Hooked on Saltwater!
My unlce has a 90 gallon saltwater reef tank that I have taken care of, while he is away on vaccation a few times. I will be taking care of his take for a week and today was my first day. I am hooked! I cannot stop starring at his take and everything that's in it. I currently have a 20 gallon planted freshwater tank, and I am getting very bored with it. I have had it set up for about 8 months now and I have learned a lot. I recently purchased a 40 gallon breeder tank with the intention to upgrade my 20 gallon tank to a bigger planted tank. Now I am almost set on turning the 40 gallon tank into a saltwater reef tank. The reason I did not jump right into saltwater is because I was scared away by the cost (I'm sure you guys hear that a lot). I am a college student, so I am spending a lot of money on school right now, which limits my fish budget. After talking with my uncle about his tank, I am very interested in what it takes to start a saltwater tank. He is really pushing my to start my own salty tank and has even offered some of his old equipment. I was hoping you guys could offer a little advice before I begin this project and let me know what kind of myths are out there. Thanks in advance guys and gals!!
You can turn the 20 gallon into a reef tank. It is big enough. My cousin and I are going to set one up so we are in the same position. the cost is pretty high but there are cheaper alternitives
Thanks dmuddle. I think I will turn the 40 into a saltwater because it is twice the size. The bigger size will provide me with a little more room for error. I have a question for you guys. Do you guys recommend 2 power heads located at opposite ends of the tank or just one? I don't know if I should get the Hydor Evolution 750 or 2 Hydor Nano 425s. I figured I would buy my power heads now while drfostersmith is having their sale and I know for a fact that I will need them.
umm it should be alright with just one powerhead ad with the hydors i think you can get whatever is cheaper if you are tight for money
One powerhead will be enough, you don't want too much current because it will knock things over and make swimming difficult for fish.
One of the most expensive pieces of a reef tank is the lighting system, so if you see one for a good price get it. for a 40 gallon I would recommend a T5 setup, or if you have the extra cash, a LED setup. I just upgraded my reef tank to LED and they work great!
I just got a"used" 40g breeder reef tank and have to tell you the dimensions on the breeder are friggin amazing, the depth it gives is awesome! much more aquascaping options. Since I got mine "new to me" it was already established, therefore removing a lot of the setup and cycling issues. Have still had some bumps though but am completely in love with the reef tank now. I still really enjoy my two planted tanks, but this thing draws the attention. They are two COMPLETELY different worlds though. My 40g breeder has 4 powerheads in it, while probably too much flow, it's how it was setup at the sellers house for the last 5 years so I left it pretty much as is (other than a new sand bed). Fish don't seem to mind the flow at all and I don't have an issue with it knocking things over. It does dune up my sand in a couple spots though but I kind of like how it gives it that natural ocean look.
I always had a love for the ocean. 3 years in japan and over 300 saltwater scuba dives under my belt I wanted a piece of it at home with me here in AZ. Personally buying the "used" setup was the way to go. I paid $500 for the whole thing, tank, stand, 6 bulb T5 fixture, skimmer, 4 powerheads, 2 digital timers, TON of coral and live rock, and 4 fish. When I did the math it would of been at least triple that amount to piece together not to mention the setup, curing liverock, cycling, waiting for coral to grow in, etc. Either way I think you will love having a saltwater setup. Don't get me wrong I still love my planted tanks, they both get the same attention but they are just so different, two completely different challenges!
It's awesome being able to sit on a soft leather footstool directly in front of the tank and watch all the life in there. If you're going saltwater I highly recommend designing the tank around eventually going to a reef setup. I just put in some new 'critters' last night, it's so much fun watching the hermits and burrowing snails. Witnessing the same coral over the course of the day transition form it's night cycle to day cycle and back is mesmerizing. Totally different than diving where you only have limited time underwater, and most divers like to "swim around" rather than park in one place for an hour. Me personally I would love to sit and watch the goby and burrowing shrimp symbiosis until it was time to ascend. I totally hear you about the learning and building from the ground up, nothing beats the satisfaction of knowing you put that together from scratch. The tank I got was just way too good of a deal to pass up. I figure it'll "get my feet wet" until we eventually upgrade to a new home and my wife (I made her sign a guarantee) lets me build a custom 200+ gallon tank into the house somewhere lol.
Here is a link to the tank right when I got it home before I tore it down and replaced the sand. http://youtu.be/nloDZs1xZlA The aquascape is 90% similar, only changed a few little things (other than new sand, which is a lot more shallow than the old one, now it ranges from 1-2"). I did move some of the powerheads around to adjust the flow as you can see it does dune it up in a couple spots, not nearly as bad now since I have slightly more coarse sand and redirected the flow.
I just did a massive photoshoot the other night and got some great pictures, I'll have to get around to uploading them. Keep your eye on the photo's forum as that's probably where I'll post them
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