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Old 06-08-2010, 10:00 PM   #1
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New to Saltwater - Any ideas?

I am new to the saltwater keeping hobby and I have a few questions. I am lucky enough to have a 20 gallon aquarium and enough time to devote to it, and right now it is just reef, but I am interested in adding some coral...
I know you need special lights, but I am looking for brands. I have powerheads and a hang on the back filter. I have access to Preuss Pets in Michigan and they have the coolest saltwater section. I am looking for ideas to add to my saltwater tank that has been through almost 4 cycles and would appreciate any input
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:53 PM   #2
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Do you have any LR for biological filtration. I see you have the PH`s to push the water around. Here is a good link on some of the things you`ll need.

Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank.

BTW welcome to AA
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:54 PM   #3
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Also moving this to the getting started forum.
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:12 AM   #4
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Why are you on the 4th cycle of the tank? Once it's cycled and you've done your large PWC you should be able to add livestock.

Btw, the term reef is generally meant to mean you already have corals. The other terms are FO for fish only and FOWLR for fish only with live rock.

What substrate do you have in the tank and how deep is it?

What types of coral do you want to keep? That wil determine how much lighting you need.
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:44 AM   #5
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Tell us more about those "4 cycles". What was that and how didja do it?
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:59 PM   #6
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I have been keeping close watch on the ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and pH levels and when the ammonia peaked, I did a 20% water change to bring it back to the "normal" levels. I have done this 4 times.
I have much more than live rock... I bought live rock from Preuss Pets and ended up with some parts of coral, brittlestars, bristle worms, little starfish things, feather dusters, and one clibanarius tricolor. All from the 7 pounds of live rock that I bought. I also bought a damselfish and added her to my tank. I am feeding everything phytoplankton due to the growth on my rocks. I have 20 pounds of live sand as well in my tank.
At first I started to "feed" my empty tank, but then I bought the live rock and one clibanarius tricolor. Once I was sure my levels were stable I got my damselfish.
I know that light is needed in my tank and with the small amount of corals on my rocks, I would love to know what kinds of lights are necessary.
Thanks
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:23 PM   #7
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The lights you need are going to depend a lot on what type of coral you would like to keep. A T-5 fixture is always a good place to start with that sized tank. If you are just looking to keep soft corals, zoas (lower light) a 4 bulb fixture should be fine. If you want some of the more high light corals (SPS - small polyp stony, among others) you will need to look for a 6 or 8 bulb fixture.

I can't really offer a good brand to you because there are a ton available and opinions very widely. I can offer two pieces of advice for you. First, make sure what ever fixture you get it has individual parabolic reflectors. Second, i personally would stay away from anything coralife. I worked in a fish store for a while and we got more returns and problems from their products then the other brands.

On a non-light related topic. I would strongly suggest getting your self a liquid nitrate test kit. Don't trust dip strips and don't trust your LFS employees to know their thumb from their rear end about "normal" levels for your tank. It will help you keep a much better idea of how your tank level is doing and save you a lot of head aches in the end. There are other test kits you may want down the road but knowing your nitrates is very important.
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:40 PM   #8
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