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Old 08-08-2006, 11:26 PM   #1
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Startup advice needed

Hello. I've recently decided to start up a SW tank for the first time. I've done some research for the last couple of days but before I continue sifting through all the information I would like to get some opinions first.

First is tank size. I was originally planning on going 10G or so before I started gathering my information. Now I figure I would need to at least do 30G. Budget and space constraints (I live in an apt and my lease actually restricts me to 20G) keep me from going beyond that. I understand that the smaller the tank, the less room for error but other than that are there many reasons not to do a 30G tank? My main concern with size is the amount of fish I can add. When a certain type of fish is recommended to have at least a 30G tank, how many could I add to a tank that size? I've pretty much figured that I'd end up with about 4 2-3" fish, is that too high? Could I do more?

Second, I really like Triggers and would like to eventually include one in my future tank. From what I've seen so far, it looks like I would like to have a couple Clownfish, a Flame Hawkfish and then a Triggerfish. Would that be a possibility or should I just scrap the Triggerfish idea and go for more docile options?

Lastly, before I continue on, I would like to get an idea about upkeep costs. I just finished school and I have credit card/student loans to take care of and I can't really afford to do this if it's going to run me $50/month to maintain the tank and feed the fish. I don't mind as much what the initial startup costs are since I have more control over that. I was thinking of FOWLR but would reef be within reach or would that be too much money and effort for a beginner on a budget?

Thanks in advance for all your opinions.
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Old 08-08-2006, 11:39 PM   #2
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A 30 gallon is too small to house any triggerfish, let alone a triggerfish and other tankmates. You would be much better off selecting a few small, docile fish. I would highly suggest picking up a good marine aquarium specific book. The Concientious marine aquariust by robert fenner is an excellent read. Remember two things, don't cycle your tank with live fish, and never be afraid to ask a question, the only stupid questions are unasked questions. Good Luck.
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Old 08-09-2006, 12:27 AM   #3
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there are many people in this hobby with a 30 gal tank. It's not too small, but it does limit you on a lot of selections. I good rule of thumb on tank selection is bigger the better, you are better off buying a big tank now if you can have it and afford it because it isn't cheap to upgrade, if you add a sump there will be a better overall water quality, and will give you more room for error, you might be pushing it with the clown's and hawkfish in that size of a tank. $50 a month is a bit on the high end for just maintaining a tank, electric bill depends on what lights you have with the system, and how many accessories you plan on using, I spend around 20 a month. Getting an RO/DI unit would save you money in the long run, but might be kind of tough with the apartment. so you would have to add water into the monthly expense, along with salt, and a few hard hours of maintanence. A reef tank is always a possibility, although spendy, (especially lighting) your 30 gallon would be able to create a wonderful reef and hours of enjoyment.

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Old 08-09-2006, 01:11 AM   #4
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Reefs are expensive. But well worth it

[goes to extinguish smoking PG&E bill]

But anyway, to answer your questions. 30g is the smallest I'd recommend for a first timer. Clowns are a good fish, so are small gobies, a flame hawk is also a possibility. If you want a pair of clowns (small ones, not maroons ), I'd do that + another appropiately sized fish (firefish, etc).

Tank is a bit small for a trigger.
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Old 08-09-2006, 08:42 AM   #5
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the key to being on a budget is to go slow and be patient, which will also help your tank. research everything and spend the money on what is really needed and worth the $. its best not to get the cheaper things because youll end up spending mre money replacing it later.

research a bit. get the tank, ph's, lr, ls, heater and start your cycle. youll have a good 6-8 weeks to research into skimmers and lighting (and time to save for it, hehe).
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Old 08-09-2006, 10:25 AM   #6
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WELCOME TO AA!!!

Definitely, please do not cycle your tank with live critters.
I agree with the previous advice. Trigger will get too big for a 30G. I set up a 20G QT, in all, it cost me about $250. I bought all the stuff at the LFS, so all the prices were a bit higher than on online.
Here are some great ideas for some beautiful fish, for smaller tanks:
http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/categ.cfm?pCatId=15
Pick the "nano fish". I think you might find a few that you will love.
I think, if you look around online, you will find a lot of places have better prices then your LFS. I have used and been happy with these stores:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/
https://www.thatpetplace.com/
http://www.petsolutions.com/

others have used:
http://www.saltwaterfish.com/
http://www.liveaquaria.com/
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Old 08-09-2006, 02:50 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the quick and helpful replies. So it sounds like 30G would be ok for me to start, it just might take a little more effort. I think I will look for a good deal on a 30G tank on Craigslist or an Ebay pickup. Once I have that I'll get the LR, PH etc. and start my cycle. I like the idea of being able to research some of the other items after I start my tank. I think I should wait on the reef until I have more money to deal with.

I'm interested in the RO/DI, where could I find more info on those?

So for the fish, it sounds like the Hawkfish, a Clownfish and a Nanofish (found some that I liked) will work. Instead of two Clownfish, could two Nanofish work with the other two? It sounds like the Trigger won't be happening with this tank.

Nels22, I am also from MN, do you have any advice on good LFS in the Twin Cities?

Thanks again for all the good info!
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Old 08-09-2006, 05:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Instead of two Clownfish, could two Nanofish work with the other two?
It will depend on what ones you want. Sorry if that sounds vague, specifics are kinda needed....
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