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Old 09-12-2005, 12:37 PM   #1
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So here is what I'm thinking...

So this is what I'm looking at. I'm trying to list ALL of the stuff I will need, aside from fish, food, etc. If anyone has any suggestions or anything, I'm all ears. : )

Needed up front:
Overflow kit x2 (pipes, etc, for each overflow)
Top (?)
Sump tank
Return pump
Base rock
Live rock
Argonite sand
Submersible heaters
Test kit
RO/DI water

To add after a few months:
Protein skimmer (Berlin?)
Pump for skimmer
Carbon (?)

Some notes/questions on the above...

Looking hard at the 180-gal MegaFlow. Not sure if this will add up to too much $$$ and I'd be better off with the 125.

Stand, Canopy: I think my husband and I may try to build our own ... I don't know how I feel about this idea.

Top: I understand that the top made for the MegaFlow is just a glass top, not really a hood. Someone recommended that I forget the top and and run open, beneath the canopy. (The canopy is a must -- we have two cats!) Do the benefits of gas exchange outweight those of salt creep? Other issues?

Sump tank: Thinking either a couple of Rubbermaids or maybe a used 55-gal tank if I can find one cheap. A very nice guy at an LFS (nice as in, he told me to buy my skimmer online rather than through his store!) said he'll take my tank and put in the dividers and everything to make a proper sump for $40. That or I will try to do it myself if I can figure out how to do it.

Lights: Same LFS guy mentioned above basically admited that his prices on tanks and stands are nothing special. However, he says he can get great deals on pumps and lights, knock-offs rather than name brands. He says he'll get me some super knock-off light fixture; I think it was this-- a blue actinic, a 12,000k fluorescent, and 2 moonlights. $150 per 36" fixture, total of $300 for the 72" tank. I love the idea of moonlighting and have had that on my "wanted" list from day 1.

Rock: I'm thinking a bunch of base rock and maybe 40 or 80 lbs of live...? (If I recall correctly LiveRocks.com prices are best if you buy in amounts of 40 lbs.)

Heaters: One in the tank, one in the sump? I'd like to have absolutely everything in the sump, but Fenner recommends one in the tank as well.

Protein skimmer: I'm told this isn't needed immediately, that it can wait a few months.

Carbon: Should I plan to add activated carbon into my sump somehow when I'm ready to start adding fish?

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Old 09-12-2005, 02:00 PM   #2
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You can use custom cut pieces of "egg crate" (available from HD or Lowe's) to cover your tank. That way you get the gas exchange as well as protect the tank from your cats. When salt creep starts, just wipe it down. The 180 Megaflow is nice. I have the 120. If I had more room, I would have got the 180. The only thing I will say is that the bigger the tank, the better as far as water quality. But you also need to buy a bigger sump, skimmer, etc.

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Old 09-12-2005, 02:23 PM   #3
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refractometer. ditch the hydrometer. they're crap. drsfostersmith has one for 40 bux

IMO, get a skimmer right away. If cost is a factor, get more base rock and less LR, and stock your tank slowly (which you should do anywayh)

you don't need carbon any time soon

you're going to get salt creep even with a top. I second the egg crate recommendation evne though I have a glass top (which I want to replace)
54g all-glass bowfront corner planted FW

Red tiger lilly, Rotala Indica, Sagittaria Subulata, Micro Sword, Cardinal Plant
Fluorite Black sand and gravel
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Old 09-12-2005, 03:04 PM   #4
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what return pump have you decided on?
I hadn't thought about it. Is that what determines the total gph that is turned over? Any recommendations? That's one of the things this LFS guy told me he can get me cheap.
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Old 09-12-2005, 03:15 PM   #5
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the minimum should be 10 times the tank capacity turned over in an hour. so another words, 100 gallon tank needs to have a pump that will provide 1000 gph, but also take into consideration (look at the charts provided by the manufacturer) that the amount per hour diminishes with the length of plumbing. If I had it to do over, I would have made sure I had room for a much bigger pump than what I used. Now there is no room under the tank

The pump will be a fairly big expense. Cheaper is not always better. I would recommend you find out what he wants to sell you, then run it by the folks here. Some pumps can be very noisy, or undependable.
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Old 09-12-2005, 11:15 PM   #6
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hydrometers are not crap they are very usefull measuring devices w/ proper lab procedure but you must be very careful to never drop it. No its never as accurate as a refractometer but unless you are trying to get within .000001 of a unit of specific gravity then a hydrometer works just fine accurate to .001 and one heck of alot cheaper.
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Old 09-12-2005, 11:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Scottm
hydrometer works just fine accurate to .001 and one heck of alot cheaper.
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