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Old 02-29-2004, 08:53 PM   #1
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just getting started, need some help

ive posted befor under freshwater, thinking i wanted freshwater fish but have come to find out that i cant do it, those saltwater species are just too cool. ive been doing tons and tons of research and read a few books from barnes and noble. but i still have questions. it seems everyone has their own opinion, what is yours. i have a 270 gal glass aquarium, measuring 72"long, 36"tall, and 24" deep. i want to build a reef, and have some cool fish. i sort of understand the whole process of how a whole system works, but cant find any info on what stuff in need to buy to get my aquarium up and working. starting from just my tank, what do i need to get started(cost effectivly) what size pumps? sump? filtration/protein skimmer, lighting. i cant find any info that just comes out and says THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED.
i dont plan on having it up and going until summer or fall, so im not in too much of a hurry.
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Old 02-29-2004, 10:59 PM   #2
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Wow, a 270 Gallon reef, that about what I hope my next step with reef keeping will be. The first thing you need to decide is what you want to keep. Soft, LPS, SPS... Im about to post what I would do, I am no expert and have a lot to learn, so im sure there will be others that choose other options. However IMHO I would add the following:
300+lbs of LR
shallow sand bed
55 gallon fuge, 55 gallon sump or like a 90 - 100 gallon combo
AquaC EV-400 protein skimmer
Around 1400 to 4000 GPH overflow and equivilent return pump for sump depending on the turnover you want.
Lights will depend on what you want to keep in your reef.
Redsea wavemaker with four large powerheads (maxi 1200's most likely) for customizable flow.
I am really into the "natural" reefkeeping system as opposed to a really high tech approach, so what I listed above is pretty simple. Wish you the best of luck and hope others will give some input as well!
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-105G SPS Reef with 30G Sump/Fuge Combo
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Old 02-29-2004, 11:20 PM   #3
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Oh boy...that's a tall order. One reason you have trouble finding "here is what you need" info is most folks will have different ideas about what you really need. I'll give you my opinion and you can go from there...maybe it'll give you a starting point anyway. I'm going to assume you intend to have a full blown reef here with SPS corals and other high light inverts. I will warn you ahead of time that I am an online retailer so some of the brands I mention will be the ones I carry. That doesn't mean they are all that's available or that they're the only thing that will work for you...they're just what I carry and am most familiar with. I encourage you to shop around and research each component before you buy anything.

There are many types of sumps available from VERY expensive acrylic ones to rubbermaid tubs. For a tank this size, you'll want the largest one you can fit under the stand. Expect to pay $350+ for an acrylic one. For example, a Berlin BS-3 (44" long, 16"w, 19" tall) will cost you about $420.00. If I were you, I'd look at making one from an aquarium...maybe a 40gal breeder or even a 55gal if you have the room. You can have it drilled for bulkhead fittings for your pump/pumps.

This brings us to pumps. For this tank, you'll need an absolute minimum of 2700gph flow. I would go with a Blueline 40HDX @ 1270gph for the sump return. I would add 2 Blueline 55HD's @ 1100gph (pressure rated) with SQWD's on each or a Dolphin Amp Master 2700 with a split return and a SQWD on each return for extra flow. You want to shoot for turbulence rather than laminar flow. You might also look into the Turbelle powerheads...they are pricey but they'll do a great job on a tank that size.

For a skimmer, I'm partial to the Aqua C EV series if you want an external skimmer or an ASM for an in-sump model. For the external, I'd go with either an EV240 with a Blueline 30HD or an EV400 with a Blueline 40HD. For an in-sump, I'd recommend the ASM G-4 (pump included).

For lighting, I'd go with three 400w MH fixtures with 10k bulbs in parabolic reflectors and either two 160w VHO actinics or four 96w PC actinics. I think you are money ahead to go with electronic ballasts for the MH lights. Coral Vue makes some good ones...bulbs too. Icecap 660 ballast for the VHO actinics or a pair of Fulham Workhorse 7's if you go with PC actinics. You'll need several fans to keep all this cool. You can get variable speed fans that speed up based on heat or you can engineer your own fan system using fans from Radio Shack ect...

You're going to need about 400-500lbs of LR for this system. You will also want to look into a DSB. What seems to be the trend now is to have the DSB in the sump so it can be removed easily if problems arise. Another thing you'll want to look into is a refugium. You can do this in your sump if you wish. A better way, if you can engineer it into your system, is to have the fuge located higher than the tank. That way you can pump water up to it and let it overflow back to the main tank. Strangely enough, the thing you're going to need the most, and the thing that will be the hardest to find, will cost you nothing (except maybe your sanity)...PATIENCE. If you're going to invest the considerable money, blood, sweat, and tears that a tank this size will require, I strongly suggest you think about letting it run for several months with no fish. This will allow the small inverts, worms, and other critters to establish a population without predation. These critters will provide biodiversity and a natural food supply for your fish. Letting them get well established will increase your chances of a successful tank and will allow you to graduate to some of the harder to keep fish/inverts later with less chance of failure. There are only two absolutes in this hobby; You must have salt water and "Nothing good happens fast in a reef tank". Everything else is pretty much subject to exceptions and opinions. Patience will be your greatest ally. Hope this helps. I would also suggest reading the following books:
"The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner
"Aquarium Corals" by Eric Borneman
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Old 02-29-2004, 11:40 PM   #4
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thanks guys

thats a lot of info there, just what i was looking for. i kind of have a better feal for whats going on. i dont feal bad about spending a lot of money on equipment if i know it's going to do the job and last me a long time. i also didnt have much of a starting cost, i got the aquairium from an auction for $12.50 i talked to the owner afterwards and needless to say....he was pissed! oh well, someones elses loss is my gain? is that the way it goes? either way, thanks for the help

anymore info would be great.
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Old 02-29-2004, 11:47 PM   #5
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Ask away...it's what we're here for. BTW, I'll give you $13.00 for the tank if you'll bring it to me 8O
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Old 03-01-2004, 12:09 AM   #6
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i got the aquairium from an auction for $12.50
[center:a6d16baaa3] 8O wow 8O[/center:a6d16baaa3]
I'm not going to enough auctions!
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Old 03-01-2004, 12:16 AM   #7
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ya what a steal, it was cheap cause no fish nut besides him wanted to deal with moving it,lol
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