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From planted to marine some advise from a pro
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mark 45
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Joined: 12 May 2004
Location: Venice FL

PostPosted: 2008.06.24(Tue)20:52    Post subject: From planted to marine some advise from a pro Reply with quote

Hello folks,

well.... I have not been on this site for a while. I have many planted tanks of all sorts and I would like to start a marine tropical tank with my 30 gallon if possible. I am working with a allglass 30 gal. 36x16x12 it has a fluval 204 canister. an AC50 hob and a small sponge filter. The lighting is a 2 FL bulb 2X30 watt standard allglass with a versa top.

I would like to set up something like a fish w/live rock set up. I would like something that is not to high maintainence, although my fish husbandry is very good considering the high maintanence c02 planted tanks that I am working with now.
I like fish that have interesting behavior and are easy to feed, I do not care if there is only a couple of fish in the tank. I am used to doing weekly 50 % water changes. I would be willing to grow it into a more advanced tank later maybe with algae or what ever but at first would like the low maintanence approach so I do not kill any fish while I learn.

This board helped me with all the planted tank info. and I would appreciate some thoughts from some of the marine experts.

Thank you,

I would truly value any comment or thoughts

mark
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art_of_war
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Joined: 17 Nov 2006

PostPosted: 2008.06.25(Wed)16:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark,

It's not an unusual circumstance to see a Freshwater veteran take the plunge into the saltwater ocean. I will say this much: some if not a lot of the habbits (good or bad), equipment (good AND bad) and knowledge (good and bad) definitely carry over.

My recommendation: IF you're serious about getting into this hobby, I would invest in nothing smaller than a 80 gallon system. This allow room to upgrade hardware and even take steps in other directions. Also, do as much research on the fish (species) and compatibilities as you humanly can. BUT, the most important recommendation I will offer you is....be PATIENT from start to finish. As the old saying goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day." and neither will your tank.
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mark 45
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Joined: 12 May 2004
Location: Venice FL

PostPosted: 2008.06.25(Wed)20:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks,

I am sure I'll get into it, and it will expand into some of my larger tanks. But for now I have two tanks in my office at work a 20 gal. long and a 30 gal. both planted with C02 and have been running for at least 5 years. The 30 I want to redo so I would like to try with this one if possible, and I could keep a eye ball on it for at least 10 hours per day. I do not have a great salt water fish guy in town so I need a little help with the best substrate live rock info and filter info and stocking suggestions. I was thinging of some dwarf angels or even a couple of clowns with a host anemone. But if a 30 is really to small to keep anything salt water than of course I will respect this advice.........

Mark
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Pete Harcoff
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Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Canada

PostPosted: 2008.06.25(Wed)20:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't understand the 80 gallon recommendation my self. 30 gallons is fine and will certainly happily host 2-3 small saltwater fish.

A FOWLR set up is a good way to start. That way you don't have to worry about all the variables with keeping corals (I.e. proper lighting, flow, minerals, etc).

I wouldn't use the filters for anything except running carbon and/or providing water flow. Actually, in your case I'd probably use the AC50 filter with some live rock rubble in it and then add more flow with a powerhead or two.

Are you planning to use RO water? I recommend it as it will provide better water quality and potentially reduce nuisance algae. You don't absolutely need to use RO water, but you will need to stay on top of water changes otherwise.

When mixing saltwater for water changes you are going to want to let it mix for a good 24 hours or more before using it in the tank. So I recommend a mixing bucket or plastic bin or something, plus a heater and a powerhead.

Were you planning to use a skimmer? Again, not absolutely required in a FOWLR setup, but it will be a big benefit to the tank in keeping the water clean.

For stocking, you could probably do a single dwarf angel (NOT more than one), although they can be prone to nip at corals depending on the species. Just something to think about should you decide to keep corals down the road. Clownfish would work, either a single one or a mated pair. Skip the anenome. Anenomes are some of the most difficult saltwater creatures to keep and clown's don't need them anyway. My own clownfish has made his home in a toadstool leather coral.

