Canreef Aquatics Bulletin Board  

Go Back   Canreef Aquatics Bulletin Board > General > Tank Journal

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-05-2015, 10:31 PM
squibege squibege is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Edmonton, AB
Posts: 62
squibege is on a distinguished road
Post It begins...

Figured I would start this in the Tank Journal section so I can look back and see the progress from the very beginning. First a bit about me…

I have a LOT of interest but pretty much zero experience with anything aquarium related. Hubby sent me to Petsmart for cat food and I came back with a Betta three years ago With him and some goldfish I got for my fourth birthday… you now know my total experience with fish! So setting up a reef tank will be a quantum leap for me to say the least. That being said, I am a detail oriented Lab Tech with a love for biology and chemistry, plus a girl who loves pretty colourful things; so Im sure I can learn my way through this Hubby and I are people who like to do things right the first time- if it means lots of research and waiting for the $$ to get the proper set up going so be it. I want my tank to be a happy and healthy ecosystem that we can see flourish and enjoy for years to come!

The current household debate is whether we wait until we move to a new place to set up a tank, or to set up a tank in this house, knowing we will be moving it in two(ish) years. Since we are starting as complete newbies I would like to set up a (relatively) small tank so if we accidently do something stupid and nuke our tank, at least it’s a minimal investment down the drain. Then in the new house set up a big tank and go all out with the dream tank basically built and plumbed in from scratch. “Old” tank would then be used as a QT tank/ frag tank/ whatever we can upcycle it to. Hubby doesn’t think he will get much enjoyment out of a smaller tank since it can’t hold “real sized” fish (like tangs, not just clownfish) especially since corals aren’t really his thing. It would be too much of a pain to move, and why put $$ into something that isn’t final. I think I’m right but some justification from strangers on the internet would be great lol.


My ideal plan is to start to gather equipment from kijiji, Black Friday, Boxing Day sales… and then get the tank starting to cycle by mid-February when winter is reaaaaaly starting to suck. Then slowly add in livestock as finances+ bioload allow. The locations I have in mind can have a tank that’s max 3ft long. Eventually I would like to stock: CUC, pom-pom crab, Zoas, mushrooms, toadstool, torch/ hammer coral, pair of Ocellaris Clownfish, and maybe another few fish depending on the size of the tank.


Specific questions:
First tank= fear of failure= not wanting to waste a bunch of $$. Buy equipment new? Or be choosy about second hand stuff?

Keeping with the 3ft length, how many gallons should I aim for? I like the idea of a ‘nano’ tank around 30g… is that too small for a newbie to try for?

Thinking of running this quite simple- Could I be totally fine with just a HOB skimmer, heater, and a powerhead? Or is it going to be much easier in the long run with a sump setup? There is so much conflicting info I’ve been reading about what a tank “needs” [insert OCD breakdown here] Algae scrubbers, canister filters, carbon is great, carbon is bad, skimmers aren’t necessary, get a skimmer rated for twice your tank size! WTF internet? I know it depends on personal preference and your setup, but I’m starting from ground zero here so any advice on equipment/ filtration is welcome!

Reef-ready system or piece together my own?


^^All my research is making me second guess everything. I’ll stop rambling now and just see what comments come in. TIA!!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10-05-2015, 11:21 PM
IanWR IanWR is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Martensville, Sk
Posts: 148
IanWR is on a distinguished road
Default

I think it all depends on your available time and money. If you are short on either, a smaller tank may be in order. If I had to pick a tank for someone to start with (not considering future use as QT), I'd pick the IM Nuvo 10. You can get a tank + light for about $350. Add a heater and you are gtg. It's so small if you do regular water changes there's no need for a skimmer. Without a skimmer, reactor, or powerheads, it's as quiet as can be. Easily moved, easily cleaned, and easy to find your small things like Pom Pom crabs. You also get to see if dealing with making and storing rodi water and saltwater is a bother of not. If it turns out it's not for you, you aren't out much. If you do want more, you will have had the time to get used to things and be more familiar with the hobby to make a good choice for your next tank.

Just my 2 cents.
__________________
Ian
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-06-2015, 12:06 AM
shiftline's Avatar
shiftline shiftline is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: kelowna
Posts: 569
shiftline is on a distinguished road
Default

I started with a 12g. Then a 30g. Now planking a 90-120 future tank. It can be addicting.

