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Old 03/06/2018, 03:17 PM   #1
jsyteng
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Hi, newbie here, contemplating converting from African cichlids to FOWLR/mixed reef

Hi Folks,

Just registered and logged in, happy to be here.

My current situation:
- have well established, 4 yr old Lake Tanganyikan cichlid 75g tank, with matching Aqueon stand and canopy.
- thinking about selling off all my Tangs, using the 75g as a quarantine tank, and buying a 90 gallon w/overflow so I can re-use the Aqueon stand/canopy.
- based on my current research, it would seem that if I wanted to go full-on reef one day, that I would need to lose the canopy (which is a shame since I really like that finished, clean look). Can somebody confirm this? Because it seems that reef-caliber LED lights require a minimum height from the water level. My Aqueon canopy is only 9 high and the bottom of the top lid is probably only is 5 - 6 above water level. I am wondering if a Kessil AP-700 could work in terms of it fitting inside the canopy but am unsure about spread/coverage and PAR at that height.
- I could probably buy the tank itself last. What are the pieces of equipment I should focus on first? I am in no rush, and want to take my time acquiring equipment. I am thinking of getting an all-in-one sump first (Eshopps, Trigger, etc.) and then an RO/DI system next.

Anybody who has thoughts/insight on my situation would be extremely appreciated. I admit I am hesitant to unload my Tangs bec. Im a bit attached to them, and have considered keeping the Tang tank and just starting a 2nd, marine tank from scratch. Realistically however I know there is no way I have time to maintain both, though.


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Old 03/06/2018, 03:35 PM   #2
mcgyvr
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You do not necessarily need to loose your canopy.. But it may require a little modification to work "better" with whatever LED or other lighting choice you go with..
There are thousands of marine tanks (lit with LED too) with canopies...

Having the tank first is a great start..then sump then ro/di is fine..

There are things you need in this hobby (tank/powerhead/rock/saltwater/lights/heater) and things that are optional (sumps/skimmers/reactors/fuges/wavemakers,etc...)


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Old 03/06/2018, 04:07 PM   #3
Diana A
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Welcome to the club. My first tank was cichlids and only got them because they were the closest looking fish to saltwater fish...I did love them. You will need to buy rocks first so you can clean and cure them. RODI unit or buy rodi water/saltwater from your LFS. Heater for curing rock and it will be used later in the DT(this you should have from the cichlid tank) and a powerhead


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Old 03/07/2018, 08:18 AM   #4
oldhead
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I switched from cichlids to saltwater. I like the saltwater much better. If I ever got another fresh water tank it would definitely not be another cichlid tank.


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Old 03/07/2018, 03:05 PM   #5
jsyteng
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I came across an intriguing setup on craigslist . . . Any thoughts?

[Links to Craigslist aren't allowed]



Last edited by bertoni; 03/07/2018 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 03/07/2018, 03:43 PM   #6
Frogmanx82
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I still have my african tank and it takes a lot more time and equipment to maintain my 90 reef than my 150 african tank. Its a fun challenge though and a reef tank is much more interesting to watch. You can definitely find a good led for your canopy and reflectors these days disperse light pretty well. A Kessil probably won't be the right choice though.

You need to consider your commitment to maintenance. If you think you can't handle the africans and a reef tank then a reef tank might not be for you. My africans take an hour or two a month. The reef is a couple hours a week.


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Current Tank Info: 90 gallon, 2x maxspect R420R LED, 4 Ocellaris Clowns, Yellow Eye Kole Tang, Flame Angel, Foxface Rabbitfish, Banggai Cardinals, Azure Damsel, rock flower anemone, cleaner shrimp, serpent star
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Old 03/07/2018, 07:25 PM   #7
Rjukan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frogmanx82 View Post
You need to consider your commitment to maintenance. If you think you can't handle the africans and a reef tank then a reef tank might not be for you. My africans take an hour or two a month. The reef is a couple hours a week.
Don't listen to mr/ms negative. After having a Tanganyikan cichlid tank you're more than competent to handle a reef or fowlr tank. I came from a Tang cichlid background and I know how interesting those fish are compared to other cichlids, and what type of husbandry goes into keeping them.

Take your time like you said, and get into the hobby by researching like you are, and you will be more than ready. Your hood can definitely be retrofitted with lights that will handle any coral you're interesting in keeping. Enjoy and welcome to this side of the hobby.


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Old 03/07/2018, 11:22 PM   #8
Frogmanx82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rjukan View Post
Don't listen to mr/ms negative. After having a Tanganyikan cichlid tank you're more than competent to handle a reef or fowlr tank. I came from a Tang cichlid background and I know how interesting those fish are compared to other cichlids, and what type of husbandry goes into keeping them.

Take your time like you said, and get into the hobby by researching like you are, and you will be more than ready. Your hood can definitely be retrofitted with lights that will handle any coral you're interesting in keeping. Enjoy and welcome to this side of the hobby.
Sorry for coming off negative but I have my african tank and a reef tank and the african tank is simple in comparison. I would say if you enjoy the hobby go for two tanks. If you start out with fish and softies it won't be that difficult. Managing the calcium chemistry with stoney corals is where the big jump comes.


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Exodus 8:2

Check my homepage for tank pics and details.

Current Tank Info: 90 gallon, 2x maxspect R420R LED, 4 Ocellaris Clowns, Yellow Eye Kole Tang, Flame Angel, Foxface Rabbitfish, Banggai Cardinals, Azure Damsel, rock flower anemone, cleaner shrimp, serpent star
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Old 03/08/2018, 05:43 AM   #9
jsyteng
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Thank you all your feedback and advice, very much appreciated.

Frogmanx82: for the couple of hours of maintenance required each week for your reef tank . . . can you give me some specific examples of what work you are doing?

Also if anybody can recommend some different LED options for a canopy I would be most grateful. I have the Aqueon which is only 9" tall (on the outside) with probably only 5" - 6" of clearance on the inside.


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Old 03/08/2018, 07:18 AM   #10
Frogmanx82
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Originally Posted by jsyteng View Post
Frogmanx82: for the couple of hours of maintenance required each week for your reef tank . . . can you give me some specific examples of what work you are doing?
It takes me about 45 minutes to run all the chemistry checks, Calcium, magnesium, alkalinity, pH, salinity, nitrate and phosphate and then add Calcium Chloride, Sodium Carbonate and Magnesium as needed. Cleaning the filter socks twice a week is only 5 minutes but you can't skip that. Cleaning the glass weekly, same as an african tank 10 minutes. Mixing up the top off water with vinegar and hydrated lime and adding to the top off reservoir is another 15 minutes. Cleaning the protein skimmer twice a week but thats just 5 minutes, again can't skip that. Feeding takes a bit longer every day as I mix in frozen foods, nori sheets and hand feed some of the anemone and lps.

So the biggest time suck is the testing and chemistry balance. You can skip a week here and there but you don't want to go too long without knowing where you stand if you have hard corals that depend on steady calcium and magnesium levels to survive.

I only do a 33% water change on the african tank once a month when I clean the filter and that takes an hour. I can leave for vacation for 2 weeks and not worry at all about the african tank with simple auto feeders. The reef tank is tougher to set an auto pilot for that long.

You also have to add in all the extra time you just want to watch it ;-)


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Exodus 8:2

Check my homepage for tank pics and details.

Current Tank Info: 90 gallon, 2x maxspect R420R LED, 4 Ocellaris Clowns, Yellow Eye Kole Tang, Flame Angel, Foxface Rabbitfish, Banggai Cardinals, Azure Damsel, rock flower anemone, cleaner shrimp, serpent star
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