Trying to research and feeling information paralysis

scmelik

New member
Since my last post I have been trying to do as much research as I can do on building my daughter and My new 29 gallon tank. I want to keep things as simple as possible for us while building it in a way that provides easy expansion in the future as we gain more of an understanding of the hobby.

The problem is I am starting to get information paralysis with everything that is out there. It's getting difficult to know who knows what they are talking about and who does not. I'm struggling to figure out what equipment I need and what equipment is just a nice to have luxury.

The plan as of right now is to add a sump to the system, which I know at minimum is going to require a pump to return the water to the display, an overflow box and drilling the tank, outside of that I am not sure what I need and the more I read the more confused I feel like I get. I am going to keep the bioload pretty small, a clown fish or two, a mandarin goby (once the tank is settled and stable) maybe a few chromis so I don't think I need a skimmer but maybe I'm wrong. Corals will be fairly simple to start with but I'd like to expand into some SPS once I get comfortable and get the tank chemistry understood better.

What other equipment is a must for the sump that I need to start looking into? What should I avoid at this point? Thinking about future expansion what should I add?
 

billdogg

Well-known member
IMHO, adding a sump never has a downside (unless the tank is tempered so that it cannot be drilled!) Although you can use a HOB overflow, they can and do fail, creating a situation where the DT can overfill and flood your floor while the sump runs dry.

The sump is an excellent place for all the junk you don't want or need to clutter your tank with. Heaters, skimmer, any other filters, extra live rock, etc. You are only limited by the size of the sump. As examples, my current 120DT uses a 40g sump. My 60g frag tank has a 100g sump. I had a 150DT that had a 50g sump and separate 120g refugium. IMO, a bigger sump will always win out over a smaller (or "just big enough") one.

Although not mandatory, a ro/di system will make your life much easier. It will allow you to start with pure H2O, rather than the filth that purports to be tap water in many locations.

I think your stocking plan for a 29 is a bit overly optimistic. A clown is just marginally ok, a pair will dominate the tank making introducing anything else problematic. Damsels are in the same family as clowns, and many are even more feisty than clowns. Chromis tend to kill each other off until just one is left, especially in smaller tanks. I'd avoid them at all costs if it were me. As for the mandarin - in a tank that size you will need to resupply the pod population at least once or twice a week, if not more often that that. They really are not well suited to small tanks. Take a look at the many possibilities in the Goby family, and perhaps a cleaner shrimp. You don't mention it, but I will - DO NOT get a sand sifting star! It will quickly decimate the infauna of your sandbed and then slowly starve to death.

Another word of wisdom - buy cheap, buy twice! It is well worth the few extra dollars to do it right the first time, not to mention way easier than attempting to retrofit after the tank is up and running.

This can be a wonderful hobby, and kudos for getting your daughter involved. There are countless opportunities for learning as you both progress!

HTH!
 

scmelik

New member
IMHO, adding a sump never has a downside (unless the tank is tempered so that it cannot be drilled!) Although you can use a HOB overflow, they can and do fail, creating a situation where the DT can overfill and flood your floor while the sump runs dry.

The sump is an excellent place for all the junk you don't want or need to clutter your tank with. Heaters, skimmer, any other filters, extra live rock, etc. You are only limited by the size of the sump. As examples, my current 120DT uses a 40g sump. My 60g frag tank has a 100g sump. I had a 150DT that had a 50g sump and separate 120g refugium. IMO, a bigger sump will always win out over a smaller (or "just big enough") one.

Although not mandatory, a ro/di system will make your life much easier. It will allow you to start with pure H2O, rather than the filth that purports to be tap water in many locations.

I think your stocking plan for a 29 is a bit overly optimistic. A clown is just marginally ok, a pair will dominate the tank making introducing anything else problematic. Damsels are in the same family as clowns, and many are even more feisty than clowns. Chromis tend to kill each other off until just one is left, especially in smaller tanks. I'd avoid them at all costs if it were me. As for the mandarin - in a tank that size you will need to resupply the pod population at least once or twice a week, if not more often that that. They really are not well suited to small tanks. Take a look at the many possibilities in the Goby family, and perhaps a cleaner shrimp. You don't mention it, but I will - DO NOT get a sand sifting star! It will quickly decimate the infauna of your sandbed and then slowly starve to death.

