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Old 09-15-2004, 09:22 PM   #1
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Starting A Salt Water? Live Rocks & Blue Tangs? Big Tank

I am really wanting to start a salt water aquarium.. I was looking at our local pet shop and they have this listed on sale:

All Glass 72-Gallon Oak Bow Front Aquarium--Includes: Stand, Versa Top & Strip Light.

Is this large enough to house a nicely colored live-rock, 1 blue tang, 1 clown, Sun fish? (actual name?), cleaning shrimp, and a couple others? Can I mix types of live rock, like Fuiji rock with Gulf Rock? Where should I start to read for questions? Basically, where do I start?! You all must be tired of these kinds of questions but thank you for the advice in advance!
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Old 09-15-2004, 09:57 PM   #2
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I hope the member doesn't mind that I post their BEAUTIFUL tank? I'm looking for this kind of "growth" in the tank.. where should I start? *Hoping the member responds..*

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Old 09-15-2004, 11:12 PM   #3
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My friend, the best thing I've found to do is read, read, read

One book that I really enjoyed reading was the Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert Fenner. It really helped me out a lot, and I still refer back to it often.

Hope this helps!
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Old 09-15-2004, 11:20 PM   #4
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You've started in the right place by coming to the forum, so welcome to AA. If you start reading post 1 in the getting started section and just keep on going you'll end up with a pretty good introduction to the hobby. There is a ton of information available here and lots of it is repeated often. So do your research and you'll be off to a good start.

Equipment wise, a 72g tank is a good start. It will provide enough water volume to slow down bad water changes and let you learn about water quality, and provide enough room for a nice variety of livestock. It is about the minimum size needed for an adult blue tang. The clown will be fine, as will any shrimp in this size tank. And you'll still have room for other livestock. You can mix any live rock together that you want. The corals in the above tank, and pretty much all corals will need drasticaly more light than the stip light could possibly provide. The type and amount of light needed for a mini-reef is constantly debated. You'll likely end up with either metal halide or power compact, or a combination of the two. Lighting is the most expensive part of this hobby. You can easily spend just in lighting, more than the rest of your setup put together.

Other than that you'll need to decide on what type of filtration you want to use. Many of us prefer live rock and deep sandbed filtration, others prefer a wet/dry or canister filter. They all have their pro's and their cons. The only exception is an undergravel filter which has no pros and is all cons, so stay away from them.
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Old 09-15-2004, 11:31 PM   #5
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Great advice from Boardsurfer and Indy. Let me throw in--patience! I'm just starting this hobby and one thing (among many!) this board has taught be is go slow, be patient, wait, wait some more--did I mention go slow? From reading the "what's wrong with my tank?" posts, it seems that 75% of the problems people have come from rushing into equipment or livestock purchases or asking too much of a new tank too soon. I've been reading for about 4 months now, trying to get a grip on one thing at a time. Right now I'm on DSBs. Anyway, this is a great place to come for help--those in the know have endless patience for those of us who ask questions and more questions as we try to get our skills up to speed.
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1 peppermint shrimp and 1 fire shrimp (very shy)
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Old 09-15-2004, 11:43 PM   #6
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Hi Nina! WELCOME TO AA!!! The picture you posted above is of my tank. Thank you for the kind words. It is nice to know some else can appreciate what I spend many many hours looking at at home. What you see is the product of about 20 months worth of work. Started as a 40 gal. fish only. I then found the benifits of live rock and some of that. Next came some easy corals with a lighting upgrade. My current tank is a 72 gal. bow front reef ready by Oceanic Systems. I can only reitterate what eveyone else has said. Do lots of reading and even more research. Remember to go slow, there is no hurry in this hobby. My tank is still a work in progress. Decide what type of tank you want, what type of filtration you will use and start putting together a wish list. This will give you some direction. Most importantly, keep asking great questions here. There are many experienced forlks on this site willing to help out. Thank you again for the wonderful compliment...Lando
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Old 09-15-2004, 11:58 PM   #7
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yes to all the questions

