Switching to the Dark Side

big54bob

Superstar Fish
Dec 20, 2006
1,486
6
38
27
On my office chair playing Runescape
#1
Petco is haveing there dollar a gallon sale and I snagged my self a nice 20long with the intentions of setting up a 20 long reef. I've done my homework and all i need now is equipment advice, the 700 hundred dollar estimated startup costs, and a pot of gold to refresh my bank account after this :p.

So my equipment list so far:

CD-120311 AquaClear Power Filters 110 (500) $79.99 x = $79.99 Remove this item (and any associated items) from your Shopping Cart

CD-907026 Master Liquid Test Kit Saltwater
Ground shipping only* $24.99 x = $24.99 Remove this item (and any associated items) from your Shopping Cart



CD-14035 Portable Refractometer 0-100 ppt salinity and
1.000-1.070 specific gravity $31.99 x = $31.99 Remove this item (and any associated items) from your Shopping Cart

CD-17031 Theo Heater 100 watt $15.99 x = $15.99 Remove this item (and any associated items) from your Shopping Cart

CD-16882 Synthetic Sea Salt Reef Crystals 160 gallon mix (bucket) $52.99 x = $52.99 Remove this item (and any associated items) from your Shopping Cart



CD-18773 Thermometer 2-1/4" x 1-1/2" $5.99 x = $5.99 Remove this item (and any associated items) from your Shopping Cart

CD-22866 Mixed Media Stands 20L/29 Gallon w/Storage $84.99 x = $84.99 Remove this item (and any associated items) from your Shopping Cart

CD-73804 AquaticLife T5 HO and Lunar Light Fixtures 30" Fixture (mfg #420151) $279.99 x = $279.99 Remove this item (and any associated items) from your Shopping Cart

CD-81378 Turbelle Nanostream 6015 $38.62 x = $38.62 Remove this item (and any associated items) from your Shopping Cart


Merchandise Subtotal = $615.54

How does this sound? Powerhead for flow, ac 110 for fuge mod, 4 bulb t5 should be enough for Softies, zoas/palys, LPS and the more hardy SPS right? The Nanostream is rated for 425 gph of flow, is that enough or no?
 

Newman

Elite Fish
Sep 22, 2009
4,668
0
0
Northern NJ
#2
list look good. Here are some of my opinions:
instead of a HOB you can just do a less expensive powerhead. water flow through live rock is the best filtration. Koralia nano powerheads are nice! or the nano stream powerhead you chose.

Instead of reef crystals, save some money and go with Instant Ocean regular salt. it is good enough for reefs.

I think you can save money by skipping the whole fuge idea, but that's up to you. It's just going to take more plugs (needs a separate light) and more resources (the media basket, purigen/carbon/chemipure bags that you replace every month to 3 months.)

Also maybe a 75W heater is good enough for a 20L?
Also don't forget sand and live rock the rock will add a lot to the costs. you can also use mostly base rock and then add a few live rock pieces.
 

big54bob

Superstar Fish
Dec 20, 2006
1,486
6
38
27
On my office chair playing Runescape
#3
Sand shouldn't be too bad, 2 20lb bags should be all i need for a 1-2" sandbed right?

I'm also going to order my rock from here:
Sea Life Inc.

I'm thinking of using 15 lbs of base rock and seeding it with 10 lbs of uncured/cured rock so i get the bennificial critters such as pods, bristle worms, micro brittle stars, etc. etc. I'm figuring it's going to come out at $5 a lb with shipping for live and a bit cheaper for the base rock. Maybe i'll even get a mantis :p.

You really think i won't need a fuge? I was going to do it so i can keep a healthy population of pods, starfish, and any other critters i might need. Even then I was hoping to try to pack the heater into it to make the tank look sleaker since I want to put it in the living room.
 

Newman

Elite Fish
Sep 22, 2009
4,668
0
0
Northern NJ
#5
if you don't think you can hide the heater with rock-work, then the HOB is a good way to hide it but as you know it's going to rattle loudly once sand gets into the motor.

