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Old 11-02-2009, 03:15 PM   #1
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New tank advice

A friend of mine wants to start a salt water aquarium, this will be her first. I have tried to persuade her to start with a fresh water tank, but she wants the cast of neon swimming in her bedroom. Sheís a pretty sharp cookie and a real quick learner. I myself have had a few marine tanks twenty years ago with good success. I recently started a new African cichlid aquarium - 180 gallons - which is what spurred her on.

She has given me licence to make it happen. I wonít say no matter what the cost but I have some liberal freedom here. The problem I see is this - we live in a remote area of northern Canada. No other person in the community has a marine aquarium, nor is likely to. There is no place to run if something goes wrong.

When I set up my most recent tank I used 2 Rena XP3ís both running, if one goes down I can repair or replace in forty eight hours -same with the heaters - redundancy built into everything. I am seeking advice from the proís. Because she wants this in the bedroom quiet is of importance - the husband has so decreed it. That is one of the advantages of the XP3 - very quiet. Some of the reading Iíve done recommends protein skimmers. Having never used such a device I donít know how noisy they can be. Live rock seems to be another popular item of benefit Ė something she is very open to.

This is what she said she wants - Iím looking for advice to put it together. One five foot long aquarium- twenty four inches deep and twenty inches high, with canopy to conceal lighting and closed-in stand for filtration equipment. As a back up tank in the family room - a three foot long twenty inches deep twenty inches high - Complete with canopy and stand like the other. With the limited experience I have to offer and your advice Iím sure we can keep the damage to a minimum.

For those who think this is not a good idea Ė she is not willing to accept no as answer. I need to find a way to make this work!

Des
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Old 11-03-2009, 01:51 AM   #2
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The best thing I can say is have her start researching. Everyone has their own ideas of what they want and how much time they are willing to spend on it.
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:34 AM   #3
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Having just started my first tank ever I went SW and I went with a 75g and I will give you my advice. First, Are you going to be maintaining it or is she? If you are going to be maintaining a 5 foot and 3 foot long tank for your friend be prepared for the commitment.


1. See if there's anyway to get it down to a smaller tank. A 5 foot and 3 foot tank for a beginner is going to be VERY expensive. If you are that remote you will have to get back ups for everything so they must be prepared for a huge cost.

2. (and most important). READ, READ, READ! And not just the online. You must buy a book. Salt water is so much more sensitive than fresh. But it is rewarding. I love my new tank (even though it's just cycling)

Good luck. You are an awesome friend to do this for her.
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Old 11-03-2009, 11:55 AM   #4
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Have her read some of the articles on this site. A favorite beginner book by some is Robert Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" - or something like that. Pretty good still, except for the cycling with fish refernce in it. Use this sites guide to cycling instead.

She's gonna need to know if she's doing reef or fish only too since that'll dictate lighting and maybe other things you'll be buying - and spending options.

Live rock is a must IMO for SW tanks. More for reef tanks. 1 - 1.5 lbs of live rock (LR) per gallon of water is recommended for reef. Less for fish only.

I like the idea of two tanks. One can be a quarantine tank for new purchases. I'm a firm believer in that process. The Qt tank is a lot cheaper, since usually no rock, sand, and cheap lighting will do. Good luck and keep us posted before committing to any purchases and such. We'll help.

And of course, Welcome to AA!!!
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Old 11-04-2009, 03:54 PM   #5
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Thanks for the help and here's more questions

Thanks to all that have replied. One other thing I should have mentioned my friend hates to read. Itís not that she canít she just prefers not to, so I will have to read and read Iíve been doing. You have to know her, you donít have to love her, thatís my job. Sheís very smart and rigid in her thinking. These are the fixed considerations 1- 5 foot tank and 1- 3 foot tank, nonnegotiable. The main tank is to house the main cast of Finding Nemo, short the rather large sharks, the puffer fish. She will try to maintain one Moorish Idle even though sheís read and heard itís not the best idea. She will be doing the maintenance based on what I bring to the table after this learning curve. Iíve had three tank marine tanks in the past. I have a little knowledge to bring to the table, but things have changed in twenty years.

These are my opening thoughts on equipment two Rena XP3 canisters for the five footer and one for the three footer. Rena in-line heaters for all three units. 1.5 lbs. of live rock per gallon for the five foot tank, none for the three foot tank. For protein skimmer Iím so far recommending the Turboflotor 5000 Shorty. Iíve selected this one because itís a free standing and quite unit, plus it will go into the stand below. If anyone has a better idea Iím open this unit is not cheap. As for lighting Iím open to recommendations

Des
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Old 11-04-2009, 04:05 PM   #6
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wow Des, reading your thread I've figured out "your friend" is indeed Megan Fox, because she's the only gal I'd do all that for who doesn't like to read.

best of luck!
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