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Old 06-22-2006, 06:26 PM   #1
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Im thinking about buying a 50gal S/W tank... I'm a Newbie

So I’m getting this itch to buy a S/W tank set up. This will be my first s/w tank. I have had a koi pond in the back yard so my expertise in s/w is limited to none at all. I would like to have a clean looking and simple set up if possible. Are there any recommendations on what tank and filter set up I should buy. Coral, fish, accessories will come later. Thanks.
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Old 06-22-2006, 06:38 PM   #2
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Kelk I`m going to move this to the appropiate forum. Good Luck
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Old 06-22-2006, 07:39 PM   #3
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My only recommendation for s/w setup is buy the biggest tank you can afford/house first. That will give you the largest range of life and won't leave you wanting more later. Well......yeah u will. but at least it will be easier to keep
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Old 06-23-2006, 12:06 AM   #4
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Same as Macatua, buy the biggest you can . . . it will safe you money in the future . . . trust me. I would recommend a sump setup so make sure it's a pre-drilled tank. HTH and have fun with it!
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Old 06-23-2006, 12:47 AM   #5
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i wish i got the advice of "Buy the biggest tank u can buy" when i first started out so i wouldn't have to waste money on upgrading XD
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Old 06-23-2006, 09:35 AM   #6
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I don't fully agree. Well I do agree but I don't - let me explain.

I agree that a larger tank is definitly better. They are eaiser to deal with cause the system of water is larger and crashes are less likley - water quality is a bit more stable. And yes you will end up wanting more and more space as you get into the collection of livestock so a larger tank gives you more room and more options. So yeah bigger tank is better in all those respects.

However you have to realize that when it comes to SW the costs are staggering. I mean it can be a black hole for your cash flow.

The first thing you need to decide is if you want a fish only tank or if you want to do coral in a reef type setup. A fish only tank will cost yo ua little less because yoru lighting requirments are not all that great. A reef tank needs strong lighting that is expensive.

Either way yo uare goign to have high costs. Lighting, pumps, filters, skimmers, Live rock, Live sand, cost of livestock, salt mix, RO or RODI water purifiers, maintanance costs and time, ect.

I don't mean to scare you but jsut tryign to be honest.

To give oyu an idea a typical 75 gallon reef tank setup would cost you someplace between $3,000-$5,000 for jsut the tank, pumps, lights and skimmer.
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Old 06-23-2006, 09:39 AM   #7
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Welcome to AA

50 gal is a good start and if getting the standard size of 36 7/8 x 19 x 19 5/8 it shouldn’t limit you too much. The sticky Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank. covers all the basic/optional equipment needed but in general I’d look at a start up cost of about $20-$40 a gal. (about $1000-$2000 for the size you are considering now) The start up cost is highly dependent on mostly tank size/type, base/lr, & type of lighting you decide on.

Since you haven’t bought your tank yet and if you have the money/room for a slightly larger drilled tank then as everyone else recommended I’d get something slightly larger like a standard 55 gal (which is a foot longer) or 75-90 gal.

A sump isn’t a “must have” item but will greatly improve the simplicity you are looking for. I would use the sump mostly for adding water volume/hiding equipment more then using it as a means of filtration.

If you use 1.5+ lbs of base/lr per gal in the tank/sump it will provide all the necessary biological filtration along with a quality skimmer to remove excess waste before it has time to convert to nitrate.

Research is key to a successful SW tank and I’d highly recommend reading all the saltwater articles on this site, the articles on liveaquaria.com, & picking up a good book. All are excellent ways to get acquainted with all that’s required for this expensive hobby.
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Old 06-23-2006, 07:24 PM   #8
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Thanks guys, i figured it would be costly. I just want to do it right the first time and not cut any corners so that in the long run it will save me heart ache and $$$! I was thinking 75g and I am starting to realize the cost of doing it right.
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Old 06-23-2006, 07:32 PM   #9
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Yea! Go with a 75G. Lots of active swimming fish's minimum requirement is 75G
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Old 06-23-2006, 07:58 PM   #10
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I have to agree, buy as big as you can afford.
Most people don't realize your number of fish is especially limited in a SW tank due to the low oxygen content of the water. That coupled with the sensitivity of the livestock can make what looks like a thriving active tank foul in no time flat.
Rule of thumb for a 50g is 10" of fish (nose to base of tail).
That's not much, and honestly can mean just one specimin in many cases.
It's all variable of course, some fish eat very little and produce little waste, other fish eat alot or are messy eaters...

A sump/predrilled tank add a good bit of coin to the mix but are aesthetically far more pleasing to the eye and provide some additional benefits in the way of filtration (more nutrient export means a more balanced tank).

Lighting is an important factor, but for the average person a 200$ VHO or CF can handle most any reef thing you'd want to keep (within reason..always check on the reqs for livestock). A fish only setup won't need any special lights, normal flourescent works fine (throw an actinic bulb in for the pleasing color).

Must get a skimmer...have to have a skimmer...don't skrimp here.. a good skimmer will keep things going well and stable.

Adding live rock and a decent sand bed to the mix will greatly add to the biological filtration of the tank, making breaking down waste products a more efficient process.

Is best (and least problematic) to go with filtered water.. a decent setup for that includes a ro/di unit (75$ or so), a powerhead, a heater and a 30g+ tub to store water in for water changes.

In my most recent large tank, a 90g bowfront, I got out of checkout isle for it and all the equipment for about 2300$... That included tank, stand, canopy, sump, return pump, skimmer, two powerheads with hydors (rotating tips for powerheads), two heaters, CF 265watt lights and all the tubes and powerstrips I needed.
Then add 40$ for salt (already had the ro/di unit), 10 bucks for sand (use the proper play sand from home depot), and 500$ for live rock (I get mine delivered straight from the ocean now).
So 2850$ just to start a new 90g with the potential for 85% of marine life out there (give or take, rough estimate).
It adds up quick... but I'll say it ends up cheaper then therapy! (I work in IT hehehe)

Oh, and I advise NOT to go with a 90g bowfront.. you need a blasted step stool to reach the sandbed, and I'm 6'1" with long arms (it's a TALL tank).

Sorry for the ramble..hope some of it helps somehow
gl and welcome to the salt!
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