New to Salt Water Tanks
First off, just wanted to say thank you to everyone who's been posting. I'm a new lurker and have been reading through the post, printing and highlighting everything that is new to me(which is everything).
Now onto my blurb. I'm not sure which way I should go with this and need some advice.
My Fiance and I, have been talking about getting a salt water tank and spent over 3 hours getting educated at one of our local aquarium stores. Now me being so new to this, I really don't know whether or not I was being pushed around. The gentleman who helped us gave us a quote for a 20 gallon tank. The quote included all the required equipment to run a salt water tank. The fish were not included in the expenses.
Now having read through all the posts, it seems that a 20 gallon tank would probably not fit anymore than maybe a pair of clown fish and nothing else. We are seriously considering a much larger tank BUT I also have a dilema. Fiance thinks we would be better off getting something larger (because of the expense of a tank), but I also know we are going to be moving next summer into our new home. It takes a few weeks to set up a tank and have everything settle and cycle, so I could not imagine emptying this larger tank and trying to start from scratch again. Instead, being so new to this, starting off with a smaller tank, I thought would be a wiser decision- BUT - even with a smaller tank, would it be wise or even intelligent to even consider moving a small tank.
My ideal tank will have some coral, clown fish maybe 1-2 more fish mixed in there, the cleaning crew.
Because of the expense to setting it up, a 30-40 gallons tank is what I was thinking about, but even with that size. Would definitely be willing to start off with a larger one if it means easier to maintain the balance in the tank.
Thanks for reading all this, a little looooongish :-D
Are you moving summer 2010 or summer 2011?
No problem. Glad to have you here on TFK. Welcome.
Anyway. Moving an aquarium is not as tough as it sounds, large or small. For that reason, I would go as large as you could possibly afford. There are three reasons I say this:
1) Larger tanks are less susceptible to large Salinity swings. If a 20 gallon tank loses a half of a gallon of water over the course of the day, that's obviously twice as much as a half of a gallon evaporating from a 40 gallon tank. Therefore, since only the water evaporates and not the salt, the salinity has raised twice as much in the 20 gallon than the 40 gallon.
2) It is easier to regulate water quality in a large tank. Larger water volume means that it takes longer for pollutants to corrode the water. By pollutants, I am speaking of natural waste produced by the fish, which will be taken care of by the natural filtration you provide in the tank.
3) Larger tanks allow you to be less conservative in fish selection. Just remember, when you are doing saltwater, the natural ecosystem is larger than freshwater. Fish from the ocean grow a lot larger than pond or lake fish.
I would say that a 20 gallon tank and a 55 gallon tank would have the same stocking choices. Clownfish, gobies, blennies, jawfish and some wrasses. Some inverts and corals are suitable for these tanks and most corals will thrive in either tank selection. Of course in the 55 gallon, your stocking level would be slightly higher.
I ran a 46 bowfront reef for a long time before I realized that 46 gallons would never be enough for me. I went out and bought a 150 reef ready tank and am very happy with it. And I think my fish are happier too in the larger swimming area.
Here is my suggestion to you: Set up a 46 gallon bowfront or 75 gallon tank. If you can then limit yourself to clowns, gobies, jawfish, some wrasses, inverts and corals, then see how you fare. That way, when you move and want to set up a larger tank (you will, trust me), you can do this while the fish have a place to live. You can transport the Live Rock and Live Sand to your new tank and they should be mature enough that the tank will be able to have livestock soon thereafter.
You will need to have the knowledge to start a tank, so I am going to ask a few questions:
1) FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock) or Full Reef Tank?
2) Have you kept Freshwater before? Recently?
3) What is your budget?
Again, thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I know so little about this yet. I spent the better parts of my day reading through these forums, printing and highlighting the information that I feel the experienced members have been posting as it is probably the most knowledgeable. We bought our first book on Tropical Fish just the other day.
Thanks again folks.
You are in great shape. You have a very reasonable budget, and should be able to accomplish just about anything. Honestly, at this point I would talk about space. Where is this tank going to go? I would actually like to see a picture of the area so that we can visualize what we are doing with this. Your budget will easily allow for a 75 gallon tank today if you want to start there.
I notice that you have seen princesuhib and terryann's tank builds. They were both in your shoes 1 year ago! Hopefully this gives you some confidence that you can do this and do it very well!
I'm still reading and reading and yes you've guessed it, reading. I am so excited to be learning about all this. I'm not feeling quite comfortable enough about the use of each piece of equipment to start buying.
Are there places online that you would recommend getting the pieces to start putting this aquarium together(pumps etc)? it seems the specialty stores are way over priced with just about everything. I really would like to try to save me some bucks by getting our stuff online if possible.
As for where I am going to be putting it? I am not set as to where just yet. I still don't think I will be getting the tank until closer to the summer simply because I'm not at all comfortable with the fact I know nothing. I want to make sure I get at least the basics which I know will happen by reading through the website and the books we bought. Once I start looking for a tank tho, I will definitely start up a thread about the "putting together". They seem to always be hits and it's fun to see how things change and grow.
Also, would you be willing to advise me on the size and model, brand of what you think would be the best quality for a 75-ish gallon tank? (I say "ish" because depending on the store it will say 75, 76 or 78 gallons in size depending on the tank shape).
Thanks again :-)
This is decision #1 and will impact everything about the necessary equipment. In the long run, an overflow with a sump system underneath will be far greater for a 75 gallon tank. If you want to understand a bit about how sumps work, check this out:
On a 75 gallon tank the sump is a luxury. You will have no problems without one. The biggest issues will be:
1) The equipment will be visible, rather than hidden from view under the tank.
2) The quality of protein skimmer available to purchase will not be able to upgrade to a larger tank in the future.
3) You will have to replace evaporation almost daily. No, it is not a big deal if you leave the tank unattended for a few days of vacation.
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