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Old 02-26-2007, 12:51 PM   #11
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By that time, you will know what sites have the best prices and will be able to find bargains all over the place. I ended up wasting a lot of money on equipment, I no longer use.
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Old 02-26-2007, 03:02 PM   #12
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If so, is there any crab I can put on a reef that's relatively safe?
Porcelin crabs are peaceful, filter feeders. They can live with or with out a host anemone as long as nothing else will pick on them. Pom pom crabs are peaceful and very interesting as well.
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and perhaps a handful of bumblebees and/or red footed conch. I
Most conch's get big. I'd avoid them. Maybe one of them if it is an aquacultured species. As Roka said I've heard bumblebee will eat other snails. However I've never witnessed/noticed it in my tank-but I only had 5 or so BB snails. It's not nearly as much of a problem as it is w/ hermits. Bumblebees are good scavengers b/c they eat meat, detritus and climb rock unlike nass snails which tend to stay in the sand. That makes them good substitutes for hermits. Margarita snails are good herbivores/grazers. A few of them along with some ceriths and the other snails you mentioned will add to the diversity of the tank.
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My concern with the sea stars is that the serpent stars I'm seeing are listed as achieving a max size of 14", and that seems a bit excessive for a tank that's only 13" wide.
Possibly. If you get a small one it's not much of an issue. I've had one for a couple years and it's only grown a few inches. I guess it could possibly be an issue, but it would take some time. Believe it or not a 8-10" serpent star would probably be able to remain unseen until feeding time even in a 55 gal (w/ LR). They are pretty neat to watch and are great scavengers. Many people use them, it's up to you. It won't make or break anything.
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and seemed to be more forgiving than the linckia. I'd really like to have at least one nice bright visible sea star, but I'm not sure where the best options lie here
Some Fromia stars are very attractive as well as relatively hardy. Since seastars are delicate, IMO it's best to wait a few months before adding one to your system. That will allow your water chemistry to stabilize as well as time for algae, etc. to grow as a food source for the star. That will give you time to look around and research some more.
As far as shrimp go there are a few options. First, cleaner shrimp means in nature they will clean other species. In aquariums, they will shift to getting their nutrition from left-overs from fish feedings, scavenging, etc which makes them good janitors. "Cleaning" behavior usually decreases, or stops all together in aquariums. I would stay away from coral banded shrimp. They are very territorial and able to clearly express themselves w/ those claws lol. Pistol shrimp generally don't cause problems w/ fish. However I have witnessed mine take out healthy cleaner shrimp. As pistols grow they get more aggressive it seems. If you want other ornamental shrimp, I'd stay away from the pistol, at least in a 55 gal. Just about anything w/ claws has the potential to be a problem in a reef, especially smaller ones. Skunk cleaners do ok with each other. A couple peppermint and skunk cleaner shrimp would be ok together. Blood red/Fire shrimp tend to be more shy than skunk or peppermints. Although they are very attractive, they prefer to stay behind rock work.
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appearing mainly to be detritus cleaners, it seems like I may need to fill out with a few more algae grazers. The pincushion urchin may help there... perhaps two instead of one?
Most snails will feed off algae and diatoms as well. A pincushion would not be a bad idea. One would be plenty IMO.
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Anyway, I'm already waffling over that yellow tang. I don't want to be in a situation where half my stock is too big in a year or two
FWIW I've had a Y. tang in my 55 gal since '04. I can definitely see size become a concern in the next year or two. The tank is getting smaller and smaller... HTH and best of luck. Can't wait for pics
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Old 02-27-2007, 08:22 AM   #13
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Any opinions from you very knowledgeable individuals on setting up two standard 10gal or 15gal high tanks, one as a sump and one as a fuge, and then skipping the Magnum 350 filter entirely? Ziggy953 seems to indicate use of such a setup. That would increase my total water capacity from 55gal to 75-85gal which certainly would be a good thing. Checking the dimensions, I could fit the two tanks side-by-side in the footprint of the 55gal display tank, say inside a stand beneath it, and still have room for a beefy support and some plumbing in between. The tanks themselves should be dirt cheap or close to it, and the plumbing not much more; the return pump and some lighting for growing macroalgae in the fuge is about all I'd expect to spend much money on.
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:13 AM   #14
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Can you fit a 20-40G tank under there and do a DIY sump/fuge combo?
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:38 AM   #15
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Standard footprint size for a 55 gal is 48x13". The reason I picked dual 10s/15 Highs is because they're 20x10" and thus would each easily fit under half of the show tank, leaving me with eight inches (minus center support width) of length and three inches of width for plumbing. (Also because they should be very easy to obtain, and very cheap.) A 20 High (smallest footprint) would run 24x12", so would fit only if there was no center support to worry about. A 25 gal would be the same footprint but about four inches higher. Anything after that we're looking at 30-36" in length. I'm not sure how much I'd trust a stand to hold a good six hundred pounds or so of weight without a central support.

