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Old 12-31-2014, 11:59 AM   #1
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AquaTricia 40 gal FOWLR

Hello, everyone.
I received a 40b for Christmas and a stand. I am trying to figure out what I need to begin the tank. I have read conflicting advice, so I decided to ask you guys. I currently have 2freshwater mixed, 2 cichlids and a JBJ 28g reef retrofitted with LEDs. I want something very simple just to admire. I have decided on the skimmer, an AquaC Remora Pro S. Several articles I read stated that with a good skimmer, I will not need an HOB filter. I had planned on a Marineland Biowheel filter. Do I need one at all? Then there's the question of live rock. BRS has Figi live dry rock. Never heard of this. Is it appropriate for my setup? Will I need a heater and lights while cycling, and how often water changes? I will use a cocktail shrimp for cycling. Do any of the bottled cycling formulas actually work to speed up the process? And, what type of lighting? Was planning on LED for the shimmer, but again, conflicting info. Also, I will need a lid. My husband says to get a sheet if plexiglass and put a hinged opening for feeding, but, forgive my ignorance, how do I clean the tank? Remove the entire lid and lights?
I'm sorry this is so long and I asked so many questions, but the reef was basically plug and play. This one I'm building from the ground up. By the way, this will be BB.
Thanks for all the help I know I will get. I trust the info on this website.
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Old 12-31-2014, 10:11 PM   #2
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What a nice Christmas gift!!! I'm a newbie myself so I don't think I can help you much. I just started my first aquarium, a FOWLR, on 11/1 so it is 2 months old.

I was looking into the dry live rock. From what I understand, it is rock that was once live and is now dry. The advantage is that it doesn't come with pests. I read that you have to cure it before cycling the tank and it stinks. I decided to go with 10 lbs live from our LFS and I ordered 10 lbs base rock. My tank took a month to cycle with no water changes and fish food. I only added MicroBacter7 every morning to help with the bacteria growth as recommended to me by our LFS.

Later, I will be setting up a sump with a protein skimmer so I can't help you in that area. I also can't help you with lighting. I have a 36 gallon Aqueon bowfront and I have a FOWLR set up so I am using the lighting that it came with.

I hope you get all of your questions answered! Please post pics!!!
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36- gallon bow front FOWLR established on 11/1/14 with
1 blue- green Chromis, 2 bi- colored Chromis, 3 black and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 orange and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 Banggai cardinalfish, 11 Turban snails (1 died), 6 hermit crabs, 3 peppermint shrimp, and lots of love....
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Old 01-01-2015, 09:23 AM   #3
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New FOWLR

Good morning. Happy New Year.
I actually have been following your thread. I can see you are very excited, as I was with getting the reef on board, and now, my FOWLR. Since it is so different from the reef, and I'm building it from scratch, I want to start off right, hence my posting on this website. Good advice here. And so many contribute so you get a lot of ideas.
Good luck with your tank and thanks for responding. I live just up the road from you!
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Old 01-01-2015, 09:52 AM   #4
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You can use the dry rock if you like. You just need to add an ammonia source to start your cycle. Some folks like the bottled bacteria, and while it cannot hurt to use, it's not necessary.
As for the lid, I would suggest not using a lid at all, or at most using a mesh screen. Gas exchange is important, and a tight fitting lid will hinder this.
You don't need a HOB filter, but it's fine if you want to use one.
You will need power heads though. If you can spend the money a single Vortech MP10 may suit this tank well.
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:23 AM   #5
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Appreciate the help mr-x. I had totally forgotten about powerheads. And you say I need only one good one and I have no problem with the cost. Don't neccesarily need an HOB filter with the Remora? Didn't want one anyway. I am good with my water changes. Honestly, the only reason I need a lid at all are 3 cats. 'Nough said. The screen idea sounds good. Keeps out the cats and the jumpers in. Can I buy one already made, or will I need to consruct one? As far as the rock, I was going to use a cocktail shrimp for my ammonia source. Sound OK? Do I do water changes while cycling? Thanks for responding, and on a holiday.
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:50 AM   #6
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You are going to need to build a mesh top. BRS sells everything you need if you don't want to gather this stuff yourself-
DIY Screen Tops - Bulk Reef Supply

