Shopping List for total newbie

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Hi Everyone,

I must first of all say that the pics of people's tanks on this forum are awesome and they have really convinced me to take up this hobby!

I'm a total newbie and want to first of all setup a smallish reef tank with fish ( bigger than a Nano though). If I'm succesfull then I would like to setup a bigger tank in the future.

Could anyone help me with a shopping list of all the things I will need, I don't need makes or models yet but I just want to start researching what is needed e.g tank, protein skimmer etc

I live in Durban so if you can recommend the best shops etc that woud also be appreciated.

Last question - do you have to buy tickets for the IMACSA conference in order to visit the stands - I saw that Northland Pets and a few of the other big companies are there.

Much appreciated!!
Bee
 

Mekaeel

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Welcome to MASA bee79
this might help,cant remember where i got it from though

There are plenty of guys out there that don't have a clue on where to begin and when they ask questions they are told to read and read and do research, but sometimes you just need a plain and simple answer to get you going in the right direction.

Please feel free to ask the most simplest and basic of questions.


  • How do I make saltwater ?
If you are not going to use Natural Sea Water, then you will need to buy Synthetic Salt. This comes in either a bag, box or bucket. There are many different salts to choose from, some of the more popular brands are Tropic Marin, Instant Ocean, Reef Crystals, Aquamedic etc.

The salt comes in a dry form and needs to be mixed with water, ideally RO water, this is water that has been specially filtered and had all the nasties removed from it. By using RO water, you can prevent a lot of algae related problems in your tank. Try not to use just normal tap water as this may cause many problems in the tank as it is full of chemicals that you do not want in your tank.

You can either premix the salt in a bucket before adding it to the tank or if there is nothing in the tank then you can mix the salt in the tank itself.

You will need to mix your salt and water until it reaches roughly 1.024 -1.026. This is what salt water is measured as. You can use a cheap floating hydrometer to give you a rough guide as to when your salt mix is within these limits.

This newly mixed salt water will now have to be left to cycle, but this will be discussed later on.

  • filtration mechanisms - what is the best thing to use as a filter for a marine tank?
This is a very broad question and subject but the basics are...
  • Live Rock
Live rock is special rock that has come from the oceans around the world. This rock is very porous and is very benefical to your tank. It allows all sorts of critters and bacteria to grow and these are a great help to filtering the water in your tank.

You can buy live rock that is either "cured", "semi-cured" or "uncured". Ideally you want to buy cured rock, this basically means that the rock is ready to go straight into your tank and begin performing its job of filtration.

  • Deep Sand Bed (DSB)
This is basically a bed of sand either in your tank or in your sump (a sump is a separate tank normally underneath your main tank). This sand bed must be between 10-15cm deep and as long and wide as possible. There are many different "sands" you can use to make up your Deep Sand Bed, you can use sea sand, silica sand (sand from a swimming pool filter) aragonite etc. Ideally you want to use a sand that has a very small grain size (about the same size as white sugar grains). These different sands have been discussed in detail on the forum and are worth a read.

Now you need a heater or 2 and some pumps to circulate the water. Ideal temperature for a marine tank is around 26 degrees celsius.

ok, so now you have your new water circulating in your tank.

Now what do I do ?

Now you have to wait for the newly mixed water to go through a "cycle", this is basically a cycle whereby the water in your tank will go through an Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate cycle. Generally a safe period to wait is about 4 weeks.

During this waiting period would be a good time to decide on the following items...

1. Am I keeping Fish only
2. Am I going to keep corals
3. What lighting will I need (highly dependant on whether or not you are going to have corals)
4. What am I going to use as a substrate on the bottom of the tank

From here is where all the questions will come in as each and every tank differs.

Please bear in mind that what I have said in these last couple of posts are the absolute basics to getting started. There are many many different opinions, ideas, methods etc. which is where the forum comes in and where you will get answers to all your questions.

So basically (and I mean basically) that is it.

You have your main display tank, preferably a sump, you have your salt water and your live rock.

After the water has cycled for about 8 weeks, you are ready to start thinking about what fish and corals you want to keep.

Now it starts getting more involved with regards to equipment.

