Beginner Startup questions!

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by uncle bob, 8 Jul 2009.

  1. uncle bob

    uncle bob

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    Hi All,

    I'd like to start up a reef tank. I'm based in Cape Town and have read some of the startup information on this forum. some excellent reading material but there is indeed a vast collection. Can someone experienced point me to material that i can work through to get started - like a 101 A to Z of all the basics?

    What would a typical reef tank setup cost for starting out and where should i go around the Cape Town area? excluding the live rock and fish just the 'hardware'

    I also want to find out with the live rock and species taken whether these are normally done in a sustainable way because the one thing that bugs me is that you are taking from the environment and judging by the common destruction of marine environments the last thing i'd like to support is the further demise.

    Cheers
    Uncle Bob
     
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  3. Jaak

    Jaak

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    Hi Uncle Bob, to determine what a typical setup would cost is very difficult. IT depends on whether you're going to buy new or second hand and most importantly what you want to keep, size of tank will determine what equipment, etc...
    Here's a nice read to start up: Starting a Marine Tank - Beginner Discussions
     
  4. tinusb

    tinusb

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    Hi Uncle Bob. True wat Jaak said. I can say that I've spent a lot of money so far... about 30 000+. I live in Windhoek, so of course everything is much more expensive here...

    BUT, the hobby is worth every cent!

    Good luck!
    Tinus
     
  5. schaun

    schaun

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    Hi uncle Bob, im also relatively new in the hobby. Been in it for 8 months.
    Now as Jaak said it is difficult to give an estimate price on a system. But I can tell you a few
    Things I managed to pickup along the way. First of let me tell you, this is the most satisfying and addictive hobbies that I have ever had. Just cannot seem to pull myself away from it.
    It’s amazing to be able to take something out of the wild and give it a happy home where it can thrive in. Don’t worry about environmental issues. This hobby will give you and your whole family a better understanding about the ecology of a reef. Will also give your friends a better understanding of how delicate the ecology of the ocean is and will make them more aware of their environment. So I think we do more good than harm.
    As for your concern over the environment, I think that all aquarists have a great love for it and we all
    Go through grate lengths to keep our live stock in good happy condition. That is also why it is imperative to read as much as you can before starting up your tank. Don’t skimp on the things you need, as this will cost you dearly in the long run.
    Remember that you will keep your tank for years and things you skimp on in the beginning will bite you in the ass somewhere along the line. Don’t think about the cost of it all because you might not ever start of if you do. Take things slowly and get the right stuff.
    Only bad things happen fast in an aquarium. So you will have to have a lot of patients. If you are not a patient man this might not be the hobby for you. But then again I’m not patient at all my hobby demanded it of me. So I had to adapt.
    Ask as many questions as possible, and get as many opinions as you can before adding something or changing something in your tank. You have a responsibility to all living things in your tank.
    Hope you have all the success in the world and good luck.
    Regards.
     
  6. riyadhessa

    riyadhessa

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    Hey Uncle Bob like Jaak has said it is very difficult to give an estimated price...that depends if you going new or secondhand sysstem...Please do ask advice,questions and do buy on impulse cause only bad things can happen if you do so.
    Hope you have plenty of patience's cause this hobby requires that.
     
  7. FransSny

    FransSny

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    Uncle Bob i see no one commented on your question about sustainability . It has alsways been a issue for me as well, are we contributing to conservartion or destroying ?

    My view is that no....most exporters dont due it in a sustainable manner, ie the use of sianide is common, removing a cleaner wrasse has a huge impact on the rest of the reef etc etc.

    MOST important thing to remember if this is a concern, READ BEFORE BUYING and dont buy LS that should be left in the ocean. This way you will not kill stuff due to ignorance and hopefully the LFS's will wake up and stop importing certain things

    My 2C
     
  8. crispin

    crispin

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    Bob many of your questions are detirmined by your dreams. By that i mean you need to have an idea of what looks good to you, what sort of tank you can picture and then we can help you get the appropriate equipment to help them survive and thrive.

    I had similar questions when I started and I summerized the experince in a few threads. My first thread was this one...A new tank to start or an established system - Page 2 - New Members and reading through it again, i see the incredible advice i got from MASA was spot on and saved me lots of money/frustration. out of intrest i never went for either tank discussed, i waited untill i found alarger tank at a great price and its been my pride and joy for a year.

    also have a read through A summary of a beginnners sharp learning curve - Beginner Discussions as thats the summary of my experince as to what I actually did.


    i hope they help a little
     
  9. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Hiya Uncle Bob. As I have told you in your other thread, please have a read through the URL link in my signature (on starting a marine aquarium).

    The BEST thing to do in marines, is to do things SLOWLY. This way, it has a smaller impact on your pocket. Over a period of time, yes, this hobby can end up costing a pretty penny. BUT, if you can manage it over a long period of time, the impact of this is far less....

    I have not come across ONE HOBBY that is not expensive, though.

    OK - things you will have to look at, to start off with:
    1) a tank:
    = what type of tank? 2nd hand? pre-built, ie. Jebo or AquaH2O? custom built?
    = size of the tank? the bigger the better - the more water volume you have, the more "forgiving" the tank is w.r.t problems in the tank - ie. if a fish dies, it takes FAR longer in a big system for an ammonia spike to occur, than in a small tank. In a small tank, you HAVE to be very diligent with water changes, else you can end up losing lifestock, etc..
    A bigger tank, has it's own "issues", ie. costs more to stock up, costs more to filter, costs more to supply the correct lighting, costs more to supply the correct water flow.... etc... etc..
    So - you have to decide which is good for the location where you want to place the tank. What is good for your pocket. What is good for you, w.r.t the maintenance... Etc.

