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Old 02-01-2009, 12:25 AM   #1
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LFS Provides "New" Idea For Setup

Hey guys:

I have been lurking around reading threads for a few months now. I'm getting very close to taking the plunge for my 1st reef tank. I have read all about the debates of plenum vs. DSB and all filtration methods, lighting opinions, and just about every topic I can think of!!

My problem is that I went into a LFS that has been around for 30 yrs. and spoke to the owner. I told him that for money and space constraints, I'd like to start a 29g reef tank (few hardy corals, and a few fish) and asked for his input. He seems very knowledgeable and suggested the following setup which completely throws me for a loop:

* 29g tank
* 2 bulb 30" HO flourescent light (didn't get into exact wattage)
* 30 or so lbs of dry aragonite (caribSea Seafloor Special Grade)
* 30 or so lbs of live rock
* sufficient heater
* power filter (don't remember brand or size maybe upto 55g with
sponge and carbon media)

He said skimmer won't make a HUGE difference unless you go to a super-expensive unit so its not needed in this particular setup.


This guy has some spotlessly clean tanks and some very healthy corals, inverts, and fish of all sizes. He pretty much specializes in SW setups. He doesn't seem to be trying to take as much of my money as he can. What gives?? Am I missing something or is this a super-secret ultra-simple reef tank setup that I haven't read about?

Without starting debates on which methods are better, what do you guys think about the success of THIS particular combination?

Thanks,

Jeff

Oh yeh, I forgot to mention that what I call "new" in the subject line is just new to me. He says he has started MANY of these setups that have been successfully maintained for 10+ years!!
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:37 AM   #2
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It is a solid setup that has been around for many, many years. I would venture in saying it is a modified Berlin system so instead of a skimmer you use a filter, except many diy their filters into refugiums, thus making it a "natural system" utilizing live rock as your main biological filter. They have been around since the 1970's?
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:42 AM   #3
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It just seems a little too simplified!! I've read MANY MANY hours to get ideas about what works and what doesn't. I think I may be a little too gun-shy right now. I probably just need to get something up and running and see how it goes!! I've always been a little too much of a planner and not enough of a do'er!!

One thing I can't really understand yet though is if a very basic setup is "solid" even in a 29g bucket...why does everyone add suck complexity and expense to their systems that are bigger and more stable? ...'prolly opening a can of worms with that one
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:50 AM   #4
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For a 29g I would use an Aquaclear 110 filter and modify into a refugium like so: ReefMonkey Saltwater Aquarium Forum - View topic - DIY AquaClear 70 fuge The propeller doesn't need to be modified in a 110 and the light platform can be made a little nicer with some ingenuity. If you provide at least 1.5" of space from where the extension tube platform sits and the baffle you can fit in two 50w heaters (Visitherm or Tronic). Lighting will depend on what you wish to keep and I will go ahead and assume you will eventually want some type of coral collection, whether it be soft, lps, or sps. You only need enough sand for 2"-3". You cannot create a sufficient dsb in such a small footprint nor would you want to take up so much space.
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Old 02-02-2009, 02:12 AM   #5
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Agree with Innovator... nothing really "new" about the setup described. Pretty standard setup in my opinion. I'd just make sure the lighting you get will support the corals you want.
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Old 02-02-2009, 03:01 AM   #6
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****UPDATE**** Sorry to change topics but here goes...

OK, I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for splurging on my hobbies!! I went back and talked with the owner for 45 minutes or so. After our discussion, I left with a beautiful 50 gallon Show by Oceanic [30x18x18] AquaClear 110, 40lbs of sand, and salt mix. I plan to set everything up and cycle it (maybe 3 weeks by adding a cocktail shrimp??) and then add about 50lbs of live rock and wait for a hopefully shorter cycle. Then I'll buy a lighting system and a couple fish. When its maintaining itself, I'll start introducing some softies and begin amassing my underwater showcase!!

Does this sound like a workable plan??

By the way, he was still under the impression that I wasn't buying yet, just looking so he wasn't in full-salesman mode!! The 50g was my choice!!

Thanks!!

Jeff
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Old 02-02-2009, 09:42 AM   #7
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Great size tank to start with. I started with the same size.
The only thing I would suggest is get the live rock now and cycle with it instead of cycling with the shrimp and possibly having another cycle start when you add the rock later.
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Old 02-02-2009, 11:36 AM   #8
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I think you'll be much happier starting bigger. You'll be amazed how quick you run out of room if you intend to add coral.

Also agree that you should add the rock right up front. Adding it later will only prolong the cycle.

Quote:
When its maintaining itself, I'll start introducing...
Boy... if you get it to maintain itself, let us know how you do it! I think I know what you mean, but I just had to chuckle at that statement. You're on the right track though... research, and take it slow.
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Old 02-02-2009, 11:41 AM   #9
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OK, so maybe I don't know how to properly use the jargon yet, but I'm learning!! Thanks for the help and the insults!! I can deal with both!!
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:39 PM   #10
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You will definitely enjoy the 50 much more than a small tank...and in about 6 months you are gonna be wanting a 100 gal or larger. It is addictive and looks like you are off to a good start. Welcome to AA!!! The best advice I have ever been given is take it slow , RESEARCH, ask LOTS OF QUESTIONS adn HAVE FUN!!!!
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