Yep mate, thats basically all you need :)! That's about as simple as a set up can get, but it works wonders for many many people and should do just fine for you. The live rock and the skimmer arn't the cheapest things in the world though, but it's important that you don't skimp on them. You can usually find someone who is breaking down their tank and get rock for a really good deal though.
Hmmm, to be honest I would be slightly weary of that all in one set up. First of all, are you thinking of keeping corals? If you are, the canister filter part of it might be a nuissance, as you could have trouble with nitrates and would probably have to find some way of exporting them. With the live rock though you don't have this problem (there are special anaerobic bacteria which live deep inside the live rock which converts nitrate into nitrogen gas). Also the skimmer part of it, for something which does such an important job you'd probably want to have a specialised unit for it. I'd just be a bit skeptical that it wouldn't be quite as efficient, but I could be totally wrong. There are plenty of really good quality skimmers for not too big of a price. I havn't shopped for a skimmer in a long time so I'm not really up to date on whats best at the minute, so I'm sure someone will be along soon to advise you which one to go for.
Oh I'm sorry, I had forgotten to mention about sumps and such. Yes, they are very benificial and are the best places to store equipment such as protein skimmers and heaters. The best thing to do is to have the tank drilled so that water overflows from the tank down to the sump and is then pumped back up with a return pump. Hope that makes sense. There are other ways to do it than drilling the tank, but they're not usually reccomended. My tank is not drilled, and to be honest its a complete pain, it never works as well as it would if it had been drilled. I'm sure there is some aquarium manufacturer near you who could do it for a small price.
One last thing I should mention is RO water. This is a very pure form of water, as the tap water in most areas just doesn't cut it for marines. Your LFS should be able to supply you with it :)
Honestly, I know how daunting this all is but I promise you it is so so soooo worth it. You will get your head around it quite quickly with just a little bit of reading. If you're able to get over the starting humps looking after it will probably be even easier than the tropicals. I hope I havn't scared you away with too much information, if there's absolutely anything at all you don't understand then don't hesitate to ask. We'll all do our best to ensure you get started in this hobby properly and enjoy it every bit as much as we all do :)
Re: New to fishkeeping, some advice if you please.
Aw mate that would be brilliant :)! There's some absolutely fantastic dive sites around here, I live in Portrush, don't know if you've heard of it. But it's right on the north west coast and all along here is just covered in wrecks and reef drop offs and tonnes of other fascinating stuff.
I'm just a novice at the mo, but I'm very, very keen. I don't know anyone at all around here to dive with but I am dieing to get out. It would be great to have a more experienced dive buddy for a day :)
Well if you're ever in the area don't hesitate to give me a pm or email or something :)
Cheers, oh and if you need any more help with the tank set up just ask :)
You seem to be on just the right track :) doing lots of research is the key, if you do that then you should have a very successful reef :).
You're right about the anenome's, they are very nice creatures but they're just not for beginners, I think you'll have a lot more luck with one later on down the line :). Besides there are many stunning looking corals which will do brilliant in your tank, and you don't have to worry about them eating your other inhabitants or causing trouble if they should die :). Stick to the simple things for now and you'll be a lot happier.
If you have absolutely anymore questions at all don't hesitate to ask, we're all here to help :).
Welcome to the world of marines, glad you could join us :). Sounds like it'll make a good tank, one question though, have you ever treated the tank with copper or any other medicine?? Copper is highly toxic to marine life, and sometimes it can be absorbed into the silicone and then leached out later on.
The first thing I can tell you is that yes, yes, YES it is worth it :). I promise if you take the time to do it right you'll get so much enjoyment out of this tank.
Well depending on what you want to keep, you probably wont need an external filter actually. One can be used, but as you may know they produce a lot of nitrates, which isn't really something you want in a marine tank especially if you're wanting to keep corals.
What most people use is something called 'Live Rock' and it is by far the most benificial filter for your tank. This is rock that has come straight out of the ocean, and is populated with many small invertebrates and also all the bacteria that you could ever want in order to keep water quality perfect. This is what most people would reccomend you use instead of an external filter, it also makes the tank look very very natural and provides a lot of biodiversity with all the life that comes out of it. I think the general concensus is that around 1 - 1.5lbs of live rock per gallon of water will provide good filtration.
The next thing you'll need is a heater obviously, and then some pumps or powerheads because you'll want to get quite a flow going in your tank. This is important for propper circulation and filtration.
The next thing you need is something called a protein skimmer. I guess this could be called the external filter of the marine world. It's a device that produces lots and lots of bubbles to pass through a column of water, all the protein fish waste in the tank attatches to these bubbles and moves to the surface where they enter the collection cup. It's a very efficient way of removing waste before it has time to break down into dangerous chemicals. Aim at getting one that is designed for a little larger than your tank, and this should do you well.
Then if you wanna keep corals you'll need some T5 bulbs, or if you just want fish then T8s will do :).
I know it seems quite daunting now as there is a lot to take in, but you will catch on to it all very quickly if you are keen enough. Thats about all I can think of right now, if you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask :)
Re: New to fishkeeping, some advice if you please.
Hello nandn :)!!
I have just started scuba diving over the summer here in northern ireland and it was definitely the best thing I've ever ever done :). I have always been used to thinking the only nice marine fish were the ones from the tropics such as clownfish, tangs, angels etc. I thought the life around here would be dull and boring in comparison, boy was I wrong. Everytime I go under that surface I see the most stunning marine life, very different from what you would buy in a LFS or what most people keep in their tanks, but still very beautiful. I gained a whole new perspective and respect for the life under the sea. Ever since seeing what they're like I have been toying with the same idea that you're speaking of now.