Yes to a cocktail shrimp (in a mesh bag or piece of panty hose so it doesn't get all over the place. No to water changes during the cycle.
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Old 01-01-2015, 04:55 PM   #7
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Wow! You are great! I am going to go thru BRS for the rock, so I can get the stuff for the lid and build it to my specs. Glad to know about the water changes. Looking at Orbits, believe it or not on Amazon, for lighting over this tank. Got the idea from Carey from an AA forum. For my tank, would they be appropriate, in your opinion? I greatly appreciate it.
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Old 01-01-2015, 04:59 PM   #8
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For a fowlr, which light you choose really doesn't matter. As long as it turns on and off it'll work


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Old 01-01-2015, 05:39 PM   #9
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Ok. That makes things easy. Last question (I hope). Do I need lights, powerhead, skimmer and heater during the cycle?
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Old 01-01-2015, 05:52 PM   #10
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Lights and skimmer no, but you'll want a heater and some flow for sure


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Old 01-01-2015, 08:44 PM   #11
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Thanks. Will keep everyone posted...if I don't mess it up.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:34 PM   #12
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You are indeed right up the road from me! My hubby passes through all of the time. He's a truck driver and we own our own truck and run on our own authority as well.

I'll continue to follow your post to see how it all goes for you!!!
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36- gallon bow front FOWLR established on 11/1/14 with
1 blue- green Chromis, 2 bi- colored Chromis, 3 black and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 orange and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 Banggai cardinalfish, 11 Turban snails (1 died), 6 hermit crabs, 3 peppermint shrimp, and lots of love....
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Old 01-03-2015, 10:08 AM   #13
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Wow! Small world. Sometime we need to talk. You're a Special Ed teacher, right? I have a high functioning autistic granddaughter. I have a strong respect for Special Ed teachers.
Anyway, this is a fish forum. Back to the subject.
Stand is up, but my husband is putting casters on it so we can move it as necessary. You know those plastic desk chair floor cover? We put one under all the tanks so if we get a leak, or spill water while cleaning, it catches most of it. I will do a water test on the tank and then clean it. Next, I will order rock from BRS and start making additional salt water. Lots to do and I will love to do it.
How's your tank? Fishies doing well? Added more?
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Old 01-03-2015, 10:37 AM   #14
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It is a small world, indeed! Yes- I am a dually- certified teacher going for a third certification in Special Ed. My BA. is in Secondary Education in Biology. I am certified by the state of FL to teach Elementary Ed (grades K- 6 all subjects) and General Sciences (grades 5- 9). I am in school for my masters degree in Special Ed to then add that to my certification. I have 15 years teaching experience among all three areas. I am in a private Christian school as a consultant and Special Ed teacher. I taught Biology this past summer at a college level and this past semester at a high school level. This coming semester, I will be teaching Chemistry and Physical Science to high schoolers and I'll be in the 6th grade classroom for a while (their teacher is doing an internship in counseling), all while running the Special Ed lab. I love what I do!!!

I have a couple of autistic kids in the lab, plus my nephew is 4 years old and autistic as well. We have bonded over the fishes!!! I need to upload some pics; it's just that I've been so busy these past few weeks! For Christmas, I took him to our LFS and he was in awe. I told him to pick a fish "to put in Titi Liza's tank" and that will be his fish. He chose a black and white Oscellaris clownfish with an orange underbelly. We added a mate for it, making it 4 Oscellaris clowns in my tank. I had wanted a Banggai Cardinalfish myself so we added one as well. Yesterday, we added a pretty cool background to the tank so I feel like it's truly an under water scene now! As I said- I'll post pics soon, hopefully sometime over the weekend.

