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Old 08-14-2012, 02:29 PM   #1
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Would like to switch from fresh to salt need advice

Like the thread title suggests I would like to switch. building new house so I feel timing is right. Really like marineland cubes 93g but open to something else with similar capacity. The wall I have in mind is only 36 inches long...no restrictions on height but really do not want depth exceeding 24-30 inches.

Since I am new to salt, what would I need exactly to run an efficient reef aquarium...filters, skimmers, lighting, live rocks, sand, heaters, chillers, etc.

I need expert advice on what this build should have to run a healthy aquarium and if possible some quotes on what everything should cost...separately if possible. I live in Ontario by the way so any local store referencing would help if possible .
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:47 PM   #2
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Before you begin with the equipment you'll need to decide what you wanna stock to get the most out of your buck and best results. Do you want a reef tank or just fowlr (fish only with live rock).. and welcome to AA by the way
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Old 08-14-2012, 03:45 PM   #3
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Really would prefer reef but am open to fish and live rock only. Really like true percula clowns, but even regal tang, angels, dotty backs. The clowns are a must (2) anything else would be gravy. I have kept a 15 allon successful with 5 tiger barbs, 4 glolight danios for 1 and a half years thus far.
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Old 08-14-2012, 03:49 PM   #4
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If your doing in wall is running the plumbing and filtration into the basement or the room behind the tank an option?
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Old 08-14-2012, 03:51 PM   #5
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I'm converting my saltwater FOWLER tank to a reef as we speak and have been doing some research on it. From what I've read on forums and on different websites, different opinions vary as to what equipment is the best. As far as standard things you will need, here is a link that can get you started on research.

www.fishlore.com/reeftanksetup.htm

I would let your tank stabilize before adding corals and research fish well as some are not reef safe and/or compatible with each other. In addition, and I don't know if you do this with fresh water fish but you should quarantine anything before it goes into your tank. One fish that is a carrier of parasites can crash your tank.

www..wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm
http://www.liveaquaria.com/general/g...ral_pagesid=20
http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/20...ture/index.php


Corals can also carry things as well as live rock that you wouldn't want in your tank.
www.coralRX.com is a product you can use on corals before placing them in your tank. Saltwater fish can be expensive and the time you spend in preparation can be a waste if you don't QT.

Keeping saltwater fish etc is an ongoing learning experience but it's challenging and fun! I post links because it's an easier read. Not sure if this will help you but it's good information to start with!
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:05 PM   #6
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I believe he mentioned reef tank.

The corals, inverts and fish you wish to keep can/will determine certain things you may want/need.

Below i will go over a list of key elements and rough price ranges. Price is dependent on quality usually in this hobby so be prepared to pay more money for the good stuff and things that will make your life easier such as a controller for example.

1) Tank - largest possible gallons is recommended. More water = more option and more room for error. Stay away from anything deeper than 30 inches. Most lighting has trouble penetrating deeper tank and will require specialized lighting. 36" wide limit probably will require a cube tank if you want anything over 40-50g so the marinland you looking at might be the ticket.

2) Live rock - many types of live rock but most popular seems to be fiji, pukani and tonga(export ban) if you can find it from a reefer. Expect live rock to go for about 6.99-7.99 per pound at most LFS's. 1 pound per gallon is recommended for a reef tank. Also many cut the cost here by getting dry rock and a small portion of live rock(25-50%) to seed the dry rock with. Dry rock is much cheaper at around 2.99 a pound.

3) Lighting - lighting is one of the most important aspects of a reef. The lighting you will need will largely depend on the size of tank, how deep it is, and what corals you are planning to grow. Sps, clams, anemones will require more intense lighting, get back to me on this and i can make some suggestions. Also you need to decide if you want metal halides, LED's, or T5's. Prices will range from a few hundred to a grand or two.

4.) Sump - a sump is not require but it will allow you to do more and give you more options when it comes to filtration and making life easier. The largest size sump you can fit under you tank is recommended. Also with a sump you will want your display tank to be drilled and fitted with a proper overflow box. Sump can be self made DIY project from a smaller tank.

5) Skimmer - skimmer is you best piece of equipment for maintaining organic matter in a reef tank (besides water changes). A skimmer rated at double your tank size is recommended. Cheap skimmers usually come with cheap pumps so expect to pay 200-500 for something that will do the job well for a 90ish gal like i think your planning.

6) RO/DI unit - you do not need to buy your own unit but it is cost effective and will pay for itself within the first year. Ro-Di water is highly recommended for reef tanks for many reasons. A good unit can be purchased for 150-200 usually.

7) Heater/Chiller - living in canada you likely to atleast need a heater. Usually chiller is only needed for hot tanks from halide lighting for example or in a hot climate. Heater will go about 30-50 bucks.

8) Powerheads - atleast 2 are recommended. The size and how much flow you need will depend on tank size and corals u wish to keep. Koralia's go for about 50-100 depending on size and the high end Vortechs will fetch hundreds depending in size.

