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Old 08-26-2010, 04:44 PM   #1
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90 or 120 Gallon Tank

Hello,
First of many many questions . I am entertaining the idea of owning a saltwater tank. We were thinking the 90 gallon tank is perfect for the space we want to fill but the salesmen was trying desperately to sell us the 120 gallon. I think the tank will stick out too much so my question is am i really sacrificing all that much staying with the 90.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:01 PM   #2
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I'd have to check my numbers again, but i would say you are losing roughly 30 gallons. :p

In the end its about your taste and what you want to do with it. the 120 is going to require a little bit bigger everything, so cost is going to be slightly higher. the only thing you are gaining is some depth back into the tank, which i really like because you have more options of aquascaping. Also, if you plan to go reef down the road, more depth into your tank IMO can make the difference between a "cool" tank and a "wow" tank. Fish wise, you are only limiting a couple fish as far as stock, but quite a few fish by species, if that makes sense? 100g is a cutoff for a lot of nicer angels and a couple other species.

I guess before I ramble forever, what are your plans for the tank?
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:19 PM   #3
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I'd have to check my numbers again, but i would say you are losing roughly 30 gallons. :p

In the end its about your taste and what you want to do with it. the 120 is going to require a little bit bigger everything, so cost is going to be slightly higher. the only thing you are gaining is some depth back into the tank, which i really like because you have more options of aquascaping. Also, if you plan to go reef down the road, more depth into your tank IMO can make the difference between a "cool" tank and a "wow" tank. Fish wise, you are only limiting a couple fish as far as stock, but quite a few fish by species, if that makes sense? 100g is a cutoff for a lot of nicer angels and a couple other species.

I guess before I ramble forever, what are your plans for the tank?
I appreciate the ramble. Im really new at this so i dont have any plans per say. However idd like to be able to google top 10 saltwater fish and use any of the fish i see. Specifically idd like a couple of clowns, a lionfish, an angel fish to start and then eventually i'm thinking 10-20 fish. Again i have no idea what im doing so i would be counting on the petstore to tell me i can or cant do something. I would start with rocks and some light plants but idd like the flexibility to eventually add Anemone.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:23 PM   #4
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Bigger tanks are less prone to major water parameter shifts, so they're easier to care for in that sense. A minimum of a six foot tank is recommended for a tang.

I'm pretty sure those clowns will end up as lionfish snacks eventually.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:30 PM   #5
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I appreciate the ramble. Im really new at this so i dont have any plans per say. However idd like to be able to google top 10 saltwater fish and use any of the fish i see. Specifically idd like a couple of clowns, a lionfish, an angel fish to start and then eventually i'm thinking 10-20 fish. Again i have no idea what im doing so i would be counting on the petstore to tell me i can or cant do something. I would start with rocks and some light plants but idd like the flexibility to eventually add Anemone.
If I had to give you one piece of advice, It would be to listen to people here over your local pet store everytime. I would run just about anything you do past us here, even though it seems monotonous, its better then doing something silly and destroying your tank. This is a tentative article I'm working on, but its great for a quick reference on some initial questions you are going to have.

It's a biggun, but take a couple minutes to read it, and jot down some of it if you don't understand it, and research, research, research!

Before you start:
Research.
Read all of the articles in our section here.
Make sure you understand completely what the “cycle” of your tank is.
Use a fishless cycle.
Be prepared to go slow, set deadlines and goals at realistic time intervals.
Think about where you want to go with your tank in 1 month, 6 months and a year.
Make a stocking list, discuss and get it approved here.
Make an equipment list for starting, and things you want long term.
Buy quality equipment once, and use it throughout several tanks.
Set a schedule for daily, weekly and monthly maintenance.
Add at quarantine tank to your equipment list.
Invest in a good RO/DI unit.
Invest in a refractometer.
Buy liquid test kits.
There is no “cheap” saltwater system, be prepared to drop the minimum to keep these animals safe.