It sounds like your setup is coming along nicely! The coasters idea is ingenious!!! Over here, thank God I have a tiled floor- LOL! God knows that it isn't easy doing water changes with my nephew without getting some on the floor!.... I'm definitely going to continue to follow your thread and check out your progress.
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36- gallon bow front FOWLR established on 11/1/14 with
1 blue- green Chromis, 2 bi- colored Chromis, 3 black and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 orange and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 Banggai cardinalfish, 11 Turban snails (1 died), 6 hermit crabs, 3 peppermint shrimp, and lots of love....
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Old 01-03-2015, 04:26 PM   #15
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Thanks for writing back! I have 4 freshwater tanks on carpet. What a disaster! But, I learn from every tank, so I hope this will be nearly perfect. I'm so excited! I'm going to have to go really slow. My mom is having surgery on 1/6/15 and my husband will have surgery 1/28/15. Approximately two weeks later, he will have another one, so everything I do will surround all this. I wanted to order the rock, powerhead and heaters today, but they will get to the house on mom's surgery day, and I don't want this on the porch for an unknown time. So, I will have to be careful when I place orders and when I can work on the tank.
You are one busy lady, and I told you how much I respect you. Anna can be difficult to handle, and she is almost 12. She's failed one grade, and may fail this one. She has an IEP, which I find useless. Either her mother or I are at the school at least once a week. If she passes this year, she is supposed to have the McKay, so we will put her in a private school with a contained special Ed program. I will tell you one thing, though. Like your nephew, she loves my tanks and freaks out at "fish" stores. She and her little sister have helped me choose most of my fish. And, some of the equipment. Her little sister was so disappointed yesterday that she couldn't go get the fish she chose from the book to put in the empty tank. Took an hour to explain it to her. But I have a great list of fish for the future.
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Old 01-04-2015, 07:18 PM   #16
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My heart and prayers go out to you and to your family. I hope for all surgical interventions to go smoothly and for full recoveries as well.

Let me give you my email address because there are some things I'd like to discuss with you that do not belong in a fish forum. It is lguasp.davila@gmail.com. Please send me a message and we will chat! I have a ton of questions for you and I might have some ammunition as well. Both my hubby and I return to work tomorrow so we are having a movie night tonight. However, I look forward to chatting with you soon!!!
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36- gallon bow front FOWLR established on 11/1/14 with
1 blue- green Chromis, 2 bi- colored Chromis, 3 black and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 orange and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 Banggai cardinalfish, 11 Turban snails (1 died), 6 hermit crabs, 3 peppermint shrimp, and lots of love....
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Old 01-04-2015, 08:29 PM   #17
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Thanks for the prayers for my mom and husband. Thanks, too, for the email address. I look forward to having someone to talk to about ALL my interests. Tomorrow, I have to do all the things I won't be able to in the next week. When I sit down, I'll email you.
By the way, the stand is up and finished and I'm doing the water test on the tank. Progressing, but slowly.
Enjoy the movie night!
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:32 AM   #18
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Ok, everyone, a new question. Was going BB but since I'm using an iron stand, the fishies will be nervous having to look straight down. Paint it, or use a little substrate? CaribSea has a Hawaiin (knew I was going to spell that wrong) black sand that appeals to me. Opinions, please?
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Old 01-05-2015, 02:53 PM   #19
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You can do whichever you'd like. If you get the black sand, keep in mind that it is magnetic and you will not be able to use items like mag floats as the sand will attach to it and scratch up the glass.


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Old 01-05-2015, 05:00 PM   #20
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It's also not reflective. I think one of the benefits of white sand is that it reflects light to areas like rock overhangs. I suppose you could paint the bottom, but what color? White? How about a picture of sand taped to the bottom? Either way, it's eventually going to get covered with coralline algae anyway.
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