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Old 08-26-2010, 04:44 PM   #1
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90 or 120 Gallon Tank

Hello,
First of many many questions . I am entertaining the idea of owning a saltwater tank. We were thinking the 90 gallon tank is perfect for the space we want to fill but the salesmen was trying desperately to sell us the 120 gallon. I think the tank will stick out too much so my question is am i really sacrificing all that much staying with the 90.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:01 PM   #2
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I'd have to check my numbers again, but i would say you are losing roughly 30 gallons. :p

In the end its about your taste and what you want to do with it. the 120 is going to require a little bit bigger everything, so cost is going to be slightly higher. the only thing you are gaining is some depth back into the tank, which i really like because you have more options of aquascaping. Also, if you plan to go reef down the road, more depth into your tank IMO can make the difference between a "cool" tank and a "wow" tank. Fish wise, you are only limiting a couple fish as far as stock, but quite a few fish by species, if that makes sense? 100g is a cutoff for a lot of nicer angels and a couple other species.

I guess before I ramble forever, what are your plans for the tank?
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:19 PM   #3
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I'd have to check my numbers again, but i would say you are losing roughly 30 gallons. :p

In the end its about your taste and what you want to do with it. the 120 is going to require a little bit bigger everything, so cost is going to be slightly higher. the only thing you are gaining is some depth back into the tank, which i really like because you have more options of aquascaping. Also, if you plan to go reef down the road, more depth into your tank IMO can make the difference between a "cool" tank and a "wow" tank. Fish wise, you are only limiting a couple fish as far as stock, but quite a few fish by species, if that makes sense? 100g is a cutoff for a lot of nicer angels and a couple other species.

I guess before I ramble forever, what are your plans for the tank?
I appreciate the ramble. Im really new at this so i dont have any plans per say. However idd like to be able to google top 10 saltwater fish and use any of the fish i see. Specifically idd like a couple of clowns, a lionfish, an angel fish to start and then eventually i'm thinking 10-20 fish. Again i have no idea what im doing so i would be counting on the petstore to tell me i can or cant do something. I would start with rocks and some light plants but idd like the flexibility to eventually add Anemone.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:23 PM   #4
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Bigger tanks are less prone to major water parameter shifts, so they're easier to care for in that sense. A minimum of a six foot tank is recommended for a tang.

I'm pretty sure those clowns will end up as lionfish snacks eventually.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BeaglesBuddy View Post
I appreciate the ramble. Im really new at this so i dont have any plans per say. However idd like to be able to google top 10 saltwater fish and use any of the fish i see. Specifically idd like a couple of clowns, a lionfish, an angel fish to start and then eventually i'm thinking 10-20 fish. Again i have no idea what im doing so i would be counting on the petstore to tell me i can or cant do something. I would start with rocks and some light plants but idd like the flexibility to eventually add Anemone.
If I had to give you one piece of advice, It would be to listen to people here over your local pet store everytime. I would run just about anything you do past us here, even though it seems monotonous, its better then doing something silly and destroying your tank. This is a tentative article I'm working on, but its great for a quick reference on some initial questions you are going to have.

It's a biggun, but take a couple minutes to read it, and jot down some of it if you don't understand it, and research, research, research!

Before you start:
Research.
Read all of the articles in our section here.
Make sure you understand completely what the “cycle” of your tank is.
Use a fishless cycle.
Be prepared to go slow, set deadlines and goals at realistic time intervals.
Think about where you want to go with your tank in 1 month, 6 months and a year.
Make a stocking list, discuss and get it approved here.
Make an equipment list for starting, and things you want long term.
Buy quality equipment once, and use it throughout several tanks.
Set a schedule for daily, weekly and monthly maintenance.
Add at quarantine tank to your equipment list.
Invest in a good RO/DI unit.
Invest in a refractometer.
Buy liquid test kits.
There is no “cheap” saltwater system, be prepared to drop the minimum to keep these animals safe.

Up and running:
Water changes are the first step to regular maintenance, and solving almost any problem.
Keep a notebook or file of anything and everything pertaining to your tank.
Be prepared to lose livestock, no one gets it right the first time around.
Research everything you buy ahead of time.
Research everything you buy ahead of time.
Never let someone push you into an uneducated purchase, even if they have “told you everything you’ll need.”
Take your time, amazing tanks are grown not bought.
Be patient! Better to wait the time then lose the tank.
Always ask questions, preferably before you do something.
Be willing to take advice, even if its not what you want to hear.
Keep a QT tank or dedicated filter always at the ready.
Keep a supply of common medicines.
Over support your system; ex. 1.5+ lbs LR/g, large macro supply, larger skimmer/filter.
Put your lights on a timer, preferably with a stepping in lighting intensity.
Never leave your RO/DI reservoir empty in case of emergencies.
No problem appears overnight, it’s not going to go away overnight.
Always quarantine a fish/coral/invert.
Always acclimate slowly.

General Info:
We all know it says “recommended” tank size, but they are there for a reason, adhere to them.
Never dose your tank without testing the individual level first.
Frag often, your coral, the natural reefs, and fellow hobbyists will thank you.
Do whats best for the animals, not for your wallet. You made this commitment to them.
Wash/Rinse your hands before putting them into the tank.
Always try to keep up to date on the latest information/technology/practices.
Buy aquacultured everything when possible.
You have never, ever, learned everything there is to know about this hobby.
Support the good local fish stores, clubs and fellow hobbyists.
Promote and live conservation and sustainability for our hobby.