Up and running:
Water changes are the first step to regular maintenance, and solving almost any problem.
Keep a notebook or file of anything and everything pertaining to your tank.
Be prepared to lose livestock, no one gets it right the first time around.
Research everything you buy ahead of time.
Research everything you buy ahead of time.
Never let someone push you into an uneducated purchase, even if they have “told you everything you’ll need.”
Take your time, amazing tanks are grown not bought.
Be patient! Better to wait the time then lose the tank.
Always ask questions, preferably before you do something.
Be willing to take advice, even if its not what you want to hear.
Keep a QT tank or dedicated filter always at the ready.
Keep a supply of common medicines.
Over support your system; ex. 1.5+ lbs LR/g, large macro supply, larger skimmer/filter.
Put your lights on a timer, preferably with a stepping in lighting intensity.
Never leave your RO/DI reservoir empty in case of emergencies.
No problem appears overnight, it’s not going to go away overnight.
Always quarantine a fish/coral/invert.
Always acclimate slowly.

General Info:
We all know it says “recommended” tank size, but they are there for a reason, adhere to them.
Never dose your tank without testing the individual level first.
Frag often, your coral, the natural reefs, and fellow hobbyists will thank you.
Do whats best for the animals, not for your wallet. You made this commitment to them.
Wash/Rinse your hands before putting them into the tank.
Always try to keep up to date on the latest information/technology/practices.
Buy aquacultured everything when possible.
You have never, ever, learned everything there is to know about this hobby.
Support the good local fish stores, clubs and fellow hobbyists.
Promote and live conservation and sustainability for our hobby.

Some more personal notes:
Run as natural of an environment as you can.
DON’T just throw out macro algae if you are near any coast. It can invade the natural waters. Dispose of it properly.
Make your tank a challenge to yourself, not only to maintain it, but to make it thrive.
Never be satisfied with what you are doing, if you have the know how and the capability, push yourself deeper into the hobby to better it. There are always fish breeding challenges or start a coral farm, do something to advance this hobby to make it more sustainable for generations to come.
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:30 PM   #6
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I guess i need to do a bit more research . Im going to probably go with the 90 gallon since it will probably look better and doesnt seem to be a great deal different than the 120. I dont really have a budget. I am looking to just make this as easy as possible (not that it will be easy but idd like to buy equipment that will make it easier than other equipment). That being said are there any articles that will give me a materials list that you guys trust? The salesman sounded ULTRA knowledgeable but if its like you said than i dont know if i can trust him. Im buying a tank that will have a sump and some sort of in out tube system on the left side behind some sort of black wall (again no idea what im talking about). As far as patience goes, ive got a lot of it and was planning on doing what you said regarding on cycling the water for a month or so. The fish store also told me that for 60 bux an hour they can come and set the whole thing up for me. Think thats a smart option?
Thanks again for your help!
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:49 PM   #7
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Everyone has brands that they like, and there are a group of them that seem to stand out more then others. It really depends on what you are buying though.

The salesman might be pointing you 100% in the correct direction, but obviously they get paid to sell you crap. Once you do your research you'll be able to better distinguish who are the good people to listen to and which LFS you can trust.

If you aren't handy, and have no interest in doing it yourself (not to sound like i'm knocking you), then getting someone else to come in is a great option. My mom had someone come in and set up her 90, and they did an awesome job, came with everything that they needed, and were really quick and professional. Start looking at our articles section on exactly what the "nitrogen cycle" is. It's not the water that you have to let sit, but your tank will actually grow bacteria colonies to feed on the toxins produced by fish (ammonia, nitrate), these bacteria grow on the surface, so having that 1.25-1.5 pounds of live rock per gallon is a must.

Again I can ramble about this for a long time. I would suggest you read over some other builds and articles going on here, and use this thread to clear up anything you are unsure about.
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:14 PM   #8
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jimbo has offered some of the best, relevant information i have read here.

good job!
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:14 PM   #9
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Everyone has brands that they like, and there are a group of them that seem to stand out more then others. It really depends on what you are buying though.

