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Old 05-24-2008, 04:30 PM   #1
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hypothetically....can you start w/o so much $$$

I was looking into all the costs associated with starting a reef tank

(my husband is not supportive at all after seeing the latest DFS catalog)

And I was wondering (since the lights are quite expensive) if one could say start off with live rock and fish and then "upgrade" at a later date with lighting and other cool critters?

I was thinking this might even give an opportunity to get everything seasoned in really well before adding corals etc.

What say you? I look to you experienced SW folks for guidance.
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:33 PM   #2
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I think that is a great idea. The fish don't need expensive lighting only the corals do. You could start off FOWLR and then upgrade lighting later. Most reef tanks are FOWLR anyway for a few months until they are coral ready. You could have a cool assortment of invertabrates as well. Just get the light last when you are all set up and ready for corals

Really all you need to get started is Salt RO/DI water mixing tubs and a refractometer. Some test kits powerheads, heaters, Live rock and substrate Thats it. about $600 dollars or so will get you started. Protein skimmer would be next than a sump if you choose(not necessary) then lighting. If you get 1.5 to 2 pounds of rock per gallon about 80# with a 46gallon you will not need a filter just the powerheads for flow(get some strong ones)
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:40 PM   #3
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Are we assuming this is for a 46g, as Fiji mentioned?
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Old 05-24-2008, 05:05 PM   #4
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I should have mentioned that...yes for the 46 gallon bowfront.

I think it would be so cool. It has the added benfit of being in the kitchen which is where I spend 90% of my time.

So if I am reading this right as long as you have enough Live Rock you don't actually need a sump or filter, just enough powerheads to give strong flow/current?
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Old 05-24-2008, 05:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happygirl65 View Post
So if I am reading this right as long as you have enough Live Rock you don't actually need a sump or filter, just enough powerheads to give strong flow/current?
Mine is in the kitchen as well I think where most people spend most of there time have you ever noticed that anytime you have a party everyone always ends up in the kitchen


Yes you only need live rock and flow and thats it you just need a lot of live rock to have enough surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow on. I think its called the Berlin Method

the sump although not necessary is great because it gets the ugly equipment out of the way and adds more water volume which gives you more room for error. If you have a refugium section in your sump the Macroalgae absorbs whatever nitrates are left also helping to keep water parameters in check.
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Old 05-24-2008, 05:36 PM   #6
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The LR will be your biological filter, housing the bacteria that turn ammonia into intrities and nitrites into nitrates. Partial water changes will have to be relied on to remove the nitrates and other buildup in the water column. That is fine for a FO or FOWLR aquarium. You could also run a mechanical filter (cannister or hob) if you wanted to.
Later you can add a sump and overlfow box to give you more water volume, a place to hide the heater and a place to to grow some macro algae. Next step would be to add a protein skimmer.

When you are ready for a reef tank you can add a quality light system.

It will important that you always keep REEF in the back of your head when you stock your tank. Don't buy anything on impulse (EVER)!. Always check to make sure it is reef compatible and always QT livestock before adding it to the main tank.

I basically took this path starting 5 years ago. I'm on my 2nd sump (replaced the original wet/dry with a sump) and my third light fixture.

I think you are ready to take the plunge. I can hear your new little fishies speakeing through the glass. "Resistance is futile. Your life as it has been is over. Freedom is irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. You must comply. From this time forward, you will service us."
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Old 05-24-2008, 06:01 PM   #7
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HA ha ha! SO true.....lol. I think my background in FW has prepared me well. I mean at least I understand the nitrogen cycle, and the importance of stability of all measured parameters. And honestly I don't think there is anything difficult about fishkeeping in general if you are willing to do the maintenance and measure parameters.

If there is anything I have learned from diving into the FW planted tank arena it is that it is easy to make things seem harder than they are but in every case planning is key.

You are SO right about never buying on impulse. The ONE time I did that based on some bad advice from an LFS employee I got home with a fish that had to be set up long term in it's own tank since it was truly not compatible with my community. I never do that anymore, I always research exhaustively before deciding.

Thanks so much for the advice. I am kind of getting excited now.
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Old 05-24-2008, 10:11 PM   #8
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I agree with the others that you can most certainly start with a FOWLR tank and do the corals at a later date. I`m glad you are going to SW. To be honest with you I think sometimes that planted tanks are harder than SW. I tried my hand in one and it was rough.
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Old 05-24-2008, 10:37 PM   #9
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Drill it....now go!
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Old 05-25-2008, 02:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Innovator View Post
Drill it....now go!
I would say this is a good idea, when I bought my 120, even though it was going to be planted, I had it drilled so I could move to SW. Ended up with a sump on a planted tank for a while too..

Even if you don't want to do it yet, you can pick up ABS threaded plugs from HD.
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