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mustangmcdee 10-19-2009 11:14 PM

I am thinking about starting a saltwater aquarium. Need advice
I am thinking about starting a FOWLR tank. I am on a very limited budget and have been looking for a tank on craigslist but before I buy anything I want to make sure that I can handle it.

Here is my situation: I am a college student living on campus. The college is 2 hours away from my house so I can be home every weekend. My dad is retired and would be able to do some of the work. I was thinking that I would set up the tank and get it running over christmas break and maybe add a few fish and maybe some invertebrates. Then add more over spring break and summer.

Do you think that this is a viable option?

Pasfur 10-20-2009 07:19 PM

I see no problem with this at all. I would suggest an automatic evaporation replacement system, just a simple sump full of evaporation replacement water on a float valve. This will help with the long weekends and could allow you to be away for extended periods.

For filtration, you will want the standard. Live rock, aragonite sand, and a protein skimmer. A UV Sterilizer would also be a good fit for you, because you may not be available every day to observe the tank. The UV will help prevent the spread of disease from one fish to the next.

mustangmcdee 10-20-2009 09:26 PM

Thanks I didnt think about the automatic fill. I will look into that.
For filtration I was going to use live rock, aragonite sand- 5" bed, and a sump with a protein skimmer. I was thinking about building the sump and the skimmer myself because I am good with my hands and have a limited budget.

Do you think that a home built skimmer will do a good enough job on a large tank say 75 gallons or more?
Should I get the uv sterilizer when I buy the tank or can I wait until I start adding fish?

Pasfur 10-21-2009 06:45 PM

You can wait on the UV until you add fish.

If you have the skills to build a protein skimmer, there is no reason that it can't be efficient. The basic design is not overly complicated for someone who is handy.

mustangmcdee 10-21-2009 07:33 PM

What do you think is the best protein skimmer? ill try to base my design off of it to make sure that it is as efficient as possible.

Pasfur 10-21-2009 09:16 PM

That is a loaded question. There are so many great designs on the market. I am personally not someone who is handy by any stretch of the imagination, so it is hard for me to visualize what would be the most difficult.

I use an ASM G3 skimmer on my 180 FOWLR, and a similar skimmer in the sump of my 54 reef. You should probably spend some time on You-Tube looking at home made skimmer designs and even google the topic.

mustangmcdee 10-21-2009 10:13 PM

Thanks. I spent some time looking around and I think I found some good designs. But I still think that I'll put my own spin on them.

Do you think that the counter current is the most effective design?

Pasfur 10-24-2009 08:22 AM

I would personally go with a counter current model skimmer, yes. The quality of the venturi and ability to regulate water height within the skimmer chamber will be key.

mustangmcdee 10-25-2009 02:06 AM

Thanks for all your advice.

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