A few of the most important needs of any marine tank are:
1. Lighting
2. Protein Skimmer
3. Water flow

  • Lighting
If you are keeping only fish and live rock in your tank then your lighting needs will be minimal and more for aesthetic reasons, but if you want to keep corals then you need to consider much more intense lighting, like T5 fluorescent tubes or Metal Halide lights.
  • Protein Skimmer
There are many different protein skimmers available at very different prices, do not try and buy a cheap skimmer, you will regret it in the long run, research the available skimmers and get different opinions on them before you buy one. A protein skimmer is also a part of the filtration on your tank, it removes a lot of gunk from the water.
  • Water Flow
Basically you need good water flow in the tank, especially if you have got corals. You can achieve this by either placing powerheads in the tank or building Closed Loop Manifolds etc. This is another topic that will need to be researched depending on what corals you will be keeping.
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Hi Everyone,

I must first of all say that the pics of people's tanks on this forum are awesome and they have really convinced me to take up this hobby!

I'm a total newbie and want to first of all setup a smallish reef tank with fish ( bigger than a Nano though). If I'm succesfull then I would like to setup a bigger tank in the future.

Could anyone help me with a shopping list of all the things I will need, I don't need makes or models yet but I just want to start researching what is needed e.g tank, protein skimmer etc

I live in Durban so if you can recommend the best shops etc that woud also be appreciated.

Last question - do you have to buy tickets for the IMACSA conference in order to visit the stands - I saw that Northland Pets and a few of the other big companies are there.

Much appreciated!!
Bee



Tank: 1200mmx450x450mm or 1.200mmx600mmx600mm will be cool.
Sump ofcourse. 1000mmx400mmx400mm will be suffice.
Live Rock:20Kilos will be cool. Nice open structure.
Substrate.
Salt.
Get RO water.
Two powerheads.
Skimmer: Get one thats slightly more rated for you tank, eg 400L tank then 600L skimmer. Lotsa brands, Reeftek or Reefoctopus.
Blue T5s for intial stage
Return pump: 3500L/H will be good. Try not to go bigger. Water will go to fast past the skimmer.
Try not to test too much for 3 months.
Ok, so u heard it. Let it run for 3 months, more even better.
Dont worry about additives during this stage hey.
Sit back for 3 months and be patient!!
Good luck!;)
 
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I've been told there's a place near Makro in the Bluff area which sells cheap (but good) equipment. Does anyone know what it's called and where it is. It's supposed to be on one of the backroads near makro.

Afsal - I live in the Westville area in Durbs.
 

Rory

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Hey bee79

Welcome to MASA. I'd suggest that before you buy anything you ask the guys here what they think, (even if they are a peanut gallery ;)).

As for "cheap but good" it doesn't work that way 99% of the time.

Have patience in doing your reaseach. Even if you feel like you've researched something to a point where you're ready to buy have a bit more patience because in this game you always here "this is awesome" then maybe buy, then hear "this is rubbish" down the line.
 

Alan

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bee79 welcome to MASA, there are a few things to consider here before you go into the hobby, you are definitely on the right track by asking the questions first before buying anything. A couple things to consider one is the amount of time you have to dedicate to the hobby,second is the space available for the system and third is a budget for the set up. I understand that you want to test the waters with a smaller system, but please realise the larger the system the more stable it becomes. Personally i wouldn't recommend anything less than a 4ft with 3ft sump for anybody starting out. I would estimate for a system that size you would be in for the R7000 mark this would not be top of the range stuff but it certainly would be a system that would work for you.
I do know the shop near Macro its called tropical world, Richard the owner is a very pleasant chap that has been in marines a very long time. The shop basically specializes in fresh water though and Richard has unfortunately not kept up with all the changes in the hobby and believe me the hobby has moved forward in leaps and bounds. The best way is to check with the guys here on the info given to you before you spend your hard earned cash.
 
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richard is very helpful / pleasant chap , but i m h o , is not up to date with the marine side of things. no offence richard. great chap none the less.
 
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bee r u the guy that came to kwagijima the other day. ok ecoaquatics (andrew) works from home. its a good idea to call before u go there . speak to andrew or paula on 0845567859 / 0842063714 respectively ....
 

Alan

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Eco Aquatics is basically an on line store, you can reach Andrew[millipora] through our sponsor forums.
 

Alan

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Last question - do you have to buy tickets for the IMACSA conference in order to visit the stands - I saw that Northland Pets and a few of the other big companies are there.

Much appreciated!!
Bee
Unfortunatly this will be reserved for the folk attending the conference.
 

Tom

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Hi bee! Well done. Asking questions now saves a lot of pain later. Just beware of FISH FEVER! Its a terrible disease ;) and is cured with patience. You are lucky to be close to some sponsors. Good luck.
 

viper357

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Why don't you come to IMACSA? It will be an excellent opportunity to learn all about the hobby and meet everyone in person, see all the equipment etc. It will cost you R300 for the 2 days, will be well worth it.
 

Alan

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We also have the reef club meeting coming up next thursday at DUC at 19h00, great chance to meet the folk.
 

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