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what did i get in to?


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here we go! got the idea to start a 10 gal. in my bedroom while i had no money!!! idiot. I got a sys. running for about $110 with a stand, tank, 2x36w lighting, 20lb live sand and heater. soon after putting the (used) lighting on, the ballast went out. ARGH- but then it hailed on my car!! arrrrghh!!! long story short i ended up with about $800 to dump in a tank, but i want to do it right. so im looking for lighting suggestions, filtration ect. I want to build a good stand/canopy and set a fuge undernieth. Im trying to avoid a skimmer.(frequent water changes?) Any thoughts or suggestions from previous experiences/failures/succeses? Im thinking the more lights the better any thoughts or suggestions are welcome!!! thanks guys love the site!!!!

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The perfect lights for a 10g are the ones from Current USA (formerly CustomSeaLife). They feature 2x40W power compacts, a colling fan and a moonlight for approx. $100. You can find them at marineandreef.com.


You don't need a skimmer, but I decided to get one for my 10g and don't regret it. I am lazy and sometimes forget water changes and have the skimmer has a sort of safety device. Also, it keeps my water nice and clean. ;)


I made my own tank stand. I got 6 construction bricks from Home Depot, spray-painted them black, got some baseboard and stained it in mahagony with black latex edges, and voila...your own super sturdy and stylish stand for about $30.

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Hey there,


"The more lights the better" is not necessarily true, particularly in a system that doesn't have a skimmer. Without a skimmer you're going to be fighting nitrates, and nitrates + good lighting = algae everywhere.


Yes, regular water changes will help. Be good about it. The fuge will also help, plus it will offer some stability (due to the extra volume and lighting, temperature and pH changes will not be as noticable to the tank residents) in an otherwise relatively small tank. Use Chaetomorpha, it's the best nutrient exporter. Light it 24/7 with one or two power compacts or NO fluorescents. Make the fuge pretty big so it will hold plenty of algae. Maybe even use a 10 gallon all-glass tank ($10 at LFS, plus some acrylic and/or eggcrate baffles, some aquarium sealant, and a little time to put it together).


For the lights themselves, if you've got the $$, go with a halide pendant. Hang it about 6" above the water, and give it a 20000K bulb. Best reef lighting money can buy. =) Halides are great not only because they make corals so happy, but also because they highlight surface ripples and make shadows much more easily than power compacts, making your tank look more ocean-like (esp. if you have a powerhead near the top of the tank to create surface ripples). This quality is hard to put into words, but look at PC and MH-lit tanks side by side and you'll see it. Halides are just prettier.


Halides in a canopy also work, but be careful that you have them far enough from the water surface, and that your canopy has some fans. Especially if it's 10g-sized. If you go with the halide-in-canopy plan, you can use a 20000K bulb or a 10000K plus one or two actinic power compact tubes.


A good source for retrofit MH lighting is over in the classified section, from LampDr. Yes, they're new...so the ballast isn't going to die soon after you set it up. =)


If you'd rather use PCs, the 80W fixture that fishy suggested would work....I also have a friend who used a Coralife Powerquad 1x96 fixture (made for 10g tanks specifically) with much success. You won't be too successful with SPS corals and clams using PC fixtures, though, unless you have the Midas touch of reefkeeping (like a few lucky people on this board).


The stand fishy suggested will work well. I like--and have used--many concrete block stands.



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If you've got $800, I'd suggest doing it "right". I'd plumb the tank to a sump/fuge, get some MH lighting, and have plenty of nice flow. The setup I'm currently getting together (in my signature) is going to run somewhere in the $600 range. Get a tank, drill it (there are plenty of threads in the DIY section of the forums on this), get an in-tank overflow, get a second smaller tank underneath of it to catch the water and then a pump to return it. It provides you with more water volume, which is always a good thing, it helps to remove the clutter from your main tank (heaters, skimmer, no powerheads). Build yourself a nice stand and hood, paint it or stain it, and everything is all in one self-contained unit. Trust me, once you've had a drilled and plumbed tank, you'll never go back to reefing without a sump again. Its THAT much better.




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