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Old 01-02-2006, 01:21 PM   #1
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The simplest setup you can think of

Hi all.

I am brand new to sw and while I am a long way off from actually setting up a tank, I was wondering...What is the simplest setup you can think of for sw?

I have an empty 20 gallon tank and specifically I would like to know about equipment, substrate, livestock and lighting. I know...the bigger the better...but I am looking at maybe one or two fish to start with.

Also, what are your feelings about using tap water instead of RO water? Is it doable or a disaster waiting to happen?

How many of you have hospital/quarantine tanks set up at all times?

Any other surprises that I might run into while getting into sw?

Thank you all for your time.
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Old 01-02-2006, 04:36 PM   #2
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My advice: Go bigger from the start. I started out fully intent on doing a 29 gallon fresh tank and was seduced by SW. Now I'm at the point where I'm starting over and wishing I did it right the first time.

Make a sump out of the 20 and get a 55 or larger. You will be severly limited in your choices with a 20. But more important, the margin of error is bigger with the smaller system.

It's an expensive hobby regardless of tank size. You might as well do it right.
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Old 01-02-2006, 04:55 PM   #3
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Thanks for your answer, but not everyone has room for a 55.

Again, I ask if anyone has suggestions for a simple 20 gallon setup.
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Old 01-02-2006, 05:18 PM   #4
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I just started a SW tank in my 20 gallon. After alot of research and reading I bought the following: 1 satellite 24" 65 watt compact flourescent (good enough for most corals, except the ones needing strong light..at least 4 watts per gallon for these), a skilter 250 (for water flow and protein skimming), although I suggest buying a HOB filter, and a smal protein skimmer like the Prizm. You should have the heater already (3-5 watts per gallon). You would need to buy sand for the bottom, and 1 1/4-2 pds of live rock if you are going with a FOWLR, or reef setup. You should be able to have 2 or three fish and some corals and inverts, but it all depends on your bio-load...so you won't really know until you start adding things. I would not use tap water, but purchase an RO/DI unit. You can buy RO water from your LFS, but it would be cheaper in the long run just to buy a unit yourself. The only other "surprise" money wise would be the test kits. You'll need a PH test kit designed for SW, as well as an ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate kits. These will get you going, but you may need to purchase others down the road, especially if you intend on having a reef tank. HTH
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Old 01-02-2006, 08:05 PM   #5
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20 gallon setup this is what you need to ask yourself:

What do I want in the tank?

In this setup I would use a bare bottom tank, 25lbs of Live Rock.

Lighting depends on what you want in the tank but general rule is 2-5 watts per gallon.

I would stay away from sand, bare bottom is easier.
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Old 01-02-2006, 09:09 PM   #6
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A simple set up IMO would be whatever size you can afford, some live rock, live sand and a few powerhead for circulation. Standard NO lighting would be fine for fish only. I disagree that sand is a bad idea. Actually, it makes things easier to maintain. In a 20g you could get some shrimp and a pair of clown fish. And then maybe a fish for the bottom like a goby. Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 01-02-2006, 09:11 PM   #7
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Im not saying sand is bad Im in process of going DSB. HE asked for easier and I think bare bottom would be easier.
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