My First Aquarium

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by IcemanX, 14 Jan 2008.

  1. IcemanX

    IcemanX

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    Hi guys, I need as much help as I can get, I am starting from fresh and want to set up a reef aquarium. I understand it is a slow process, which I am greatful for as cash is limited, so I want to do it right the first time, if possible. Where can I get a step-by-step guide of exactly where to start? I must admit, I would like to start with a tank, initially growing corals, then adding invertebrates, and finally fish, what is the best way to go about this and where can I start for a tank, reasonably priced.
     
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  3. Matt

    Matt MASA Contributor

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    Hey IcemanX: I'd try Exotics in Boksburg. Seem excellently priced and are quite close to you.

    What size setup are you looking at? What type of fish would you like to keep?
     
  4. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    Hey WELCOME to MASA IcemanX!!!!!!!!!!! Cool picture...
     
  5. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

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    Hey iceman welcome to MASA, as far as reasonably priced tanks go it all depends on what size you looking at and what you want to keep eventually.
     
  6. Kanga

    Kanga Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    welcometomasa Iceman.

    Taking it slow is the way to go, and ask all the question you can think of and then ask more, this way you will save a fortune.

    Could you give us an idea of budget?

    What size tank would you like?

    enjoy your stay and like I said Ask, ask and ask

    Read this link one of our more experienced members wrote, it should give you an idea of where to start Starting with Marines - Marine Aquariums of South Africa - wiki

    Look at the members set up to get a few ideas and then ask from there :):)
     
  7. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Welcome to the forum IcemanX.

    Let's start at the beginning, what size tank do you want?
     
  8. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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    Welcome Kimi. Check out this thread. helped me in making some decisions. But you will find asking the Gurus and experts on this forum is great help.

    You will enjoy the "relaxed" feel of this forum.

    :)
     
  9. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Welcome to MASA!
     
  10. IcemanX

    IcemanX Thread Starter

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    Hi there guys, WOW!!! I'm almost overwhelmed with all the prompt responses, thank you. OK, where to start, budget wise I would really like to keep everything, equipment wise under R5K, ie Tank, Cabinet, pumps, filters, heaters, sump, etc, is this realistic? Next, size wise I obviously would love a massive tank, but due to space and budget requirements I think a 1500 x 450 x 600 would be ideal (if at all possible), if I can get decent plans I am able to build my own cabinet. Next, I have read differing views on whether to have a sump tank or not, and if so whether to go DSB or Mud?!? And hence whether a protein skimmer is necessary or not?!? Planning ahead, ie stock, it may sound odd, but fish are my secondary focus (is this wrong), as I am really more interested in the inverts, ie coral, shrimp, crab, maybe clams, I would love some anemonies but have read they are INCREDIBLY difficult to keep. Fish-wise I have read that they depend on the type of reef you get going, so since my main focus is the reef lets get that going and debate the fish a little later.
     
  11. Mike

    Mike Retired Moderator

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    Hi Iceman, hows Maverick? welcome to MASA:thumbup:
     
  12. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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    Nothing wrong with keeping a coral only tank. I think you should look at a 2nd hand deal or maybe look at the Nano tanks. Check the For Sale Forums.

    There is also a Nano competition happening soon LINK

    Be patient and get your tank cycled and water perimeters correct before adding Coral, Fish or Inverts.

    Happy Reef keeping
     
  13. IMarine

    IMarine

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    welcome

    welcome bra
     
  14. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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  15. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Welcome Iceman - I only saw your thread now!

    OK - it's a few days down the line - have you decided on the tank yet?

