Thursday, December 11, 2014

Aquarium List

I have been trying to put together a list of things to buy if I get an aquarium. I will update this over the next few weeks as I figure out what I want. This is probably a year or two off as I have a hard time doing something that isn't over priced.

The first choice is the tank. I measured the spot I want it in. It really needs a 4 foot by 2 foot tank. This probably means getting a 120 gallon tank which is 4ft by 2ft by 2ft. However there is also a possibility of a 150 gallon tank which is 4ft by 2ft by 31in tall. The price difference between the two seems like it might be more than I can justify though.

For filters, I don't think I can resist trying an algae turf scrubber. Unfortunately there are very few commercial products, so I am probably stuck with one from Santa Monica. Perhaps the HOG 1.3. Then I need a protein skimmer.

For rock, I am unwilling to go all out and buy a ton of live rock. However there are some dry rocks which are the same type of rock and should grow into good live rock in time. I will probably use some sort of cement to make a more porous structure with lots of hiding spots.

For livestock, I am thinking to start as fish only with live rock, then upgrade to soft corals if I think that the fish I get won't completely destroy corals. I have a few ideas:

Traditional predator tank:
  1. White Tail Triggerfish or Zebra Lionfish
  2.  Tobacco Basslet
  3.  Snowflake Moray
A tank with a grouper, moray, and triggerfish always sounded like a neat tank to me. Unfortunately the four foot tank is rather limiting but the above species seem like they could all work in a 120 or 150 gallon four foot tank.

Box of little terrors:
  1. Neon Dottyback
  2. Bicolor Dottyback
  3. Maroon Clownfish
  4. Arc Eye Hawkfish or Blood Red Hawkfish
  5. Blue Damselfish
  6. Four Stripe Damselfish 
  7. Rainbow Wrasse
  8. Indigo Hamlet
That group of fish includes some of the meanest fish below six inches. After some thought, I removed the Domino Damselfish and Lyretail Dottyback from the above list. Both of those species are famous for clearing out whole tanks of fish so they can live alone, even in that tank I might end up with a large tank holding one fish who is too mean to allow any other fish in the tank with him. If they were a little more pretty, I might have kept them on the list but older Domino Damselfish get fairly ugly, and the Lyretail Dottyback is one of the less colorful Dottybacks.

The advantages of that list of fish is that it is some of the most colorful fish, and hardiest fish. So if they don't all kill each other than it should be an impressive tank. Also, it is a reef friendly group of fish. The number of fish is low enough I should be able to keep corals without too much trouble. I probably can't keep all that many invertebrates, but snails should be able to survive if nothing else.

The roof is on fire:
  1. eight to twelve Firefish.
Firefish are schooling fish, and I just think a Firefish tank would be fun. I could go all out on corals and invertebrates with that tank because they are fairly peaceful. Doesn't sound as fun as the box of little terrors though so I probably won't proceed.

Crab Crushers:
  1. Snowflake Moray
  2. Blue Spotted Puffer
  3. White Tail Triggerfish
  4. Coral Hogfish
The local Asian markets have all sorts of odd seafood which is kept live. I always wanted a tank I could toss live clams, shrimp, snails, and maybe even blue crabs into as food. That tank is unlikely to work with corals though.

The price has be afraid enough to try and make a price list.
  • Aquarium - $400-$900
  • Stand and canopy - $500-$1300
  • Lights - $200
  • Heater - $30
  • Dry live rock - $200
  • Sand - $80
  • Sump - $250
  • Sump Pump - $100
  • Protein Skimmer - $200
  • Algae Turf Scrubber - $200
So if I get lots of used parts and go cheap on the tank and stand I might be able to pull it off for $2,000. If I get what I actually want I am talking something in excess of $4,000. Unfortunately I am reluctant to buy the tank, stand, and canopy used. Those turn out to be the most expensive components and the ones I cannot put off. If I wanted to it would be easy to wait on all filtration until a couple fish are in the tank.

Looking at the total makes me think that just going ahead to get the 150 gallon, instead of the 120 gallon probably makes sense.  I would use the same filters, stand, and lights for either. May as well squeeze some extra out of it. It also makes me think just going saltwater makes the most sense. I was originally thinking a 120 gallon planted tank, but with the cost of the tank and stand being so high I may as well go all the way.

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