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dpotts

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I've finally made the decision to start a salt water tank. My goal is to have a 70-90 gallon tank with some soft coral and small easy fish (ie clown fish and the like). I'll get more daring when I get some experience. I've been doing a like research and have a few questions. I want to set up a smaller QT tank to start with...Is a 30 gallon big enough for a QT tank? Can I set that up as a small reef tank with sand,live rock and some soft coral? Is it okay to keep soft coral in a QT tank? I'm thinking that I set up the QT tank for about a month or so than start with my main tank...is this okay? I want to take this slow and do it correctly. Any tips or comments welcomed.

Thanks,

Deanna

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Welcome to the club and hobby.

First you don't have to have live rock/sand in a QT tank. Some would say it is better not to because of the types of medication you might have to use. Second keeping it as a small reef kind of defeats the purpose. For example if you have to use copper to treat ick you will harm many creatures in your reef. Also, you would have to supply sufficient lighting to keep a reef.

As far using a 30 gallon. It depends on what size fish you plan to quarantine. If 30 gallons won't stress them out more then you are fine.

I would start the reef first. It will need time to cycle. The QT won't

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Deanna,

Welcome to the club!

I started my first setup with a 55 gallon (now being sold in the For Sale Area) before moving up to a 225 gallon. I'd say that a 79-90 gallon is a great starter. Go more for the width of the tank as it's easier to arrange items and clean the glass as well. Don't skimp on a protein skimmer! This IS your engine! You can get a nice MH/T5 combo light setup like Outer Orbit that will suit your needs or you can by a T5 setup and hang MH lighting should you choose to do so later.

My QT tank is only a 15 gallon Eclipse 1. You only need a tank big enough to observe your new purchases to ensure their health or to treat a sick fish. My QT only has a few hunks of live rock and some sand. "Headless_donkey" makes a great point however, about not using sand and setting up your main tank first.

Best of Luck and ask LOTS of questions.

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I have to disagree slightly with the 2 above. I know from experience that a QT is very hard to maintain without any biological filtration. The numbers can swing very quickly! I would say if you plan on keeping the QT running until you have the large tank fully stocked, sand and Live rock are a good idea. It will help keep it stable and make the fish feel more at ease. Corals would not be a good idea as they mentioned since certain medications would kill them and cause more problems. I would also leave out snails and hermits or get just a couple that you could remove during treatments as many medications will kill them as well. HTH!

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Thanks for the suggestions. After talking with some local "fish" people, I decided to start out with a 29g Biocube. They were very helpful and talked me through some of my fears. They also suggested that for a QT tank I just use a small (10g) "empty" tank with no sand and/or rock. So last night I set up the biocube with 30lbs of "uncured" live rock, sand, and pre-mixed water. They told me a wait a week and then bring them in a water sample. I plan on getting my own testing kit this week...what kind should I get? So what should I expect this week while the tank is "cycling"?

Thanks,

Deanna

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Thanks for your suggestion. I was wondering what kind of filtration you would need in a QT tank. The people I talked to said that I didn't need to run the QT tank all the time, just when I need to use it. Would it be okay to just leave it filled with water but not running? That just doesn't seem right to me? I understand why it's important not to have coral in there but I would think I would need to have it running with some sort of filtration at all times?

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I have to disagree slightly with the 2 above. I know from experience that a QT is very hard to maintain without any biological filtration. The numbers can swing very quickly! I would say if you plan on keeping the QT running until you have the large tank fully stocked, sand and Live rock are a good idea. It will help keep it stable and make the fish feel more at ease. Corals would not be a good idea as they mentioned since certain medications would kill them and cause more problems. I would also leave out snails and hermits or get just a couple that you could remove during treatments as many medications will kill them as well. HTH!

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Yes, I think you are right about keeping it running even when you aren't "using" it. When you're first starting out (meaning the first year or two) unfortunately, you will probably have some casualties, even if you do everything right. Sometimes you get a fish that for whatever reason is not able to survive, perhaps even from the way it was captured. Anyway, the point is that you will likely "need" your QT for a while.

Secondly, I think it would be a bad idea to use an "empty" tank. When fish come in, they are really scared and stressed. They would be much more likely to succumb to the stress and die if they didn't have some places to hide in the rock. I also agree that you need to let the QT cycle with some rock and/or sand just like a regular tank. Since the new fish are already stressed from their travels, you don't want big swings in the chemistry of the water to stress them further. If you have to use strong medications in the water, it would probably also kill the inverts that come in on the live rock, but it's actually the bacteria you want on the live rock to help cycle the tank. Depending on what type of meds you have to use (copper or other antibiotics) the bacteria may or may not be affected.

I'm not sure which "fish people" you've been spending time with, but be sure to go to MANY local live fish stores and talk to LOTS of different people. You'll get many differing opinions and will probably want to pull your hair out because one person will tell you something that you think makes sense, then you'll talk to someone else who will tell you it was completely wrong! That's the best way to learn, though. Then come here and tell all these great reefers on ARC what you heard and you'll get still more opinions! :wacko::blink::unsure:

Good luck!! :D

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^ Great advice! I personally think a 10g is too small except for 1 very small fish. Especially with no rock or sand it would have swings very quickly. No offense to any LFS employees that might read this, but, just because a person works at a fish store doesn't mean they know what they are talking about. I learned that the hard way when I was first starting. That is why I think PeeperKeeper's advice is so good. Get as much info as possible and take the consensus.

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My QT is a 15 gallon "Eclipse I". It's easy to use, has a florescent light (put a 20k bulb in it) and built in Bio-Wheel, Activated Carbon and Filter material...Works fine, lasts a long time..... :unsure:

I even have a stand "for sale" that it would fit on! (Shameless Plug...)

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