The salesman might be pointing you 100% in the correct direction, but obviously they get paid to sell you crap. Once you do your research you'll be able to better distinguish who are the good people to listen to and which LFS you can trust.

If you aren't handy, and have no interest in doing it yourself (not to sound like i'm knocking you), then getting someone else to come in is a great option. My mom had someone come in and set up her 90, and they did an awesome job, came with everything that they needed, and were really quick and professional. Start looking at our articles section on exactly what the "nitrogen cycle" is. It's not the water that you have to let sit, but your tank will actually grow bacteria colonies to feed on the toxins produced by fish (ammonia, nitrate), these bacteria grow on the surface, so having that 1.25-1.5 pounds of live rock per gallon is a must.

Again I can ramble about this for a long time. I would suggest you read over some other builds and articles going on here, and use this thread to clear up anything you are unsure about.
Really great info. Much appreciated. Im still debating on having them come and setup since you are correct in saying that i am not handy whatsoever. However I do think it would be nice to know the ins and outs of the tank. Im concerned not setting up the tank will cause more problems for myself later but setting it up myself will be a disaster based on every other handywork project ive ever done that didnt involve a computer. (Im a computer geek) Based on the fact that im useless away from a keyboard, should i just spring for a setup?

Ive been reading up and came to the conclusion that i would like a small reef but i was wondering how much harder it is to build and sustain a reef. Ive yet to see anything that throughly explains how to introduce a reef into a tank and most things i read seem pretty confusing to me. I started looking at some fish I am interested in from a compatibility chart i found and noticed that it claimed to exercise caution when matching angelfish with reef. However one of the fish i want the coral beauty angelfish seems to require reef based on what I'm seeing. It was also mentioned that some angelfish need 100+ gallon tanks. Which fish am i sacrificing by going with the 90 gallon?

Another question i had is is there a rule of thumb when it comes to how many fish i can put in the tank? I was thinking i would like 10-15.

Thanks again for letting me bother you.
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:58 PM   #10
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Haha you've got some good questions.
A reef really just means you have coral, and the things that come with owning coral. You are going to need a beefier light system to sustain them as 90% of coral is photosynthetic. There is a range on this though in itself that softer corals won't need as much light and acropora and SPS coral will need high light. So though you have decided on a reef, decide now on what kinds of corals you like, and then we can budget a light system for that.

Water quality is more important in a reef as well. You will want a sump/refugium to add water volume (more volume means less flux in levels) and to hide equipment such as skimmers and reactors. You don't need most of the reactors and crazy stuff you will find in your research off the bat.

For your most basic reef system you are looking at your tank, a sump, high powered (depending) lights, and a skimmer. Along with the basic setup items of a RO/DI filter, return pumps, powerheads, and a refractometer. It seems like a lot, but its just an initial hit, and all of it carries for a long time.

Fish stocking is dependent on a couple variables. If you go for a fish only tank, arguably you can have more fish then a reef, because water quality matters less. Most SW fish as compared to FW fish eat a lot more meatier and frozen foods, this means that you can't really think of it as how many fish but total bio-load. A fish like a Pufferfish is going to have waaay more of a bioload on it then a clownfish, because they like to tear up their food and make a big mess. All the extra food will degrade and act the same as fish waste. It's' easiest to create a mild stock list of 8 or so fish, to get approved here, then see where it goes.

Ramble ramble ramble...Let me know if you need anything here cleared up, and I'm sure with your follow up questions. It's no problem, we wouldn't be here if we didn't like helping people such as yourself. I wish I could get paid to sit here :p
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:09 PM   #11
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If you have the money IMO you should go with the 120 gallon. The bigger the better. As most of you have mentioned water parameters change a lot quicker in a small tank than a large tank. So if you have the money to spend definitely, in my opionan, go with the 120. Later on you might want more fish or a bigger fish and with a 120 your stocking options are a lot bigger!
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Old 08-28-2010, 12:36 AM   #12
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looks like you're on the right track ( researching and learning b4 you kill everything in the tank)
Just keep reading and learning and wait to buy anything until you are sure about it. with no budget constraints why not go with the bigger tank? you'll want the bigger one later anyway. lol

