Build Thread, help me get started!

Discussion in 'Show Off Your Fish Tanks!' started by Michael Pollard, Jun 6, 2014.

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  1. Michael Pollard

    Michael Pollard Astrea Snail

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    I want to start a 40 gal FOWLR (I'm hoping that's what it's called.) I would prefer not to have a sump, seems unnecessary. I've been reading, and I do understand some basics of saltwater aquariums, I just need some guidance. A supply list would benefit me greatly!

    I'm working on buying a 40 gal breeder tank here soon.

    Also, I don't know the lingo of this stuff, so I don't understand abbreviations. So if you would, help me out :)
     
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  3. Billme

    Billme Eyelash Blennie

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    FOWLR stand for fish only with live rock. A sump complicates things, but the alternative is much more complicated and frustrating. If you stock fish very light and maintain it regularly, it may work.
     
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  4. Servillius

    Servillius Montipora Digitata

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    If I remember your other build thread correctly, you want corals. That would be a reef, not a FOWLR. Don't sweat the lingo, you'll get it with time - most of it is just acronyms.

    A. You want a sump. There are tanks without them, but in my humble opinion, they make your life a lot easier. Find a reef ready tank and with a little PVC plumbing, it should work well. If you find a dedicated LFS (local fish store), they can help - particularly a good one. Where are you?
    B. having a sump means you need a return pump. No need to go big; just enough to get water back into the tank.
    C. I strongly recommend a protein skimmer. Get a good one. It doesn't need to be expensive, but get a decent in sump skimmer. The in sump kind work better and produce fewer spills.
    D. Get a shallow sand bed and some live rock (opinions vary on amount, but I'd suggest 20 to 40 lbs of good quality rock). Some folks like to use base rock with a little live rock to "seed" it (bring in the beneficial stuff that will grow onto the base rock). This has some advantages, but I think as a beginner, good live rock is best. As a beginner I would also avoid man made live rock.
    E. Get a light. I'm partial to t5 systems which are more idiot proof. Idiot proof is a good thing around me. No need to get too fancy; a 4 bulb unit that fits your tank will do nicely.
    F. Go look up Dr. Tim's fishless cycling using bacteria. Fill the tank then follow the instructions.
    G. When your cycle is done (really done), get a fish. Just one. Don't add more for a while. Do your learning with one fish in the tank.
    H. At this point, you'll have all the elements of a healthy stable system. Now you can start worrying about all the different stuff that goes on on these forums (timers, choosing supplemental filtration, wave makers, etc.).
    I. Did I forget anything? Please jump in folks.
     
  5. oldfishkeeper

    oldfishkeeper Giant Squid

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    ^^+1 looks perfect to me!
     
  6. Michael Pollard

    Michael Pollard Astrea Snail

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    Okay, this actually makes sense to me, but I have some questions.

    1. Where can I find a reef ready tank? My local pet stores are Jacks Pets, Petco and Petsmart. I'm in the Dayton Ohio area.
    2. What size does my sump tank need to be? I have a 10 gallon tank at my house that it not being used, will that work?
    3. What does a sump even do? Do I really need one?

    Thank you! :)
     
  7. Servillius

    Servillius Montipora Digitata

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    1. I'm hoping someone in your area sees this and has a pet store recommendation. Let's table the question of where to get a reef ready tank for a bit. If we can't answer it, we can discuss alternatives.
    2. My wife's 60 gallon tank had a 10 gallon sump. It was small and cramped, but it worked just fine for 4 years. Be neat and use space wisely.
    3. A sump does several things. First, it gives you a hidden place to put all your equipment keeping the tank tidier. It also gives you more options in equipment choices. In sump skimmers are generally preferred, but without a sump, you'll have to go with a slightly pricier not quite as good hang on back skimmer. A sump also keeps the water level in your display tank constant. When you get more advanced, you can add an auto top off and your water level will be constant and your salinity will be stable. The sump is also the place to dose chemicals, keep bags of stuff like carbon, attach media reactors and keep misbehaving fish. It diesnt do one thing for you, it does lots of little things that in total make your life and enjoyment a lot easier.
     
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  9. Dmann

    Dmann Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

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    I would suggest searching craigslist. You can often get a setup from someone for cheap. Use search words like " aquarium, fish tank"

    A sump is the best way to go. The water from the tank flows down to the sump where your filter and protein skimmer is then pumped back up to the tank clean. A ten gal sump should be fine. Remember the more the better though
     
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  10. Michael Pollard

    Michael Pollard Astrea Snail

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    Okay, a sump sounds like a great option.
    Is there anyway to make a sump without drilling the tank? I really don't want to drill the tank.
     
  11. Servillius

    Servillius Montipora Digitata

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    You can always use something like this. They work well, but not as well as a reef ready tank.

    http://www.eshopps.com/products/overflowboxes/pf300/

    Don't do like I did and let the drilled thing scare you. A reef ready tank is a tank that comes pre-drilled and ready to go. If you can't find one in your area and you really don't want to drill, go with the overflow - but don't be intimidated by a minor modification if you can avoid it. Call around, some fish stores may help.
     
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  12. oldfishkeeper

    oldfishkeeper Giant Squid

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    If you are in Dayton, look up western ohio reef club I'm pretty sure is the name. I'm pretty sure gerber's is in Dayton.....