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Critique new SW plan please
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aurther_dent2001
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Joined: 11 Apr 2004
Location: NJ

PostPosted: 2005.04.10(Sun)8:43    Post subject: Critique new SW plan please Reply with quote

Hi Fellow Aquarists,

After keeping FW aquariums for a long time, I am planning for SW. Please give feedback on the setup. I plan to have a mostly invertebrates/soft corals tank . And may be 1 or 2 fishes. (fishes are not a priority on this setup, corals and other invertebrates are, I may get a couple of fish if I think tank looks too quite).

So the equipment for now:

20G Tank,
110W 10000K CF Lights
13W Actinic (hopefully would let me observe noctournal activities)
30lb of argonite sand (.5mm - 1mm) (Carib Sea Aragamax Select)
Aquaclear 300 for circulation (no media), and act as refugium if needed.
powerheads for circulation.
Marine Salt: Instant Ocean Reef Crystals
Misc Items - Heater, test kits etc.

Now some questions:
Whats a good place to get live rock?
I am considering this site: www.liveaquaria.com Any experiences?
They have a number of live rocks, any suggestions? Any other sites with whom you have done business and were happy.

Cycling questions:
As far as I can tell, there seem to be two ways of cycling. One is without lights and other is with lights. Advantage of with lights is that invertebrates that come with live rock will survive. Disadvantage is that you are expected to get algal problems, cycle may take longer etc.
The other way to cycle is without lights. This will kill all life on live rock except the microbes that do cycling and some good algae like coraline algae. Advantage is that coraline algae will get room to grow which is good. bacteria will also be able to grow because of all the organisms dying without light. And you do not get algae problems.
So first question, Is my information correct?
And second, which one do you prefer... experiences?

Any other comments, suggestions?
Thanks for all your help.
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2005.04.10(Sun)12:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a bigger tank, a 40--55 gal would be perfect my friend and much more stable.
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aurther_dent2001
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Joined: 11 Apr 2004
Location: NJ

PostPosted: 2005.04.10(Sun)12:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

FloridaBoy wrote:
Get a bigger tank, a 40--55 gal would be perfect my friend and much more stable.


Too expencive. Not enough space. this is going to a nano reef. And these are pretty much standard now. check out www.nano-reef.com.
You can keep pretty good healthy tanks, and 20G is actually quite big for a nano-reef
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2005.04.10(Sun)13:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, standard is as standard does.
Yes, I've been to the site, it's sponsored by companies who want your money.
That's the great thing about not being affiliated with any brand or product line; I can tell you the truth without any strings attached. My interest here is the well-being of the marine life in an industry that burns through living creatures like they were 25 cent widgets. And, as a former retailer I can tell you, tiny marine systems are a bad trend. They are certainly not impossible to maintain, others on this board will tell you that, in fact Andrew has had good success. But they are not the best choice for beginners in SW, and that's the truth. The flawed model you are following is; "I can't afford an appropriate size system, so I'll just micro-size it." The problem is, VOLUME is key to your success. I want you to be a successful, lifetime hobbyist. If you can't afford the cost or space for doing it right, just wait until you can. Hey, you DID ask for a plan critique didn't you? Now, go ahead and buy your nano.
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aurther_dent2001
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Joined: 11 Apr 2004
Location: NJ

PostPosted: 2005.04.10(Sun)14:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I did ask for a plan critique. I would have appreciated if you could have given something more constructive than get a bigger aquarium. I am not worried about being a SW beginner. I think its more important to know how to maintain your systems in a disciplined way. How to do research properly. How to maintain water quality, etc. which are common for both salt and fresh water. nano-reef.com may be sponsored by fish industry, but I did see a lot of aquariums by hobbists like myself, and I would not have started my own if I thought that this was unsustainable. Infact I do not see any reason why nano-systems should be less successful if you are willing to put in the effort and time and research. And bigger systems are much much more complicated. You need chillers because lights make the system too hot, water changes are difficult because you need to change so much more water. filteration is important because you have so much more bioload. In a nano, things are simpler. you usually don't have fishes. bio load is low. even a filter is not needed. and you can easily do daily water changes.

