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Shopping list for a SW newbie ?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:03 am
by cindywindy
For the TR experts in SW, what would you put in the shopping cart of some one who was doing their first SW setup ? What are the "essentials" for a successful tank with a few fish ?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 1:03 pm
by tinyreef
imo, a book, first and foremost. read any of the basic ones first, before you buy anything. it'll save you the cost of the book 10x, at least (even if you buy an expensive book). not to mention your time and grief.

after that, the 'essentials' are really just tank, salt, and hydometer.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 1:36 pm
by tracywalls
Salt? :lol: :P

I'm going now...

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 2:05 pm
by 1flyfish
Cindy are you considering setting up a SW tank?

I've been interested in turning my 44 gallon pentagon tank into a reef once my 125 cichlid tank is up and running.

Is 44 gal. too small?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 5:19 pm
by tracywalls
I've seen successful reefs in as small as a 10 gallon.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 5:57 pm
by tinyreef
i think brandon429 on is the current champ at 0.75-gal for his pico-reef. that's considering his tank's longevity (almost 2 yrs?) and inhabitants (sps, not sure if he has a lps, softies, fish, crabs, etc).

the 7g bow is a fav size. if i had enough room on my desk i'd have one too. nice look/presentation.

sorry for the hijack. :oops:

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 8:33 pm
by KDodds
For someone just beginning I would not recommend a tank smaller than a 55. Since you state only a few fish, the shopping list can be quite small and less expensive than many shops would have you believe. Aside from the tank, stand, light and canopy, and assuming a 55 gallon:

1 Drum Salt mix (extra for changes, it's cheaper in bulk)

200 lbs very fine Play Sand

30lbs Base Rock

30lbs Live Rock

Sand Bed Fauna and "Clean-up" Inverts

2 100W Heaters

2 300gph Powerheads

Test kits for: Ammonia, NitrIte, NitrAte, pH, Alk, Calcium are musts.

An hydrometer, or better yet, refractometer, for gauging SG


That's it. If you're going with aggressive fish that might eat inverts (they'd mostly all eventually get too large for a 55) you might consider NOT doing a DSB, but still utilize 1-2" of sand, but your water changes will likely need to be more frequent.

If you don't want to buy RO from your LFS, you should absolutely consider an RO unit. And, if your population is going to be heavy, a skimmer might be a good thing.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2004 10:59 pm
by KDodds
Edited out some posts to provide a friendly context and retain information...

Local salinities on reefs do not change.

Reef lighting is ONLY required for corals and other organisms hosting zooxanthellae, or possibly plants or macroalgaes. You can have a completely coralline encrusted FOWLR with regular NO lighting. I'm not sure what "full spectrum" means, unless the reference is to "daylight" bulbs which are about 5500K to 6500K. These bulbs are not the best for showing off fish or corals, IMO. 10000Ks, again, IMO, work much better towards that aesthetic end.

People, you NEED test kits. Those of us who can claim not to test much can ONLY do so in our systems that have been established and in our care for quite some time. We know the systems intimately, IOW. When starting a new system, even "old salts" will and do use test kits. NOT using them is a HUGE mistake, especially for a beginner.

Yes, the marine hobby has come a loooong way, mostly in the last decade or so. Still, 25 years ago, there ws a man in Southeast Asia doing pretty much what we're doing in "natural systems" now. So, the knowledge is really not that new, just the application and the broad range of success with it.

There are very few documentaries on coral reefs and fishes that are of any practical use for the aquarist. But I do agree that an affinity for the natural environment, and as intimate a knowledge of it as possible, can certainly help in attitude and dedication. Unfortunately, liking the pretty fish is not what I'm talking about. A sense of wonder at the tiny 1" Christmas Tree Worm sticking out of the huge Porites, swum over by hundreds of damsels, is what I'm talking about. Wondering how it feeds, why it's "feathers" are shaped the way they are, what it looks like inside its little hole, etc. When you have that type of feeling toward a reef and its inhabitants, it's difficult to recommend animals with poor track records to beginners, it's difficult to look at marine creatures as expenable because they're small and their dead bodies would be eaten in a day.

And on the previously deleted post about anemones splitting as a sign of success...

BTAs will also split into smaller animals when stressed or when food is scarce. Something you might want to watch for, particularly if they're moving about.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2004 9:08 pm
by BKtomodachi
The currents that flow through coral reefs do NOT change hardly at all... consistent nutrient levels, consistent salinity. This is with the exception of the few days where something "special" takes place, like coral breeding. If you still think otherwise I'd like some proof.

The chromis and flatworms.... this is not really true. You see when the nudis are introduced, if they are the correct species, they populate themselves and truly will elimintate the flatworms... uaually not just keep them under control. Yes they do do a better job than maybe just ONE nudi.

Peps SOMETIMES eat aiptasia.... but you will have better luck when they are young.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2004 10:57 pm
by KDodds
The localized salinity of a reef proper does NOT change. Tidepools, sure, intermediate zones, sure, but not the ocean as a whole. In fact, things change VERY little on most reefs. The biggest changes being photoperiods and seasonal temp changes.

There are several sources on record that state this is an aberration that occurs in captivity. If you're relying solely on your Clarkiis to feed you anemones, I'd take the moving warning to heart. If they're moving, they don't like their situation.

I do not collect, I have no reason to do so. I do snorkel and scuba when I can, however. My most recent trip was 2 years ago to Belize, some of the best you'll ever see in the new world.

Lysmata wurdemanni will SOMETIMES eat Aips. Chelmon rostratus will virtually all of the time and Berghia veruccicornis prey on Aips exclsuively. Other fish (Butterflies mostly) that will eat Aips are too risky to be used in reefs. Personally, I prefer Kalk injection.

BG Chromis are planktivores and virtually never graze off of substrate. I've never seen mine graze in some three years, not one of them, and I've never seen them do it in others tanks either . Mandarins will sometimes eat Flatworms, but teh most efficient removers of Flatworms are probably the Pseudocheilinus (Line) Wrasses.

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 6:08 am
by Carls
Can you please give me an easy point form of what toget for a 300L -im in aus so all measurements in aus $$ and L not gallons would be great :)
I am converting the freshewater cichlid tank to saltwater. i know a little bit about salt, but not enough to start a new tank without someone elses knowledge helping me. Thanks

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 8:04 am
by KDodds
Can't help with Australian Dollars, but Liters can be converted easily by following our calculator link. Without any idea as to what you wish to accomplish, a "parts list" isn't really feasible. For instance, a chiller, which is a very great expense, may or may not be required. You really don't want to HAVE to buy one unless you HAVE to buy one.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:31 am
by sharelove
HI, I was considering getting this: Rena Filstar XP3 Canister Filter. Is this something I really need? Is it a good one? Also, is it recommended to put that plastic "false bottom" stuff on the bottom of the tank-then you put your sand on top? Is this a necessary thing? (sorry I don't know what it's called).
thanks all :-)

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:04 pm
by KDodds
I think you're talking about the Jaubert, or plenum, method of filtration. And, no, it's been proven that a plenum is not needed to acheive denitrification, that only a DSB is required. I'm not a great fan of using conventional filtration methods in SW tanks, particularly if they're going to be reef aquariums. Eventually, they can and do become nutrient sinks that can be actually detrimental to corals, other inverts, and fish alike. In FO tanks, particularly those with heavily messy feeders, they still have their place. With that said and towards that purpose, a wet/dry is far more efficient.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:24 pm
by sharelove
Can you clarify what a DSB is and what it's purpose is?