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Coral Vue Hydros

Equipment overload, too much information


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Good Evening Everyone,


So I'm new to Nano-reef.com but figured I would sign up to help get some things figured out. I'm new to saltwater, have had a freshwater tank for a year now; and there doesn't seem to be anyone reliable in my area to help provide direction that isn't just trying to make a sale.


The problem comes from my research on the internet. I'm looking to set up a tank of 20g to 25g as a FOWLR with the potential of upgrading to an anemone and reef tank in the future (once everything has stabilized and I've become more experienced with salt water).


I've read stuff from:

1. you don't need any equipment aside from a heater and a power head (the basics)

2. the basics and only a skimmer

3. the basics and a whole sump and refugium are needed for any salt water.


So I ask you, the experts, what is actually needed for a FOWLR tank?


I apologize for the n00b question, but the information has overloaded my brain. I now know what too much information means.


thanks in advance for your help and guidance,


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I would start with a refractometer , salt, heater , power head and protein skimmer, lights will involve as how soon you want a nem or corals

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Well, for a FOWLR, just a small filter, some live rock, some sand for ascetics, a heater, and maybe a pump aimed slightly up to avoid getting stagnant water.

And a regular API saltwater master test kit, and a hydrometer. Saltwater fish aren't picky when it comes to salinity.

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Well, for a FOWLR, just a small filter, some live rock, some sand for ascetics, a heater, and maybe a pump aimed slightly up to avoid getting stagnant water.

And a regular API saltwater master test kit, and a hydrometer. Saltwater fish aren't picky when it comes to salinity.


so really if i stick with a FOWLR tank it's just the same as freshwater with salt. Things just get different with corals and nems? That makes the initial set up easier.


Do certain filters work better in saltwater?

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The biological filter is the only one you NEED. Other than that I would recommend only a protein skimmer.


Don't bother with any other filters imo Most filter media tend to create nitrate problems later on. The most I would do is use a media basket for some sort of chemical filtration but this, too, isn't necessary.

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what are you planning for your source of water? That's important if u don't want ur rocks covered with algae. Recommend buying an RO/DI if you don't plan on buying a LFS water. Even if you do I'd recommend that anyways.


You don't really need a protein skimmer. Only if you plan on overfeeding your fish or heavily stocking it. Skimmer is more of a safety net but if you're doing your water changes then you'll be fine. If you eventually want to get coral and a nem, then you can add one but u don't NEED one yet.


So here's the list I'd recommend. RO/DI system (unless ur buying water from another source. don't use tap water), refractometer, live rock/sand (if u want sand), heater, some sort of mechanical filtration like a HOB filter that you can put a bag of carbon, floss etc. And a powerhead, test kits (nitrate is the big one, ammonia is useful in the beginning), salt.


Everything else u can add later.


Fish don't really care about light as much unless ur in a pitch black room, but u may want to plan ahead so u don't buy unnecessary things.

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Outta curiosity where are you located?

If you're local to me I'd be glad to help you out


alas located in iowa.


and thanks for the info guys. really appreciate it!

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Welcome to nano-reef!


As others have said.. make sure to use RO water (or distilled). You can buy jugs of it at Walmart or a grocery store but eventually you will prob get sick of hauling water and want to buy a RO/DI unit :)


All you NEED is the normal biological filtration and regular water changes. However, you may want to invest in other methods of filtration down the road depending on your stocking selections, ect.


Skip the hydrometer and go straight into getting a refractometer. Some standard test kits (not the strips) so you know when your cycle is complete.


If you want a reef eventually.. I would just skip the FOWLR.. and go straight into the reef business. Plenty of hardy corals out there to start with. Thats just me though :>

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I'm just starting out as well. Like you, I have experience in freshwater (planted) and after a bit of a hiatus from the hobby am starting up a 20 long. Lurking on this forum and using the 'search' function was invaluable in helping me decide what I want for my set-up. Initially, it will be FOWLR, but I know it'll turn into a reef by the Spring.


I'm starting out with:

*Sand and liverock for biological with weekly water changes. I read up on natural filtration and it interests me...and if it doesnt work out, I can add a filter or fuge

*Heater, always loved Ebo Jager

*AquaticLife T5 4 bulb - love the built in timer and one cord, plus it will save me on upgrading when I move to more of a reef setup. There's a lot of info on LED and building your own, but I chose to stick with the T5 for a couple of years

*Seachem basis test kit and a refractometer (cool device, been playing with it tonight)

*2 Koralia nano circulating pumps

*Reef Crystals salt and DI water from Walmart

*No lid on the tank, but might get black eggcrate if needed later on.


I have water mixed and circulating in buckets and will be picking up my rock tomorrow afternoon. Not sure if I will get all live or a mix of base and live, a LFS has a great selection of Indonesian at a decent price, as well as Marco rock available - it will be a game-time decision.


Everyone has opinions and experiences that may differ, but all have value and the choice is yours.


And yes, lugging 8 containers of water from Walmart to my condo was a PITA :)


Good luck

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Thanks everyone! So I found a great deal on a 27 gallon Cube w/ LED lights by Marineland.


To support it I'm going to be obtaining the following:


100W Jager Heater


Aquaclear Filter 200/50 200 GPH (for all the non-bio filtering)

Koralia Nano pump (425 GPH)

with of Course the API saltwater test kit



The RO/DI system will come later

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