Of course all this is just the theory. But these are the arguments I used when deciding to go with a nano.

Bigger system/smaller system... its all the same. If you are a dilligent fish keeper you will succeed... you are not.. then god help you. And its better for someone to try a smaller system and fail rather than try a bigger one and fail..

As far as industry burning through living creatures, I would say you are in the wrong hobby. Even freshwater aquarium industry does that. think all those gold fishes in bowls, think all those bala sharks sold, think all those RTBS sold with "do good in groups".... list is endless.

regards
a
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Steve Hampton
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: 2005.04.10(Sun)18:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I'd give serious thought to using a protein skimmer and/or larger refugium. Ten gallon tanks are very inexpensive and would make a great refugium for your twenty gallon. Regarding the cycling, are you going to cycle with a cocktail shrimp? Due to the ammonia, cycling with lights on makes the chance of a big algae bloom more likely. I've done both and without light seemed to work better in my very limited experiences.

Personally I like to hand pick my live rock. But, even if I couldn't drive to them, I get my live rock from the same company. Here's the link to where I bought my live rock.

http://www.tampabaysaltwater.com/

Certainly larger tanks are always better but without question you can have a really nice healthy nano reef with a 20 gallon tank. I've got a 30g with a 10g refugium...I need to upgrade the refugium to 20 gallon.
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2005.04.10(Sun)18:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

A 30 gallon with a 10 gallon fuge is a 40 gallon system.
See my original reply to this thread.
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juice28
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Joined: 10 Feb 2005
Location: iowa city, IA

PostPosted: 2005.04.10(Sun)19:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the sounds of your posts, you've been doing a lot of reading and research before diving into the hobby, which is a very good thing. Like my fellow keepers suggested above, there are definetly advantages to larger systems, but I started in the exact manner that you're proposing. The nano-system that I purchased was 24 gallons, and its been perfect. The smaller tanks will require you to monitor salinity and water quality more strictly than larger ones. However, as I've mentioned already, those that do a lot of research are the ones who are likely to keep up with all of the needed maintenance as they should. Have confidence! (but don't be afraid to ask questions!)

As far as cycling goes, I ran mine for 2-3 weeks with 9 hours of light per day. I saw 2 or 3 waves of algae populate and then disperse (nothing very serious). Testing quality every 3 days or so after it gets rolling will let you know when the proper time to add specimens will be.

Good luck...
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aurther_dent2001
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Joined: 11 Apr 2004
Location: NJ

PostPosted: 2005.04.10(Sun)21:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Hampton wrote:
Ten gallon tanks are very inexpensive and would make a great refugium for your twenty gallon.


A slight clarification needed. You mean 10 G will make a good sump. right? The way I understand the terminology is that a sump is what you call the place which gives you extra water mass so that you system is more stable. A refugium is what you call the place where you keep animals (corals/invertebrates) when they are recuperating/settleing in. So for sumps bigger is better, for refugium, you only need it to be large enough to accomodate whatever you put there. For a refugium you will need to provide lights etc. Sump can be any container. Is this right?

As for protein skimmer. I do not expect to have high bioload and I plan to do small water changes daily. I do plan on having a skimmer in case of emergencies, or when I have to go out of town and cannot do daily water changes. I gathered from reading up that skimmer is not needed in such a setup (and may even do harm by removing trace elements, though I am not sure I completely belive that statement) and live rock/live sand will be able to provide all the filteration needed. But I can always add a skimmer later if I see the need.

thanks for the replies
a
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tdfd
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Joined: 15 May 2004
Location: Seattle, Wa

PostPosted: 2005.04.11(Mon)10:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

You definately should have a skimmer. If you are using live rock as a filter you will need it because two fish in a 20 gallon is enogh to make a mess. Live rock is the best way to filter and keep nitrates low. It cannot work miracles. You will still need to remove excess nutrients from your water and a skimmer will do this. You should not have to worry about trace elements if you are using soft corals they are easy. Maybe just dose with iodide if you need it. Or you could just put the filter media in the aqua clear and clean it daily. I don't think a hang on the back filter is going to make an effective refugium.
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