Everything I'll need...

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by Linxie, 14 Dec 2009.

  1. Linxie

    Linxie

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    The more I read the more noobish I feel about this hobby.
    Let's get a list going of all the things I'll need.
    If we can get an estimate of prices as well, this'll help ALOT
    This weekend past I started a FW tank to keep me happy while I'm saving for my marine tank. I don't see me waiting too long though.

    I want to start a reef tank but also with a few fish here 'n there.

    Tank (going to get one built)
    Sump (going to get one built)
    Protein Skimmer (which one?)
    Lights (what kind and how many?)
    (we'll worry about living organisms and live rock at a later stage)
    Filter?
    Power Heads

    What else?
    Yes... BIG noob am I lol
    This'll take a while, but boy is it going to be worth it.

    I suppose all these things are dependant on the tank size. Well, let's say we'll start off biggish and go with a 4ft or 5ft tank.
    If I can buy one piece of equipment a month, I'll be a happy chappy :D
     
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  3. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Let me answer the Lights question.

    It entirely depends on what you want to keep. Also how deep is your tank.

    Softies, Zoa's and leathers - T5's
    LPS - T5's or 150w MH
    SPS - MH 250W or bigger.
    Anemones - MH, except RBTA prefer less intense lights

    Deep tanks - MH
    Shallow tanks - T5's

    So, I actually did not answer your question:whistling:

    You first have to decide,
    • How deep will the tank be
    • What do you want to keep.
     
  4. Linxie

    Linxie Thread Starter

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    Thanks RiaanP
    I'll do some research regarding what I want to keep them come back to this thread ^_^

    As for the protein skimmer... well I've just found a few DIY tuts which I'm definitely going to try. My boyfriend is in engineering, so will be able to help build this.

    What other things can we do ourselves?
     
  5. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman MASA Contributor

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    Allow me to elaborate a bit on what Riaan has said already:

    FIRSTLY and most importantly to ANYTHING: what are you planning to keep? If you are in the market to buy a gamefarm, and you KNOW you are planning to keep the Big 5, you will not go buy yourself a 100ha farm...;)

    Same here... What are your future plans with your system, do want a dominated tank, garden tank or biotype tank? What do I mean you ask?

    Dominated tank: Dominated tanks are tanks that are dominated by a specific type of coral, be it SPS (Acropora, Monitpora etc) LPS (Torch Corals, Hammer Corals etc) Softie tank (mushrooms, polyps, Zoa's etc) etc etc etc.

    Garden Tank: This is a tank where you, well, like my granny, just "gooi" anything in there that you like, be it SPS, LPS and softies.

    Biotype: Now this is, IMO, the right way to do things. A biotype is where you have REALLY researched each individual species you keep. This normally is a replica of a specific area or "spot" of the ocean. Examples are like where the waves break, in the very shallows. Normally, this would be a SPS tank, but further more, you have specific species found in the Western / Indo Pacific, Phillipines etc etc. Basically, you do not keep any fish, coral or invert that does not come from that region of the ocean or found on that specific "scene" in the ocean.


    Just a quick advantage and disadvantage of the above options:

    A dominated tank has the nice advantage of you having to really only worry about the needs of once specific spesies, and not having to go into too much effort or detail to keep it.

    The garden reef, however unfortunately the most common of reef types, is in fact, the most difficlut to keep IMO. Why would I say that? Well, you often sit with a situation where you have an Acropora SPS coral with muhsrooms right next to it. Now, you have to cater for the massive flow needed for the SPS, whilst having to give less flow to the mushroom... This makes for endless changing and moving the tank and flow around the whole time to accomodate all the species... This is also difficult as garden reefs really host species of all over the ocean. You sit with fish from the Pacific and Fish from the Bahamas. Their needs are not the same obviosly...

    The Biotype is also not the easiest to do. A lot of research goes into this, and you really have to stick with your plan, and not buy impulsivly. You often sit with difficult structures to build for a specific species of coral. The nice thing however, is if you get it spot on, you really have a STUNNING display of coral, that really look realistic and do really well!!!

