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Old 09-03-2008, 03:48 PM   #1
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Building frag tank system

OK, looking at setting up a frag tank to grow into an online business soon. Probably going to use one or two 55G to start, or maybe a 40 or 50g long. If I just have coral frags set on a substrate of crushed coral (with maybe an eggcrate shelf or two) - how much LR am I really going to need? With a practically non-existant bio-load I'm thinking I can probably get away with about 10 lbs LR in a corner or something, but I don't really know for sure. Does anyone have any advice? If things go well we have big plans for expansion, but for now, just 2 55g tanks - one for LPS/softies and one for SPS/clams.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:09 PM   #2
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Hmmm...well I would say if it is at all possible to do so plumb your frag system in with your main display.

If I were to have a stand alone frag system I would pretty much mimic my display setup. Sump with rubble tower, fuge with lots of macro and a skimmer. It is the corals of our systems that require the more pristine water conditions. If you are planning on starting a frag business then water quality needs to be your focus in the beginning. With out the water quality you aren't going to get the growth and with out the growth you aren't going to have as much to sale/resale.

I would also suggest a wider and lower tank instead of the 55s. I'm using a 55 because I had one on hand and ready. My ideal frag system would be no more then 12" tall, and as wide and long as I could get it.
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:13 PM   #3
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Here in Jersey, we have a Pets Plus store that has a big frag tank. This tank is only about 12" tall and maybe 5' x 4'. Its rimless and the water is constantly flowing over. I'm not sure what kind of filtration they use but the only live rock that is in the tank are the small pieces with mushrooms and zoos attached to them. All others are attached to those little frag discs. They dont use a substrate. The whole floor is egg crate.

Here is a decent article on frag tanks.

Advanced Aquarist's Online Magazine - Feature Article: The "Fragging" Phenomenon
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:48 PM   #4
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Thanks for all the help. Plumbing the frag tank into my existing system is not really an option because the frag tanks will be moved into our retail space by the first of the year. Great article on frag tanks but it doesn't really answer my question. If I were to use something that looked like a 40L or a 50L, how many lbs of LR do I really need in the tank with that water volume? there will be no fish in the tank, just frags and crushed coral substrate for PH buffering.

Most LFS have the LR tanks plumbed into the overall system so you may not see any LR in the tanks, but it's in the system. Eventually these frag tanks will be converted to QT tanks so that's another reason I do not want them plumbed into the system. At that time we'll have 4x4 shallow frag tanks with cener overflows plumbed into a bigger water system - probably 2 200g reservoirs for separate fish and reef systems.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clearerphish View Post
crushed coral substrate for PH buffering.
I don't know where this comes from, but it is not true, at least not in a sw tank. Calcium carbonate (crushed coral, aragonite) does not start dissloving unless the pH is around 7.5 - 7.3. If it's not dissolving, it's not buffering.

What exactly is your plan for these frags, if you don't mind me asking? Do you plan on buying colonies and frag them to sell? Thats probably how to make the most $ the fastest way.
Are you going to buy frags and just resell them?
You won't make a whole lot of $ waiting for a frag to grow into a colony big enough to frag and sell.
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Old 09-04-2008, 12:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clearerphish View Post
Thanks for all the help. Plumbing the frag tank into my existing system is not really an option because the frag tanks will be moved into our retail space by the first of the year. Great article on frag tanks but it doesn't really answer my question. If I were to use something that looked like a 40L or a 50L, how many lbs of LR do I really need in the tank with that water volume? there will be no fish in the tank, just frags and crushed coral substrate for PH buffering.

Most LFS have the LR tanks plumbed into the overall system so you may not see any LR in the tanks, but it's in the system. Eventually these frag tanks will be converted to QT tanks so that's another reason I do not want them plumbed into the system. At that time we'll have 4x4 shallow frag tanks with cener overflows plumbed into a bigger water system - probably 2 200g reservoirs for separate fish and reef systems.
You are going to need some form of filtration even if you don't have fish in there. Coral needs better water quality then fish do. If you don't want LR in the tanks (I don't suggest it either) tie them together and have a common sump with your LR, skimmer and fuge. All three of those filtration components are important IMO to have health corals.

As was asked above what are your plans? Is this just going to be a holding tank for frags you are going to resale? Are you going to grow out corals to frag? Depending on what you are planning you may not need all that filtration at all and simple PWCs will take care of things for you.
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Old 09-04-2008, 03:53 PM   #7
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Well, basically I'm living the dream.

One of my customers has a lot of cash - he's well off. He used to be in the saltwater fish importing game and he wants to get back into it. maybe sell enough online to recoup his costs and get some nice fish for his fish room while he's at it.

He has no knowledge of coral but loves looking at my tanks and we've spent hours and hours talking about coral and fragging (which I've done an extensive amount of in the last year and a half - I have frags all over both my nanos) and he's decided to invest some coral as well. I put together a brief proposal for him. He entrusted me with 2k starter fund and as much as 7k to do what I need.

My goal is to do precisely what he asked - set up a small ebay business so the coral/fish pays for itself and anything else is gravy. He's completely aware that I plan on taking frags of all interesting livestock for my own tanks and he's totally cool with it. So my intentions are to make a frag propagation center, buy some premium colonies which I intend to chop up into frags and then mount on large pieces of LR to then grow into colonies. I'm not planning on being commercially available for around a year.

All I need to do is keep the water params in check, build a website, and collect free coral for the forseeable future.


now for the tanks - there would be a canister filter on each with LR rubble and each frag would probably start mounted on at least a 1/2 lb chunk of LR so there will be LR in the tank and canister, but no "reef wall" structure. One of the other things I liked about the crushed coral substrate is that if any frags fell to the tank floor they could attach themself to a small piece of the cc which could then be superglued to a larger piece of LR. Again, I do not want to plumb these because when we migrate to the 4'x4'x1' coral tanks these two tanks will be my incoming shipment QT tanks - one for LPS/softies and one for SPS/clams.
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Old 09-04-2008, 03:59 PM   #8
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Hmmm... I never thought about putting rubble into my canister filter. Has anybody else done this? What are the pro's and cons?
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I don't know where this comes from, but it is not true, at least not in a sw tank. Calcium carbonate (crushed coral, aragonite) does not start dissloving unless the pH is around 7.5 - 7.3. If it's not dissolving, it's not buffering.
I thought that's why we all make sure to use aragonite substrate in our reef tanks? If not, why else do most reefers go to that expense?
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:17 PM   #10
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We use it because it comes from the ocean and we know it's safe.
You can use whatever you want as a substrate, keeping in mind the problems that may occur. You can use silica playsand, but do you know exactly what's in it and where it came from? Some forms of silica are soluable. You can use pulverised limestone, but what other impurities are in it? You can even use glass marbles, but they will accumulate all kinds of crap. There are lots of things that can be used, just know what they can potentially do to the system.
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