Smaller all in ones are a great way to get your feet wet
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-06-2015, 12:19 AM
F.H F.H is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Richmond
Posts: 76
F.H is on a distinguished road
Default

I'm of the same belief, that no amount of research is enough =), and I've learned one thing in this hobby so far: There will be exceptions for literally everything. Try to figure out the "average" of the answers to your questions. You can literally ask any ridiculous question, and someone, somewhere will say otherwise and make you second guess everything you've researched. I would say to err on the side of caution, and although there may be exceptions to the case, if *most* people say that, for example, an angelfish is not reef safe, then it's safe to assume that it's not reef safe, regardless of the exceptions. It is then up to you to decide whether you want to risk it, and if you do, which do you like more, the fish or the corals that may potentially become dinner.

What I've gathered about pom pom crabs is that they can possibly harm corals, because their "pom poms" are actually tiny anemones, which can sting corals. A similar, and even more interesting crab, in my opinion, is the porcelain crab. Comparable to the pom pom crab, except there isn't the risk of them burning a coral because they don't carry any "pom poms", instead, they have fans as hands, and wave them around in the water to filter it. I love watching them do that. Just a suggestion.

The one thing to remember is that the smaller the tank, the easier it is for parameters to fluctuate. The evaporation in a 10 gallon tank will raise the salinity much quicker, because there is less water to work with, etc. I would opt for the biggest tank that is feasible. Your idea of getting a smaller tank now, learning as much as you can before the move is a smart one, in my opinion. That way, when you have figured out the basics, and learned the ins and outs of reefkeeping, you will be in a much better and informed position to plan the set up of your dream tank after you move. This was the one mistake I made, and built an aquarium before I knew anything about reefkeeping. Now, I wish I had been more informed before I installed my aquarium at home, and my setup would definitely have been a lot more practical, and efficient.

You'll learn, as you research and ask questions, that one of the best aspects of this hobby is the people. Ignoring all the transparent drama, most people that you encounter in this hobby will love to answer any questions and help you where they can. So ask lots of questions. Lots (atleast I do, and those who have met me know that I can be annoying at times with all my questions :P).

Ignore most of the advice that you receive from a local fish store, keeping in mind that they are a business first. Of course, once again, there are exceptions to this, and some LFS actually do give proper advice, but that is more dependent on the individuals themselves. Always, do some quick research first before making a purchase, and try to shy away from impulse buying for your sake, and for the sake of the organisms in question.

I work with a student's budget, so I try to be as frugal as possible, where necessary. I would say all of my equipment is used, but I'm very careful when I buy used things. I test everything I buy, and ask lots of questions. If things seem too good to be true, or seem a little sketchy then don't hesitate to pass on the item.

With that said, my aquarium does not have a sump, so I can't give you any insight on the pros of having one. Of course, the absolute BASICS of a reef tank literally require a box with water, live rock, heater and power heads. I would say that a protein skimmer should also be in that list, but you CAN have an aquarium without it, I was just listing the absolute basics of what you need. From what I've gathered, it's that a sump basically makes life a lot more practical and convenient for having a reef. Although my aquarium doesn't have one, in hindsight I wish I did. With not having a sump, my main form of filtration is my live rock, and therefore I tried to cram in as much live rock as I could fit, while still having it look decent.

Another suggestion that I would make is to plan out your water change strategy, and make them as easy as possible. If water changes are too annoying or a pain in the ass, then you'll be less inclined to do them, which will be the biggest reason why your tank might suffer. Water changes are one of the most important aspects of reefkeeping. Make them easy to do.

Don't use a canister filter. They can become nitrate factories. They're a freshwater thing. Usually people suggest to divide the "suggested gallon rating" by half. If you have a 40 gallon tank, then buying a skimmer rated for around 80 gallons would be ideal.

Good luck, keep reading, and ask questions. Remember, literally nothing good happens quickly in reefkeeping. You need patience, with everything. Lots, and lots of patience.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-06-2015, 01:04 AM
squibege squibege is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Edmonton, AB
Posts: 62
squibege is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by IanWR View Post
I think it all depends on your available time and money. If you are short on either, a smaller tank may be in order. If I had to pick a tank for someone to start with (not considering future use as QT), I'd pick the IM Nuvo 10. You can get a tank + light for about $350. Add a heater and you are gtg. It's so small if you do regular water changes there's no need for a skimmer. Without a skimmer, reactor, or powerheads, it's as quiet as can be. Easily moved, easily cleaned, and easy to find your small things like Pom Pom crabs. You also get to see if dealing with making and storing rodi water and saltwater is a bother of not. If it turns out it's not for you, you aren't out much. If you do want more, you will have had the time to get used to things and be more familiar with the hobby to make a good choice for your next tank.

