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Discussion Starter #1
At least with saltwater that is. I've been researching, but still can't get everything answered consistantly. So I figured I'd try somewhere else as well :) I've had freshwater tanks for ages. I went from having 10 gallon tanks that'd always crash and burn because of misinformation from LFS to now having a slightly overstocked 60 gallon cichlid tank, a 20 gallon community, and a 10 gallon with a betta that is soon to have some small tetras(or maybe guppies) and a couple of cory cats in it. The space I have for my saltwater tank is the bottom of my oscar's stand(was built for 2 10 gallon tanks, but I'm going to either get a 20 long or a 27 if the better of the LFS can get one in at a decent price...)

For the lighting: The tank will have zoos and shrooms(basic green mushrooms, though I may skip them), possibly some xenia too. What sort of lighting would I need? I've heard anything from metal halides(from the store which is way overpriced, likes to sell as much as they can KNOWING it wouldn't be taken care of, etc) down to power compacts. I just want to know a general light that would work for those corals(not getting into clams or anemones) and still would be decent for someone on a budget.

Filtration: Once more, heard everything from the most expensive coupled with even more expensive stuff down to only LR and a skimmer OR HOB filter. But also I've heard to not use a skimmer on a small-ish tank like the one I'll be doing. The guy at the local marine store is pushing me for the skimmer only scenario, the other decent store in town has told me I don't need a skimmer and on his personal tank he has a HOB and LR only. What to do? I know I'm going to use a lot of LR as the bulk of the filtration, but what else should I add? One HOB, one skimmer, both? Another thing that seems to be common is that I'd need at least one powerhead. What to do?

Setup: I'm planning on using silica sand that I get from my local marine store, I used it in one of my freshwater tanks and it's nice :) Plus I'll get mostly dead lace-type rock and a couple of pieces of LR to seed that, along with GARF Grunge to seed the entire tank. Also, since I know it's going to take a couple of years(or a nice x-mas present of money from my mom) too have the money for this, I'm planning on getting all of the "dead" stuff, then filling it, cycling it and adding live creatures. LR first, inverts slowly next, then fish, lastly corals.


Livestock: As for inverts, I'm going to use nassarius snails for the sand bed, and probably a couple/few regular wall climbing algae eaters if I get any sort of algae problem in the tank. A couple of dwarf hermits, since I think they're neat, and if I can find a good shrimp one/a couple of those also. As for fish I'll have a court jester goby and an ocellaris clown. Nothing else, at least not for a long time. Is that a good mix, or should I use something else(pretty set for the 2 fish though :) )

Anything else I need to worry about(like maintenance? How often should I be messing with it, heard every day water changes to once weekly or less. Don't want to be messing with stuff too often or too little) that I've missed?
 

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The Bitter Mod
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Pwer compacts are fine for softies and most if not all lps. Skip the HOB filter and get a good protein skimmer(aqua c, turboflotor multi, cpr bakpak....). The fish list looks fine. Welcome to The Reef Tank. Some people might say no to the crabs, personally I like them.
 

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:fish: I use Normal Output T-5 lights myself. I find that they are very reasonably priced and provide plenty of light for my softies. I have heard that mushrooms don't need/like much light, and in my case this seems to be true. I have a couple in some shady spots and they are doing quite well. Good luck and welcome to TRT. Lots of good advice to be had here!:fish:
 

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the shutterbug mod!
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:wavey: Welcome! :D
Well, to give you an example, my tank is a 38g with softies (shrooms/rics, xenia/anthelia, zoo's/polyps... and I have PC lighting on my tank. Everything seems real happy with it. I don't figure on ever having the big anemones, clams or sps so I should be fine (plus the electric bill doesn't suffer).
You are off to a great start! You're researching and going slow. Lace rock will take months to seed and it's not as nice looking as LR, it is much darker. If you have a few extra bucks I'd get more live rock. Check your local paper and find a local reef club, I bet you'll find some for a good price. Also, if you join a local reef club you will greatly increase your corals in no time and at a great price! I did!
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the welcome! ^_^

I don't really have the extra money, which is why I was going to go with the lace rock(and why it's going to take me at least a year or two to set up :) ). $1.45/lb instead of $4+ after shipping or LFS markups. Plus I don't have a reef club near me. The closest I can find is in Denver, and at the best of conditions that's a 4 hour drive, and one I'd dread making if it was dark out... I will get as much nice LR as I can find though.

