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Old 03-08-2011, 07:36 AM   #1
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How to set up a 35 gallon aquarium

Hi,

my daughter just bought a 35gallon rectangle aquarium with a base and that's all we have right now.

I kept and bred freshwater fish for many years and also had a tropical fish shop (freshwater), so I have a fishy background

The family want marines and I did have them successfully for a couple of years but that was 25 years ago, so memories have faded.

What I'd really appreciate is a list that I can take down to my local store so that I can order everything.

I seem to remember that I started off with a couple of damsels but that seems frowned upon now.

Aquarium will be for maybe 8 fish similar to:

Yellow tang

Blue/Green Chromis

Ocellaris Clownfish

but I'm 100% open to advice.

If you have time and inclination then please make the list as complete as possible.

Like how much sand or gravel; living rock (some living and some regular ?) ; lights etc.

I will most likely mix a salt solution.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thank you,

Michael
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:54 AM   #2
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It's not so much that there is an all inclusive list, it all depends on what you intend to do. How thick of a sand bed do you want? What kind of sand do you wants, in that tank you will need between 35-70lbs of live rock, buying cured rock will speed up the cycle but is expensive, base rock is cheap and will grow coraline algae in time to give it color. Do you have a filter or lights yet? If not then the type to get changes drastically depending on if you intend to keep coals, or anemones, etc...

On to your cycle, yes cycling with fish is frowned upon. You can get you substrate and rock in place, if you buy cured live rock it will often cycle your tank, if you aren't seeing ammonia or if you chose to buy base rock then you can throw in a piece of raw shrimp, as it decays it will generate the ammonia needed to begin the cycle. It could take several weeks before.the tank is ready for livestock. Clowns are ok but your tank is too small for any tangs. So let us know your plans and we can better tell you what you will need as far as filters and lighting.
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:28 PM   #3
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i have simular situation... 41 gallon 24lx18wx24h cubish tank with 2 t5ho hagen glo with 2 24w life glo bulbs, small usable space 12x15x20h in stand for sump ( got a 205 canister with tank, brand new) or canister filter...
most say no to canister idea...want to start a fowler or small reef in it ... i really like the reefidea more than fish because of small size. what do ya'll think?
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Old 03-08-2011, 03:22 PM   #4
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Thanks Purevil21

"How thick a sand bed do I want".

I can only speak about how I'd like it to look aesthetically, so maybe 1Ĺ" at the front and 3" at the back - but I'm really thinking about my old fresh water aquariums.

"What kind of sand?".

Whatever would be best for the eco-system.

"Lights?".

Nothing but the tank and stand at this point.

"Base and live rock?".

What proportions would you recommend? I don't mind waiting a little longer. Could I use fish to cycle part of the way through the conditioning period?

I will come back and work out which fish to put in as I'll have plenty of waiting time on my/our hands.

A list of what I need to buy, and to do, just to start the conditioning would be sufficient at this point.

So, much sand or gravel. Rock. How much water and how much salt.

Do I need to add heaters, and a skimmer etc from get go etc.

Sorry if I seem to need spoon feeding but I'm still a baby when it comes to this.

Michael
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:10 PM   #5
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No problem, I am by no means an expert but I am always willing to help. I guess we'll start from the bottom up, literally. Is their room for a sump or wet dry filter in the stand under your tank? A canister filter in saltwater is a nightmare, I used one for a year and a half, I know. Your can get an overflow that hangs over the back if needed, I don't know if your tank is drilled or not. A skimmer is optimal but not absolutely necessary for a fish only setup. You need to keep the water in the high 70's. I don't know where you live, but in Florida heaters are not a must, my tank stays 77-78 on its own. If that isn't the case for you then you will need a heater.

There are several things you can use for substrate, most people go with sand. You can buy sand at pet stores, there are many types to choose from, its all personal preference. Aragonite sand is common, I have white sand. Some animals can't burrow in course sands, you will have to research the fish that interest you and see if that will restrict you at all. I wouldn't use crushed coral, if you decide to go with sand you will need to rinse it thoroughly, Google and I'm sure there will be several methods listed. I would buy enough for a 2-3 inch thick bed. In your tank 30-40 lbs should be plenty.

Now onto water, you can either purchase RO water from your lfs and buy salt and mix accordingly, or just buy the water premixed. RO water is purified for use in aquariums, you can purchase an RO setup but they are expensive. To measure the salinity or specific gravity of the water you need a refractometer. Hydrometers are inaccurate. The salinity required will depend on what you want to keep, usually for fish 1.021-1.024 is ideal, some corals need slightly higher.

When you add the water, put a trash bag over your sand, then a pie pan over that, pour the water on the pie pan, this will keep your sand from stirring up. Once things settle down add your rock, dimensions really don't matter, you want porous rock so you have more surface area for bacteria to grow. Try to get atleast a few pieces of cured live rock to seed the tank. You will need 35-70lbs total.

