PDA

View Full Version : First saltwater



Special-K
10-09-2007, 05:54 PM
How much (ballpark) would it cost to set up a beginners saltwater tank... like 30 gallons or somthing

Rue
10-09-2007, 06:43 PM
Depends how you set it up...but I'd budget $1000 easily...

Special-K
10-09-2007, 06:44 PM
what would you say is a good direction to go for a first attempt?

Rue
10-09-2007, 06:53 PM
I would say that depends if you're a tinkerer or not...

I went with an all-in-one because I don't want to mess with the mechanics of the tank. I still have fuss with mine a bit, but it's minimal. If I have one regret, it's that I can't add a refugium to mine...and I'd luv to have one...

If you like the mechanics, I think you'd be better off buying everything separate and putting it together yourself...many more options that way, esp. if you decide to upgrade down the road...

Special-K
10-09-2007, 06:58 PM
okay,lets say i want to go somewhere between 30-40 gallon buying all the stuff separate (and over time because of expenses :-/). is that a decent size so that i wont have scary fluxuations in parameters? and what would i need for a complete setup w/ prices? i know its a big question lol

Rue
10-09-2007, 07:12 PM
I think my 34g is a decent size...so I'd say yes to the 30-40...

What would you need?

Tank - price depends on size
Appropriate lighting and hood - easily $200-400
Cooling fan (lights are hot) - say $50
Skimmer - depends...good ones are expensive...say $150
2 power heads to move the water (very important!) - $50 each
Mechanical filtration (doesn't have to be complicated) - $50
Heater - $30
Refractometre to measure salt - $60
Test kit - $30
Salt (~$60 for a 5 gallon bucket)
R/O water - not a big expense, but you'll need it for weekly water changes as well as for first setting up the tank, it's very important for small tanks (vs. public aquaria) -$1 per gallon
Substrate (aragonite is your best bet) ~$1/lb.

1.0-1.5 lbs of live rock per gallon (at ~6-8 dollars per pound)



I'd also get:
Sump - to house the heater, mechanical filtration and have the refugium - and here the price would be the cost of the tank, acrylic to make dividers...an extra light and plumbing...

And then of course you need all the regular stuff, nets, food, scrubbing material...

Special-K
10-09-2007, 07:23 PM
wow....
i just read the thread about nanocubes and that is starting to look like a much cheaper bet. I just really really want something to introduce me into SW. what kind of regular maintenece is different in a SW setup... and is 12 gallons way too small for a beginner- since i hear parameters can shift quickly?

Rue
10-09-2007, 07:31 PM
Lots of people are doing the nanos (20g and under) but I was reluctant too...more fussing is involved, and not that much room for critters and corals...

...or mistakes!:wink2:

For maintenance I scrub glass every 2 days or the algae takes over and then I can't see into the tank...

I feed much more carefully. Most of it is frozen food...mysis, brine, cyclopeeze...also some dry foods such as Coral Frenzy...I also bought a $30 feeding tube (called a Sea Squirt) to target feed my corals (so much easier now!)...

I rinse the sponge filter every 2 days or it totally gunks up...and I rinse out the collecting cup on the skimmer every 2 days. I don't have to top my tank off too often since I have it down in the basement and it doesn't have heat or overheating issues...but I still top off 2 X a week and check the salinity each time. I have to keep watching the water levels or I get microbubbles...then I have to muck about resetting my powerheads (not sure why, but I do)...

I do a 3g water change every week...and since the water needs to sit I mix it up the day before...

With my FW tanks...I basically scrub glass and do the WC weekly...and if I miss a week...it's not critical (except on the 25l)...

Which reminds me...if you're tank is upstairs and your house gets too warm...your tank will also need a chiller...

zackish
10-09-2007, 07:34 PM
wow....
i just read the thread about nanocubes and that is starting to look like a much cheaper bet. I just really really want something to introduce me into SW. what kind of regular maintenece is different in a SW setup... and is 12 gallons way too small for a beginner- since i hear parameters can shift quickly?
If you have previous experience with fish tanks and stuff and you have the time then no size is too small. I am new to reef aquariums and I started a 10 gallon nano reef. I have all the time in the world to monitor it and play with it and I live in a college dorm...that explains my reasoning.
As far as equipment.....with SW you really can't "buy stuff over time"
With a bigger aquarium like the one you mentioned you are going to need to start with pretty much everything and then you money goes to upgrading as desired or needed.
That is a pretty good list RUE left.

coachfraley
10-09-2007, 08:20 PM
That is a pretty good list RUE left.

+1, and Zackish is right, you will need to get all of that stuff up front.

One big decision that will drive your purchases to some degree is what you intend to keep in the tank.

If you are going to set up a Fish Only With Live Rock (FOWLR), you will not need to spend very much on the lighting (2 watts/ gallon will probably be ok).

