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Old 03-27-2010, 12:30 PM   #1
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Hi, I'm new to Salt Water and would love your two cents...

Hello everyone! I'm so happy to find your site and I welcome any and all advice you have for me. As of today I do not own a tank or fish. I do however own a "guide to mini reef" book and I am reading it and taking notes. I thought it would be a good time to get on the world-wide-web and seak out the advice of all you experts.

Here is what I am thinking:
  • Never owned a tank, so start small like 34g
  • I recently visited a store that has this "Red Sea Aquarium, 34g" that has everything already built in. They coin it as "Plug and Play" I think this is the way to go? (your advice is welcomed here)
  • I have read enough to know this is a slow process and I am willing to invest the time needed to build up my live sand, rock/corals and then eventually fish...

So my whole family is trying to scare me away from going down this road...
  1. What is your advice on 34 gallon plug & play set up?
  2. Do you know about the Red Sea Brand?
  3. Any suggested books to read?

Thanks,
SquanGirl
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Old 03-27-2010, 01:05 PM   #2
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Firstly, welcome.
Secondly...listen to these guys on here, they know their stuff!!

Read, read, read and research everything before you buy it or take any steps.
Make sure you understand how to cycle your tank.
Plan ahead for your ultimate goal...what would you like in your tank?
If your LFS gives you any advice, say thank you, come home, and check on here before believing it.

What do you get in the plug and play? I got a semi plug and play and ended up replacing a lot of the things that came as part of the package because it wasn't good enough quality.
eg. the lights weren't suitable for keeping the corals i wanted. the filter is not needed once your tank is cycled as your LR becomes the filter so i got rid of this and replaced it with a new powerhead to create flow.

Salt mixes are salt mixes. I think you should find one you like and stick with it. You get what you pay for, with all things, so buy the best quality you can.

Patience is what you need and will slowly drive you insane...but it's worth it in the end.

Im still very new to all this too and you will get much better advice than this however hopefully this will start you off.
Good luck,
Andrea
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Old 03-27-2010, 01:20 PM   #3
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Thanks for the fast reply

Andrea,

Thanks for responding so quickly too me. I don't know exactly what you get in the plug & play. I know lights and filter but not the detaills.

My husband and I are going to the store I saw it in and get more details. I will let you know.

Thanks!
SquanGirl
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Old 03-27-2010, 02:35 PM   #4
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a b, has given you lots of great information. Get a plan as to what you want, read, make a list of the animals you want. Do you want FOWLR , Fish only with LR (live rock) or a reef setup. Check out the store and take notes come back here and we'll check it out for you and above all have fun!
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Old 03-27-2010, 03:54 PM   #5
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You have received some great info so far. Definitely read, read, and read some more! You will find alot of info on this site (check out the articles) and even posts made about starting tanks.

Cycle your salt tank


Other places to read are:

Develop a Successful Reefkeeping Strategy by Doug Wojtczak - Reefkeeping.com
The “How To” Guide to Reef Aquarium Chemistry for Beginners Part 1: The Salt Water Itself by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com
Reef Aquarium Water Parameters by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com

That place is a good resource. But those 3 articles are definitely good ones to go over, plus the article from here about cycling.

Do a search on the site for "new saltwater" and read through some threads when you have a chance. You can never research too much IME.
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Old 03-27-2010, 05:08 PM   #6
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Just got back from the store and I'm so excited to read your posts. The really good news is I sold my husband on it! We are 99% sure we are going with the "Red Max 34g Tank". Here is the description on the website and they claim they are a plug & play. the store said this is the easiest way to start as it comes w/everything (lighting, heater, filter, etc) and a good learning tank.


The Red Sea MAX is a 130 liter, fully featured, plug-and-play reef aquarium designed to make reefkeeping easier, more fun and more successful. Contained within its elegant 8 mm, rounded-corner glass tank is all the technology and components you need to grow and maintain a healthy reef at home, allowing you to focus on the joy and beauty of the hobby rather than on the equipment.
With the MAX you bypass the tricky business of component selecting and installation and get straight down to the fun parts – aquascaping your aquarium, choosing your livestock and growing the reef of your dreams.
Optimal lighting, filtration, temperature and circulation recreate the conditions that delicate reef inhabitant saltwater fish, corals and invertebrates need in order to thrive and ensures you long-term sustainability and success.

It about $829 for the system. They said about 34 pounds of rock I would need, add the live sand and then let it cycle like all of you have suggested. After a few days of cycling then I can add corals and maybe one fish to see how the water is!

What are you thoughts on this ALL IN ONE UNIT?
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Old 03-27-2010, 05:16 PM   #7
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Moving this to the SW getting started forum. More people will see it there.

Also read this link for equipment needs.

Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank.
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Old 03-27-2010, 05:19 PM   #8
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ok, I will go there and start a thred. Thanks again everyone!
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Old 03-27-2010, 05:26 PM   #9
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ok, so I have more details on what's included in this tank for $829. I estimate the rock will cost $250 and LIVE sand $100.


Enhanced features of the Red Sea MAX 130D include:
  • Increased performance protein skimmer
  • New Surface skimmer overflow box
  • Full 3 stage hood opening
  • Higher PAR Lighting
  • Deeper trim
  • Filter water level indicator
  • Cooling fan supplied as standard
A question I have is do I always buy the STORE MIXED SALT WATER or do folks do something different (cheaper). the store said they mix five gallon jugs for about $1 a gallon. I am thinking with a 34g tank, I need to change 10% of the water a week til its stablizes? Then I go to Monthly?
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Old 03-27-2010, 05:47 PM   #10
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Make sure you get a test kit for ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, pH, KH, and even phosphates will be good. You'll want to test the water for atleast several days after you set it up with the live rock and sand...maybe even a week. Only when your tests are normal (0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0-minimal nitrates) do you want to add fish. The Aquarium Pharmaceuticals master saltwater test kit is a good on that includes the first 4 things I listed. You'll have to get the KH and phophate kits separate.

That sounds like alot of money for a 34g tank, but I know that alot of stuff is included. Do you know how many watts of light it comes with? It would be nice to know since you will have to base your coral choices by the lighting.

It is good to change out about 10% weekly all the time. That's what we suggest. You'll have a build up of nitrates if you only change monthly.

It is up to you whether to buy the already mixed water or not. I personally mix my own...you can buy salt mixes at the lfs or online and then mix the water up in a 5g bucket with a heater and a powerhead atleast overnight.

I would suggest anywhere from 34-68lbs of live rock (1-2lbs per gallon).
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