what do you guys recommend for my first tank? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 27 Old 02-19-2010, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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what do you guys recommend for my first tank?

i want to start either a 20 gallon or 30 at the biggest. ive been doing so much research everyday. to the point where i cant wait to get off work to look up more info. i really only want 2 clown fish with live rock and sand. also a cleaner snail or shrimp. i have a rough idea of what it would cost. A LOT!! but where do i start? so i buy the tank and start with sand and rock? im going to stop by my LFS (i found out what it means on tis site ) and really dig into this. im just asking for some opinions of the best way to get in to this hobby. i would eventually like to use this thread as a progress of my tank. what are the benefits of 20 vs 30 gallons? i know its kind of small but people have success with it. also one curious question. why do some lights have a blue tint to them? it makes the aquarium look much cooler! thanks for your feedback!!!
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post #2 of 27 Old 02-19-2010, 02:10 AM
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Usually the bigger the tank the easier it is to maintain salt and chemical levels. I would go with the 30.
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post #3 of 27 Old 02-19-2010, 05:07 AM
If you are going to go smaller than a 75 for your first tank it is going to take some serious patience (well any SW tank takes patience). I would def. go with the 30 if that is the largest you can go.

Soft Coral Reef:
2 ORA false percs (1 black, 1 misbar), 1 yellow watchman, 2 blue green chromis, 1 banggai cardinal, a yellow tang, 1 skunk cleaner shrimp, 1 emerald crab, 10 scarlet hermits, 10 blue hermits, 3 turbo snails, 4 astrea snails, green star polyps, xenia, green zoa colony, assorted mushrooms, purple tonga mushrooms, long polyp leather, finger leather, assorted softies.

Freshwater discus/angelfish:
Discus, angels, 1 clown pleco, plants and driftwood.
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post #4 of 27 Old 02-19-2010, 07:00 AM
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Definately the 30. Ive got right about a $1000 in my 29 gallon and thats with no fish or corals. And I still need an RO system. Also, it doesnt take much evap to change the salinity in a tank this small so I hope you plan on topping off the water level daily! I just got an all glass hood for my tank and cut it as tight as I could to everything so hopefully this slows down the evap. Time will tell. Good luck!

Follow my 29 Gallon Reef build! - http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/s...on-reef-36293/

[29G Reef]
2 False Percula Clownfish
1 Banggai Cardinalfish
1 Pink-Spotted Watchman Goby
1 Blood Red Fire Shrimp
1 Emerald Crab
10 Astrea Snails
10 Nassarius Snails

Flower Leather
Neon Green Capnella
Green Star Polyps
3 Mushrooms - Red/Blue/Green Stripe
4 Florida Ricordia
Candy Apple Zoanthids
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post #5 of 27 Old 06-25-2010, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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so guys i apologize that i haven't even come here for 4 months. i work for the company that provides service for the iphone so its been hectic. well let me explain my situation. i went to my lfs about 8 months ago. its newageaquatics.com well i was talking to one of the owners (len) and he was talking about how he doesnt use any mechanical fiiltration at his shop and how he is all natural becasue there are no protein skimmers in the ocean. although he does sell them if you want lol ironic right. he says he uses rock,sand and miracle mud on all his systems. while i was there the owner of ecosystemaquarium.com showed up (leng) and he was telling me how miracle mud you dont have to cycle the tank for more than a week. then len the lfs owner told me he would have it running with fish and corals the first day. well i thought they where crazy since ive been reading on many forums what it takes to start a salt water aquarium. i left thinking what a bunch of bs!!! well i told my friend and she also stopped by. about a month later she was being set up by len with a 150 gallon reef aquarium. all she has is a refugium with miracle mud in it and rock and moss. its been running for about 6 months now and she has had no deaths. the first day she had a yellow tang, 2 percula clowns and a hippo tang in the tank along with some corals. she hasnt had any deaths so far in her tank. i was amazed after the second month of her tank being set up. so with this being said ive kept going back and talking to len at the lfs about once a week since then. well i was still having a bit of a rough time believing it could happen. now with the story here, he told me he would set me up and running and wouldnt charge me anything except the aquarium. well i went for it and i gave him 250 dollars and he is setting me up with a 50 gallon jebo r395. he said its a none known brand but, he is a genius and custimizes the built in filter and makes a small refugium on top and just crazy stuff. so as of today i have an empty 50 gallon in my house without filtraton. he did say if i want hard corals that i would have to update the lighting for more sensative corals.but that would cost about 300 dollars. well i just want some stocking ideas and help. thanks guys wish me luck. by the way he said he will give me my money back if im not happy. so ill give it a shot. ill set up pictures as the build goes. i will be painting the back black while hes doing his thing on the filter. i dont think anyone wants a pic of an empty tank. do you? lol thanks guys for the help
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post #6 of 27 Old 06-25-2010, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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also has anyone here had any experience with "miracle mud" i will post pictures of progress and show everything as its happening
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post #7 of 27 Old 06-26-2010, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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this is my friends set up im talking about. this was taken with my cell phone on the first day after set up

150 gallon.jpg
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post #8 of 27 Old 06-26-2010, 08:42 AM
nano tanks are cheaper when you get the plug and play type but without supervision the crash real fast.... look at your budget if you don't have a lot well you'll need at least the basic and a lot of time..my sw din't last a year before i had it changed back into a fw tank and it was a 90 gallon tank plus a maintenance guy to come in every month to check the perimeters it was costing too much for me.think well before starting sw don't come cheap and easy.

