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Old 02-03-2009, 04:22 AM   #1
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Red face Danger! A newbie with a plan!

Hi all, I'm looking for a little bit of help with my new project tank. I want to set up the elusive "peaceful" SW community. I'm planing this to be a FOWLR though i may someday progress to some of the hardier corals. I'm also hoping to keep it pretty simple due to the lack aquarium resources her in Alaska, though there are some places where i'm probably going "all in" and a few weird things that I might try just because it is a project tank. I'll start with a rundown of the plan so far.

For the tank I plan to go with a glass 65 gallon (36x18x24) as it happens to be the largest tank that will fit the stand i have from a previous project. I also just happen to have a 36 inch dual 96 watt PC light fixture that I had from that same project. I have a heater floating around somewhere large enough to handle it, but i plan to get at least one more back up heater since our apartment can get really cold in the winter. For a skimmer I'll probably end up with one of the bak-pak brand (either two single model bakpak2s or the dual bakpak 2). So far I've not decided on any sort of mechanical filtration or type of powerheads. I've been looking pretty hard at the Aquafuge Refugiums from Carib Sea (it's a hang on the back refugium since a sump style of system is out of the question for the time being) as place for some extra live rock rubble etc. I probably wont get it though unless I get a lot of positive feed back on it.

As far as live rock goes, i plan to get at least 100lbs of the best grade i can find. I considered going the 2/3rds base rock 1/3rd quality route, but I've come to the conclusion that this is really not an area i wanna skimp on. The owner of my LFS has offered me a really good deal (basically cost) on one type of rock since he's kind of curious about it; said it was called Fiji Ratu Rock. The odd part is that what he described was some form of "plasic" material shaped to look like live rock. It's then placed in the curing vats with the live rock to become encrusted. This is supost to be a "low weight alternitive to standard live rock but from what i've been able to find online it's basically cement doughnuts that have been aquacultured into a live rock form in the ocean. Anyone heard anything about this or have any experiences they'd like to share cause i'm very tempted to take him up on this offer just to satisfy both our curiosities. I aslo plan to go with somewhere around a 3 inch sandbed. I'll probably start with a quality "dead" sand and mix in some live sand to give it a kick start. I'm also of the oppinion that there are probably critters living in "live" sand that probably don't hitchhike and colonize via live rock... but what do I know, i'm still new at this after all.

Now comes the part where i've actually put the least amount of planning in, livestock. The only two fish i really have my heart set on is a yellowheaded jawfish and a Yellow Watchman Goby preferably with it's pistol shrimp partner, beyond that i've not really made up my mind. Starting with fish, so far the ones that interest me are:
Yellowheaded jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons)
Yellow Watchman Goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus)
Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica)
Cardinalfish (either Sphaeramia nematoptera or Pterapogon kauderni)
Clown Gobies (Gobiodon atrangulatus or Gobiodon citrinus)
Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) since i've heard they can be useful to gague your water quality
I'm still debating about Ocellaris Clowns (Amphiprion ocellaris) since without the anemone they are about as interesting to me as guppies.
I'm also looking pretty hard at the Chromis' though i'm still trying to find info on some of the oddballs like the Black Bar Chromis (Chromis retrofasciata)
Finally, i'm also fasinated by the hawkfish (my LFS had one i fell in love with) but since they are preditors I figure they are pretty much outta the question unless you guys think i can get away with a Falco Hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys falco)

I'm torn between a few Scarlet Skunk Cleaner (Lysmata amboinensis) and Blood Red Fire Shrimp (Lysmata debelius) though i'm leaning more towards the skunks since to me they are just as nice looking at less price
A Pistol Shrimp (Alpheus sp.)
For my clean up crew i'm thinking Trochus and Nassarius snails as i kind of want to avoid crabs and starfish since lately i've been reading a lot of horror stories about them eatting sleeping fish, but beyond that, i'm open to sugestions.

Um... wow, that was a lot more info that I realized. One major area I know i need help in is when it comes to stocking levels for the tank. The species i listed are just the ones i'm interested in, not ones i "have to have" and if you guys can think of any others i might be missing out on, please tell me. Ok guys now i'm counting on you to pick apart my plan and help me find it's weakness. Hopefully i didn't make any really boneheaded mistakes, though i'm sure i've left a few blanks i'll have to fill in (it's late). Thanks again for your time!

i really like this smily

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Old 02-03-2009, 11:49 AM   #2
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sounds like you have it all planned out. you said newbie but you may already know this from other fish experience MAKE SURE YOU CYCLE THE TANK. ammonia nitrites then when nitrates starts going down you are for the most part ok. 2/3 base w/ 1/3 live sounds like a good idea ive started tanks with less live stuff than that and just let it sit and it picked up pretty quick. on the fish i am not too familiar so id rather someone else offer advice on that. i have some soft corals in my tank w/ a coral beauty. some button polyps mushrooms and stuff which some species look awesome under 1 actinic bulb and a daylight bulb, the actinic gives it that neon radiation green or blue or whatever color so its just something to think about. i have a coralife 30 inch 2 x 65 watt 1 actinic 1 10,000k bulb, on a 29 gallon and it seems to be doing pretty well so far so you are definately on the right track

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Old 02-03-2009, 11:50 AM   #3
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also dont forget you can google just about anything and find out good information if you have any ?'s and its an emergency and you cant wait for someone to reply on a website. just make sure you read a couple of pages because sometimes people post different things with way different experiences.
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:41 PM   #4
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i know nothing about SW tanks although ina f ew years i plan on starting my own tank as well. I love clown fish and sea anemoies and my own opinion would be get those. as far as that live rock. the advantages that ive hear from reading up on everything is its durable lighter and pretty much does the same thing as the oringinal live rock good luck
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:27 PM   #5
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If you read many post here, not all O. Clowns will host an anemone, so don't worry about not having one if you are planning to have O. Clowns in your tank. As for the starting fishes, keep in mind that you can only add one/two fish per month, to adjust the biological filtration and waste, so far your planning is good, because most of the fishes are peaceful and docile fishes, except the jawfish, I'm not sure about that one.

As for the inverts, I think Cleaner shrimp will do more of a good job than Red Blood Shrimp, but true that red blood shrimp is more beautiful because of the vibrant color. As for the crab, I think only Emerald Mithrax Crab is okay, the other crabs I'm not so sure about, plus the Mithrax is pretty hardy as well, good for beginner.

Your CUC choices is good, Nassarius will clean up your sand bed and shift it.

Maybe some experts here can chim in for more inputs.
~Reef Tank~
28GL BF, Hydor Koralia Nano PH, AquaClear 50 with LRR, 24" Nova Extreme T5HO, 20Lbs LS and 35Lbs LR
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Old 02-03-2009, 04:29 PM   #6
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For the record, I'm in NO rush on this project. Well, i take that back in part, I'd love to get the tank set up and get the dry work (equipment set up) and wet runs (testing for leaks) outta the way before our summer hits in about 3 or 4 months as I'd really like to be doing the rockwork during the summer cause i'm really worried about weather delays in shipping. I do plan on doing a fishless cycle with the liverock/sand, i guess i just kind of take it for granted that that would be the way to do it.

As far as fish goes, my LFS has a VERY limited SW selection, like probably 20 fish total at any given time and i don't mean 20 species. Most of their SW they do as special orders once a month though i've been warned that it might take them a while to track down anything... unusual (what can i say, my fishguy knows my taste in FW fish and fears what my taste in SW could be). Thanks again!

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