Hello - advice please

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Really cool and interesting forum.

Please can I get some advice:

Space available - 1500 x 500mm (w x d) - freestanding tank

i would like to eventually have a reef system

Budget - R 12K for tank, skimmer, powerheads, lights and live rock, basically everything except the fish and inverts.

I have no idea what gear (make or model) I should be looking for ?

Who are the Petshops to be trusted in Joburg ? (it shoulds like most are no good with marine aquariums)

If someone could give me advice on what would be a good starter system, or maybe I have insufficent budget ?

I have been reading up information over the holidays and understand the 3-4 weeks cycling etc.

Thanks in advance
 
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Welcome to our forum. Nice to have anoher insomniac on board, it gets really lonely here thids time of the morning.
 
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Playing poker and doing some homework. Best time to get this done. All the kids are asleep
 

Kanga

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Morning and welcome to MASA Warr, yeah insomnia can be a good thing here.

Right to determine what you would need we would have to have an indication of what you would like to keep.

Here is a picture of a basic setup and what you might need

tanksetup.jpg
 
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Really cool and interesting forum.

Please can I get some advice:
Space available - 1500 x 500mm (w x d) - freestanding tank
In this space i would go for a 1.3long x 500deep x as wide as you can afford.

i would like to eventually have a reef system
Personally i believe that you should start your tank as a reef and add fish only once reef is fully functional.

Budget - R 12K for tank, skimmer, powerheads, lights and live rock, basically everything except the fish and inverts.
For a medium small tank, I believe your budget is sufficient, depending on how wide you go. At the moment skimmers are well priced, especially the reef octopus or reeftek range. Try the sponsors on this site Aquality and Eco aquatics, as they both stock these units. I would recommend the reeftek reefocto ts3. Think around the R2000 mark. They are rated for 1000litres, which should give you a good safety margin. ( My system only 600 litres and running a skimmer rated for 2000 litres) This is an in sump unit, so don't forget to factor a sump into your budget and have the stand designed high enough to comfortably insert/remove the skimmer.

With regards to lighting, I would recommend something in the line of the unit mentioned on this thread: BLV lighting units - Marine Aquariums of South Africa Well priced and sufficient for your depth tank. IMHO the reflectors can be improved, but you will be set for a long time with these units, and they come with very decent globes fitted. A steal IMO at just about R3000.

With regards to pumps, your first pump should be your return pump, and You can get away with under a grand for a return pump for this sized system. In tank flow should be at least 4 x seio M1100's around R500 each. (Please do not waste your money on ordinary powerheads)

So we on about R8000. I got no idea of tank costs but whatever is left after your tank, stand and sump, use it towards quality liverock and a deep sand bed (prefferably run in sump)

Who are the Petshops to be trusted in Joburg ? (it shoulds like most are no good with marine aquariums)
I can't help you here, as I have no experience with up country lfs' but if I may generalise: Always research any purchase advised by a petshop, and consider yourself fortunate for finding this forum before listening to sales/profit motivated advice. Ask, listen and learn before you buy anything in this hobby. I would try and get as much as possible from the sponsors on this site, as their products are sound and their service even better.

If someone could give me advice on what would be a good starter system, or maybe I have insufficent budget?
Advice is a pleasure for most of us and we would happily help you avert any of the mistakes we have made. (And for some of us thats a LOT)
Personally I think your budget is sufficient, shop around, BUT don't skimp on filtration (skimmer dsb liverock) or flow and tank construction.

I have been reading up information over the holidays and understand the 3-4 weeks cycling etc.
Read, and read some more!

Please do not put a timeframe on cycling, as each tank is different, with the only general rule being slower, is better.
 
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sleeping is for the dead:p

irie we are not alone dude...
 

Kanga

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Possible Equipment list

Tank 1.5 x 70 wide (trust me the extra width will be worth it) x 60
sump, as big as you can make it

Lights = 2 150w MH with T5 actinic supplement/T5 lighting
"powerheads" = 4 x SEIO m1100 or 4 by boyu wavemakers
Skimmer = Reeftek TS2 or TS3
Heater
Return pump
R/O unit for topping up and making salt mix


Salt mix
Aragonite for substrate and dsb or playsand
Live Rock or bio rock (personally i would mix)


That should be about the basics you could get away with

try our sponsors in the sponsors forum guys like Andrew from Eco Aquatics has great prices and the service and advice is top notch
 
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Thanks Irie Ivan. Great info.

Thanks for the graphic this really helps.

Couple of questions:

Who are the site sponsors - Northlands, Aquality ?

When you say 1.3 long - Is this top to bottom ?

I don't understand the stand bed in the sump ?

How do I distinguish liverock quality ? If any

Thanks again, I will send you guys loads of questions before I start purchasing.
 