If you only plan on keeping low light corals, you will just need low/moderate lighting which is not that expensive (roughly 4-8watts/ gallon)

If you plan on keeping high light corals or anemones, get ready to get a second mortgage on your house!

Your choice of livestock will also influence how much flow you need in the tank.

If you go all-in-one, I would get a 24g. You will not regret having the extra size.

Special-K
10-09-2007, 08:26 PM
would a 12 g nano be okay for a couple low light corals and 1 or two fish with maybe 1 or two inverts? how bout this:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+3730+10677&pcatid=10677

only 170...i could deal with that lol. the delux is 4wpg i believe.

CAF
10-09-2007, 08:32 PM
I currently have a FOWLR 12g that I am quite happy with...

Rue
10-09-2007, 08:42 PM
Sure...the little tank would be fine for a couple of 'nanofish' and corals...

...if yoiu decided to try a nano tank first, keep in mind that if you upgrade, you can always keep the nano, or turn it into a quarantine or frag tank...so it's certainly not wasted by any means...

One thing with the small tanks is that you also rapidly run out of space...I'm almost full up with my own tank...and the more research I do...the more corals I want...

...er, and now I'm out of luck! :hmm3grin2orange:

coachfraley
10-09-2007, 08:50 PM
The 12g nc dx is good enough for low/med light corals. I have basically the exact same setup.

I have 4 different kinds of mushrooms, some zoas, a frogspawn and a sinularia coral. I also have 3 fish, a cleaner shrimp, and a clean up crew.

Nano-cubes are fun if you like to tinker, because they can be modified to "perform" better. Take a look at this place, which sells modified all-in-ones:

http://www.nanotuners.com/

CAF
10-09-2007, 08:52 PM
Sure...the little tank would be fine for a couple of 'nanofish' and corals...

...if yoiu decided to try a nano tank first, keep in mind that if you upgrade, you can always keep the nano, or turn it into a quarantine or frag tank...so it's certainly not wasted by any means...

One thing with the small tanks is that you also rapidly run out of space...I'm almost full up with my own tank...and the more research I do...the more corals I want...

...er, and now I'm out of luck! :hmm3grin2orange:

LOL As I sit here at work, I am being stared at by my new soon to be tankmate for my 12 FOWLR... a Peppermint Shrimp Lysmata wurdemanni

I LOVE :l29: INVERTS!!!!

I'm also really happy with my Yellow Clown Goby Gobiodon okinawae.

Rue
10-09-2007, 08:56 PM
...at least you get to see your goby...I have 2 Green Clown Gobies in my tank...

I've seen one...can't tell which...but rarely...and never both at the same time...

Which is too bad, because they are incredibly cute...all green with little red spots...

coachfraley
10-09-2007, 09:00 PM
...at least you get to see your goby...I have 2 Green Clown Gobies in my tank...

I've seen one...can't tell which...but rarely...and never both at the same time...

Which is too bad, because they are incredibly cute...all green with little red spots...

I had one of those for a while, but he never came out to eat. The first time I saw him was when he was floating:scry: . It is too bad, because they are one of THE coolest looking nano-fish.

CAF
10-09-2007, 09:08 PM
...at least you get to see your goby...I have 2 Green Clown Gobies in my tank...

I've seen one...can't tell which...but rarely...and never both at the same time...

Which is too bad, because they are incredibly cute...all green with little red spots...

Mine hides quite a bit as well. However at feeding time, he will dart out from under the LR he is hiding at and starts to munch the yummy brine shrimp (or other food floating around)

While I say it is a FOWLR, I have mollusks of some sort all over the rocks, a couple of orange sponges, some feather dusters, what appears to be a small brittle star (hides under the rock and never really comes out), lots of copepods, scuds, etc. some small orangish red coral stuff (really too small to id so far), I can spend hours looking at one rock and still not see everything alive on it... :c12:

unleashed
10-09-2007, 09:22 PM
here's a bit of info on setting up a marine tank:

INFO (http://www.reefersworld.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=454#454)

cocoa_pleco
10-09-2007, 09:38 PM
lol, saltwater reefis expensive. my hitlist is-

55g starter kit- $250
400W copper MH fixture, bought used from an electrical company- $20 (CHEAP!)
400W MH bulb- $50
argonite- $20
60lbs LR- $480
2 powerheads- $30
yellow tang- $40
tank raised clown- $25
clown goby- $35
coral banded shrimp- $25
arrow crab- $25
various corals- $600
total- $1600

a FOWLR tank though, fish only with live rock, if fairly cheap

unleashed
10-09-2007, 09:59 PM
lol, saltwater reefis expensive. my hitlist is-

55g starter kit- $250
400W copper MH fixture, bought used from an electrical company- $20 (CHEAP!)
400W MH bulb- $50
argonite- $20
60lbs LR- $480
2 powerheads- $30
yellow tang- $40
tank raised clown- $25
clown goby- $35
coral banded shrimp- $25
arrow crab- $25
various corals- $600
total- $1600

a FOWLR tank though, fish only with live rock, if fairly cheap
400W over a 55?

