Beginner Tank Size Recommendations

Jase619

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Hi,

After many years of looking at my brother's marine tank in awe, and keeping varying Tropical freshwater fish(currently keeping Cichlids quite successfully), I have decided to make my dream come true and start a marine tank. I am busy reading every piece of information that I can find, learning what I need to let my future fish and corals flourish.

I have however a question I am undecided on. What size to start with? I have an old 60cmx40cmx40cm that is in my cupboard that I am considering starting up and using as a "Learning Tank". While on the other hand I have heard everywhere that the more capacity you have the easier the learning curve is(forgiving). So in that case a 4ft tank is what I would be looking at.

Any thought/ideas on this? Will purchase the necessary equipment for the size i get, and the old tank will be used as a hospital/QT tank once I have found where i will build my supersize in about 4 or 5 years.

Thanks!
 

RiaanP

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any tank between 250L up to maximum 500L. Over 500L and initial equipment list starts to get expensive.
 

Jase619

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So a definite no on the mini tank then?

And what is expensive in your mind for an equipment list. . . Did a calculation last night for a 4ft tank and almost fell off my chair:001_huh::eek:
 

zippy

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dilution is the solution for pollution....

You make a small mistake in a big tank you're okay, you make the same mistake in a small tank you're done and so is the livestock.

If you do go smaller, over-spec everything, skimmer, wavemakers, return pumps, buy for a bigger tank. The hobby becomes addictive, smaller usually gets huge, then downgraded to something a little smaller and this then becomes easier to maintain.

Your best bet imo is to understand how to resolve issues in terms of nitrate and phosphate build up within the tank, once you are comfortable with resolving those two concerns then start planning on how you can afford to maintain and test a system.

An important thing to note: there are a number of different reasons why people keep marine aquariums, some reasons you may even find tremendously hilarious:

We are water keepers, having coral and fish in our water is just the cherry on the cake or a bonus imo.

Good luck either way.
 

viper357

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So a definite no on the mini tank then?
Not at all. If your budget will only allow a small tank then do a small tank. This hobby can empty your pockets very quickly, lol, so if you're on a budget then start off small, yes it is a bit more challenging but it will be a good way to start and learn things, just heed all of the advice given to you and go for it. :thumbup: There is loads of good advice from everyone here, so you'll never be short of help.

I have an old 60cmx40cmx40cm that is in my cupboard that I am considering starting up and using as a "Learning Tank".
Excellent idea I think, it will be a great size to learn with. All you'll need is a couple of 2ft T5 tubes, a small hang-on skimmer, heater, small pump (RW-4 maybe), and that's basically it. Keep up water changes and you've got yourself a tank.:)

But if you do want to venture onto a bigger tank then check out the For Sale section for second hand stuff, there's always loads in there that will get you going for cheaper.
 

Jase619

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Thanks everyone for the opinions so far, really appreciate it. This is what I was hoping for, a nice open discussion with pro's and con's!

I think my biggest wavering point was last night when I hit the total button on my excel spreadsheet and saw how lots of small amounts adds up so quickly:y13:

The biggest thing I feel I need to take into consideration is that I am contracted to my current job till the end of 2020, so 3 and a half years then in all likelihood moving to Cape Town. So I am definitely not going to buy the tank that I am dreaming of and planning for now(Thanks to the awesome supersize section in the member's tanks forum!!!), only to move it or have to sell it and start again.

So that's how I have come to this crossroads. Use an existing tank, and buy some smaller equipment as @viper357 mentioned above. Or buy a 4ft and buy all the equipment that it needs.

I won't lie, I am leaning towards the bigger tank as it gives me alot of opportunities to DIY alot of things, which I love, and as @zippy said:
dilution is the solution for pollution....
So, could I possibly post an idea of the equipment that I think I need to get started? And you awesome, wise and weathered reefers give this freshwater convert some pointers?
 

Jase619

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Can you trust a courier to do such a thing? Or will it be cheaper/easier to fetch it?
 

Jase619

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Okay, so here is the list of stuff I have come up with over the past few weeks, over which I got cold feet last night when I worked out the basic budget. . .

Open to any and all suggestions with regards to the below list for a 4ft Reef Tank:

Skimmer: Bubble Magus Curve 7
Return: Jeboa DCT4000
Flow: 2 x Jeboa RW-8s
LED unit: Still undecided between the Radion and the Zetlight units. . . Suggestions needed here.
RO Unit and an Auto top off will eventually be acquired, probably not initially.
2 x 200 Watt Heaters
STC1000 Controller with Cooling fans (prob in last chamber of sump, not sure of placement yet).

Will have a c2c overflow, with a sump that I will be DIYing out of the tank i mentioned above that is in my cupboard.
3 chambers,with a DSB that will have live rock and Chaeto on top. with a 10w LED Flood to light it.

Thinking of also having the overflow line pass through a filter sock first, then to skimmer chamber, possibly an ATS then baffle, DSB, baffle and then return chamber.

As I said, any suggestions and pushes/kicks in the right direction will be much appreciated!
 

Ricky W

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Budget is the decider in the end, so for both. Its often cheaper to buy a complete second hand set up than individual pieces new.
 

RiaanP

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When I started out, it was on a 90L tank. Small can be done. The challenges are just greater and the margins for error are slimmer. Your learning curve will be a lot steeper and quicker. You need to focus on the tank daily. A 500L tank and something small that died under the rock stack will hardly impact water parameters. Same small fish dying in a nano will have an impact and over reacting skimmer. On a big tank you most likely will only realize after a couple of days that you haven't seen that anthia or goby lately?
 

madmatt

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Have a look at @Aquaria-SA they have some killer skimmers and Dam good pricing, aswell as extras like heaters wavemakers return pumps lighting.
There customer service is great and value for money is great.
 

hotdog83

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Second hand you can pretty much set up a basic 300-400 liter tank for R9k perhaps? No fancy stuff, but you don't need most of the fancy things.

Tank, stand, sump and return pump - R3k second hand
Lights - R3k if you don't mind T5's or an entry level LED
Pumps - Maybe R1500 secondhand
Stc and heaters/fans - Maybe R500
RO Unit - R600

If you are ever in jhb, come and visit, I can probably give you some of the smaller things like heaters/refractometer etc. as I have a shed full of random stuff I will probably throw out eventually.
 

Jase619

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Thanks @hotdog83, was also thinking 2nd hand would be the way too go! Currently watching the for sale thread like a hawk. As long as the glass on the 2nd hand tank isn't scratched I will be happy!

Where is @Aquaria-SA situated?
 

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