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Old 01-07-2004, 03:25 PM   #1
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Lighting for FOWLR tank?

Hi guys,

Be kind I'm new to all of this.

I'm getting started setting up my tank, and I am seriously considering getting live rock and using it to cycle. My question is can I just use a standard "perfecto" type aquarium hood for live rock? This is a brand new tank with a glass top and single bulb light hood. It is too late to return. If it is not sufficient for live rock, then the tank will be fish only because I cannot afford to buy a new lighting system. I can barely afford live rock!

Right now the tank is completely empty except for saltwater. I want to make sure everything is totally cool before going ahead and buying rock.

Oh, one more question. The substrate will be Old Castle playsand. Should I put that in before or after the live rock (assuming I even go with live rock).

Thanks for any help!!
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Old 01-07-2004, 04:02 PM   #2
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put the sand in ASAP cuz it takes a while for it to all settle to the bottom... id cut a hole in the bag, put the bag in the bottom of the tank, and pour it out carefully so minimize the sand storm.

live rock doesnt NEED any lighting at all to be an effective bio filter so the light you have should work for now... you would be amazed at how much better the tank would look under better lighting though.
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Old 01-07-2004, 04:05 PM   #3
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The single NO bulb won't be enough for a FOWLR tank. The coraline algae and other hitchhikers that will come in on the LR need more light than that. If you're good at building things and know a little about wiring, you can build your own lighting system for much less than buying a prefab unit. A couple of PC's would probably do the job just fine. We can help there.
I like to get some pieces of base rock and put them right on the glass. Then pour the sand around them. Use the pieces of rock that are on the glass as a foundation for the rest of your rock. That way, you don't have to worry about digging critters getting under the rock pile and toppling it over.
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Old 01-07-2004, 04:09 PM   #4
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Forgot to mention one thing, the tank gets a good amount of indirect sunlight. Does that help or hurt?
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Old 01-07-2004, 06:11 PM   #5
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It shouldn't hurt anything. As long as you keep the nutrient levels down in the water, you shouldn't have any algae blooms that you can't handle. Since it's indirect sunlight, I doubt it will be enough to supplement your existing light fixture.
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Old 01-08-2004, 11:45 AM   #6
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So, bottom line.

Should I just not get any live rock at this time? My wife, who got me this tank for Christmas (god bless her) has hinted at maybe getting me an updated light setup for my birthday in June. Of course she is rather annoyed that a brand new light that she just bought is not quite good enough!

I would love to get the rock now and cycle with it. I'd rather not go fish only and add the rock later, but will everything on the rock die if I don't have great lighting?

Thanks again.
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Old 01-08-2004, 08:04 PM   #7
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You could put in some base rock for now. It will become bioactive and give you some biological capacity. You can top it off with some LR later. Another option, although it might not look really nice, is to get a twin bulb shop light and put it on the tank. While it's far from optimum, it will be enough to keep the coraline going. I wouldn't expect much growth though. If there are some photosynthetic hitchhikers on the rock, you may lose some of them.
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Old 01-09-2004, 03:09 PM   #8
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Thanks for all your help LoganJ.

I just realized that in all my new tank glory, I'm forgetting that I have an old "perfecto" type hood from a 20 gallon long tank. I think it may have two bulbs in it. I think if I use that as well as the hood I currently have, things should be cool until I can spend the $220 on a new lighting setup. So, I think I'm going to go ahead and get the live rock. My LFS is having a sale, $5.99 a pound for cured rock. Does that sound reasonable? I'm thinking 40 pounds base rock, and 30 pounds live. Maybe some live sand if they'd be willing to sell me some out of an existing tank. I've already put in 100 pounds of Old Castle which gives me about a 4 inch DSB, how much LS would I need to seed that? Also, I have a bottle of TLC bacteria and I'm not really sure what that's for, cycling perhaps?

Any help is appreciated!
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Old 01-09-2004, 03:33 PM   #9
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A quick suggestion. Look for someone tearing down a tank. "USED" liverock which I think is better and more aged with more critters, usually goes for about $2 lb PLUS They may have a "used" lighting system laying around . Cruise the classifieds and keep your ear to the ground. Even if you dont find USED lights, you will save enough money to put towards new lights
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