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Old 09-08-2008, 10:51 AM   #1
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Help with starting my first FOWLR setup...

Hi Folks,

I'm a long time aquarium hobbyist, however always freshwater.. (planted aquariums and such). I just sold the last of my fish last night, and the 90 gallon aquarium is coming down to be remounted on a beautiful new stand I purchased.

I've been doing some research, and I'm considering a FOWLR setup this time.

I would like to have the live rock as a wall along the back of the aquarium... my question is, what is the safest way to glue live rock together to form the rock-wall? In a freshwater setup I used clear aquarium silicone, however I don't think this would hold up on the porous live rock.

Secondly, how many LB live rock would I need to create the rock-wall? (I'm trying to figure out how much money I should be allocating.)

Lastly, are there any types of plants I could put with the live-rock other than coral?

Thanks,
Justin
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:09 AM   #2
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Sounds like fun the initial start up stage is so much fun. Fowlr is a good way to get started it doesn't require the special lighting that a reef does. My suggestion would be to cylce your tank with the live rock. The stuff on the rock that dies during shipping is a great way to jump start the cycle. Or if you get enough cured live rock locally you can even barely see a cycle. 1.5-2 pounds per gallon is suggessted so a 90gallon about 140pounds definately not cheap so shop around I bought from 2 companies online. I bought some carribbean from Welcome to International Marine Fish - Premium Live Rock and some fijirock from LiveAquaria they had the best rock and wasn't really that much more money. Even with shipping it was much cheaper than locally. You can even buy cheaper base rock to mix with the live rock to save money

My rocks are not glued together I just stacked them on top of each other and they are not going anywhere. The pieces I ended up with fit together nicely Live aquaria sent some big pieces with lots of coraline algae and the carribbean rock I got had more shelf like pieces.

There are some Macro algae that look like plants to go in the main display but if you want the look of plants you should really do a reef


Just to add some key tips I learned are buy a refractometer for testing specific gravity there about $45 but well worth it. And buy a RO/DI unit for making pure water don't use tap water. RO/DI units are about $150-$200 it should be the first purchase otherwise you end up buying distilled water and transporting it home.

Starting a testing log to record results and write down happenings will be usefull when trying to diagnose any problems you may have.
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:10 AM   #3
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Welcome to AA!

I don't recommend glueing the rock together. If you wanted to be sure the rock won't move, you can drill holes thru it and use fiberglass rods to hold them together.

Depending on the density of the rock is, 1-2 lbs/gal will handle your filtration needs.

As far as plants, there are some types of macro algae that can be used, but most keep macro algae in their sumps for nutrient export. BTW...corals are animals, not plants.
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:12 AM   #4
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BTW...corals are animals, not plants.
Yes but they do look like plants
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:57 AM   #5
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All great advice so far. I would like to add, you will want some caves/overhangs and places for your critters to hids and sleep. I wouldn't suggest just having all the rock on the back wall, you will need to access it to clean the glass.
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Old 09-08-2008, 01:59 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the advice. I found a gentleman locally who's taking down his 180g setup, with live rock. He's selling the rock for $3 per LB, which I think is a fairly decent price. (considering if I buy online, shipping and customs will probably ding me, since I'm in Canada.) I won't be buying any rock until I have the aquarium set up and I have all the equipment ready to go. (including a RO converter, and refractometer.

What is the rule for fish / water ratio? I know for Freshwater the general rule of thumb was 1" of fish for every 1 gallon of water available.
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Old 09-08-2008, 02:02 PM   #7
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I do keep mine on the back glass. It help force the fish to swim out front where you could see them but it`s really a preference of what you want. I`ve seen tanks all different ways. As I said my way makes them swim out front.
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Old 09-08-2008, 03:01 PM   #8
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Look at other peoples tanks and see how they have them set up. It will give you a good idea of how things can fit together. From that you can build your structure. It is mostly going to depend on the rock you get. Like Fiji said the rock will fit together like a puzzle you just have to play with it a little to get it to look the way you want. It helps to have someone assist you while placing your rock.

Also check out the article section on the site about cycling your tank. I know you aren't new to the hobby but there is some great info there that will point you in the right direction.
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:46 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Justin_Toronto View Post

What is the rule for fish / water ratio? I know for Freshwater the general rule of thumb was 1" of fish for every 1 gallon of water available.
While there's a lot of assumptions that go into rules of thumb, a good starting point (in my opinion) is to start thinking about a stocking list that is somewhere between 3 gallons/inch and 5 gallons/inch of full grown fish.

With that said, there are minimum tank sizes for all fish - some fish want to stretch their legs more than others and just can't in a smaller tank. And not all 4" fish generate the same amount of waste, so that plays into things too.

Best bet is to come up with a list and post it here and the old sages (not me... I may be old, but not "sage-ish") to comment on.

Regarding building the rock wall, I like the "aquarium epoxy and keystone" method of keeping things together. Basically, build your structure, and then find some key places that you can push in some epoxy to "lock" the rocks together so they can't move. It takes some planning and time, but it's totally doable if you have more than just slabs of rock. If you ever need to dismantle the wall, you just need to find those key places and pry out the locking pieces.

The dowel concept is a great one too... wish I'd seen that one before I set up my tank!
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Old 09-09-2008, 02:21 PM   #10
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Thanks! Good info.

So I picked up my new aquarium stand yesterday, and it's all assembled. (unfortunately I don't have the space to build a custom stand.) I picked up a Reverse Osmosis setup. 75 gallons per 24 hours. Cost $200.

Tonight I'll pick up the coral sand. I found someone locally who's tearing down his 180g live rock setup, and he's selling his live rock for $2.50/LB... but I don't know what the pieces look like. Most of them I've seen at the aquarium store just look like lumps of rock, but I've seen some nice overhangs and interesting looking pieces on the internet.. hopefully this guy has some of the latter.

I currently have my 2 canister filters, from my freshwater setup I would like to continue using. Do I *need* a Sump setup? What are the pro's and con's?
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