30 Gallon Reef Tank How Do I

Discussion in 'Saltwater Beginners' started by TFerguson28, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. TFerguson28

    TFerguson28New MemberMember

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    Hey Everyone

    I've been a freshwater person my whole life and have tons of experience in that field and love every second of it. I am currently taking an aquarium keeping class that has me hooked on the saltwater and reef concept. I'd love to give it a whirl but i wanna make sure 100% first that i know what i'm doing and i don't want to put any live stock in danger

    I have a 30 gallon i'd like to set up from scratch and turn it into a reef aquarium one day.

    Now i know about the nitrogen cycle and to make sure everything is safe but when and how much live rock do i add and can you grow live rock on your own without getting it all from LFS? I'm the kinda person that would rather take the time and do it on my own, but is that unpractical?

    Also I was told to go with a skilter filter? can that filter plus some powerheads cycle a reef tank efficiently?


    Once the tank has been stable and cycled for weeks is it safe to add coral and what coral is the best for beginners? I was told curing and growing your own coral is easier and safer?

    Thanks so much for the help!!
     
  2. OP
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    TFerguson28

    TFerguson28New MemberMember

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    Hey Everyone

    I've been a freshwater person my whole life and have tons of experience in that field and love every second of it. I am currently taking an aquarium keeping class that has me hooked on the saltwater and reef concept. I'd love to give it a whirl but i wanna make sure 100% first that i know what i'm doing and i don't want to put any live stock in danger

    I have a 30 gallon i'd like to set up from scratch and turn it into a reef aquarium one day.

    Now i know about the nitrogen cycle and to make sure everything is safe but when and how much live rock do i add and can you grow live rock on your own without getting it all from LFS? I'm the kinda person that would rather take the time and do it on my own, but is that unpractical?

    Also I was told to go with a skilter filter? can that filter plus some powerheads cycle a reef tank efficiently?


    Once the tank has been stable and cycled for weeks is it safe to add coral and what coral is the best for beginners? I was told curing and growing your own coral is easier and safer?

    Thanks so much for the help!!
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  3. nate21887

    nate21887Valued MemberMember

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    Hey TFerguson! Welcome to the salty side of the hobby. For a 30 gallon you would want 30 to 35 pounds of live rock for a reef tank. This would be your main source of the biological filtration. The rock you can buy dry and cycle yourself by adding a cured piece or some media that's been seeded by a mature tank. Your dry rock will become live with time primarily through the cycle. For a filter I would recommend a sump system for 2 reasons, 1 being the ease of hiding you equipment giving you more room in your display and 2 the added water volume increasing water stability with your parameters. The coral I would wait at least 6 months so the tank has matured and is stable. Some good starter corals would be like mushrooms or zoas polyps. Just make sure you have adequate lighting and I would recommend a protein skimmer. Hope this helps and good luck!
     
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    TFerguson28

    TFerguson28New MemberMember

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    thanks so much for your help and i'll look into how to setup a sump filter. i've been doing some research and sumps seem to be pretty confusing when comes to intake, biological, mechanical, refugium and everthying else
     
  5. nate21887

    nate21887Valued MemberMember

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    They aren't to bad, the big thing is to read read read, the more you know in advance the less problems you will encounter. There are many articles and forum threads on sump so plenty of information. Also asking questions on here always helps to!
     
  6. ChristineG

    ChristineGValued MemberMember

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    I see no one has answered yet :happy0059:, so I'll bump your thread. If a thread sits for a week with no replies, it's okay to "bump" it yourself--or perhaps you could post the corals question in the section on corals, too.

    Good luck!:animal0028::animal0028:
     
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    TFerguson28

    TFerguson28New MemberMember

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    haha ok thanks
     
  8. lanlesnee

    lanlesneeWell Known MemberMember

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    I think a lot of people try to make sw alot hard than it has to be. It really doesn't have to be any harder than fw. If you do a good job with fw than your do fine with sw.

    Your questions are hard to answer because there are so many different ways to set up a sw and it's really a what you perfer. There's no really right or wrong here.

    Most reefers will have 1.5 pounds of live rock per gallon (I perfer more). Make sure you have a good current though your rock. You don't want dead spots to collect debris. Power heads place right will do the trick. I like to make tunnels in my live rock and place power heads in them to keep a good current though these tunnels.

    Most reefers perfer the refugium for filtation. Even this has many several ways you can set it up. I like refugium mud, chaeto algae, some live rock, a prefilter, and protein skimmer in my set up.

    I know it's already starting to sound complicated, but it really doesn't have to be. My 55g I started from sratch and all it had at the begining was gravel, some base rock, a heater, and 2 HOB filters. It was the same set up it had when it was fw. I just added salt to it over several months until it had a sg of 1.023. (I have green spotted puffers in it, so I was able to have fish in there the whole time I was converting it)

    I kept this set up for several more months and my Green spotted puffers were happy with it. I later add extra equipment I had sitting around. Not cause it needed it, but more equipment makes it easy to keep the tank clean.
    I removed one of the HOB filters for a much larger unit, but I used only bioballs in the new unit. I added live rock a few months after that.Then I added a HOB refugium with a few pieces of LR and Chateo algae. After came a 8 bulb T5 system.

    I still don't have a protein skimmer in this tank, but my nitrates holds a steady 15ppm even with very few water changes. This level of nitrates is fine with fish, but could be lower for a reef. The lower the better when it come to reefs.

    I think you'll do fine with fw. Just read as much as you can and keep in mind it's really not that hard. Once you start keeping sw alot of it will start to make sense. I would recommend you start with a simple set up and as you learn make the changes that are right for you and your tank.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  9. OP
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    TFerguson28

    TFerguson28New MemberMember

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    thanks for the help and i've been doing my research and i decided to drill my tank and run a sump same size as my dt. i have my sump all built and ready just waiting for my pump to come and then we'll see how it does. it's not as confusing and as overwhelming like i thought it would be. it just regular maintenance like any other tank but the lack of can be deadly
     
  10. lanlesnee

    lanlesneeWell Known MemberMember

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    It really isn't that confusing/overwhelming. I think more fw people would go sw if they would just realize how easy it really is.

    What do you have plan for the system? Lighting, sump or refugium, skimmer? etc.
     
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    TFerguson28

    TFerguson28New MemberMember

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    i'm not sure about what i'm going to do for lighting yet because that seems the most important and complicating. but i plan on having live rock and a sump with carbon, live rock and maybe a skimmer
     
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