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Old 04-07-2013, 03:17 PM   #1
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Converting FOWLR to Reef Tank

I have plans to convert my 60 gallon FOWLR tank into a reef tank.

Before I ask my questions, here's my specs for my tank as it stands now:
60 gallon FOWLR (about 50 lbs of live rock)
Eshoppes Wet/Dry Filter w/ bioballs
Coralife Super Skimmer (rated for 65 gallons) set up in the sump of
the Wet/Dry
Eheim Ecco Cannister Filter (rated for 80 gallons)

Parameters
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 5
Ph - 8.3

I want to turn this tank into a reef tank. I'm in no rush, and I wanted to get a list of equipment so I can shop around. I don't anticipate changing everything over for a couple of months. I was hoping for advice on what equipment I may need to get. Here's what I've figured I need to get so far:
Powerheads
Different lights
RO/DI system
New substrate(???)

I would really appreciate any advice that you guys could give. If I'm missing something, let me know. Also, if you have any reccomendations on products that have worked well for you, I would love to hear it. I'm trying to stay on the cheaper side if possible, I know this is going to cost a decent amount of money all together, that's why I'm trying to spread out the purchases.

THANKS!
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:37 PM   #2
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You have a great setup already! But yes, you do need to look at adding things. As for substrate, it can be sand or gravel it doesn't really matter. Do however make sure that it is "live" substrate. If I were you, I would look at adding more rock. You should have 1.5-2 lbs per gallon. When it comes to water circulation, I would suggest you bump it up big time. Look at the korailia series by Hydor. These pumps will work great. I would get at least two of them. Lighting is so key and unfortunates you might have to loosen your wallet a bit for it. I suggest either t5-ho lighting or metal halide, or both. Try to achieve 5-7 watts per gallon on your lighting. Use majority white light. As for ro/di, look at standard water filters. You can find them at Menards, Homedepot, or just about any hardware store. Get a standard canister. I use two canisters. One canister has a five micron carbon filter and the second has a .5-1 micron carbon filter. I am going to add di canister and use standard color-changing di media. The canisters run about $20-30 each and often times include the filter with them. Buying these is not as efficient as an ro/di system but it is a lot cheaper and it does the job. Another upside to this is that you don't have to wait hours just to get a few gallons of water. When you have a tank my size you don't have the patience to wait that long for 10-15 gallons of water.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask me anything about my reef tank. (210 gallons) I will help in anyway I can!
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:31 PM   #3
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Thanks a lot! At this point I want to start looking for equipment. Do you suggest doing anything with the wet/dry filter. I've seen a few forums/sites that reccomend taking the bio-balls out and running it just as mechanical filtration?
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:09 PM   #4
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Take bio balls out and fill it with live rock.. I use one blue pad above the live rock. And then before it goes back to the pump. I use a pourus sponge to just catch larger garbage so it don't make it in my tank
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:38 PM   #5
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I say ditch the bioballs all together and get yourself a solid protein skimmer. Maybe you have room for a small refugium as well, I don't have a large one but it does help export nitrates.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:51 PM   #6
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Okay. I think I'm going to start with soft corals and mushrooms. I would like to eventually be able to do hard corals as well, so I want a lighting system that can handle at least softies, mushrooms, and LPS. The tank dimensions are 4 ft. long by 2 feet high (1 foot deep). I'm thinking of doing T5-HO, but all doors are still open. Any reccomendations you guys have? I've seen a few that are 6 bulbs, I'm assuming that if it's in my price range going for 6 bulbs instead of 4 is better? Anyone see an absolute need to go to MH?
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:35 PM   #7
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Look at Aquatraders.com they have great lighting systems! They have mh t5 combo lights that you could get and then not have to upgrade in the future. As for the sump, I would keep the bio balls. My sump is loaded with them and live rock and algae. And also I use two large canister filters and a diatom filter for all of my mechanical filtration. But don't take my word for it. Just use why ever works best for you and your tank. You might try it with the bio balls for a month and then a month without. Just see how it is and then decide.
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