Saltwater tank - Page 3 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #21 of 38 Old 02-25-2009, 05:45 AM
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Lacerock makes for ok base rock in your reef. You could use 25-35% lace rock and then complete your display with actual live rock. The lacerock is porous and will naturally become live rock after a period of time in the aquarium.

Basically, the critters on the live rock will multiply and spread onto the lace rock. It takes 6 months to a year to achieve the same natural effect. You will just need to take it slow and stock accordingly.

Please tell me the city, state, and address that I can drive to so that I may also purchase 75 pounds of base rock for $5.00. Seriously. Its worth a day of my time.
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post #22 of 38 Old 02-25-2009, 08:42 PM
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when you guys built your own sump where did you buy your baffles from? Did you get acrylic and cut it down yourself or did you ave a glass shop cut pieces for you? How thick were the pieces?
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post #23 of 38 Old 02-25-2009, 08:50 PM
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I bought acrylic sheets online from US Plastics, then cut them down myself. I'm pretty sure I used 1/4" thick acrylic, and it's worked fine... I've even had one chamber full and the next completely empty, with no leaks and no bowing. I just applied generous amounts of silicon sealant to the seams, on both sides. Getting a shop to cut them for you would certainly be better, but doing it myself worked just fine.

My sump is a 30 gallon aquarium (30" L x 18" H x 12" W) divided into three chambers.

"To an optimist, the glass is half-full;
to a pessimist, the glass is half-empty;
to an engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"
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post #24 of 38 Old 03-05-2009, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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Okay so its been a few days since I last posted anything in this, but after some serious figuring, reading and studying I am ready to ask for more answers to my many more questions. Due to available space in my home and available tank dimensions, without going crazy and having a custom size made, I have to stay 48' or under in length. I would like to go longer but with what my wife would like to get more furniture for our living room and the 48' will fit perfectly so that the room won't be cramped. I will go bigger once our new baby is born and gets a little bit older, so that I can have time to finish the basement for the kids and either get a 72' tank and either put it down there or reenforce the floor and put it upstairs. So for now I am stuck with either a 75 or 90, but my wife has kind of asked me to put a budget on this project and it is looking like the 75 is going to be the winner. This is because of the added cost of the larger tank and the added cost of lighting for the tank as well as everything else being more expensive the bigger you go. Does anyone see any problems with doing my reef setup in a 75 gallon tank?

Also, i was looking into lighting systems for the tank and from what I have read about lighting systems I will need 3-5 watts per gallon and at least 10000k for my tank to thrive. So the best system I could find without spending over $300 is the 48" 4x65W Corallife Aqualight Deluxe Series Double Linear w/ Cooling Fans CF Hood, 2x Actinic and 2x 10,000k. Would this work well for what I want to do, or do I need to go bigger, or does anyone else have any other suggestions? Please don't tell me to setup my own vho fixture because I know nothing about electricity except that it hurts when it goes through you. Also, what is the best cover for a marine tank? Can I use a class canopy? Oh one more thing for today, would a 30 gallon long be a good sump for it or should I go larger?

I am trying to learn all I can, as fast as I can, but I am trying to start at the top and work my way down and get a good list of what I need or will need. Thanks again for all the help so far.
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post #25 of 38 Old 03-05-2009, 09:33 PM
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75s make good tanks. i prefer them over 90s as a standard 75 is the same dementions as a standard 90 except its taller which makes lighting more of an issue.

im sure you can get a used 55 gallon tank to use as a sump. they are 4 feet long. the larger the sump the more water volume (and room for skimmer and equipment) you will have. keep an eye out on for a used tank. a 30 long or even a 20 long would work but i personally would do a 55.

i also personally would get t5s for lights. do you have an idea on the type of corals you wish to keep?

