Considering Saltwater for a new 45 Gallon - Advice Needed!

beanie

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Hello! I recently purchased a 45 gallon Aqueon glass aquarium, hood with single fluorescent light strip, and stand, along with two EHEIM ecco pro 2232 canisters. I also have an Aquaeon pro 150 heater. I have not purchased anything else yet and am trying to figure out whether I would like to set up a fresh or saltwater environment before proceeding further.

After checking out "the package" on tbsaltwater.com I am now wondering what kind of equipment I would need, ideally, for an optimal reef aquarium set-up if I were to order their 45 gallon kit - the testimonials on the site are glowing and the photos are amazing. I am willing to work for that kind of set-up in my home.

From what I can tell I will need better lighting, particular water, a skimmer, and some power heads. Are my current filters sufficient for a saltwater environment? tbsaltwater.com says that I will not need a sump, but I don't really know anything about sumps to begin with so I'm not sure whether that is accurate.

I also go away regularly on the weekends, Friday night through Sunday - is this not ideal for maintaining a saltwater eco system?

What is a realistic initial investment, in terms of hardware, to get my tank set-up for a reef. Can anyone recommend an ideal lighting scenerio, skimmer and/or powerheads for my tank size? Specific product references are helpful.

Thank you for reading and any advice is welcome!
 

njreefer

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I wouldn't use the canister filters because at some point they will start to degrade in filtration and produce nitrates which can ruin your whole tank. This is why they are typically not used for saltwater tanks. You can start off with them but it'll be easier down the line without them.

To get a reef tank going, you need to purchase a protein skimmer since the tank is more than 20 gallons, couple powerheads, some live rock (45-60lbs), and live sand (25lb). The protein skimmer can be a hang on. If you want to improve the filtration, consider a hang on refugium or a sump and overflow kit. You also should use filtered water rather than tap water such as RO/DI water. As for lighting, if you intend on just fish you don't really need to upgrade the lighting but a 3-4 watts per gallon lighting fixture would be a good starting point for some basic corals. Saltwater tanks are expensive to maintain and time consuming, and to really get a 45 gallon tank going I would put a $3k tag on it over 2 years. So think about that investment and also that you could lose it all on one of the weekends your away if equipment fails or power fails. I'm not trying to scare you but its the reality of a hobby where livestock is expensive and requires a lot of time and care.

I would start with a basic saltwater fish only setup first before a reef tank and the costs of that are roughly below.

protein skimmer ($200)
pumps ($75)
live rock ($150)
live sand ($30)
misc - test kits, algae scrubs, food ($150)
 

beanie

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This is exactly the kind of response I am looking for, thank you for taking the time njreefer! It is not so much the investment that bothers me, but the risk of losing everything so easily - blackouts or power failures are not THAT uncommon. Of course there are methods to run back-up power sources, etc. but this is certainly something to consider.

I see from your footer that you are running a nano - maybe setting one of those up for myself would be a good way to get my feet wet while running a fresh water in the 45g. How expensive is it to get started with a nano?
 

nanoreefer22

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Hey,

So here's my tank on things having gone through to many tanks to count.

The watts per gallon rule is outdated and really shouldn't be used. I say this because 400 watts of flourescent tubes don't come close to a 400 watt halide.

As far as filtration goes, definitely stay away from canisters, it's possible but more of a headache than its worth. A protein skimmer is NOT A MUST, it really depends on what you're trying to accomplish with the tank. It can make life easier, but is not a neccessity IMO on a tank this size.

Live Rock, buy a couple pieces of live rock adn buy the rest in dry base rock (marco rock or something similar). It'll end up working out cheaper and doing the same job in the long run.

Sand, depends on how deep you want your sand bed.

I think if you shop around and look out for deals in the marketplace, you can end up spending significantly less than 3k on the tank. Just take your time, be patient with it and you'll save money and end up with a better set up.

My 7.5 gallon tank is complete, minus coral and a fish and I've spent a whopping $143 on it. I'm hoping to come out under $300 when it's all said and done.

Feel free to PM me.
 

rbtwo4

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You can do reef bro no need to do "fish only" just start with beginner hardy corals. im starting a reef tank and right now everything is costing me about $2500 i have a 30g rr tank with a sump led lights eheim pump a reef octopus skimmer and i cant remember off the top of my head. talk to Russ aka masterswimmer he can give u an estimate on the stuff u need and can afford and he also does layaway plans. Hes THE MAN!
 

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