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FishFan 06-28-2007 08:00 PM

Newbie 55 Gallon Saltwater Tank...
 
Friends,

I'm getting ready to test the waters (saltwaters that is) by starting my 1st tank. I'm going for a 55 gallon tank and have been doing my research on it's set up. However, there is more advice out there on the net than you can shake a stick at and it does get confusing after a while. I'll be using some live rock and some decorative stone and perhaps a few tank decorations. I'm going for a FOWLR community tank w/only non-aggressive/semi-aggressive fish. Other than that, I'm lost. I have 2 freshwater tanks at this time, so I'm no stranger to the aquarium.

I read on this here net, that you can set up your system to use only aragonite sand as a substrate and then only need a protein skimmer and powerhead to keep it going. I personally know just about diddly about this. Will this work? Will I need the conventional filter w/charcoal inserts? I've also been told that I don't really need the powerhead. Also been told that I don't need a aerator (such as a bubble stone, curtain, etc.) because a filter would circulate and aerate the water on it's own. Someone...please help me?

As for fish, I've mulled over many a website and researched and pondered and marked many off my list. Here is said list (remember only 1 of these listed in the tank):

Yellow Watchman Goby w/Pistol Shrimp
Yellowtail Blue Damsel (read that these are the least aggressive of the popular species)
Yellowhead Jawfish
Ocellaris Clown
Royal Gramma Basslet

Also been thinking of a Yellow Tang, Foxface Lo, or a True Lemonpeel Angel. I would also consider a starfish and a few crabs.

If anyone has suggestions out there for me, I'd love to hear. I need all the help I can get. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Betta5 07-01-2007 06:52 AM

Hi,
so you want a FOWLR, you want fish and LR right? Well a quick list to what you need (excluding hydrometer/refractometer, nets, foods etc)

55 gallon tank
Stand
Hood/lid
Lights (nothing special, no corals right?)
aragonite sand (is popular)
Live rock and powerheads
Heater
and saltwater
Skimmer (if you choose)

You DONT need a bubble stone as they can create micro bubbles in marien tanks which are bad for inverts (hitchikers) and fish gills.
Thats the basics, if you want a FOWLR. I am doing a Fish only 55, Tank, sand, heater, external filter and lights and thats it.

Right fish choice,

Out of the first lot,
Any would work in a 55 gallon, the yellow tail is the least agressive (well in damsel terms) but i would still keep an eye on it , they are beautiful fish tho im fighting myself not to buy one every time i go to my LFS.
Im not sure about the jawfish as they may need a deep substrate which most FOWLR dont have. I think 6"-8" is the min (could be wrong tho).

Yellow tangs have been kept successfully in a 55 BUT it depends on tank dimentions. I think a lemonpeel angel would be a much better idea and they are beautiful fish also.

For my 55 if i had no fish i would do,
- 2 clowns (whatever ones)
- dwarf angel (lemonpeel or flame back)
- purple firefish (bit expensive at £35 i think)
- Pink spot goby (think thats it)

Maybe 1 other fish, maybe thats a few to look into?

I know its a bit confusing but i hope it helps, any questions please ask

FishFan 07-01-2007 10:40 AM

Thanks for the response Betta5, and the advice. Much needed and appreciated.

I'll probably due without the bubble stone then. Don't want anything to cause any problems. Right...NO corals or anemones, etc. Only the fake ones. I'll try some lighting tricks though (different bulbs, etc.).

Thanks for the advice on the Jawfish (I was thinking of a substrate of only around 5 inches or so). Also on the Tang, they are beautiful but I wouldn't want it to be unhappy. Perhaps instead of the True Lemonpeel Angel, I'll try a Halfblack Angel (they are beautiful, and wouldn't want to have too much "yellow" in the tank). What of the Royal Gramma? Anything out there w/some red? I'll keep an eye on the Damsel BTW. Any other thoughts on livestock?

As for rock, I was going to use some base rock and then add some live rock to populate it. I read that you can also use other decorative rock, as long as it is NON reactive and full of minerals that would leech out into the tank. Read that you can test it with "white vinegar" and then look for some type of reaction (bubbling, etc.). Any advice on this? I know they use a special type of concrete to make manmade reefs, etc.

Thanks again and good luck with your new tank too.

