was wondering if you can give me some advice about what equipment I would need and good places to get it. I have been hearing things about LS and many people saying getting argonnite (sp?) sand then mixing with LS. What kind of Ratio for that? Thanks for all your help in advance.
Well as far as equipment we can break this down into three main sections.
As for Lighting, you should have a good idea if you want a fish only tank, fish with live rock, or a reef tank. Once you have that then we can get down to selecting the proper lighting. For a fish only tank the lights that come with a standard tank will work fine. Fish don't need any real special light except to show off their colors to us. Fish only with live rock would be simular to a fish only setup but maybe have a double light fixture or maybe some low power compact florecents. The additional light will show off the fish's colors but also assist with the nice colored coralline growth on the live rocks. You also might end up with some macro algae (good) or maybe even some small corals on the live rocks.. For a Reef tank you need much more light than a fish only system. The general rule of thumb is 3-5 watts per gal
so for a 50 gal
tank that is 150-250 watts of light. Depending on the depth you might need more than that. Lighting options for a reef tank would be VHO
, Power Compact florecents, or Metal Halide. There is a link in here some place on lighting.
Circulation, you should shoot for 1
flow rate (10 times the volume of your tank) in your tank. So if you have a 50 gal
tank then 500gph at a minimum should be moving in your system. You can achieve this by use of Power Heads, or the use of a sump and a water pump.
Heating, rather simple but important if you live any where other than a warm climent. Size your heater based what you usually keep your house temp at. I like to suggest a temp range for the tank of 82F. For a 50 gal
tank I would go with a 250W or a 300W heater. Some might suggest two smaller heaters.
As far as filtration, If you go with live rock and live sand then about the only other filtration item you might want would be a skimmer. I like the prizm skimmer for a tank your size. If you go live rock you will need 1 - 1 1/2lbs/gal
and a 3-4" sand bed. You don't need a 100% live sand sand bed to start out with. You could use as little as 2-3" of dry sand and 1" of live sand on top. Over time all of the sand will become live and rich with bacteria and other sand dwelling critters.