Where do you get the T-5s? And do they run off of a normal ballast, or a straight pin one? Also, how would I know what to look for with them?
 

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Welcome to TRT!!!

it looks like you have been doing some researching, this is good. you are not trying to put a tang in a 20, that is a great start.

couple of things to think about. i am not a big fan of nassarius snails. they are meat eating welks. they just happen to like dead things, or things that are about to die. they can swarm on some dying things and finish them off, before you have a chance to save it.

i am als not a fan of hermits. they are opportunistic feaders. they will also kill snails for their shells. if you supply a good amount of extra shells of various sizes you can keep this snailacide to a minimum.

if you can find aragonite sand that would be better. it is bright white. it does not have to be from a fish store. Wal-Marts can carry it in the outdoor section as playsand. you are looking for a sand that will dissolve in vinegar. most bags are only $3 a pop, so it should not be to expensive to try a couple out to be sure.

see if you can get base rock. it is nothing but dried out LR. it does not take long for BR to become LR once in a tank. some places you can order BR for less than $1 a lb. i think there is another thread going on here that discusses that.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'd seen BR in one of the stores, forget how expensive it was, and also something that Looked like it had coraline algae on it that had been dried completely. Would that also be good for something to use? I'll also look at walmart for the argonite sand.

I'd been looking at the nassarius' because I'd always heard they were great in a sand bed to keep it filtered through so it doesn't get dead pockets(kinda like the trumpet snails our local petsmart is more than happy to give to me for my tanks :) ) Are there any other sort of small snails that'll do that? Also I like the dwarf hermits just for looks :p I dunno, I've heard good and bad on them.

Other than that, still wondering about the lights? That is the biggest part that confuses the heck outta me! I've read at least a dozen articles on lighting and all of them seem to either contradict themselves or they just seem to be in really technical terminology that I can't seem to make sense of...
 

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Saltwater Mom
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Welcome to TRT! I think you would do good with the cpr backpack skimmer. PC lighting is very nice. You could do br and then a few peices of lr just to get the br seeded. I hate crabs they kill my snails. Working on getting them all into the some as fast as I can catch them. I like turbo snails to control algae and conches are good sand sifting snails. Or a cucumber would help with the sandbed as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I don't think I'll do the cuke, I've heard they are hard to take care of... Maybe a couple a few ceriths? I've heard they like to be in the sand also. Is that true? Also, what about conchs? I know I've heard there is a variety(thinnk it was a sand conch?) that only grows to about 2" long, and that should be fine in my tank, yet the marine store told me that ALL conchs get huge *is confizzled again* I absolutely love the way they look(and when I lived near a good restaurant my mom always swore I'd love the way they taste too XD) but I don't want to get something then have it outgrow my tank, or not get it and find out it would be perfect for it after I'd gotten something not as good and have to switch things all around again...

I'll go with the PC lighting then.

Had something else rattling around in my brain a few minitues ago, but now it's gone. Oh well, I can remember later, the best part about knowing you won't be setting up for well over a year, right :)
 

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Welcome to The reef Tank.com ~!

Get the CPR Bak Pak Protein Skimmer. I have one on my 29 gallon soft coral reef tank it I have been well satisfied with the peformance and the price.

Pc Lighting is fine. Look at JBJ, Current, or coralife aqualight fixtures.

You may want to go with a shallow sand bed for a soft coral tank. 0.5- 2 inches of sand debth is in the range of a SSB.
 

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I recommend current for your PC lighting setup and Aqua C remora is awsome for skimming. I did want to say don't waste your money on that garf grunge, the LR you get will do just fine and will not increase the nasties like grunge will. not sure about the JBJ PC lighting, they have had some issues with shorts and burnouts.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
OKAY, lets me try this again... If my browser crashes on me ONE more time I swear the computer is going to be crashing out the WINDOW!

Anywho... What nasties are in the gruge? I'd only heard good reviews on it...

Also, in a 29 gallon tank(decided to go a bit bigger...) how much sand would I need, about, to get a ssb? I do want around an inch or so so I can have some sand creatures in it. But not too deep either. Also, why Does everyone say argonite sand is best? Is it only for the buffering, or is there another reason behind it?

