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Old 12-03-2006, 07:23 PM   #1
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Coming over to the dark side

I've been a FW person for 10 years with little interest in SW, until I saw the LFS' invert tank, and I had to have one too. It's an new, uncomfortable place for me to be in, to not know anything about what I want to take on, but I have AA, so I can handle it.

I'd like to keep a few easy corals, as many inverts as I can, and a fish or two for movement. The fish are of the least importance to me. I'd be perfectly happy with a clown or a few damsels. I'd like some stocking suggestions, please. I don't want to miss out on something cool jus because I didn't know it was out there.

I'd really like to get a BioCube 29. My concern, though, is its upgradability. It has 2 36W, and I don't know if that's enough. It also does not have a skimmer or PH (I don't think) and I don't know how easy it would be to add them in, or if I would even need them. My other concern is if, say, the filter has a problem. It seems like it could be hard to service or replace if necessary. I'm really leaning more towards a 20L or 30 and piecing it together myself, so I can get exactly what I need and only what I need from the beginning.

So give me your insights on what I have so far so I can get started. Thanks!
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I just want my planted tanks to be perfect. Is that so much to ask?

55g: (Mostly) African riverine species: Alestes Chaperi, breeding pair of Kribs, and rhino pleco
30g: Newly established reef tank
10g: Planted but fishless
5g: Unplanted with various snail species
2.5g: Heavily planted with betta.
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:28 PM   #2
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not enough light for corals...other then that, I have no real experience with biocubes, so I cannot help you..
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:32 PM   #3
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thats only 62watts.... Im not sure of a great starter kit that would have everything you need...hmmm
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:38 PM   #4
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36 x 2 = 72. But it's still only 2.4 wpg. At the same time, the LFS has one up and running with corals in it.

While the cube looks really cool, I'm getting skeptical of it based on what I'm reading here (not that it's a bad aquarium, but for corals it's probably not what I need). In that case, I'll need to do some research on equipment.
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I just want my planted tanks to be perfect. Is that so much to ask?

55g: (Mostly) African riverine species: Alestes Chaperi, breeding pair of Kribs, and rhino pleco
30g: Newly established reef tank
10g: Planted but fishless
5g: Unplanted with various snail species
2.5g: Heavily planted with betta.
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:39 PM   #5
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well I dont know if size is important...but you can get a nano cube.... deluxe those are nice!
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Old 12-04-2006, 12:03 AM   #6
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I really like the look of the BioCubes, but lighting wise they aren't all that. If you like the design of the BioCube and really want it, you can always mod the lighting. A clamp on MH lamp like This one will let you have practically any coral desireable.

If you know the dimensions of the tank, you can also buy CF lights to put on it.

Else, plain ol' tanks are easier to outfit with lights but don't quite have the cool look that the BioCube does.

HTH
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Old 12-04-2006, 07:57 AM   #7
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I was out and about this week end and saw a really sweet 22 gallon AGA cube that you could customize
The all in ones are over rated if you go with just a plain tank you say what goes into it....
You choose the lighting you choose the filter , the power heads , you choose it ... Nano cubes have cracking issues .... and the bio cubes are too new for my liking but that may be just me ...
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Old 12-04-2006, 08:40 AM   #8
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The fact that you have FW experience will go a long way IMO. There isn't a TON of difference between the two besides the $$$ needed to start up a SW tank if considering corals.

Main difference is that oxygen exchange is considerably lower in SW versus FW so instead of 1" per gal of fish your limited to 1" per 5 gals.

If you really like the "all in one units" I'd get the AquaPod 24 Gallon 150w HQI which is better quality IMO.

But as others have already mentioned I think you will get more bang for your buck just buying a 29 gal tank and separate lighting/skimmer/ect...

liveaquaria.com's nano fish site is great for researching smaller fish.

fantasyreef.com's coral database is great for researching medium light corals.
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Old 12-08-2006, 07:24 PM   #9
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Coming over to the dark side - last minute questions

Alright, I'm planning on buying the tank and setting up tomorrow!

I've decided to go with purchasing everything separately. I'm going with a 29g.

Lighting:
I have a Coralife Aqualight for my planted tank, and I like it. The one I'm looking at is 2X65w 50/50 CF. I'm hoping it will be sufficient for medium light corals. (What's the purpose of actinic anyways?). I think I will be getting some lunar lights as well and would like some recommendations.

Filtratration:
I'm hoping that a skimmer (I know not to skimp here. I'll go with the best I can find), LR, and some shaving brush or other plants will be enough filtration for what I want.

Fish (maybe). I don't really have much interest in SW fish, but I agree that the tank would need some movement, so I'd really prefer fish that didn't hide much. I would suppose that with fish I'd need to add a filter (or is there still a chance I could get away without it?). Here's the short list of what I'd be interested in:
Elacatinus puncticulatus goby OR
Yellowhead jawfish (maybe 2?) OR
Tomato clown OR
3 Blue/Green Chromis

Inverts (not all of these necessarily, but as many as I can):
Lima scallop(s)
Mithrax crab
Various snails
Peppermint shrimp(s)
I'm also dying to get a sea lettuce but I see it might not be possible

Corals:
No idea yet.

I was planning on adding the plants right away, then the fish after the tank is cycled, then the inverts, then the corals. If I've overlooked anything or there are compatibility issues or anything, please let me know.
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I just want my planted tanks to be perfect. Is that so much to ask?

