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Old 09-09-2012, 08:47 PM   #1
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55 gallon long FOWLR in planning stage. Need advice.

So I've been smooth talking the wife lately as I am getting bored with my 55 freshwater. I've been going over the forums and I really like the look of FOWLR tanks. I know I'll need live rock, I was wondering if I need live sand or if I was my pool filter sand that it would be alright. Also I'm wondering about filtration. I know I'll need a powerhead of around 600 gph. And I know I'll need some T5 lights id say around 12,000k. What I'm really looking for is a step by step guide as to set one of these up. I know I'll have a decent list of available species once the tank is cycled and ready to go. Do most people use any kind of HOB filter or rely on the live rock and powerheads to do the job? I don't want to drill my tank so I'm fine with water changes as I am limited for space. I'm really stoked to learn more about this type of setup and really looking for some guidance.
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:29 PM   #2
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Cool!! I came to SW few months ago and it's so fun and addicting. I have a 55 too. I have a Fluval 406 canister filter (you'll want a filter rated for about double your tank size for SW), and I have a aqua C Remora skimmer. For a FOWLR, a skimmer isn't absolutely necessary, but I love mine and it takes about a cup of skim off every 2 days or so. My water is very clean and clear. I also rinse everything in my canister every week and do a PWC every week.
I have a corner tank, so I have 3 powerheads because of the odd shape, but if yours is rectangle you could get away with 2 (1 at either end). For FOWLR you'll want about 20x water turnover rate, including filter, PH, and any pumps you have. If you decide To add coral at a later date, you'll want even more turnover. You'll need master test kit if you don't already have one, a hydrometer (this will be ok for FOWLR, if you go reef down the road, might wanna get a Refractometer), I used live sand, but I know that a lot of people use pool sand, and some use a little of each kind. Let us know whatever questions you have!!
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:44 PM   #3
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Ya right now for a filter I have an aqueon 55/75 and just an air pump. I have a heater and the Sand so it'd be powerheads, skimmer and live rock for filtration really. Also I'm curious as to what fish people would recommend. My 3 year old wants a nemo lol **** that movie. I like fire fish but I'm understanding those are nano fish am I correct? I'll get the master kit of course. Marine salt and a hydrometer maybe a refractometer. Anything else to plan? Oh and what about lights? I have two 7000k bulbs at 18" now. What do I need to adjust to? And do I have to change my hood?
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:16 AM   #4
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If you're doing FOWLR, you can have any light that you're happy with. You only need specific lighting if you're gonna have corals or an anemone. For a FOWLR, you can use whatever light you've been using for the FW tank. And if you decide to add corals or a nem later, you could always upgrade the light then. You can definitely have a clown or even a pair if you want!! But wait till your tank parameters are stable (most people say at least 6 months) before getting the clown a nem. Unfortunatly, you can't have a "Dory" though-they look tiny in the store but get really big and need really big tanks. You can have Firefish of you want them too!! I have one in my 30g, and he's so cute. You could do about 8-9 or so average sized fish (2-3") a couple more of they are small fish and probably couple less if they are a little bigger. Go to liveaquaria.com and check out their SW fish section. It tells what size tank they'll need and how big they get.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:51 AM   #5
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That's awesome I'll do that sometime during the week. Ya I'm just trying to justify costs with a new baby lol I'll eventually get coral but I don't want to rush anything. Do you think an aquaclear 110 would suffice? Now to cycle a tank do I just put raw uncoooked shrimp in the tank? And add the rock?
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos313
That's awesome I'll do that sometime during the week. Ya I'm just trying to justify costs with a new baby lol I'll eventually get coral but I don't want to rush anything. Do you think an aquaclear 110 would suffice? Now to cycle a tank do I just put raw uncoooked shrimp in the tank? And add the rock?
I hear ya!! I spend way too much money on this hobby!! I've read other people's reviews that use the aquaclear 110, and they seem to really like them. That should work fine. Just rinse all media every week. I just converted my 30g to SW, and I'm using an aquaclear 70 on that, but can't really give a review yet cuz it's been like 2 weeks. I'm doing a FOWLR on the 30g too cuz 1 reef tank is expensive enough!! But converting the 30 to SW really only cost about $300 with filter, sand, heater, PH, and bought mostly dead rock to save on money. I already had the salt, tests, and used the same light I had on it as FW.

I cleaned and scrubbed the FW tank really well with vinegar and rinsed really well before making it SW.

Yep, to start the cycle put in your rock on the bottom, add substrate (unless you're gonna go bare bottom), add saltwater, heater, a pH, the filter and toss in 1 or 2 raw shrimp. If you turn the heater up some, it helps the bacteria to reproduce quicker. I kept mine mid to high 80's during cycle. You want rock on bottom in case you end up buying something that digs, you don't want an avalanche of Rock killing your fish. Then you wait. I'm a little OCD, so I tested every day, but some people test every couple days. After ammonia spikes and starts to decrease, nitrite will spike and decrease and nitrates will rise. When ammo and nitrites are 0, do a PWC and then add fish 1 or 2 at a time. Sorry if I'm tellin you anything you already know, just trying to cover all the bases.
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:02 AM   #7
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No your advice is really helpful and I'm noting it down on my laptop so I have a ready to access guide when I need it I'll go with dead rock as a money saver I think. I've been going over species this evening and I really like mandarinfish. I just need to check out liveaquaria also. Especially for comparability. My wife likes firefish lol and my daughter likes clownfish go figure. I'm really wondering about clean up crews also. I may get more PFS for substrate at 12 bucks a bag especially with burrowers. So why rinse media weekly?
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:15 AM   #8
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Cuz the media's purpose is to catch large and small pieces of food, poop, algae, whatever is floating around. If left to rot in the sponge, etc, it will turn into nitrates and increase your nitrates in the tank, which will lead to lots of algae breakouts. So I rinse out and squeeze out all foam and dip and shape the bionic every week to get those pieces out of there. Only rinse it out in old tank water, though. I do this while I'm doing PWC before I dump the water. If you use tap you will kill all the BB.
BTW, forgot To mention that you shouldn't ever use tap water in SW tank. Tap with a conditioner is fine for FW, not fir SW. You can buy RO and RO/DI water from most LFS. I get mine at Petco, it's 25 cents/gal. Another one of my LFS sell it for 39 cents/gal. They don't advertise this, you hotta ask to buy water. I take 5 gallon buckets to the store to fill. These buckets are used exclusively for SW tank water so no chemicals ever get put in them. I had to make several trips to store for water the day I started my tank. Some people buy distilled water, but some people have also tested that water and found it's ok for drinking but not for SW fish tanks after that have a major outbreak of algae. I'm gonna buy an RO/DI unit for home soon, but they're not cheap.
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:38 AM   #9
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Also, please don't get a mandarin just yet. Their diet consists mainly of Copepods and you won't have any for a while, let alone enough to keep the mandarin alive. Most of them don't eat prepared food, only lots and lots of pods. It makes me sad to read about one mandarin after another starving to death. I would wait at least a year, and it still might not do well. Same with a scooter blenny- any dragonet really.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:20 PM   #10
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Ya I've been doing research as I can. What would you suggest to start stocking with? I like clowns, fire fish, royal grammar. But I'm still wondering what people enjoy from experience
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