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Old 10-28-2002, 03:21 PM   #1
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I'm a 'Newbie' to Saltwater Tanks... I could use your advice

I used to have several freshwater tanks as a kid, I got out of the hobby about 20 years ago but would like to get back into it and try saltwater, this time around.

I am just in the process of setting up a new "odd-ball" size tank. 30 gallons; 56" L x 24.5 H x 5" W (yes five inches wide). It will be built into a wall between my living room and a stairway leading to the front door (visible from both sides).

I have not built it in yet because I am still working on the layout and want to make sure that I accommodate for everything that my tank will require.

A lot of my equipment and decorating decisions will be based on the size restrictions and also because "HANG ON" peripherals will obstruct the view from the stairway side. (I'm currently leaning towards a Fluval 304 canister filter because I can store it in a cabinet and run the hoses in from one side.) I have a 48" fluorescent fixture with only a single tube (again due to width restrictions).

I have been talking to local Saltwater "Experts" and I keep getting conflicting advice (probably because their advice is more geared towards their sales or their needs over mine). So decided that I'd like to bounce it off you folks and see what "bounces back".

I realize that the 5 inch width is a limiting factor but I would really like this tank for a saltwater setup , primarily fish, maybe shrimp and/or hermit crabs. (Maybe some coral, starfish or anemones in the distant future - when I know what I am doing)

The original owner of the tank had it custom built as a room divider. The tank is quite tall and the water pressure caused the glass on one side to crack. They have since had the glass replaced and they installed an aluminum frame around the top to support the glass and keep it from bowing out.

Do I need to worry about the aluminum?
* I know it won't rust but will it oxidize and drip chemicals into the tank?
* Will weekly water changes and careful monitoring of the water chemistry keep it in check?
* Will coating the underside of the aluminum with silicone help?

What are the other issues that I have watch out for?
Is the surface area too small for proper gas exchange? or Will proper filtration/aeration compensate for the surface area?
How many inches of substrate? (3 inches ?) Should I use Sand or CC?
How high should I stack the base rock?
What type of fluorescent tubes should I use? Will the output be enough?

I know... Too many questions. Sorry.
I just want to make sure that the tank and future inhabitants get the best opportunity for a happy/healthy life.

Any input would be appreciated.
Thanks for your time.
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Old 10-28-2002, 05:12 PM   #2
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I was onboard until you stated 5" wide. That's a severe limiting factor IMO.

I'm not saying it can't be done, just that you have a unique engineering challenge.

Is there any way you can find a place for a sump?

Will you be happy with having only 3 or 4 small fish?

If you want coral eventually your lighting will require a lot of planning. LED may be a good choice for this application. That's all that comes to mind so far. I do not think an Anemone is a good idea for this tank.
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Old 10-28-2002, 05:52 PM   #3
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Wow post pictures when you get started.. be neat to see from start tofinish.



The heigth of that will require i believe 1/2" or even greater since your such a LONG tank glass.. when I was doing researhc after youy go a certain height u need the thicker glass. Also I would put some kind of middle cross beam inthe tank..maybe 2(or 3).. liek on a 55.... Acrylic might be aoption. When you call your glass company be prepared to be called lunitic LOL


If your buidling it you can make it reef ready wher the overflow is in the tank.. and then just have a return hose coming up to the main tank.. here you can house LR and etc to add to ure bio filter..



Sand or CC its your choice in this situation IMO since ure not doing a reef... but if you can get a sump full of LS LR it be a big bonus.

Fish will be a limition.. Sure you have a massive length but some of the fish coudlnt' even turn around :-/. I think you have a real idea here and if executed right shoul dmake a gorgeous tank...


but a Sump is Almost a MUST in this case IMO so you can get htat aded LR etc without obstructing your fishies swimming room.


Jacob


Just my opinions.. GOOD luck get pics
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Old 10-28-2002, 06:55 PM   #4
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I do not see this tank as being a very good setup for even a fish only tank. At 5" wide you have no room for any real rock to be added to the tank. Given your light situation you could upgrade from 1 NO florecent to 2 55W PC florecents ( i dont think you can get 2 96W PC bulbs in the lengh you have to work with.) Given the depth you cant go with any high light corals so you could have to stick with muchrooms and maybe some low light leathers.

The fish would have to be small. 5" space is very small to be turning around it. It would be like living in a tube.

If at all possible could you add a 2' extention out into the room and then be able to place a larger (aka wider) tank into the place. It still be visable from both sides just would loose a little bit of floor space in the room.

I dont even think a freshwater tank would work well in that space unless you went with like a planted tank with a bunch of 1" neon tetras or something.
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Old 10-29-2002, 08:57 PM   #5
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Thanks alot for the info...

I did a little more research and some 'sole searching' and although I am a little disappointed, I have decided to leave this tank as a planted freshwater tank.

The tank theoretically should be able to support about 6 inches of SW fish or 30 inches of FW fish. With the large viewing area 3 to 5 SW small fish would be lost.

I'll stick to a small group of schooling fish. (Something colorful - tetras maybe?)

Special thanks go out to Bang Guy, Jacob Morgan and fishfreek... Thanks alot for the fast and extremely helpful advice. You guys are great.

I'll take pictures throughout the construction process and also of the final product. I'll post them on the internet and leave you all the link.

In the mean time, I'll keep my eyes open for a more suitable SW tank. 8O
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Old 10-29-2002, 09:16 PM   #6
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Anytime...



Yea keep a lookout for a S/W tank I am sure you would greatly enjoy it.



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