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Discussion Starter #1
Finally after months of planning I am just a couple of steps away from starting my first saltwater tank. Originally in October I was planning on starting with a 29 gallon setup. Then I decided that I would convert my 50 gallon over. After visiting one of the local reefing forams for Michigan I came across a 72 gallon bow front with stand for less than what it would cost me to get a stand for my 50 which on right now is sitting on a metal stand. Along with the tank and stand I will be getting about 90 pounds of rock which I will need to reestablish since it is mostly dried out and also 80 pounds of sand. Hopefully I will be able to get it this weekend. I also have a protein skimmer lined up a bubble magus.

I will be running this system without a sump the tank is not drilled and at this point I feel that a sump is a little out of my league. My plans are to start this tank as a fowlr and after a year or so after getting a handle on doing salt I will start thinking about adding corals. The lighting that I am looking at doing is the marineland double bright Leds. I have seen that they now have leds for reefs, but I figure I will wait and when I am ready to advance I will see what is available than. I will also have to get something to cover it with since the previous owner ran it opened top, which for me is not an option since some of the fish I am considering are known jumpers. Also not only do I have to worry about a fish jumping out but I also now have a young curious kitten who already likes to sit on top of my other tanks and I would probably end up finding him swimming with the fishes if I left the top open.

I am also looking at getting an ro/di unit right now I am looking at what is available at bulk reef supply. I am thinking that I am leaning towards their build your own which price wise seems to be the best I have come across so far. For powerheads I am thinking two koralias, I am thinking the 750's. Would that be enough flow?

I am sure that I have probably missed something, I will be getting a refractometer from ebay and also a tds meter. I also already have a heater that will work for this tank.

As for fish I am still working that out especially now that I am working with quite a bit more space than originally planned. I do know that I want to get a pair of clowns a goby of some type. I am also thinking about either a lemon peel angel or a coral beauty angel, I do know that coral beautys are not considered to be reef safe although not sure about the lemon peels. Still lots of research to do but I figure it is going to take some time to get things setup and than more time before the tank is ready for fish to be ready to go in. I will be able to add pictures in about a week waiting for internet to get hooked up. Right now using my phone and when it comes to trying to add pictures on here my phone and the site do not see eye to eye :roll:
 

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this all sounds good to me. def. do a top with a cat. even non-known jumpers can def. jump too. might not hurt to also check out Air Water Ice RO/DIs. personally i think i would go with larger hydors esp. if i knew i was going to turn this into a reef. 1050s or prob. even better 1400s. this way it would only cost an extra $5-10 to purchase them and you wont have to re-buy them in a year from now. dont worry, the fish can def. handle the flow.
the coral beauty can work in a reef but there are chances of coral nipping. this brings up another good point to maybe stock all reef friendly fish from the start so transfering to a reef is easier down the road. catching a fish in a saltwater tank with a net is an entire new ball game, esp. in a grown out reef. not to mention having to catch it, re-homing it can be a process too. just things to think about. im excited to see more progress.
 

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Just get your reef lights now and be done with it. Be sides in a month or two you will be given or find a great deal on a small soft coral frag that you will put into the tank and then the addiction will be on. The number one thing i recomend first is to get good lights so you wont be buying a couple of other sets later on.
 

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i disagree jeff, yes get good lights but i wouldnt rush them esp if it was going to be kept as a FOWLR at first. any light for viewing pleasure should do for the time being. personally i would keep an eye out on used light fixtures at local reefing clubs and/or craigslist while your tank is setup FOWLR. this will give you plenty of time to find the right deal on the right light fixture for you and your tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I agree with onefish2fish about the lights especially since if possible I would like to keep the lights as leds, cost less to run and does not give off as much heat which will hopefully keep me from having to get a chiller. Also I from when I first started pricing things out the price of leds had dropped a little. I expect that the price along with what is available in led lighting will improve over the next year or so. I also have a fairly strong reefing community around me so who knows what I may be able to find available from local reefers.