Other fish that would work include various species of gobies, firefish (if you have a tight fitting lid to prevent jumps), basslets, pseudochromis, cardinalfish...

Also, are you planning a sump? Again, recommended (I don't use one but wish I did). It will help by increasing your total system water volume, a place to put unsightly equipment and a place to do water changes without disturbing the main tank.

That's all I can think of for now. If you have any questions I will be happy to answer them.
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art_of_war
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Joined: 17 Nov 2006

PostPosted: 2008.06.26(Thu)8:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pete Harcoff wrote:
[Needless repetition of the entire previous message removed by moderation - MA]


Pete,

I'm surprised you didn't understand the 80 gallon rec. You said yourself you were ready to "throw in the towel". You were having all sorts of problems similar to either a newbie or someone who has been given bad advice from start to finish. An 80 gallon set up is a smart way to go. 55 gallons is what almost every one in the hobby recommends BUT I will tell everyone this: Between a 55 and 80, if (you) ever decide you're "not" cut out for the hobby, I guarantee you'll have an easier time selling the 80 gallon over the 55.

I'd NEVER recommend to anyone who has never tried to start a marine aquarium to go less than 55 gallons. I say this b/c most if not all of us become impulse buyers and if that fish or invert you "think" you can care for goes belly up in your tank, you'll realize why the larger tank is more appropriate.


Mark,

Tank size matters. It's a great passion but trust me when I say that 30 gallons is okay....ONLY AFTER YOU'VE BECOME MORE EXPERIENCED in what you can and cannot do. To better explain this reasoning: in a smaller environment, the problem with saltwater as opposed to freshwater is the amount of dissolved oxygen available. So, stocking your tank has to be (excuse me...I mean MUST be) conservative. Therefore, if all you have is a 30 gallon system, you may be stuck with only keeping 2 to maybe 3 small to med. size fish. Also, what you should keep in mind is that any careless husbandry may be detrimental. So, some of the "bad" habbits you may or may not have had in freshwater will NOT carry over into this hobby.

That means, if any of your fish die in any course of time, it automatically starts polluting your tank (ie. poisoning everything else). The results can be as follows: You catch the mortality in time to have it removed and the amount of water in the tank will dillute it (providing there's a lot or enough); your protein skimmer (if you have a good one) will do it's best to remove such toxins before they escallate to levels that are out of your control.

Nevertheless, a bigger tank means more stability and a wider margin for error. Well, get to filtration at a later time.
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Pete Harcoff
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Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Canada

PostPosted: 2008.06.26(Thu)9:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

art_of_war wrote:

Pete,

I'm surprised you didn't understand the 80 gallon rec. You said yourself you were ready to "throw in the towel". You were having all sorts of problems similar to either a newbie or someone who has been given bad advice from start to finish.


Er, the problems I was having was due to not being able to run my skimmer due to it overflowing from epoxy I used (since it's HOB) as well as having a fish die and get lost in the rockwork.

Really, what I needed was a sump so I could have kept on skimming, not a bigger tank.

Quote:
Nevertheless, a bigger tank means more stability and a wider margin for error.


I agree with this. However, there are other logistical tradeoffs, such as water changes, more expensive equipment, more space, and so on.

I think a 30 gallon FOWLR is perfectly fine, especially if it is backed up with at least a 10 gallon sump and a decent protein skimmer.
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art_of_war
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Joined: 17 Nov 2006

PostPosted: 2008.06.26(Thu)10:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pete Harcoff wrote:
[Needless repetition of the entire previous message removed by moderation - MA]


What were you using epoxy for? And be honest, how big is this tank of yours?

Also, it's not a good idea to recommend to someone new to go with a smaller tank. If he goes 55 and a 10/20 gallon sump; even better. But definitely not a 30. Once you add the rockwork/sand/hardware; you're actual water volume is cut by 20 if not 30 percent.