This is the equipment you will probably require above. Below is a list of possible equipment you may want or need in the future.

Reactors
Auto-top off
Controllers
Meters/probes
Scrubber
Refugium
Moonlighting
Etc.

Stuff like this can always be added at a later time if wanted or needed easily.

Accessories are many but below are a few you will need to start:

Hydrometer/refractometer
Test kits (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph, alk, calcium, mag and phosphate)
Siphon hose
Turkey baster
Thermometer
Airline tubing (for acclimation)
Buckets
Algae magnet/brush
Fish food

Hopefully this should all get you started and researching. I cant stress reading as much as you can enough. It can be a very tough and expensive hobby if your not informed.

Also do NOT i repeat do NOT let fish stores try to sell you things. As you can see this hobby is expensive and LFS's often take advantage of that by selling unknowing buyers things they do not need or that are junk for what your trying to achieve. Someone here at AA will lead you in the right direction as far as what you 'need' if you have any questions.

Hope that all helps.
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrc8858
If your doing in wall is running the plumbing and filtration into the basement or the room behind the tank an option?
Into the basement is an option but not on other side of wall.
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikki_kaiser
I'm converting my saltwater FOWLER tank to a reef as we speak and have been doing some research on it. From what I've read on forums and on different websites, different opinions vary as to what equipment is the best. As far as standard things you will need, here is a link that can get you started on research.

www.fishlore.com/reeftanksetup.htm

I would let your tank stabilize before adding corals and research fish well as some are not reef safe and/or compatible with each other. In addition, and I don't know if you do this with fresh water fish but you should quarantine anything before it goes into your tank. One fish that is a carrier of parasites can crash your tank.

www..wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm
www.liveaquaria.com/general/general.cfm?general_pagesid=20
www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-10/sp/feature/index.php

Corals can also carry things as well as live rock that you wouldn't want in your tank.
www.coralRX.com is a product you can use on corals before placing them in your tank. Saltwater fish can be expensive and the time you spend in preparation can be a waste if you don't QT.

Keeping saltwater fish etc is an ongoing learning experience but it's challenging and fun! I post links because it's an easier read. Not sure if this will help you but it's good information to start with!
Thanks good reads...some I have already read as I have been reading for about a month now but still have found it difficult to actually get a price...r we dealing with 3, 4, 5 thousand dollars for cube like tank or tank max 36 long but still around 75-90 gallons with everything I need. One company quoted $5000 minimum if they do everything not including fish...is that reasonable?

That is why I would like some other advice and figure if I can do setup myself without making a complete mess...I mean I am not an idiot...but my field of expertise is more electronics and computers.
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:21 PM   #9
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Schism

Thanks for the detail!

Really I am not sure on which type of coral. No clue here. Does the type of fish I want to keep help,me narrow it down? For instance clown with anemones? What kind do you suggest for a marineland 93gallon cube? I do plan on mixing live rock with some dry rock...and what about live sand? Shallow sand bed or deep?

I would be happy with 2 clowns, blue tang and maybe 1 other fish....but the clowns I really enjoy. Should everything go under aquarium or since it is a new home build should I try to run plumbing into basement underneath? Benefits vs disadvantages here?
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:00 PM   #10
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Here are some local places:

http://www.bigalspets.ca/
http://www.petsandponds.com/?gclid=C...FcY-Mgod6AUAng

Provided I go with marineland cube 93 gallon, direct me to high quality skimmer and all other equipment needed besides rock as you quoted me a price already...ie lighting, filter ,sump etc to give me an idea of cost to be up and running.

If it is too much I may just go freshwater and maybe cichlids

Thanks
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:27 PM   #11
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Schism- great advice and I agree with the advice regarding the protein skimmer!

As far as cost goes to set up the tank alone, I think 5k is expensive! I had 150 gallon tank and I know I didn't drop that much money straight out of the shoot. I'm learning about reef tanks as well since I've only had FOWLER with anemone. Schism knows his stuff (I've seen many of his responses here) so I would go with what ever he advises as will I!!
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikki_kaiser
Schism- great advice and I agree with the advice regarding the protein skimmer!