Just my 2 cents.
Thanks! That’s one of my main concerns- what if this isn’t really for me/ doesn’t fit into the lifestyle I want to have. We have a cat because dogs tie you down too much, I don’t want to be scared to go on vacation because of a tank. That being said my dad is a fish guy (who decided all the maintenance he had to do with childhood chores in the 60s/70s was bad enough not to ever get a tank as a grown up) so he would probably be okay with taking care of things short term for a couple weeks.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-06-2015, 01:05 AM
squibege squibege is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Edmonton, AB
Posts: 62
squibege is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by shiftline View Post
I started with a 12g. Then a 30g. Now planking a 90-120 future tank. It can be addicting.

Smaller all in ones are a great way to get your feet wet
I can almost guarantee I will get addicted. After reading all these tank journals Im dreaming of a giant tank with a fancy ‘bar’ area around it so people can sit and stare at it for hours… and a fancy fish room with custom plumbing… water changes that require turning a few simple valves… a well laid out spacious sump… a gloriously aquascaped DT… one day haha. One step at a time for now
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-06-2015, 01:11 AM
squibege squibege is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Edmonton, AB
Posts: 62
squibege is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by F.H View Post
I'm of the same belief, that no amount of research is enough =), and I've learned one thing in this hobby so far: There will be exceptions for literally everything. Try to figure out the "average" of the answers to your questions. You can literally ask any ridiculous question, and someone, somewhere will say otherwise and make you second guess everything you've researched. I would say to err on the side of caution, and although there may be exceptions to the case, if *most* people say that, for example, an angelfish is not reef safe, then it's safe to assume that it's not reef safe, regardless of the exceptions. It is then up to you to decide whether you want to risk it, and if you do, which do you like more, the fish or the corals that may potentially become dinner.

What I've gathered about pom pom crabs is that they can possibly harm corals, because their "pom poms" are actually tiny anemones, which can sting corals. A similar, and even more interesting crab, in my opinion, is the porcelain crab. Comparable to the pom pom crab, except there isn't the risk of them burning a coral because they don't carry any "pom poms", instead, they have fans as hands, and wave them around in the water to filter it. I love watching them do that. Just a suggestion.

The one thing to remember is that the smaller the tank, the easier it is for parameters to fluctuate. The evaporation in a 10 gallon tank will raise the salinity much quicker, because there is less water to work with, etc. I would opt for the biggest tank that is feasible. Your idea of getting a smaller tank now, learning as much as you can before the move is a smart one, in my opinion. That way, when you have figured out the basics, and learned the ins and outs of reefkeeping, you will be in a much better and informed position to plan the set up of your dream tank after you move. This was the one mistake I made, and built an aquarium before I knew anything about reefkeeping. Now, I wish I had been more informed before I installed my aquarium at home, and my setup would definitely have been a lot more practical, and efficient.

You'll learn, as you research and ask questions, that one of the best aspects of this hobby is the people. Ignoring all the transparent drama, most people that you encounter in this hobby will love to answer any questions and help you where they can. So ask lots of questions. Lots (atleast I do, and those who have met me know that I can be annoying at times with all my questions :P).

Ignore most of the advice that you receive from a local fish store, keeping in mind that they are a business first. Of course, once again, there are exceptions to this, and some LFS actually do give proper advice, but that is more dependent on the individuals themselves. Always, do some quick research first before making a purchase, and try to shy away from impulse buying for your sake, and for the sake of the organisms in question.

I work with a student's budget, so I try to be as frugal as possible, where necessary. I would say all of my equipment is used, but I'm very careful when I buy used things. I test everything I buy, and ask lots of questions. If things seem too good to be true, or seem a little sketchy then don't hesitate to pass on the item.

With that said, my aquarium does not have a sump, so I can't give you any insight on the pros of having one. Of course, the absolute BASICS of a reef tank literally require a box with water, live rock, heater and power heads. I would say that a protein skimmer should also be in that list, but you CAN have an aquarium without it, I was just listing the absolute basics of what you need. From what I've gathered, it's that a sump basically makes life a lot more practical and convenient for having a reef. Although my aquarium doesn't have one, in hindsight I wish I did. With not having a sump, my main form of filtration is my live rock, and therefore I tried to cram in as much live rock as I could fit, while still having it look decent.

Another suggestion that I would make is to plan out your water change strategy, and make them as easy as possible. If water changes are too annoying or a pain in the ass, then you'll be less inclined to do them, which will be the biggest reason why your tank might suffer. Water changes are one of the most important aspects of reefkeeping. Make them easy to do.