i would suggest trying to set it all up yourself for the knowledge in case something goes wrong you will have a better chance of knowing what to do. then maybe have a pro look it over and make sure everything is done right.
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Old 08-28-2010, 02:19 PM   #13
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Haha you've got some good questions.
A reef really just means you have coral, and the things that come with owning coral. You are going to need a beefier light system to sustain them as 90% of coral is photosynthetic. There is a range on this though in itself that softer corals won't need as much light and acropora and SPS coral will need high light. So though you have decided on a reef, decide now on what kinds of corals you like, and then we can budget a light system for that.

Water quality is more important in a reef as well. You will want a sump/refugium to add water volume (more volume means less flux in levels) and to hide equipment such as skimmers and reactors. You don't need most of the reactors and crazy stuff you will find in your research off the bat.

For your most basic reef system you are looking at your tank, a sump, high powered (depending) lights, and a skimmer. Along with the basic setup items of a RO/DI filter, return pumps, powerheads, and a refractometer. It seems like a lot, but its just an initial hit, and all of it carries for a long time.

Fish stocking is dependent on a couple variables. If you go for a fish only tank, arguably you can have more fish then a reef, because water quality matters less. Most SW fish as compared to FW fish eat a lot more meatier and frozen foods, this means that you can't really think of it as how many fish but total bio-load. A fish like a Pufferfish is going to have waaay more of a bioload on it then a clownfish, because they like to tear up their food and make a big mess. All the extra food will degrade and act the same as fish waste. It's' easiest to create a mild stock list of 8 or so fish, to get approved here, then see where it goes.

Ramble ramble ramble...Let me know if you need anything here cleared up, and I'm sure with your follow up questions. It's no problem, we wouldn't be here if we didn't like helping people such as yourself. I wish I could get paid to sit here :p
I wish i could pay you to come set up the tank .
The fish that I would love to have over the course of a couple of years are

1-2 Mandarinfish
Flame Angel
coral Beauty
1-2 Clownfish
Regal Tang
A puffer fish
Blue ring angel
30-60 various crab

Some of the Coral that has caught my eye
Green Brain Coral
Cup Coral
Green Stylo
Eagle Eye Zoanthids
2 Anemones (maroon base and purple tube)
Elegence Coral
Green Frogspawn
1-2 Gorgonians
Purple Encrusting Montipora


Coral I havent looked into as much and dont have the first clue about what to choose and how to actually put it in the tank. The only reason i really want some coral is because I really want those dragonnet fish.
Also can you recommend a great book to get me started? The place im thinking about buying from has a huge labor day sale going on and idd like to get all the equipment asap.
I would love to get the 120 gallon but its just so enormous for the space i want to put it in. The wife doesnt approve. 90 Gallon was a compromise.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:35 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by BeaglesBuddy View Post
I wish i could pay you to come set up the tank .
The fish that I would love to have over the course of a couple of years are

1-2 Mandarinfish
Flame Angel
coral Beauty
1-2 Clownfish
Regal Tang
A puffer fish
Blue ring angel
30-60 various crab

Some of the Coral that has caught my eye
Green Brain Coral
Cup Coral
Green Stylo
Eagle Eye Zoanthids
2 Anemones (maroon base and purple tube)
Elegence Coral
Green Frogspawn
1-2 Gorgonians
Purple Encrusting Montipora


Coral I havent looked into as much and dont have the first clue about what to choose and how to actually put it in the tank. The only reason i really want some coral is because I really want those dragonnet fish.
Also can you recommend a great book to get me started? The place im thinking about buying from has a huge labor day sale going on and idd like to get all the equipment asap.
I would love to get the 120 gallon but its just so enormous for the space i want to put it in. The wife doesnt approve. 90 Gallon was a compromise.
Haha, If I could make a good living off of SW tanks, I totally would. Unfortunately there are more people selling off their tanks then there are buying tanks.

