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Old 03-30-2005, 04:03 PM   #1
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Location: sherman oaks, ca
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opinions on preparing saltwater for a reef tank?

This is my first post to this site, so... hi! My gf has posted here a few times, and you all are quite helpful, so now here I am too.

We have just finished getting our 125g (soon-to-be) reef tank re-plumbed. This is our first time setting this tank up, as it was a gift of sorts from a friend. So now we need to get some water in this bad boy and get it cycling... I live in Los Angeles, CA and understand that I do not want to use tap water for a reef tank as it is very sensitive to the chemicals that are found in them. Granted, there are many products available that will help to fix this, but I'd like to give my reef the best (in my price range) i can offer.

I have found a LFS that pipes in water from the ocean and sells it at $0.65/gallon.. this doesn't seem too unreasonable, and is certainly cheaper than buying spring/distilled water and salting it. but the catch is that you need your own container, or you can buy them at like $8 for a 5gallon jug. Assuming that I bought 4 jugs, that's an extra $32 just in containers, and I will have to make at least 6+ trips to the LFS, which sounds awful given how expensive gas is in CA

So, let's say for arguments sake that I actually buy 8 jugs, so I can take 40gallons home at a time (i have a truck).. that's still 3 trips, but is much more reasonable.

$0.65 * 125gallons = $81.25
$8 jugs * 8 = $64
total: $145.25 + tax / time / gas / energy


I can buy a couple of big trash can containers from Home Depot, etc, get some hose.. spend around $100 on a good pump, spend another $250 on a Reverse Osmosis unit, buy a bunch of Instant Ocean salt and do it myself.

This initially is more money, but assuming that I am going to be doing around 30gallons of PWC's every 2 weeks, then maybe this is the better investment?

Assuming this is the case, do any of you have any good suggestions for Pumps and RO units? I am initially thinking I could setup the water containers in my garage outside of my house, running a hose into there for the RO unit, and then running a really long hose back to the aquarium in the front of the house to pump it in. Oh, and I do have some heaters and powerheads around for the water.

Does any of this sound crazy? Am I forgetting anything key?

Thanks so much for the advice, you guys rock.

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Old 03-30-2005, 04:43 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA! Your first choice would be cheaper for a short term, and good for smaller size tank. IMO, you should go with the second choice since you're setting up a reef in a 125 gal.. Its a good long term investment, plus you will be needing lots of top off water. As for RO unit, i don't have any first hand experience because i get my RO/DI water free from a lfs which is only 15 min away from me. However, you could find some good RO units on DrsFosterSmith.com
GoodLuck, and keep us posted on how your tank turns out.

75 gal SW
55 gal FW
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Old 03-30-2005, 07:22 PM   #3
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Thank you! Ok, I have done some more research and discussed it a bit with the girlfriend, and we are leaning towards going the RO route, possibly with this unit:


Pure-Flo II RO Unit (50 gpd 4-stage RO/DI unit) - $159.99 (i think the 3 stage is shown here...)

I called around to a few of my LFS' and they all quoted me prices in the range of $200-$400 for RO units with DI as well.. Before I order, does anyone have any thoughts on this, or am I looking good?

I'm thinking that I probably also want to get a Float Valve Kit ($54) and a Standard Faucet Adapter ($10) as well to make filling up those cans a lot easier..

I like to run my ideas by those with more experience until I've done it all once
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Old 03-30-2005, 07:31 PM   #4
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Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com!!!
The problem you are facing is not uncommon when setting up large tanks. The exspense of the SW itself is often overlooked until the last minute. If you have the funds to purchase a RO/DI unit right now it is a good thing to do. The convience factor of being able to make your own water when you need it is great. Hauling water from the LFS is a pain. If you are just starting a tank I think it would be okay to use tap to make your SW for the initial fill. Not perfect but it will work. Then use RO/DI water for all top-offs and water changes.
Some people are like slinkies...they serve no real purpose yet can still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs!:p
Have a great day! Brian
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