That seems waaaaaay too much. You're gonna have some serious evapouration problems. I would go with no higher than a 250w but they still be a little high ...

cocoa_pleco
10-09-2007, 10:00 PM
i know its extreme, but i cant help it. a lighting business a hour away went out of business and they have the MH fixtures for $20 each. good deal.

ive seen a few 55g tanks with 500W MH and even more than that, and i dont mind the evaporation

unleashed
10-09-2007, 10:11 PM
i know its extreme, but i cant help it. a lighting business a hour away went out of business and they have the MH fixtures for $20 each. good deal.

ive seen a few 55g tanks with 500W MH and even more than that, and i dont mind the evaporation
you have to be careful becuase you might overheat the tank and burn your fish and inverts. You would probably be able to get away with T5HO lights. MarineDepot and other US based online stores sell good light units at reasonable prices

cocoa_pleco
10-09-2007, 10:20 PM
but im going with high light corals, and following the 10W/g rule i would need 550W

unleashed
10-09-2007, 10:29 PM
but im going with high light corals, and following the 10W/g rule i would need 550W
Even high light corals maybe shocked when put in your tank. When introducing them, you will need to have the halide several feet above the tank (especially with a 400w). Then gradually lower it down over the next few weeks.

tropfish
10-10-2007, 12:31 AM
or you could put the corals lower and gradually move htme up. i trust cocoa to know what he's doing.

cocoa_pleco
10-10-2007, 03:27 AM
i was thinking just move the corals towards the bottom, if any fish or corals look like theyre suffering i will go back to 200W of fluorescent (current lighting)

EDIT- sorry if im jacking this thread. lol.

heres a nice 55g with a 400W MH

http://www.reefcentral.net/forums/showthread.php?threadid=1023183

unleashed
10-10-2007, 05:39 AM
i was thinking just move the corals towards the bottom, if any fish or corals look like theyre suffering i will go back to 200W of fluorescent (current lighting)

EDIT- sorry if im jacking this thread. lol.

heres a nice 55g with a 400W MH

http://www.reefcentral.net/forums/showthread.php?threadid=1023183
what are the dimensions of your tank as they will dictate whether you place the corals low or the halide high

A340
10-10-2007, 05:49 AM
Special K: If you want to get into the world of Nano Reef tanks, which IMHO is a more sensible way to go, I'd suggest picking up a copy of "The Nano-Reef Handbook" by Chris R. Brightwell, it's a great introductory guide and has good stocking guides for various sizes of Nano Reefs.

Nano Reefs are harder to maintain as they do require more attention due to their size, which means less room for errors. However, if you do make a mistake (as cold as this may sound, but we all do make mistakes), the mistake won't cost you as much.

I'll be purchasing an Oceanic BioCube 14g myself within the next couple of weeks, so I'm new to this as well. But, I do feel one of these systems is a great way to get your feet wet in the world of marine aquariums.

Rue, in house refugium for your Red Sea .... http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_AquariumPage.aspx?PageAlias=miscellaneous_cpr_c itr_in-tank_refugium
Plus, I'm sure there are other mods that can be done to it as well.

Dave66
10-10-2007, 06:28 AM
Just some general advice.
Buy the best equipment you can possibly afford. Going cheap on marine will bite you in the butt.
A protein skimmer is the best piece of water quality insurence you can buy.

Dave

jttt3
10-10-2007, 12:25 PM
you have to be careful becuase you might overheat the tank and burn your fish and inverts. You would probably be able to get away with T5HO lights. MarineDepot and other US based online stores sell good light units at reasonable prices


I already warned about the heat from the lights, as long as he suspends the light high enough above the tank, watches the temperature, and doesn't run the light more than 10-12 hours a day, he should be fine. He's checking out the light beforehand anyways, and he knows what he is doing. =)

Also, ever been on a real reef before? The Sun puts out a lot more light and heat than that MH. You should go diving on one to see what it looks like and feels like for real, its a wonderful experience. =)

Cocoa: total- $1600

And here people told me that $1500 was too cheap for a 75g without anyfish in it lol.

cocoa_pleco
10-10-2007, 02:11 PM
lol, it is expensive!

ive got nowhere else to stick my current 40W bulbs, so i would have the MH on for about 4 hours a day, during high noon (12:30pm- abut 4:30pm), and during the rest of the day (morning and evening), 200W of fluorescent

unleashed
10-10-2007, 06:08 PM
Also, ever been on a real reef before? The Sun puts out a lot more light and heat than that MH. You should go diving on one to see what it looks like and feels like for real, its a wonderful experience. =)

yes i have. Racha Yai Phuket in july this year - got some good photos as well. Also, Northern australia and most of the pacifc islands are only about a 3 hr flight away