already gone, and that is the tank. Then after that, like he said, it depends on your ability to find good deals.

If you went with the 55 gallon:

LR - 100 lbs or so at about $5 a lb average. - $500
Sand- 100 lbs - $100 or so
Powerheads - Atleast 2 - $40
Salt - 100 gallon mix to start - $40
Refractometer - $30-50
Skimmer - $100-200 depending on brand
Lights - Again, depending on what you get - $200-400

And I thats all I can think of now. Not cheap, but worth it.

Do you what what kind of corals you wish to keep? PC lighting can keep everything but high light sps corals and clams. If you wish only for soft corals, zoos, softies, and lps, you will be fine with PC lighting (alot cheaper than MH).

HTH
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Old 09-02-2006, 12:44 PM   #4
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I decided to use my 55 to begin with, maybe later when i get the hang of it i can convert the 125 to sw.
I am going to buy a skimmer, two powerheads (or should i get 3-4?) and a wavemaker. Metal Halide Lights and hood set up (recommendations on where to buy?) and moonlights (i'm going to make those myself). Later on depending on how things go i'll get a calcium reactor when i get into corals. i'm keeping my current heater.
I'm also gonna have a 5 inch live sand bed and i'm thinking around 80 lbs of live rock atleast to start, definatly more later on. Since i'm not doing a sump i wont need the external overflow.
On the 125 i definatly want a sump because of the size and to have a place for the copepods. Its not predrilled though and i've heard bad things about the HOB external overflow, so what about the corner overflow?

Edit:
I found the cost of 90 lbs of live rock and the sand bed and its 610. So you were right on it lol. I want high end lighting because even tho i plan to start with easy corals i want the option as i get more experienced to have a wide range of corals.
I'm pretty comfortable with any price that goes out because its an ongoing project. I'll buy things here and there when i can, and i will just save money until i have enough to get the live rock and sand at the same time. In other words, i am not in a rush, nothing but time.
Would 2 powerheads be okay or should i get more like 4? I know that water movement is a huge thing in sw and i dont want to cut any corners.

Thanks ^^.
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