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    Posted: January 26 2012 at 11:39am
Just thought id say hello, I have been lurking around reef forms in general for a week or so. (nano-reef, fish lore, /r/aquariums) and found this place a few days ago. Thought it made the most sense to start off talking with locals! 

Anyways: I don't currently have a tank, I'm really just doing the research, and waiting to make sure its something I actually want to do. If I make the dive, I'm planning on starting with a FOWLR in a 15-30 gallon tank. I have read that its not really great to start to small (water chemistry changes much faster etc) and my pockets are telling me to go for a 20 - 30 AIO tank.

I see that a decent amount of people on these forms are rocking the Biocubes, (they do seem to look much better with the cover off). I personally have been leaning towards a Cadlights (22gal) tank. Can any give me some direction in really things to look for in tanks? I have essentially been paying attention to price and if a decent lighting system is included since that seems to be one of the more spendy areas.

Also, are all of you with reef tanks using RO machines at home? I have read that some people are using "pink cap" distilled water from grocery stores. How does Utah's water stand up, is it decent enough to simply use the chemical cleaning? (drops to break the chloritic bond etc)

Any information would be awesome! also, you all have some lovely setups I am truly envious. 

and ice to meet you!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote clubbby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2012 at 12:07pm
Welcome! I'm new to the aquarium world as well but I do happen to have some answers/advice to your questions.

Saltwater, reef tanks in particular are very expensive. Aside from your tank and equipment you have to consider extra costs beyond that like chemicals, live rocks, RO systems, costs related to setting up quarantine tanks or sump pumps if you choose to do those things. My advice would be to steer you away from going to small as well. For the reasons you said of course and simply as you'll find it very contstraining. You'll get a few fish and corals or whatever it is you wish to do and you'll find yourself at your peak bioload and wish you had gone bigger in the first place. What's considered a good starter size is a matter of opinion and I'd defer to anyone more experienced if they have an opinion but I'd say start at 30g minimum if you want to stay on the small side.

While I didn't do much shopping around for lighting that came with the tank, in so far as I know most "everything you need" tank setups don't come with an apporpiate lighting fixture for a good reef tank. In our case we shopped around LFS's, KSL, and Amazon and settled on a 4x 54w T5HO fixture we found for about $150 new which was a great price. We didn't know about WMAS at the time but you might find a lot of what you're looking for used right here.

We got distilled "pink cap" water from Smiths for a little while while we were waiting for our RO. I didn't have a TDS meter at the time but we saw no ill effects as a result of using it, but you would be best off getting an RO (again we did that from Amazon, got a 5 stage brand new for $150 with shipping). Seems a little steep but when you consider the cost of buying water to replace .5 gallons or so for a small tank a day you'll be spending that much before long anyway. LFS's will also probably have RO water for sale if you bring your own container, like I know for a fact you can get 5G for $1 as Fish 4 U but I'm sure that's true of almost all shops. You won't want to use tap water, yeah you can use dechlorinator but Utah water is pretty heavy, dissolved metals and minerals that just won't jive with a sensitive saltwater setup. Some people say it's ok for topoff water but my advice is don't risk it.
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Welcome to to the club!  Here you will find a wealth of knowledge from all of our experts.
Here is what a customer said while on hold Oh my gosh! Did you open the door? I told you not to open the door. Dre is in here completely naked and he's got freak'n Macaroni and Cheese in his hands.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ackbar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2012 at 1:14pm
Thanks Clubbby and Turbostud! I was thinking of setting up a 20 gallon and then if / when I wanted to get into a reef tank I could use it as my Quarantine and set up to a 40 - 55 gallon. I was hoping that would help me spread out the costs a bit as well. Ill have to lurk around the classifieds and see what I can come across. 

Does anyone have experience moving a tank? Can I essentially just put the fish into a 5gal bucket of tank water and drain the rest for the trip? How long could a fish last in something like that? 