    I have one "small" 1.2 metre tank (300 litres of water), and a big tank - 2 metres, with +-870 litres of water. I am extremely happy with both. BUT, I have found, that if one starts small - VERY soon you would want to upgrade.

    Many newbie reefers start out with a 1.2 metre (4ft) tank, as it is a "manageable size"....
    2) filtration:
    = what skimmer? the more popular and proven brands, are ReefTek, ReefOctopus, Bubble Magus - these offer very good value for money. There are much better, but also far more expensive skimmers: ie. Deltec, Bubble Master, Bubble King, etc...
    = you should try and get a skimmer that is "rated" (this is a debatable topic), for at least twice the total water volume you have in your tank. This will ensure that the skimmer would be able to "export" as much nutrients from the tank, as is necessary for the water's nutrient levels, to be as low as possible
    = sump: marine tanks these days, have and should have "sumps", which is a second tank (usually smaller) which is "linked up" with the main tank, by means of a overflow pipe from the display tank (main tank), which deposits water into this second tank - the sump - which flows through, get's filtered by different filtration methods, and then get's pumped back into the tank, by a "return pump"
    = DB: Deep Sand Bed - is the main filtration of a marine tank, together with live rock - sand bed where the sand particles is between 0.05mm and 1mm in size, and the sand bed itself, is between 120mm and 150mm deep. The bigger the total surface area of the DSB, the better.
    = live rock: this supplies the micro fauna for the marine tank, and micro critter diversity, as well as assists with biological filtration
    3) in-tank water flow: this is supplied by power-heads: look at the following brands: SEIO, SunSun, ReSun, Tunze - these supply a VERY WIDE and dispersed water flow. You do NOT want pumps/powerheads that give a very narrow, jet-stream like water output, as the marine critters do not like this, as this is not natural to them.
    = you want to create a very turbulent and chaotic water flow, within your display tank - as this is what the sea is like - we are trying to recreate the sea, in a small glass box in our homes....
    4) lighting: for a FISH ONLY system (no corals), the lighting is only there for aesthetic reasons. For us to see the fish. The fish do not benefit at all from any specific type of lighting, except to tell them "it's day, or it's night" ;))
    = IF you want to keep corals, and/or anemone's - then you require the strongest (in wattage) T5 high-output fluorescent lighting, or metal halide lighting. The white "coloration" (measured in Kelvins) also plays a role - the higher the Kelvins, the less yellow does the tank's water look, and the bluer the white light "look"....
    For corals and anemone's, you want very high output lighting, as these animals are 90% of the time 90% dependant on this strong lighting for survival... (read up on zooxanthellae and this works).

    OK - I think that this is enough for now - else it might be an information overload.

    Good luck, and ask questions if you don't understand something.
     
  10. crispin

    crispin

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    LOL bob, you have some quality reading to plough through now :)
     
  11. inflames

    inflames

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    Welcome Uncle Bob to a great forum... Some great advise from the guys already!!:thumbup:

    Follow what Jacqes has said to start off with decide on the tank size you want to keep. From there we can help you every step of the way! I am aso new to Marines (only 10 months) but did keep and still do keep Fresh water tropical...with that said its a total different kettle of fish!!! but the freshwater tropical experience did help allot! It is a fantastic hobbi and has its trials and tribulations. It does require patience and dedication, but the rewards are endless!

    Allot of the Guys do fragging (starting a new piece of coral from a bigger main coral) so this means that less and less are taken from our oceans which is great thing...we are also starting to breed a number of species of marine fish in our aquariums which also help the reefs ecology out there! The longer you are envolved in the hobbi the more you will become aware of where the stuff in our tanks come from and what is the environmentle inpact and then we (you) can help to make a difference.

    One problem we encounter is the fantastic living creature anemones (nennies). These live for Hundreds of years in our oceans on the reef...yet we struggle to keep them (even the most experienced) reefer for longer than a few years in an aquarium. Most of the guys (including me) think lets get one as its such a great animal to keep...rush out and buy one and then dont know what the requirements are to keep them happy!

    So I think the bottom line is education and ask as many questions as possible and get the best advise from all the guru's here at MASA!

    Happy Reefing Uncle Bob and looking forward to the pictures!:thumbup:
     
  12. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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  13. uncle bob

    uncle bob Thread Starter

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    Gents, i'm overwhelmed by the response!! Thx so much, much appreciated. i don't want to single anyone out as they were all good! :):peroni:

    I've worked through all the material provided already ;):thumbup::thumbup:

    Any books that can be recommended?

    I'm looking at a tank of roughly 1.5meters. where should i go or source one around cape town? any recommendations? i'm keen on 2nd hand if the price is right for most of the hardware as i'm not the richest fellow and it's a recession after all!
     
  14. Boendoe

    Boendoe

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  15. riyadhessa

    riyadhessa

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    Uncle Bob i see that you from cape town why dont you pm imarine he has a stunning tank from a friend that is 4sale...let me know if you interested then i can pm you his number...
     
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