Can it be done????

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by dusterdan, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. dusterdan

    dusterdan

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    I went to the local fish store this weekend to get a filter for my freshwater tank. On the counter of this store the owner had a 20 gallon reef tank, with all sorts of corals and 2 clown fish in it, we got to talking and he said that doing smaller tanks is not harder then doing the larger tanks. Has anyone here done a reef tank before that small? I have an extra 29 gallon tank around, and I was wondering about doing a small reef tank. Unfortunately I don't have the funds for a large tank, and stand, or the room for that matter! So can this be done successfully or is it just a waste of time and money and I should just hold out until I can afford a larger tank and have a place to put it?
     
    dusterdan, Jul 18, 2005
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  2. dusterdan

    Apestyler

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    With my limited experience I can tell you right off that a smaller tank is alot harder as you have alot less water to dilute pollutants and changes in the water chemistry can happen alot more quickly - I have recently setup and I went for a 60 gallon tank. It can be done but only by people with alot of experience ... I would save up (like I did) for a larger tank!
     
    Apestyler, Jul 18, 2005
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  3. dusterdan

    Reefaholik

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    I have a 40 gallon and a 10 gallon reef..as long as you cycle properly and keep up with your water changes you should be fine.On my 10 gallon
    I usually do about 2 water changes a month..
     
    Reefaholik, Jul 18, 2005
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  4. dusterdan

    dusterdan

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    Ok what would I need as far as filteration, lighting, protein skimmer, and all of the other stuff required to make this work. How much live rock? What kind of substrate? Basically a list of everything that I would need to get me started. I have a power filter for it, and a undergravel setup, as well as a heater, but I could purchase new stuff if required. I plan on getting a book or even a couple books and doing a lot of reading before I attempt this. Also what kinds of corals and fish could be put in the tank? And how many. i would be very staisfied with one or two. I definately dont want to overcrowd them. How much do you take out on your water changes?
     
    dusterdan, Jul 18, 2005
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  5. dusterdan

    minireefer

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    Dan,
    I have a 29 gallon and have had good success with it.Nitrates are bit of problem through.Due to a crowded tank.Two clowns,a yellow tang,and a firefish,One shrimp,and a variety of crabs and snails.I would toss the undergravel filter.Use a protein skimmer and hang on the back filter for carbon and occasional addition of phosphate removal.I would use at least 25 lbs of bio active live sand.shoot for 2-3 inchs deep.for live rock use 30 to 45 lbs.Use can find cheeper argonite base rock try http://hirocks.com/ for and idea.Then get some nice quality live rock to seed the base rock.Make sure you get the proper lighting.Check out ebay where the links I gave you before.I got 130 watts of power compact for under $100 inc shipping.Take your time,ask questions, and have patience.
     
    minireefer, Jul 18, 2005
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  6. dusterdan

    Pterois

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    Small Tank

    Hiya,

    First, the key to salt water is patience. My favorite salt water book is Natural Reef Aquariums by John Tullock. Know that there are many ways to keep a saltwater aquarium.

    I have a one year old, 30 gallon aquarium that housed a dwarf fuzzy lionfish (very interesting fish, but needs live food to be happy) and a damsel (was supposed to be food, but lived) that is going to be a Seahorse tank soon. I have a 4 light power compac setup that I bought used. I wouldn't use an undergravel filter system for salt water, but that's your choice. There's lots of good guys that live in the sand that eat waste. I use a simple penguin 300 and a ProClear skimmer. A good skimmer is the best investment you can make. I cycle my tanks for 3 months before any inhabitants are added, and I use the deep sand bed method. Live rock is a great filter system. Buy some non-live rock (I use HiRock) and then add live rock after you cycle for a couple of weeks. You will need about 60 pounds of rock. While your tank is cycling, research which types of fish and coral you like, and find out what the adult size of the fish is that you want.

    Until I added fish, I didn't do any water changes or run the skimmer. After, I change 5 gallons every two weeks. Preparing the water change is difficult feat.

