Noob question for baffled freshwater ex-cichlid owner

pirranna

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Hi all,
Need some guidance. I have a fluval 404 filter and African Cichlids in my past experience as well as one of those nasty marineland wheel units. Looking at saltwater but since I am potentially doing a large move in 2 years or so I don’t want a major setup nor an angry fiancée. While I know bigger is better – I want something that is movable even if I have to turn the fish in. Here are my questions:

Presently have a 29 gallon tall tank and a 12 gallon regular tank – is the 29 too small for a noob?
Have a fluval 404 filter. While it work great it is a real pain to clean and get together just right. Fish place said I can keep it (they have a 250 gallon tank running on two fluvals somehow /w saltwater).
Plan on aiming for a 75-150 gallon + tank when I get settled thus I’d like to buy some quality equipment that I can use for a larger tank.
Handy but don’t wish to build a sump by hand (it would be my first interaction with things).
Would prefer to avoid live rock (getting married this year) due to weight of moving, one arm + 1 leg $, no reef desire. Not 100% set on this though.

What recommendations do you folks have with filters and such? Bought my testing kit, hydrometer, crushed coral, etc. but still in the bags. Fish store said to just get the water the right gravity and then throw some fish in (against what I have read).
Appreciate any assistance. Have been doing a lot of research but would like to defer to the experts.
Thanks,
Justin
 

ATP

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Hi all,
Need some guidance. I have a fluval 404 filter and African Cichlids in my past experience as well as one of those nasty marineland wheel units. Looking at saltwater but since I am potentially doing a large move in 2 years or so I don’t want a major setup nor an angry fiancée. While I know bigger is better – I want something that is movable even if I have to turn the fish in. Here are my questions:

Presently have a 29 gallon tall tank and a 12 gallon regular tank – is the 29 too small for a noob?
Have a fluval 404 filter. While it work great it is a real pain to clean and get together just right. Fish place said I can keep it (they have a 250 gallon tank running on two fluvals somehow /w saltwater).
Plan on aiming for a 75-150 gallon + tank when I get settled thus I’d like to buy some quality equipment that I can use for a larger tank.
Handy but don’t wish to build a sump by hand (it would be my first interaction with things).
Would prefer to avoid live rock (getting married this year) due to weight of moving, one arm + 1 leg $, no reef desire. Not 100% set on this though.

What recommendations do you folks have with filters and such? Bought my testing kit, hydrometer, crushed coral, etc. but still in the bags. Fish store said to just get the water the right gravity and then throw some fish in (against what I have read).
Appreciate any assistance. Have been doing a lot of research but would like to defer to the experts.
Thanks,
Justin
I wouldn't go with crushed corals. Worst substrate IMO. Just google in and you'll see what I mean.

A canister isn't really the best. You'll need to clean it more than once a week or it'll become a nitrate factory. The best method is a sump, but if not possible, get a HOB skimmer. What you could do is buy some dead LR for really cheap or look on craigslist or local reef group for LR. My stores usually sells for $5-$10 a pound and I can get about $2 a pound through a local forum. LR is really beneficial.

A skimmer will be required IMO for that large of a tank (75-100) especially the fact that you don't have LR. Waterflow is also neccesary.
 

locoyo386

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Hi there,
Hi all,
Looking at saltwater but since I am potentially doing a large move in 2 years or so I don’t want a major setup nor an angry fiancée. While I know bigger is better – I want something that is movable even if I have to turn the fish in. Here are my questions:

Presently have a 29 gallon tall tank and a 12 gallon regular tank – is the 29 too small for a noob?
Personal opinion is NO, it's giong to be relative easy to maintain specially if not a reef tank.


Have a fluval 404 filter. While it work great it is a real pain to clean and get together just right. Fish place said I can keep it (they have a 250 gallon tank running on two fluvals somehow /w saltwater).
Personal experrience is that you can get away with a regular power filter in that size tank. A sump might be better, but often times it's too much initial work for the real difference. Water movement really helps inside the tank, thus you are going to need powerheads.

