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Old 04-19-2005, 02:55 PM   #1
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Just getting started - Questions about setup

Hi folks:

I'm brand spanking new to SW aquariums and am looking into setting up a 75 or 90 gallon SW aquarium. I have several questions I'm hoping I can get some responses to:

1. I'm considering either a 75 or 90 gallon tank. I was leaning towards the 90 gallon, but thought it might be difficult for me to clean the interior glass as I am an extremely petite person (5 feet tall) and don't have a lot of arm reach. Is this something I should be concerned about, or am I being ridiculous?

2. I'd like to use play sand in the aquarium. Can anyone tell me how many pounds of play sand I will need to provide a 2-inch sand bed for either a 75 or 90 gallon tank? And while I am on this subject, can anyone tell me if Yardright/Oldcastle/Southdown play sand is available in the Atlanta, GA area? I've called the local Home Depot and Lowe's with no luck.

3. As far as the tank goes, I was initially leaning towards acrylic, mostly because it is a lighter material, but the LFS clerk is really partial to glass. I've read that acrylic is clearer, lighter, stronger, resists breaks, and is better insulated. I also know it can be scratched easily. Should I go with the acrylic or the glass? Can anyone give me an idea of how much an empty 75 to 90 gallon acrylic tank weighs? What about an empty 70 to 90 gallon glass tank? I know they weigh approximately 10 lbs per gallon when full, but I'd also like to know how much they weigh when empty.

4. For the moment, I'm leaning towards a fish-only tank, with the possibility of adding live rock later. The LFS clerk indicated that I would need more lighting, would have to remove the bio-balls from the wet/dry filter, and I would have to purchase a chiller if I wanted to add live rock. Is he correct?

5. Do I need a UV sterilizer? The LFS clerk really was pushing that.

6. I'm assuming I need the following equipment at a bare minimum:

a. Wet/dry filter
b. Pump - no idea on this
c. Protein skimmer
d. Heater - at least 2
e. RO/DI unit
f. Powerheads - how many and what brand?

Am I missing anything vital here? Any suggestions on my setup would be greatly appreciated.


Thank you!

Shannon
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Old 04-19-2005, 03:10 PM   #2
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well let's see if I can help
1. most tanks are 24" deep if you have 3-4" of sand or more you only have to have 20" arms hehehe

2.there is a calculator on the site to help you figure the ammount of sany you would need

3.I would not worry about the weight issue. Most houses will not have any problems supporting a tank unless there is rotting or termite damage in the floor system. Acrylic will cause some visual irregularities in viewing. I prefer glass because it does not scratch. That is the most annoying thing having scratches.

4. No on the lights 40 watts normal fluorescent is fine for live rock and fish. If you were to want corals later than yes you would need better lighting. Chiller, only if you live in a hot climate with out air conditioning. Being in Georgia you might. I would keep the bio balls unless you get 1.5 to 2 pounds of live rock per gallon. So you would need about 140-180 pounds of rock.

5. Uv I would say no to. As long as you quaritine the fish. (my opinion is that it is a useless piece of equipment. Unless you can kill all the organisms in the tank at once they will only breed more and you are just killing some of them while others float getting on your fish.) just my 2 cents though.

6. a. either filter, or sump either or.
b. only if you have a sump
c. yes!!!!!!
d. yes
e. can get away without one if you can get it from the store cheaply
f. 2-3 maxi-jet 1200 would be great

on missing anything I would suggest the Marine Aquarium Problem Solver or the Contientious Marine Aquariast books. They will help you understand what you need and what to do in emergencies.

By the way WELCOME TO AQUARIUM ADVICE
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Old 04-19-2005, 04:30 PM   #3
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My main advice would be to try to anticipate where you want to be with this endeavor down the road. Easier said than done, I know. If you're certain you want to go fish only, you could actually get by with CC, canister filter, no skimmer, maybe no RO/DI, etc. Just good maintenance could do it. FOWLR or reef are different stories.

Most 75s and 90s have the same footprint, the 90s are generally 3 inches taller. I have noticed a ridiculous price difference between the 2 sometimes, which may steer you to a 75. You'll get your shirt sleeves wet more often with a 90.

