Idea to get started in the hobby

Discussion in 'New Members' started by Prash06, 24 Jan 2011.

  1. Prash06

    Prash06

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    Hi guys

    I'm new to the marine world and even though I wanted a marine aquarium for nearly 2 years, I've never gotten around doing it. Mainly because it can get quite costly to start and with my post grad studies in the pipeline I didn't want to have a cash flow problem. Well anyway I got 6 months left and well, cash flow is looking (a bit) better. So offcourse the idea got back into my head and now I want to get myself into it...really badly!!!

    I've been looking around and as expected, it's really expensive to have a brand new tank, equipment and livestock. I was thinking of buying a second hand tank with some equipment and from there buying as I need. Ultimately, I'd like to have a reef tank. And I'm aware reeftanks can be more expensive than the other set-ups (and harder). Well anyway here is my concept. Feel free to give advice or correct me as you see fit.

    I'm planning to have a FOWLER set-up. I could be wrong on this but to me it seems like a preliminary set-up to a reef tank (am I wrong?). From there I'll buy reef safe fish and hopefully in a few months, I'll be able to start my reef tank. I plan to upgrade the tank to a bigger tank but at a much later stage.

    I've looked around and I've found a dude selling quite a nice deal. He's selling his tank (120 litres) with all equipment, fish, coral and live rock. Now since I'd like to start somewhat fresh, I'd like to sell the fish and coral and keep the tank, equipment and live rock (and sand). From there I plan to start my "quest".

    What you think? Yay or nay?
     
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  3. chas84

    chas84

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    Hi Prash and welcome to MASA. The hobby can get very expensive, but no need to let it go that far if you don't want to. I started out with a 130l tank (a Bouyo TL550), and within like 3 months I had to upgrade and bought a 6foot tank. I'd recommend if at all possible, start with a bigger tank - a 4foot (which is around 220l) would be my preferred size to start with. IME the bigger tank is much more forgiving, and loads more fun, because you will be able to get better lighting, possibly a tang (trust me you'll want one eventually ;)). You'll also be able to have a larger sump (which means more stable water parameters) and can act as a place to keep fish/inverts that aren't suitable to be kept in the DT. If at all possible upload a pic or two of the 120l setup you're looking at buying, and the experts can guide you, I'm just sharing my experience. Starting out with a good setup and decent equipment will save you lots of money in the future.
     
  4. maxisoft

    maxisoft

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    Welcome to Masa, you're in good hands....
    I agree with chas84. I started out with a 4ft in early December. Tried to do things the cheap way and it's cost me more than I anticipated. But, my tank's cycle is complete and got the first few shrooms and zoa's..... fish in this week and away we go.

    One piece of advice I can give you, is that whatever you're about to do/buy/change, ask these guru's on this site..... You will find they're a mountain of information and have found the simplest and cheapest ways to make this hobby affordable...
     
  5. Jhavenga

    Jhavenga

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    Welcome to MASA Prash06.

    I think it is a step in the right direction to look at the second hand market. I bought lots of my stuff second hand (but in a good condition). You save pockets full of money.

    I also have a FOWLR, looking to move into full reef in the (near?) future. I see you are also in Pretoria. You are welcome to pop-in and check out my tank sometime. I have a 4ft (270lt) and I enjoy it a lot.
     
  6. Tremayn

    Tremayn

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    +1 .. Everyone would agree as a bigger tank is more forgiving and thus more suitable to a beginner. A nano tank, such as the 130L TL550 is more for experienced reefers as things can go wrong quickly because of the low system volume (Think of this as someone farting in a small room vs someone farting in a big room :p ) .. Which one do you think is going to be worse if you are also in that room ;) .. Well thats how it is with fish. If a fish dies, the consequences will be greater in a small tank ie ammonia spiking and killing everything lol.. So a 4ft is a good starter tank :) .. Shop around on the forums and you will find a great deal! Get things right from the beginning, ask lots of questions and you will save lots of money and have less/no regrets ;) ..

    Oh yes, and welcome :)
     
  7. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    hi, and welcome

    there is nothing wring with that size to start for a FOWLR, infact it will be perfect.
    you could sell the fish and start with some nice begginer options, 2 clownsfish, a sleeper goby and go from there
     
  8. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    I learned this hobby on a 90L.
    Just remember, the learning curve is just steeper. If anything goes wrong, it goes wrong quicker. On a 90L, or in your case 120L, you have to do your weekly water params check. You have to do your 10% water changes. On bigger tanks, you can skip this some weekends. But then again, 10% is like 12L - thats nothing. Checking your params is the same, no matter what size tank. Last thing on smaller tanks, if you do your water top ups by hand (like me in the beginning) do it in the morning and afternoon. Little bit each time, that will ensure your salinity stays more stable. Doing it only every second day, and you will have problems. First bit of equipment you do need is an ATU.

