Me and the wife have decided to take the plunge and start a new first saltwater aquarium. After months of reading and reading and talking to people, and reading some more, we're ready to start.
We got a great deal on the 100g tank not "marine ready" however I don't mind a few tubes hanging off the side. We want to take everything slow, and make sure everything is right, starting it as a FOWLR at first and getting into reef months down the road. We also want to cure our own live rock first to save a little bit of money. Having it be reef down the road I'd like to keep it reef only fish at first etc.
So far we have this for a fish list:
2 Clown Fish (Percula or Ocellaris)
Pacific Blue Tang
Green Mandarin Goby
2 Domino Damsels
3-4 Blue Damsels
Yellow Watchman Goby
Bubble Tip Anemone
Giant Carpet Anemone
Blue Leg Hermit Crab
etc. (haven't finished this list yet, any suggestions would be awesome)
I know both tangs might be aggressive with each other, however it being a decent size tank I'm willing to go for it if I get them in at the same time while they are young.
Equipment: (This is where I'm having trouble right now)
Eshopps Sump and Overflow
Skimmer (not sure)
Powerheads (not sure)
Lighting (some kind of T-5 fixture)
Fluval E Series Heater 300W
Still looking for a good RO filter as well
125-150lbs of dry rock (plus a bit of live rock to start curing)
Live sand (I want to keep it sand on top. Would it be wise or dumb to put a layer of crushed coral underneath the layer of sand. If not, what about a mixture of the two?)
Gonna leave this post as is for now, it's getting long. Just wanted to get some insight on the basic equipment etc.
for the skimmer you may want to try a marineland protein skimmer because they are compact and there aren't pipes or motors hanging off of it. I have hydor powerheads and they really look nice in the tank. If you do use PVC for your overflow and return on the sump be sure to use marine approved silicon. You may want to buy some egg crate material from a hardware store and use it on the bottom of the tank before you add the substrate in case any of your rocks fall so it won't break the bottom of the aquarium. You can use the egg crate to anchor your live rock onto it using zip ties as well. Another good idea is using a small piece of the egg crate to cover the top of your overflow so no fish decide to take a trip to your sump. Last suggestion is to use threaded joints on your return and drain lines so you can take them apart for cleaning if you're using PVC. You probably knew most of this since i'm in the exact same position as you except i'm just adding water so if you have any tips you have learned and would like to tell me about them I would love to hear them.
Thanks for the input Frothy. We haven't decided on much of anything just yet, but we really want to make sure we do this right (since this is our first marine). I'll try to help with any tips as we build ours. Do you have a link/post for your build?
I think what I may have to start out with is to finish waiting till the tank gets here (or go to where it is and measure the dimensions of the cabinet underneath to see how big of a sump I can put in it). Then just buy the overflow, skimmer, and pump once I figure out the size of the sump. I'm not comfortable enough yet to build my own. I figured I'll just buy my very first one, and any tank after (oh yes there will be more), I'll most def build it. (I know I'm leaving something out here).
As for the powerheads, I'm going to have to finish my reef/coral list and kinda see how much flow I'm going to need for whatever I put in there. I don't want to buy X powerheads and then learn later I have to have a more or less powerful one in a certain area of the tank (I hope I'm right on that). I may just get a couple cheap ones for the rock curing for now and then when I buy the ones I really want, move the cheap ones to my water change container to mix the salt better.
sounds like a great plan i'm looking forward to seeing it once it's finished
thats the post i made a few days ago listing everything I have going on in my tank. If you have any suggestions about my build I would love to hear them.
Well I'm stuck on a sump/refugium still. Not too many out there that will fit the skimmer I want (ASM G-2). Or I could find another skimmer. These two do but they are a tad pricey.
Eshopps Refugium R-300, 2nd Gen
ADHI Refugium 45
Both fit underneath pretty good, so thats not a problem. Or I could just get brave and just glue two pieces of acrylic into a 10 gal. (more or less)
Other pieces...I guess I'm going to go with a PF-1200 Eshopps for the Overflow Box, and a Mag MD-12 for the sump pump. Still working on the powerheds, but I'll get into that later.
If anyone has any other suggestions PLEASE feel free. I'm almost up in arms here.
your trying to keep alot of things that may not do the best here. why all the damsels? thats asking for trouble in itself. by green goby im guessing the dragonet? you also want 3 anems which are inverts by the way but i suggest not getting one until the tanks been going steady for about a year. i would also hold off on the dragonet for about a year too so theres a supply of pods. the starfish can be tricky too as they need a good food source on the rocks to graze on. im not saying any of this cant be kept but it will test your patience.
i do suggest looking into glass-holes for an overflow, thats what i would do personally. i would also construct my own sump from a used tank. the store made ones look nice and fancy but the price really is up there. they also arnt very custom when it comes to things fitting and being build how you want it. you may be better off with 2 slightly smaller heaters then rather 1 large one too. i personally like hydor Ks for powerheads. i wouldnt mix the crushed coral and sand personally i would just do all sand. either less then an inch or 4 - 6 inches. anything in between creates a problem. i like ASM too, i ran a mini G on a smaller tank awhile back and liked it. hope that helps some.
Thanks a ton for the input. I'm still learning a ton, but everyone has to start somewhere I guess.
The Blue Damsels are rather aggressive in their own right. If you are fixed on Damsels, the Yellow Tails are somewhat more passive and would be a better choice.
Thanks for the tips Pasfer. The way you cured your rock is exactly how I'd like to do it. I LOVE your build. I'm jealous of that tank. It's pretty much exactly what I want to do first. Then after having that a while, throw some reefs in there and learn that part as well.
I have been looking at more aquariums now. I REALLY like the corner flo you have. I'm thinking of doing a 125 reef ready like that instead of the 100g originally planned. It might be a few hundred more bucks, but I think it'll definitely be worth it. It seems really hard to find a drilled bottom with tempered glass (drilling first then tempering obviously). Does anyone know of anyplace that makes tanks like that? I really don't want to go acrylic, and I'd love a sapphire front, but it's not THAT important.
I'm going to head out to a few LFSs this weekend and see what I can come up with, and see if I can find something better (along with the net). I like the idea of having 12 extra inches in the 125-180g (esp. with the blue tang if I decide to try it).
After searching for what seemed like forever, I think I'm going to be happier with a different tank (ordering it this weekend). We are going to get a 125g 72"x18" reef ready (with two double bulkhead overflow on each corner, tempered bottom tank. (took me forever to find a drilled tempered (after drilled) RR tank.
http://www.amazon.com/Reverse-Osmosis-Storage-Removes-Fluoride/dp/B002LHDL7E 159 http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/store/75-gpd-ro-di-5-stage-standard-system.html
The sump/fuge Yeah I COULD build my own, but I feel safer dealing with this for now till I get the hang of things. This being the first salt tank.
ASM G-2 Skimmer
Mag MD12 Water Pump (for sump)
Hydor Theo Heater (x2) 100W for the sump and a 300 for the tank, or a Hydor 100w for the sump and a Fluval E Series 300w for the tank. (wouldn't mind two heaters).
150 lbs of Key Largo rock, (curing it myself), 200-230ish lbs of sand from marco (4-6" of bed). All from Marco.
20-40 lbs of live rock from LFS or elsewhere (to start the cure)
2-3 Hydor powerheads. Not sure on the whole flow thing yet. Going to get the cured rock going first before going into gph on heads and all of that. Worst comes to worse, Ill throw extra powerheads into my water change/salt mix cans and get exactly what I need in the DT.
Sound good? Should I change anything? Suggestions? comments? We're getting there!
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