Some more personal notes:
Run as natural of an environment as you can.
DON’T just throw out macro algae if you are near any coast. It can invade the natural waters. Dispose of it properly.
Make your tank a challenge to yourself, not only to maintain it, but to make it thrive.
Never be satisfied with what you are doing, if you have the know how and the capability, push yourself deeper into the hobby to better it. There are always fish breeding challenges or start a coral farm, do something to advance this hobby to make it more sustainable for generations to come.
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:30 PM   #6
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I guess i need to do a bit more research . Im going to probably go with the 90 gallon since it will probably look better and doesnt seem to be a great deal different than the 120. I dont really have a budget. I am looking to just make this as easy as possible (not that it will be easy but idd like to buy equipment that will make it easier than other equipment). That being said are there any articles that will give me a materials list that you guys trust? The salesman sounded ULTRA knowledgeable but if its like you said than i dont know if i can trust him. Im buying a tank that will have a sump and some sort of in out tube system on the left side behind some sort of black wall (again no idea what im talking about). As far as patience goes, ive got a lot of it and was planning on doing what you said regarding on cycling the water for a month or so. The fish store also told me that for 60 bux an hour they can come and set the whole thing up for me. Think thats a smart option?
Thanks again for your help!
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:49 PM   #7
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Everyone has brands that they like, and there are a group of them that seem to stand out more then others. It really depends on what you are buying though.

The salesman might be pointing you 100% in the correct direction, but obviously they get paid to sell you crap. Once you do your research you'll be able to better distinguish who are the good people to listen to and which LFS you can trust.

If you aren't handy, and have no interest in doing it yourself (not to sound like i'm knocking you), then getting someone else to come in is a great option. My mom had someone come in and set up her 90, and they did an awesome job, came with everything that they needed, and were really quick and professional. Start looking at our articles section on exactly what the "nitrogen cycle" is. It's not the water that you have to let sit, but your tank will actually grow bacteria colonies to feed on the toxins produced by fish (ammonia, nitrate), these bacteria grow on the surface, so having that 1.25-1.5 pounds of live rock per gallon is a must.

Again I can ramble about this for a long time. I would suggest you read over some other builds and articles going on here, and use this thread to clear up anything you are unsure about.
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:14 PM   #8
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jimbo has offered some of the best, relevant information i have read here.

good job!
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:14 PM   #9
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Everyone has brands that they like, and there are a group of them that seem to stand out more then others. It really depends on what you are buying though.

The salesman might be pointing you 100% in the correct direction, but obviously they get paid to sell you crap. Once you do your research you'll be able to better distinguish who are the good people to listen to and which LFS you can trust.

If you aren't handy, and have no interest in doing it yourself (not to sound like i'm knocking you), then getting someone else to come in is a great option. My mom had someone come in and set up her 90, and they did an awesome job, came with everything that they needed, and were really quick and professional. Start looking at our articles section on exactly what the "nitrogen cycle" is. It's not the water that you have to let sit, but your tank will actually grow bacteria colonies to feed on the toxins produced by fish (ammonia, nitrate), these bacteria grow on the surface, so having that 1.25-1.5 pounds of live rock per gallon is a must.

Again I can ramble about this for a long time. I would suggest you read over some other builds and articles going on here, and use this thread to clear up anything you are unsure about.
Really great info. Much appreciated. Im still debating on having them come and setup since you are correct in saying that i am not handy whatsoever. However I do think it would be nice to know the ins and outs of the tank. Im concerned not setting up the tank will cause more problems for myself later but setting it up myself will be a disaster based on every other handywork project ive ever done that didnt involve a computer. (Im a computer geek) Based on the fact that im useless away from a keyboard, should i just spring for a setup?

Ive been reading up and came to the conclusion that i would like a small reef but i was wondering how much harder it is to build and sustain a reef. Ive yet to see anything that throughly explains how to introduce a reef into a tank and most things i read seem pretty confusing to me. I started looking at some fish I am interested in from a compatibility chart i found and noticed that it claimed to exercise caution when matching angelfish with reef. However one of the fish i want the coral beauty angelfish seems to require reef based on what I'm seeing. It was also mentioned that some angelfish need 100+ gallon tanks. Which fish am i sacrificing by going with the 90 gallon?

Another question i had is is there a rule of thumb when it comes to how many fish i can put in the tank? I was thinking i would like 10-15.

Thanks again for letting me bother you.
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:58 PM   #10
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Haha you've got some good questions.
A reef really just means you have coral, and the things that come with owning coral. You are going to need a beefier light system to sustain them as 90% of coral is photosynthetic. There is a range on this though in itself that softer corals won't need as much light and acropora and SPS coral will need high light. So though you have decided on a reef, decide now on what kinds of corals you like, and then we can budget a light system for that.

Water quality is more important in a reef as well. You will want a sump/refugium to add water volume (more volume means less flux in levels) and to hide equipment such as skimmers and reactors. You don't need most of the reactors and crazy stuff you will find in your research off the bat.

For your most basic reef system you are looking at your tank, a sump, high powered (depending) lights, and a skimmer. Along with the basic setup items of a RO/DI filter, return pumps, powerheads, and a refractometer. It seems like a lot, but its just an initial hit, and all of it carries for a long time.

Fish stocking is dependent on a couple variables. If you go for a fish only tank, arguably you can have more fish then a reef, because water quality matters less. Most SW fish as compared to FW fish eat a lot more meatier and frozen foods, this means that you can't really think of it as how many fish but total bio-load. A fish like a Pufferfish is going to have waaay more of a bioload on it then a clownfish, because they like to tear up their food and make a big mess. All the extra food will degrade and act the same as fish waste. It's' easiest to create a mild stock list of 8 or so fish, to get approved here, then see where it goes.

Ramble ramble ramble...Let me know if you need anything here cleared up, and I'm sure with your follow up questions. It's no problem, we wouldn't be here if we didn't like helping people such as yourself. I wish I could get paid to sit here :p
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