need A LOT of help... any ideas would be helpful

islandboyalec

New member
Hi everyone,
I just registered, and have been wanting a saltwater aquarium for the last two years. I live just off Boca Grande, FL, and am constantly fishing, or boating, however, I've finally got some extra money to invest in an aquarium, and any positive feedback/ advice would be helpful. Where I stand now: I purchased the "conscientous marine aquarist" about 6 months ago, and have read it from cover to cover (I understand the basic concepts, like the nitrogen cycle, but I'm lost when it comes to alkalinity, and the more advanced water parameters.) My dream would be a fish-ony aquarium (a relatively clean, artificial environmnet with very little live-rock, that requires as little maintenance as possible.) The fish I would like to keep include some butterflyfish, angelfish, and maybe a tang (yes.. Iknow butterflys can be delicate, but later on I may consider one.) I have $300 dolars on hand now, and will have another $500 next thursday. Soo, does anybody have any ideas of how large a tank I should get, what I should use for filtration, is a rimless aquarium out of my budget? :confused: I'd really appreciate some help:)
 

ironmics

New member
I would say check craigslist for awhile, there's plenty of fully stocked tanks in my area for under 800. Right now there's a 120 gal with rock, coral, fish, sump, skimmer for $625. On the other hand you would spend much more than that for a smaller tank with all of those trimmings(the rock alone is worth upwards of 400). So if you didn't want the fish coral or rock you could sell it and maybe even make a profit. I've seen a few others where the stock was worth more than the asking price too.
 

JamesJR

New member
First of I like to welcome you to reefcentral! I think the fact that you have done some independent reading has gotten you off to a good start.

[welcome]

I'd agree to go the used way if money is an issue. With all of the people unnemployed right now there are many people getting out of the hobby and I'm sure you could get a nice tank for a very nice price.

to warn you first hand, A lot of these fish you want have the tendency to get large so I would aim for a larger tank. When it comes to species selection, I would study up on the specific specimens you want and research them as best you can. Some butterflyfish are impossible to keep in captivity whereas, a few of them are easy enough for beginners. Also, Buy fish for the tank you have, not the tank you hope to have someday.

If it was me, I'd go for a tank of at least 75-125 gallons to start with. It is easy enough to work with but will give you the room to keep more of the fish you want. I can't emphasize researching enough. If you are unsure, there are always people on RC that can help.

In terms of equipment, I would go for a full tank set up with tank, stand, a pump, sump and skimmer. Live rock, live sand and additional filtration would be a plus.
 

islandboyalec

New member
thanks

thanks

I checked craigslist, and there's some real deals. I was reading up on the forum and I like the idea of a bare-bottom tank, with a lot of flow. For a butterfly fish, I was thinking a copperband, with some chromis, and a pygmy/dwarf angel of some kind. Thanks for the help.. (I wouldn't of thought to look on craigslist for an aquarium.)
 

DamnPepShrimp

Moved On
Can you get permits to collect your own stuff? If you could collect your own livestock, you can save yourself some good money. You could get as large of a tank as you could afford (check craigslist, local adds, ebay etc) and get the necessary plumbing/filtration/skimmer. You could collect sand, some liverock (don't go crazy, maybe even collect dead rock and just seed it with live) all your CUC, fish, etc. You could make a really cool biotope tank!
 

MatthewLaw

New member
welcome to RC!

Copperband butterflies are usually difficult to get eating so maybe not a great begineer butterfly. once your tank is fully cycled and you are ready to add fish, as you have probably read, add fish slowly. also if you are going to get the stock through your LFS (local fish stop), make SURE the fish is eating before purchasin (a HUNGRY fish is a HAPPY fish). dont listen to the salesman's excuses of 'dont feed before you take it because the fish will poo in the bag and kill it'!! thats like saying eat dont before you drive to work in fear that you will poo in your car and kill yourself!


also i would suggest a good amount of live rock (1lb=1g water) and a good protein skimmer. between the live rock and protein skimmer, the tank will be kept clean and thus a decrease in aquarium maintenance.
 

boogie10

New member
Glad you read that book - most people don't read anymore, much less cover to cover. That is such a great book.

It worries me, though, that you say you want as little maintenance as possible. I don't want to hurt your feelings and trust me if you even look at me wrong my feelings get hurt - but you cannot go into this hobby with that intention. To keep a healthy aquarium = healthy fish, you will need continual maintenance. There is no slacking in fish keeping especially salt water, especially the fish you want.

You need to test all your perimeters weekly - I test mine 3 times a week minimum.

You need to do weekly water partial water cleaning. I finally understand that now with the help of this and other forums - I was mislead by some many other people and fish stores.

You need a lot of live rock.

You need the very best equipment, so take your time and invest wisely.

I use sealab and geoliquid to help simplify things for me. You will get a lot of opinions good and bad on what to use to help your tank.

Go as large as you can - save more money if possible - even used is high and in this economy people are selling but not going as cheap as they should.

good luck and keep asking questions.
 

islandboyalec

New member
aquarium?

aquarium?

