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Old 02-24-2009, 09:05 PM   #1
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Lightbulb The Master Plan am I ready to take the Plunge?

Hello, I own a Few Fresh water tanks and I have decided to take the Saltwater Plunge.
I am able to put some Money into my Tank but I donít want to overdue it.
My plan so far is

GOALS: I would like a Few Clown Fish. An anenome, some nice Coral pieces Like Bubble Coral Etc.

Reality Check: I know I need to start slow. I am currently researching my options. Please feel free to give me any advice.

TANK: 55 Gallon Long
Filtration: 1)A Fluval 405 for up to 100 gallons (in case I want to go to a bigger tank later) 2) Protein Skimmer Help me with this decision please. Should I buy a skimmer piece for the end of the Canister filter?
Powerhead ? DO I need one with a Powerful canister filter that I have.
Heater: a Submersible one the appropriate size for the tank.
Lighting: I was thinking Fluorescent lighting with the special bulbs to meet my required wave lengths. I know lighting systems can get exotic and expensive quickly. I have a CAT so what ever I Pick will need to be a hooded system.

Substrate: Live Sand from Petco.
Live Rock where I should get this I donít know. Advice needed here.

My Goal is to take it slowly but spend the major amount of money upfront and not get bit on the backend by things I donít know.
Phase 1:
SETUP: Live sand and Rock First over a weekend after mixing my own tank water with Tapwater and A commercially bought Ocean Salt additive.

Testing: Get my PH, Salinity, Ammonia, Nitrate levels right over a period of two weeks.

Phase 2:
Add FISH!!!! Watch fish not DIE!
Wait a couple of weeks.
Testing: Get my PH, Salinity, Ammonia, Nitrate levels right over a period of two weeks
Phase 3:

Add pretty Coral pieces such as bubble coral.
Testing: Get my PH, Salinity, Ammonia, Nitrate levels right over a period of two weeks.

What am I forgetting? Where did I go wrong in my plan?
THX in advance Stat
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Old 02-25-2009, 05:44 AM   #2
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Goals:
By animate, do you mean anenome?
Filtration:
See if you can get an overlfow box made for you tank or make one youself. I use a CPR C-Siphon overflow CPR CS90 DX Overflow with AquaLifter Pump, Class A 2nd - eBay (item 390023947115 end time Mar-14-09 14:26:50 PDT)
I personaly use only a big Protien skimmer that sits in my refugium , get one of those, a refugium that is. They are pretty easy to make from a 20g tank and some acrylice from home depot. Be sure to use aquarium safe silicone. I get it at my lfs. Here is a vid of how to build a sump/refugium YouTube - Reef Tank D.I.Y. Sump part 1 sooo easy. This is the plan that i used.
Powerheads are always good to have. Look for a Koralia. I love them.
Lighting: Since you plan on setting up a reef tank (one with corals), I would suggest you go all out and get a metal halide setup for the tank. Coral just love this lighting and thrive the best under it. Talk to your local hydroponic store for this stuff (cheaper than the fish store). If that is a little too much out of your budget,wich it is for most, go with a High Output T5 light with actinic bulbs. You can grow a nice selection of corals with those.
Live Rock:
You should be able to get this in any good pet store. Look for varying pieces. Pieces that you can use for the base, shelves, making caves, that kind of stuff. Be sure to bury the pieces that are going to be the base in the sand so you don't have avalanches caused by critters digging around. Be sure that it is cured live rock.
Phase 1
Don't use tap water, use RO/DI water. Considerably cuts down algae blooms. Buy a cheap portable unit off e-bay for under $80. Or get at healthfood store by the 5 gallon jug. Good luck filling your tank like that.
Salt mixture. I use Instant Ocean. Great stuff. Make sure that whatever salt you decide to use, that you can get a steady supply of. Not all salts are mixed the same. Switching salts has been known to shock and kill fish.
Phase 2: 2 weeks? NOT A CHANCE!! This will be the hardest part of the set-up, the wait to put fish in. If I were to do it all over again, I would wait a good 2 MONTHS!. For many reasons. 1,fish should never be used to cycle a tank. 2, it would give any parasite or whatever that is on the rock that was in the pet store tank a chance to die off if they need a fish host to survive, like ICK. 3, you would be able to sleep good, knowing that you have done it the right way from the beginning.

