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View Full Version : Well, I'm afraid I may have the bug.



Mwil3
12-15-2010, 08:35 AM
I've got several empty tanks and I've pretty much decided to do a SW with one of them. I did sw many years ago, but I didn't really do it right and I had a bit of a bad experience with it, so I'd like to start out right this time. I'm looking for guidence from some of you that have had good results with your tanks.

My choices for tanks are:
20g long
28g bowfront
70g tall
29g

I'm leaning toward the 28 or the 20L just because the price of the initial setup will be quite a bit less. I know that the larger water volume will make things smoother in the long run, but I'm concerned about paying for 150lbs of live rock, and lighting for a larger tank, so that's why I'm leaning toward the smaller tanks.

I'd like to house some clowns with an anemone and maybe a coral beauty or a flame angel?

Basically what I'm looking for is someone to say...."This is what you need!" and maybe help answer questions when they come up. I'm willing to keep a log and take pics with progress. Money is surely an obstacle, but I'm pretty handy with tools, DIY will surely play a part in this build.

I've been researching google for a little while, but there is so much information to sift through I'm hoping to get some advise from those with tried and true methods. Sorry this was so long winded. Thanks.

Joe Reborn
12-15-2010, 08:53 AM
You really don't need 150lbs of Live rock. with 50lbs in that tank you would be ok. And as far as Price look around a lot of people around this time start to tear down tanks and what not. You can get Established live rock (10X better than LFS LR) at about $2 a pound. that would be $100, and it would come with good growth. Lighting is something that you should Not Skimp on as this is going to be your bread and butter for most Corals and Nems. Yes you can spot feed to help you out a bit but Lighting is about 50-70% of a reef.

OOwl
12-15-2010, 09:04 AM
I think you'll enjoy the experience. The research is half the fun of it, that and finding GOOD deals on QUALITY used equipment to keep your costs down. Check Half-Price books for great books that people exiting the hobby have dumped there. My favorite is THE CONSCIENTIOUS MARINE AQUARIST by Robert Fenner. Anything by Scott Michael is also a good and easy to read.

Since you listed your choices of fish, you're going to need to go with that largest tank of your choices, the 70g. Dwarf angels need swimming room, especially if you're planning on having two of them. They tend not to play nice with one another if the tank is too small.

Having had SW tanks for the last 18 years, I've had them large and small, and coming full circle, I just PERSONALLY prefer the smaller, easier to manage tanks. I've gotten all the "I must keep THAT!"s out of my system and I KNOW what I kept that made me the happiest, and FOR ME that's lovely, easy-to-manage, forgiving corals (Xenia, fuzzy mushrooms, green stars, etc.) and a select number of small, hearty (as in live for MANY years without fussing over or having to replace) fish that I just really enjoy (again, in MY case that's a captive-bred Fridmani, captive-bred clown, and Starkii damselfish). My tank is a modest 34 gallons and super easy to filter (hang-on skimmer and powerhead) and light (I'm using a combination of PCs and LED Stunners). Maintenance on my little tank is less than 15 minutes a week (2.5g water change, mx skimmer collection cup, swipe glass with razor blade and mag cleaner, wipe down exterior, done!). The ONLY additives I add to my tank (again, working with HEARTY mostly soft corals) is a daily liquid calcium supplement (my weekly water change takes care of all the trace minerals and iodine. SUPER low maintenance and every bit as lovely and interesting as any high-maintenance, high-tech tank I've ever kept. The secret I learned after YEARS in that part of the hobby is that anything that is super complicated and time consuming just can't be sustained forever. So, this is what I have now, what I'll always have.

Best wishes to you on your journey. Let me know if I can help . . . .

Mwil3
12-15-2010, 09:53 AM
I really have my heart set on the 20L. I just think it would look really cool. I've got a coralife with 2x65w that fits on it nicely. Is that too much light? Also, currently it is equiped with 6700k bulbs. Would I need to get 10k/and a blue? How big of a skimmer and power heads would be best. I also have a fluval 405 I was going to stick on it. Is that too much?

Also, I know that the dwarf angels won't get along (I was going to get 1 or the other) but if they need a larger tank, I may have to alter my lifestock options. Would the clowns be ok in a 20?

OOwl
12-15-2010, 10:45 AM
I grew out corals in a 20L with that exact same lighting setup. Not too much lighting at all, but you will need to watch the heat in the summer because that intense light over such a small amount of water will sometimes push it up there. You definitely will want to change out those bulbs to the correct color bulbs, but that shouldn't be too expensive. A CPR Bak-Pak would be plenty for that 20L (you find them used all the time). Koralia powerheads are popular and look better than the boxy (Maxi-Jet) ones. I used a small Rio because it was the smallest in size for gph.

Small clowns are fine in a 20L (not Maroons or larger clowns). What about a Pygmy Cherub Angel? While lots of people will tell you that's too small, I think ONE would be okay (not with the clowns, though). They are more delicate than clowns though.

Mwil3
01-03-2011, 06:49 AM
Update: Ok, I set up the 29g with the black silicone. I've got about 60lbs of live rock and I used sugar sized aragonite sand. I've got a prizm skimmer on the back and currently I've got 1 K1 and a penguin 660 powerhead (I'm supposed to pick up another K1 this afternoon to replace the penguin) I've also got a small HOB filter that I modified to act as a refugium. I still need to get replacement bulbs for the coralife (I was going to get 1 actinic and a 10K) but I figured to get it started I would be ok with the 6700 that are in it now? Half the rock was from an established tank and half was fully cured, but had not been in a tank. How long before I add fish?

