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Discussion Starter #1
hello i am new to the site. this is my first post i have been reading books and as much on the net as i can find but alot of stuff contradicts others. so i figured i would as you guys and from what i have seen there are a lot of knowledgeable people here. i will be starting a salt water tank after the holidays and i really want a simple setup with a few inverts and maybe a couplel fish if they can coexist.

the inverts i have been looking at are

Banded Coral Shrimp
Blood Red Fire Shrimp
Fancy Brittle Sea Star
Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
Blue Spiny Lobster
Debelius' Reef Lobster

anything simular to this my tank is going to be a 29 gallon tank to start i know you cant house to many of these together in such a small area. so maybe someone can help me come up with an ideal beginners tank that is colorful yet an easy tank to learn "the ropes" live rock is a definite along with some live sand protein skimmer power filter to get water moving any other help would be greatly appreciated also maybe add a couple small colorful beginner fish? thx sorry for rambling on
 

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Welcome to the forum. We can certainly help you along with this project. You've done some good research so far and it appears that you have a good concept of how to handle this set up. Obviously, in most cases the more you spend the better the quality. Can you give us a budget to work with? If so, we can give you some product suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
idk whats a good average budget? i dont know maybe $500 little more little less? whats a good budget? i dont wanna skimp on the stuff that matters and from what ive read in saltwater everything matter lol
 

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1st welcome!!!!!!!!!!!! a $500 budget to get started with is not bad as long as your not looking at getting into corals LOL thats when things really start climbing....

a 29 gallon IMHO is a great size to start with (although in salt size does matter more=better in this case)
are you going with a sump? if so (i would recommend it for a number of reasons) then i would really consider getting the tank drilled as apposed to a HOT overflow (i use one but they can be a pain in the butt)
as for size of sump i would say if you have the room do a 20L if not a 10 would work.....
there are a lot of things you can do to get inexpensive equipment and a lot of DIY that help stretch money further!!!

oh yeah hit up the article section here as well there is a TON of great info
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
is there anything that can go on a tank to eliminate the need for a sump? i want to keep this as neat as possible! and no not looking to get into coral just yet just want a nice "simple" (relative to reef tanks of course) invert tank with maybe a fish or two i would put coral in it if need for the inverts or say if i got a clown maybe an anemone
 

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is there anything that can go on a tank to eliminate the need for a sump? i want to keep this as neat as possible! and no not looking to get into coral just yet just want a nice "simple" (relative to reef tanks of course) invert tank with maybe a fish or two i would put coral in it if need for the inverts or say if i got a clown maybe an anemone
oh i am sorry a sump is not "required" just suggested LOL as for an other option a hang on skimmer and if wanted (not needed) a hang on refugium are great!!! basics for a FOWLER
rock
sand
lights (nothing special if not worrying about corals)
heater
skimmer (strongly suggested but even this can be skipped if you are really good about water changes)
maybe if you wanted a hang on filter to run carbon (or similer) only (no other media)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
sweet most of that minus the skimmer of course comes with the tank ( im getting it from a family member) what inverts would you suggest? and how many? also what brand skimmer would you recommend? don't wanna buy junk
 

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i use a coralife 65... others have used a wide range of skimmers i would search them and read reviews... stay away from airlift models as they tend to be junk....
 

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Discussion Starter #9
so now that i know what equipment i must buy any body have any recommendations on the combo of inverts that are good for beginners? and how many
 

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I promised to be specific, so here goes!

For a skimmer on a 29 gallon, using a hang on model, you will still want to incorporate surface skimming. Surface skimming is very important and worth the cost. Read this article http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/saltwater-articles/importance-surface-skimming-salt-water-tanks-55195/ as a reference.

For a good hang on surface skimming Protein Skimmer, i would use the new CPR Aero Force. This skimmer rocks. I've seen it in action on several different set ups, including my step brothers tank. It is user friendly and foolproof for a beginner. You can get it for $200 here:
CPR Aquatic Aero Force Protein Skimmer, CPR Aquatics AeroForce Protein Skimmer

I'm not sure if the tank comes with live rock or not. I would recommend 25 to 40 pounds of live rock in that tank, depending on the density of the rock. Higher density = smaller size rock per pound. It is very important to have a quality reef structure. This will make it much easier to choose fish that are compatible, and will allow you to have MORE fish in the tank. Read here for stocking help:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/saltwater-articles/marine-fish-compatability-creating-stocking-list-38579/

If you feel that you need more rock, I highly recommend Marco Rocks. This web site provides DRY ROCK, which will quickly become LIVE ROCK when added to a tank which has live rock or sand. My 180, link below, was set up using mostly Key Largo dry rock from Marco Rocks The finest aquarium rock available, base rock, live rock, reef rock, marco rock, reef tank saltwater fish, live corals, Marco rocks, Fiji live rock, Tonga Live rock. They also provide a nice quality aragonite sand.