Mark,

Trust me, it's not a sales pitch. Go at least 55 if not 80. You'll be more please in the end and you'll enjoy the hobby a bit more. Besides, some of the more exotic and colourful fish such as Surgeonfish (tangs), Butterfly and angel need the swimming room.
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Pete Harcoff
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Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Canada

PostPosted: 2008.06.26(Thu)16:39    Post subject: Reply with quote

art_of_war wrote:
What were you using epoxy for? And be honest, how big is this tank of yours?


The tank is a 56 gallon (30x18x24). I was using the epoxy to "glue" the rockwork together as well as gluing coral frags.

Quote:
Also, it's not a good idea to recommend to someone new to go with a smaller tank. If he goes 55 and a 10/20 gallon sump; even better. But definitely not a 30. Once you add the rockwork/sand/hardware; you're actual water volume is cut by 20 if not 30 percent.


I agree that bigger is better, but a distiction between system volume and tank volume needs to be made.

A 55 gallon may be better in terms of water volume than a 30, but the flipside is that the 55 has more stocking volume. So you can proportionally increase the bioload to the size of the tank.

OTOH, a 30 gallon backup with a 10 to 20 gallon sump still leaves you only with 30 gallons of stocking room. As a result, the extra water volume reduces the tank volume to overall system volume ratio. And you can have the added benefit of a 'fuge with macroalgae for increased nutrient export.

Obviously a 55 gallon with a sump would be better, but a 30 gallon and a sump will be fine. And again, this is for a FOWLR setup which doesn't have as stringent requirements as a reef.


Last edited by Pete Harcoff on 2008.06.26(Thu)17:05; edited 1 time in total
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2008.06.26(Thu)16:51    Post subject: Re: From planted to marine some advise from a pro Reply with quote

mark 45 wrote:
Hello folks,

well.... I have not been on this site for a while. I have many planted tanks of all sorts and I would like to start a marine tropical tank with my 30 gallon if possible. I am working with a allglass 30 gal. 36x16x12 it has a fluval 204 canister. an AC50 hob and a small sponge filter. The lighting is a 2 FL bulb 2X30 watt standard allglass with a versa top.

I would like to set up something like a fish w/live rock set up. I would like something that is not to high maintainence, although my fish husbandry is very good considering the high maintanence c02 planted tanks that I am working with now.
I like fish that have interesting behavior and are easy to feed, I do not care if there is only a couple of fish in the tank. I am used to doing weekly 50 % water changes. I would be willing to grow it into a more advanced tank later maybe with algae or what ever but at first would like the low maintanence approach so I do not kill any fish while I learn.

This board helped me with all the planted tank info. and I would appreciate some thoughts from some of the marine experts.

Thank you,

I would truly value any comment or thoughts

mark


Mark it sounds like you're on the right track, I think the 30 gallon will work fine for you since you have already stated you can be happy with 2 or 3 smaller fish. If you can get a larger tank by all means do so, but it's not required for your success. I would also strongly suggest setting up a 10 gal quarantine/hospital tank at the same time, this is essential in my opinion.

Your research will lead to happiness, here is a good book to get you started, I have suggested this for many hobbyists. I would suggest reading this book before deciding on filtration for your set up, it will give you a lot of options, pros and cons to be considered...
http://www.amazon.com/Conscientious-Marine-Aquarist-Commonsense-Successful/dp/1890087025
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mark 45
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Joined: 12 May 2004
Location: Venice FL

PostPosted: 2008.06.26(Thu)20:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for all the advise, and the spirited debate.......

I appreciate all of the different opinions, especially the book recommendation from florida boy. I have read and own a small library of books about planted tanks and freshwater plants and fish. Yes I have a super duty water change set-up and letting water age is not a problem. I have never over stocked my tanks since it is easier to keep planted tanks with low fish loads. I have two spare ten gallon tanks that I could use for quarrantine if needed. And I have a nice 125 gal. setup that I can grow into set up in my home to expand into. I am not in a big hurry to switch the 30 out to salt water so I can spend some time to read and learn. So again thank you, I will order the book, and if I can make room in my office at work for and 80 gal. setup then I'll start with that............

Thanks again,
if anyone else has any advise that could help please jump in.

Mark
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