The only thing is you won't be able to mix species that are native to here with species you'd find in an LFS. They come from waters that get as warm as around 80 degrees F, whereas as you'll know the waters here are a lot LOT colder than that!! So you'd have to decide between keeping native species and ones that you'd have to buy at an LFS.
There are no laws here in Northern Ireland and as far as I know no laws at all in the whole of the UK relating to removing marine life from the ocean. So you should have no problem catching your own specimins, which to me would be absolutely amazing and one of the main reasons I'm thinking of doing this.
You could probably set it up like a normal reef tank, I'm not totally sure but I think you could use live rock for the filter.
According to my dive log, most of my dives this summer have been in waters of around 60 degrees F (16degrees C). So if you wanted to go down this road you'd have to try to get your tank somewhere around that temp. Also check the salinity of the water where you'd be collecting from, I'm sure it could well be different from the water in the tropics too.
As for the risk of introducing diseases. Well to be honest, there is a much, much higher risk of us introducing a disease into our tank just by buying from an LFS. Those fish have been stressed out so so much and many will be very susceptible to the many different types of disease found in LFS tanks. Collecting your own specimins from the wild means the fish will have no long distance flights, won't have to acclimate to many different tanks before they reach yours, and aslong as you find a healthy specimin to start with I think it will have a much higher chance of surviving than any of the fish we would buy.
One last thing, what Fishy-Fishy says is right, once you bring the fish home you would not be allowed to ever release it back into the wild. It could be devastating to the ecosystem here, it could carry a foriegn pathogen back into the ocean which could wipe out many fish or if you ever treated it for an illness its offspring in the wild could have slight genetic differences or something. Bottom line is don't get anything that'll ever outgrow your tank, I still think you'll have plenty of options though, there are some beautiful small fish around here :).
You know, in trying to convince you that you should try this, I think I've just convinced myself that I should aswell :). I've got a spare 55gallon that would make a brilliant native reef. Don't forget all the amazing macroalgaes, sponges, anenomes and corals found around here, you could have a beautiful and very different display.
I do agree that if you are not totally comfortable with what you're doing just yet, start out with tropical or if you want, do lots and lots of reading and ask lots of questions before you go delve into this :)
Flip sorry you posted while I posted again!! Stop doing that :D!
Are they really in a hard place to get to without disturbing everything? Do you have a large clean up crew?? I would try my best to get atleast one of them out, but if they are small and you have plenty of hermits and snails you'll probably find that they'll be eaten by the morning. Just test the water regularly and have some water ready to change if you get any spikes. If it was just one then I would say don't worry at all, but with two at the same time you should just be cautious for the next couple of days.
Just so you know, a UV unit wont eradicate bacteria or parasites. It will definitely help some, but don't listen to the LFS guy if he says that'll solve all your problems. Only a very small number of parasite/bacteria will pass through the unit and be killed, there will still be a steady population breeding in the tank. The only way to keep parasites out of the main tank is to have a QT tank, in my opinion that would be a much better investment to make than a UV sterilizer.
Hi there, looks like that will make a nice tank :)!
In my opinion those calculators don't work well for marine tanks. As Coralline has stated she is able to keep a far different number than what the calculator tells her.
It all just depends on what you want to keep and also on your filtration. Assuming that you have adequate amount of live rock and a good skimmer then you just gotta decide what combination of fish you want. Cos we could say 'oh you could put about 10 or so fish in there' and you could go out and make five of those fish tangs, and you'd probably be in big trouble then!!
For a five foot tank you could probably have two of the smaller species of tangs. A nice pair of clowns. A dwarf angel. And then quite a selection of smaller miscelanious fish such as firefish, chromis, blennies, gobies and that sort of thing.
And then pack it to the hilt full of corals :D
If you look at some sites on the internet you should find lots of pictures of fish. Find a selection that you like and come back and we'll do our best to tell you if it'll work or not :)!
Good luck, and one bit of advice is take everything slow and add fish very slowly to give you system time to adjust :)
Sorry mate you posted while I was posting there. Your water quality seems fine.
While the tang could be causing some extra stress to the fish they tend to not be too aggressive to smaller chromis type fish, (usually anyway). My money is on that dominant fish bullying the others and stressing them out a lot :(.
It's also possible, now that you mention the tang, that as Smarttony said you could have introduced some bacterial infection which is killing them. But more than likely they're just picking eachother off one by one :(
Unfortunately you're probably experiencing what a lot of chromis keepers experience :(. They do 'appear' to be very non aggressive fish, but they are in the damselfish family which all have aggressive traits, when you have a small group of them in a small tank there will be a pecking order. All the ones on top will pick on the smallest or weakest fish. Sometimes its hard to tell when one is being bullied or not allowed to get at the food because when there's a lot of identical fish swimming around at feeding time you can't really see if one isn't able to get any food.
A lot of people who start off with a small group find that one will dissapear every now and again and they'll usually be left with just one or two dominant fish. Not everyone experiences this but it is actually quite common. The key to success with a shoal of these fish is to have a number of around fifteen, this spreads out the aggression and allows everyone a little more of a chance to get food and stay healthy. Unfortunately though this number is not really feasible in small tanks.
It's not definite that the remaining ones will continue to kill eachother off, but I think it is probable.
They're called hydroids :) and yup they are a type of jellyfish (or related to them, not totally sure). The only thing that I know of them being harmfull to are dwarf seahorses, as long as you don't have any of them then you should be fine :)! Almost every reef tank has these things.
I don't think they have any connections to the black spots on your clownfish, that sounds like it could be more of a parasite or bacterial infection. I have heard of something called 'black ich' before, I'll try and see if I can find anything out about it to see if I can help you with that.