A great place to learn about fish is liveaquaria.com. They will give a recommended tank size, and you really should heed them. They also have a compatibility chart that will let you look at a couple issues you have with your stock list.

For lighting, if you can get the wife to approve the budget, I would go as big as you could. Something like 2 - 150w, 175w, or 250w Metal Halides with supplemental T5 Actinic lighting would be beastly. If you are interested in corals now, chances are you will get into the high light stuff (the best stuff) before too long. It's always better to just buy big once (budget willing) then to slowly upgrade over a couple years.

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, I don't check this much on weekends. LMK if you have any more questions.
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:11 PM   #15
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Haha, If I could make a good living off of SW tanks, I totally would. Unfortunately there are more people selling off their tanks then there are buying tanks.

A great place to learn about fish is liveaquaria.com. They will give a recommended tank size, and you really should heed them. They also have a compatibility chart that will let you look at a couple issues you have with your stock list.

For lighting, if you can get the wife to approve the budget, I would go as big as you could. Something like 2 - 150w, 175w, or 250w Metal Halides with supplemental T5 Actinic lighting would be beastly. If you are interested in corals now, chances are you will get into the high light stuff (the best stuff) before too long. It's always better to just buy big once (budget willing) then to slowly upgrade over a couple years.

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, I don't check this much on weekends. LMK if you have any more questions.
Yea that was more of a wish list than anything. I will start with very basic coral and fish once i get up and running. I stopped into the store today to do a little research on equipment. Ended up speaking with a salesman who openly said dont buy most of the equipment here in store and that i should look online for better stuff. They have been very knowledgeable so i think i have a store i can trust. I am actually considering going to a 125 gallon tank because it is the same size at the 90 but just 2 feet longer. Length was never the issue with the space as was width. The 120 i was looking at just stuck out too far. The tank I am looking at is from Aqueon. That a reputable brand? I also saw a BlueLine powerhead which the salesmen recommended i spend a bit more and buy the most powerful one rather than 3 small ones. Thermometer he recommended a Fluvell? e series heater. The sump, ro water system, protein skimmer, overflow he told me to go online and look for better equipment. Do you feel that site you mentioned is good for me to buy from as well or just information because i do like some of the coral they are showing.
I picked up a pretty good book. When im finished reading later this week i will start buying all the equipment so idd like to get a list together now.
Ive also been reading that i should have a 20 gallon quarantine tank. is that recommended?
Cant thank everyone enough for the quick responses!
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:42 AM   #16
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Sounds like a good LFS to me. Most of your LFS's aren't good for equipment besides pumps, powerheads, and tanks. And even then, they carry the decent product lines, but their prices suck. As for a "pie in the sky" equipment list,

Tank (Aqueon is great)
Lights

Sump/Refugium
Heater
Return Pump (from sump to main tank)
2-6 Powerheads (to further move water in main tank)
Protein Skimmer
Live Rock/Base Rock
RO/DI unit
Refractometer
Salt Mix

Small pump for mixing water
Small heater for mixing water

Couple 5g buckets (usually can get free)

-Things you really need.
-Things you can go without, but should have eventually.

I'm probably missing a few things because it's early... I'll have to look at this again later. If you want suggested brands for each item, LMK, I can do that as well.
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:02 PM   #17
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Sounds like a good LFS to me. Most of your LFS's aren't good for equipment besides pumps, powerheads, and tanks. And even then, they carry the decent product lines, but their prices suck. As for a "pie in the sky" equipment list,

Tank (Aqueon is great)
Lights

Sump/Refugium
Heater
Return Pump (from sump to main tank)
2-6 Powerheads (to further move water in main tank)
Protein Skimmer
Live Rock/Base Rock
RO/DI unit
Refractometer
Salt Mix

Small pump for mixing water
Small heater for mixing water

Couple 5g buckets (usually can get free)Things you really need.
-Things you can go without, but should have eventually.

I'm probably missing a few things because it's early... I'll have to look at this again later. If you want suggested brands for each item, LMK, I can do that as well.
I noticed you listed quarantine tank in your initial message so Ill take that as a necessity as well. If you could give me brands that would be great!

