Looking into this hobby, Need a good info database

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Cats_paw, Jan 20, 2016.

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How long it takes to get a good understanding of reef tanks?

  1. 1 month

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. 6 months

    11.1%
  3. 1 year

    11.1%
  4. 5 years or more

    77.8%
  1. Cats_paw

    Cats_paw Plankton

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2016
    Messages:
    4
    Hello everyone,
    I have been looking at a possibility to get a 120-200 gallon reef tank for my apartment, however I am a bit of a loss to get my head around all things I have to consider for this hobby.

    I have been googleing around but I find myself finding questionable articles about reef tanks and contradictory information in many cases (not on the most important aspects of a reef tank but on smaller ones).

    I would be thankful for some links to the things that someone getting into this hobby should know (I think I got the MUST know part by now).

    Things I have read about (thou not in huge extent) are:

    -Apartment requirements for reef tanks (mostly floor strength, floor capable of containing the water and/or draining system to avoid flooding my neighbor, location to avoid direct sunlight/keep it safe).
    -Basic equipment required to keep a reef tank operational (here I am a bit confused, some sites have more than others).
    -Basic costs (electricity, supplements, foods and additives, equipment replacement)
    -Tank population (Here I saw stuff like the questionable 1 inch fish per gallon. There is no way to accuratly test this, but my tank is going to be fairly light on fish (no more than 50 small ones EVER, no big ones at all, I expect to have 20-30+some cleaning crew if its effective+reefs).
    -Basic Maintenance (Ive read a lot about this but everywhere the information seems incomplete, I am looking to create a low maintenance tank if that is possible, if not, I want to learn more about the biochemistry of the ecosystem to make sure I understand what I am getting into).

    Currently my plan is to give it a full year of reading and saving cash until I am confident that this is the right move for me.
    I have other interests I pursue so I wont be ONLY reading about reef tanks for 1 year, but I want a very good understanding of all the parameters I need to know, and for that I need a lot of material.
    One topic I have not seen too much about is quarantine and medication of sick fish.

    Kind Regards,
    Cats_Paw.
     
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  3. oldfishkeeper

    oldfishkeeper Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2012
    Messages:
    7,660
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    there are some great articles on this site. One thing I would mention, if you think you have enough money, you don't ever have enough money :)
     
    DSC reef, Swisswiss, Piano10 and 2 others like this.
  4. cody3819

    cody3819 Bubble Tip Anemone

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2015
    Messages:
    667
    True that! I bust my budget every month. But its okay....
     
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  5. Swisswiss

    Swisswiss Caribbean Reef Squid

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    2,879
    Location:
    Geneva Switzerland
    I did research and a lot of reading for about 6 months prior to my first setup. once you "get your hands dirty" you never really stop learning though, thats actually one of the awesome things about this hobby, there is SO MUCH to learn, read and do. from the basics of the nitrogen cycle to the culture of "green water" and rotifers.

    Lighting and water parameters are what i struggled with most at the start (and to be honest im not 300% on it today...). this is also because there is a lot of misinformation regarding lighting out there....

    welcome on board!! you already made a right choice by going as large as you can, 200 gallons makes for a fun tank!!
     
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  6. Piano10

    Piano10 Aiptasia Anemone

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
    Messages:
    581
    Welcome.

    There is never ending learning with this hobby. The greatest thing about the hobby is the amount of learning and decication required to be successful.

    There is a lot of info out there. Some is really good and other info is sketchy. Ppl here will guide you to good sources.

    3reef has a lot of very good info and ppl here are really helpful.
    Liveaquaria.com is good for coral, fish, and invert info as well as compatibility.

    It is really important to learn about cylcing the tank, water stability, testing, lighting requirements, and maintenance.
    As you go along you will learn more.
    I believe its impossible to learn everything prior to set up but its important to have knowledge rather than just jumping in as some do. Patience and going slow is key.