    Only ONCE you have decided what you want on the abovementioned, can you move ahead.

    I am not going to go into too much detail on this, but when deciding on size of tank, please bear the following in mind:

    In this hobby, the smaller you go the more difficult it is to keep the system healthy. If something goes wrong in a small tank, it goes wrong REALLY quickly. In bigger tanks, you have more water volume which will help buffer "mistakes" from your side. The flipside to this, is that the bigger you go, the more expensive EVERYTHING becomes. Not only the initial cost, but also the monthly.

    Small tanks take less water, thus 10% water change in a 150litre tank would cost you much less than a 10% water change in 1000 litre system

    In a small tank you need much less liverock to fill it up compared to a big tank.

    Small tanks need less "units" / smaller lights. Instead of three MH's you'd need only one. Instead of 80W T5's you need 24W T5's etc etc

    Additives also are more expensive on bigger tanks, as you have to add more of it.

    Skimmers need be smaller in smaller tanks and so the list goes on.

    So, once again, IMO, it is better to go bigger if you have the funds. If not, go small, but know that your work will be a tad harder to keep the system 100% stable.

    A lot said here, but I really hope this will help you move into a direction before falling victim to the "get this and that and take it from there" that I fell into... ;)
     
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  6. Linxie

    Linxie Thread Starter

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    Thanks for your post Jaco! It has given me a lot to think about. I'll draw up a plan, then report back here :D
     
  7. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Well Explained Jaco, are your fingers tired? :)

    Something else, if you want (one day) to have anemones, then powerheads are a problem. Must ensure you do not suck and shred the anemone.

    While on anemones, do not put any into your tank before it is at least 8 months old. By then you would have learned how to keep the water stable, and your tank would have matured enough to keep it alive.

    Other than that, Jaco gaved you an excellent comment. So it it time to doi some research

    (Yes, my setup is a garden setup.... Well all softies, leathers, lot of rock anemones and one proper anemone) But it is all Africa east coast (except for the RBTA anemone - do not know where they come from).
     
  8. Linxie

    Linxie Thread Starter

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    Thanks Riaan, that makes sense. I'm not sure I'll want to take on anemonies just yet.
    Thinking of going for a mixed reef, but wanna do some research on the different corals first.
     
  9. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    Welcome to MASA Linxie, glad you joined.

    You'll also need test kits for the following:

    Ammonia
    Nitrites
    Nitrates
    kH
    pH
    Calcium
    Phosphates

    Get decent test kits ;)

    You'll need a refractometer to measure the salinity, salt and a drum to keep ready mixed water. You'll need a reverse osmosis water purification unit that makes the water to be used with the salt mix and for evapouration top ups. Or you can use natural sea water but you'll still need RO water for top ups.

    :wave2:
     
  10. Linxie

    Linxie Thread Starter

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    Thanks Tobes!
    Would distilled water work? My bf is in the engineering business and he frequently get's bottled water for free lol, so I was wondering if this would work? Or are there too many chemicals in the water still?

    Went to panorama yestererday and I saw lovely soft coral there. Not a very big variety, but nice nevertheless.
     
  11. FransSny

    FransSny

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    Nice advice Jaco :thumbup:

    BTW linxie, another thing to bear in mind on tank size on large tanks (although more stable) when things go wrong, and they do in this hobby be it from our own mistakes or just freak accidents. Fixing the problem will take more effort, money and longer than on a small tank.

    Flipside on a small tank things go wrong quicker and sometimes worse but it can be corrected in a shorter period etc

    Catch 22 unfortunately
     
  12. Linxie

    Linxie Thread Starter

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    Thanks FransSny, unfortunately it's like that with many things in life :(
    Honestly, I'd rather get a big tank to start off with. We bought a FW tank this weekend and already it's too small for our liking. :D
    Thanks for the headsup though! One can never be too careful.
     
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