Im on the fence about the coral. Based on what I'm reading i just dont think im experienced enough to launch a tank with them immediately so im thinking about waiting 1-2 years before diving into that. It will also save me a lot of money on lights because looking into that the costs look like they will hit $1000 just for the 125 gallon lighting. The only reason i wanted coral was b/c i thought the fish needed it but from what I'm reading it only makes it harder on the fish (the ones i want). I was planning on getting a sump b/c the LFS made it seem like it was the best option to get it immediately. How exactly does that run to the tank. Is the hose going to hang off the back of the tank? Will my tank lid have a slot for that? If i get the sump do i no longer have a need for a mechanical canister filter? I also liked the sump b/c it seemed like a lot of the equipment like the protein skimmer could go in there. I would like above all to have as few objects in the tank as possible for a clear viewing experience. What items HAVE to be placed in the tank for all to see?

2 more questions First if i keep up with maintainance (bi weekly 10% water changes) will my tank see a lot of algea? My dad had a tank when i was a kid (smaller tank, freshwater, and probably had an undergravel filter) and his entire experience consisted of scraping algea almost daily. The tank never looked clean and eventually it led to the end of his hobby. Will i run into the same issue or will the crabs im planning on getting basically take care of the problem. I dont mind magnet cleaning and scraping for a few minutes every water change but if i wake up every day to algea i think i will get discouraged.

Also my wife is concerned about the smell. Ive heard protein filters in general have an odor and when i brought her to the store her first question was will our house smell like this. We have a pretty open house but the tank will go in our formal living room so i can understand her concern.
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:21 PM   #18
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I noticed you listed quarantine tank in your initial message so Ill take that as a necessity as well. If you could give me brands that would be great!
Yes, my day got decently busy, forgot to check back here. Also get a sponge filter to throw in your sump and cycle, that way you can use it to run your quarantine tank, and you can throw it out when you are done if you use nasty meds. Much better then sacrificing a piece of LR.
Something like this (
Lustar Hydro-Sponge IV [for Tanks Up 80 gallons])

Im on the fence about the coral. Based on what I'm reading i just dont think im experienced enough to launch a tank with them immediately so im thinking about waiting 1-2 years before diving into that.
Not a bad idea, I would recommend starting with really cheap lights, so when you replace them you aren't eating that expense.
It will also save me a lot of money on lights because looking into that the costs look like they will hit $1000 just for the 125 gallon lighting.
It's expensive now, but once you catch the bug, you'll be dropping that in a heatbeat in order to get the coolest stuff.
The only reason i wanted coral was b/c i thought the fish needed it but from what I'm reading it only makes it harder on the fish (the ones i want). I was planning on getting a sump b/c the LFS made it seem like it was the best option to get it immediately.
IMO it is.
How exactly does that run to the tank. Is the hose going to hang off the back of the tank?
Spend the extra money and get a Reef Ready tank, they have the big black overflows built into the tank that drain out the bottom.
Will my tank lid have a slot for that? If i get the sump do i no longer have a need for a mechanical canister filter?
If you put the right stuff in there, yes. A protein skimmer and a culture of macro algae like cheato will far surpass a canister.
I also liked the sump b/c it seemed like a lot of the equipment like the protein skimmer could go in there. I would like above all to have as few objects in the tank as possible for a clear viewing experience. What items HAVE to be placed in the tank for all to see?
If you get a sump, just the return nozzle and any additional power heads will be visible.


2 more questions First if i keep up with maintainance (bi weekly 10% water changes) will my tank see a lot of algea?
Depends on a lot of factors. If you go bi weekly changes, I would do 15-20%. Things like careful and correct feeding, protein skimmer, macro algae culture, and good flow will all cut down on your algae growth.
My dad had a tank when i was a kid (smaller tank, freshwater, and probably had an undergravel filter) and his entire experience consisted of scraping algea almost daily.
Been there.
The tank never looked clean and eventually it led to the end of his hobby.
There too, well a tank, not the hobby.
Will i run into the same issue or will the crabs im planning on getting basically take care of the problem. I dont mind magnet cleaning and scraping for a few minutes every water change but if i wake up every day to algea i think i will get discouraged.
A good maintenance schedule will correct most of the algae, your clean up crew should take care of a lot of the rest. Besides that, you may have to do a weekly scraping with your magfloat just to keep the glass nice and polished.