    I do agree, a 200-300L system, is nice size, cheaper to setup compared to 500L +, relatively easy, but big enough to be forgiving. but on a smaller tank, you force yourself to learn faster. :thumbup:
     
  9. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Perfect, but, before you buy anything, ask for opinions on what you are about to buy, don't rush into buying something because it is cheap and looks good, cash flow is understandably limited so you don't want to be wasting money on buying the wrong things and then not being able to sell them again, you have a world of experience and knowledge from hundreds of reefers here, they will only be too happy to help you out and offer advice.
    Nothing wrong with that, it will allow you to enjoy the world of marines at a much cheaper cost and you can slowly learn how it all works and move on to corals from there. That's how I started out, I got a bargain 5ft tank from someone that sold it off really cheap, I put in water, sand 2 rocks and a couple of fish, every month I would buy one or two kg's of rock until I had built up a decent amount of rock, by then I had a good understanding of the marine game and slowly progressed into corals. I did buy crap like Jebo skimmers and what not, but as I discovered the internet I became a lot wiser and stopped wasting a lot of money on unnecessary junk.

    So yeah, go for it, take it slow, allow the tank to cycle, ask loads of questions and you'll enjoy the hobby so much more. :)
     
    Last edited: 25 Jan 2011
  10. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    Welcome to MASA, glad you joined us. Some great reading for you in the link below on starting a marine tank - enjoy it ;)
     
  11. Prash06

    Prash06 Thread Starter

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    [​IMG]Hi guys thanks for the advice

    Yeah I reallised there is alot of useful info here. Even if you just look around at the forums (which is what I've been doing) you can learn alot. I initially wanted a 4ft set-up. I have tons of space at my place so larger tanks isn't a problem. But I'd like a set-up that is a bit forgiving. Having a bit of room for error really goes a long way when you a beginner. But then again I'm not a really lazy pet keeper so yes I can cope if I get chucked in the deep end. And well I am home nearly every weekend anyway so water changes will be routine. But I think I'm going now try for the 4ft tank.

    I noticed a few really sweet deals for 4ft tanks though. If I can sell the fish and coral then I get left with a set-up with everything I need to get started off.

    Well the deal the dude offered me is quite sweet. Sun Sun 120l curved glass tank with protein skimmer and sump with nitrate and phosphate reactors (home made sump and reactors), corner overflow, hydrometer, thermometer, test kits and a wave maker. Plus liverock and fish. All for R5.5k. But in the picture it looks a bit bigger than 120 liters. I could be wrong though because there is nothing to scale the pic. I've asked for dimensions but he's overseas at the mo so he'll get everything I need when he gets back. Here are the pictures, lemme know what you think. The fish he has are (Lemme know if you guys are interested):

    Button polyps 1 Feather dusters 1 hard coral torch 1 clowns 2 Regal tang 1 Banggai cardinal 1 Bartlets anthea 1 Wrasse Banna 1 Royal dottyback 1 pomacent damsels 2 cleaner shrimp 1

    [​IMG]
     
  12. durleo

    durleo

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    Hi there and welcome to MASA - there are some good deals that pop up in the for sale forum and for R5.5k you can get a much better setup with better equipment. I dont mean to be critical but there are a few points - For starters the curved tank glass have a history with cracking after some time and if that happens all the time and money you put into the livestock can go down the drain. The skimmer is not the best of skimmers and i would recommend a good Reef Octopus Skimmer rated for double your water volume. All those fish are reef safe but if you start from scratch you can pretty much collect all of them cos they are common. There is not alot of live rock in there and you can get good live rock for under R100 a kg if you find some in the forum.
    The pumps are not the best of quality except for the sun sun which is good value for money.

    When i setup my tank a 1.5 years ago - I got a 2m with sump and alot of live rock and return pumps plus T8 lighting + Metal Halides(which i changed) - For R5000

    My advice is to be patient and scout the for sale forums for a tank + sump and also a good skimmer and return pump aswell. The Sun Sun you can get from Lanzo @ Dorry Pets.

    I dont want to discourage you but dont be hasty
    If you need any help jus give us a shout.:thumbup:
     
  13. durleo

    durleo

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  14. Prash06

    Prash06 Thread Starter

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    Yeah! It's a pretty nice set-up. Gonna query if it's still available.

    Wow I didn't know that curved glass tends to give that problem. Well thanks for the warning. I think I'm gonna give that offer a pass. Besides, this set-up will allow me to start small and slowly build up each month.

    Thanks for the advice Durleo :). Will keep you guys posted on the progress, I'm seriously psyched for this tank now!!!
     
  15. Tremayn

    Tremayn

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    Yeah I heard alot about curved glass tanks exploding lol... Sweetnsours tank is awesome! A good deal if you ask me :) ... You are on the right track already.. Slow and steady and you will be aces :)
     
  16. Prash06

    Prash06 Thread Starter

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    Thanks Tremayn :)
     
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