Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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njudson 11-17-2009 01:45 PM

Planning my first Reef Tank
Hi guys I am planning on starting a Reef Tank but I am probably a year away from actually starting it up. I am in the read everything I can find online phase and I've got tons of questions.

Here is an outline of the tank I want
~75 Gallon with a deep sand bed, live rock and soft corals
livestock to be along the lines of: a Clownfish, a watchmen goby, a sailfin blenny, and a Tang
tons of inverts of various kinds tbd - I was a marine bio major for the first part of undergrad and I love marine inverts.

The plan will be to start with a bunch of base rock and dry aragonite sand and seed it with some live rock and hopefully a cup of sand from a healthy established tank. Taking it nice and slow before I even consider adding fish.

In my freshwater experience I has always found that the simplest setup is the easiest to maintain and often the most effective. I would like to use minimal equipment - basically just what I really need.

What should be equipment list be?

Things I know that I need:
aquarium - 75ish gallons
sump - whats a good size for my tank? I will probably make my own to save some money
protein skimmer
lighting - LEDs would be so cool but after a lot of reading it seems like Compact Fluorescents might be good enough what do you guys think? I know Metal Halides are the 'best light' but the heat and bulb replacement don't appeal to me.
a couple power heads
RO/DI filter for making safe water
timers for lighting

what else do I need apart from the obvious things like salt mix, test kits etc. ? I am thinking about hardware at the moment.

Once everything is up and running what is the basic maintenance schedule for a tank of this size? I have read lots of talk about water changes but have also seen people say that large changes are unnecessary.

I am often away from home on the weekends during the summer. Will the livestock be okay without being fed for 2 days? For longer trips away I would obviously get someone to watch my fish but for weekends would that be needed?

Thanks for reading the long post!

Last question if you could recommend one book I buy myself for xmas to self educate about keeping reef systems what would it be?


onefish2fish 11-17-2009 11:58 PM

if memory serves right power compact bulbs actually need to be replaced the most frequent and at the same time limits what you can keep. in my experience with PC lights i did not enjoy them. i currently have a halide over my tank but had t5s which are my favorite.
as for the sump i feel the DIY sumps made from old fish tanks are the way to go. the bigger it is, the better because the more water volume = the more stable. to be realistic a 20gallon long tank or 30 would make a great sump.
as for maintnance plan on water evaporating daily which needs to be replaced with fresh RO water (without any salt because salt water that evaporates doesnt contain salt) scraping the glass, wipe down any salt creep, clean pumps/powerheads, empty skimmer collection cup, perform %5-10 water change ( premix water with powerhead atleast 24 hours in advance) just for an idea. theres other things but theres a few.
you will be fine without feeding the fish for 2 days unless it is a specific species that requires otherwise. recently ive been doing experimenting with something else but i used to feed my fish every 2-3 days with a very large selection of quality foods.
some advice is to spend as much as you can afford on a quality skimmer. read online reviews as some are garbage while others golden. if your planning a reef, i personally also wouldnt shy on the lights either. search in your area for a local reefing club. youll be able to learn and possibly pick up cheaper equipment. take your time, ask questions and read as much as you can.

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