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Old 12-16-2012, 07:54 PM   #1
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 29
Total Newbie looking for advice

Hello all,

Warning: Long Post...

So, I am strongly considering picking this hobby up. I have done a lot of research into so far - which has led to, well, more questions, heh. In any case, I am getting closer to actually diving in - the last step being actually purchasing gear and going for it. This is where I am stuck.... Which brands, etc should I be looking at...?

Before this gets too long winded - yes, I am searching the forums and reading other build threads, so I am doing research, but would appreciate some additional direct advice. Pointing me to other threads is much appreciated as well, though.

OK, so question time. (EDIT: Browsed the sticky for particular brand referrals, so I will take those in mind - if there are particular brands to recommend outside those, or more details, that is also much appreciated)

Proposed Build: ~34 - 36g FOWLR that will become a Reef Tank once I am a bit more acclimated to it all. Really the focus will be reef / corals, but I understand that maybe a beginner should start without that.

Tank - I am finding prices around 250 for the tank + stand. Alternatively I can buy a 30g from Craigslist for 300, no stand, but fully functional tank with 2 fish + 20lbs of live rock. It would still require some more components, as it was someone's refugium previously.

Lights - I am thinking LEDs, but what brand? Anything in particular for a 30-36g tank?

Live Rock / Dry Rock - Questions Answered. Will get approx. 40% live rock, the rest base/dry rock.

Protein Skimmer - I have heard good things about 'Reef Octupus'. How does this stack up against the recommended brands listed in the sticky?

Powerheads - Questions Answered.

Sump / Refugium - Was thinking to use a 10g tank here with some custom glass work - just need to find where I get custom glass panes....

Overflow / return pump - I am lost on this one. Looking at other people's build threads, I was shocked to see $200 pumps, etc... Is this the right amount to plan here? Again... any brands to look out for?

Quarantine Tank - Was thinking a simple 10g tank again, some basic airpump and filter.

Biopellets - Necessary or can I upgrade to this eventually?

Heater / Testing Kits / other peripherals - Questions Answered, but tips appreciated.

RO/DI Filter - OK, this aspect does confuse me somewhat. I have found the filtration units - but where do they get hooked up? Just to my faucet? Is this difficult to install?

Budget: In the range of $1000 - $1500 would be ideal. The cheaper, the better of course!

Intended livestock: Umm, undecided really. I love inverts, but understand that sadly sea slugs are a no-go. I will likely try and get some sea hares and lettuce-leaf ones though. Some sea stars / brittles - as long as the stars play nice. Some cool shrimp would be fun... but none of these are really "high-light" creatures, so I am somewhat open to suggestions here. Sea horses would be amazing - but researching them it seems they like to be only with their own species (which could be ok if they get along with some inverts), and prefer things a bit colder? Again, ultimately I would like to grow some soft coral, but will work up with a fowlr setup first, so whatever is suggested, please be reef safe.

I hope I haven't offended anyone with how open all of this is - I am still doing research, but figured it would not hurt to ask and see what some direct feedback would be!

Thank you!


Tkh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2012, 08:38 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 183
lights for fish only dont need to be led so if its going to be a wile b4 corals save some money there and led's will come down more over the year

reef octopus are good i have one on each of my tanks

sump should be as big as you can get or fit in the stand

bio pellets can be added at a later date

ro/di can be hooked up to faucet or run a line to feed it

as for glass any glass company will cut glass to the sizes you need

Nosaj81 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2012, 08:38 PM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 49
If your budget is in the range of 1000 to 1500 and you want to dive in, get a 75 gal reef ready tank. All aquarium brands run 1$ per gallon tank sales for Xmas. So you can get a 75 gal tank for 75$. Buy a 30 gal for 30$ for the sump.

You can combine the refugium and sump by adding a partition. Purchase aquarium silicone and a sheet of 1/4 acrylic from Home Depot or lowes and cut it to size. You can make he partition shorter than the height of the tank so the water flows over it and into the return pump.

You want the water to flow through your tank 10 times per hour. This means that if you have a 75 gallon tank you want a flow rate of 750 gal per hr. A pump this size is usually around 80$ on petsolutions.com .

The most important pieces of equipment on your tank is the skimmer and lights. Asm skimmers are great for the money and you can find them on eBay used no problem. DO NOT BUY A CHEAP SKIMMER. also if you plan on upgrading, to a larger tank in the future, account for this when you Buy a skimmer. I have also heard good things about reef octopus skimmers. Again, look on ebay for used.

You can buy cheap reef rock from bulkreefsupply.com for like $3 per lb.
Aquaman024 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2012, 08:49 PM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 29
Thank you very much for the replies! The feedback does help me feel a bit closer to actually getting into this all.

I would love to get a 75gal tank. I just don't have space for it! I live in a small apartment with tons of natural direct sunlight - so, good for all my plants, not so great for a tank (if I understand correctly). Regardless, there is a small ~3 foot space near the wall that could definitely benefit from a tank!

Regarding tanks - where can I look for the 1$ / gallon sales? I'll take a quick look around the 'net now, but at petco and the LFS it was definitely a bit pricier sadly.

Excellent advice from both of you, so thank you very much!

Tkh is offline   Reply With Quote

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