    OK let me start a mini-guide for you:
    1) Tank:
    There are many options you can go for, and even more sizes.
    - custom built tank from LFS: cheaper, but now always as nicely rounded off - here you have two choices:
    = either have the LFS build you one exactly to your specifications
    = go to the LFS, ask them what stock they have and how much does it cost you
    - pre-built (manufactured tank, ie. Jebo, or AquaH2O) - usually more expensive - usually have hoods built onto tank, mostly with pre-designed/built-in filtering and lighting - not always the best
    - you have a choice between the following sizes (and their naming conventions):
    = pico (tiniest of tanks - cheaper to get going an run, BUT much much more work to keep alive)
    = nano - slightly less work, but still have to do a lot of water changes - here you are forced to do water changes very often - and you can keep more than in pico, but not as much
    = cube: basically square tank - as wide as it is deep (front to back) - nice type of tank - but personal preference prevails
    = standard long tank (not as deep - better because you do not need the strongest lighting)
    = standard long deep tank (looks awesome, but you need very expensive and decent/strong lighting)
    = new against
    Regarding a sump - YES - it is a MUST - assist absolutely wonderfully with your filtration - and it can hide the skimmer, heater, phosphate reactor, calcium reactor, etc, etc, etc, away (out of the main display tank) - you also use a sump to increase the total water volume - basically second tank with compartments in specific design and order....

    Skimmer, unfortunately most people will tell you it is a MUST.... BUT, the bigger the DSB (deep sand bed) the less the requirement for a skimmer - BUT one MUST have a HUGE DSB if you do not want to run a skimmer at all! So, the bigger the DSB, the smaller skimmer you can run - BUT remember a skimmer is a backup for in case something goes wrong in the tank - a DSB takes a long time before it filters bad stuff out of the water, where a skimmer can do it very quickly....

    Lights - for keeping corals, anemone's, etc you need the strongest and most lighting you can afford. The options here are:
    - T5 - high output (HO) fluorescent - you need a lot of these over your tank - cheaper per unit - but you have to replace the units (globes) more often than MH - T5 gives a much more even spread of lighting over the tank
    - Metal Halide - much more expensive per globe/fitting/control gear - but globes lasts much longer - MH's are spot-lights, so their lighting is very concentrated

    For keeping corals/anemone's you need to have a LOT of T5's or on a 1.5 metre tank 2 to 3 metal halides (You can go as much as 8 to 10 T5's).....

    Anemone's are not so difficult to keep, but you definitely need to have a bit of experience first with marines before you keep them. They need to be fed and need very strong lighting and medium water flow.

    Water flow: Next thing - you need to have the correct type of water flow in your tank. You need quite strong water flow, that would assist in keeping the tank clean by removing as much muck that accumulates over time, as possible. If this muck is kept in the water column, instead of settling onto the rocks or substrate, then it can be "fed" to the DSB in the sump (the micro critters in the DSB "eat" the muck).... Otherwise you could most likely end up with a plague of nuisance algae that you do not want (due to the release of phosphates from the "muck")....

    That's basically a run-down.

    So what you must decide, is the following:
    - how big a tank can you afford?
    - how big a skimmer can you afford?
    - how big a sump can you afford?

    There's also the "hidden costs" -
    eg.
    = plumbing costs
    = drilling of the tank/glass costs
    = power-heads costs
    = sand/substrate costs
    = live rock costs
    = if you have to make-up your own water, then costs of synthetic sea salt
    = costs of testing kits

    And all of that long before you have life stock in the tank....

    So - don't be scared off by the above - but just sit down and decide whether it might be a better idea to start off with a 1.2 metre tank perhaps - and get a bigger skimmer/sump, etc - this means that you can get away with ONE metal halide, instead of requiring two.... and you can get away with less T5's if you want to (you can also use the T5's and MH in combination)....

    Hope this helps a bit....

    Good luck, and please feel free to ask as many questions as possible!
     
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  16. Kanga

    Kanga Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Nice Post Jacques

    BTW seeing you are quite the writer, we need a few Masapedian writers:whistling:
     
  17. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Hahaha.... is that now a direct way of asking? Or "skimping" ;-)

    BTW: I am lucky - I tend to type quite fast for a man....
     
  18. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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    Copy and paste :lol:
     
  19. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Geez - I wish! It will take me longer just to find the file or information and copy/paste, than it would take to type it up....
     
  20. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    wow comprehensive response jacquesb !!!!!!!!!! iceman welcome!
     
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