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Old 11-17-2004, 02:41 AM   #1
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Help me out here BB or LS or CC

I am starting a 55g reef tank and I am not sure what to use for substrate now, I the guy at the lfs said cc would be ok, but in reading some of the other threads I am now not sure. This is what I have got going so far:

30 # lr
20 # cc
2 clarki clowns already inhabitants
3 damsels again already inhabitants

55g plexi
aqua clear pro 150

Another question I have is about light, I don't have a thousand dollars for the needed light for a full on reef, I am going to get a couple of compact lights, would placing the tank in front of a window help with the needed light?

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Old 11-17-2004, 03:03 AM   #2
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Do not place the tank in front of a window or least don't let any sunlight shine through into the tank. This is fuel for algae to grow and probably won't help corals any more than a lighting system. You can afford a MH system for only around 275 (pendant) or even under 200 (DIY retrofit). I've gone through 3 lighting systems and I would have saved money if I went MH off the bat. PC IMHO are very bad, they aren't effient in the way they are built and more reflectors don't reflect that much more light into the tank. Given with enough PCs you can keep some of the harder to keep stuff, but you'll be paying big bucks. I had 2x55 watters on my 3' 50 gallon tank and they blew. Hard to believe but my shrooms didn't even like that light (50/50s).

Went to T-5 HOs. Big upgrade in my opinion but for whatever reason i was still losing some corals (open brain, frogspawn). I had 2x39 w/ great reflectors AND PCs with it and was still losing some of the LPS corals. My shrooms were opening larger than with the PCs alone however.

Jumped to MH this last week and LOVE it! I have a hanging pendant, 10 inches above the tank about 12 inch over water and it doesn't heat up the water all that much. All of my corals are larger than ever and give off better color. Shrooms have gotten huge! And I just added a couple of Montipora Digitatas got my tank and they are acclimatingly nicely. I can see some small polyps spout out.

Assuming your tank is 4' in length, you'll be putting out at least 200 for 2x96 watters (if its a fixture vs retro). Each bulb when they need replacing will cost around 70 bucks. And at 4' in length, you might have to get 4x 65 watters, equaling more in cost to replace the bulbs.

Making the move to get MH off the bat will seem expensive but I believe its one of the most important purchases to maintain a reeftank.

About the substrate, DSB will lower nitrates after its been setup for quite awhile, CC is a big no-no, and BB isn't too bad, I run a BB because I love the flow of water I can obtain without causing a sandstorm.

The Tank

50 Gallon Acrylic Tank (36x15x20)
85lbs Fiji Live Rock
(4) Maxi-Jet 900 (230gph) *Awaiting 2 MJ1200s*


(1) 250W 10,000K Aqualine Aquamedic HQI Hanging Pendant
(5) LED Moonlights

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(2) Pink Skunk Clownfishes
Goldstripped Maroon Clownfish
Yellow Eye Kole Tang
Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish
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Old 11-17-2004, 08:36 AM   #3
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Welcome to AA!!!

My vote'd be for a DSB. I'm thinking that if bare bottom, you may have to rely totally on rock crevices to place your coral. Some like to be in the sand I believe.

On the lights, I've got 4x65 PCs in my 75g and have shrooms, hammer coral, leather trees, fingers, and xenia doing well on the bottom. Deresa clam for 9 months doing well on the bottom too. Now, that's not to say mine are doing as well as others with MHs, but they seem to be doing fine. I kinda it that I'm not too worried about huge growth spurts, but you might like that. I may consider someday upping my lighting to 4x95 (i think that's the next one up), but staying with the PCs.

Of course you're gonna need more rock too. Maybe 1.5 pounds per gallon is a decent amount.

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Old 11-17-2004, 10:14 AM   #4
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55g plexi If this is your display tank IMO a BB tank because anything else just scratches.....lol Just keep that in mind when you are cleaning the tank if you have substrate at the bottom becarful it will get scratched.

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