Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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grwoolf 01-26-2007 07:14 AM

Getting back in hobby after many years, a few questions
My wife and I were really into saltwater before our kids were born about 10 years ago, but with 2 babies and moving houses we got rid of all our tanks (except a 20). At one point we had a 58g reef, 200g fish only and a couple other small fish-only tanks.

I now have a 9 year old that has been into freshwater (the old 20g) for about 2 years and he wants to spend some of his savings and get into saltwater. I have had the itch for a while to get back into the hobby, so I'm probably going to bankroll most of the cost and do a fish/liverock tank. Thinking about 55-75g range.

I plan to stock the tank with a tang, a clown, and then maybe a couple other small fish, along with a bunch of critters (crabs, snails, maybe a shrimp).

I am also plannning to go with 48" bulbs (probably 3). It looks like there are some new lighting options out there, is this a good choice? I don't want high heat.

I've been reviewing the posts on this board and trying to decide the best route to go with filtration. I always had wet/dry in my larger tanks, but it seems there is more of a emphasis these days on live rock/live sand for bio filtration. I am looking for a used tank and wonder how critical a wet/dry would be. I plan to put at least 75 pounds of live rock in the tank. Also, how critical is a protein skimmer? I never used them on my fish-only tanks in the past.

Melissa 01-26-2007 07:32 AM

If you want a tang, i would go with a 75 gallon. this will give it more room for swimming.

dustin323 01-26-2007 12:03 PM

Welcome to the board.

I'll start with fltration. For reef tanks a protien skimmer is pretty citical IMO, if you don't have one you will have to do water changes every single week & still aren't garuanteed great parameters.

IMO, the best filtration to go with is having live rock in your display & a protien skimmer & refugium in your sump. A refugium can house a deep sand bed as well as live rock & some type of macro algae like chaeto that will remove nitrAtes out of your water. It will also supply a food source of coepods & if the lights on the refugium are ran in reverse of the display's it can help stabilize ph at nightitme. A wet/dry can be used on a FO, & also a reef though bio-balls can cause nitrAtes so they need to be rinsed in old tank water, about 1/4 a month to help minimize that.

As far as lighting goes you have many options. What are you looking at keeping is the question. If you want want anemones, clams, & SPS hard corals you are gonna want to go with either metal halides or at least HO T5s. Overall those are the best two lighting options you could get. Metal halides are the closest thing to real sunlight. If you want to go cheaper go with power compacts. You can keep almost all softies & LPS hard corals under this as well as possibly a species or two of SPS. All high llighting for reef tanks is gonna cause high heat. The use of eggcrate/lighting diffuser as tank cover can help with heat. I have 260 watts of Power Compact over my 55g & have eggcrate & have no heat issues. It stays just where I want it. Though in some instances, especially with ahlides you may need to get a chiller.

As far as stocking goes tangs usually don't do great in 55g tanks. If you were to get one for a 75g tank I'd say a 75g minumum. Though many need much more room than that. Hermits, shrimp, & snails......get plenty. They'll just help keep your tank cleaned.

If your looking for a protien skimmer that isn't gonna break your bank & does a great job I'd have to recommend the Coral Life Super Skimmer. I am running the 220 on my 55g. Oddysea lighting is extremly cheap & so far(6 months) mine has held up fine.

caferacermike 01-26-2007 04:27 PM

For a nice fish only I'd look into a 100g tank with some nice VHO bulbs. VHO are fancy flourescent bulbs. A skimmer will make things even better. A sump, skimmer and fuge will really make your tank easier to deal with a much more of a pleasure then a pain in the .... It will really come down to your budget and dedication. When it comes time to look at a skimmer don't buy junk. ASM, Euroreef, Deltec, H&S, and BubbleKing are all top notch effiecent needle wheel skimmers. Others like P&M, ESS, MRC, or Triggerfish systems use an extremely outdated method of injecting the air after the pump. The price of those untis does not include the pump. Deals can be had so whateve the sticker shock of everything "new" is I bet you can find it for half.

grwoolf 01-26-2007 09:10 PM

Just doing a little reading on sump and fuge (new concept to me), trying to get up to speed. Not sure I completly understand the fuge but it sounds like an extra pass-thourgh tank with plants and stuff in the sump. I assume this does nothing for amonia or nitrites, but takes care of nitrates. Can I skip a wet/dry section with media and just go with the live rock in my display tank? It actually sounds like a sump/fuge could be built pretty easy from a couple old tanks (a lot cheaper than a true wet/dry). I guess the biggest challenge would be finding a display tank with an overflow. Do I really need a sump for a fish only tank or could I just do some circulation with powerheads and maybe a rear-mount skimmer? Is the fuge that beneficial? Also, what is the best thing for mechanical filteration? Are there any decent rear-mount filters (I really hate canisters)?

trreherd 01-26-2007 09:19 PM

You dont need a tank with a built in overflow. we have these no fangle contraptions called overflow boxes, they do what a pre-drilled tank used to.
For a fish only you dont need a sump, but a skimmer would be nice to increase the time between your water changes(saving you money)
If you dont want a sump this is a great hang on skimmer(they can be had for cheap on ebay)
after that skimmer i think you would only need some powerheads and one or two hob or canister filters for mechanical (particle) filtration.[/b]

grwoolf 01-26-2007 10:12 PM


we have these no fangle contraptions called overflow boxes
OK, I'm not that old. I've used overflow boxes in the past. Just trying to keep costs down if I don't need need all the extra hardware. If a sump/fuge is really going to help keep maintenance down, I'll probably try to be patient and find a used tank with that included if possible. I don't want to buy a tank with a bunch of throw away equipment, I'd rather spend the extra up front and get as close to ideal configuration as possible. At this point, I'm just trying to determine what I need. Thanks for all the advice, this site has an amazing amount of great info.

caferacermike 01-26-2007 11:30 PM

Extra hardware=less hassle. The better the tank is outfitted the more trouble free it becomes. It's totally up to you how you want to do it. There are also plenty of products out there that look and talk like the products we are mentioning that will only take your money and sour your attitude.

I'd skip the wetdry and get a nice sump with built in fuge. Use either the suction water and pass it through the fuge to the skimmer compartment or tee off the return line and using a valve allow a bit to go to the fuge. This will really simplify your operations and help maintain a healthy tank.

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