I'd recommend buying rock from an LFS to save money on shipping, but if they have bad selection then go with the site. Or buy dry rock on the website, and get a few pounds of live rock from the LFS. lots of options.

What is your plan for livestock? unless you have fish that only eat live food(pods) or harlequin shrimp that eat only starfish then the fuge isn't all that necessary. one of the major reasons for a fuge is to grow macro algae for nutrient export, but you can just grow attractive macros in the display and harvest them from there or do water changes regularly. or run an algae scrubber. but if you like fuges then by all means go for it. another benefit of the AC110 fuge mod (I did one for a 10 gallon i had) is the room to put in chemical filtration.

One of the most important purchases is the lighting, so spend a good amount of time researching your best options based on what you know you want to keep and what you may want to keep in the future. check other people's reef setups and see which lighting gives the best results. If you can cope with them, metal halide fixtures are the best imo.
 

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KcMopar

Superstar Fish
#8
A 20G can be maintained by water changes so NO filter is needed and the koralia pump suggested it awesome and the salt he suggests is top notch as well. In a reef tank the corals get food from the water column so if you filter is the corals get WAY less food. I dont even filter my 150G!!! 2" sand is ok. Also a couple small koralia pumps would be best and two heaters because is one fails corals can go quick. The light you have is pretty good as well. Keep reefing simple and it stays pretty cheap and easy. Start off with running your tank for at least 30 DAYS. 20-ish pounds sand and rock should be fine, keep your rock toward the back so you have places to set new corals down low and make plenty of shelf like places for new corals and frags. The two part epoxy stick should be on hand to put corals and frags in place after they acclimate. 10% WC's every week or two to keep water clean and other levels up like Calcium, KH, pH, strontium, potassium, iodine and others. Dont DOSE chemicals you CANNOT test for no matter what the fish store or label says. Its good to hear you are doing your homework, that says a lot. I hope you do well and will help when I can but I dont get on here to often. Show us some pics as you go, even the parts before put it together kinda like a build thread as you go.
Kerry
 

CAPSLOCK

Elite Fish
Jul 19, 2004
3,682
33
48
36
Cape Cod
#9
With the AC110 going, you should have enough flow with the nano powerhead. I had to have two 425-500gph powerheads going when I had a 20L SW going.

If I recall, a lot of the tests are the same for FW & SW. So it may be worthwhile to check what you have that is the same for both, and price compare if it is cheaper to just get the one or two that are different for SW.

I think you'd be able to keep pretty well anything with that light on such a shallow tank. AquaticLife is a good brand. Having 4 bulbs lets you have a larger variety of bulb color/temps. But if you are looking to save some money (and don't care about the lunar light feature) you would probably do just fine with the 2 bulb AquaticLife Dual fixture. That change would save probably $175, plus $40 or so a year on bulbs. You may just have to have SPS and higher light LPS near the top. Just something to think about. When it does get to the point of changing bulbs, everything I have read is that ATI bulbs (and another, Geisman I think) are the best.


Some things to add to the list:
5g bucket or similar, and a little powerhead/heater for mixing new SW (if you use a maxijet I have heard they put out enough heat that you don't need the heater too).
GFCI plug adapter (cuts off power instead of shocking you in the case of electricity + SW meeting) - make sure to get one that automatically turns back on after a power flicker
Screen top? Bulkreefsupply.com makes a good kit, which doesn't block light.
5-10g QT tank? (5g bucket works for this too...)

Are you using RO/DI?
Pretty much everyone online swears you need it, my tank is doing quite well on treated tap water but it depends on what your tap water is like...
 

big54bob

Superstar Fish
Dec 20, 2006
1,486
6
38
27
On my office chair playing Runescape
#10
So you guys think if I pass on the AC fuge mod, it won't affect me at all? I could allways add a AC 70/110 if i have difficulty keeping nutrients in check.

Also what are your opinion on the Jebao WP10 pumps? I heard they put out a **** toon of flow for there size and the fact that they come with a controller makes the extra 20 bucks kinda worth it.