    Primary concern to start is your water quality. Until you can get a Reverse Osmosis (RO/DI) system, you can purchase RO/DI water in 5 gallon jugs (some grocery stores have a Culligan system). I have never used treated tap water in any of my tanks.

    Find a reef club in your area and attend meetings. There is a wealth of knowledge to tap into and share in the expense (group orders).
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2005
    Pterois, Jul 18, 2005
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  7. dusterdan

    jhnrb

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    for the sake of not repeating i would only add that with a small aquaium you will want to fully research what you want to add and make sure you do a system with animals that are compatible to keep the chemical warfare down. i think it would be a great project to get your feet wet, and then if you like you can always use the equipement in a larger system and add to it as needed. remember that salt is different than fresh in that good things happen slowly so you need patience, and bad things happen quickly and that is amplified with a small system where the bad is concerned. keep us posted and best of luck.
     
    jhnrb, Jul 19, 2005
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  8. dusterdan

    dusterdan

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    I don't know how to post links yet, but I found a Coralife light on ebay for $139.95 plus $17.95 shipping. Here are the specs, let me know what you all think about it and if it would be good for my 29 gallon tank. Also is this a good deal, is there better deals out there? Here are the specs:

    Product Information:
    Lunar Aqualight Deluxe Series - Double Linear Strip

    65 watt 10,000K and 65 watt True Actinic 03 Blue straight pin base compact fluorescent lamps
    Two 3/4 watt Lunar Blue-Moon-Glow LED lamps
    Three on/off switches with three 8-foot power cords for separate timers
    Built-in ballasts
    Two cooling fans
    Sleek aluminum housing
    Highly-polished reflector
    Acrylic lens cover

    Let me know what you all think. Now here is a dumb question but I thought I'd ask it anyway. I have seen these lights either attached to the wall behind the tank or suspended from the ceiling over the tank, is there something in between the tank and the light, such as a clear lid? Is it plastic or glass? How close should the light be to the tank? All my experience I have had hood's that cover the tank, so no one can escape and they have a light in them, so I've never bought anything like this before or set up anything like this. Sorry for the silly questions, I am completely new to all of this.
     
    dusterdan, Jul 19, 2005
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  9. dusterdan

    Pterois

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    If I had known when I started what I know now, I would have started with metal halide pendants. In a short time, I progressed to a 55 gallon, and now to a 135 gallon tank. Each time having to buy a whole new lighting kit (the most expensive part of this hobby). It's easy to add more metal halide pendants, and the power compac lighting just isn't sufficient for bigger tanks, in my opinion.

    I like power compac for actinic only in addition to metal halide. Then you can keep clams! The most beautiful thing in my tank.

    You know you're going to want a bigger tank in the future, don't you? :D

    Angela
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2005
    Pterois, Jul 19, 2005
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  10. dusterdan

    minireefer

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    To post a link just copy and paste into your post.it will change to a link.The specs on the coral life are the same as my lighting setup.I have mostly soft coral and they are doing fine.Here is what I have.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7702151313&category=46314&ssPageName=WDVW&rd=1
    Most of these setups come with legs that are attached to the sides of the light and then they sit on the top the tanks sides.To post a link just copy and paste into your post.it will change to a link.
    here is your item but item but cheaper
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7701086731&category=46314&ssPageName=WDVW&rd=1
     
    minireefer, Jul 19, 2005
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  11. dusterdan

    dusterdan

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    Thanks for the help! The next question I have is about protein skimmers. what size and brand would be good on my setup? I have also read that I might need a pump or two that creates motion inside the tank, for corals, is this true? If so what systems do you all recommend. The last question I have is about filteration. I have a rena xp2 on my 40 gallon hex freshwater tank I just purchased last Saturday, it works great so far. Are these good filters? I plan on throwing away the undergravel filter as you all recommend, and I plan on reusing the powerfilter I currently have on the tank, I was wondering if a rena xp2 or even the xp1 would probably be a good idea to put on the tank as well? As usual thanks for the help. I am learning a lot but there seems to be so much more to learn and do for the saltwater hobby. Thanks again!

