03-29-2009, 11:35 PM
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For starters, you need to decide what type of filtration you are going to select first, IMHO. You need to know if you are going to use natural filtration using LR, and a DSB, or just LR, or are you going to select a skimmer. I have a 2.5 picotope and I use LR and water changes. I don't currently have fish, and so my water doesn't have as many nutrients being released into it as others who have a fish or 2 in it would have. I'm also not feeding the tank.
You need to chose your lights. Will you use a Power compact lighting system, T5's or invest in a MH fixtuer? a 75watt MH would be on the high side for a 5g so you would need something like 50watts or T5. I personally use a PC bulb and am happy with the life of my corals, and the fact that they are doing so well. I don't have suplementation and so the colors are different then in my display reef.
LR is key in my tank. You need to ensure that the LR you are getting is already cured. This will keep the bad things out of the tank that will give issues in a large tank... in a small it could devistate.
Don't get a damsel, horrible for this size of tank. Fish are quite limited, so be ready to get someting small an it'll probably be a goby. I know this is noob info, but don't get a tang (it had to be said).
Coral selection is going to be very specific to your lighting. Did you get great lights? or just ok? what kind of flow will you have in the tank? In such a small tank 1 powerhead is more then enough. In my tank i have a rio 50 in there and it gives circulation to everything in there. I also have a water heater to keep the temp correct. Corals will need stability and constances. If you are not going to be dedicated to topping off daily (or 2 times a day) then i don't think this is a tank for you.
My initial start up cost
Tank from walmart (2.5g with hood) = $15
Light (10watts) = $15
Pump (65gph) = $13
Sand = from broken down display
LR = from broken down display
Corals = from current display
heater = $20
Total cost = $63
And those are just estimates, i don't remember what it cost me to get everything going, but it was either that much or less then that. I know it wasn't more.
There are more details, but that's a basic overview of what i personally have experianced with my own 2.5g picotope. Hope it helps