On another note got my refractometer and also my tds meter off of ebay today, they should be arriving in the mail sometime around the middle of the week. Also on Sunday will be getting my tank, stand, rock, sand and protein skimmer. Still pricing out other equipment at various places online. Would like to support my local stores but can not justify spending $30 dollars or more on the same equipment. I figure I will be spending plenty of money with them when I am ready to start stocking.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Big day today :) Got my tank, stand, sand, rock and protein skimmer today. Have some cleaning to do on the tank and the protein skimmer will need to pick up some white vinegar. I also got some great pieces of rock and plan on getting a couple more pieces of live rock when I get ready to set up to help with the cycling and seeding of the rock that I just got. I am also suppose to be hearing back from the local store tomorrow how much it will be for them to order me in a hood. I will hopefully be putting some pictures up next week once I have internet service at the house. Now to see about finding directions online for my stop that once I install it I make sure that I do it right.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well some more has been done on the build. Sunday afternoon after I got the tank I headed out to another refers place to get my protein skimmer. When I got home I found out that I needed to modify the inner lip of the rim of the tank to allow the skimmer to sit on the tank properly. It was suggested by several people that I use a dremmel to grind down the area that I needed to modify. I don't have one at home and don't have easy access to borrowing one. So today I went to home depot and explained what I was doing I only needed to remove an eighth of an inch along about a six inch span. I ended up getting a chisel set for $10 a lot less than I would spend on a dremmel. Less than 10 minutes later with the file and the skimmer now fits on the back of the tank.

I also picked up some white vinegar to use on cleaning the tank and the skimmer. Also I will need to clean my rock some it have what I believe to be dried algea on it. I am thinking a nylon brush, new so don't have to worry about if used with any chemicals and water. Would tap water be okay to use for just cleaning. The rock needs to be seeded again so I will be picking up some live rock when I am closer to getting ready to set things up.

Also another question, I am starting to think about how I am going to arrange my rock. I have read that some people use the smaller pieces on the bottom as a base and place their larger pieces on top to make things more secure. Is this a method most people use our are there other techniques to making sure things are secure and will not tumble down?

Pictures will be coming next week along with hopefully my items that I have ordered do far.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Today my rodi unit arrived... after I got home from work this evening I unpacked everything. The unit is a Typhoon 3. Along with the unit I also got a full set of filter replacements that came with it a float valve the unit has an asov valve a tds meter so now I will have two, which I figure can't hurt. The only problem that I found was that my connection for my water in was broken major hiccup in getting the unit to function. So I have sent an email to air water and ice explaining my issue and waiting for a reply back. It looks like it would be an easy fix and I am hopeful that will be able to work something out with them.

I am continuing to do my research and at this time working on planning my cuc. It will still be awhile before I am ready for them, but now is the time to start planning what I want. I figure right now that my cuc will consist of an assortment of snails and probably some cleaner shrimp. I have no plans for doing hermit crabs don't need them going after my snails. Was thinking about an emerald crab, but have read so many mixed reviews on them so right now that is iffy. Also I am planning on introducing my cuc in stages, some of the snails that I have read about are recommended to add after the system has been running for s few months. I am also planning on adding no more than half of my planned cuc to start off with and over time increasing them to my target numbers.
 

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good plans for the CUC.

as for connecting your RO/DI, if you can slightly modify your plumbing look into, what i want to say is a screw punch or punch tap but that doesnt sound right. anyways its usually at hardware stores in the RO filter parts section and usually used when hooking up a fridge with filtered water. it clamps onto your pipe by screwing on and then pierces it creating a small hole.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
For the rodi the piece that broke is the male elbow fitting that threads into the unit which the line from the water supply to the unit hooks into. Got a reply back from Marissa at the company and after sing her a picture was able to find what I need to get. So it is off to home depot today to see about getting the fitting. Also my hood came in today from the lps so will be picking that up flap.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Rodi unit is now up and working, after connecting everything and finding a few areas where it was leaking from the connections all is good to go. Since I am setting this up in an apartment I am going to be using the sink diviter that came with it for my hookup. Getting okay pressure from the faucet about 42 psi, between the temp and the pressure may take a little bit longer to make up the water but it still beats having to go out and buy water and than hauling it up the stairs.

Here are some pictures of the tank and other pieces of equipment so far, the little orange guy is my kitten Taz who I have a feeling will be trying to "help" as much as he can as I work on this build. Also another note this is not going to be the final location of the tank, working on the process of tearing down my 50 gallon and this will go into the living room against the wall where the 50 sits right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Alot has happened since my last post. Last week my salt had arrived at the beginning of the week, at the end of the week my powerheads had come in. After that I had to wait for a week before I had help to move the new tank and stand into the living room so that I could start setting things up. On Wednesday I tore down my 50 gallon fw tank, a bit of a process but not as bad as I thought it would be. Later that night with the help of cardboard and a lot of caution I moved my tv and stand from the wall where it had been, the new location for my sw, to the wall where the 50 gallon tank had stood. After that I was at a stand still for what I was able to possibly be able to do on my own.