Betta5 07-01-2007 12:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FishFan
Thanks for the response Betta5, and the advice. Much needed and appreciated.

I'll probably due without the bubble stone then. Don't want anything to cause any problems. Right...NO corals or anemones, etc. Only the fake ones. I'll try some lighting tricks though (different bulbs, etc.).

Thanks for the advice on the Jawfish (I was thinking of a substrate of only around 5 inches or so). Also on the Tang, they are beautiful but I wouldn't want it to be unhappy. Perhaps instead of the True Lemonpeel Angel, I'll try a Halfblack Angel (they are beautiful, and wouldn't want to have too much "yellow" in the tank). What of the Royal Gramma? Anything out there w/some red? I'll keep an eye on the Damsel BTW. Any other thoughts on livestock?

As for rock, I was going to use some base rock and then add some live rock to populate it. I read that you can also use other decorative rock, as long as it is NON reactive and full of minerals that would leech out into the tank. Read that you can test it with "white vinegar" and then look for some type of reaction (bubbling, etc.). Any advice on this? I know they use a special type of concrete to make manmade reefs, etc.

Thanks again and good luck with your new tank too.

There are loads of lights out there that make really nice effects (ebay have a few). Good call on the yellow tang, they are better off in bigger tanks. The lemonpeel will be a lovely addition. As for the royal gramma i would think your tank would be fine for one they are very bright and colourful, but make sure its healthy the ones at my LFS are really bad.
Hmm red fish... Oh flame Hawkfish, i see them at my LFS, stunning. Bright red and get 4" so a good size. Other colourful fish are 6 line wrasse ( can act aggressively) Bi colour angelfish are also one to think about. Have a look around a few fish shop websites they usualy tell you what kind of fish they are if they act aggressively around any other and how big they get along with a piccy.

You LR plan is a smart one, best to do buy "reef bones" or "base rock" as its just dry LR meaning it can be turned back fast. Rocks to avoid are lava and other decorative rocks. I have rose quartz in my nano marine tank which is pink and looks lovely (and a £2 a KG quite cheap). Then add some LR and wait for it to turn the base rock live. Im not sure on ratio, base to live. let me just say dont put vinegar on live rock, not saying you were going to but it will kill the bacteria etc .

Oh for the jawfish a 5" deep sand bed i would think would be fine, there is one at my LFS that lives in about a 5" one. In an ideal world we would all have 100" sand beds and lots of jawfish but this is not an idea world. A 5" sand bed should be good but it will take up some room.

Think i answered all the questions but if i didnt please tell me and i will try to answer them and if somethink isant clear then i would be happy to go into more detail if need be.

FishFan 07-01-2007 01:38 PM

Thanks again. Great info.

As for the rock idea, I was thinking of using local rock found here at home (sandstone, etc.). The "Vinegar" test would be for this, not the live rock. I had a friend who read that rock (not live rock mind you) can be tested with vinegar for reactiveness.

Flaming Hawkfish huh? I'll check into them. I have to be careful with adding fish, I want a few inverts as well (hermit crabs, shrimp, possible starfish, etc.).

Great information and advice. I really appreciate it.

Betta5 07-01-2007 02:29 PM

Sorry wasnt thinking, Flame hawkfish will eat inverts, yeah the vinegar test will work but sand stone should be fine. I use a sort of sand stone in my nano. Just to be safe do the vinegar test, put a bit of white vinegar onto the rock and if it reacts or bubbles its bad i think. But sand stone will prolly just soak it up.

Melissa 07-01-2007 09:23 PM

i wouldnt recommend fake corals. they will get covered in algea and can become an eye sore. but if you do use them, clean them often.

you can also try a star like a brittle. they are scavengers and can clean up waste. but feed them small pieces of shrimp every so often.

FishFan 07-03-2007 09:16 AM

Starfish good for taking care of bad algae? Great. Just not crazy about the one you mentioned. How about a Red Star or Marbled? What about other inverts? Crabs, shrimp, etc. are they good at handling algae?

Thanks.

Melissa 07-03-2007 07:25 PM

snails will handle algea better than shrimps or stars. you can also try emerald crabs.

killjoy391 07-05-2007 12:24 AM

flame angelfish are red and really attractive. they only grow to about 3 inches and are a great addition. i would definetly get one if a had a tank your size


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