Don't use a canister filter. They can become nitrate factories. They're a freshwater thing. Usually people suggest to divide the "suggested gallon rating" by half. If you have a 40 gallon tank, then buying a skimmer rated for around 80 gallons would be ideal.

Good luck, keep reading, and ask questions. Remember, literally nothing good happens quickly in reefkeeping. You need patience, with everything. Lots, and lots of patience.
I cannot seem to figure out how to quote sections of your reply

I looked up porcelain crabs- they do look pretty cool! Thanks for the suggestion I read about the nems stinging corals but they seem so tiny they would be unlikely to cause real damage. Maybe worth getting a porcelain crab first and seeing if I still want a pom pom that badly lol. Goes with what you said above about averaging everyone’s opinions and deciding if its ‘worth the risk’.
I hope to meet some people through all this. Ive dragged people to the LFS and they are ‘done’ in a half hour whereas I could stay all day. It would be nice to have people to talk to about this stuff who are as excited about it as I am. Hence joining this forum
Water changes are something that I need to figure out a decent system for. I currently foresee carrying pails of water up and down the stairs. Not much storage space for equipment in our living room unfortunately.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-06-2015, 03:58 PM
Myka's Avatar
Myka Myka is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Saskatoon, SK.
Posts: 11,268
Myka will become famous soon enough
Default

I think it's a great idea to start with a small tank now so that you learn some of the ropes before you jump into a big tank. The thing with big tanks is that mistakes are bigger and more expensive. Plus, if you can look after a nano tank, a big tank will be a breeze!

I also like the Innovative Marine Nuvo tanks, but I think the 10-gallon one is too small, plus I don't like the LED lights it comes with (they aren't blue enough). There is a Nuvo 40-gallon one that I really like. I think the tank and stand are just under $1000 new, and then you can buy lights and a heater and you're golden. Say $1100-1200 all in brand new. Or find a used one maybe?

I highly recommend buying T5 lights because they are EASY. The IM 40-gallon is 24" long so T5s are an easy fit. I run an aquarium maintenance business, and I can't tell you how many times I've gone to consult for people and their biggest issue is their LED settings. For this reason, I don't like LEDs for newbies. FWIW, I run T5s over my own tank too.

I have a display tank that I run for advertising purposes at a local dive shop here. It's a Nuvo 40 with a 2-bulb T5 fixture on it with two ATI Blue Plus bulbs. The tank is so easy, and colorful! All the corals do great with the lights. I'll be seeing it tomorrow and if I remember I'll take a pic and upload it so you can check it out.
__________________
~ Mindy

SPS fanatic.

Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-07-2015, 04:28 PM
squibege squibege is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Edmonton, AB
Posts: 62
squibege is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Myka View Post
I think it's a great idea to start with a small tank now so that you learn some of the ropes before you jump into a big tank. The thing with big tanks is that mistakes are bigger and more expensive. Plus, if you can look after a nano tank, a big tank will be a breeze!

I also like the Innovative Marine Nuvo tanks, but I think the 10-gallon one is too small, plus I don't like the LED lights it comes with (they aren't blue enough). There is a Nuvo 40-gallon one that I really like. I think the tank and stand are just under $1000 new, and then you can buy lights and a heater and you're golden. Say $1100-1200 all in brand new. Or find a used one maybe?

I highly recommend buying T5 lights because they are EASY. The IM 40-gallon is 24" long so T5s are an easy fit. I run an aquarium maintenance business, and I can't tell you how many times I've gone to consult for people and their biggest issue is their LED settings. For this reason, I don't like LEDs for newbies. FWIW, I run T5s over my own tank too.

I have a display tank that I run for advertising purposes at a local dive shop here. It's a Nuvo 40 with a 2-bulb T5 fixture on it with two ATI Blue Plus bulbs. The tank is so easy, and colorful! All the corals do great with the lights. I'll be seeing it tomorrow and if I remember I'll take a pic and upload it so you can check it out.
Ya I like the idea of T5s much better than LED since you get the full spectrum- seems less artificial and finicky. Just don't like the idea of buying a kit to immediately replace a major aspect of it.

Looks like the biggest thing to do is to start saving up!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-07-2015, 08:29 PM
Myka's Avatar
Myka Myka is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Saskatoon, SK.
Posts: 11,268
Myka will become famous soon enough
Default

Here's an example of what you can do with the Nuvo 40. These are just cell phone pics and the tank is still young - only 5 months old.

uploadfromtaptalk1444246084882.jpguploadfromtaptalk1444246107904.jpguploadfromtaptalk1444246123313.jpg
__________________
~ Mindy

SPS fanatic.

Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 03:41 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.