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Old 12-03-2003, 03:02 PM   #1
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Newbie Questions - Please Help! All feedback appreciated.


I could really use everyones input here. I have just started a salt water tank. I intend for it to become a reef tank. Here is what I have right now.

46 Gallon Bowfront All Glass tank 36" across
Hang on Filter Emperor 400
AquaC Remora Skimmer
30 pds of Sand
46 Pds of live Fiji Rock.
Instant Ocean.

I would like to stock a few fish, and the usual mushrooms, and some corals etc. not really sure what my options are yet.

Here are my questions. I know there is no perfect way to set up this tank, BUT I am looking for adivce on what I need to add to make it as successful as possible.

I am considering going with a custom Sea Life 36" lighting 2x96 Power compacts. I am reading good things. I am not that handy, and with the bowfront, I think adding a hook could be difficult. I only have about 9 inches do to the the hang on filter and skimmer. Any other suggestions?

Also, will I need to include powerheads? I guess you can just mount them on the side with suction cups? If so, How many? I was thinking of three. Anything special I need to know about them? Circulating? straight flow? I dont really know much about them. Any you would suggest?

I havent even bought any test kits yet. What kind do I need? Additives?

Am I on the right track here? Or do I need to take a different route? Are there any other items you would add to the tank to make it as natural as possible? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-03-2003, 05:49 PM   #2
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Well it is good that you havent added any live animals yet. Where to start..

First off you need some test kits. Initially I would recommend kits for the following:
Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, PH, Alkalinity. You will also need a salinity meter. Test kits vary with accuracy and ease of use. I would recommend salifert test kits, they are the most accurate out there. (although expensive they are worth it. They are the only way you know what is going on in the tank.)

Lighting will determine what you will be able to keep in the future. If you want mushrooms, soft corals, zooanthids etc power compact lighting should suffice. If you want small polyp stony (SPS), Large polyp stony (LPS), or clams more light will be required. I suggest you pick up some books (i would recommend "The modern Reef Aquarium by Julian Sprung and Charles Deelbek" as a good starting point.

Adding powerheads (PH), or some form of waterflow in the tank is essential. I would place one PH near the top of the water column directed at the surface, and one on either side of the tank facing each other to start.

You do not need any additives at this point, and until you can test your water you wont know what you need

Patience is the key. How long ago did you add the rock and sand? Shoot me a PM and i will answer any questions you have.

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Old 12-03-2003, 06:36 PM   #3
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I think the lighting you have will be fine for most corals as jks said but I also feel you could probably keep some of the easier SPS corals if you kept them at the top of the tank.

What do you mean when you say..

I think adding a hook could be difficult.
You will definatly need some powerheads if all you have for water circulation is a hang on filter and skimmer. I think 3 maxijet1200 powerheads would do good for your tank. YOu could position two of them to blow toward the middle of the bow from the back corners and then ave one blowing across the back of the tank. Have at least two of the powerheads postioned so they disturbe the surface of the tank. Dont buy those powersweep powerheads. If you want one that rotates back and forth I belive I have seen attachments that you can get for the powerheads that will do that.

Something you did not mention was a heater. Unless you keep your house at a warm temp of 80F you will probably need some sort of heater as well. I Like to keep my tanks at a temp range of 80-82F.

The firstthing you want to do is get your tank cycled. You will need test kits for this so as you know when your tank has gotten thru the cycle. You an find an article in our articles area that talks about cycling your tank with a shrimp.
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Old 12-03-2003, 07:17 PM   #4
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good catch FF, i missed the heater thing, i sent you a PM to help you along
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