Contemplating marine...

Discussion in 'New Members' started by alwynvanniekerk, 19 Jul 2009.

  1. alwynvanniekerk

    alwynvanniekerk

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    Hi all!

    I currently run an 800L tropical, and I am contemplating the idea of converting it to a marine tank.

    Luckily this forum is one of the first sites I've found and after about 2 hours of reading I already have a much better idea of what's involved and what would be required.

    My biggest concern right now would be cost, and secondly time. A lot of the FAQs refer to both these items, and considering the size of my tank I can only imagine that this is going to break the bank sooner rather than later.

    Anyone willing to provide a guesstimate what my initial outlay would be? Consider using the best equipment and equipping for a fish + rock setup, not too sure about the more demanding reef bits yet...

    Thanks for the great collection of info and what seems like a real family-friendly forum.



    - Alwyn
     
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  3. Rory

    Rory Admin MASA Contributor

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    Welcome Alwyn!

    800L is a pretty good size for a fw tank but not really that big for a reef. (It's definitely big enough though).

    One of your biggest expenses would be live rock. A rough guideline for the "ideal" amount is 1kg of rock for every 4L of water. That gives you 200kg of rock. You could probably get by with 100kg just fine though, but at R65/kg (cheapest you'll find it) that works out to R6500 for rock. A skimmer will probably set you back around R2500. Lights you won't have to spend too much if going fish only for now. Other than that budget for powerheads, test kits, refractometer, salt, ro unit, fish, food, etc.
     
  4. Fishy Steve

    Fishy Steve Hiden super user

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    Dont let the price scare u. Marine is so much more challenging and rewarding. The live rock doesn't have to be bought all at once. Just some questions. 1. Do you have a sump? 2. What lighting are u currently using? 3. Do u have at least twice the time you are currently using for your tank? 4. Have u ever used copper medicine in your tank? Oh and welcome. This site is in my opinion the all around best forum on the net.
     
  5. Fishy Steve

    Fishy Steve Hiden super user

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    Oh and just to give u the heads up the best equipment is stupidly expensive especially concerning powerheads. If u take a step down to the averagely priced stuff u get maybe 80 percent of the performance for 20 percent of the price meaning u can either have 4 times more for the same price or replace one three times which you probably wont need to. So if u can afford a stupidly priced car for your garage u can look at makes like Tunze but if not there are much cheaper alternatives to the great stuff that work just as well. There might be people who disagree but they are the ones with the money to waste. No offence to them. That stuff is good just not worth it in my opinion.
     
  6. schaun

    schaun

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    Welcome to the marine world.

    Be warned, if this hobby gets hold of you it will never let go.
    One of the things that I firmly live by is keeping it as natural as possible.
    So yes, as you should know by now live rock is essential in a marine tank and
    Makes up most of your filter system.
    Take your time setting up your tank. Rather buy the things that you need for your
    Size tank. Don’t ever skimp, it will cost you dearly in the end.\
    There are lots of second hand things out there if you are willing to wait for them.

    It is an expensive hobby, but very very fulfilling.

    Good luck. Read and ask as many questions as you can.
    :)
     
  7. marine101

    marine101

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    Expensive? Well, i started marine as a student with zero income. Yep, and still going strong after all these years. I spend less than R200 a month on all reef expenses, including light, water, electricity, supplements on a 1.5 meter reef tank. What i can say is that were there is a will there is a way. Fortunately back then earning practically nothing forced me to find alternatie cheap solutions. I always thought that when i started earning i would upgrade and buy expensive equipment. Strangely enough i am happy with my setup and my cheap sun sun pumps, that even though im earning, i find no need for tunzes and the like. So basically marine does not have to b expensive, but usually is, depending on who u are
     
  8. Fishy Steve

    Fishy Steve Hiden super user

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    I also started as a student. But i started 2 years later than i wanted because of stupid people telling me ridiculous costs and i then gave up on the marine dream. But now i'm hooked and happy.
     
  9. inflames

    inflames

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    Welcome to MASA! the best on the web!

    There is allot of things to consider and I dont wanna bombard you with so much at once!

    READ, READ, READ, and when you have finished reading, READ somemore! Yes this hobbie can be very expensive, but it does not have to be! I also coverted a 4 foot fresh water tropical to marine about a year ago. My total setup costs thus far is about R6000. That's for a basic lighting (T5), skimmer(rated 600ltr), sump, pumps(2 x 5000ltr/h sun sun), and some live rock and a few fish, and 2 types of mushrooms. If you are a patient person then it will be able to save allot!! Also allot of DIY can be done that can save allot of cash!

    Good luck and come back and ask the guys as many questions as you need...before spending a cent at the LFS!!
     
  10. Tony

    Tony

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    Welcome. Look in the classifieds here. There are tons of stuff for sale
     
  11. THE ANIMAL

    THE ANIMAL

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    TO MASA!!!!
    ALWYN
     
  12. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    A VERY WARM WELCOME to MASA, Alwyn! Great to have you on-board! I see that my fellow "masadonians" have been helping you along nicely already!

    First off - please read the URL link in my signature. This should give you even a better understanding of what it takes to keep marines.