Also my wife is concerned about the smell. Ive heard protein filters in general have an odor and when i brought her to the store her first question was will our house smell like this. We have a pretty open house but the tank will go in our formal living room so i can understand her concern.
Protein skimmers are the most vile smell EVER. But, not on a daily basis. They only really smell when you start rinsing and cleaning out the cup, which is a weekly or bi weekly chore, depending. My tank doesn't smell at all besides the slight whiff of seawater, like a beach.

Gimme a minute to work on brands for you.
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:41 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Jimbo7 View Post
I noticed you listed quarantine tank in your initial message so Ill take that as a necessity as well. If you could give me brands that would be great!
Yes, my day got decently busy, forgot to check back here. Also get a sponge filter to throw in your sump and cycle, that way you can use it to run your quarantine tank, and you can throw it out when you are done if you use nasty meds. Much better then sacrificing a piece of LR.
Something like this (
Lustar Hydro-Sponge IV [for Tanks Up 80 gallons])

Im on the fence about the coral. Based on what I'm reading i just dont think im experienced enough to launch a tank with them immediately so im thinking about waiting 1-2 years before diving into that.
Not a bad idea, I would recommend starting with really cheap lights, so when you replace them you aren't eating that expense.
It will also save me a lot of money on lights because looking into that the costs look like they will hit $1000 just for the 125 gallon lighting.
It's expensive now, but once you catch the bug, you'll be dropping that in a heatbeat in order to get the coolest stuff.
The only reason i wanted coral was b/c i thought the fish needed it but from what I'm reading it only makes it harder on the fish (the ones i want). I was planning on getting a sump b/c the LFS made it seem like it was the best option to get it immediately.
IMO it is.
How exactly does that run to the tank. Is the hose going to hang off the back of the tank?
Spend the extra money and get a Reef Ready tank, they have the big black overflows built into the tank that drain out the bottom.
Will my tank lid have a slot for that? If i get the sump do i no longer have a need for a mechanical canister filter?
If you put the right stuff in there, yes. A protein skimmer and a culture of macro algae like cheato will far surpass a canister.
I also liked the sump b/c it seemed like a lot of the equipment like the protein skimmer could go in there. I would like above all to have as few objects in the tank as possible for a clear viewing experience. What items HAVE to be placed in the tank for all to see?
If you get a sump, just the return nozzle and any additional power heads will be visible.


2 more questions First if i keep up with maintainance (bi weekly 10% water changes) will my tank see a lot of algea?
Depends on a lot of factors. If you go bi weekly changes, I would do 15-20%. Things like careful and correct feeding, protein skimmer, macro algae culture, and good flow will all cut down on your algae growth.
My dad had a tank when i was a kid (smaller tank, freshwater, and probably had an undergravel filter) and his entire experience consisted of scraping algea almost daily.
Been there.
The tank never looked clean and eventually it led to the end of his hobby.
There too, well a tank, not the hobby.
Will i run into the same issue or will the crabs im planning on getting basically take care of the problem. I dont mind magnet cleaning and scraping for a few minutes every water change but if i wake up every day to algea i think i will get discouraged.
A good maintenance schedule will correct most of the algae, your clean up crew should take care of a lot of the rest. Besides that, you may have to do a weekly scraping with your magfloat just to keep the glass nice and polished.

Also my wife is concerned about the smell. Ive heard protein filters in general have an odor and when i brought her to the store her first question was will our house smell like this. We have a pretty open house but the tank will go in our formal living room so i can understand her concern.
Protein skimmers are the most vile smell EVER. But, not on a daily basis. They only really smell when you start rinsing and cleaning out the cup, which is a weekly or bi weekly chore, depending. My tank doesn't smell at all besides the slight whiff of seawater, like a beach.