On the other hand, I'm seriously considering building my own stand out of plywood rather than using an off-the-shelf fiberboard one, and in that case it'd be a very simple matter to just make it a couple inches longer so as to support the 25 gal. Height isn't a concern because where most stands seem to run about 30-36" high, that's too short for me - I'm well over six feet tall and want it high enough that I don't have to sit on the floor to see into it. Even with the aforementioned 25 gal there'd be plenty of space... an inch of plywood directly on the floor to spread the weight evenly over the footprint, then 21" or so of height for the 25 gal, and I've got plenty enough room for a shelf above, perhaps to house the return water pump, the air pump for the skimmer, whatever. That'd leave the entire other half of the stand free for buckets, fish food, cleaning gear, possibly a bin to age saltwater in...
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:42 AM   #16
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That sounds like a better idea. You will be able to customize your stand to better fit your needs. Plus you now have an extra stand, for when you get that next itch.....
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:48 AM   #17
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Nah, no extra stand; I haven't purchased one. I'm in a complete and exhaustive planning stage now and won't actually be even purchasing any equipment for probably a few months yet.

But yes, customization and knowing it'd survive the end of the world are very definite plusses to constructing your own. And honestly, after seeing the construction on the stands I bought for my 10 and 29 gallon tanks, I'm not convinced that it could possibly be very difficult to do. Wouldn't be as pretty, but I bet it'd hold up a lot better. Gotta remember to invest in some serious water sealant is all.
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Old 02-27-2007, 05:08 PM   #18
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A 20 High (smallest footprint) would run 24x12"
FWIW they are actually 12.5" with the trim on the top and bottom. I did a DIY stand, canopy and sump for my 55 gal using a 20 gal for the sump/refugium. My stand is built so the outside edge of the 55 is even w/ the outside of the 2x4's used to make the frame. That will allow room for a 20 gal under the 55 gal, being supported by the 2x4's used to make the base of the frame. I then covered the 2x4 framing w/ oak. There are pics of my stand/sump in my gallery if your interested. Here is a great site w/ tons of info about DIY sumps- http://www.melevsreef.com/links.html
Here is something else to think about since your still planning. A 55 gal is very narrow. It makes it hard to get any depth in the front view of the tank. A 75 gal is the same H x L but it's 6" wider. Honestly, I wish I went w/ a 75 gal instead of a 55.
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Old 02-27-2007, 11:25 PM   #19
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Yeah, if I were going to go ahead and build the stand, my plans would be building it out to 50x14". A little extra space never hurt anyone.

I considered the 75-gallon instead, but I'm a wee bit concerned about the logistics of putting 750-800 lbs of dead weight on six square feet of floor. If I were putting it down on the concrete slab it'd be a complete non-issue, but as it is, it's a wood floor with crawlspace beneath, and I've got no idea what the structural strength of floorboard is.

And then there's cost - I'm sure the aquarium itself would be more expensive, but the main concern I'd have is that I'd then have to upgrade my lighting rig, all powerheads and water pumps, then more live rock and substrate, and I'd be pushing the max rated capacity of the skimmer, so it'd probably be wise to upgrade that too. For a less-than-50% increase in capacity I can see myself easily spending a good five or six hundred bucks extra. Sadly, my disposeable income is marginal at best and that could easily come out to taking another four to six months before being able to obtain all the gear.

A 55 gal tank I could probably fit in my back seat - I've rather a small coupe and nothing larger handy that I could use to haul it around. A 75 gal I'd be a bit concerned by. I suppose it'd be as easy as grabbing a tape measure to lay that fear to rest, though.

Finally, I know for a fact that I've got a number of sources for 55 gal tanks locally, but I don't recall if I've ever seen a 75 around. My nearest half-decent LFS is a good hour away, so I end up having to go to Petco, PetSmart, or (shudder) Wally World.

On the plus side, though, I'd definitely have a lot less concern with the yellow tang, the sea star, and a long spined urchin outgrowing the tank, which certainly does have its appeal.

Needless to say, I don't really care to pay extra for a light fixture that's not one-tenth what I'd want for the corals, a hang-on-back filter that can barely move water, a heater that I wouldn't trust to even maintain water temperature under optimal conditions, a laughably small packet of water conditioner and another of goldfish flakes, and a net sized for guppies and neon tetras.

Incidentally, I've been meaning to ask, but hadn't remembered until just now - do any of you have sources for just plain tanks with no hoods, lights, filters, et al? Given the sources above that I'm resorting to, my only options are to buy kits, and it goes without saying that no off-the-shelf kit from any of these places is going to work for a reef tank. If such a theoretical place sold tanks pre-drilled for an overflow line, that would be double-extra-good.

Edit: I just checked out your stand - all I can say is wow, am I ever apparently paranoid. Comparing yours to the plans I'd worked out for mine... well, my legs are six 4x4s, the tabletop is 3/4" seven-ply oak plywood, and there's a matching "foot" plate of the same material to distribute the weight onto the floor as evenly as possible. The frame is 2x6s instead of 2x4s, just to very solidly brace the corners from folding into a parallelogram shape.

I think I designed mine to withstand nuclear war.
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Old 02-28-2007, 12:09 AM   #20
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the tabletop is 3/4" seven-ply oak plywood
I used 3/4'" plywood on top for the tank to sit on. Better over all support and it's easy to level the tank after the stand is in place. My floor is concrete and level so I did not worry about the bottom.
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I think I designed mine to withstand nuclear war.
And the following century lol
Fwiw I got my aquarium from a petco. They may sell or get you just a tank if you asked them.
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