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Old 08-30-2007, 11:04 AM   #1
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Suggestions for hex setup

I have been lucky enough to get a 90 gallon hex tank with stand, protein skimmer, and lights. I have picked this corner to put it in, but have never had a saltwater tank. I have always done freshwater and still have a 39 gallon rectangular fresh tank to teach my kids how to take care of an aquarium. It has goldfish right now, but in the past I have had other freshwater fish. Saltwater has always been something that I wanted and I am excited to be getting it, but I don't know what to do with it. I don't want anything venomous and being a beginner, I don't want to get something that is hard to take care of and inadvertently kill it. I would appreciate any suggestions on whether I should go with a reef system or fish only and what types of fish. I know that you should only have 2" of fish for every 10 gallons, but other than that I am pretty saltwater silly. Thanks for reading!
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Old 08-30-2007, 11:45 AM   #2
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I think you need to ask yourself a few questions. First being, do you want/have a good bit of money to spend. Although some things were given to you, there is still alot left to consider. You mention lights, but are they stock lights? or are they reef intensity lights? A 90 hex is rather deep and to go reef, you would probably want metal halides or t-5 bare minimum. This is very costly. Substrate, liverock, salt mix (keep in mind water changes with the added cost of salt mix) all come into play.

Do alot of reading, there are some nice articles that will cover a lot of your questions and write down questions as they come to you and we will be glad to help.

Welcome to AA!
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Old 08-30-2007, 12:16 PM   #3
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I am spending the money to have the tank cleaned once a month by the people who own the saltwater fish shop down the street. They will do a partial water change and clean the tank for about 50 bucks a month. Right now I have about 700 and within 2 weeks at least another 250 to get everything running. I figured then I would have to wait on fish about a month and by that time I should have about 400 to spend on corals and fish to get started. I don't see myself wanting to spend 100 on 1 fish in the beginning until I know that I won't kill it. I have been looking at stores and online and have found some less expensive animals that I could start with. I'm just not sure if I should go the coral route or just fish only.
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Old 08-30-2007, 12:20 PM   #4
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Agree with Hara. It is nice to get a free tank but in all actuality when you add up your costs for the new saltwater setup this is actually an expense that is not so high. One of the most expensive aspects is going to be your lighting. Like Hara said metal halides or t5 is the way to go. If you want a shimmering effect on the water then you must go MH. Also with a tank this large it would be recommended to get a good skimmer which can cost a pretty penny as well. Do you know what skimmer came with the setup?

Be sure to read the stickies in the saltwater forums as well as the articles on this site. A lot of valuable and life-saving information can be found there. There are also many good saltwater books which you can read which can are referenced on this site. Saltwater is an expensive but extremely rewarding hobby. Just have to do plenty of research before diving in.
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Old 08-30-2007, 12:26 PM   #5
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Man...somehow it took me so long to type all that you posted before me! hahaha

Anyhow I would definitely recommend going fish only until you get the hang of it all. Then possibly add an anemone or two if you wish. Build upon that with some mushrooms, leathers, etc. Then get into all your corals...IMO.

Also, what fish were you thinking of starting out with?
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Old 08-30-2007, 12:50 PM   #6
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For anemones, you want to wait 9 months to a year to get the tank established because they are delicate, except for rock anemones (they seem like they can take anything lol).

You are going to have to cycle the tank first and depending on the tank it will usually tank between 3 to 6 weeks to fully cycle. So you shouldnt really add any fish for the first two months.

For $50 a month you can just mix your own water. The initial cost would prob be around $75 to buy the salt mix/bucket/ph/heater, but then the RO/DI unit... You will end up saving money in the long run, around 8 months but that's still money. And it's real easy to do. I've heard about people having the lfs change their water and the lfs would add chemicals to the water (probably thinking they are helping the tank) but leading to a tank crash and killing the inhabitants. Besides for me even if it cost more I would still mix my own water and change it myself becuase I know what I'm doing and if something goes wrong I can blame myself and not someone else. Besides a lot of lfs's dont know what they are doing ,ie adding chemicals,etc. And most successful aquarists change their water every two weeks if not every week.

What kind of corals are you thinking about getting? Lights can be expensive.

And what type of filtration do you have?
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Old 08-30-2007, 12:53 PM   #7
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I would like some clowns definitely. I have heard to buy those in pairs. Not sure if that is true or necessary. Would like a tang or angel. Maybe a goby, I think the one I really want is actually a dragonette, but sometimes listed with the gobies if that makes sense?
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Old 08-30-2007, 01:04 PM   #8
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Dragonettes (like Mandarins and scooter blennies) need an established tank (about a year) with plenty of pods to eat. If you can find one that eats frozen food then that would be a good choice to get, but they usually only eat live food. If the tank doesnt have enough pods then they will eat them all and starve to death.

If your going to go corals then I wouldnt suggest getting an angel as they can nip at the corals.

Gobies are good choice. Since they stay small you can get a couple of them.

A pair of clowns would be good. What type of clowns do you like? I have a pair of tomatoes and a pair of ocellaris. You dont have to buy them in pairs, you could even keep 3 or 4 of the less aggressive ones together.
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Old 08-30-2007, 01:05 PM   #9
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I will have to let you know about lights and filtration later, I have to pick the tank and everything that is coming with it later today or tomorrow. I definitely want the best that I can afford, so suggestions are welcomed. As far as tank supplies, sand, and rock I will have about 1000 to spend in the next 2 weeks. I would rather have a good setup and wait on fish, even if it means waiting til Christmas to get fish. About the coral, I like the mushrooms, candy canes, and chili. I have heard that anemones will smother some corals, so if I decide to get one of those, I'm not sure what would be the most compatible.
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Old 08-30-2007, 01:11 PM   #10
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Most tangs get really, really large as well as full-size angels so they might not be your best bet. Also with a hex tank they won't have the swimming space they should have since it is more of a deep tank than a long tank. Angels have to be watched when around corals. A couple clowns would be good. A goby would be fine as well.
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