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Old 12-01-2005, 04:30 PM   #1
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90-125 gal set up. Several questions from a confused rookie

I am new to SW and have been reading as much as I can and have several books. I may be getting into information overload from reading various opinions about what is needed.

I want to do a 90-125 gal FOWLR. I am thinking of getting acrylic (Tenecor) rather than glass. I realize acrylic costs more and scratches easier. I worry about leaks and the weight in terms of setting up) associated with glass. If I am careful when cleaning the sides is this a big mistake?

I plan to do a 3-4" deep sand bed and LR (1-1.5 lbs per gal). To save $ I would probably do a 50-50 split or something similar between LR and base rock.

I am confused as to the approach for a filter. HOB vs cannister vs wet dry. Opinions please with any specific suggestions. Pros and cons associated with adding a sump (I know it hides some of the equipment and helps stabilize the water). I want to keep this as simple as I can.

I am assuming I need several power heads. I heard 10-20x turnover. Do people get one for that or several smaller units that add up to what you need?

I am assuming I need a protein skimmer. Any thoughts on specifics?

Do most people invest in a RO/DI unit? I live in Denver if that matters. Does a RO unit have to be installed by a plumber or can you just connect it to a faucet when you need it?

Besides lighting issues, heater, testing kits, etc. are there other primary items I need to consider? Is there anything I have listed that verges on overkill? I think I will go get either The New Marine Aquarium or The Conscientious Marine Aquarist to supplement my confusion. Thanks for your help.
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Old 12-01-2005, 05:17 PM   #2
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im confused also that you want a FOWLR but you need to approach a filter.
A Fish Only With Live Rock where the Live Rock is your Filter. You dont need a cannister, wet dry, of HOB.
A protein skimmer will do more removing wastes than the cannister or wet dry. Its probably a must have but not a must. and a micro filter sock to remove large particles.
Most people invest in a RO/DI unit because it save money in the long run, unless you have an incredible source of clean water or can buy it cheaper at your LFS. Its all DIY unless you have no idea, if not we can help from step 1, which is which RO/DI to get first.
For water movemnet, its best you get a DIY closed loop and a pump (at least 1000gph) to create flow instead of having a bunch of water heads all over.
The top most item i can consider is lighting if you go to a REEF tank. I know you would becuase as soon as you want that anemone or frag or whatever that looks so good in the tank you will need lighting for it. Its probably best to do it now than later.
Dont forget the SUMP, very important for you Protein skimmer, Hang on types of skimmers are more difficult for begginers.
if you had a chance to buy a reef ready tank i would do it, only a few bucks more but much easier to work with.
Conscientous is a excellent start.
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Old 12-01-2005, 05:29 PM   #3
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In regards to the post above.....


Protein skimmers are filters. It is not probably a good idea to get lighting now instead of later. FOWLR tanks are a great starting point and the upgrade of lighting is very simple. As far as in sump skimmers vs HOB skimmers go, one is not "harder" than the other.

Also it's not "best" to do a "diy closed loop and pump" vs powerheads. Powerheads are great for movement and you can control the currents and prevent dead spots a lot easier.

In fact, I have a HOB skimmer, and powerheads with no sump and this is only my 3rd month of having my reef tank.
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37 gal all glass
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3' fine sand bed 1x Orange Stripe Prawn shrimp goby, 1x sixline wrassemated pair of true percula clowns, 1x CBS shrimp, 2x peppermint shrimp, 1x pistol shrimp, 1x tiger tale cuke, ~20+ snails, ~10+ hermits, 1xserpent star.
green Bubble coral, hammer coral (8 heads!) ,various Zoos,green finger leather, green star polpys ,shrooms
175w 10k MH
28w actinic 03
2x maxi jett 1200
Prizm skimmer (modded)
Hagen powerfilter(for running carbon 24/7)
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Old 12-01-2005, 06:11 PM   #4
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DF there is a big difference in tank size... You can not compair a 37 to a 90 or 125. What works on a small tank may not be as effective on a larger one.
Glass Vs. Acrylic, if leaks is your only worry I would go with glass. cheaper, does not scratch easy and does not hold the heat like acrylic.
I would have the tank drilled or buy a reef ready tank and get a sump. No need for a w/d with all the rock. Sump is a great place to have the skimmer, heater, phosban reactor or what ever else you want to hide. Hang ons are fine but its just one more ugly thing sticking in the tank.
A closed loop is ment to replace the ugly power heads that we have hanging in our tanks , so a DIY closed loop is a good idea if you can get all the holes needed drilled in the back.
A closed loop can also go over the top, my buddy used lock line and it came out great.
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9/02-125 REEF, 125 lbs LR,LS 4x160 VHO, Reef Devil /Sump, Fuge
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TANK PICS http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=98202
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Old 12-01-2005, 09:22 PM   #5
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Ok lets clear some things up here.

