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Old 11-14-2011, 07:03 PM   #1
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Planning a Reef

So, I thought I'd be cool and try a SW tank a while back. I hated it. I tried a 10g FOWLR, which was both boring, and had lots of hitchhikers that I didn't enjoy. I've been contemplating starting up another one, doing it right this time. After thinking it over pretty well, I've decided to start the planning stages. I'm envisioning this tank starting around the first of the year. I've got the tank and stand already, and potentially a few other items.

I'm going to be using one of my 40 breeders. I love the tanks... they're the perfect size for everything it seems. I already know that I don't want to start with live rock. Nothing is going to change my mind on that. I'm going to start with 100lbs of dry rock, either marco rocks or some from reefcleaners. I also know that I'll be using aragonite sand. My plan is for a full blown reef. For the first few months, I'm not going to mess with RO/DI or anything of the sort. I'm going to start off with a pair of clowns, and probably stick with that for the first few months. I want to get the tank established before I start spending money on corals and such. I also want to get my head wrapped around the whole setup. I figure I won't be out much cash if something happens that way. Once I get a good grasp on how things work, I'll move on in to reef.

The way I was figuring, three Koralia 750's would be sufficient for flow. Not sure on a skimmer yet. I keep reading conflicting info. Some say that tanks under 30 gallons don't need one, some say under 55... some say every tank needs one. I guess that maintenance has a role in that somewhere? Anyhoo, if needed, I'd want a HOB skimmer, as I don't have plans to drill this tank... and I dont trust HOB overflows. I had originally thought about maybe putting one of the 20 longs that is sitting in my closet under it as a sump, but after deciding that this will be at the top of the stairs, I'm not going to fool with it.

I've got the lighting... I think. Is 4x39w T5HO over a shallow 40 breeder sufficient for most corals? I've been looking at 6x and 8x fixtures, but with the 16" depth of this tank, I'm thinking that would be a little overkill?

I've read through the SW forums here since joining. Once I decided that SW wasn't for me after the whole 10g incident, I realized that maybe I was just attempting it wrong and should try again. I did the same with plants. Went all out and can't imagine a FW tank without them now.


I know I left a lot of info out... like the fact that I plan on using a refractometer over a hydrometer, cycling, etc... but that's not really the intent of this thread. It's more probing on opinions about the plan I've got, thoughts on lighting, things of that nature.
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:38 PM   #2
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Very cool, I'll be tagging along on this, your freshwater tanks are always so nice looking, I'm curious to see what you come up with for salt.

Tank size is great, I think the 40 is a great midsize tank and love how you can set them up for top viewing. Small tank are doable, but take so much more work.

Dry rock is a great option, really lets you control the whole introduction of undesirable hitch-hikers. Just keep in mind that seeding both it and the sand with a high quality seeding material is really important. There is so much more to high quality LR and LS than just bacteria. I also strongly recommend constant additions of new seeding material on a regular basis.

Aragonite is a great choice and will help maintain pH. Are you considering a deep or shallow sandbed? I still recommend starting with the RO/DI from the very beginning, diatom blooms in a saltwater tank are a huge issue as are other types of algae. The RO/DI is a very worthwhile investment and you can get cheaper models for only one tank.

Everybody loves clowns, but they do become bullies. However, I think a pair of clowns and a nice nem in a top down viewable tank would be very cool.

I know that they are expensive, but I'd really push the vortex rather than the Koralia. I like the koralias, but there is no comparison to the vortex and where you are just starting out, I would recommend spending the money for the best upfront rather than down the road. One mp40 would be ample for that tank. IMO, flow is the most important decision you will make on in keeping a successful reef aquarium.

One lighting I would recommend that you go with the six bulb fixture rather than the four, you'll be able to get more light as well as better color combinations. 6 t5 bulbs will not be too much light for that tank and will allow you to keep any coral your want as well as nems if you are considering these down the road.

Personally, I consider a good skimmer to be a must, I've tried without, but unless you can stay on top of weekly water changes I don't recommend it. And water and salt gets expensive with weekly water changes anyway, so you just as well buy a good skimmer up front.

Just a little food for thought.
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wy Renegade View Post
Very cool, I'll be tagging along on this, your freshwater tanks are always so nice looking, I'm curious to see what you come up with for salt.