I have a surplus of tools, and would be able to make a cabinet, and diy anything else, but I'm kinda scared to work with glass... what's a decent type of rimless aquarium, that doesn't cost too much (what brand 50-100 gallon?) Would a 50 gallon be large enough for a copperbeand butterfly? Is it possible for me to build a GOOD skimmer?:confused:
 

BlastoEric1589

New member
you gotta start at square one.

get a tank with all the necessary equipment before you set your eyes on your first fish.

dont cheat yourself by cutting corners, or buying the cheapest everything... in this hobby sometimes the best thing you can do is spend a little extra for better quality or more capabilities as far as lighting and filtration go.

keep reading and i have to agree that lots of research will pay off immensly.

start by getting a tank you can afford to buy, aswell as maintain.

to give you an idea, it costs me around $80- $100 a month for the necessary foods and supplements to keep my 45Gal tank wroking properly.

and it woould really help to get plugged into a good reputable fish store in your area for one on one consultation and advice

best of luck to you
 

islandboyalec

New member
thanks for the advice. I plan on keeping the aquarium simple (bb, fish only, relatively weak lighting...etc.) so I can take as many variables out of the equation. I've been sketching up a tank over the last few hours. It's a 60"x18"x24" rimless, starphire with black silicone, an overflow (about 2,000 gph)in the left corner, and 4 holes drilled across the top end of the tank, to serve as returns (500gph each... no closed loops or anything complicated.) The capacity is about 110 gallons, and I'd keep the sump very simple (filter sock, activated carbon (can I put activated carbon in the sock?), a skimmer, return pump, and a small section with a ball of chaeto (I don't want ay sand in the system, after what I've read of it being a "nutrient sink") Would this aquarium be fine for the butterfly (copperband), a small angel or two, and some chromis (I love the look of a clean aquarium, with VERY LITTLE fish... it looks much better to me than an aquarium stocked to the brim with fish.) I have the money long-term (a few hundred each week), and based on what I've read, I should invest in the best equipment now, so I "don't regret it later." soo... what does everyone think? Will this tank work? (Imay be-able to provide a picture later on.):rollface:
 

BlastoEric1589

New member
sand is actually extremely beneficial to the nitrogen cycle of the tank... but if you dont want it, you dont need it.

typically, you only need carbon OR a skimmer. they perform the same basic action in the tank and if you have both youll probably be sapping out necessary elements from the water. (based on what ive heard)

and what youve heard about investing is mostly right. just remember that "best" is not always most expensive, nor is "best" what is cheapest.

also, in regards to your tank design, almost every tank ive seen has the return bulkhead directly drilled into the overflow to save space and drilling. you dont want an overdrilled tank. especially a glass tank.

also, the overflow will only handle as much as the return pump throws back into the tank. your overflow is directly related to the amount that your pump is spitting out from your sump, back through your tank.

youd probably be well suited gong into a store that sells large tanks and checking out how they are normally drilled and set up. they arent typically "fancy" either. you make them as fancy as you want as you go.

as far as your fish...
chromis (good)
small angels- (not the easiest of fish and normally a little pricey)
CBB- (not a good beginner fish at all, lousy eaters)
 

islandboyalec

New member
what if I had two larger holes in the back of the tank (for the returns), that y'd off, and the overflow was made into an external one (a box built on the outside, with the "teeth" flush with the inside back wall of the tank.) I've heard that glasscages.com isn't a good place to buy from, but who else makes reasonably priced aquariums? (I have about $600 max for the tank):confused:
 

BlastoEric1589

New member
add on overflows are notoriously noisy. i dont buy tanks online.

i seriously suggest walking into your local fish store and take a look at what they have. if youre not satisfied, ive never heard of a store that wont order one for you, and most are willing to give you a very fair price
 

JamesJR

New member
Stay Away from copperbands. They are not easy to keep in even the most experienced hands. I have kept my share of butterflies both as a hobbyist and working as a professional aquarist (worked retail and part time at a public aquarium) and I will tell you that long term success with this fish is rare. If you don't believe me go to the Copperband butterfly thread in the reef fishes section and read all of the accounts these people have.

Good butterflies are:
Auriga,
Raccoon
Klein's
lemon
Any of the banerfish
Barberfish

There are several others that would make good choices but these are some of the easiest.
 

islandboyalec

New member
I guess I'll have to rethink about the butterflyfish:(... I used to not like acrylic aquariums, but if I don't have any sand in the system, and I'm careful with the tank, I think I could have an acrylic tank... are the acrylic aquariums on glasscages.com anygood? if not, are there any reasonably priced acrylic aquariums (I only need two holes drilled, and a overflow):confused:
 

anbosu

New member
You will see acrylic aquariums posted on craigslist. Both of my current tanks came from there and came with stand and canpopy for $300. The 90 even came with a sump/refugium and a return pump. I would just keep checking there a few times a week and you should be able to score a pretty good price. For example, I would expect that you can buy a 75 gallon for less than $100 if you are looking to build a stand.
 

islandboyalec

New member
There are a lot of good deals on craigslist. (There's a 218 gallon acrylic, with a nice atand and canopy for $500, and there's also a lot of "oceanic aquariums.") Is oceanic a good brand of tank? How hard is it to repair scratches in an acrylic tank?
 

MatthewLaw

New member
i am not sure if this applies to acrylic aquarims but i have read here many time that for a used aquarium, a fair price is usual $1 = 1g.
 
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