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Old 11-25-2011, 07:49 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by mfdrookie516
Thanks again. Looking at some corals in LA and a few other sites, I'm really liking a lot of the soft corals, mainly zoanthids. I'll also be planning a nem down the road, if that makes any difference on flow. I want to do something a bit different with the rock than what I usually see. I'm wanting the middle to be the highest point, sloping down to a single rock height on the ends. I'm also wanting the ends to be thicker front to back than in the middle... I want a kind of 'cove' look to it. It's hard to explain, and I'm not about to draw up a visual. I think I'll do the two at first, then move to 3 if needed. I've also considered a wavemaker... doing some research seems to show the same as most everything. For every person who swears by them, there's another who says they're useless. Thought?

I've also done some googling on sump designs. I've yet to find any recommendations for a cheapish skimmer that's still considered good quality. The cheapest one I've found so far is a reef octopus, but it's still really expensive for a piece of clear pipe with a pump on it. Not a $4,000 skimmer (I saw some of those... wow!), but thoughts on that brand? I was looking at their 6" model. Back on the topic of sumps, would a refugium in the middle with a light on top be a good idea for macro algae? I understand that chaeto and the like suck up the nitrate and phosphate, which corals don't like, but algae does? Also, bubble traps are a good idea at the last chamber before hitting the return pump?
Bubble traps are always a great idea, but you could just use a filter sock instead. They do the same thing. A macroalgae is a lot different than an algae. Its pretty much the same as a plant without roots for nutrients. They use their leaves. If your going to put middle in it, then it should probably be a refugium, closer to the output and it will get lots of bubbles,
closer to the input and it will get caught up in the filter. Heres some pics of decent sumps..
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Old 11-25-2011, 07:49 PM   #42
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When doing your rock I would leave some space between the rock and the tank's sides, for cleaning purposes. But otherwise the sky is the limit to how you wanna do it. I can kinda visualize what youre talking about and it sounds like a different way to go. It takes me forever to get the rock a certain way so it's always a work in progress. lol

As far as a sump, if you are going reef I would say a refugium is a good idea. I have mine in between my input compartment and the return compartment. I have a skimmer in the input section, since I was pressed for space I had to go with an eshopps psk 150 which to be honest is actually a decent skimmer and it only runs about $150 tops. The octopus'es are better known and usually there is one that will fit your budget and needs. Either way youre still looking at about $200 for a basic one, kinda stinks they are so expensive but thats how they all are. The important thing is that you can make it fit.

Aquacave.com has the actual footprint of all the skimmers so you can find one that will fit.
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:15 PM   #43
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On the corals, just be sure and do your research. Some of the softies, like leathers, don't mix well with others. Others, like GSP and Xenia can quickly become a pest. Personally, I'm also very fond of the zoanthids, but they can be very fickle.

Any ideas on the type of nem you are considering?

I've seen some very nice set-ups with a cove look similar to what you describe, and I think it would look awesome in a 40B.

If you are considering a wavemaker, for the size of tank you are working with, I'd skip it and go with the vortechs; with a single on wavecrest mode you will get the water motion you're looking for, by using the random setting, you'll get the nonlaminar flow you're looking for. Additionally, if you have two you can set them in sync. You might want to spend some time reading up on their various options.

The Reef Octopus has one of the best reps for a good all around skimmer without breaking the bank. Some of the cone skimmers also have good reps, but they are generally more expensive. I'd go with the Reef Octopus if I were doing it again. IME you want to go with a slightly larger skimmer than your total water volume calls for. 20gal long won't give you a lot of room for a fuge, but IMO anything is better than nothing. You might also want to look into the turf scrubbers as an additional or in place of. If you do go with macro algae chaeto has the best rep, I'd stay away from most of the others. The protein skimmer will also help with the removal of organics. Are you planning a 3 chamber or 4 chamber sump? Bubble traps IME are a good idea, although again you'll others say they are not needed.
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:32 PM   #44
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I actually started considering using another 40b for a sump. I won't know for sure if it'll fit until I empty the tank I'm going to use... it's planted right now. I'm thinking that I can just sit the stand over another 40b. I wouldn't be able to take it out without draining the tank above, but I don't know that it would ever become an issue. That would give me a lot more options, I'm sure. I was only planning 3 chambers. The water would come in the same chamber as the skimmer, then the middle chamber would be lighted, then the bubble trap, then the pump. I was planning on either cutting teeth in the baffle on the refugium side of the bubble trap, or adding a piece of egg crate in front of it to keep the chaeto (assuming I add some) from passing through to the pump. Good idea?