Now would be a good time to decide whether to get a reef-ready tank or not, which in turn, will provide direction on some of the other items.

Don't forget test kits, refractometer, salt mix, QT set-up, and tank decorations (hirocks.com as your LR start?). A credit card and understanding partner help as well. Other good advice above. Welcome and good luck.
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Old 04-19-2005, 04:46 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. I knew I'd get a chuckle about not being able to reach down far enough to clean the tank.

Based on the calculator on the site, I need approximately 99 lbs of sand for a 2-inch sand bed - thanks MYTY1705 for pointing the calculator out to me.

With regards to the weight of the tank, I'm not so much worried about the floor supporting the tank as I am about damaging/permanently indenting my hardwood floors. I was going to purchase a rug to help distribute the weight, but I'm not sure if that is sufficient.

It sounds like I will need to invest in a quarantine tank. Can anyone give me advice on the size I need to get? Will this tank fit underneath the main tank, or will I have to locate it elsewhere?

Eventually, I may move to a FOWLR tank, but for now, I'm sticking with fish only. My tank is going to be a reef-ready tank with a sump underneath.

One more question: Should I purchase a refractometer or a hydrometer?
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Old 04-19-2005, 05:45 PM   #5
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I would go with the refractometer if you have the spare cash ($75) If you plan on going reef any time soon. If not then a swing arm will do for fo. I would not worry about the wood floors unless the tank only has legs. If the base is solid then the weight is so evenly distributed that a rug will not help any more. It would only soak up the spilt water and smell later down the road.
I also started as a fo. Then quickly moved to fowlr.Now a year down the raod I am finally taking the plunge to corals. They told me it would happen and I did not beleive. PLAN FOR THE FUTURE.
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Old 04-19-2005, 09:57 PM   #6
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For cleaning glass your best friend is the magfloat, you wont have to reach inside the tank so you should be fine. Using sand myself and a magfloat helped me decide to go with a glass aquarium because i read that when using the magfloat on an acrylic tank you have to be careful not to pick up any sand or you will scratch the acrylic. As for Quarantine tank check out the articles section, there is a whole article on quarantine tanks and how to set them up, should fit fine underneath a tank of your size, you may want to go with a 20 gallon, really depends on the size of fish you plan on getting. I also recommend LR, you can save a lot of money by purchasing maybe 60lbs of base (www.hirocks.com or www.liverocks.com) and 30lbs LR (www.liverocks.com). And if you have the money pick up a refractometer, heck if you have enough get me one too, just kidding. Good luck and keep us posted.
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50 Gallon Oceanic: 2 maxijet 1200's, 2 150 watt visitherm heaters, BakPak II Skimmer with PS & BT, Coralife Lunar 2X65 watt Power Compacts

Filtration: 50lbs LR.com, 60lbs sand

Swimmers: 2 O. Clowns, Yellow Watchman, Firefish, Yellow Tang, Dottyback.

Clean-Up: Several snail & hermits, Skunk Cleaner, 2 Peps.

Corals: 2 zoo colonies, yellow polyps, star polyps
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Old 04-19-2005, 10:58 PM   #7
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I would skip the wet dry, go with the sump, pump and skimmer.
I would definitely recommend getting rock for the tank. Most fish live in and around reefs or rocks so your creating a more normal situation. Also the rock will be part of your filtration system. You can start with all base rock, will become LR while your tank cycles. LR means that it has the denitrifying bacteria. People buy LR because it also has algae growth and hitchhikers. The algae will grow on the BR in time so you'll just be missing hitchikers but you'll have saved alot of money. www.hirocks.com is a good place to get BR.
FOWLR does not need special lighting as stated. Fluorescents will do. Having more light makes viewing pleasure, improves coloration.
Would that tank require one fixture or two?
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Old 04-19-2005, 11:02 PM   #8
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Forgot about the quaratine tank. Its a temporary setup. a 10 gallon tank is more than enough. You set it up when your purchasing fish or when you have a sick fish and take it down after.
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