Live rock is a BIOLOGICAL filter. You need to have at least one of each filtration type: mechanical, chemical ( skimmer ), and biological. Filters should be added, very important in bigger tanks. With a fowlr a canister should suffice. If you do want to go witha wet/ dry filter than by all means go for it. But for a fowlr is not an absolutely must have. You could even get off with using a hob but i really suggest the canister. With some tanks like a reef with only inverts and some little fsih, if any at all, little or no filtration may be used but with a fowlr tank 90 gallons and up your going to need something that'll suck up all the waste and uneaten food. Personally I would save my money and skip the wet/dry filter.

Sumps also aren;t needed but like stated above help out a little and are an optional peice. There are many skimmers are out on the market and theres no definite one to buy. SOme like the coralife needle wheel skimmer, some of the nautilus', and bak-paks are commonly suggested. Me and a lot of other people say skimmers are a type of chemical filtration. I really suggest them if your going to keep a lot of fish. It gets rid of unwanted nutrients and protiens in the water before they go through "the cycle". It also helps get rid of the gunk on the top of the water.

I would go with at least power compact lighting to start out with for these reasons...
1. Helps in preventing unwanted algae.
2. It looks good.
3. If you do want some photosynthetic critters than you can get some lower lighting ones instead of going out and buying another whole new lighting system. Get a better idea on your tank and be positively sure if it's going to be a fowlr. It may change a little in the future but it prepares you for what may happen later on. If you think that you may get some lower lighting photosynthetic criiters like shrooms than I would definitely get the power compact.

Don't start out with metal halide for a fowlr. There is absolutely no need for it in a fowlr and will really add on to your bill.

Sorry about my typing but I can't type to save my life today lol.
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Old 12-02-2005, 09:25 AM   #6
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Flaming I have to disagree with you about needing one of each type of filtration. If your running a sump a mechanical filtration is not needed, if you have particles in the water we just add some filter pads to the sump and all is well.
Not sure how you consider a skimmer a chemical filtration when there are no chemicals used in the process, none??
You say a sump is an optional piece, IMO a canister is an optional piece on a large tank the canister is not the best way to go. The canister offers very low turn over and flow so this means more canisters or power heads. With the sump you have the return pump moving lots of water and avoiding the need of many power heads and IMO it is a more efficient unit.

PC lights will help prevent unwanted algae, I'm not sure where your getting your info from here. All types of lighting will grow algaes and more intense lighting can actually help it grow.
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9/02-125 REEF, 125 lbs LR,LS 4x160 VHO, Reef Devil /Sump, Fuge
7/03-55 FOWLR 60lb LR, 50 lb SD sand 2x40 NO strip light, Reef Devil/sump, Fuge

TANK PICS http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=98202
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Old 12-02-2005, 07:26 PM   #7
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Flaming I have to disagree with you about needing one of each type of filtration. If your running a sump a mechanical filtration is not needed, if you have particles in the water we just add some filter pads to the sump and all is well.
Ihave to agree with seaham. A skimmer is not really chemical filtration. Chemical filtration is something like carbon or chemi-pur. While the skimmer does remove DOC, I am not sure if it is realy a "filter" in the traditional sense. Using 1.5-2lbs per gal of LR and a 3-4 inch SB along with agressive skimming would really be all of the filtration you need. You may wish to run a sump or wet/dry under the tank to add water volume and a place to run mechanical filtration and chemical filtration. the choice is really yours. You can just a couple HOB fitlers to serve the same purpose.
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