Kanga

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Couple of questions:

Who are the site sponsors - Northlands, Aquality ?
Northlands, aquality and Eco Aquatics are all site sponsors and will ship to you and generally it would still work out cheaper
When you say 1.3 long - Is this top to bottom ?
Irrie means length from side to side
I don't understand the stand bed in the sump ?

Read this it should help

How do I distinguish liverock quality ? If any
Your best bet now would be to buy it from a reputable dealer like on of the above sponsors

Thanks again, I will send you guys loads of questions before I start purchasing.
researching would be the best investment you could make:thumbup:
 

Kanga

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What is a nano tank ? really small ??
generally a tank under 120litres is considered a nano, although the initial set up might be cheaper it often works out more expensive by volume.

The problem is that they are often more difficult to keep and run and water parameters etc could be less stable, as a beginner the bigger the better
 
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Couple of questions:

Who are the site sponsors - Northlands, Aquality ?
Marine Aquariums of South Africa
but i see you just posted there.

When you say 1.3 long - Is this top to bottom ?
Length, i.e from left to right, width is how wide from front to back and height is from top to bottom. Sorry i might have sounded unclear before. Go for a tank which is about 1.3 meter wide, x 0.5meter high and as wide as you can go.

I don't understand the stand bed in the sump ?
A sump is a smaller tank below your tank housing most of your filtration equipment. Personally i prefer to have a deep sand bed in the sump (as in Kanga's sketch)

How do I distinguish liverock quality ? If any
Not so easy. Take a look at the conditions it is kept in, ask how long it has been cured for (minimum 3 weeks), and smell it. It should smell like fresh seawater, not sulphur or decaying material. Do not judge liverock by the amount of life forms (sponges, green algae) on it , as this is generally a sign of freshly imported liverock, and most of the stuff will die and foul your system. Also lift the rock in the water and see how much "dust" comes off it and out of it. Choosing the rock with the least amount of crap in will save you headaches in the long run. Try and get a good mix of liverock from different locations, such as Kenyan (usually very porous and more often than not boulder shaped, (Try and select interesting shapes instead of the boulders), Fiji, Tonga, malaysian, usually more dense, but has the best shapes for aquascaping.For a good lesson on liverock phone Liaquat from Aquality, in fact call him right now and tell him to stop dosing off!

Thanks again, I will send you guys loads of questions before I start purchasing
You learn fast
 

Kanga

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s

Can you ship liverock ? Don't the micro organisms die ?
You can ship it, most comes from Kenya, Fiji or Malaysia so shipping is par for the course and although you will have some die off if shipped its nothing to be concerned about.
 
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Thanks, I am looking forward to my first shop investigations later today
 
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Once I have the tank, skimmer liverock and sump (with DSB). I need to run the system as described in Hennie's reefmanics.com article. How do I do the testing. Some sort of test kit form the sponsors ? If so what is it named ?
 

Kanga

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Thanks, I am looking forward to my first shop investigations later today
Beware the BioBalls and T8's are not good enough for a reef:p

Once I have the tank, skimmer liverock and sump (with DSB). I need to run the system as described in Hennie's reefmanics.com article. How do I do the testing. Some sort of test kit form the sponsors ? If so what is it named ?
You get test kit, yip the sponsors should have

to start I would get Nitrate, Nitrite, Phosphate test kits
 
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It talks about "
Life in the DSB

A DSB cannot work if only consists of substrate. We need animals to constantly disturb the top layer of the sand bed. This is achieved by various types of digging worms, small crustaceans, tiny brittle stars and small crabs and snails. Although some critters will disturb the substrate keeping it churned, it is also important to have a good concentration of scavengers. Scavengers will consume detritus before it can start to rot. Try to avoid aggressive predators in the DSB as it will effectively wipe out your other beneficial life forms. "

Does this mean I have to have inverts etc, living in the sump ?
 

Kanga

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It talks about "
Life in the DSB

A DSB cannot work if only consists of substrate. We need animals to constantly disturb the top layer of the sand bed. This is achieved by various types of digging worms, small crustaceans, tiny brittle stars and small crabs and snails. Although some critters will disturb the substrate keeping it churned, it is also important to have a good concentration of scavengers. Scavengers will consume detritus before it can start to rot. Try to avoid aggressive predators in the DSB as it will effectively wipe out your other beneficial life forms. "

Does this mean I have to have inverts etc, living in the sump ?
yip tiny little inverts like amphipods, copapods etc its good to seed your dsb with a handfull of sand from a mature/healthy DSB (scrape the top 1 cm off)

you will be amazed the tiny critters that live in a reef tank, your live rock will help with seeding the dsb as well
 
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OK, I seem to be getting my head around all this.

next question: Where do I find info on "making" seawater. I live inland so the Indian ocean is out of the question
 
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