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs007.snc6/165730_181986405153411_100000261598032_575878_4844 973_n.jpg

greeneyed
01-03-2011, 06:56 AM
You will still have a minicycle from the liverock. You have to wait out the cycle.

What kind of fish you putting in?

OOwl
01-03-2011, 07:36 AM
It won't take long with the established rock to cycle your tank. If you don't have testing kits, take a water sample into a TRUSTED LFS. It looks good. It won't be long before all your rock is teeming with new life. Wishing you well!

What kind of fish are you getting?

Mwil3
01-03-2011, 07:50 AM
I want a clown (false or true) a lawnmower and maybe a fire fish or a cherub? The clown for sure, but I'm not sure about what else just yet.

jello
01-03-2011, 08:49 AM
go get you a talbot damsel, they stay very small so they wont take up a lot of room in the tank, very docile and cheap, cost about $5. also they are very hardy. put one in after about 1 week of runtime to help speed up your cycle even more. chances are the fish wont die. when you come over today i will show you mine, they are cute. looks good though.

Typical Tony
01-03-2011, 09:46 AM
I usually wait til the algae starts up until I add fish. Don't forget about the clean up crew.

Mwil3
01-03-2011, 10:30 AM
Ya, I don't want to put any fishies in until the cycle is complete. What would you suggest for a clean up crew in a 29? I've heard that crabs will tear some stuff up, so I will probably avoid those unless told otherwise?

Typical Tony
01-03-2011, 11:09 AM
Depends on the crab, I'm guessing you are planning on doing a reef set up?

Just start out with some snails, I was told 1 per gallon.

bettalover added 0 Minutes and 34 Seconds later...

Depends on the crab, I'm guessing you are planning on doing a reef set up?

Just start out with some snails, I was told 1 per gallon.

Mwil3
01-03-2011, 11:28 AM
It looks like the blue leg hermits might be ok. I'm going to check around at a couple of other forums and try to get a good list together.

OOwl
01-04-2011, 06:38 PM
Any time I've kept ANY kind of hermit crabs in my reef tank, they have killed snails for their shells. I prefer small snails (and there are several attractive varieties available in the hobby now so you don't have to JUST stick with the astreas). Turbos knock my rocks over. Crabs pick at coraline algae. I keep only snails in my small reef tank now.

Also, I'd be careful about how many reef janitors you add in the very beginning. Yes, it's important to have them so they can curtail any natural alage blooms as your tank goes through its inevitable cycles; however, if they don't get enough to eat, they will starve and die, and that's just wasted, life and money. When I set up a new tank (and I don't do that anymore, so make that WHEN I SET up a new tank), I would order the small side of the recommended number of snails (and I have a deep sand bed so I got burrowing substrate snails and algae-eating small snails); then I see how it went, adding more only as needed, feeding when no algae seems present. Part of reefkeeping is being that "gardner" and tending the tank with a watchful eye, and knowing when to add reef janitors is part of that.

Looking forward to the success of your tank. . . .

Mwil3
01-05-2011, 05:51 AM
Thanks Oowl, I've been doing a lot of research and am going to take your advise. I don't want to cause anything to suffer or die just because, so I am going to add just a couple of the crew at a time and see how it goes. I read that turbos get stuck on their back and can't right themselves, so they are out.

Typical Tony
01-05-2011, 09:15 AM
Thanks Oowl, I've been doing a lot of research and am going to take your advise. I don't want to cause anything to suffer or die just because, so I am going to add just a couple of the crew at a time and see how it goes. I read that turbos get stuck on their back and can't right themselves, so they are out.

most sw snails are like that, only one that can flip themselves back over are trochus snails

Mwil3
01-12-2011, 09:14 AM
got some sand sifting snails and crabs in there yesterday. Blue and red legs. Ya, something to watch besides rocks!

Mwil3
01-31-2011, 06:25 AM
Well, it's been a little while, so I thought I would post an update. Here's where we are at now.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs799.ash1/168957_189640841054634_100000261598032_628374_6633 498_n.jpg

jello
01-31-2011, 06:39 AM
looks good, but be careful with that macro right there in the center. its good for your tank but can and will overtake if you dont watch it.

Mwil3
01-31-2011, 06:59 AM
Ya, it's growing like crazy. I've already had to cut it back once and it's only been in there about a week.


looks good, but be careful with that macro right there in the center. its good for your tank but can and will overtake if you dont watch it.

OOwl
01-31-2011, 08:42 AM
Keeping macro algae in the main tank is sort of "old fashioned" by the reefkeeping standards of today, but I will tell you that when you do that it outcompetes the hair algae and you likely will never have to worry about that. I'd a whole lot rather harvest macro algae from my tank (pulls right off in whole pieces/strings) that try to pull (make that SCRUB) nasty, ugly, invasive hair algae off the rocks.

Your tank is looking great, by the way. I wish you the absolute best with it.

Mwil3
01-31-2011, 09:08 AM
Thanks. We like it. The entire family enjoys just sitting watching the tanks. One of my favorite things.

Typical Tony
01-31-2011, 11:44 AM
that is one white tank, no coralline yet?

Mwil3
01-31-2011, 12:29 PM
that is one white tank, no coralline yet?

It's just starting to turn. I'm pretty excited. Everyday the rocks seem a little more purple.

robert1
04-19-2011, 10:11 PM
Do you have any updated pics?