Plan on aiming for a 75-150 gallon + tank when I get settled thus I’d like to buy some quality equipment that I can use for a larger tank.
Handy but don’t wish to build a sump by hand (it would be my first interaction with things).
Would prefer to avoid live rock (getting married this year) due to weight of moving, one arm + 1 leg $, no reef desire. Not 100% set on this though.
Well honestly a 75 is not really a big deal to move, you could even start with that size. Also you can do a fish only tank, so that it would be easier to move and less costly in the wallet at the moment. The down side to it is that they are not really attractive to look at.

What recommendations do you folks have with filters and such?
Well I have those "nasty" wheel ower filters. If you really don't like them, you could look into the AquaClear power filters. They are really cool and are great for filtration.

Bought my testing kit, hydrometer, crushed coral, etc. but still in the bags. Fish store said to just get the water the right gravity and then throw some fish in (against what I have read).
You would have to cycle the tank first before you add any fish, I am sure you know that from freshwater. Also I have crushed coral and sand, not together in the same tank though. Personally I have nothing againts crusehd coral, in fact I like it better. I like it cause you could vacum it like gravel in the freshwater setups. A basic setup would be a fish only tank. You would not need sand or rock to make it work, but it does not look the same as a more elovorate setup does.

Appreciate any assistance. Have been doing a lot of research but would like to defer to the experts.
Thanks,
Justin
 
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pirranna

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More questions

First off I want to say thanks for the helpful info. Unsurprisingly I have more questions

1) FILTER -> I know long run a fluval canister is not the way to go. ATP said that i'd be cleaning my canister more than once a week. I'd like to avoid that if possible. Major work would have to be done on the weekend only due to work & school...

2) Sump size question ->I want to do a larger tank someday and want to do it right although "right" seems to differ significantly by person in the marine discipline. That said - is a 12 gallon tank worthy of a sump setup?

3) Sump Design question -> A sump setup seems easy but confusing /w a PS setup. Overflow box (what kind - the $10 or $120 self priming one?) to spare tank. Take a tank, put some dividers and seal them and then what? So many options out there - what is easy for a FOWLR setup? Most designs seem to be a trickle wet/dry filter - something that is out for a FOWLR setup right?

4) Noob solution - HOT PS? -> Since I have a 29 gallon tall now (theoretical of course less live rock, etc. etc.) could I get away with the pro Remora below? Perhaps overkill but i'd like to future proof things and if I can throw it in a sump later if I did go that route...great . From what I read, the Mag-drive motor for the below is the way to go. Any other recommendations?



5) LIVEROCK -> If I wanted to avoid $600 in LR, how likely could I start some existing LR and add some dead LR? Would the dead LR work in a 4-6 month time period to begin some stocking or should I just bite the bullet and go with LR now and be done with it? The bacteria on the LR is the critical thing right?

6) Waterflow - recommendations in # of units? Brands that don't cost a small fortune? Placement?

7) Best online suppliers for Marine equipment and supplies?

Thanks in advance and apologize for all the questions,

Justin
 

zeeter

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5: The best time to buy live rock is at the beginning. That way you can buy the cheapest grade base or dry rock out there and let it cure during the tank cycle. Maybe top it off with a few pounds of premium to get some color started. I wouldn't be so concerned with moving live rock. Unless you're moving across the country it's no big deal. Assuming you'll be moving your water in 5gallon buckets you can just put a piece or two in each bucket.

6: Much debate on this, but what I'm told is to shoot for a 10-12X water volume turnover per hour. So if you have a 29 gallon tank you want to turn it over ten times, so your pump needs to be 290 gallons per hour minimum. You should also have a power head or two in there. For a 29 gallon you could probably get away with the Koralia #1's (750 in new model) or maybe even a coupld of their nanos. If you decide to go with the 75 mentioned above then I'd go for 2 of the #3 Koralia or the new 1050's. I had two #2's in there and replaced on with the 1050. Thinking of putting my other #2 back in there as currently I'm using to mix saltwater. The #1's are pretty cheap right now due to the new models.

