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Old 04-11-2006, 07:15 AM   #1
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Starting the SW hobby with coral propagation?

I've always liked SW tanks very much, but they are just too expensive for me now. But what if I start by setting up a coral propagation tank? Something small, 20 gal? (I know, it is recommended to start larger, but is it easier if you only keep corals and not fish?) I really like zoos allot, and as far as I know (correct me please if I'm very wrong) all you have to do is take a rock with a colony of zoos on it, put an empty rock next to it, and voila, in some months time it has spread to the other rock?

What are your opinions on this? And what would be the cost with minimal equipment? (doesn't have to look nice) Do you think I could run something like that near to costless (when selling back to lfs)

(I've browsed through several sites on how to propagate corals and zoos.... including www.garf.org)
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:00 AM   #2
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Don't know if the general rule about 1 to 1.5 lbs of live rock per gallon for reef tanks would also apply to a prop tank, but I would still consider a couple of fish and a small reef safe cleanup crew in a prop tank. What's Garf got to say about fish in coral prop tanks? Wondering if there would be any down side to it.

What kinda light you thinking about the 20g?

And yes, zoos do spread like that.
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:13 AM   #3
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Well, I don't know about fish in prop tanks, but I have seen pics of prop tanks with some small fish in it. Cleanup crew I would add though.

Lighting: DIY? Can you provide adequate lighting to grow zoos with T 12 or T8's? Or would I be needing MH?
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:22 AM   #4
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I don't know anything about T12s or 8s, but with a 20g tank, 130w (2x65)PC lighting would work also IMO. That night even work on a taller tank (same footprint) like a 29g. You're not talking hard corals are you?
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austinsdad
I don't know anything about T12s or 8s, but with a 20g tank, 130w (2x65)PC lighting would work also IMO. That night even work on a taller tank (same footprint) like a 29g. You're not talking hard corals are you?
No, I'd start out with easy to grow zoos and maybe some soft corals (don't know what though, I'm a noob at this) Any suggestions on good books about corals, anemones, zoos?
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:33 AM   #6
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I like Eric Borneman's "Corals - Selection, Husbandry, and Natural history". Not much on proprogation, bit a good source for information on habitat, lighting, flow, or other special care needs.
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:36 AM   #7
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Thanks for that, I'll look into some books before I jump into this

Any members who own a prop tank that care to tell me about their setup?
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:42 AM   #8
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Coral propagation while not difficult is still not going to a good “return on investment” for quite awhile. Especially with a 20 gal tank. For optimal space and height I’d consider a 40 Breeder tank which is 36 3/16 x 18 1/4 x 16 15/16 if I was doing it. At the very least I’d get a 20 gal long tank 30 1/4 x 12 1/2 x 12 ¾.

I’d make sure the lfs in your area would even consider buying corals and at what rates they are willing to pay.

For basic equipment you would need:
Tank
ro/di
Quality skimmer like the AquaC Urchin which would fit on the 40 gal tank.
Quality salt like Tropic Marine Salt, Kent Sea Salt, & Crystal Sea Marinemix which are better formulated for reef tanks.
Power heads for good water circulation.
Egg crates
Supplements to maintain chemical levels needed along with Salifert test kits to properly monitor them.
Food to supplement them if not fully photosynthetic.
Lighting of at least 200+W using PC and/or VHO and depending on the corals wanting to propagate MH lighting would be needed.
Using a sump/overflow with 2+ lbs per gal of lr would help keep no3 down and give your tank maximum room for corals.

Total cost could easily run you $1500+ just to start up a “small coral tank” which would tank 2+ years to make back selling corals for $10-$20 back to the lfs which is what the going rate at mine is. Also most lfs unless they know you well will only give you a store credit which isn’t bad for keeping up your main tank but is pointless if trying to make money.

Not to discourage you but more to inform you of the “basic equipment needed” and if you do it I would do it for your own enjoyment and not as a “wise business decision”.

For articles I’d checkout: The "Fragging" Phenomenon
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Old 04-11-2006, 01:00 PM   #9
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Yup he is right.

If money is an issue then don't do it. Save money untilk you can afford what you want to do. That or go smaller or mold your thoughts to fit your wallet.
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Old 04-11-2006, 05:27 PM   #10
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I also must say that if you have never done salt, then you don't want to start out with a tank that is intended to grow coral. Most of us that started reef's lost coral to begin with and that was after having a tank set up for at least a few months.

Sorry man. It can be done, but it will take a little money and experience.
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