Ill defiantly be going for a RO then, it also sounds absurdly more convenient. 
Thanks for the help!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote clubbby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2012 at 1:32pm
As for the question of moving fish, I will again start with the disclaimer of if someone more experienced pipes in listen to what they say because I have no experience with this for saltwater, just freshwater. When I had this scenario come up I would put them in a 5g bucket with water from their home tank. If it was going to be for an extended period of time I would also put a light, heater, and airstone in there. You don't want to do airstones for saltwater so maybe a small powerhead with a variable output pointed at the top to break the water surface and oxegynate it (even the smallest powerhead you can get will probably turn a 5g bucket into a whirlpool at full blast).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MIK3B Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2012 at 9:04pm
I agree with all the point here, this club and MB are a great place to get knowledge, help, equipment and livestock!

Depending on what the extended period of time ends up being, I wouldn't worry too much about a light for the fish in a 5G bucket, there will be some light anyway and fish are calmer when there is less light... an air stone works fairly well for short periods of time to break the water surface and oxygenate for a decent amount of time. I've used those emergency battery backup airstone jobbies to move fish in a bucket over 200 miles before with no heater and they were still alive years later. I also used an 120V inverter with a small heater and powerhead to send a friend driving from here to California in a bucket with no casualties.

Remember that fish ship hundreds of miles from the ocean/inland holding facility in bags inside dark boxes to the LFS every day, But yes, the less stress the better, for you and them.

Definitely get an RO unit (good for drinking water too) and add a DI unit on the end eventually if you stay with it. Even more pure water that way. You can get a DI and RO filter replacement kit from BRS for less than $50 take a look here.

Good luck and welcome!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2012 at 9:23am

We've come a long way since the old days when people treated everything like a goldfish bowl. Smaller tanks are not difficult at all. The reason there are so many hobbyists with 1 gal to 30 gal tanks is because the old standards of keeping a marine aquarium have been shattered. I set up my first 10 gal reef tank in 1997 and it grew everything. It was in a window with full sun much of the day. That fact alone shatters a huge myth that marine hobbyists have held to for so long.
There is a lot of old misinformation lurking out there.Confused

Thumbs UpThe key is to set it up right the first time with the proper biology, then leave it alone and let it grow.

FOWLR tanks are not as efficient, nor as cool as tanks with some coral and there are only a few types of fish that we cannot keep from eating coral.
Fish pollute the water. Coral filter the water.
Marine ornamental fish live around coral so they live better in an aquarium that has coral.

The usefulness of plant life is also misunderstood. We call it Algae and Macroalgae. It's the best way to filter the water and combined with other live filtration components it's very fast at filtering water.

If this is sounding interesting, click on "Reefkeeping Tips" below and get ready to expand your understanding of marine aquariums. Smile Big smile
(There is also a Tip about moving a marine aquarium.)


Edited by Mark Peterson - January 27 2012 at 9:45am
Reefkeeping Tips, & quick, easy setup tricks:
www.utahreefs.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9244
Pay it forward - become a paid WMAS member
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Ackbar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2012 at 11:18am
Wow, thanks for the welcome Mark, your post and the guide in your sig are incredibly helpful, and will probably end up saving me a few hundred dollars! TYVM I can probably take the rock / sand monies and get some decent lights

I keep reading about this Fish 4 U store in Holiday, I think that is going to be one of the closer LFS's near me but I drove down to that area the other day and could not find the store. Am I just blind or is it still there. (I used the address posts on this page)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote clubbby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2012 at 11:32am
Yep. It's a little hard to see if you don't know what you're looking for. Here's a Google Maps street view. It's on the west side of the road.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=4010+So.+Highland+Dr.&hl=en&ll=40.684934,-111.84435&spn=0.00589,0.009645&sll=40.685490,-111.844569&layer=c&cbp=13,251.86,,0,4.74&cbll=40.684843,-111.844315&hnear=4010+S+Highland+Dr,+Salt+Lake+City,+Utah+84124&t=m&z=17&panoid=6WKN8kX2X1KXPsnyPz7ojg
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2012 at 11:36am
Look for the sign on the west side of the street "Highland Storage". if you can follow addresses, 4010 South will lead you right there. Kris is awesome.
With all the money you save here, you can spend a few dollars on yearly WMAS membership. Smile
Reefkeeping Tips, & quick, easy setup tricks:
www.utahreefs.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9244
Pay it forward - become a paid WMAS member
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ackbar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2012 at 12:07pm
Awesome! thanks a bunch. Ill make sure the membership comes the same day I get the tank! I think this weekend will be time to visit some LFS's see if I can spread the love locally before I buy things online. 
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