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Old 06-18-2012, 04:02 AM   #1
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What I need for my ideal reef

Hello.

After years of following the hobby but never owning my own tank, I'm finally in a position to take the plunge.

Let me give you a breakdown of my situation. I'm a college student working close to full time at a reputable LFS in Central Florida. I love the hobby and have learned alot while working at my store. My co workers have given me alot of advice, but I'd like to hear what everyone has to say. I'm looking to start a 20-30 gallon reef with a few fish and a host of interesting inverts. My main questions entail equipment and I am looking to form a checklist for what to buy. Due to an upcoming move, I will not be starting the tank for about a month or two, but I feel it's never to early to start planning.

I'd like to be able to handle all soft corals and LPS's comfortably as well as some of your more basic SPS. While I'm not severely limited by budget, I'd love to cut costs where possible.

I look forward to learning what everyone recommends.
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Old 06-18-2012, 04:41 AM   #2
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Well to start your going to need to decide a few things.

1) led or metal halide? I consider T5 the more expensive route considering intial cost and replacement of bulbs for a 4-6bulb fixture that you would need for a mixed tank in my experienced opinion

2) sump or no sump? Personally i recommend sump since a) it adds water volume b) it hides some equipment and c) allows you to be more flexible.

From there more suggestions can be given.

Also what about a stock list? Very important to decide what you want or can have first. Options are limited in smaller tanks.
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Old 06-18-2012, 04:54 AM   #3
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1) I want to avoid running LEDs as I personally believe it's a technology that is not mature enough for reefkeeping. I think it makes the color of the corals pop more but in a way that I don't find as naturally appealing as the halides or T5s.
I'd like to run T5s if someone can recommend me a good but reasonably priced setup.

2) I'd like to avoid a sump if possible. I'm not a huge fan of the plumbing involved. How difficult would one be to set up? Also how expensive? And could I get by without one?

3) For live stock, I'm weighing over some choices. I personally would like to keep a pygmy possum wrasse, yellowhead jawfish, and another active swimmer. The fish could be subject to change.
For corals, I'd like to keep a variety of stuff and allow it to be the focal point of the tank.
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:34 AM   #4
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Jawfish requires minimum 4" sandbed.

As for the t5's your going to need a minimum 4 bulb for lps and sps. Most quality fixtures of this type will run you 300 or so. Meaning bulb replacement also 80-100bucks every 9-12months. Id your tight on money leds would be your best friend, just my opinion.

You do not need a sump but plumbing is more than easy, and benefit is great. Without one you become limited in skimmer selection relying on inefficient hang on back skimmers. They are not very expensive as they can be mad yourself with a tank some cut acrylic and silicon. Real easy. Pluming consists of an overflow box with a line running to the sump and a line running from your return pump back up to the tank. Installing one after the tank is setup is not possible unless you use a HAng on back overflow which have problems. I wish i would have setup a sump on my 29 before i started
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