but ask yourself: have i underestimated the cost of keeping a saltwater tank?
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Old 09-16-2004, 12:04 AM   #8
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'Cause it's just about impossible to OVERestimate.
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75-gallon SW tank with 29-gallon sump
Euroreef ES5-3
2x Maxijet powerheads
Mag drive 9 return
Coralife 4x65 Lunar Aqualight
120 lbs rock from liverocks.com
1 peppermint shrimp and 1 fire shrimp (very shy)
2 black Ocellaris, Squish and Smudge
3 chromis, too identical to name as yet, in QT
10-gallon tropical
29-gallon with two goldies, Carrot and Orangehead
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Old 09-16-2004, 09:36 AM   #9
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There is no way around it...this hobby is expensive. I have well over $4000 invested in my current tank and the number rises every week. The good news is that you do not need to blow a huge chunk of cash all at once. The most expensive part will be your initial set-up. I began buying mine in piece by piece over the course of several months to make it more affordable. This is where the "not beign in a hurry" begins. You can source a lot of what you need on-line to save big bucks. Do not get discouraged over the expense. Everyone here will tell you that it is well worth it. Good luck...Lando
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Old 09-16-2004, 10:42 AM   #10
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Yeah, saltwater tanks, especially if you're going for the reef setup, is not cheap at all. Even if you find a cheap used tank and stand, 70% of your expenses still come from purchasing the live rock, a good skimmer, and the lighting.
you might decide you need your own R/O unit too (tap water is not a good thing for SW tanks) which can add another $200 into the equation, and then your yearly resin filter replacement (which I have heard can be $100)

don't let us discourage you...just be prepared for the cost.
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Old 09-16-2004, 10:50 AM   #11
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I don't think I have under estimated the cost, this is the only thing thats kept me from doing it for so long.. I didn't think I had room for a large tank but now that I hardly have any furnature in my livingroom, I figure its best to finally get my feet wet! I guess I am tired of having tank-envy at my local dentist!

Your tank is breath-taking lando! I was planning on letting the rocks set up before even venturing into fish, which from what I have read, will let me adjust to getting the water settings just right, and then add one fish at a time.. I was worried mostly about the tang as I read that someone suggested that a 60gal was too small but couldn't find anything about what the right size tank was.. I am glad the tank I have found is decently priced! I might have to go get it today! even if it will sit empty until my next paycheck! I am only looking to fill up with maybe 5-8 fish, I don't want to over crowd and I have a feeling I will be spending a LOT of time on the live rock...

What is the benifits of live sand?

Thank you all again! This is the best place for information!
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Old 09-16-2004, 12:57 PM   #12
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Live sand has many of the benifits of LR. It harbors beneficial bacteria used for biological filtration. It is a better substrate then crushed coral because it requires less attention. CC tends to trap waste products and cause an increase in nitrates. once you have substrate, water and LR in your tank you should plan on four weeks for your tank to cycle completely before you start to add livestock. Put together a list of of the items you will need to get started and go from there...Lando
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Old 09-16-2004, 01:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
don't let us discourage you...just be prepared for the cost.

... and the enjoyment! Welcome and good luck!!!

I'll second the Fenner book. A good bit is devoted to the research to do in order to develop your wish list for inhabitants and equipment needs.

Yo Lando! I got a tank like yours - - well.. I mean it's shaped like yours anyway.
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Old 09-16-2004, 01:09 PM   #14
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Don't forget the QT, QT, QT!
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Old 09-16-2004, 04:50 PM   #15
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do I have to QT the LR and LS or just the fish? I am assuming just the fish?

I'm buying the fenner book and plan to buy the second in his set at Amazon once I am finished with the first.. I am so excited to begin! I'm going to follow the suggestions in the book and wait to buy anything until I have a solid foundation..

lando, should I start with base rock, or what kinds of live rock should I look into first to get a growth like yours?

Thank you all again!
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Old 09-16-2004, 06:37 PM   #16
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Yes, you only need to QT the fish. LR is the best way to go. However, you can go like 50/50 base rock to LR. Eventually, your LR will seed the base rock it just takes a while. As for the "growth" on the rocks, most are just corals I have purchsed one at a time. Some will begin to grow and spread over the rocks with time. When you buy a corals like a polyp or mushroom colony they will ussually come with several animals attatched to a piece of rock.
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Old 09-16-2004, 10:17 PM   #17
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Also, the neat thing about this hobby is that like someone mentioned before- you can get things as you can afford them. For example new items every three months or so. This is actually quite fun, because it's neat to get the LR in the tank for example, and then since your broke, you are forced to enjoy the LR only- but it's really cool to see things grow on the LR and find critters in with the LR. Once you get more $$, you can add a crustacean or a fish and enjoy that for months...then you can increase your lighting and move on to corals or other things as you get more advanced. I'm a year into this hobby and I'm still not at the point where I feel comfortable going "all-out reef" yet.

