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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Been doing some thinking lately, Ive got a ten gallon and 20 gallon tank recently my pops has been itching me to tear down the 20 gallon tank and put up a reef tank that him and I can work on together, however, I need to get rid of 7 fish, an AC50, and a finnex planted+ (unless this finnex light will be good enough to grow basic corals for saltwater.

Also, I would like to know, if/when I tear this tank down, what do I need to do differently to accommodate saltwater as far as equipment wise, some of you have to have reef tanks, I know it help me out!

So far, I know I can sell the plants off and donate the fish to the LFS as much as I dont want to but... I actually have on SAE if anyone wants it PM me about it...also as far as the light if thats not sufficient for saltwater it will sell like a hot cake lets face it....also after I figure out the lighting ordeal i will be placing a for sale/ROAK up and going from their.

Now I need to know basically the light brads and such that are decent for a beginner my old man is relatively new so I want him to get involved with this and learn a thing or two from his "grasshopper" son lol.

All input on anything pertaining to what you would do and what the best solution is would be great, also recommendations on equipment beginner corals/fish and cycles/filtration is great also.

Thanks in advance,

TECK
 

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Oh no! Stepping over to the dark side! Lol gl with your adventure! Ive always been too scared to set up a salt tank as I hear its just as addictive but more expensive haha
 

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planted + has got to go. red light has no benefit in a reef tank. your also going to need a protein skimmer. a small HOB unit should be sufficient for a 20 gallon. fine grain sand is a must (no. 2 argonite is what i use) live rock is a must as well, general rule is about two lbs per gallon. for lighting look into an LED system with a two channel dimmer. you can dial in your color to suit your needs. other then that, occelaris clown fish are good beginner fish and stay away from damselfish, they get pretty aggressive. good luck with saltwater, its one heck of a ride :)

p.s. take it slow when starting up. cycle with live rock for a few weeks before you add any fish. patience is a virtue when it comes to a reef tank.
 

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I tore down my couple of saltwater tanks and one of them was 20g. So many ways to approach but it all comes down on what you want to achieve. With 20g you can either set it up with HOB and a powerhead, or have a sump, you need to drill it to have overflow box, it's the preferred and efficient method. I drilled both of my tanks, very easy. With lighting, unless the Planted plus has at least 10k and blues, or no corals, then you need to replace that. I've used lightings from Kessil, t5s, but I eneded up using Reefdreeders Led, they're great for the money and gaining popularity, very nice fixture. You need to be careful how much lighting you put, algae can be a real nuisance in saltwater tanks. Reef breeders led, you can adjust the intensity. For live rocks and sand, you can start with dead live rocks, they will become live rocks after a while same thing with sand. You just need to buy couple of live rocks to start the coralline algae, the pinkish algae you see in saltwater tanks. This way you don't need pay to much for rocks. You still need to cycle the tank before placing corals and livestocks, these are just the basics. You need your normal test kits plus test kits for saltwater, calcium/alk/mag, a must if you will have corals, otherwise no. With saltwater, you need lots of research, patience and take your time picking the right equipment, it is expensive.
For 20g, you don't really need a protein skimmer, you can get by with weekly water change. But if you have a sump, you can place a skimmer in the sump, either in tank or HOB skimmer. You can go to reef central reef site for more info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well Id like to salvage as much equipment as possible from freshwater, i already have an AC50 on the 20 gallon I was hoping to use that for the saltwater tank and to go from there. Also, I do realize a reef is expensive, not sure if the old man will want to do corals or not, but id like to be prepared with equipment to do so even if we dont grow corals right away.

This is going to be a long process for tearing the tank down, its dirted and been setup for two years....but ive always had problems with the planted+ over the 20 gallon

As far as equipment recomendations, I'd like to stay with a hang on back or possibly a canister, if there is such a thing in reef tanks, also, can you recommend me lighting fixtures?

Thanks.
 

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I run two marine tanks and starting a fresh planted tank as well...The larger the marine tank the easier to maintain (not easy just easier) in keeping parameters...As mentioned above, reef tanks and fish only tanks have different parameters. You need live rock or a refugium (sp) (or both)..An RO/DO is a necessity..But the good thig about evaporation is you just need to replace the water, the salt does not evaporate..You may also need a chiller as corals have no tolerance for temp. changes...A good battery backup is also needed for power outages... Im far from expert but may be able to help you not spend sooo much money making mistakes that I did..!!
 

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I would go to your lfs and ask. Tell them what your goal is then tell them your budget. The ones in Portland when I was in it were always glad to help. You don't have to go big on your budget just research and make smart decisions. Sometimes used is a good option.
 

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As good as this forum is for planted tanks, by it's nature it's not going to be nearly as good for SW reef systems. There are a lot of good SW forums out there. Reef Central has been mentioned. They are big and there is a lot of good information, but they do have the reputation of being rough on new people to SW. I recommend that you look around and fine a reef forum that you like. I happen to like Reef Sanctuary, which I think is a lot more friendly, especially to a beginner.

As pointed out be others, SW systems can get expensive fast. It helps to have lots of money to throw at the project. (grin). Equipment and livestock can be out of sight expensive, giveing even ADA a run for the money in price.

I think the most difficult thing to over come is the mindset of FW verses SW systems. While the goals are that same, that is keeping the fish and livestock alive, the ways that this is done are often completly different. For example, for planted tanks we tend to love canister filters. In the SW world, some people do use them, but often the advice for a SW reef is get rid of the canister filter.

Good luck in converting to the "dark side".