    As everyone has said (and I re-iterate a few statements):
    1) a really decent skimmer, is definitely worth your while, IF you can, rather safe up for that more expensive, much bigger rated skimmer with needle- or pin-wheel impeller pumps - you won't be sorry. If you cannot - then it would be fine to get the cheaper skimmer, but just know that you will have to do more water changes, more often, you you have to keep far less lifestock (especially fish), that what you can keep in an 800 litre tank. You can always look at getting the "better" skimmer, 2nd hand....
    2) Live rock is indeed expensive - if bought "new" (how can one determine if rock is new? ;)) from a LFS (local fish shop/local pet shop) - you could get really awesome "specials" from someone breaking down their tanks.... this seems to happen reasonably often these days. BUT, that said - also look at the other alternatives - you can set up a really decent tank, with 20% really high quality live rock (from either Fuji, Phillipines, Indonesia) and 80% bio-rock (investigate bio-rock - usually man-made rock, with 80% of the qualities of "real live rock")....
    3) a sump for your tank is not crucial, BUT, it does help a LOT with increasing your tank's water volume, and allows you to have a deep sand bed, to assist with filtration in your tank, and also gives micro fauna a breeding and living space... A sump also gives you an area where you can place decent granular activated carbon (GAC) and phosphate remover media. You can also use this area for your skimmer to live in, as well as other filtration methods - ie. have live rock in the sump as well to assist with filtration, and keep chaetomorpha macro algae to assist with removing organic nitrates and phosphates from the water....

    There's a HUGE amount of information - and as what was said before - READ as much as you can. Be prepared to have a "basically empty tank" (only with water and sand and live rock in) for at least 2.5 to 3 months.... This is the time the tank "cycles" and becomes ready, before you can add life stock.

    You cannot hurry mother nature. The seas/oceans and coral reefs are very old - and everything takes it's own time - if we try and hurry things, our lifestock just keeps on dying on us - and it is a lot of trauma (for us). Meaning that people tend to give up easily, if these things happen.

    Good luck with the journey into keeping marines! It's an AWESOME and addictive hobby.
    Please note that this is a very long term project.

    Mature marine tanks are the MOST beautiful tanks.
     
  13. alwynvanniekerk

    alwynvanniekerk Thread Starter

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    Thank you!

    Thanks everybody for the warm welcome and all the good bits of advice - it's already helping a lot...

    Time seems to be the next biggest requirement over and above the costs, and this will become my deciding factor. Currently I'm struggling with maintenance time as is, so I'll have to rethink if I can actually make this commitment...



    - Alwyn
     
  14. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Alwyn - a settled tank, and very well/carefully planned tank, does not have to take up so much of your time.

    The only REAL maintenance you will end up doing, are the following:
    1) feeding the fish once a day (you can automate this, if you prefer)
    2) once a week cleaning of the front glass (in freshwater you have a plecostumous (sp?) to keep your front glass clean - I have not encountered a similar fish or other critter in marines yet)...
    3) clean the skimmer cup (unless you get a skimmer which has an outlet which you can plumb directly to some drain of sorts) - this this chore also "dissappears"...
    4) every 2 weeks or so (at most) measure the water parameters
    5) on an 800 litre tank, you can get away with changing ie. 10% of the water every 2 to 3 weeks or so - if you really don't have the time, then you can do this once a month.....

    All-in-all - the maintenance time of a settled/matured tank, is about 10 to 15 minutes per day - if that much.

    In the beginning it does take some extra work, though. You have to measure the water parameters more often....
     
  15. alwynvanniekerk

    alwynvanniekerk Thread Starter

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    Thanks Jacquesb,

    That's starting to sound a lot more realistic, and in line with my current maintenance routines (and therefore a lot more attainable...)

    I currently have 4 mature Oscars in my tank, so I'm pretty much used to a lot of mess, but I am planning on keeping a low stocked tank so as to try and not have to go through the same messy routine that I have right now
     
  16. Giepie

    Giepie

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    Firstly, welcome to MASA Alwyn. You're at the right place for good solid advice, great people and loads of knowledge.

    Secondly - I see jacquesb is already on your "case" (in a good way) as I think (my opinion) having him on your side is a right way to go.

    Thirdly - I started this hobby about 6 months ago after having a FW system for over 9 years. The conversion from FW to Marine was a huge step for me too, so I do understand your issue of time and cost. My suggestion w.r.t. cost: Babysteps... There's no need for a "fast track", so take it day-by-day... Month-by-month... Break your ultimate goal into smaller, much easier (and afordable) "check-points" and before you know it, you're there!!!

    Last but not least: Research... There's tons of info on this site and please do not be afraid to ask questions... There's nothing like a stupid question...

    Have fun!
     
  17. alwynvanniekerk

    alwynvanniekerk Thread Starter

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    Thanks Giepie - I'm feeling extremely welcome here already...

    I am at that point where the tons and tons of research should start if I decide to pursue this any further, as I am still gathering all the nitty gritty details that you dont typically get from a LFS or a book.

    So realistically I'm probably a year away from a settled tank if I go down this route, and I'm happy with it taking that long - patience and effort are both rewarded in the long run!
     
  18. Jaak

    Jaak

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    Welcome to MASA!!
     
  19. christiaan

    christiaan

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    :welcometomasa1::welcometomasa1::welcometomasa1:
     
  20. riyadhessa

    riyadhessa

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    Welcome to MASA
     
  21. werner5

    werner5

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    masahello
     
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