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Old 04-02-2010, 12:09 AM   #1
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Help with 55g

Well, here is my situation. I recently got a free 55g tank with a stand, powerheads, lights, heaters, and crushed coral substrate. What I would like to do is make it into a saltwater FO or FOWLR tank. I have some experience in freshwater so I know the basics and have test kits. I might be able to get a protein skimmer for free also. Here are my questions, all advice is appreciated.

Could i get a couple HOB filters or would I need to get a sump?

If I do have to go with a sump is there any way to keep it really cheap?

Would I be able to make this an aggressive tank with a dwarf lion, undulate trigger, and saddle puffer?

If not what can I put in here?

Also, I am unsure about getting live rock just because of the price. I am trying to keep this extremely cheap because I'm short on money.
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Old 04-02-2010, 12:27 AM   #2
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First of all, Welcome to AA!

If you have sufficient live rock, you will be fine with a HOB and powerheads for flow. A sump is not absolutely necessary but it makes things much easier and has many benefits. As for the live rock, you can have the majority of your rock be base rock (dry plain rock) and buy a small amount of live rock to seed the tank. Live rock is just rock that has bacteria, algae, and other creatures growing on it. In time the base rock will become "live". This is much cheaper than buying all live rock.

I know you're on a budget but if it's possible you might want to look into replacing the crushed coral substrate with sand. The CC can quickly become a problem if not maintained properly, but it is do-able.

I'll let someone else address the fish question, because I'm not too knowledgable with larger fish.
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Old 04-02-2010, 01:05 AM   #3
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Thanks! I will for sure have to look into sand. Just curious, why is CC harder to maintain than LS?
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Old 04-02-2010, 11:39 AM   #4
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A CC sandbed has lots of small spaces in it that allow food and detritus (waste) to fall through and accumulate within the sandbed. Snails and other cleaners also have a harder time moving through crushed coral and may not reach all the waste.

Most people have sandbeds with aragonite sand. Nassarius snails are excellent to have because they bury themselves in the sand and keep it clean. I'm not saying that a sand substrate will take care of itself completely, but it's much less likely to become a nitrate factory.
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Old 04-02-2010, 11:46 AM   #5
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Great advice Atte. As far as the fish that`s going to be a big bioload with just those fish in a 55 gallon tank. They are all messy eaters and esp. with CC you`ll have nitrates out the roof.
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Old 04-02-2010, 12:35 PM   #6
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Welcome to AA!

Being a fellow 55 gal owner, I can tell you that the fish your looking at is going to be too much for it. You could probably get away with one of those and be okay, but not all of them. Also most of those fish will outgrow your tank quickly, the exception being the lion fish. What I recommend is that you use the 55 gal to learn the ins and outs of the SW game and then maybe look to get a bigger tank going in the future for your aggressive tank. A 125 gal tank filled with killers is a cool thing to see.

As far as the filters, if you get around 60-75lbs of live rock in there you can ditch the HOB filters completely. As the others have said, you can go with 20-30 lbs live rock and get the rest as base rock to cut cost. The rock provides almost all of your filtration and what it doesn't do, the skimmer will get for you.

I agree with the others about the C.C. it is a royal pain in the rear that I am currently fighting with in my brothers tank and we are going to be getting rid of it over the next month. Sand is much easier to maintain because you can get critters in there that do the work for you.
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Old 04-02-2010, 03:10 PM   #7
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Thanks for the help everyone, I guess I will be getting some sand before I start. As for the fish what should I plan to keep? Some clowns, a dwarf angel, firefish, and..? A goby? maybe a small butterflyfish?
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Old 04-02-2010, 04:40 PM   #8
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All those are good choices for a FOWLR tank. If you ever decide to go reef then the butterfly and angel will need to go.
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