New Classroom Aquarium

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#1
Hello! I am a teacher in a brand new STEM (science-focused) middle school. I have been given free rein to bring in animals to enhance our school, including creating at least one, possibly several, large aquariums. I've successfully had freshwater fish in my classrooms elsewhere, including a 60 gallon tank with a large Oscar fish, so I'm not new to the basics of water/tank management; I am also fully aware of the challenges of ensuring critter safety and making sure their environment is safe and appropriate for them in a school-the safety of my animals always comes first, and if that means a higher cost or greater complication, that's ok.
With that being said, I've always dreamed of having a sea anemone that we (I) could hand-feed, and I'd like to try a basic saltwater tank. I have a budget of about $700, give or take, and I'm hoping for suggestions on specific products and inhabitants for my tank. Approach this from a "I know nothing, but I'm a quick learner" perspective! What do I need, and what do I need to know?
 

lmforbis

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#2
With an anemone light is the big issue and will be the most expensive.
I’d suggest a 40 gallon breeder, maybe you can find one on Craig’s list, inexpensively, new they are around $120 at pet co unless you can get it on sale , if not maybe a 20 gallon long tank. You want it shallow so more light penetrates the water to the anemone. The 40b is 36x18x13” deep. You may be able to do the light with a Chinese black box, google Mars Aqua. They run around $150. That should be adequate for a couple condaldactis anemones which are pretty cheap. This type won’t pair with clown fish they are Atlantic and Caribbean and there are no clowns in the Caribbean. They are easy to keep compared to pacific species. For filtration you can just use an inexpensive hang on the back filter. You will need rock, I’d suggest dry rock from someplace like BRS, I like pukani it weighs less than others so you get more for your money. Sand is optional, no crushed gravel. Make sure it is argonite sand. Some snails and hermits are good. There are some shrimp that will live in condyldactis anemones. I’ve seen them while diving, dint know if they are available in the trade.
 
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