Lights all depend on livestock, if you want corals and anemones you will need high output t5 or led. Metal halide and power compact lights can cause water temperature issues in smaller tanks. For fish only a high efficiency t5 strip is both affordable and sufficient.

Once everything is set up throw in a raw shrimp and the cycle should begin. You will need a liquid test kit to monitor levels. Test strips are very inaccurate. You will need a Ph of 7.8-8.2 and no ammonia or nitrite for the tank to be safe. Nitrate should be kept as low as possible by doing water changes once the tank is done cycling and you begin to stock it. You should see ammonia levels to start the cycle, then nitrite and finally nitrate possibly. Do not add livestock until the ammonia and nitrite are zero. Let me know if you have more questions, I will help as much as I can.
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Old 03-08-2011, 05:47 PM   #6
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Purevil21

Thanks for the ongoing help

Right now I just want to set up something for my grand kids and maybe later I'll get more involved and do something like this for myself

We all live in Arad Israel and there are some pictures here.

Only going to keep fish in this aquarium and necessary living rock.

Questions:

How much sand shall I buy?

How much living rock and regular rock should I buy?

Should the aquarium be full during the conditioning period?

Do water temperature and lighting effect the conditioning?

What do you think of this filtration?

TAAM Inc., Aquarium Products

I believe that I'll need it or something similar during the conditioning period?

Michael
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:20 PM   #7
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I don't see anything wrong with crushed coral. I have a 33 gallon tank and used 20 lbs of live sand u don't have to wash live sand. The 20 lbs of live sand is on top of 20 lbs of crushed coral. I put in 35 lbs of cultered LR. I would suggest a 150 watt marineland heater they r good for up to 40 gallons the 200 would probably be ok but that's probably personal choice. The lighting will depend whether it's fish only or reef. Recommend letting ur tank brew for at least 2 weeks before putting anything in it. Putting hermit crabs and snails in it first will help. They are cheap some will die but this will aid in getting tank going. Let them roam for a week. Then do a 25% water change and then u can acclimate and add some green chromis. Also a cheap fish. They recommend to have these in sets of 3 or 5 odd numbers. If u can keep these alive for a week. Then u r ready to add more of ur so called show fish. Percula clownfish is kinda considered standard stock for most. Probably the first fish u will add. U will need a filter and a protein skimmer I the tetra whisper ex45 seems to be a decent filter for my tank am able to get by with an aqua life internal mini skimmer 115 but I think i am going to be upgrading not really doing the job as well as I think it should. I am defintely not a pro. But i have a four week old tank with 5 heathy green chromis and a six line wrasse they are a good addition if u have bristle worms as I do. Hoping he is sleeping because he is laying on the bottom right now still breathing though. That's a good sign. Wrasses do that. I have a really good pet store guy gave me lots of information. Any thing I know I will offer freely pm me even never too far from iPad.
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:23 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies.

Let's see if the following makes sense for a 35 gallon tank.

I'm attempting to keep the costs down without cutting corners that I might later regret.

I buy ..

about 35lbs of substrate - fine sand or aragonite.

15 lbs of living rock

15 lbs of regular rock (any kind of rock?)

a 50 gallon mix of Coralife Salt

After adding the above to the tank, I throw in a shrimp and then monitor the effects for around 30 days.

Just out of interest, why shrimp and not a piece of fish or meat?

If everything is stable after a month or so, I add something similar to a Rioģ Hang-On-Back Wet/Dry Filter.

2 heaters; and a thermometer.

A full spectrum or daylight bulb.

(a skimmer or powerhead?)

Add a couple of hardier type fish and monitor for another couple of weeks.

Comments and corrections please.

Michael
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Old 03-09-2011, 09:50 PM   #9
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The lighting will depend on type of tank I have a coralife with one actinic bulb and one 10000 k bulb my only regret is that it does not have 2 cords the actinic would simulate moonlight for nighttime viewing which I could put on 2 timers but it works for now. But long story short either reef capable or not. 2 heaters would be more for a redundancy in case one fails since there are heaters capable of heating 35 gallons. You did say u were trying to keep costs down. I just put in a thermometer so I can see if the heater is heating. Not any kinda rock it has to be live rock. But u can get cured and cultured live rock. Cure is dried ocean rock and cultured has been sitting in a tank and should be ready to go. Cured is usually cheaper my pet store sells either for the same price. Starting a new tank u can use either cultured just gets stuff going faster I started with all cultured. A protein skimmer is needed for a saltwater tank. Salt I guess is preference I use oceanic because that's what my pet store carries if yours carries coralife then that's what's available.
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:05 PM   #10
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Sorry it took me so long to get back with you. You are pretty much on, you will need the filter when you start the tank though, it has to be running during your cycle. I would get 5 more pounds of rock atleast, it does not all have to be cured. Base rock is fine and will culture. If you decide to add live rock after you have cycled then it will need to be cured to prevent spikes. You don't have to have a skimmer if you are only keeping fish and rock, it would be preferred but not a must. I didn't have one on my first tank.
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