View Full Version : Looking for expert advice on my first marine tank

02-15-2009, 10:44 PM
My name is Deidera. I currently am maintaing a 90g African Cichlid tank and have been for about 3 years with great success. I have an empty 29g tank that I have decided to set up with marine fish. It has been a dream of mine for a long time. I am in no hurry! I do not want to fail at this. I have a couple of books that I have been reading, but feel that there has to be more great info out there. Here are my thoughts. I want to use aragonite as my substrate and get apx. 35lbs of live rock to start with. In the beginning, I may just use replica coral for decor. I do not have a protein skimmer yet, wasn't sure if I really needed one for such a small tank. At the present time (my mind changes the more research I do), I only plan to stock it with just 2 or 3 fish. One of which will hopefully constist of an A. ocellaris. I have always been fascinated in these. I understand that they do best with anemones. Do you think they would do ok with artificial ones to start with? I also believe I would enjoy the Blue-Spotted Shrimp Goby. My filter I have is a Rena XP1, good for up to a 45g. I also plan on using a power head for good circulation. I am fimiliar with the cycling of new tanks and plan on using old filter media from my 90g along with the LR. My ideas are very fresh and are my first thoughts. I am only searching for some great advice for beginners and some more really good reading info from the web. I love doing the research...it is just as much fun learning as it is to enjoy your success.
Look forward to your advice,
Deidera Rogers

02-16-2009, 04:47 AM
Welcome to the club. Looks like your on the right track with researching and taking it slow. Nothing happens fast in saltwater. We have a 29 gallon with a 20 gallon sump that has been running for close to 6 months. I would not use the rena xp1 or any kind of man-made filter in a saltwater tank (a seeded filter from a freshwater tank will be useless in saltwater, the benificial bacteria will just die). Live rock (between 1-1.5 lbs per gallon), powerheads (I recomend 1 or 2 korilia 2's) and a good protein skimmer rated for twice your tank size (coralife 65), and paitience are all you need. The live rock will cycle the tank for you. I would not use any artifical decor, it would just get covered in algae.

A. ocellaris or any clowns will actually thrive without an anenome (an anenome needs intense lighting and a tank that has matured atleast 6 months to surrvive). Most clowns now are tank raised and have never seen an anenome so do great without one (some will host coral and ours have hosted a crevice in the rock)

In saltwater you want to get the best equipment as possible. The only exception would be lighting if you are not doing a reef. Cheap equipment will cost you more in the long run in lost stock

Have fun and I hope this helped you and others will also chime in with more tips

02-16-2009, 05:02 AM
Nice advice Labnjab!

The big decision you are going to have to make with a 29 gallon tank, is whether or not you are going to use a sump. Since the tank is still within the "nano" range, you could get away with using Hang on Back equipment. So instead of plumbing a below tank fuge...you could just use a high quality hang on back skimmer and then convert an Aquaclear 70 HOB filter into a refugium.

If you need advice on specific equipment, make sure and ask on this forum. There are a lot of people who really know their stuff on here.

Good luck!

02-16-2009, 12:29 PM
This may help, its my build thread for a FOWLR


and this is when we decided to turn it into a reef


02-17-2009, 01:59 AM
Ok...Great this gets me started with equipment. I've already ordered my coralife protein skimmer. I'm going to see if PetSmart will take my Rena XP1 back. I've never taken it out of the box but have had it about a couple of months. I don't believe I will ever use a HOB filter again since my last one used on this very tank almost burned my house down. Some how the cover tipped up, water ran down the wall and right into the electrical outlet. It was an absolute miracle I just happened to be off from work that day, walked into the room and heard something frying!!:help: Opened up the cabinet door, and sparks were just a flying. I will never be brave enough to do the HOB thing again. It gets my heart racing just typing about it!!! So sump it will be. Besides, I'd like to learn more about different filtration. Which brings me to my next ??. What would be a good one to get? And, is there any good info I can read up on about sump filters. The books I have don't go much into sumps.

Thanks again,

02-17-2009, 02:01 AM
Oh...BTW...Here's a stupid question. What is a "nano"?

02-17-2009, 02:26 AM
Oh...BTW...Here's a stupid question. What is a "nano"?

usually a saltwater tank under 20g is called a nano

02-17-2009, 02:49 AM
Hi deidera, I am trying to figure out a twenty gallon fowlr right now too. I have found these common opinions on filtration so far:

1.) Berlin system. high flow power heads around lots of live rock and over live sand. No other mechanical filtration.

2.) Modified Berlin is the same but with a skimmer.

3.) HOB + skimmer.

4.) Good sized canister, no skimmer, power head(s), my personal leaning when dealing with only 20 to 30 gallons.

I agree when it comes to captive bred clowns not needing anemeones. If you do want anemeones and live corals you will then have to start dealing with high output marine type lighting. I am thinking about a pair of clowns, a pair of firefish, some sort of sand sifting gobie, and some inverts. Good luck!

02-17-2009, 03:30 AM
Can you tell me the drawback of using high output marine lighting? Is it expensive to maintain? Also, which Koralia pump would you recommend? There's a "1" which pumps 400gph or the "nano" which pumps 240gph?


02-17-2009, 04:04 AM
The K1 would be ok for a 29g. Some people might even go with a K2, depending on how high you want your flow to be.

The koralia nanos are cool because the units are SO much smaller than the rest of the koralia lineup, but you would need two of them for your 29.

The drawback to high output lighting is mostly the cost. Metal Halide lights can also cause some heat issues. For your size tank, I would strongly suggest using high output T5 lighting. There are a number of very nice units that you could buy for your tank. When you are buying a T5 unit, the thing you have to look at is the reflector(s). The best units have an individual reflector for each bulb. These "top of the line" T5 units would allow you to keep pretty much any coral you want, as well as clams. If you pick up a T5 light with a single reflector, you will not be able to keep clams or the "high light" varieties of SPS.