    Dan
     
    dusterdan, Jul 20, 2005
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  12. dusterdan

    dusterdan

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    I'm sorry if I was asking to many questions on my last post. It seems like I have been reading none stop for the past 5 days on this subject to learn as much as possible. I do have one more question and hopefully it will be an easy one. I am eventually wanting to keep hard coral in the tank, is 130 watts for a 29 gallon tank enough, or will I have to upgrade to a light fixture that puts out more. Thanks for the help, and if anybody has a chance I would still like some opinions on what model or make of protein skimmer I will need, there are so many out there, and I have read that some work better than others. Also if any of you have any suggestions about power heads inside the tank for motion for corals i would greatly appreciate it. I have read that it is recommended to have motion in the tank, but not sure on what powerheads to buy. And finally do you think it might be a good idea to have a refugium? I have a ten gallon tank laying around, and I have read it is a good way to keep the tank cleaner. What are your thoughts on that? Is another filter such as a power or cannister filter necesary as well when doing this type of setup. I really do apologize if I am asking stupid questions. The info that I have read so far doesn't address my questions. Sorry for the long post!

    Dan
     
    dusterdan, Jul 22, 2005
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  13. dusterdan

    minireefer

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    I found a website with unbelivable prices.I have odessae power compact.Its been a good light for the last 8 mounths.I am thinking about buying a replacement metal halide from the same manufacture maybe this one or the next size down. http://aquatraders.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=12
    they have a cheap protein skimmer on this sit to it looks a cpr bak pak copy.cpr is a good protein skimmer.This skimmer might be nice if you put good pump on it like a rio 250
     
    minireefer, Jul 23, 2005
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  14. dusterdan

    jhnrb

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    Well lets see, 1st if you intend to keep hard corals i.e. sps or lps?? then you will need apprx 6 to 9 watts per gallon (mh) for the most effective system. depending on the specific coral you intend to keep, on the protien skimmer i really like the cpr bak pak for smaller units, and i definitely would recommend using the 10 gal as a refugium. // a 150 mh say 10000k or 12000K supplemented with a 67K compact and an atinic o3 compact should do nicely. just a thought and there are many other light systems and combo's out there.
     
    jhnrb, Jul 23, 2005
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  15. dusterdan

    Pterois

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    agreed-hard corals = 150 metal halide with PC supplement.

    I have a soft/hard combination tank under VHO that's 9 watts per gallon, but the colors and growth are not what it could be with metal halide. I learned an expensive lesson buying the wrong lights last time.

    Angela
     
    Pterois, Jul 24, 2005
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  16. dusterdan

    tangboy

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    Power Compact Flourescent

    I have a coralife power compact flourescent and love it. I've talked to many people with more experience who are opposed to them, but for my tank it works and looks great. I bought mine new and it seems like you have found a good deal if everything is in working order. Make sure you use timers, because they can overheat if left on too long and ruin your contacts. I have only been doing saltwater for about a year and a half now. I did freshwater for years. I can tell you the up front expense of reef aquariums is steep, but the charachter and beauty of the inhabitants is no comparison to freshwater. It can be frustrating and this site is a good source of Knowledge, considering the people here aren't out for your $.
     
    tangboy, Jul 26, 2005
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  17. dusterdan

    bkv1997

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    Just thought i would throw in my :twocents: leaving out all the these are brighter and work better etc etc etc.. ok I can't MHs are the best IMO. you can grow SPSs under PC and VHO, but the colors just wont be there for you.

    Ok back to why I like them for ignoring functionality.

    I like MHs becaue of the single point of light.

    When you have PCs over the whole tank you loose the glitter effect or sparkle in your tank.

    If you have a single point of light or just a couple over your tank and the top of the water is moving you get a nice rippling shine on the sand and rocks in your tank..

    Hard to explain, but if you have MHs you know what I'm talking about.

    bkv1997
     
    bkv1997, Jul 27, 2005
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