Last night in prepartion of today I sifted through my sand substrate and removed snail shells, bits of coral, small pieces of rock rubble and even a frag plug that had been in it. Created a bit of a dusty mess, but that was the least of the messes that I would deal with. I started going through my pieces of rock and determined which pieces I wanted to use and a general setup for my rock. On some of the pieces of rock was dried organic material, with the opinions of others some of it I am sure was hair algae, and the others some type of algae. So I decided the easiest way to soak and clean some of this rock was to soak it in the bathtub and scub it down with a nylon brush. Before filling the tub and placing the rock in it I filled the tub with regular water a few times and using paper towels wiped down the sides to make sure that no soap residue was in the tub. After that I filled the tub and placed some of the rock into it, here is a picture

2012 Apr 06_1188.jpg


Soaked scrubed rinsed and repeated on the next batch. At the end this was what I had remaining in my tub


2012 Apr 06_1191.jpg

As I was letting the tub drain was sitting in the livingroom I heard a crash from the bathroom, headed towards the door and was met by my youngest cat who had a bit of a disgruntled look on his face. An inspection of his paws showed that he ended taking a bit of a dunk in the tub.

Later on this afternoon the boyfriend came over, first job that I had for him was installing my gfci that I had picked up. I had already located the breaker for the outlet, and had even taken things apart to look at it, but once I had seen that I had six cables running to the outlet and couldn't figure how to get the wires detached from the outlet I decided that this was a job for him to do
In about 10 minutes my new outlet was installed and we were ready to move the tank and stand into place. I had picked up a level and some shims from Home Depot yesterday incase things where not level. We got the tank in place and placed the level on it. Surprisingly everything was perfectly in level. Will be continue to check the level as I fill the tank but hopefully everything will work out.

For the back of the tank the previous owner had painted a piece of plexi glass that fits onto the back of the tank. With small pieces of double sided duct tape I got the plexi glass back into place. Next started working on placing my rock into the tank. I have made a few minor adjustments but I am thinking that I have come up with something that I like

2012 Apr 07_1274.jpg


My next step was adding my sand in and starting to put in my rodi water that I had already had made up. I only had about 20 gallons of water made, so now I am in the process of making more. I have a feeling that I will be spending most of the rest of my weekend making up water
One more picture, my young cat Taz decided to try out his dexterity and balance skills earlier today when the tank was still in the other room, I am hoping that with the fact that there is nothing by the tank or stand that he will not figure a way to get onto the top of the tank. But I will not know for sure until after I am able to add fish and have something in there that will catch his interest

2012 Apr 06_1190.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Well it has been two weeks since my last update and things have been progressing along nicely along with a new addition today. On 4/9 I added my piece of raw shrimp to help make sure that my tank would cycle, I also took my water parameters for a starting pont was already getting readings on Ammonia and nitrites. Tested daily and removed shrimp about a week later when getting ammonia readings between 4.0ppm and 8.0ppm. Wasn't sure how long to leave the shrimp in and had a hard time finding an answer. After about a week my ammonia is now reading 0ppm for the last 2 days. Nitrites have been at 5.0 ppm since the day before I removed the shrimp and has been hanging there until yesterday. The color in the test tube looks closer to 2.0ppm on the color chart. Nitrates have been registering since day 4 of the cycle for awhile they looked like they where between 20ppm to 40ppm. Last couple of days looking more like between 10ppm to 20ppm. I also started running my skimmer about a week ago, it hasn't been pulling much from the water (which I expect) but it has pulled some gunk from the water.

I am planning on getting my cuc in the next week or two once the tank has finished cycling, I will be placing my order with reefcleaners, have heard nothing but good things about them. Also this week I will be getting some pods to add to my system that I am getting from another reefer. I have decided that one of the fish that I am going to get is a Mandarian Dragonet, so I want to make sure I have a good pod population going.

As for stocking this is what I am thinking
Blue green Chromis
Pair of Percula Clowns
fire fish (either a red or purple, haven't decided on which lfs has both)
Royal Gramma
One Spot Foxface
Barnacle Blenny (thinking two or three of these guys)
Mandarain Dragonet
Kole Tang
Thinking of either a Coral Beauty Angel or a Flame Angel possibly, know that these guys are not considered reef safe but have been researching and talking with others about thier experience in keeping them in a reef setup.

Still working on what I want to do for a refugium, will be doing a hob style. Until than I am going to try using a breeder net that hangs on the side of the tank to grow chaeto in for the purpose of replensing my pods.

