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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm just starting to set up my fist ever salt tank, rounding up equipment, should have a single overflow 100g glass tank sometime this week, it comes with a canister and a sump system. Bought a Prism skimmer last night, I know, I know, it was on sale for $30, couldn't pass it up :D.

I'm really confused about lights... Seems a T5 system will be most likely, I'm new and don't want to sink a huge wad into a hobby I don't entirely understand yet, also I don't want to run a chiller if metal halides heat the water too much.

I'm planning on using sand from the gulf for now, it's really clean if I take a boat out to the south side of the barrier islands. I'll buy live rock, a local store has it for $3lb when you buy 10+ lbs, I'll probably start with 20lbs.

I'm not planning on any fish for a while, I'll run the tank with substrate and rocks for a week then add tough inverts as soon as algae starts to grow. Then a couple anemones and a couple clowns after a month. A very light bio load for 6 months is my plan, which works for me since all the local shops fish have marine ich right now anyway.

I'm afraid I don't have all the details of the system right now, the guy I'm buying it from isn't in to communication.

I'm not new to fish at all, I've kept tanks and exotic freshwater species since I was knee high, I also designed pond filtration systems for a couple years. I gather that canister bio filtration units aren't used in reef systems, though I'm not entirely sure why.

Thanks for the great info I've been reading, and thanks for tolerating another novice with many questions. :beer:
 

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Toyotaholic
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Welcome to TRT!

Sounds like you have been doing some reading. I will try and answers as many of your questions as I can.

Lighting: T5's are a great choice. Many have been using T5 fixtures with individual reflectors with great success...myself included. Since I don't know the dimensions of your tank I can't really recommend a fixture, but I will tell you that the Sunlight Supply Tek fixtures are great, I get all of my lighting needs from reefgeek.com. They are always great to work with and their customer service is top notch if you ever have a problem.

Live Rock: I recommend you start with as much as you can. I would recommend 1 lb per gallon minimum, if you have start with less, you will run into a mini cycle every time you add new rock. If you go that route just add a few pounds at a time after the initial 20 lbs cycle. Just monitor water parameters.

Fish: You will probably be alright adding a couple fish(tank raised clowns are the most hardy) to the system after it has been up and running with rock and sand after about eight weeks, sometimes less time, but just monitor your levels through testing and you should be able to detect when the inital cycle is complete. I would not add an anenome or a clam (if you have any interest in them) for a while, six months for the clam, and a year for the anemone. Anemones are very picky about water conditions. They require a mature tank to survive.

Filtration: Canister filters are not very popular in the hobby due to the fact that they require such strict maintanence, or it could lead to issues with water quality due to the stuff it collects start to decay in the filter. You best option for filtration on a reef tank is a good OVERSIZED skimmer in a sump when possible. I have heard several time to buy the biggest skimmer that will fit in your sump. For example my tank is only 120 gallons total water volume, but I bought a skimmer that is capable of filtering 250 gallons. It will make the skimmer more efficient and keep the tank clean easier.

Hope that helps answer some of your questions.

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to take things SLOW. The only thing that happens fast with a reef tank is disaster!

Good Luck and enjoy, you will soon realize what an addiction this hobby can become. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok, just got back from the aquarium emporium, I spoke with a pretty knowlegable guy for about an hour, he was totally on board with the T5 setup I want and recommended me buying a kit rather than an assembled system.

I hate being a total nube and bugging you guys with all my nube questions, is there a web retailer (i.e site sponsor perhaps? :D) that offers quality ballast/bulb/reflector components for a competitive price? I can't remember the brand, but the stores 2 bulb ballast kit was $45 ea, individual reflectors $32 ea, and the guy told me not to bother with the bulbs that the store sold. So thats $200+ for a four bulb setup with out even buying bulbs yet? I can't tell the difference between good ballast and bad.

He said he used tap water and contaminated his tank with phosphates (60ppm), and now has string algae out the wazoo, said he has to trash all his coral and rock and start over. So I guess I'm gonna be using sand from bags and RO water from the pet store (I feel like such a tool buying water and sand). Metals are bad, got it :D

Is it possible to have more than one anemone? Can an anemone kill coral?
 

