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Old 02-12-2013, 10:57 AM   #1
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Total newby- thinking about a 55g

I have a 37g FW community tank.. basic stuff- guppies, tetras, etc.

I am thinking about getting a 55g and setting it up as a SW FOWLR.
The guy at the LFS said that you don't need a lot of fancy equipment for a 55, if you are not doing corals. He said it is basically like a FW except with an extra test for salinity.. keeping the salt levels correct. He said I could keep a pr of clowns and a few chromis and some clean up crew in a 55 no problem.

so... is this true? am I getting in over my head? I keep seeing protien skimmers, frags, refugium, sump, etc.. and I have to admit it is all greek to me.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:04 AM   #2
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99% of the time I wouldn't trust a lfs employee but surprisingly this time he was pretty spot on. Getting into sw can be overwhelming at first with all the extra equipment but almost all of it is geared towards reefing not necessarily just a fish tank. honestly the only difference between a FW tank and a SW fowlr is you'll want more flow which is accomplished with circulation pumps, you need to get a hydrometer or refractometer (get the refractometer) to test salinity, your nitrates need to stay a bit lower then in FW (10ppm-), and lastly which isn't an absolute must but highly reccomended is your source water instead of conditioning tap water should be RO/DI water which you can either buy or get a Ro/Di unit to male your own which is the best way to do it so you don't have to haul around buckets/jugs of water and your top off water MUST be fresh water (salt does not evaporate) so its good to have your own source in emergency situations.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:57 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by marie74 View Post
I have a 37g FW community tank.. basic stuff- guppies, tetras, etc.

I am thinking about getting a 55g and setting it up as a SW FOWLR.
The guy at the LFS said that you don't need a lot of fancy equipment for a 55, if you are not doing corals. He said it is basically like a FW except with an extra test for salinity.. keeping the salt levels correct. He said I could keep a pr of clowns and a few chromis and some clean up crew in a 55 no problem.

so... is this true? am I getting in over my head? I keep seeing protien skimmers, frags, refugium, sump, etc.. and I have to admit it is all greek to me.
That is not too far off. There is a bit more too it as posted above. You will need powerheads for flow and filtration. Around 50-60 lbs of rock also for filtration. Water is the other main difference it's better not to use tap and stick with either making your own or buying it from a LFS. A skimmer is optional but with regular water changes is not needed.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:12 PM   #4
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You really don't even need the rock for filtration just for hides in this case. Your filter pads, bio balls, or whatever you decide on will harbour the BB that will convert your ammonia. Rock is just added filtration which is always good when dealing with corals. It also allows for the 4th stage in the nitrogen cycle by using anaerobic bacteria (i think thats the name) to convert nitrate into nitrogen gas. DSB (deep sand beds) also utilize this form of bacteria but that's a whole other story which I doubt you'll need to or want to hear about just yet.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:29 PM   #5
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Let's be honest to the guy. I'm pretty sure most of us here started out as a fowlr. I started with a 55 gallon, a couple of rocks,a canister and some sand with a snowflake eel and some other randoms. A few times visiting your lfs and seeing all those pretty corals and your screwed. You will have a reef tank in less than a year. You'll see. Just take your time, buy good equipment and enjoy. SUCKA!!!! Lol good luck.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:43 PM   #6
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Let's be honest to the guy. I'm pretty sure most of us here started out as a fowlr. I started with a 55 gallon, a couple of rocks,a canister and some sand with a snowflake eel and some other randoms. A few times visiting your lfs and seeing all those pretty corals and your screwed. You will have a reef tank in less than a year. You'll see. Just take your time, buy good equipment and enjoy. SUCKA!!!! Lol good luck.
haha so true you will start with a mushroom and a zoa then its all over.....
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:56 PM   #7
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Let's be honest to the guy. I'm pretty sure most of us here started out as a fowlr. I started with a 55 gallon, a couple of rocks,a canister and some sand with a snowflake eel and some other randoms. A few times visiting your lfs and seeing all those pretty corals and your screwed. You will have a reef tank in less than a year. You'll see. Just take your time, buy good equipment and enjoy. SUCKA!!!! Lol good luck.
Haha BANG on!!

I've just done exsactly this. Brand new custom built aquarium ordered. New deltec skimmer. Phosphate reactor. £700 worth of lights (aquaray). etc etc etc.........Yeah i got the bug!
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