As far as cost goes to set up the tank alone, I think 5k is expensive! I had 150 gallon tank and I know I didn't drop that much money straight out of the shoot. I'm learning about reef tanks as well since I've only had FOWLER with anemone. Schism knows his stuff (I've seen many of his responses here) so I would go with what ever he advises as will I!!
Honestly for a nice reef tank $5k for 150 gallon DT isn't that crazy. My estimate is $40-$50 a gallon is a good rule of thumb for a pretty much finished tank with decent to high end equipment. I'm at around $3500 on my 46 gallon reef tank but I could definately have had a reef tank for a whole lot less.
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrc8858

Honestly for a nice reef tank $5k for 150 gallon DT isn't that crazy. My estimate is $40-$50 a gallon is a good rule of thumb for a pretty much finished tank with decent to high end equipment. I'm at around $3500 on my 46 gallon reef tank but I could definately have had a reef tank for a whole lot less.
Totally! My reef has sucked up alot of money, one upgrade leads to another and soon its more then just a regular reef tank. I mean after a little while you say hey those chillers look pretty cool, ill go grab me one of those. Then you see people with auto top offs and you think about how much you hate dumping water from a milk jug into your tank, so you pick one up. Then you want some more high end sps corals so you go with the radion led lights, but you cant just have 1 fixture! Haha as you can see alot of money goes into the tank and you dont realize it... Or you dont want to add it up
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:45 PM   #14
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WOW!! That's expensive!!! I've seen some expensive corals and knew you could drop some serious coin if you wanted. I guess it does add up as you progress. Hmmm...auto top off sounds NICE!! LOL!
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondanation09
Schism

Thanks for the detail!

Really I am not sure on which type of coral. No clue here. Does the type of fish I want to keep help,me narrow it down? For instance clown with anemones? What kind do you suggest for a marineland 93gallon cube? I do plan on mixing live rock with some dry rock...and what about live sand? Shallow sand bed or deep?

I would be happy with 2 clowns, blue tang and maybe 1 other fish....but the clowns I really enjoy. Should everything go under aquarium or since it is a new home build should I try to run plumbing into basement underneath? Benefits vs disadvantages here?
Thats a start. Nems require high intensity lighting. Do you know the dimensions of that tank? A can suggest a few different lighting options.

As far as live sand goes i say dont get it. Its expensive and kind of a gimmick as usually it contains a lot of dieoff sitting in the bags on a LFS shelve for long periods. So go with dry sand, a few cups of live sand from a local reefers tank would be a great addition to seed the dry sandbed well. As far as shallow or deep, i highly suggest shallow unless you plan on having critters that require a deep sand bed. You really need to know what your doing for a proper DSB that will work long term.

The blue tang will get very large and not recommended for 93g cube. A yellow tang would probably be doable or kole etc. few other smaller ones that might be ok.

If you run everything to the basement you can drastically cut down on noise as well as make your sump very large as you do not have to fit it under the tank in the stand. however running it to the basement will require a large return pump to pump your water back up 1 story. Personally i would route to the basement but that me. If you choose this route i suggest hard plumbing and done properly with minimal bends to clog and plenty of ball valves so repairs can be done of needed.

With 5g's you will have no problem starting a kick-*** tank. Most people starting are not willing to front even a quarter that so your already ahead of the game.
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:54 PM   #16
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Ok...say your saying $5000 for 93 gallon marine land full reef setup is about right? If so I am back to freshwater and maybe cichlids setup. Thanks all never thought I would be looking at $5000 for 93 gallon reef setup
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:26 PM   #17
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5000 would get you top of the line everything and all the bells and whistles to go with it. You can do it for much less. I setup a 55g reef about 4 months ago and all said and done I am sitting at about 2300 for everything other than the tank which I already had. That is all livestock including corals, all live rock as I didn't want to seed base rock, lights, live sand. That also includes a RODI system, auto top off, skimmer. It's not that bad especially since you can buy it a little at a time then once you have the necessities you can start cycling.
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:34 PM   #18
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I think that's a lot. Not including tank say... 350-500 to light a skimmers $300-400... Sump price depends on DIY or ready made $150-300... Live sand or aragonite sand $90-130 rock you could do like 30lbs live 60lbs dead. At 2.99 and 7.99 a pound depending on location or website. And powerheads for korallia's $50-60x2 or 3 depending on the model you want.

Of course you could make it much more expensive if I liked though, lol

By my list: probably around 2k not including tank so 2,700-2,800k I would say.

And to be honest you could get away with .75lbs of Rock a gallon also not to say 1lb a gallon isn't better.

I spend about 1,500 on my 75gl not including tank. I have 65-70lbs of Rick in my tank with zero problems of my levels

Just piece it together each paycheck.
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:41 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Hondanation09
Ok...say your saying $5000 for 93 gallon marine land full reef setup is about right? If so I am back to freshwater and maybe cichlids setup. Thanks all never thought I would be looking at $5000 for 93 gallon reef setup
No 5000 is not required for a reef setup. I thought you said you were looking at spending 5000. 5000 will get you top of the line equipment buy there are cheaper routes. Expect to front atleast a good 1-2k to get started tho for what you want. Fish only systems are much cheaper. A reef though, especially wanting nems will be much pricier.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:14 PM   #20
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Whew!! Glad you replied to that schism because I was about to toss the reef idea out the door and I only have 56 gallons!

When quoted $5,000.00, are we talking the full deal (equipment, tank full of beautiful corals, live rock, fish)? I don't doubt that eventually the cost would add up to that much but upfront, that's a good bit.
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