7: Dr Fosters and That Pet Place are good online places. It all depends on what you're looking for.

If you are serious about getting a 150+ gallon tank in the near future then maybe I'd go with the 29 for now if you can't wait. The 150 will be difficult to move.
 

locoyo386

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First off I want to say thanks for the helpful info. Unsurprisingly I have more questions

1) FILTER -> I know long run a fluval canister is not the way to go. ATP said that i'd be cleaning my canister more than once a week. I'd like to avoid that if possible. Major work would have to be done on the weekend only due to work & school...
I keep my tanks with power filters and I clean them when they get dirty. To my surprise the longer the tank has been running the least cleaning I have to do to the power filter.

2) Sump size question ->I want to do a larger tank someday and want to do it right although "right" seems to differ significantly by person in the marine discipline. That said - is a 12 gallon tank worthy of a sump setup?
You will not find any comment more agreed on then the one you just said. Everyone has their way of doing things, you just going to have to figure out wich way works better for you. In the 75 you could use a 20L, in the 12 I would not use one.

3) Sump Design question -> A sump setup seems easy but confusing /w a PS setup. Overflow box (what kind - the $10 or $120 self priming one?) to spare tank. Take a tank, put some dividers and seal them and then what? So many options out there - what is easy for a FOWLR setup? Most designs seem to be a trickle wet/dry filter - something that is out for a FOWLR setup right?
The sump design, if you go with that, will be somewhat different for everyone. There are basic setups you can check them out. I have my sump on youtube under the same ID as here if you want to check it out.

4) Noob solution - HOT PS? -> Since I have a 29 gallon tall now (theoretical of course less live rock, etc. etc.) could I get away with the pro Remora below? Perhaps overkill but i'd like to future proof things and if I can throw it in a sump later if I did go that route...great . From what I read, the Mag-drive motor for the below is the way to go. Any other recommendations?
Can't help you there as I have never used a protein skimmer.

5) LIVEROCK -> If I wanted to avoid $600 in LR, how likely could I start some existing LR and add some dead LR? Would the dead LR work in a 4-6 month time period to begin some stocking or should I just bite the bullet and go with LR now and be done with it? The bacteria on the LR is the critical thing right?
No, not the bacteria, that can grown on anything. The mircro organisms is the benifit of the "live rock". Alot of people use a little amount of LR and the rest as base rock. In time the mirco-organisms will reproduce and migrate to the base rock making it LR.

[QUOTE6) Waterflow - recommendations in # of units? Brands that don't cost a small fortune? Placement?[/QUOTE]

Water movement is devided into two parts. The part that is provided by your mehcanichal filtration and the powerheads inside the tank. Most recomend around 40 times the water volume for reef. I use about 20-30 times the water volume (12*30=360gph). It helps alot to have great water movement in saltwater fish tanks.

7) Best online suppliers for Marine equipment and supplies?
Not sure if we can do that, but there are alot of them out there, marinedepot, drfosterandsmith, too many actually.

Thanks in advance and apologize for all the questions,

Justin
As far as the sump, you can deal with it once you decide if you want to have one.
 

ATP

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The Remora is ok.

As for liverock, I would not buy any from lfs as they are really expensive. I only buy mine through craigslist and local reef clubs. Most of my lfs charges 5-10 bucks a pound and through a local group, I could get as low as 2 dollars a pound. (I never buy anything above 3 dollars a pound)

http://www.melevsreef.com/acrylics/sumps/f/sump_f.html
I use this site as a reference for sump designs, but I don't follow its instuctions because I dont make sumps out of acrylic.

As for online supplier, marine depot is pretty expensive and aquacave could be pretty slow (but cheap), but they're both great sites. Another good site is bulk reef supply
 
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