    As for setting up the tank in an apartment: its important to ensure the floor can hold the weight of the tank, high rise buildings are made with concrete between each level, so it shouldn't be an issue if your floor is concrete.
    Make sure your insurance covers aquariums. Some policies only cover up to a certain tank/gallon size.
    A VERY well made stand is important and ensuring it is level and the tank is level is really important.
    Having a gfci outlet is really important for safety as well.

    With a tank of the size you mention you will definitely want a sump, protein skimmer, good lighting (led is less costly in the long run for hydro and bulb replacement) and the colours really pop with led, powerheads for water movement, heater, and an auto top off which makes life easier.

    Some ppl get all the bells and whistles for their aquariums but you don't need it all and not upon set up either...it gives you time to add to the aquarium as you go, as you need things, which is fun and gives you something to look forward to and work upon.

    For setting up, you want to use RODI water or distilled.
    Livesand is a good substrate if you don't go barebottom. Caribsea has some nice options.
    Most ppl today use dry reef rock to set up their aquariums or do a 90% dry reef rock and 10% liverock to seed the dry rock. You will need 1-2lbs per gallon.

    I personally prefer doing 90% dry rock and the reamaining 10% small pieces of good liverock.
    Depending on what reef rock you get, you may want to presoak it in rodi water to remove any phosphates prior to set up
    If you get reefbuilder's rock, you can eliminate this step.

    Hope this helps at least a bit
     
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  7. HostileEmployee

    HostileEmployee Plankton

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2016
    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Basics you need and don't go cheap on these!!! (Get name brand) sump,skimmer, return pump and heater. If you don't go all on on those 4 items you will be spending more on replacements. I tried to go the Chinese knock offs when I first started and shot myself in the foot. You also need lighting which is a whole different topic (depends what you want to keep). Wavemakers are a must for water movement and oxygen exchange. I recommend the newer jaebo models, the work just as well as the ecotech brand without the ridiculous pricing. Any specific questions just ask! Happy reefing.
     
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  9. Cats_paw

    Cats_paw Plankton

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2016
    Messages:
    4
    Hey guys,
    Interesting stuff so far.
    I had to change my gallon size to a max of 154 gallons (location does not allow bigger), smallest 94.6 (depends on the height of the tank as well as the weigh).
    Second, I am still working on getting to my home developer to check what sort of floors I have and to make sure the load is adequate.
    Third, I calculated in terms of money. I can afford it, but I am going to give myself a head start just in case.

    4th, I will rework my floor to make it a 24 hour water containment guaranteed, so even if a catastrophic event happens, I wont destroy someones life (also planning on creating a small drain to my inner shared common garden area, so if it does leak, it will do so outside).

    OFC insurance is something I will get.

    5th, I live in Poland, so most of the companies/brands might not be available here.
     
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  10. cody3819

    cody3819 Bubble Tip Anemone

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2015
    Messages:
    667
    Sounds like you have a great game plan.
     
  11. Swisswiss

    Swisswiss Caribbean Reef Squid

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    2,879
    Location:
    Geneva Switzerland
    In Poland you should be good, I live in Switzerland and here too you dont have a HUGE selection but you can get by. you can get awesome stuff from your next door neighbor Germany. all my equipment is pretty much TUNZE labeled
     
  12. Cats_paw

    Cats_paw Plankton

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2016
    Messages:
    4
    Hi again guys!

    So, after making more research I noticed two things that I am curious about:
    It seems that in a reef tank if you add a calcium reactor (seems fair to add one so the corals live well), you need a CO2 bottle to lower the ph of the water to help the calcium mix with the water.
    Is this accurate?
    I am ok with having a good amount of gear under the display tank but to be honest I dont like the idea of having a CO2 bottle down there.
    If it starts leaking while you are asleep you might never wake up... (im exaggerating but id rather not have any high pressure bottle at home under my tank).

    So, in other words, can I use a calcium reactor without a CO2 bottle?
     
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