Another word of wisdom - buy cheap, buy twice! It is well worth the few extra dollars to do it right the first time, not to mention way easier than attempting to retrofit after the tank is up and running.

This can be a wonderful hobby, and kudos for getting your daughter involved. There are countless opportunities for learning as you both progress!

HTH!

Thank you very much for the information, I greatly appreciate it.
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
Smaller tanks are easier to keep than larger tanks, but not than largest tanks.
Water changes of 10% a week are easier, but ANY mistake tends to be proportionately bigger in scale in a 10 gallon than in a 100 gallon. For example, I can look at a tiny bobble in measuring an additive for my 100 gallon that would be significant if as big a bobble going into a 10-gallon. Use more precision, is the way to cope.
For a tank to work well, there is the option of an all-in-one, usually about 300.oo and containing in the back a skimmer, heater, etc, and they are good as an intro to the hobby, but can only handle a couple of clowns or gobies. They can be sold on for a bit of change that helps defray cost if you get bitten by the hobby bug badly, and the better ones can keep hardy corals.
If you step off into the larger tanks, say 40-100, you can keep gobies, clowns, blennies (if given algae), and a range of small fishes, but tangs only as you edge over 100 gallons. For them a sump is just about a must, in which you keep a skimmer (replaces the filters of a freshwater tank), heater, and do your adding of nutrients and water balance and such. Do not skimp on the quality of the skimmer or the lights and it will save you all sorts of headaches. The one keeps crud out of your water and off your glass, and the other is particularly important if you have any corals. Hope that helps. Suggest a dedicated reef shop and a q and a with a person who can explain to you about different types of skimmers and such.
 

scmelik

New member
Smaller tanks are easier to keep than larger tanks, but not than largest tanks.
Water changes of 10% a week are easier, but ANY mistake tends to be proportionately bigger in scale in a 10 gallon than in a 100 gallon. For example, I can look at a tiny bobble in measuring an additive for my 100 gallon that would be significant if as big a bobble going into a 10-gallon. Use more precision, is the way to cope.
For a tank to work well, there is the option of an all-in-one, usually about 300.oo and containing in the back a skimmer, heater, etc, and they are good as an intro to the hobby, but can only handle a couple of clowns or gobies. They can be sold on for a bit of change that helps defray cost if you get bitten by the hobby bug badly, and the better ones can keep hardy corals.
If you step off into the larger tanks, say 40-100, you can keep gobies, clowns, blennies (if given algae), and a range of small fishes, but tangs only as you edge over 100 gallons. For them a sump is just about a must, in which you keep a skimmer (replaces the filters of a freshwater tank), heater, and do your adding of nutrients and water balance and such. Do not skimp on the quality of the skimmer or the lights and it will save you all sorts of headaches. The one keeps crud out of your water and off your glass, and the other is particularly important if you have any corals. Hope that helps. Suggest a dedicated reef shop and a q and a with a person who can explain to you about different types of skimmers and such.

thanks Sk8tr, tank size is already in place, we are getting a free 29 gallon tank and stand from some friends of ours. It was previously a freshwater tank so there are some things that are going to have to be adjusted with it. My plan is to drill it and add and overflow system and a sump to it (which will be determined once we find out how much room we have in the stand.)

Its going to be a semi slow build, we will have to pick up a piece here and there as paychecks come in and we are in the first part of winter here in South Dakota so curing the rock is going to have to wait until spring because my garage is unheated, but that will give us time to pick up all the equipment needed, once I can wrap my head around what it is that I actually need.
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
Check your local fish store to see if they know of any reef clubs in your area. THESE people often have used equipment they'd part with for cheap that's still good and that could help you a lot, plus provide you real sit-down-and-talk advice.
 
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