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Old 05-10-2011, 08:55 AM   #1
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Talking Planning my new 220 gallon reef

I bit the bullet and ordered a new tank. I had reserved a used 250 if you recall the thread, but upon seeing it in person there was just too much wrong with it. The tank I ordered yesterday is a 220 gallon setup. The dimensions are 6'x2'x30", also bought the extra tall stand and canopy with a dark espresso stain. The total damages after tax was $1,829.77. Not as bad as I though it was going to be for a tank that large. So while I wait for it to come in I want to go ahead and get the planning done. This will be my first reef, both my previous tanks were FOWLR. So I have some questions, and I want to verify a few things.

First, I bought an RODI system. I had been buying the water but decided to make it myself. How do I test the water for purity once it is filtered? What am I looking for in the water?

Second, the tank has dual corner overflows. Should I plumb both of them to the same side of the sump, or opposite ends? I am probably going to convert a 55 gallon tank into a sump, I want to have a refugium on one side. What would be the pros and cons of building a sump over purchasing one?

I want to start with all base rock, to ensure I don't end up with hitch hikers. I was debating DIY rock, has anyone had luck with this, or should I just buy it? I am probably going to use 300lbs. worth, can the rock be seeded in a manor to ensure I get no hitch hikers, I would rather not throw any live rock in the tank.

I plan to use a reef octopus extreme skimmer rated for 300 gallons, would that be sufficient?

I have decided to go with halides, are there any advantages to using the pendant lights instead of the ones built into a VHO T5 strip? I have heard some people claim that the mh melt the housing over time, it seems plausible I suppose if you buy a cheap setup.

The tank comes with glass tops, but I don't intend to put them on. Are there any advantages to using a glass top that should make me reconsider?

When rinsing the sand, is it ok to use tap?

Sorry to ask so much guys, but this tank is officially ordered, and I am using my time to plan everything ahead. I just want to ensure I am set up for success. As always, thank you for your input.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:17 AM   #2
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Wow here is the thread! So looks liek you have everything going in the right direction.

I would rinse the sand with ro water first off. As far as the tops I dont think youll need em unless you get some crazy jumpers.

I've been buying my base rock from reefcleaners, 50 for $85. They are also in florida so shipping is usually free for us on his items.

To test your ro/di water you need a tds meter, nioce and cheap on ebay, I paid almost $20 bucks with shipping from a company in florida and got it next day too.

So exciting! Can't wait to see it come in! How long until delivery?
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180g Reef - 60g Rimless Reef -90G FOWLR- 125g Malawi Cichlids- 40b REEF- 34g Fresh Planted-working on- 20L FOWLR- working on
I have a mix of many different saltwater fish amongst my tanks, but I love my Tangs most of all.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:23 AM   #3
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4 weeks at the earliest, 6-8 realistically. Lol
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:26 AM   #4
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Impatience is not going to be my friend on this adventure, I am expecting this to take atleast a month or two to build one it gets here, then atleast another month to cycle. I guess half the fun is watching it come together piece by piece.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:29 AM   #5
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It really is, every new piece is like a small victory. i get excited when my powerheads come. LOL

Good luck and will be following for sure!
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180g Reef - 60g Rimless Reef -90G FOWLR- 125g Malawi Cichlids- 40b REEF- 34g Fresh Planted-working on- 20L FOWLR- working on
I have a mix of many different saltwater fish amongst my tanks, but I love my Tangs most of all.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:53 AM   #6
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I picked up a 55 gallon drum for mixing water yesterday. I need to clean it, its plastic and we used it at work for couplant (Water based ultrasonic gel), no harmful chemicals. Should make mixing up water much less of a hassle. Lol
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:19 AM   #7
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BTW, I fell in love with some gold striped maroon clowns, does anyone know if they can be kept with blennies and dragonets? I know they are the most territorial clowns. But I love the way they look, plus I am going to need fish with some size to not get lost in this monster, lol.
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Old 05-10-2011, 01:49 PM   #8
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Almost forgot, I have my wish list for livestock together. I wanted to see if anyone saw any issues.

1 Yellow belly blue tang
3 Yellow Tangs
1 gold striped maroon clownfish
1 Midas blenny
1 Foxface Lo
A school of chromis, not sure what the minimum or maximum I could keep would be.
1 Blue Mandarin Dragonet, would be the final edition once the tank has been up for awhile.

I know the rabbitfish may nip at corals, I would keep an eye on it. Does anyone see any issues with the rest of the list?
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:39 PM   #9
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You'll plumb both returns/drains into one side of the pump. The other side'll have the return pump, which will go into a T and split to both sides of the main tank.

Agree with Carey. A total dissolved solids (TDS) meter to test your RO/DI water. I'd also check for phosphates to be sure.

I think the only advantage to building your own vs buying a sump will be cost. Think in terms of a refugium and sump combined. I put sand, rocks, and macroalgeas down there.

Look at Marcorocks.com for your base rock. I just rec'd an order from them and love the potential to construct my own formations with totally dry rocks outside of the tank first. You will have to seed with some real live rock in order to get the corraline algae from them to spread.

I only know about the Aqua C EV series skimmers. Used one on my 155g and loved it.

Agreed also about not using a glass top. I constructed a top for mine out of PVC frame and polypropelene netting. Did not shield light and allowed the air movement properly.

Also consider a 29g (or larger) quarantine tank to use while you're stocking. One sick fish added to a tank w/300 lbs of rock in it, and you will NOT cath it. It'll infect the others in no time.

FW is fine for rinsing the sand.

Does the 55g drum come with wheels? If not, look at the 44g Brute trash can with a dolly. I used 2 on a dolly and one without. One was for the new made water which I added salt and a powerhead to to sit just in case or for regular water changes. I used the second one to make FW for top-offs. The third, without wheels was for the waste water from the RO/DI since my wife/boss didn't like throing it away. Seems like for every gallon I made, it created 1 gallon or more of waste water. We watered plants and washed clothes with that. The wheels/dollies will allow you to make and store water in one room and move it to the tank.

In my tank, underneat and within the stand, I had (from left to right) my sump/refugium, my skimmer (external), and a 37 tank for my FW reservoir. The reservoir was great to add FW to and an auto top-off system and pump (Check JBJ auto top-off) to keep me from having to top off the tank every day. My 37 gallons of FW lasted a couple of weeks.

I never heard of a foxface eating coral.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:03 PM   #10
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Great tips on the water storage. Why does the RO system generate so much waste water? I only say that about the rabbitfish because everything says reef safe with caution. So what kind of lighting is necessary for a refugium? If I were to divide the 55 gallon tank in three sections, the refugium, then skimmer followed by return would that be sufficient? I will post some pics of the tank I want to convert shortly. Thanks for the advice.
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