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Old 01-14-2011, 04:23 PM   #1
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Converting 120 gallon from fresh to salt

What's up all. Well I've had the tank for a couple years and never even got fish in them LOL, kinda sad. I had it set up for freshwater, completely cycled and all, and that's it.

It's now just sitting with water in it and been turned off for a while.


I am in process of buying a house and now want to go with saltwater, this is the equipment I have so far, don't know if a "protein skimmer" is necessary still have to google what that's about.

It it a 120(60 X 18 X ~26) with
-60" dual lights
-Glass Tops(one side broken)
-Stand with 2 doors
-2 Rena XP3s w/some replacement filter pads
-Emperor 500
-2 Large Pieces of Drift Wood
-2 Large Fake Plants
-120 pounds of black gravel
-2 300w(I think) visi-therm stealth heaters
-1 Large Magna Float

Obviously the driftwood, fake plants, and gravel is of no use in saltwater. I will be going with sand, corals, and live plants like anemone, is that a "plant"? lol For the Rena filters, what kind of medium do I put in them? Do saltwater tanks even create biological filters like fresh do?

Anything that I NEED to get this set up? I'm thinking the wavemaker, not sure if a necessity, I plan later on to probably get inline UV filter. That's all.
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Old 01-14-2011, 05:02 PM   #2
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:08 PM   #3
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I have a 120 and moved from fresh to salt. Here are my suggestions:

Live Sand, Live Rock
Unless your going with with something other than FOWLR - don't worry about any additional lighting right now, unless you have extra money.
Ditch the filter and either put in an aqueon sump or a larger canister filter like a Fluval FX5 or G6.
Add a good powerhead ($70-100 powerhead)
Add a protein skimmer.

This should be enough to get going, with the salt and proper test kits of course.
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Old 01-16-2011, 07:28 AM   #4
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You don't think I can get by with my 2 filters? Don't really wanna hassle with having to sell them to buy other ones. Also, can't the filters take the job of a sump?

(the biological filter link in that sticky is no good, any other good links on this?)
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:13 AM   #5
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you will need powerful lighting for corals and anemones.
you can use the 2 filters if you clean them regularly (like weekly). otherwise they will work against you, building up nitrates very quickly (as will a fluval). a sump will actually be less hassle than the cannister(s).
no, cannister filters won't take the job of a sump. a sump is just a container of water used to hold all of your mechanical components, like a protein skimmer, heaters, media reactors, refugium...etc.
if you don't want to implement a sump, you'll have to look for a HOB skimmer. there aren't many HOB skimmers that will handle a moderately stocked 120. plus, you'll have to look at it whenever you view the tank.


you don't need to purchase live sand. you can purchase dry sand but just make sure it's aragonite based sand. it will buffer the ph. rinse it thoroughly before adding it to the tank.
you'll need about 100 pounds of base rock and/or live rock.

you will want to purchase multiple powerheads for a 120 gallon reef. many folks like hydor koralias. seio prop pumps seem to perform pretty well for me, and they have better magnet mounts.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:15 AM   #6
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Obviously the first thing you need to do is drain the water and clean the tank. Freshwater bacteria and saltwater bacteria and not the same.
On to your list.
60" dual lights - good for fish only. Not enough for corals.
Glass Tops(one side broken) - not needed at all.
Stand with 2 doors - fine to use (of course).
2 Rena XP3s w/some replacement filter pads - usable, but not recommended for saltwater because of the possibility of nitrate buildup.
Emperor 500 - pretty much useless except maybe for some water movement and surface aggitation.
Large Pieces of Drift Wood - can't be used.
Large Fake Plants - can use, but will look very unrealistic.
120 pounds of black gravel - toss it out.
300w(I think) visi-therm stealth heaters - fine to use.
Large Magna Float - fine to use.
wavemaker - you need something for water movement. A few powerheads will work fine and they don't need to be on a wavemaker.
UV - not necessary.

What are your plans? Fish only? Fish only with live rock? Full blown reef?
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:42 PM   #7
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Ok so could I just get a large sump and not use the canisters since not really any help? How many gallon sump would be good for a 120g tank? I plan to have fish, cleaning creatures like snails/shrimp, rocks and colorful corals, anemone for clownfish.. I guess that's about it. Maybe some small eels, they all have to be compatible ofcourse. I also like the hydor powerheads. I guess some T5 or LED lights for rock/coral in future..
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:32 PM   #8
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the largest sump you can fit in the spot you have, is what i would recommend. a 40 breeder would probably work well in your stand. you'll need to partition it into at least 2 sections.
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