5x2x2 aro,highfin bat,fei feng,ST,albino tinfoil,c.perch
4x1.5x1.5 planted tetras,harlequins,
otto,WMM,2 types of celebes rainbows,rcs,amano, bamboo,red ramhorns,MTS
3.5x2.5x2 flowerhorn,pleco
3x1.5x1.5 russel's lion,blue cleaner,sixline and leopard wrasse,maroon clown pair,green chromis,scorpion,tiger cowrie,turbo,lyretail anthias,jewel,anemone,star polyp,marbled and giant green mushi,zoa
2x1x1 nano sw shrimps
22 May 2012
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post #9 of 27 Old 06-26-2010, 08:48 AM
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i see a diatom bloom forming on the rock in your friends setup which isnt a good sign. hey they might survive but theres better ways of insuring so. adding some established live rock will help with establishing a tank but by no means does it mean its mature. a stable matured tank is what your aiming for. ontop of this they choose 2 tangs from the start. these fish need ample swimming space and constantly eat which = a larger bioload. 1 flick of their tail and they are from one side of the 4 foot 75 gallon to the other.
the miricle mud is no miricle at all. its good for refuges with mangroves. the tank was able to be setup so fast because of whats in the rock and from the looks of it, the rock doesnt look very well established.
your best bet is taking it slow, as the tank is one of the cheaper purchases in saltwater. len,leng or whatever his name is sounds like a nice guy but keep in mind he owns a business and businesses work by taking your money.
it baffles me he suggests no skimmer. i would suggest no canister filters or other mechanical filtration of that sort, but a skimmer is needed on larger tanks. tanks in the 1-30ish gallon range can get by with being ontop of water changes. the ocean doesnt have a skimmer, but it has waves that act like a natural one, its so large that 1 drop of poop wont see any effect, now 1 drop of poop in your tank and theres a nitrate reading. the ocean never gets a nitrate reading, nitrite or ammonia.
if i was walking around in your shoes i would search for a local reefing club in your area. these places are great for learning new things, seeing others setups, picking up some used equipment and so forth. i would also set my tank up with 4-5 inches of sand, 40-50 ( atleast ) pounds of rock, some pre-mixed saltwater that was made in a seperate container atleast 24 hours in advance with a powerhead and heater and i would wait until i saw a diatom bloom. its like a rusty colored dusting on the rocks, sand and so forth. that will come and go and then you can add a mixture of snails ( which i prefer over ANY crab including hermits ) as the beggining of your clean up crew. im not sure if you said a sump will be involved but i personally would pop an ASM mini G in there atleast ( or something of the sort ) as well as some chaeto algae on a reverse light cycle as the tank.
ask your friend where they're at in a month, 2, 5, year from now... this is a long term hobby so plan for years to come. i know people who have 10+ year old clowns, one guy his are pumping out eggs at a constant and cannot put his hand in the tank without the biting ( and sometime drawing blood ) and i know another guy who had his setup for 30 years and its so old it has the undergravel filter under the sand bed ( that was the method they believed in filtering with back then, now its skimmers ) so rushing to have a tank setup IMO is just a setup for failure. hope that helps some and welcome back to the forum.
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post #10 of 27 Old 06-27-2010, 06:08 AM
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I never try to knock methods that are proven, as there are different ways to approach this hobby. Many people have great luck with different techniques used around the world. Heck, if you go to Germany you will find freshwater setups that are run with no filtration at all, just a lot of plants.

One thing I can tell you, however, is that the "new" techniques on the market have all risen with one thing in common, which is a live rock. There is nothing new about the use of live rock. This hobby has advanced and grown as a direct result of the availability and low cost of live rock, which provides a natural environment. The only assistance we generally give to live rock is to add a protein skimmer, which directly removes organic waste, helping to keep alkalinity, calcium, and pH levels stable, as well as allowing the live rock the opportunity to provide effective denitrification.

These comments are relevant because your friends story is not unique at all. It is an everyday situation which is easily achieved and has nothing to do with miracle mud. My existing 180 gallon tank had fish in it for several weeks prior to adding the protein skimmer. It is well documented with pictures here http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/s...r-build-21979/.

The point is, you are not looking for any quick method of short term success. Miracle Mud is effective and has been well documented in the hobby's literature as a quality substrate for refugiums. But if you want long term success I suggest you use it as part of an overall filtration plan, which should include live rock and a good protein skimmer. After all, do you want to duplicate the short term success of a few people, or do you want to duplicate the long term success of an entire hobby, virtually guaranteeing success?

For the record, the as OF2F mentioned, the ocean does in fact have a protein skimmer. Waves provide the same benefits by removing organic waste. Anyone who has ever walked a beach in the morning is very familiar with the smell of the foamy pasty deposits or organic materials that that waves wash ashore.
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