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New tank--need help!

AprylWillis

GPO
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Joined
Aug 23, 2006
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112
I know that it's awkward seeing someone like me asking for help, but I really want some expert views on a sensitive subject: plants and lighting

I'm curios as to what a GOOD lighting system is. I'm even more curious as to what an EXCELLENT lighting system is.

I've been looking at PetCo recently at their lighting products, but I'm very, very iffy on buying anything from there. They are certainly not experts or knowledgable about aquatic life.

I want to house coral and live rock together. I'm also thinking about adding some more live plants. I currently have macroalgae growing in the tank and it's doing very well. We have live fiddler crabs and hermit crabs and we would like to start the tank off with bottom feeders.

I want to really build up a new environment and make it a damn good healthy one before I introduce anything to the tank. It's cycled for a year now and I am the proud owner of a 55 gallon aquarium.

I'm upgrading my ecosystem and lighting system. Any suggestions are more than welcome. You can even email them to me!

Love,
"Apey"
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2005
Messages
4,936
What kind of plants do you have in the tank currently? Do you have a small LFS in your area? They might be able to answer some of your questions. I have a refugium with some chaetomorpha growing under a regular light from a big-box aquarium store.
 

AprylWillis

GPO
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Aug 23, 2006
Messages
112
Right now I have the typical macroalgae growing. (Sp?) It looks like a lettuce plant. It's all I have locally. Everything else would have to be shipped to me..I just don't know where to buy from?

I'm also trying to find out what the best kind of light is. I was told an oceanic light is the best for corals, liverock and livestock. Is this true?
 
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Is there a reason that you want to add live plants? What about fake plants? I dont' really know too much about light - I just replaced what came with my tank, one side is white and the other side is blue. I have cuttlefish, which are probably have differently lighting needs than octopus.
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
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Lighting would depend on what kind of corals you want to keep. For SPS you would want MH, for LPS and softies you could go with T5 or VHO or MH. Good lighting and Excellent lighting will also depend on what animals you are keeping, but in general anything from PETCO is not worth having.

The live 'plants' are a question as well. There are some studies that show some of the macro algae release toxins that will kill sps coral. Also, many of the macros will tend to become pests and take over your tank, choking out your corals.
 

AprylWillis

GPO
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Aug 23, 2006
Messages
112
I don't know what those lighting terms mean: MH, LPS, T5, VHO.

Can you tell me where to buy the lighting? I was going to buy an oceanic light from PETCO. It's my only local petstore.
 

AprylWillis

GPO
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Aug 23, 2006
Messages
112
I didn't have any plant life in my tank before and I know that's what caused poor quality. Fake plants only add up to algae build-up from my experience. I would like to add plants to benefit the living quality of my livestock.
 

AprylWillis

GPO
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Aug 23, 2006
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I don't know, since I have never kept corals. I'd like to get the right kind of lighting for a variety of soft and hard corals.
 

DWhatley

Kraken
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Sep 4, 2006
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Apey,

I highly agree with Thales. The design, lighting and plant life etc. are very much dependent on what you want to keep. There are a few things that help almost any marine tank, like sumps and refugiums because they add water volume to the display tank but there are even some critters that really don't benefit from skimmers and others that live rock is a big no-no. We can only cater to a small "patch reef" at best in our homes so starting out with WHAT you want to enjoy is the first step.

You might look around a bit on Reef Central or other more general reef forums (particularly ones with pictures) to start forming a better picture in your mind of the type of marine tank you want to develop. Once you have a feel for where you are going, then you can start to redesign your specific tank to meet the needs of your anticipated critters. There is no, "one size fits most" in this hobby.

Fortunately, today, almost any kind of set-up can be catered to through internet purchase. Some people are lucky enough (my gut feel is Californians and New Yorkers don't know how lucky they are and think the rest of us have similar choices) to have LFS's that support the marine hobbiests and most chains will have some of the monthly use consumables (salt, carbon, etc) but even these are generally less expensive when purchased on-line. The biggest hurdle is to discover what your tank should look like and then find the proper items to build out the tank vs trying to build out a tank from the hardward side and the choose what fits the configuration. My observation has been that anyone buying a "kit" system and has continued with the hobby, has replaced almost everything but the tank itself once they discovered what kind of critters they wanted to keep.

IMO::twisted:

Plants will not help much to keep water quality high in a vertabrate environment (fish and other heavy eaters). The closer you come to a FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock) tank, the less benefit you will see from plants (other than as food) and the more you need to concentrate on mechanical filtration. If you choose a primarily invert setup (corals with no, or very few vertabrates) plants are one of the things that can give benefit to your system.

I hope my monolog helps give you some direction. Neal and I remember the frustrations of "trying again".:hmm:
 

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