i would not use the glass lid as they trap heat, reduce gas exchange and most importantly salt creep builds up blocking out your lights. if you are keeping fish that are known jumpers i suggest a open netting in a built frame on the top.
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post #26 of 38 Old 03-05-2009, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Just wondering,why would you go with the t-5's onefish? Don't they give off less wattage than the compacts? I really am not sure what kind of corals I want to keep yet, I probably would start out with a few that are relatively easier to care for and then work my way up. But I would like to set the tank up so that I can keep whatever in the tank as I learn more and become more comfortable with caring for them. I have heard of some people using eggcrate to cover their tanks and keep their fish in. You ever hear of this?
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post #27 of 38 Old 03-05-2009, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Also, any recommendations for beginner corals?
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post #28 of 38 Old 03-05-2009, 10:22 PM
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+1 to what onefish said. If you're looking to minimize cost, and you don't want to go over 4' in length, then definitely get the 75 instead of the 90. Like onefish said, they're the same length and width, a 90 is just taller which will make it more difficult to light everything.

I use a 30 gallon tank as a sump for my 90 gallon, and i wish i would have gone bigger.

It sounds like you are considering the light fixture that I just changed from. Not that its a bad fixture, its actually pretty decent and will make your tank look very nice, but depending on what kinds of corals you want to keep, it might not be powerful enough (~3.5 W/gal). That would be fine for softies, and some of the lower-light-needing LPS corals, but having more would allow you a greater selection so you wouldn't be limited if later on you saw something you really wanted.

I can't answer why T5's are better than PC, but I've heard the same and have always assumed it to be true. Hopefully someone else can provide more specific info on that topic. One reason might be because T5 fixtures typically have individual reflectors for each bulb, whereas your PC fixture just has a single reflect for all the bulbs, so more light from the T-5 gets used. I'm sure thats far from the only reason, it might just be a minor thing in the grand scheme of things. It may also have to do with the fact that pure Watts given off is different than the PAR [Photosynthetically Available Radiation] rating (usually not published as far as I know), and of course PAR is ultimately more important than Watts. Perhaps T-5's produce a higher PAR than PCs of similar or equal wattage (?).

"To an optimist, the glass is half-full;
to a pessimist, the glass is half-empty;
to an engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"
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post #29 of 38 Old 03-05-2009, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by fishdad1 View Post
Also, any recommendations for beginner corals?

guys with more experience, please correct me if I'm wrong!

I'd suggest:

zooanthids (zoas)
trumpet coral
brain coral

there are many others I'm sure, but these I'm pretty confident about.

"To an optimist, the glass is half-full;
to a pessimist, the glass is half-empty;
to an engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"
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post #30 of 38 Old 03-06-2009, 02:26 AM
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PCs (power compacts)
-Cheap to purchase fixture itself
-Runs Cool
-Limited to softy corals
-Bulb life is short
-Bulb replacement is expensive

-Can chage color by switching out 1 or 2 bulbs
-Can keep a larger selection of corals
-Run "medium" temperature
-Longer bulb life

-High light demanding things cannot be kept low in the tank
-"More" expensive to purchase fixture

MHs (Metal Halides)
-Can keep pretty much any coral
-Creates a unique shimmer in the water
-Long bulb life

-Run the hottest and most likely need a chiller
-Usually have to be supplemented with PC or T5 actinic bulbs to get the "pop" in the corals coloration
-Expensive to purchase a fixture
-Can consume alot of energy

-Do not get very hot
-Energy efficient
-Initial purchase of fixture is very expensive

This is my take on things. I personally use an icecap T5 retrofit setup which really is pretty simple to wire up but you need a canopy to mount the lights into because it doesnt have a clean look of a pre-built fixture. I have used Pcs and they were "ok" but i hated them, i have a metal halide ballast and pendant that i have yet to use which i most likely wont because i enjoy the t5s. i do not know much on the LEDs. i actually hear big LED companies are going out of business but im not 100% on that.

as for "easier corals"
-zooathids **
-green star polyps
-pulsing xenia
-clove polyps
-kenya tree

**all corals contain a risk of giving stings, rashes, and so forth and varies on individuals. zooathids and palys esp. contain a toxin so caution should be taking after handling/fragging. wash hands well in warm soapy water. its not as bad as it sounds but should not be overlooked if properly handled.

regardless of ease of coral they all need proper calcium, mag, alk levels along with other parameters in check.
feel free to ask anymore questions.
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