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Welcome, good advice from snowman, the key with any new tank is to not add anything you wish you had not later on and there may be alot of critters in the gulf sand you don't want. trying to get them out can be a bigger more costly problem than feeling like a tool for a short time. RO/DI water not tap, same reasoning as sand. I have found if I go slow, plan on what will live in the tank eventualy and build to that purpose the success comes easier. let us in on future plans, any corals, sps, lps, and types of fish you won't want to live without and the dimentions of the tank and more may chime in with more specific recomendations based on your plans. We were all nubes (and still are to someting in the ocean). Best luck!
 

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Carpe Noctem
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is there a web retailer (i.e site sponsor perhaps?
) that offers quality ballast/bulb/reflector components for a competitive price?
Reefgeek has some good stuff, and aquariumlighting is one of our sponsors, but I've not cruised their site as of yet.

So I guess I'm gonna be using sand from bags and RO water from the pet store
It's a good way to start, but you may want to look for a quality RO/DI filter down the road and save your back;) You may be topping off about 10-20 gallons a week and maybe 2 20 gallon water changes a month.

Is it possible to have more than one anemone? Can an anemone kill coral?
Yes and yes...
 

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Crazed Fish Whisperer
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Welcome aboard! Glad to have you here!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
cool, is VHO better than T5?
 

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Carpe Noctem
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VHO seems to be getting phased out and T5 will be the front runner in florescent lighting. I still run actinic VHOs and love them, but its getting harder to find the bulbs;)
 

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T5 is great, and I've been using it a lot in my tanks. I think VHOs are a thing of the past now..

Also, welcome to TRT! I'm new too, so us n00bs should stick together. :)
 

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Toyotaholic
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I second Hop again on the T5 set ups from reefgeek.com. It sounds like the LFS guy recommended that you get a retro kit instead of a fixture. Reefgeek has great retros that are complete you just have to install them in your canopy. I would recommend a retro that has overdriven bulbs with Ice cap ballasts like this.

http://www.reefgeek.com/lighting/T5...tput_Retrofit_Kit_w!_Bulbs_by_Sunlight_Supply

Again I don't know the dimensions of your tank so this is just an example of the retro kits I am referring to.

I would recommend you get an RO/DI filter, it is such a pain to have to run to the LFS everytime you need a bit of water. Melevsreef.com has a good unit that I personally use and I love it!

I also recommend you buy sand in the bag, you never know what will be in the stuff you dig up in the gulf. Better to be a tool than regret the choice and waste alot of money trying to fix problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the replies guys,

Snowman, that setup looks nice but way too rich for my starter system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
well, I picked up my tank today. a used 100gal single overflow with a sump and a 500gph Supreme Mag drive. Hopefully I'll go get water, sand, and chemicals tomorrow.

What do I use to clean the old algae off the glass? I assume windex is not kosher :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
wooo hooo, got my tank setup, need more sand, only have 1.5" in the bottom. Pumps run good, the Prizm is difficult to tune, but when it's in the sweet spot it pulls mud out like crazy. The dang pump in the prism keeps getting air bound though, I'm gonna have to concoct some clever mod to fix it.

More sand and live rock tomorrow (30 lbs to start), should be getting my buffer chem this next week, but water tested perfect, 8.3 pH, 0 ppm ammonia/nitrate/nitrite, and gravity at 1.022

I replaced one of my 2 48" fluorescent bulbs with a grow light, the other one is a bluish marine light. I plan on putting in 2 more T5 lamps in the next month, but its pretty bright at the moment.

How soon can I start putting mushrooms in? other corals? anemones?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
well I just got back from the pet shop, and sweet Jesus is live rock expensive! I got ONE rock and it cost me $60 :cry:, I got a knot in my stomach from spending that much on a rock.

Is there any other type of rock that is marine safe that I can use to make my formations and just seed with small live rock chunks? $6 a lb is gonna eat me alive.
 

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The question now would be how patient are you willing to be?

You can check Craig's List and other places for people selling their rock. I have also heard good things about Marco Rocks, but it is recommended that you cook them for at least two months before adding to your tank. You can also check online vendors for better deals, although you will need to take current shipping prices into account as well.

Better deals are out there, it is just going to take some time and effort on your part to find them. At least half of the rock in my systems is "second hand".
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
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