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Old 02-13-2011, 11:41 PM   #1
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Smile Needing big help to start 55gal saltwater tank

Hi! I just joined this site tonight after reading the forums going on here for more than a week now. I purchased a 55 gal tank and wanted to have a saltwater stuff on it like fish, live corals and rocks. Please help me on what I should really buy to get it starting. Based on what I been researching I will be needing a wet-dry filter but then some of the threads I have read says don't bother about the filter and I will just need a sump and skimmer if I intend to have live rock? I am new in all of this but since I was a kid I really wanted to have saltwater aquarium for me to at least experience how the under the water world looks like in a tank since i don't know how to swim. I really need all the help I can get and hopefully I can get an advice even what brand and what those equipment meant to my tank etc since I literally doesn't know anything! Please help me I don't want to end up buying things that I won't need and find best deals for the stuff I will be needing to get my tank going, I just really wanted to fulfill my childhood dream to keep an under the world scenes and creatures right within my sight anytime I wanted to look at them and promise I will take good care of all the living things I will be getting and thank you in advance for all the help I might be getting.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:10 AM   #2
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you don't need a wet dry filter or a skimmer to start. I ran my first 55 wiithout either for almost a year. live rock is a must. (75-85 lbs) a couple of good powerheads (korilia 2's or 3's), daily nitrate and ph tests and weekly or biweekly 20% water changes will get you going in fish only tank. ya need a skimmer HOB ok and perfect water for corals.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:15 AM   #3
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what if I wanted to put live corals as well? So the power head will be the one that will supply oxygen in my tank??? I wanted to put atleast 5 fish, sand, corals and rocks in my tank those were the one I really love to have in my tank.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:16 AM   #4
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BTW I also have the tank that doesn't have a pre-drill hole on it. thank you for replying
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:39 AM   #5
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I agree with mdaniel. For a while all you will need is HOB filter AquaClear is my favorite brand for that they work great. Down the road once the tank is more established (maybe a year) you can start to add corals and all that stuff then you will want to think about a sump. And it's fine your tank is not drilled you will use a overflow instead which usually is pretty cheap. For a reef tank its recommend 3-5 watts per gallon for the lighting which usually is not very cheap but an important item for the reef. Also as he said you do want a good amount of live rock to act as your biological filter as well as sand for your substrate. Get a good test kit and keep up with water changes. A power head pointed towards the top of your tank will allow for more gas exchange and they are also used to remove any "dead spots" in your tank. Once you have your corals, anemones, etc then you will use your powerheads to create a flow in the tank for them.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:56 AM   #6
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can you please be more specific which type of filter exact model should I get in? i search for the HOB filter you have mentioned and the result were the filters I seen they were selling it petco but they told me there before that I supposed to buy a canister type filter (fluval brand) then earlier today I went to an aquatic store and they told me this time that I am needing the wet-dry filter type and they gave me this Eshopps Wet-Dry Filters WD-100CS filter and told me that as soon as I can keep it going I can start putting my corals, rocks and fish as soon as 2 days? That's why I am so confused. Can you give me a specific brand of filter I should really be using and I will much prefer to spend once for the things I really must have than get one thing now then after a year spend again to just change it coz I do believe at the end it will just cost more. Also, how many powerheads I should use and what kind of powerhead should I be getting? Sorry for too much question I just have no idea what to do really. And lastly, do I really need to wait for a year before I can start putting corals in my tank? <---sad face here. thanks for the reply!
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:47 AM   #7
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i'm going to have to respectfully disagree with both of the posters before me.
since you said you want to do it right the first time, the right way to keep a reef tank is implementing a sump, and purchasing an in-sump skimmer.

you will want power heads in the tank if it's a fish only or a reef simply because you want to keep detritus (uneaten food and fish poop) suspended in the water column until your filtration can remove it. it's just healthier that way.

you don't want a wet dry filter either.
you will need to purchase a HOB overflow box. i would think something rated 300-500 gph or so would do fine..
Eshopps PF300 Overflow Box, 10-75 gal tank, Single - AquaCave
now you will need a return pump to match it. something that after head loss will equal your overflow box. a danner mag 5
Mag Drive 5 Water Pump - AquaCave
should work fine.
now you need a sump. it's easiest to buy one pre-made, but that's going to be pricey.
Precision Marine Refugium
you can also make one out of a standard glass tank and just silicone in some partitions. it's pretty easy.
you will also need live rock. you can buy it uncured, from the ocean, or man-made dry rock.
live rock or equivalent has the surface area a strong bacteria colony needs to support your system. you know that these sensitive ecosystems rely on bacteria to sustain them, right?
you can add corals after the tank cycles.

as for the skimmer, you'll have to decide on a sump before i can link you to something that will fit it, because i don't know the correct dimensions.

and then there is lighting. what corals did you plan on keeping? will you keep stony corals, or just softies? will you keep clams, anemones?
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:04 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mr_X View Post
i'm going to have to respectfully disagree with both of the posters before me.
since you said you want to do it right the first time, the right way to keep a reef tank is implementing a sump, and purchasing an in-sump skimmer.

you will want power heads in the tank if it's a fish only or a reef simply because you want to keep detritus (uneaten food and fish poop) suspended in the water column until your filtration can remove it. it's just healthier that way.

you don't want a wet dry filter either.
you will need to purchase a HOB overflow box. i would think something rated 300-500 gph or so would do fine..
Eshopps PF300 Overflow Box, 10-75 gal tank, Single - AquaCave
now you will need a return pump to match it. something that after head loss will equal your overflow box. a danner mag 5
Mag Drive 5 Water Pump - AquaCave
should work fine.
now you need a sump. it's easiest to buy one pre-made, but that's going to be pricey.
Precision Marine Refugium
you can also make one out of a standard glass tank and just silicone in some partitions. it's pretty easy.
you will also need live rock. you can buy it uncured, from the ocean, or man-made dry rock.
live rock or equivalent has the surface area a strong bacteria colony needs to support your system. you know that these sensitive ecosystems rely on bacteria to sustain them, right?
you can add corals after the tank cycles.

as for the skimmer, you'll have to decide on a sump before i can link you to something that will fit it, because i don't know the correct dimensions.

and then there is lighting. what corals did you plan on keeping? will you keep stony corals, or just softies? will you keep clams, anemones?
+1 Mr. X knows what he is talking about most of the time
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:20 AM   #9
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Wow thanks for the wonderful reply. my only question is... do I really need that refugium (trying to avoid it coz its the most expensive one lol) And also what does it do in the reefing???. And about your question I will want to have if possible both stony and soft corals and will get clams, anemones. I know the lightings will be so expensive too I guess I am just day dreaming but if i can get really great deals on those that I really needed I will definitely pursue it. I even can't sleep on excitement on how it will look like. I really do appreciate your big help and patience with me Doug thank you very much.
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:55 AM   #10
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Also, can you replace that refugium with a sump?? will this model Reef Aquarium Filtration: Eshopps Wet-Dry Filters will work and can be used instead?
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