Right now at Marco Rocks you can get a 25 pound order of Key Largo dry rock, FREE shipping, for $62. There is just no reason not to have the proper size reef structure.

When it comes to sand, you want a REEF GRADE aragonite sand. Avoid depths between 1'' and 4''. You want UNDER 1'' or 4-6''. My suggest is to go 4'' in depth for great denitrification, which is a natural way to reduce nitrates. NITRATES. You can order 40 pounds of Key Largo dry rock and 40 pounds of aragonite sand, FREE shipping for $119.

No, I don't work for Marco Rocks. But when I have great service and a high quality product I pass the word along.

I would also suggest API Test Kits. marineandreef.com Reef Aquarium Supply (Aquarium Lighting, Coralife light, Aquarium Light, Aquarium Pumps, Coralife lighting, Reef Aquarium, JBJ Nano Cube, protein skimmer, JBJ Arctica, AquaticLife T5 HO, Oceanic BioCube, Red Sea Max, Fluval Edge Aqu
They are the easiest to use and give easy to read results. You will be testing alkalinity and calcium on a regular basis, so be sure to pick up those test kits. You will also need a supplement to adjust the levels. A lot of people here use B-Ionic E.S.V. 32 oz B-Ionic Calcium Buffer System, which is a 2 part alkalinity and calcium supplement. I personally use Kent Marine Super Buffer DKH Kent Marine Superbuffer, 250 grams and Kent Marine Liquid Calcium Chloride Kent Marine Liquid Calcium 8 oz.

Hope this helps. I would suggest a visit to the articles area for more info on alkalinity & calcium.
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/saltwater-articles/alkalinity-calcium-testing-important-every-marine-33079/
 

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ok probably a dumb question but... how do you make dry rock live rock??
Live rock is just a porous rock that has become live with bacteria and microfauna. Placing dry rock into a tank of live sand or live rock is all it takes. Within a few short weeks the populations of bacteria and microfauna will spread to the dry rock. Take a minute to browse my 180 build thread linked below. I have a lots of pictures of this process.
 

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For a good hang on surface skimming Protein Skimmer, i would use the new CPR Aero Force. This skimmer rocks. I've seen it in action on several different set ups, including my step brothers tank. It is user friendly and foolproof for a beginner. You can get it for $200 here:
CPR Aquatic Aero Force Protein Skimmer, CPR Aquatics AeroForce Protein Skimmer
/

Pasfur, correct me if i'm wrong but i think you forgot to include this prefilter and bubble trap box with the skimmer . http://www.marineandreef.com/CPR_Aquatic_Bak_Pak_2_Protein_Skimmer_Pre_Skimmer_p/rcpr02481.htm.
 

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Pasfur, correct me if i'm wrong but i think you forgot to include this prefilter and bubble trap box with the skimmer . CPR Aquatic Bak Pak 2 Protein Skimmer Pre Skimmer Bubble Trap Box.
No, actually I edited my thread and messed up when I changed some comments. The skimmer above is not a surface skimming skimmer. The skimmer box is designed for the CPR Bakpak skimmers, which although effective, are not nearly as effective as the AeroForce, despite the lack of surface skimming.

In a private conversation, Nick (reefsahoy) also suggested that you might consider the hang on skimmer by Octopus, Reef Octopus BH 100F Hang on Back Protein Skimmer with Filter System - AquaCave. I agree this skimmer would work great also, and has surface skimming ability.
 

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Just one additional comment. tanks without sumps that surface skim depends on water height in your display tank and have very little room for evaporation so if you don't use a sump be prepared to add top off water every day and sometimes 2 times a day depending on how dry your air is, how much air exchange is happening at the top of your tank. if you use a sump you will or can compensate for evaporation with alot of water in the sump. jus my .02 cents i will add that comment into the surface skimming article.
 

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