As far as livestock, IDK. I know I want an ORA Naked Clownfish and a blenny like a Starry or Bicolor blenny. I know tailspots stay smaller but everyone and their mother has one and i just don't find them appealing for some reason. As for fish 3 and 4 I haven't decided. Royal grammas are nice but the fact that they are purple and yellow (diehard packers fan here) is VERY discouraging. I'll probably get some sort of goby and some kind of mid water swimmer along with the Clown and blenny. I do know that with saltwater you should take your time when adding stuff and the fact i live a bit of ways from the LFS should convince me to take my time adding fish. As far as inverts, I know I want a pair of cleaner shrimp since they help control parisites and the fact that they spawn like clockwork when they mature is pretty cool/bennificial to the reef. I'll probably get a couple of hermits just for the fact that hermits are fun to watch. I will order my CUC from either sea life inc or from reef cleaners but the fact that john can't count to save his life is intimadating me from ordering from reef cleaners. Other options I thought about are anemone shrimp, pom pom crabs, porcilin crabs, a brittle star, and a few rock flower anemones. I wanted some mini maxis but the fact that they eat fish left and right is the sale killer for me. Maybe i'll have to set up a species pico just for them.
 

CAPSLOCK

Elite Fish
Jul 19, 2004
3,682
33
48
36
Cape Cod
#11
I have heard pretty good things about the WP-10 pumps - basically a cheap Vortech. You'd probably be able to do that as your only pump a 20L depending on your rockscape.

Look at assessors if you want gramma behavior w/o the purple/yellow. Alternatively, neon gobies swim / perch and are just awesome tiny little fish (and are tank bred).

Bicolor blenny will be better sizewise for a 20g. There are also several other cool little blennies to consider as well. Liveaquaria has a pretty good list of blennies. Bluezoo Aquatics too.

Honestly, 4 fish is probably a lot for a 20g. Might be able to get away with it if the other 2 fish are both tiny gobies.
 

KcMopar

Superstar Fish
#14
$280 for a 30" T5HO? That seems marginally insane, but we are talking about a money falling out of pockets marine setup here.

I'm kidding! but not on the cost of that fixture..
I thought that was HIGH to but I have been building DIY LED fixtures so long I was not sure so after seeing your post I searched. Here is a nicely priced LED unit. BeamsWork HI LUMEN LED Light Fixture 3W Quad Power 48" (TR) . They Have T5HO as well here http://www.aquatraders.com/30-inch-4x24W-T5-Aquarium-Light-Digi-Timer-Fixture-p/52323s.htm
Kerry
 

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FreshyFresh

Superstar Fish
Jan 11, 2013
1,337
23
38
East Aurora, NY
#15
That looks like a nice BeamsWork fixture, but given the problem I had with AquaTraders, I won't buy from them again.

I recently bought a 48" 72LED, 36watt, 6500K fixture from them for my 75g that I float some plants in. It's a great fixture and will grow plants like crazy, but within 2 weeks of ownership one bank of 3 LEDs started flashing on/off w/ a regular pattern and eventually went out all together. AquaTrader's only offer was for me to buy another fixture, pay to ship mine back and hope for reimbursement for the 2nd fixture when they got the dud. No thanks! It still works fine minus the one bank of 3 LEDs.

This particular light was "only" $69 though.. can't complain too much.
 

KcMopar

Superstar Fish
#18
The Blenny and Goby are kewl. The Gobies tend to hide a lot. I have both in different tanks and I see my pair of scooter blennies all the time. Most Wrasse can be very agressive even when they say semi-aggressive. Blue/Green Chomis make a nice addition of color to a tank and they look kewl. Some might say its a bit small for a clown but remember they can be very aggressive as well especially in a smaller tank.
 

Newman

Elite Fish
Sep 22, 2009
4,668
0
0
Northern NJ
#19
the 20gal is good for a clownfish pair i think.
I like the blenny idea since you won't be seeing the goby+pistol very often.
maybe a sixline wrasse? i forget how aggressive those are.