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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there!
I am so glad I have found your site...it is wonderful!

I am in the planning stages of starting a 29g reef tank and have so many questions. I have learned so much on this site - it has been a valuable resource but I still have quite a few questions.

  1. In my research I have found that lighting is an essential key to a reef tank. My current 29 g tank has a small hood that houses only 1 -24" bulb. Would you suggest that I build a new hood and what set up would you suggest?
  2. We just moved to the Houston area. Since I now live so close to the the ocean, I could easily go collect sand for my substrate but is this wise? Is there a difference in the sand off the coast and the sand you buy at the LFS?
Well, that is it for this post. I will keep searching for answers to the many other questions...THIS IS THE BEST SITE!!!

Thanks for your help!
Renee
 

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Retired Wanderer
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Welcome to TRT!!!!!! :dance: We have a 29g and installed a Custom Sea Life retrofit. These sell really inexpensively at www.marinedepot.com

The company went out of business so you can get a white/actinic 65W setup cheaply. This will support softies to get you started and will really change the look of the tank. All it took was drilling two holes in the reflector and enlarging the switch hole as the kit is designed as an Eclipse retrofit (we had the wallyworld tank).

Good luck on your new project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the warm welcome and the advice! I checked out the lighting retrofitings and that is a great idea!! Do I need to think about a fan at all? I am concerned about the lights getting hot.

(I think we probably have the same tank...Got mine 4 years ago at Wal-Mart too.)

Thanks again!
Renee
 

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no, do not collect sand from the beach, unless you are willing to clean it complettely,or dive about 45 ft. deep to get it........nor should you use the water or rock from the beach
look at it this way, the beach is the same as the skimmate your skimmer collects....all the bad stuff is there......so dont use it unless you strip it of all life first

lighting depends on what you plan on keeping in the tank: lps/sps/fowlr
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
yousuredo,

Thanks for the info on the ocean life. I suspected that was what you would say but wasn't sure.

As far as livestock, I am still researching. There are so many beautiful corals and I know I want a few invertebrates (starfish). I tend to lean toward SPS and I do like some LPS

Maybe I should ask what coral & anemones would co-exist best with invertebrates and a clownfish or two? Which ones like the same lighting?

Blessings,
Renee
 

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Jr. Reef Tank Engineer
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Hello:

Welcome to TRT! I'm a relative newbie as well; I set up my 1st SW tank about 4 mo. ago.

I would second fishnoob's comment. A 65w retrofit kit would be good for a soft coral tank.

I'd advise against using beach sand. From what I understand, beach sand is silica based, and you'll want to use aragonite-based sand. To save money, you can use Southdown Tropical Playsand from HD. Southdown is aragonite-based sand that comes from old coral skeletons, and is dredged offshore.

Even if you are sure that the beach sand you can get is aragonite-based, there is always the issue of pests, diseases, and pollutants in the sand.

One more piece of advice: If you have a reefkeeping club in your area, join it. If the one(s) in your area are anything like the ones in mine, they will be an invaluable source of information, resources, and just plain 'ole fun with other reefkeepers.

If you have any questions feel free to ask! Or you can even PM me if there something that you're too shy to ask on the boards. Good luck

- Michael

Joyfulheart said:
Hi there!
I am so glad I have found your site...it is wonderful!

I am in the planning stages of starting a 29g reef tank and have so many questions. I have learned so much on this site - it has been a valuable resource but I still have quite a few questions.
  1. In my research I have found that lighting is an essential key to a reef tank. My current 29 g tank has a small hood that houses only 1 -24" bulb. Would you suggest that I build a new hood and what set up would you suggest?
  2. We just moved to the Houston area. Since I now live so close to the the ocean, I could easily go collect sand for my substrate but is this wise? Is there a difference in the sand off the coast and the sand you buy at the LFS?
Well, that is it for this post. I will keep searching for answers to the many other questions...THIS IS THE BEST SITE!!!

Thanks for your help!
Renee
 

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Retired Wanderer
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In our 29g we had an arogonite bed, about 20lb of live rock, two clowns, an anemone, a goby, a cardinal and a bunch of shrimp and snails of all different kinds. There were about five soft corals in there as well. This tank is now upgraded to a 55 since the anenome got too big and the 29 is home to a coral beauty and lawnmower blenny only.

If you used the tank as freshwater before this and added chemicals they can be toxic to saltwater fish. If it was in storage just rinse it good and start thinking about what you would like to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Phish, yes, the tank has been in storage for @ 3 months now. I will rinse well but think the danger of chemicals is probably gone. Thanks for reminding me of that. The only chemicals I regularly added was Stress Coat and I think that would be okay for SW too.

Goodfortune, I am looking for a club in the Houston area...haven't found one yet but will keep looking!

You guys are awesome..thank you so very much!

Renee
:wavey:
 

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Banggai Mommy
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Hi Renee, and welcome!

