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Old 02-25-2015, 08:59 PM   #1
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Hi, Im new to the forum and this is my first post so thanks for taking the time to read this. I am not new to the hobby but I am very new to the salt water aspect. I got married last year and my wife and I visited Maui. we did some snorkeling there and I was stricken by how beautiful the fish and there environment was. this led me to begin looking into keeping a reef tank. I would like to build an acrylic tank any where from 50-100 Gal. and eventually keep some hardy corals and fish. I am planning on doing a 20Gal sump with a large portion of it housing a refugeium and a good protean skimmer. since Im new to all this I was looking for someone who is willing to help guide me. so my questions are; would a 50-100Gal be good for starting? if so is there a particular size thats best? is a 20Gal. sump sufficient filtration? and what kinds of fishes and corals would work in a tank of that size? thank you in advance for any advice and taking the time to help me.
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Old 02-25-2015, 09:22 PM   #2
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I think 50-75 gallons would be a good size. As the tank gets bigger, the costs go up a lot when it comes to salt for water changes so in this regard a smaller tank is beneficial. Since you are building it, you can do custom dimensions which allows you to fit dimensions to how you are scaping. While in freshwater the bigger you go the better, saltwater can be a little more iffy in this regard. Would you be able to do maintenance on a tank of large size reliably? Do you have the money to set up a larger tank? Do you have the room in your house to do so? These are all important questions to ask when choosing a size in the 50-100 gallon range.

Having said this, I hope I can help you in the future and I am glad you are part of the community.
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Old 02-25-2015, 09:24 PM   #3
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bigger the better in saltwater... always.
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Old 02-25-2015, 09:53 PM   #4
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thanks icydeath. in regards to maintenance on a reef tank, Ive never dealt with sand as a substrate so does that require any special attention? Or would certain inhabitants of the tank do most of that (ie hermit crab) ? and if I had corals would I be looking at adding something like kalkwasser or is there something better?
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Old 02-25-2015, 10:45 PM   #5
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Basically, you aim for 1-1.5 lbs of sand and rock per gallon. Then, you set it and forget it. No siring the sand on this side of things. You want to aim for 50-100x turnover in the tank from powerheads, and this helps to make sure nothing settles and can get picked up by other filtration means.
For corals, it takes an extremely overstocked tank to normally require any type of dosing. You just want to make sure you have the lighting to support it. We always talk about the 'taotronic' LEDs here as they are the cheapest option to be able to keep anything photosynthetic you want. Each unit covers 2ft of tank.
When it comes to planning what you want to do, I suggest checking out liveaquaria.com to get an idea on what you'd like to put in the tank. This will dictate the size you will end up with when you find the fish that you simply can't live without. You can go from there and build around it.
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Old 02-25-2015, 10:57 PM   #6
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okay, awesome. thanks for the insight. and I love liveaquaria.com. I was thinking of something really simple like some clowns to start out. what would be some good tank makes for them?
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Old 02-25-2015, 11:06 PM   #7
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Almost anything. They are damsels, but not very aggressive ones in comparison. They should have a compatibility chart. When I first got into the hobby I spent a good amount of time looking at fish and then the chart. I'd suggest doing similar.
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:20 PM   #8
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This is the chart sniperhawk is referring to. Marine Compatability Chart
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:21 AM   #9
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nice! thanks
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:36 AM   #10
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The tank that's ideal for a reef has a nice footprint. You don't want a tall, slender tank like a standard 55 gallon or a hexagon. This is hard to aquascape and hard to achieve flow, while the top few inches are wasted.
I suggest a nice, wide tank. I also believe bigger is better and will allow you to keep bigger swimmers. I don't think the price of upkeep is much different from a 50 to a 100 gallon, once the initial cost has been swallowed.
DSA aquariums makes a 105 that's got a decent footprint (48x24) while easy to reach the bottom and light (only 21" tall).
Your sump should be the biggest you can fit in the allotted space (I'm assuming inside the stand). For this particular tank I would use a 40 breeder. The sump isn't really a method of filtration. It's an extra container of water to hold the things you don't want seen in the display, like mechanical filters, heater(s), protein skimmer, refugium, any media reactors....
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