Starting up a saltwater tank this summer!

  1. Dlondon95 Well Known Member Member

    Okay, I've been reading up on everything saltwater for about a month now in hopes of starting up a saltwater tank sometime this summer. I've tried to absorb as much information as I can, but now I need you guys' help!

    My plans for the tank are to start it out as a FOWLR setup, then as I get the money for better equipment (RO/DI system, lighting, ect.) transform it into a reef tank. I won't actually be setting the tank up till later this summer probably. I'm trying to get a job at my LFS and I'll be saving as much as I can for the tank.

    The only think I have at this point is a 55g tank.

    I would like to hear equipment recommendations from you guys. Protein skimmers, powerheads, overflows, ext. There are just so many brand out there and I have no idea what is good and what isn't. I'm trying to stay on the lower end of costs, but I am willing to spend whatever is needed for good quality equipment.

    Now on to questions.

    1. I want to have a sump for the tank, but I don't know whether to build one or just buy one. If I build one, which I would rather do for cost reasons, does anyone have any good plans for making one?

    2. For when I do transition to reef, what kind of lighting should I have? I haven't really done much research on corals yet, but I'd like to have some that are colorful, not just boring to look at.

    3. is $2.99 per pound a good price for live rock? My LFS has it for that price, but I don't know what is considered a good price.

    That's all for now. Again, I'd love some recommendation for equipment!
     
  2. ryanr Moderator Moderator Member

    Welcome to Fishlore :;hi2

    Ok, so your specific questions first:
    1 - Depends on how much room you have, I got mine custom built to fit the cabinet. Check out: http://www.melevsreef.com/what_sump.html, he's got heaps of sump designs, methods, etc that'll get you thinking. Have you decided on a nutrient export method (fuge, reactors, or carbon dosing) - the method chosen will help you plan your sump, and what you need.

    2 - Other than a combination of white and actinic, the type is up to you. I chose LED for heat, running costs (nil) and power consumption reasons. MH are still considered by many to be the best, due to their overall performance and ability to create that 'shimmer' through the water (but they are expensive to run, and can heat a room, not just the tank). T5HO is also a good option. LED will probably cost a little more upfront, but you'll never have to change/replace a bulb. If you go LED, look for fittings that use CREE diodes (considered to be the best type so far in LED for Reefs)

    3 - No idea on US pricing - but I do strongly recommend buying your LR 'fresh'. I don't know how they harvest LR in the US, but with mine, it was harvested from the GBR at 7am, put on a plane and in my tank by 8pm - that's my definition of 'fresh'.

    Equipment: Quality generally costs money, but it doesn't mean you have to spend every last cent you have. Personally, I trust the Germans for my FW and SW.
    My skimmer and powerheads are Tunze, heaters and return pump Eheim/Jager.
    I've also read plenty of good reviews about Deltec (but you need a big budget), Koralia and you'll find plenty of salties use cheaper equipment with great success and reliability.

    On water - are you going to mix your own, or use natural sea water? I recommend/encourage you to use RO/DI from the outset, doesn't mean you have to buy a RODI unit, you can generally buy RO/DI by the gallon from the LFS. For ASW, I'm having good success with Instant Ocean Reef Crystals, and am getting reports from others using Seachem Reef salts.

    Welcome to Salt!
     

  3. Dlondon95 Well Known Member Member

    I'm not really new to fishlore, but thanks for the welcome :D

    Thanks for the link. I'll definitely check that out. I don't really know what you mean by nutrient export method. I haven't read anything about that yet.

    I would like to go with LED lighting. I think the technology is great and definitely worth the money.

    My LFS actually put their live rock in sale today for $1.99 a pound for the rest of the year. It's been in their tank for a while, so it's not "fresh", but they do have a couple fish in the tank to keep it alive.

    I guess I'll just have to save up for an RO unit. My water is pretty good (well water), and I've read that tap water is ok for FOWLR setups, but I might as well just wait till I have the RO unit to set up the tank.

    After thinking about this whole project again, I may just have to wait a couple years to set it up. I'll be going to college in about 3 years and this will be way to much for my parents to maintain.

    Don't worry though, I will enter the dark side of fish keeping eventually >=)
     

  4. ryanr Moderator Moderator Member

    Sorry, I saw blog entries = 1 and thought it was posts = 1 :;smack

    The problems I've read about with non-fresh LR is the likelihood of it having absorbed lot's of phosphate. If the LR has been kept in light, and still got lot's of coraline growing, it could still be good value.

    And yeah - I don't think starting a SW for 3 years is a good idea so to speak - most SW species will live 10+ years if well looked after, and unless your parents are into fish-keeping, a SW tank (or any tank) is a fair under-taking.
     

  5. Dlondon95 Well Known Member Member

    Haha. That's okay

    I know they don't keep light over it, so that may be a bad idea. I guess when I do set one up, I'll just get a few pieces of live and let it seed the rest of the rock.

    My parents are slowly learning. I'm gonna sell off most of my stock and take down the majority of my tanks when I go to college. They will just have one or two big tanks to take care of.