55g: (Mostly) African riverine species: Alestes Chaperi, breeding pair of Kribs, and rhino pleco
30g: Newly established reef tank
10g: Planted but fishless
5g: Unplanted with various snail species
2.5g: Heavily planted with betta.
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Old 12-08-2006, 08:13 PM   #10
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Nice choice on the lighting, I have the same fixture on my 29 gallon reef. It's enough for most anything but some species of SPS coral and clams (although opinion would vary on the clam, I would not keep one without MH lights). You can see what I am keeping in my tank under the 'my info' button.

Actinics do serve purpose in coral growth and in my opinion, really go towards making the colors of both corals and fish stand out more.

As for the skimmer, don't fall prey to the SeaClone or venturi driven skimmers. While they do skim...they aren't as efficient as some others. I have a SeaClone now...and it's junk, although it started out okay. Now, no matter how much I finigle with the air adjuster, it doesn't work.

For fish, I like the Chromis suggestion, or perhaps a pair of clowns. They are active. Gobies usually like to hide, stay toward the substrate IME.

Inverts look good, I don't know enough about the sea lettuce to suggest one way or the other, but I don't see a reason why they can't be with the other projected inverts. On snails, my only suggestion is to make sure you get a few Nassarius snails if you want something cool. These guys rock so much. Just make sure you stay away from the cheaper "nassarius alternative" the Llynassa snail. They are a different species that doesn't live very long, they are a cold water species.

HTH, can't wait to see pics and stuff.
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Old 12-08-2006, 09:25 PM   #11
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As much as I'd hate people calling it Nemo, clowns do seem to have lots of personality. Does it have to be a pair or can they live singly? I want to keep my fish load low so I can just use a skimmer if possible.

Sea lettuce are very hard to feed from what I've read but I'd like to hear from anyone who has one.

Oh, and also, how long do I have to wait to add corals?
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I just want my planted tanks to be perfect. Is that so much to ask?

55g: (Mostly) African riverine species: Alestes Chaperi, breeding pair of Kribs, and rhino pleco
30g: Newly established reef tank
10g: Planted but fishless
5g: Unplanted with various snail species
2.5g: Heavily planted with betta.
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Old 12-08-2006, 11:41 PM   #12
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Go ahead with a pair of clowns if you want a pair, but they can live by themselves with no problem. Check into the different kinds of clowns. Not all clowns look like "Nemo" which are the Ocellaris clowns.

About the filtratio, all you need is a skimmer and plenty of liverock, and maybe 2 powerheads for water flow. It serves for a great method of filtration in my opinion.

As soon as your tank is cycled, you can start to slowly add corals. They don't really attribute to the bioload of your tank, but are sensitive to water parameters and such, which is why they need to be added to a fully cycled tank.

HTH
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Old 12-09-2006, 01:40 AM   #13
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Great! I think tomato clowns are really attractive. I might go with a pair.

Thanks all. I'm feeling much better about this. I'm sure I'll have more questions in the future.
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I just want my planted tanks to be perfect. Is that so much to ask?

55g: (Mostly) African riverine species: Alestes Chaperi, breeding pair of Kribs, and rhino pleco
30g: Newly established reef tank
10g: Planted but fishless
5g: Unplanted with various snail species
2.5g: Heavily planted with betta.
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Old 12-10-2006, 08:56 PM   #14
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If you go something like 60 lbs of LR, a 2-5 inch send bend(your choice) and then get a good hob skimmer like the aqua c remora you will be in good shape. I have prizm skimmer and it sucks, I get it to work alright and my nitrates are low but it still sucks(for lack of a better way to describe it)

I would honestly go with any other fish besides the chromis, a pair of clowns and maybe a small goby would be wonderful in 29.
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Old 12-10-2006, 09:24 PM   #15
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Why not the chromis?
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I just want my planted tanks to be perfect. Is that so much to ask?

55g: (Mostly) African riverine species: Alestes Chaperi, breeding pair of Kribs, and rhino pleco
30g: Newly established reef tank
10g: Planted but fishless
5g: Unplanted with various snail species
2.5g: Heavily planted with betta.
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Old 12-16-2006, 08:31 AM   #16
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Okay, the has been set up for a week now. I tossed in a mystery snail that died recently to cycle the tank (sorry buddy!) but saw no ammonia/nitrite spikes. I do have 42 lbs of cured LR in a 30g tank, so is it already cycled? Or is a single snail not enough of an ammonia source?
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I just want my planted tanks to be perfect. Is that so much to ask?

55g: (Mostly) African riverine species: Alestes Chaperi, breeding pair of Kribs, and rhino pleco
30g: Newly established reef tank
10g: Planted but fishless
5g: Unplanted with various snail species
2.5g: Heavily planted with betta.
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Old 12-17-2006, 10:19 AM   #17
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I don't know that a dead mystery snail would do anything in that tank. Try adding in a raw shrimp and see what happens. I say if you don't see any ammonia spike then, or you do but it goes away quickly, then your tank is cycled.

I would say it's already cycled with that much liverock, but better safe then sorry, right?
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Old 12-17-2006, 01:09 PM   #18
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I should mention that at the time there was only 12 gallons of water in the tank, so I find it hard to believe that a decomposing animal wouldn't make a dent in the water quality. I don't trust my results, so I'm gonna have the LFS test it too in case I got a bad kit.
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I just want my planted tanks to be perfect. Is that so much to ask?

55g: (Mostly) African riverine species: Alestes Chaperi, breeding pair of Kribs, and rhino pleco
30g: Newly established reef tank
10g: Planted but fishless
5g: Unplanted with various snail species
2.5g: Heavily planted with betta.
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