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Old 10-31-2012, 07:47 PM   #1
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4 Stupid 55 Gallon Questions

1. I want to go reef, live rock, small fish, and some inverts, and corals. I have a standard fluorescent hood. What is the best bang for the buck on appropriate lighting? With that, I keep seeing reefs with no hoods but suspended lights, is that really the way to go?

2. I have read about making your own live rock, sounds like fun. My stupid question is, if you make it and then cure it, do you have to put it right away into your display tank, or can cured rock be set aside and intro into display tank later?

3. I have a Cascade 1000 Canister with 100g of purigen in, floss, carbon and sponge. If I want to use my canister with my saltwater tank, what do I need to put in it for media? I was going obviously recharge the purigen. But I don't know if I need bio balls or what.

4. I have two regent HOB 30/60 filters, what I can put in those for media for a saltwater?

My thoughts, are to get a hang on side skimmer, making live rock, getting living sand. Starting with 4 mollies, and then adding SLOWLY inverts, and maybe a gobie and a dottyback. Then a couple of LPS coral and an anenome or two and a clownfish.


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Old 10-31-2012, 10:38 PM   #2
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1. T5HO or LED. There are some decent LED units on eBay that are reef capable and relatively cheap. Search taotronics.

2. Making your own rock, as in you live next to the ocean? Or do you just mean buying uncured rock and curing it yourself?

3. If you plan on having coral, you do not want to use a canister filter. They are no good for nitrates.

4. Skip the HOBs and just go with a good skimmer and lots of live rock. Mechanical filtration has a tendency to cause nitrates in SW systems. HAve you considered adding a sump?
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:47 PM   #3
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Most of what fort said is already hitting the nail on the head.

I run a 55 reef with LEDs and hang them. It is nice to keep fresh oxygen going into the system with open tops...but I'll be honest I hate them being hung. In the future I'll be mounting them into a canopy.

Also to sum things up, a sump is the best investment you can make for a reef system. I made a 20 long into a sump for my tank all for 48 bucks. Toss in an oversized skimmer and plumbed it together and I was good to go. It is sectioned for a refugium, but I couldn't get my cheato to survive...hit or miss stuff, so it is currently empty.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:30 AM   #4
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Thanks, I will check into the LEDs on eBay.


Coral and Reef magazine has a DIY live rock made of puka shell gravel, crushed coral, white Portland cement and rock salt. It gives the proportions of each in the magazine., mix, shape while wet. Dry for 48 hours, soak for several weeks to months to cure. The salt is to make it porous. Seen a few similar videos on YouTube.

Sounds like fun. I've got the time.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:32 AM   #5
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Ah, ok. I thought you were talking about culturing your own rock in the ocean...

You are making your own base rock, not live rock. Soaking it does not make it live, so to speak.

It is definitely an option and lots of folks have done it. You can get nice base rock from a few places if you don't want to make it. It is relatively inexpensive. The Reef Rock Store has nice base rock for cheap.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:36 AM   #6
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Yeah, it has to be cultured with live sand, live rock pieces, and coral pieces.

But those pieces go in sterile.

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Old 11-01-2012, 12:38 AM   #7
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ah, ok, that sounds like it should work. Would be cool to take a lot of pics of the process and post up a how to thread or an article here on the site if you have time.
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Old 11-01-2012, 01:09 AM   #8
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DIY Live Rock By John C. - YouTube A video on making live rock. Similiar recipe, but uses oyster shell instead of puka shell gravel. I think that I will do puka shell though. I like his sand mold. That is a cool move.

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