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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004

    Unhappy new and looking for info on starting

    Hi I been looking a alot of aquariums/stands and have seen the brand names of (all-glass ,oceancis etc in the reg. petstores(petsmart,petsettra) in alta here. I looked at skimmers,a couple sumps,can filters, powerheads heaters.LR sand ,salt. now the questions what is really required ? ,is this size of tank a good start ,are there any brands i should look at or stay away from do i need a skimmer how many powerheads req./heaters and and what kind any other help please My goal is to start with a Lr/fish aquarium and then in the future do corals

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Welcome and you have the first step correct - read and ask lots of questions.

    Now that you have decided what kind of tank you want, the next step is size. Many will tell you to go for the biggest tank that you can afford because we all seem to end up upgrading/wanting to upgrade. Personally I would not start with anything less than a 50 gallon because the smaller the tank the harder it is to keep your water parameters stable. Small tanks, (25 and 30 gallon, even 7 gallon) can be kept sucessfully but it takes more attention and expertise. Likewise, I would not start with a tank over 200 gallons because you will make mistakes in the beginning and it is harder to do large water changes (if necessary) on a 200 gallon. Personally, I started with a 90 gallon.

    Once the size of tank is decided, then you can start to decide on other equipment - heaters (I always recommend 2 smaller heaters instead of 1 large heater. If one sticks on or off, the other one will keep working and your tank temp won't drift as far as fast - in particular, one small heater will not be able to cook your tank.) - test kits (I recommend getting a brand name ie Salifert (Red Sea and Hagen are not usually recommended). Start with calcium, alk, pH, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia and phosphates. You can add magnesium and others as required.) - skimmer (You can go skimmerless but most people recommend that you start with a skimmer. Buy the best that you can afford and, if possible,rated for a bigger tank than what you have. The resale value of most equipment is about 50% new price and we all seem to want to upgrade.) - lights (For fish with lr, you can start with NO (normal output) lights and upgrade later. Most people end up with MH metal halide lights when we keep corals but some corals can be kept under PC/VHO lights) - powerheads (quantity and size depends upon tank size) - salt (Personal preference but many use Instant Ocean.)

    Since you want to add corals later, I suggest making sure that each fish you add to your tank is reef safe. This will save you having to find new homes for your pets.

    Unfortunately, in this hobby there is no black and white correct way of doing it. We must each decide how we will go about it (ie deep sand bed and bare bottom tank, skimmer or skimmerless, sump or sumpless) and give it a try as we learn what works best for the fish/corals that we decide to keep.


  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Alexandria, VA moving to Montreal
    One really smart thing to do is to start with a drilled tank with an internal overflow box. This will save you endless worry, frustration, and even floods. I agree with Vickie that a 90 is a good starting size. It is big enough to be really nice, but not so big you will go broke supporting it. (Follow the threads on JohhnyRocks 500 gal!).

    The other things you don't want to skimp on is the skimmer and sump. Get the biggest sump you can fit under the stand. If you want to save a few bucks just go with Rubbermaid. This costs almost nothing, but it is a pain if you need to upgrade later.

    As far as a skimmer, get one that is oversized and good quality. You will have sticker shock from this part. I like ASM or Euroreef. You may also do well checking out the custom fabricated skimmers from Harley. A good skimmer is smart for someone new in the hobby. You will make mistakes, and most of these mistakes will put nutrients in the water. A good skimmer will save you.

    The place to save some money initially is lighting. If you can afford to go straight to metal halides then great. If you can't VHOs and T5s will let you grow almost anything except the most demading SPS and clams. When the time comes for an upgrade, you can still keep most of your original investment.

    More ideas. . .put your tank where you can get to it with top-off water. I put my first tank up againt a closet. This let me hide bucket of top-off water behind it with a simple float valve. This may seem trival, but after the novelty wears off, you may actually want to be able to leave your tank alone for a couple days. You will not be able to do that unless you have some way of topping off. (it also keeps the salinity more stable)

    You will get lots more advice here. Good luck and welcome!


  4. #4
    Senior Member Cake Fan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    There is a forum for you of really nice people that are close to you and could direct you better to good prices & equipement and I've even seen some good deals on used stuff.

    I'll advise you to stay away from Red Sea products, from tests to equipement they tend to all be crap and you're talking to someone who knows

    As you find out what size tank you want and what stand and where you're putting it (no direct sun) with your reading you'll gradually find what type of skimmer you want for your size tank etc.

    That is another very good forum to read in with lots of newb stuff.

    Good Luck and welcome

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    its good that you are doing a research first,then i hope you have the budget for it im telling you in advance so dont get scared build piece by piece and buy quality equipment!

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