But I sure am having fun along the way
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Old 09-17-2004, 01:51 AM   #18
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Hey Nina,

Do you have experence with freshwater fish yet???

I always suggest that route first with my friends and people who ask me about fish. ( I am quite well known among friends and co-workers for my love of fish, Freshwater and now, saltwater.)

Many people just don't catch the aquarium bug. They are excited for a month or two, but then after all their fish start dying from beginners mistakes, they give up and let the tank go. finally the last fish dies or is given away and they are stuck with an empty tank full of dirty gravel in their garage. I went through two tanks (freshwater) before I got one that worked right. But when I did, man was it worth it!

Before you go investing thousands of dollars in a costly setup. Its nice to learn the basics with freshwater fish. We all make beginners mistakes, and Freshwater is the best place to learn. A fantastic Freshwater tank can be setup for under 200 dollars.

Please don't take offense to anything I said, and If you do have Freshwater experence, disregarde EVERYTHING I said. Just trying to help!

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Software:2 Tank-Raised Ocellaris Clowns, 1 Purple Firefish, 1 Electric Orange hermit crab, 18 Blue Legged hermit crabs, 8 or so Nassarius snails, Xenia, Blue, green, and Green Striped Mushrooms.

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Old 09-17-2004, 11:59 AM   #19
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Starfish & Lights?

I have some experience with FW tanks, I raised a few Mollys and this really large orange fish that looked like a cross between a Molly and a Gold Fish.. and I had a few beta's, guppies, and hatchets, but I had live in help at that time, if things went wrong, someone else always knew what to do, now that person is gone, so I am roughing it on my own

My little critter is still alive so that must say something, eh? I bought the book yesterday and have read some about it and am starting to put together a wishlist.. so now I have another couple of questions..

When you run your lights, are they supposed to run 24-7? or do we cycle them to our schedules? & How do they effect your electric bills? Large price gouges or just a slight increase? & starfish, I'd like a mild one and was thinking perhaps an 'elegant' down the line? but I plan to add some soft corals, will they get eaten? I've read a lot of people have had trouble with the chocolate chip stars, I plan to avoid them.. just the elegant (purple-ish red w/ white dots) or the solid blue (name escapes me at the moment).. I've read they are the gentlest of the breeds? Or maybe just avoid a star altogether? any opinions?

Thanks so much! I'm looking forward to getting my feet wet!
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Old 09-17-2004, 12:32 PM   #20
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Lighting schedules depend on the type and amount of light entering the tank. 10 to 12 hours a day are the norm. ( I have mine set for 10 hour days for now.)

I'll let someone with more experence with lighting answer that one, but you do need to use a timer to keep your days and nights regular. Many Noctournal animals in you live rock need the night to come out and do their thing. and YOur fish need some sleepy time.

Power consumption depends on a number of things, of course, the more equipment you add the higher the bill goes. Lighting equipment, a couple of powerheads, filtration, skimmers, heaters, UV sterilizers, all running 24/7 will do some serious drainage to your power bill. Dont forget weekly and monthly water changes which include Fresh R/O water and salt. and regular bulb changes for your lighting, and regularly adding minerals, And ofcourse, fish food is more expenseive for salt water fish. It all adds up to a significant amount of upkeep.

Soft corals are generally not recomended until the system has had time to properly age. Most people will recomend waiting tilll the system is a year old.

But, I still say that you may need a bit more experence with Freshwater fishkeeping. perhaps get that fish in your tank some tankmates, and maybe some live plants??? just a suggestion.

Keep researching, and asking questions! I researched SW systems for over a year before I dived into the hobby. But that was still a fun year!!!

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Software:2 Tank-Raised Ocellaris Clowns, 1 Purple Firefish, 1 Electric Orange hermit crab, 18 Blue Legged hermit crabs, 8 or so Nassarius snails, Xenia, Blue, green, and Green Striped Mushrooms.

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