I think I found a shroom to use in my tank also. Sea Life FL has a really nice looking blue ricordea <3 I'm still going to have xenia and zoos. Although I have a question. How tall does xenia usually grow? I'd like something "tall" for visual interest in the tank instead of only the short zoos and ricordea that somewhat hug the rocks. If the xenia is also somewhat short, can anyone give me a suggestion for a SOFT coral that has some branching to it? I do like the purple gorgonians, but dunno if they're good for beginners or not?

Also(I know I have another topic for it, what can you do...) I've had this skimmer reccomended to me http://www.petsolutions.com/Fission+Nano+Protein+Skimmer-I-42908100-I-C-43-C-.aspx
Would that be too small for the tank, or would it be okay since some of my coral likes slightly underskimmed water? I'll still have a small fuge on the tank also. I just don't know what sort to get, and the ones that are being reccomended to me(aside from this one) seem to be way out of my price range. Another one I've seen is this one http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/Prod_Display.cfm?pcatid=4427&N=2004+113771 The review there says it is great on the guy's 40 gallon tank, so if that is the case it would be good on a 29, right(don't shoot me! I just can't afford anything really expensive, and $100+ for a skimmer is enough to make me dizzy XD) Also, just for comparison, if I DID go with a HOB/fuge combo(I'Ll have the fuge either way) what sort of water movement should I have? Most places say 10X per hour, which I could easily do. The one that I would be using if that were the case would be doing 11X per hour turnover rate. I guess to make it simple, how much extra maintenance would I be doing with only a HOB rather than a skimmer?

Lastly is another livestock question. Could I get away with 3 fish in the 29 gallon tank instead of only 2? Still gonna have my ocellaris clown, and the rainford's goby. What would be something compatible to use? I've thought about a shrimp/goby pair or a cardinal of some sort. I personally like the kaudern's best. Any other sort of fish that would be compatible with the 2 I will definately have in the tank, or should I just stick with my 2 in there?
 

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Saltwater Mom
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Do not not not not get the fission it is bad bad bad bad! That is a waste of money. I don't know anything about the other but usually you get what you pay for. If you don't have the money for a skimmer I suggest the current 24 gallon aquapod if you don't have the tank already. I run this tank skimmerless just doing water changes once a week. I have a lot of softies and some lps in this tank. I think 3 fish is fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Alright, I'll skip the cheap skimmer and figure out a way to save for an aqua c remora. Wet web media holds them in high regards, and they're only about $30 more than what I've found the bak-paks for.

Got another lighting question: Depending on where I go to get my lights(and a few other supplies while I'm at it. Though I want to go through my lms, I think I may go with a sponsor forum instead. Still in the air), how important is it to get a fixture the exact size of the tank? It'll have glass between it and the water, so no chance of it just fallin in *shudders at the thought*. One site that I've seen only has 24" or 36" fixtures. Obviously the 36" would be too large, yet the higher power 24" fixtures also have 65 watts, which is what I usually see the 30"s at. This will likely decide for me which of the sites I get my lighting at :)
 

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actually putting glass over the top of a tank is a bad idea. it is better to have the tank open. it allows better gas exchange. this helps to keep the tank cool. keeping tanks cool is the hard part. the evaporation on the glass is also nearly impossible to keep clean. it needs to be kept clean in order to keep the light from being blocked by the salt creep.

G~
 

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Retired Wanderer
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I put a 2 x 55 Watt retrofit PC thing into the Walmart hood and just had to drill two holes in the reflector. It worked out great and the softies in there did just fine. I am not sure if there are CustomSeaLife retrofit kits still around but you got a white light and an actinic and the ballast for under a hundred dollars.

All you do is take out the flourescent that comes with a lot of tanks and install the PC's and reflectors. I think even a PhD could do it.
 

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Gruff But Lovable Reefer
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i would definitely go with current brand pc's i recently bought an oufit for my 55 and i love them! also check "that pet place" online. they seem to have very good prices and prompt reliable delivery. i order 95% of my stuff from them( dry goods, not livestock, i have never ordered anything live from them.).
also check your local papers and local penny saver magazines. you can find deals on people selling their tanks and equipment.

good luck,
angry gary
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Oh, okay, I'd always been used to using glass on the top of a tank to protect from splashes etc. So should it be Just my lights then, or do I still need some form of a hood?
 
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