33g Semi Reef - Newbie - Suggestions & Advice?


Reefing since '93
Hi all! I am a newbie to SW in the sense that I have had poor education, and my inverts, soft corals, and fish have paid for it in the past with the three different tanks (10g, 20g, and 25g) I had setup at different times. :( That was 5 years ago, and I have done A LOT of research since then! Now I want to do it right!!! :) I am somewhat of a FW buff having spent 10 or 12 years dabbling all over the board on that one, from community tanks, to African Cichlids, to Piranha.

So, I'd like to list out my plans for a tank now, and I am looking for comments, concerns, suggestions, etc. Of course these plans always change...but we all know that, right?!!! Please keep in mind that I am 23, and just bought my first house, so funds are fairly limited!


33 gallon 36"l x 12"w x 18"h.
Ebo Jager 150W heater
T5 lighting ~ will start with about 2.5-3 W/g, and will upgrade to 5-6 W/g
? Moonlights (was looking at the Lebos ones)
AquaClear 200 HOB filter (refugium for pods, LR, chaeto?)
(2) AquaClear 30 (174 gph) Powerheads
No skimmer...will upgrade to a DIY CC skimmer (will use Snailman's) in the first 3 months
No sump (no plans for it either)

Software (hehe):

30 lbs dead base rock
15 lbs LR
(OR I *may* buy 40 lbs LR from Tampa Bay Saltwater...but I doubt it)
1-2" semi SSB using CaribSea Select Aragonite Sand 1-2mm
Reef Crystals salt (I think I'll switch to Instant Ocean...cheaper)
Kalkwasser drip (once needed)


2 True Percula Clowns
Maybe a Goby or something... (would LOVE a Mandarin, but I know my tank is too small!)


Softies (Zoos, mushrooms, ricordia, star polyps, xenia)
Feather dusters
Halimeda (I know this is actually an algae)
20 Cleaner snails (Nassarius, cerith, astrea)
? An anemone for the clowns when lighting is upgraded
? Coral Banded Shrimp
? Peppermint shrimp(s)
NO HERMITS, URCHINS or STARS - They gross me out...I'll have nightmares! :rolleyes:

Test Kits (that I already have):

Hydrometer (will check it against a refractometer)
Hagen High range pH, Nitrite
Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Ammonia, Nitrate
I think I need to get a Calcium test kit???

Temperature will be 78, pH 8.2-3, salinity 1.025.

OK, so this post has gotten REALLY long! I just want to be sure I have everything right so I don't kill fish and inverts again... :(


1. T5 Lighting!!! How many W/g do I need for a fish, invert, and softie tank? How many W/g do I need to keep LPS?

2. Is Instant Ocean a good brand of salt? Is Reef Crystals really that much better?

3. At what point can I no longer go without a skimmer?

4. Do I have all the test kits I direly need?

5. Is that enough snails?

6. Does halimeda suck up the calcium supply to my reef?

7. What upgrading would I need to keep LPS corals?

Thanks for any help!!! :D

Edited: Grammar/spelling
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your questions.....
1. T5 lighting i may say is very good. you will probably should go with TEK lighting they have a 36un system 4x39w and an 8 tube 8x39w all ranging from 250 to 400$$$ yea i kno but TEk is the best when it comes to lighting. They have individual reflectors for each bulb which makes it worth it.

2. i have been using instant ocean for the longest time. my opinion

3.yuo can go skimmerless as long as you want just dont over stock with fish etc. btu in your case i would actually go with the AC 700, ikno it says 70 gallons but it has 300 gph which is perfect for a 33g.

4. you need a calcium test and an alkalinty

5. most people rate it on 1 snail per gallon so 30 or 35 would do
(i have over 30 in my 12g)=)

6. yes but with proper dossage of calcium every week ,it wont be a problem

7. only the lighting and just dose correctly

you also mentioned about PH's ....2 maxi-jet 600's will do or just one
but other than that your on the right track!!=)
Fishes2889: Thank you SO much for your input! Much appreciated! I've been looking at the TEK lighting...I need to find a dealer in Western Canada. The AC 200 HOB filter actually came with the tank (it was FW before...now it's empty :( ), so I figured I'd use that until I want something different/more. Why would you suggest the Maxi-Jets over the ACs?

keithntracy: I am in Kelowna, BC. YES, I have been reading off and on for the last 2-3 years! Whew! I think I'm ready...maybe? *lol*