Man, I see your point on the vortechs, but I don't know if I can justify spending $400 on powerheads when I can get good ones (i said good, not the best necessarily) for $30. Actually, unless they come with diamond inlays and gold scripting, there's no way I can justify it. haha.

Sorry if I'm asking dumb questions... I'm trying my best to only ask what I haven't found good answers on. I just want to set this thing up right and not buy anything I'll regret... and I definitely don't want to set it up and realize I've missed something.
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:41 PM   #45
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I feel the same way about the vortechs, lol, theya re the best BUT even I can't rationalize the expense. I think for your purposes the koralias will do just fine.

I have a large piece of foam that is in the baffle between the refugium section and the return, it catches any wayward cheato that may make it to the top of the baffle. lol

I keep live rock, 2-3 inch sandbed, chaeto and caulerpa in my fuge if that helps any. So far, knock on wood I haven't had any issue with the caulerpa going sexual. I have my fuge lights on when my main lights are all off so you might want to consider that schedule to help keep the ph stable.
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Old 11-26-2011, 12:16 AM   #46
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So, looking around, I've found another powerhead that is similar to the vortech ( I think) in that it provides random flow rather than a single directional flow. It's the JBJ Oceanstream - JBJ Oceanstream Circulation Pump/Powerhead + Duo Wavemaker Kit. I can get two 500gph powerheads and a wavemaker for $79... then add a koralia or another one of these later if the flow isn't enough. Thoughts on this model? Is this comparable to the vortech in design? The reviews are all positive, so that says something, since most people only go out of their way to leave a review if it's not great.


Also, thoughts on the mag drive 7 vs the quiet one 3000?
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Old 11-26-2011, 07:57 AM   #47
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The jbj does not look that bad, it actually is more like the koralias though but it does come with a wavemaker. The vortech's have the mechanical part of the pump actually outside the tank.
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:00 AM   #48
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The only problem I had with the wave maker one of my pumps would go in reverse every other time. It was a problem with the pump not the controller, even now when I change the water and have to turn off and on the pump it goes in reverse I turn it off and on again then it works right.
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Old 11-26-2011, 12:03 PM   #49
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Joy, which powerheads do you have hooked up to a wavemaker? The JBL or the koralia?


Here's the cart I've got loaded for round one... provided I get good feedback for everything:




JBJ Oceanstream Circulation Pump/Powerhead + Duo Wavemaker Kit 500 gph







Price: $76.99

JBJ launches the new OCEANSTREAM™ circulation pumps equipped with magnetic holders and articulating pivot ball. These innovative pumps utilize a unique PaddleDisc™ impeller that diverts water to the...




1$76.99$76.99Lifegard Aquatics Quiet One Aquarium Pump 3000
Lifegard Aquatics Quiet One Aquarium Pump 3000







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The newly designed Rainbow Lifegard / Pentair Aquatics Quiet One pumps are great for both fresh and salt water applications and can be used in either wet or dry applications. All models can be...




1$69.99$69.99Marine Depot Aquarium Refractometer
Marine Depot Aquarium Refractometer







Price: $34.99

The Refractometer is a must have for all hobbyists. The proper salinity is crucial for the survival and health of your fish and corals. This high quality refractometer is extremely accurate and easy...




1$34.99$34.99Instant Ocean Reef Crystals Reef Salt Mix - 200 Gallon BoxInstant Ocean Reef Crystals Reef Salt Mix - 200 Gallon Box






Price: $57.99

Enriched formulation. Optimum effectiveness. Formulated specially for use in reef aquariums, Reef Crystals contains essential ocean reef elements in concentrations greater than those found in natural...




Obviously, the rock, substrate, overflow/plumbing, skimmer, and sump supplies are still missing, but most of that will be purchased separately from multiple sources.
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Old 11-28-2011, 10:33 PM   #50
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Research, what a wonderful tool. After talking with another member in chat, I've decided I'm going to go with the 1600 gph jbj oceanstream powerheads and controller. I'll just aim them so that they don't provide too much flow for the corals. I've pretty much decided on the Quiet One 3000 as well. Now, before I get all excited and jump the gun, I'm going to do first things first. Once I actually get started, I'll start a build thread... I just want to get most of the equipment questions out of the way first. I'm going to start with my sump. Since acrylic seems to be so hard to find cheap locally, I'm going to measure and have glass cut for my baffles in the sump. I'll also be setting up an ATO, on a small scale, out of the autodosers I had for my planted tank, and a cheap float switch. The way I figure it, I'll have about 2 gallons of RO/DI on standby to use as needed. If need be, I can build something a litttle bigger to fit in beside the sump. Is there anything I'm missing or mistaken on? Clearly, thats not the ENTIRE plan, but the initial start up plan.
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