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Old 02-27-2005, 11:57 AM   #1
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Best of the Best? 120gal Tank advice needed..

Okay. First thing, I'm a Noob to both this forum and to Saltwater.

However, the people on this forum seem to help out other people more so then other forums so I figured I would post here!

That being said, I'm looking to get into Saltwater by starting off with a 120gal tank. I would be starting out with a FOWLR setup but would upgrade to Reef keeping in a year or so.

So, my question is this: Assume that you have as much money as you want to spend to get this going (and the space to do it in your house). What equipment/setup would you do? I know that everyone has their own opinion but I would imagine that there are some generally accepted equipment that is better the others.

My goal is to setup the tank to be as self-suffient as possible so I don't have to maintian it as much. IE: Automatic doser's, auto top-off filling, etc.. Also, if possible, I don't want the tank to be loud. Am I asking for too much?

I've been told that Oceanic Reef Ready Tanks are one of the better tanks out there. So maybe I start with that in 120gal size and... what else do I need..?

Thanks guys!
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Old 02-27-2005, 12:23 PM   #2
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First, I'd go with a 6' tank. Unless I'm mistaken, the 120 is a deep 4' tank. Deep tanks are harder to maintain and light. You could go with a 125-150 gal tank in 6' length and I think you'll find it easier to take care of. The extra room under the tank for sump/other equip is nice too. I'd probably go with one of the Eco System (or similar) mud sumps for filtration. I'd use an Aqua C EV 180 skimmer with an external pump (you can add this later if you want). I'd light it with a Coral Vue 3x250w MH fixture with T-5 actinics. I would use Won Pro Heat heaters...probably a combo of a Pro Heat I and a Pro Heat II (the II has a digital temp readout...very handy). Personally, I like Blueline external pumps, but there are many good brands out there. The Bluelines have proven themselves to be quiet and dependable (my experience). I'd set up one or even two closed loop pump systems with SQWD's for circulation. You don't want a tank full of powerheads. They add heat to the system, I don't like the way they look, and they are prone to fall off once they get some age on them. If you do use powerheads, and money isn't an object, I'd look at the Tunze Stream pumps. Auto top off can be set up several different ways...probably the simplest is to have a float valve in your sump connected to the RO unit. Speaking of RO units, my choice would be either the Aqua FX Barracuda or Mako. Auotmatic dosing is something I'm not really a fan of. There is no substitute for testing water parameters. Tank requirements can change and auto dosing pumps can't sense this and adjust. One thing you could have is a calcium reactor running in conjunction with a pH controller. This would keep calcium levels up and should help to regulate pH. The trouble with a question like this is, if you ask 10 different people how to set this tank up, you'll get 10 different answers and they'll all likely be right. Anyway, the above is JMHO .
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Old 02-27-2005, 12:52 PM   #3
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Awesome! Thanks Loganj. Yeah, I knew that I would get a bunch of different answers but I figured at least then I could do a little more specific research on each piece of equipment and wouldn't waste time on stuff that people would just simple stay away from.

I agree with the skimmer.. I've heard great things about the Aqua-C EV 180 as well as the the RO Aqua FX Barracuda or Mako.

I'm very interested in your suggestion to go with a 6' tank instead of a 4' tank but also a little confused. That measurement is the length, not depth. So, I believe the dimensions of the 120gal Oceanic RR is approximately 4' x 2' x 2'. So, do you think that 2' is too deep and hard to reach/clean? I did a little measuring of my own arm and it seems like 2' would be okay. Anything more would start to get a little too deep though. The 150 gal tank would be even deeper (according Oceanic) at 28".

Also, what do you mean "I'd set up one or even two closed loop pump systems with SQWD's for circulation"? I'm a noob and don't know what "SQWD's" are..

PS. After I posted this question, I started to check out some member pictures of their tank and I happen to check out your pictures..! Very nice!
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Old 02-27-2005, 01:33 PM   #4
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4'x2'x2' wouldn't be too bad. For some reason, I had the idea that they were 48"x18"x30". I still think you'd like the 6' tank better though...you'd be suprised at what you can do with that extra two feet. Actually, I'd get the largest tank I could afford to set up or had room for. Another source for tanks, although shipping might be expensive, is www.glasscages.com . They have nice tanks and good prices.
A SQWD is a valve that has one inlet and two outlets. It switches from one outlet to the other with the frequency depending on how much flow is going through it. In a reef tank, you want "wave action". Most corals will not do will with the outlet of a pump blasting them with laminar current 24/7. By using an external pump with a SQWD, you can get this back and forth wave action in the tank. You also don't have powerheads hanging everywhere in the tank...just the inlet for the suction side of the pump and the two outlets from the SQWD. The more turbulence you can create, up to a point, the better corals will do. A closed loop pump with a SQWD does this quite well...two would be even better although it might be overkill in a 4' tank.
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Old 02-27-2005, 01:52 PM   #5
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Ahh! Thanks for the explaination on that.

For a FOWLR tank, does a calcium reactor help? Or is a calcium reactor only needed for reef tanks. Also, is there a calcium reactor brand/type you would recommend?
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Old 02-27-2005, 03:55 PM   #6
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Not really...it would keep calcium levels up in the water, but it's not needed for a FOWLR. It's not really needed until you have calcifying corals in the tank. Even then, a cal reac is only one of several ways to keep calcium levels up. One of the two part additives would be plenty sufficient for a FOWLR tank. If I had to recommend a brand of reactor, it would probably be one of the models by Marine Life Systems. The only reason I mentioned going with one is your query about automation.
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