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Old 04-12-2010, 10:32 PM   #1
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Cool "Maintenance free" ideas

Hello all, I am a soldier that is currently deployed so I have plenty of time to plan and ponder possibilities. I have a 75 gallon tank that I really want to turn into a reef tank but everyone tells me that reef tanks require a lot of maintenance and I am gone for days on a regular basis when I am not deployed and occasionally weeks or even a month...then there are deployments of course. So my other idea was to make a refugium for a freshwater tank. I have no idea if that would be a waste of time but I thought that maybe it would be a good place to start and then when I have someone to watch my tank for me or I get out of the military I will be able to just convert everything to salt water.
The real questions I have are:
1. Is a refugium pointless in a fresh water tank?
2. What size refugium would you use for a 75g tank?
3. Is there a way to set up a salt water tank that could possibly go a month without maintenance?
4. What are some good places to learn a lot of different plants and fish? I have really only ever gone from store to store and looked at what they had.

As I said before I have lots of time to look around and ponder and consider everyone's suggestions, and then when I get home I will document the process of setting the whole thing up! Thank you all in advance!
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:38 PM   #2
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1. No its not, the point of a refugium is creating a mini ecosystem to benefit your bigger display tank that might be unsightly. If you have a FW refugium and put a light on it you could put low light you could pack it with plants so they soak up nitrates in the system and make you water quality better. The only thing is you will have to trim them about once a month. Also adds water volume and keeps water quality better longer.
2. Depends on what you want, bigger is better.
3. Probably not as you will have coraline growing and you would have to scrape to see the fish when you get back and you would have to keep VERY lightly stocked
4. Here is a good place to start, ask around. Start threads to ask questions etc. And then you could just google and find info.

This is all assuming there is no one to help with anything beside feeding. You would also need to invest in some equipment.
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Old 04-13-2010, 12:17 AM   #3
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I plan on spending money to be able to build the refugium, for instance I don't currently have a tank to use as my refugium. Which in my eyes just means that the sky is the limit. I was thinking a 10g at first but now I am thinking more along the lines of a 30g. I would certainly like to pack it with plants that I might not want to have in the tank itself. For instance anachris, love having a little bit but I don't want loads of it. Does anyone have a set of plans or good pictures that they could send me of one that they built? I have done some searching online and everything I have found was for a saltwater tank so I am not sure what the difference would be and such. What would other people recommend. I am also thinking that I am going to build my own stand because the one I have currently has no room for a fuge. I also have the typical single lamp that comes with the aquarium when you buy it. Being that it's a 75g it's really long but I have no idea what kind of bulb is in it. Should I invest in better light fixtures or just a better bulb?

I also have an Eclipse 12g system that I wanted to put some small fish in such as maybe bumblebee gobys, or maybe neon tetras. I am looking for fish that get no bigger than 2 inches. All ideas are welcome!!
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Old 04-13-2010, 01:26 AM   #4
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You would need a better fixture for a sw tank. Look into T5s as they have much more output then the regular bulb, those regular bulbs are pretty useless in any aspect except for REALLY low light plants and lighting your fish tank.
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Old 04-13-2010, 01:58 AM   #5
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I was also looking online for a new aquarium and I found a 120g for $359 at Petsmart.com. All the other places I have looked don't have a bare aquarium or whatever they do have is ridiculously priced. Are there other websites or a place that would be better for a new aquarium? Thank you tons Etunes!!
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Old 04-13-2010, 02:02 AM   #6
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Honestly the BEST place is craiglist. You can find them used and in good condition at a good price, and it is not uncommon to get things with them. And if you are going saltwater it will save you a ton as you can get a whole set up cheap compared to starting from scratch.

craigslist classifieds: jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, events, forums
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Old 04-13-2010, 02:08 AM   #7
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That is so funny, I hunt Craigslist for cars, motorcycles, pretty much everything and I never even thought about looking for an aquarium! )
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Old 04-13-2010, 06:34 AM   #8
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I did a post on Facebook for a small tank at a small price...received a 20 gal. w/filter, light and glass panels for the top the same day...for free I'm using it for a QT setup
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Old 04-13-2010, 10:24 AM   #9
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Hmm, well I think I am going to start looking for a 120-150g when it comes closer to heading back to Georgia. I will then turn my 75g into the refugium. I saw a post on here about a guy making his own and it looked really simple. What actually goes inside the refugium? I have seen bio balls, substrate, and I am pretty sure that there was something else but I didn't know what it was. If anyone knows a good, simple how to I would greatly appreciate the knowledge! Thank you!
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:09 AM   #10
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Plants generally go in a refugium as well. Saltwater refugiums generally have some type of macro algae to absorb nitrates, etc. from the water. A freshwater refugium could work exactly the same way.

If you're looking at adding bioballs, I think you're looking at building a sump. Google Melev's Reef for some awesome sump ideas.
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