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Old 05-25-2008, 06:27 AM   #1
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Misc newbie questions

This will be my first reef tank - well first saltwater tank for that matter. My focus the past couple years has been hi-tech planted tanks.

First the specs:
~27gal 30Lx18Wx12H
Eheim 2217 canister
2x24wt T5 HO lighting - 1 life glo 2 bulb, 1 powerglo bulb
~45lbs live rock
aragonite substrate

Stocking:
1 turbo snail
3 smaller snails - cone-shaped shells
3 quite small blue-legged hermits

questions:
-long long should my photoperiod be?
-I assume I should switch out the life-glo bulb for a marine glo?
-What should I feed the snails/crabs until the tank has adequate alage?
I have an assortment of freshwater foods. I have shrimp pellets, hikari crab cuisine, algae wafers, frozen mysis, bloodworms, and brine
-Is it probable that I need a small powerhead? What kind of flow/movement should I aim for?
-I'm reading that a canister filter may not be the best option due to nitrate buildup... suggestions? HOB?
-protein skimmer - suggest an appropriate model

TIA
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Old 05-25-2008, 09:58 AM   #2
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i keep my daylights on for 8 hours, and the actinics on for another 4, for a grand total of 12 hours daylight. naturally, we are trying our best to mimic the normal day at the reef.

life glo? marine glo? depending on what type of coral you plan to keep, and where it was originally harvested from, will dictate what color temperature your lamps should be. if you choose deep water corals, then a higher color temperature is optimum(between 14 and 20k). lumens are not the only thing to consider when choosing lamps for a reef tank. there is also PAR(photosynthetically active radiation)to consider.
i'm not sure that your 48 watt fixture will be enough for the more light demanding corals.
if you are utilizing a protein skimmer, and a decent amount of live rock, and keep your bio-load reasonable, you won't need any other types of filtration. the cannister has been known to be a source of nitrate, mainly because people maintain them as they did for freshwater tanks, and clean them too infrequently. if you decide to use the cannister, i'd suggest cleaning it weekly.
a protein skimmer for a small tank like that is going to be a difficult task. i'd suggest maybe the tunze nano skimmer. most of the smaller skimmers are junk IME. some might suggest the aqua-c remora, but i was very disappointed in the one i had.

you can get away without a skimmer with a strict waterchange schedule(i'd go with weelky 20% changes). that's probably the route i'd take with a tank of that size.

yes, more than 1 powerhead would be a good idea. the object is to create random flow. not just a constant blast of water. choose the gph of your powerheads by learning the requirements of the corals you plan to keep.

you can utilize some freshwater foods. i'd suggest using them sparingly, and feeding the tank with a cleaner food source like some fresh foods. i tossed a bunch of stuff in the blender like clams, scallops, shrimp, and a few other things i bought at the local supermarket, then froze the puree flat in a plastic ziplock and feed that mostly. the tank is healthier for it. again, research the requirements of the creatures you plan to keep for a proper diet.

i wouldn't add any snails, hermits, or any other living creatures until the tank has completely cycled. the lights don't need to be on at all for the cycling process.
i'd add your snails and things as needed. the hermits are carnivorous predators and will eat anything, including your snails. sometimes they will kill them just for their shells. sometimes they will kill them for the heck of it.
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Old 05-25-2008, 10:55 AM   #3
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I will pretty much mimic what Doug said. Most people here use a 12 hour photo period with the Actinics on for 12 hours and the white (10k) lights on for 10 hours. If you are starting with a FO or FOWLR tank lighting is not very important. Fish can sustain in higher nitrate levels than corals, so the cannister should be fine as long as you clean it as Doug suggested.

Do a search on 'home made food' or 'blender mush' and you'll find lots of recipes for home made food. Rod's Frozen Food has become popular, but I find it pricey.
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Old 05-25-2008, 12:43 PM   #4
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I agree with the above responses as well. The light fixture you have will need to be replaced with a more intense one if you go reef but just fine if you do a FOWLR tank. You should have enough rock so just add some flow via powerheads and you can just use the canister for added flow just remove everything from it and use it just for flow it will give you a place to run media later if needed. You should have about 10x-20x tank turnover per hour.

And if you aren't doing this already mix your saltwater 24hours in advance in a mixing tub with RO/DI water a heater and a powerhead. Then test your specific gravity with a refractometer. Hydromoters are often inaccurate.
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Old 05-25-2008, 02:38 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice so far.

I was kinda hoping that as shallow as the tank is, that I wouldn't need to upgrade. I don't plan (yet) to keep anything too difficult.

So, would a koralia pump and a smaller protein skimmer be a better option than the canister?
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Old 05-25-2008, 04:07 PM   #6
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With your current light fixture you can keep Fish and LR, maybe some muhrooms. There a few low light lps you may also be able to keep but you are extremely limited.

The koralia is a power head. It is an in-tank pump to for water movement within the tank. It can be used to pump water into a tank. If you have a sump then you also need a pump to get water back into the tank. If you already have the canister filter use it for now.
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