Gimme a minute to work on brands for you.
So the overflow box would normally hang on like an inside corner of the tank? The 90 gallon i was originally thinking about getting dedicated the entire back left side for this over flow box and i didnt love the look of it especially since most people coming into the house would see that black box first. The 125 gallon im currently thinking about buying doesnt have anything of this nature. The LFS said they can special order it so they drill holes in the bottom of the tank to the sump so its completely out of site however it was mentioned that if the power fails the water will drain. Sound right to you? Thats probably my best option but i dont like the fact that a power outage could ruin my whole setup.
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:50 PM   #20
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Tanks: Marineland, Aqueon and Oceanic are really the biggest commercial vendors. There isn't much difference between them besides the placement of the reef ready overflows like i told you about. Its really preference in that, and what you can get for the best price.

Lights: This in itself is a HUGE topic, enough to fill an entire page. I'll skip it for now since you are, but if you change your mind, ask and you shall receive.

Sump/Refugium: I have custom made every sump I have used, Its hella cheaper and you can customize everything. If thats not your bag, then I think Oceanic makes the best Sump. They are glass, and nice and open which allows you to use the space how you want to. Someone else might have a better idea though, I haven't exactly searched real hard lately.

Heater: Something titanium, with a digital controller. Heaters vary so its best to look up reviews for the one you are interested in. Its better to have 2 smaller heaters then one big one, in case one fails. Which it will.

Return Pump: A topic of great debate. I have always used Mag-Drive pumps, but other people seem to have a love/hate relationship. This is another thing you should research individually based on model. QuietOne is another good internal brand, and I have heard littlegiant and panworld make a good external pump.

Powerheads: If you can ever afford them, the Vortech MP pumps are outstanding. They can do so much, its crazy. Tunze is another really strong contender, followed by Koralia. Both of the latter need their own controller if you are interested in that.

Protein Skimmer: I have always used ASM skimmers, but I have heard that they are being passed up by the new technology. Mine have always performed admirably though so I don't know how much more is needed. Octopus and Bubble King are other brands that have come highly recommended to me. Be prepared to drop some moolah here. They are more expensive then you would think.

Live Rock/Base Rock: Your LFS should have some LR for sale, and base rock can be ordered several places online. I like to go 75-100% base rock in my tanks and cure it myself, or use a couple nice show pieces of LR to help seed the bacteria colonies.

RO/DI unit: Huge range here, you want RO/DI, 4-5 stage is best, you can go more if you really want. There are several online vendors that you can build a custom system. Don't pay a premium for a "Reef" RO/DI unit, they are all the same.

Refractometer: Couldn't even tell you what brand mine is. I got it off ebay and I see more and more there all the time. I know Kurt knows a little bit more about the nicer features to look for, maybe he will chime in. Not something you want to skimp on, but not something you need to pay hundreds for either.

Salt Mix
: This is another one that varies. Read some reviews and find a salt you like, then stick with it. Bouncing around salt mixes forever is going to do bad things for you. For a FO tank, don't bother with the "Reef Pro" salts and stuff. Get a quality base salt. Once you go to a reef, you can switch over slowly.

Couple 5g buckets: There are lots of reports of people getting these free from bakeries, walmart and other completely random places. Look around. If not home depot sells them for $5 which is pretty fair. If you know someone around you who is into SW, ask them. You accumulate tons of them after awhile because most people buy salt in them.


Good Online Vendors: First and foremost, check our list of supporting vendors, they are all quality. Aquacave is one of my favorites, partly because they are so close and have great prices.


This is my list of vendors, obviously individual experience may vary
Equipment
:
Marinedepot.com
drsfosterandsmith.com
Aquacave.com
Hellolights.com
Fishneedit.com

Livestock:
Liveaquaria.com
Bluezooaquatics.com

Check out our vendor review section before purchasing anything for any particular site.

When you are ready for coral, I have a BIG list for that

Hope this helps bud.
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