Tank size is great, I think the 40 is a great midsize tank and love how you can set them up for top viewing. Small tank are doable, but take so much more work.
Well thanks! The stand is pretty short, so top down views are very easy for someone who is 6'4"


Quote:
Dry rock is a great option, really lets you control the whole introduction of undesirable hitch-hikers. Just keep in mind that seeding both it and the sand with a high quality seeding material is really important. There is so much more to high quality LR and LS than just bacteria. I also strongly recommend constant additions of new seeding material on a regular basis.

Hmmm. I *might* get a piece of LR from someone with a healthy tank and no hitchhikers... though I'd have to QT it for a while. I don't like being afraid to put my hands in the tank... and I was with the 10g.


Quote:
Aragonite is a great choice and will help maintain pH. Are you considering a deep or shallow sandbed? I still recommend starting with the RO/DI from the very beginning, diatom blooms in a saltwater tank are a huge issue as are other types of algae. The RO/DI is a very worthwhile investment and you can get cheaper models for only one tank.
No to the DSB. I had actually considered going barebottom, but I'm not sure how I'd like that look.

I'm not opposed to using RO/Di from the start... I'll use the waste in my fw tanks. But, I just figured it was unecessary

Quote:
Everybody loves clowns, but they do become bullies. However, I think a pair of clowns and a nice nem in a top down viewable tank would be very cool.
I have a 2 year old son... who has just recently discovered 'Finding Nemo'. The clowns are a must, and the reason the tank is going to be upstairs rather than in the basement with the rest. A nem is something I was thinking of, though I realize that's something that needs to wait until the tank has been up for some time.


Quote:
I know that they are expensive, but I'd really push the vortex rather than the Koralia. I like the koralias, but there is no comparison to the vortex and where you are just starting out, I would recommend spending the money for the best upfront rather than down the road. One mp40 would be ample for that tank. IMO, flow is the most important decision you will make on in keeping a successful reef aquarium.
Another interesting point. I guess powerheads are like filters... everyone has their own opinion of which one is best. It seemed like the koralias were the ones to get. We'll see how things play out. While I don't mind spending the cash to get good stuff up front, I really don't want to spend too much.


Quote:
One lighting I would recommend that you go with the six bulb fixture rather than the four, you'll be able to get more light as well as better color combinations. 6 t5 bulbs will not be too much light for that tank and will allow you to keep any coral your want as well as nems if you are considering these down the road.
I'm thinking I might just get another 2x39w in that case. I love fishneedit fixtures, and they don't make 6 bulb fixtures.

Quote:
Personally, I consider a good skimmer to be a must, I've tried without, but unless you can stay on top of weekly water changes I don't recommend it. And water and salt gets expensive with weekly water changes anyway, so you just as well buy a good skimmer up front.
This is something I can add later down the road, no? I'm pretty good about doing weekly water changes, but I can see how that could add up over time. Got any recommendations for a good HOB skimmer for a 40b?
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:04 PM   #4
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I think a 40 is a great size tank.

I do recommend starting with RO water at least, it helps keep algae at a minimum. My friend said he didn't need RO water within 3 months his tank was so over run with algae it was scary. He took it down and took it to his exwifes and set back up with a couple of changes RO water and a hob filter that was in my tank that had hair algae growing on the spill over. The algae came back on the filter but it choked out the algae in the tank. It acts like an algae scrubber basically.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:48 PM   #5
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Hate to hijack a thread, but just a sidebar when all the smart peeps are looking: how would one "seed" a tank without adding live rock? Or would it be adding mature, cured liverock from another system?