Most importantly, DON"T RUSH THINGS! The more time you take to think thing over and research, the better the quality of tank you will have. Remember that you will have this tank and the fish for years to come if you set it up right from the beginning. Another useful bit of info is when buying equipment, get bigger than what you tank size is. For instance your tank is a 55g, get a heater and skimmer rated for something twice that size. The heater will have to work less, therfore lasting longer, and the skimmer would be able to process the water easier. Hope all this helps. Take a deep breathe, it takes a lot of planning, even more research, and even more money. If you are a handy person, you can save yourself some money being able to build your own surface skimmer and a sump.
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Old 02-25-2009, 09:32 AM   #3
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Slow is my only advice. Take time to do it right. sqrle did an excellent job of outlining what you need to consider.
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Old 02-25-2009, 09:51 AM   #4
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Great job Sqrle!

On phase 2.... I'd add that the nitrite and ammonia test kit is needed for the cycling. Those readings as first the ammonia rises and falls, followed by a nitrite rising and falling is what you need to monitor. When both get to zero, the cycle is complete. It's not a matter of 2 weeks or 4. Its the readings. LR in different forms (cured vs uncured) may change everything. Then of course, the nitrate needs to be monitored too.

Also, the lighting with MH will create heating issues. May need fans or open top tanks to compensate. It can be doen, don't get me wrong, but I hear lots of success stories with T5 whcih don't create the heat issues.

Read up.

I also agree withe the "slow" advice. Good stuff!
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:09 AM   #5
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I would suggest getting a good Skimmer and Power heads for your Tank... Over time you would realize you don't need the Fluval 405... There is really no use for it IMO. I started out just like you with a Fluval and decided to ditch it..... Right now I am running a Bak-Pak 2R+ skimmer and too Koralia power heads #2 and a #3 I would suggest getting about 80LBS of LR that should be effecient enough for your tank.... Good luck... Also I agree with the rest great timeline of what you want to do in this hobby time is Patience and time is Money....
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Old 02-25-2009, 08:00 PM   #6
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Ok reading and planning and rethinking my plan. Now I have another question. My QT tank what part of the plan do i need to set it up? can you point me toward a QT tank set up article. whats its need? should I put the live rock in it first ? before adding it to the main tank on the initial setup?

Contiune to shoot holes in my plan the more the better so when i patch it up its a better plan as a whole.
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Old 02-25-2009, 08:16 PM   #7
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If you are planning on getting a bigger tank in the future... Have you already purchased or received your 55... If not I would go bigger now rather than later. Even if the funds are short now. Wait and save for it you will be happier!
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:19 PM   #8
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http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...ish/Page1.html

Article at this site on the QT tank.
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:24 PM   #9
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The size of my tank is about ascetics I am putting this tank in my home office which is roughly 12x12 and i don't want to overload my office with a huge tank. I want something with a nice blue glow and some very pretty fish,that looks nice. I am still early in the planning phase of this project. I should get to my build sometime shortly after the release of the force field tank.=P so until then I will continue to develop my plane for my build, I rushed into my Turtle tank don't want to do that again. So I will at some point develop a plan to plan the develop of my tank. Make a list to make the lists that I need 1 list for fish, 1 list for hardware , and don't forget the list detailing the lists that I need to make. I will then develop a cost analysis and a budgetary cycle. I will then deny my first budget down size to it to a 5 gallon thimble tank and then purchase the 55 gallon tank blow my budget by 55% that how my projects normally work =P.

Thx for the article on the Qt tank I will put this on my things to read =)

Btw what do you guys think of the Hagen Glo T5 HO Lighting System - Double - 48
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Old 02-27-2009, 08:03 AM   #10
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I have some more questions for a Filtration system what about this item on ebay 200 Gallon Aquarium Sump Refugium wet dry filter bioNEW
200 Gallon Aquarium Sump Refugium wet dry filter bioNEW - eBay (item 350170957836 end time Mar-04-09 06:32:32 PST)

and for a lighting system how about a Hagen Glo T5 HO Lighting System - Double - 48
I know these are hardware questions but this is what I am thinking about for this new tank set up. I am also rethiking my tank size depending on what my needs are for the reef set up and I may just start with FOWLR and add coral later but I dont want to buy 2 sets of equipment.

Thx in advnace Stat
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