Finally I had mentioned a new addition. I have my qt tank up and running and decided that since the display tank is getting close to finishing on the cycle I would start qt'ing my first addtion. I picked up two Blue Green Chromis today, would like to add one more when they get more in at the store. Again I have seen people say that multiple chromis can not be kept in the same tank. I have done a lot of research and have found people that have been successful, especially if feeding multiple times a day so that they do not feel that there is a competion for food. They will be spending the next 4 weeks in qt as long as no signs of illness show up. Here is a link to a video I took of them with my phone, quality is not that great. Will try to get some pictures of them in the next couple of days.

http://youtu.be/vgFmtNqL4Y4
 

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Discussion Starter #18
how many did you get? ive always heard that chromis will kill eachother until your left with one.
I got two and plan on adding a third. I have heard the same thing, but I have also heard of people having success in keeping more than one in their setup. The common thing that I have seen to their success if doing multiple feedings which the thought is reduces the aggression due to competion of food.
 

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not to long ago i got an eheim auto feeder and have no complaints. i would asume a third would help vs a pair, best of luck - ive never kept them for that reason. on a side note i must say it seems your doing a fantastic job with your first set up.
is the kole or foxface one of the "key" fish your tank must have? when i set up a larger tank soon im considering a flame AND a coral b. i would just add them both at the same time ( prob. qt in seperate tanks though because of QT size ) there is a risk of coral/clam nipping but they are both nice fish. i vote purple fire fish if not helfrechi ( spelling? ) which would be alittle more expensive but a gorgeous fish. the purple is still nice too IMO. these guys are definate jumpers even though any fish can jump. personally suggest a net or canopy over glass. will the clowns be next?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
not to long ago i got an eheim auto feeder and have no complaints. i would asume a third would help vs a pair, best of luck - ive never kept them for that reason. on a side note i must say it seems your doing a fantastic job with your first set up.
is the kole or foxface one of the "key" fish your tank must have? when i set up a larger tank soon im considering a flame AND a coral b. i would just add them both at the same time ( prob. qt in seperate tanks though because of QT size ) there is a risk of coral/clam nipping but they are both nice fish. i vote purple fire fish if not helfrechi ( spelling? ) which would be alittle more expensive but a gorgeous fish. the purple is still nice too IMO. these guys are definate jumpers even though any fish can jump. personally suggest a net or canopy over glass. will the clowns be next?
Will have to see about getting an auto feeder to help out especially when at work, still working on getting these guys to take pellets. They are showing some interest in them now, more than a couple of days ago, so there is some hope on that aspect, will keep making sure I offer them stuff they will take readily also.

The foxface is definitly one of my key fish, although the Mandarian Dragonet is probably the one that I have decided is a must have. So working on getting things set up to be able to keep this fish, it is one of those that I really like the pictues and videos that I have seen of it. What really sealed the deal on the decision was when I was actually able to see the fish in person, it is such a neat looking fish and the one that I saw at the store seemed full of personality.

For when you do the flame and coral b. from what I have read on other peoples experiences adding them at the same time will probably give you the best chances. From some other people that I have talked to on forums with their experiences with dwarf angels in a reef setting is that they have had good luck. Some nipping but no real damage, and sometimes having to not keep a certain coral if the fish has a real liking for it.

Right now I have a glass canopy on the tank, but I am hoping to be able to change that in the future. First I need to figure out if my youngest cat is going to try to get on the top of the tank. Right now he has been behaving himself, but than there is nothing in there other than rock and sand. So nothing to entice him, will have to see what he does once fish are in there. If he doesn't try to get on top of the tank I am going to see about doing a screen top, haven't decided if I will do it myself or see if someone can make one for me. With it being a bowfront it will not be as simple as making a regular screen which would be completely within my diy skills, have redone window screens before not much different. But not so sure about getting the frame to bend for the front of the tank. Also would have to figure out what to do with my lights since I am using t8s right now which are resting on top of the glass, if I haven't upgraded my lights by that time would have to figure how to mount them onto the tank.

Thanks for the compliment, have been spending a lot of time researching and reading along with working on taking things slow, which at times can be hard :-D. But hoping this will turn out good, looking foward to when I will be able to upgrade my lighting and be able to try my hand at corals. Until than doing a lot of reading and will be looking into getting some good reference books to be able to read also.

My next fish that I will be getting is my clown pair, will probably wait a few weeks for them. This Friday the store that I go to should be getting in some more Chromis so I will be getting my third Chromis hopefully than.
 
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