As for chemicals, the one we worry most about is copper. It can leach into the silicone seals, and slowly leach back out. It's lethal to most invertebrates, so be sure you've never used copper. (If in doubt, get another tank... trust me, it's not worth messing with it!)

There is a very active Houston reef group, and several members frequent this board... lemme see if I can dig up the URL for their home site...

Danielle
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Danielle,
Thanks for reminding me about the copper. I don't remember ever using any copper chemicals...I had invertebrates in my FW tank too and it would have killed them (FW Lobster and a FW Crab)

I found one group www.marshreef.com . please let me know if you find another, that would be terrific!

Thanks a bunch!
Renee
 

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Renee!!! We're so glad that you joined our TRT family!





lots of us have 29s or smaller. Go check out the Nano forum.
 

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Welcome To TRT Renee ! And thanks for the kind words !
 

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Big Fish
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Welcome to TRT,
Waving a fin at ya! hope you find all the answers you are looking for. There is a wealth of info in the archives as well as here in the GRD. Have a good one and LOL
Lips
 

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Renee welcome to TRT...

as far as your Hood, Just make a new one... in the long run.. when you think you will turn right you will go left and need to upgrade again! trust me on that one...if you do make a hood give your self enough room inside it to get the lights ( including MH and your hands) in there at the same time!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
thank you all for such a warm welcome!
I'm just loving this site!!! I'm learning so much.
 

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:D


:banana: :banana: :banana:

Welcome to TRT!

Ditto on the issue of silica sand (coastal Texas sand) Vs. tropical aragonite or mined aragonite sands. Although the effect is partially transient, the aragonite-based sand will buffer your water column while the system is starting up, then will act as a nitrate exporter if appropriately established, but there is a good bit of discussion as to whether you'll want a DSB in the long run (OK, as neutral as I can be on the issue :D ). It will depend on what type of biotope you're wanting to emulate, and to what extent you want to do maintenance.

One thing you may want to consider initially is that the same equipment you use to set up a 29 gal tank may be used to set up a 55 gal tank, so you may want to look for a used 55 gal tank for your primary display, as it is about the easiest size small tank to setup and maintain, and easier than 29 gal to maintain stability (more water column volume and a bigger buffer in case something goes astray ). A step further, use the 29 as a refugium, and the 55 as your main display, as this would then increase your water column volume to around 75 gallons (US), a much more stable environment than the 29 would be.

Again, welcome to TRT, and I hope you'll enjoy your participation here!

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
great advice!

I have been looking at 55 gal at WalMart. If I go this route do I need to rethink the lighting/hood issue or can I just replace the bulbs with different ones in the hood that comes with that tank?

Gosh, I really thought I was about ready to start building...I'm no where near!

Another question...can I go ahead and get the sand (LFS) and LR to set up the tank and begin the cycling process without the lighting? I should have the lighting issue resolved this weekend or next.

:nuts: I'm so anxious to get started but feel like I'm running in circles!

Blessings galore,
Renee
 

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Joyfulheart said:
...If I go this route (and get a 55 gal from Waldo) do I need to rethink the lighting/hood issue or can I just replace the bulbs with different ones in the hood that comes with that tank?
Probably best to replace the hood altogether, although you can prolly cannabalize some of the wiring and the plug to make the new hood with 2x65 watt CSL fixtures that would be OK... The price is definitely right from Champion Lighting and supply for the retro fit kits, the site has them listed for $45 each now, better get them while they're hot. If you bought 4 of these units and put them in a homemade hood (see the DYI section), you would be definitey getting out cheap with a good setup.

Another question...can I go ahead and get the sand (LFS) and LR to set up the tank and begin the cycling process without the lighting? I should have the lighting issue resolved this weekend or next.
You can, but let your budget slow you down and get your lighting issues resolved first, as you can never tell what might show up on the rock that you'll want to keep. many different schools of thought on lighting the rock vs. not lighting the rock during curing, but the biggest advantage to curing the rock with light is that many of the autotrophs (things that use light to make their food) will die if left in a tank for two or three weeks without lighting. One of the reasons that you buy good rock is to get the freebie hitch-hikers that come from really fresh uncured rock. Having good lighting in place will assure that you will be ble to at least provide a few hours each day for any organisms that need it and survive the shiping process.

The other side of the coin is that you will not have any herbivory occuring to consume any potential algal blooms. This may be overcome with good skimming, frequent water changes, and good general husbandry (siphoning out detritus from the rocks as they cure, keeping all potential sources of phosphate out of the tank, exporting nitrogen cycling products as they begin to form) will minimize these issues.

You don't get many chances to start a tank without fishes, so don't waste this one....

Lots to consider, think of it as eating an elephant, do it one bite at a time.


...but that is just my opinion... :D

hth
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Tom, thank you so much for all of the infomation!

I appreciate your insight on starting the tank without lightling and will wait. Thanks for the skinny on the lights from Champion too.

I'm just so excited...I can't hardly wait.

Renee
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
oh yes, one more question...should I consider mh lighting for a 29 gal?
 
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