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Old 01-03-2012, 11:41 PM   #1
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starting a new SW tank, new to the hobby.

hey guys, new on the boards here, was invited by a good friend of mine.. anyways story is, i've been running a FW setup for about a year now, and recently have been getting the SW itch.. due to space restrictions i wont be able to get what i oiginally wanted (55G) so had to settle for the 20GL. Ive read and heard so many places that the smaller the tank the harder the maintenance is. i dont disagree with that and wish i could go with the 55,but thats not happening anytime soon.... what id like to do is learn as i go. when my situation improves the tank size will grow as well. i intend to do a FOWLR for starters and when i get the hang of it maybe make it into a "nano" reef tank (pipe dreams as of now..)
i hope to get your guys advice to start everything off. i am in no rush and am not stuck to a certain livestock list. your advice is greatly needed and appreceited..

what i have..
-20 G Long Tank
-Marineland Bio-Wheel 280 Filter
-30# Med Agri Sand.(not live)
-Instant ocean salt mix. (enough for 50G)
-Instant ocean Hydrometer.
-Thermometer

what i THINK i need..suggestions and corrections wanted...
-Powerheads (2?)
-Heater(s)?
-Live Rock
-Saltwater Test Kit
-Decent Light (have basic 1 bulb hood light temp.)

what iv done so far is, wash the sand,tank put sand in and turn filter on, threw on a little temp filter as well to get the cloudiness out faster. and also threw a mini heater temp as well.
My question is should i get the Live Rock now, so it starts the natural cycle? or should i wait until the bacteria builds up on its own in the sand? also should the filter be running with the carbon? also on some videos i see people take out this "bio-Wheel" filter. is there a reason for that.. thank you guys for helping me out with these questions,i will read up as much as i can and once again i know this is'int the greatest size for beginners. but its all i can do right now...Thanks! -Edward
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Old 01-04-2012, 12:42 AM   #2
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I have never tried with a smaller tank such a 20 gal. I also have never used the biowheels before. The carbon in my opinion is not needed.

Def 1 powerhead would do just fine. Is this going to be a fish and live rock tank. . . . No coral?
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Old 01-04-2012, 12:47 AM   #3
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For now just fish with live rock.but eventually when I learn more about them id like to try corral. Should I keep carbon in for now? Until I get live rock?thanks!
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Old 01-04-2012, 01:05 AM   #4
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Get your rock in as soon as you can so the bacteria has more surface to grow on. If you have an api test kit you can use the same one for fresh water or saltwater Downloads; Pump and filter Instructions, Test Kit charts you will have to get a different ph. I don't run carbon in my tanks usually unless I am trying to clear up the water.

One thing I like to get people to buy is a refractometer since it is much more accurate than a hydrometer.
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Old 01-04-2012, 01:16 AM   #5
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Nice , thanks! Is there any good places online to buy LR from? My LFS SW section sucks.thanks!
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Old 01-04-2012, 02:08 AM   #6
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also, any suggestions on a heater? thanks!
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Old 01-04-2012, 02:48 AM   #7
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Check out reefrocks.net. Had i known about this site before i bought my own rock, i would have bought from there. There have been quite a number of good reviews from here.

As for a heater, i like the titanium element heaters. I'm not a fan of ones made from glass. Just too many things that will go wrong with them.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:02 AM   #8
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I get my rock from people downsizing their tanks usually off local forums or craigslist even sometimes word of mouth.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:07 AM   #9
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A question about LR. Since I am in no hurry can I do a couple pounds of live rock and the rest dry rock to finish my scape? How long before cured based rock becomes live? Also what's the acclimation process for LR? Thanks guys!
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Old 01-04-2012, 12:24 PM   #10
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You can use all dry rock if you like. It will protect you from unwanted hitch hikers surfacing down the road. i personally like live rock because i find the hitch hikers fascinating. Even the nasty ones!
I would keep the single bulb light for now. It's all you need for what you are doing. When you wan to go reef, then choose a better fixture tailored to your needs.
Where are you located? I have a hundred pounds or so in a barrel...
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