Lastly, I have a SW reef and a FW planted tank. I'd sure hate to have to make a choice between them. I love both aspects. Sometime, if I can ever take some decent picts, I'm going to post picts of my planted tank on the SW forum, and picts of my reef here, just to stir things up a bit (grin).
 

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Well see I have no clue as to what equipment to get at all so I am a complete beginner at this.

Sent from my LG-E980 using Tapatalk

A good system that is customizable (is that a word ?) is a Red Sea Max system. It is purchased all inclusive. There are readily available on Craigslist or you can purchase new...They also have a unique forum..

http://www.redseafish.com/
 

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Look into finding a reef club in your area. It is a great way to get local/informed advice and also the opportunity for coral frags for cheap! They'll be able to tell you which stores are trustworthy as well, and possibly a library to borrow books from.

On a 20g you don't need a skimmer but it is a help. Larger water changes can take its place. You can still use the AC50 as water movement. May well be able to trade the planted+ for a SW fixture.

Note that in a 20g you will be pretty limited fish-wise. If you do get clowns then you are probably talking one other non-water-column fish to join (maybe 2 others if they are tiny). But you can do lots more with inverts/corals to add interest as well.

The type of coral you are interested in is going to be important for your lighting choice (and probably the decision whether to use a skimmer). Take a while to peruse the stores or public aquariums local to you and see what captures your fancy. Then you can build around those types. Soft corals are a lot more forgiving than stony.

Do the research and get good quality equipment the first time - if you get a skimmer, get a quality one like reef octopus, bubble magus, etc. Stay away from crap like Seaclone, Prizm, and other wastes of money.

As Hunter said, you don't need to get all live rock - get mostly dry rock and add a few pieces of LR - the bacteria will colonize the dry and it will all be live anyways. A local reef club is also a good place to get LR off people who are leaving the hobby, at a much cheaper price than the LFS.

Resist the urge to add fish/corals right away. Let it get established first, then add some cleaners (hermits or snails). Hermits tend to eventually eat snails, so it's a good idea to decide which you would like and stick to one or the other. FWIW, there are some cool snails available. Add one fish at a time in a small tank like that. Utilize a QT system - you can use a 10g tank for $10 from Petco with literally just a heater and some form of water movement. You can't treat diseases in a reef...

This is a bit down the road, but it is a good idea to know what the typical SW pests look like - ie aiptasia anemones, bryopsis - so that you can avoid bringing them home if possible.
 

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I will enjoy it for sure but I want to know what equipment I should purchase and also specific brands that are decent for a beginner...
The closest place I would trust would be that pet place that fish place about 45 minutes away...
Well see I have no clue as to what equipment to get at all so I am a complete beginner at this...
Before you get involved with equipment selection, figure out what sort of livestock you want to keep in the tank. That will drive the equipment selection, much more so than in a FW system. For example, if you want corals your going to need much better light and water quality than you will for just a fish only system.

A lot of people here have given you good advice, but it's all in fragments, and as such doesn't help you too much. I recommend that you get yourself a few good books on state of the art reef systems. Then read and study them, so you have some idea about what your are doing. Here are two I like -

The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert Fenner
The New Marine Aquarium by Michael Paleta <---This book has an especially good section on fish suited to someone starting off in the hobby.

Neither of these books are expensive.

This is information that you can not easily obtain from the net. While it's out there, it's all over the place, and there is a massive volume of information.

Now you'll have the background to make intelligent equipment selections, and your questions will be more in the line of "Is brand A better than brand B?" or "Do I need to ...?"

As for LFSs, even fairly good ones like That Fish Place, you are going to find that most all of them are just about clueless with it comes to any kind of advanced aquarium system. This includes planted tanks and SW reef systems. Verify anything they tell you and especially anything they try to sell you.

BTW, I see your in Reading PA. If your a fanatic about SW, and want to kill an entire day, it's worth a trip to visit Pacific East Aquaculture. Here's the link to their facility, which is open to the public (offsite) - http://www.pacificeastaquaculture.com/about_us.html If you buy at the store, you get the same great prices as online, but you don't have to pay shipping. Note that this place is 100% SW, and deals mostly in livestock and a few products like foods and speciality stuff. They don't really deal in much equipment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I appreciate everything guys, Ive been a member here for a while and i know the knowledge of Planted tanks on here is very very good, but i wasnt so sure about the saltwater aspect, but once again I was proved wrong, all of this info is a great help to me. Saltwater has always been intriguing to me and with two FW tanks set up right now naturally one is getttig the neglect hece why i want to change things up.

I purchased the second book mentioned and will most likely read that sucker from front to back, what can I say Im a nerd, anyway....

I need to research the SW aspect and get a handle on what does what and what to buy and what not to buy, going for a "low tech" SW setup (if thats possible) so their again I need to figure out what is vital and what isnt, and I do realize my planted+ wont work for SW so i may trade for something equivalent if thats possible.

@DaveK - yes I am in Reading, Pa I travel to maryland every year for family vacation and pass by that place not knowing it was a SW coral shop, which looks really interesting actually. Thank you for all of the info as well

@Steve002 - the old man better get his coin jar ready if he knows whats good for him HA

@CAPSLOK - I am trying to find a SW community near by but the PA region isnt hopping like some other places are in the country a few people i know on here live around this area I will have to check in to this

@BRC - I did look up those tanks on craigslist, but I already have a 20 gallon and Im trying to convert with reusing as much as possible and selling the rest, although those tanks are truely eye candy!

AGAIN GUYS/GALS I APPRECIATE ALL OF THE HELP!

~Teck
 
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