Sorry for the dumb question and again, my apologies for hijacking the thread for the sidebar
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:21 PM   #6
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No need to apologize. I'm curious as well. In the FW world, seeding is just adding something to jumpstart the bacteria colony. I'm guessing the difference would be things like coraline algae?
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
No need to apologize. I'm curious as well. In the FW world, seeding is just adding something to jumpstart the bacteria colony. I'm guessing the difference would be things like coraline algae?
Yea I did some googling and its referencing things like biozyme...which I suppose would do the trick in terms of filtration, but you still wouldn't get any of the beneficial critters/coralline that you get from live rock....
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:53 PM   #8
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Yes seeding is just taking some LR from an established tank and adding it to your base rock. You're mostly looking to add the bacteria, although coralline needs to be introduced to the system, and seeding with LR would be the the best way to do it.
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Old 11-14-2011, 11:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
Well thanks! The stand is pretty short, so top down views are very easy for someone who is 6'4"
LOL, yeah and for us shorter folks too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
Hmmm. I *might* get a piece of LR from someone with a healthy tank and no hitchhikers... though I'd have to QT it for a while. I don't like being afraid to put my hands in the tank... and I was with the 10g.
Really? What inspired the fear? I'm more of a minimalist myself, but I never worry about putting my hands in the tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
No to the DSB. I had actually considered going barebottom, but I'm not sure how I'd like that look.
Personally, I'm a fan of sand, more of a natural look IMO, but just my opinion. If you're considering BB, you might want to look into an alternative substrate idea like corian "sp" board or foam. I've seen some very nice tanks done with both of those.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
I'm not opposed to using RO/Di from the start... I'll use the waste in my fw tanks. But, I just figured it was unecessary
We have very good quality water here, and I initially tried two different reef tanks using tap water. Both were a dismal failure due to out of control algae blooms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
I have a 2 year old son... who has just recently discovered 'Finding Nemo'. The clowns are a must, and the reason the tank is going to be upstairs rather than in the basement with the rest. A nem is something I was thinking of, though I realize that's something that needs to wait until the tank has been up for some time.
Have you considered what type of clowns you are interested in? You are right, nems are down the road. Not till the tank is mature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
Another interesting point. I guess powerheads are like filters... everyone has their own opinion of which one is best. It seemed like the koralias were the ones to get. We'll see how things play out. While I don't mind spending the cash to get good stuff up front, I really don't want to spend too much.
Very true, and the koralias are a great powerhead, leaps and bounds above others like maxijets (even the new improved version). Tunz are also right up there - definitely able to produce some major flow. Having run all of the above however, there is no comparison to the vortex in terms of versatility and flow. Numerous articles have been written on the importance of random, non laminar flow in reef tanks for coral health and growth. While random non laminar flow can be accomplished with any of the above, it takes multiple pumps to make it happen. Only the vortex gives you the option to create plenty of random, non laminar flow with a single powerhead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
I'm thinking I might just get another 2x39w in that case. I love fishneedit fixtures, and they don't make 6 bulb fixtures.
That would work, just set the two bulb fixture up as your dawn, dusk light and the four bulb fixture as your full "sunlight".

Quote:
Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
This is something I can add later down the road, no? I'm pretty good about doing weekly water changes, but I can see how that could add up over time. Got any recommendations for a good HOB skimmer for a 40b?
Indeed, don't want it running during the cycle stage anyway, as you want all those good algae spores and microorganisms to be able to move about freely without getting skimmed off.

I would suggest you check into the Warner Marine H2 HOB since you're looking at a sumpless system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bighabeeb View Post
Hate to hijack a thread, but just a sidebar when all the smart peeps are looking: how would one "seed" a tank without adding live rock? Or would it be adding mature, cured liverock from another system?

Sorry for the dumb question and again, my apologies for hijacking the thread for the sidebar
Don't know about all the smart peeps looking, still learning myself.

As for the seeding part, you seed with a piece of mature, cured LR as you stated. Seeding with LS would involve taking sand (usually a cup) from a mature, well-kept tank and placing it in your sandbed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
No need to apologize. I'm curious as well. In the FW world, seeding is just adding something to jumpstart the bacteria colony. I'm guessing the difference would be things like coraline algae?
Quote:
Originally Posted by bighabeeb View Post
Yea I did some googling and its referencing things like biozyme...which I suppose would do the trick in terms of filtration, but you still wouldn't get any of the beneficial critters/coralline that you get from live rock....
Seeding involves transfer of much more then just bacteria and and coralline algae. It also involves tons of different type of desirable hitchhikers and microorganisms. Things like miniature feather duster worms, tiny brittle stars, sponges, worms, etc. All these creatures and many others are highly desirable to ensure healthy LR and LS.
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Old 11-22-2011, 06:10 PM   #10
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Alrighty... getting more ideas going on inside.... stand back.

I've been thinking more and more about putting a 20 long underneath. I've said time and time again that I don't trust HOB overflows, but the more I read, the more I see that there's a general trust with them? I could drill the tank I suppose, but would it be cheaper to go HOB or to get a glass holes overflow kit? The protein skimmer would definitely look better under the tank than on the back of the tank. I've pretty much got everything planned out in my head, just gotta pull the trigger and start buying supplies. The good thing is that I don't plan on setting it up until I am 100% sure I've got what I need, so I can start stocking up on supplies now.
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