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Old 08-22-2012, 10:54 PM   #1
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Filter Help Please.

I'm just getting started. I have a 55 gallon tank and I'm in the process of building a custom stand. Between books, Internet, and talking to 3 different LFS guys at 2 different shops I've got an overwhelming amount of information on which filters to use.

What is the best type of filtration to use? Do I have to have a protein skimmer to start or can I add it to my setup later? What exactly are uv sterilizers and reactors? Are they necessary?

I appreciate any help you can provide.
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:06 PM   #2
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A skimmer is essential to have on a 55 especially if it's your first saltwater tank. You can get it later if you must, but it's not something I wouldn't put off for to long. Make it a priority.

A UV sterilizer is completely optional. Most people never use them. I wouldn't take one if it was offered for free to use for anything but freshwater or quarantine though some people love em.

There are lots of different types of reactors. GFO and calcium reactors are the most common and are very useful but you can live without them. I like GFO reactors myself but you can wait and read up on them.

Depending of what you plan on doing with your tank these guidelines could change (ie. reef, fish only, FOWLR, seahorse tank etc..). What kind of system do you plan on having?
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:11 PM   #3
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The best type of filtration for your 55 would be either a sump or a refugium. Yes it takes up valuable space below the tank but its well worth it. You could technically skip the protein skimmer at first but once you start stocking several fish, youll need it, not to mention if you want to do corals.. Then the skimmer is a must. Uv steralizers are a device that kills any free floating bacteria/viruses/ organisms by way of uv light. If you can afford it, run one... It helps to fight off the spreading of diseases and algae. As for reactors, they are a type of active filtration that can be custom tuned (by means of reactor media) to either absorb certain chemicals or release certain chems into your water. (may want to research the technical explaination, itll make more sense)
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my 125g Sw...Round 2!http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...220171-33.html
ever see someone cut a 125g in half??
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...-286438-4.html
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:13 PM   #4
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Well guess inwas a hair too late lol. Also, unless its a privately owned store, i would take any piece of advice a lfs gives you with a few grains of salt... Dont be surprised to fin that their "knowledgeable" staff gave you wrong info. Best thing you can possibly do is ask on here. This site has been the saving grace for ALOT of peoples tanks (mine included)
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my 125g Sw...Round 2!http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...220171-33.html
ever see someone cut a 125g in half??
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...-286438-4.html
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:35 PM   #5
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Everyone has their opinion on skimmers. IMO it is a must. I run two on my current tank. Also I have always used UV sterilizers. I never had a SW tank without one or a skimmer. Personal preference. You can wait on reactors but they are helpful. I run one with gfo and one calcium reactor. Less dosing and stable calcium & alkalinity was worth it to me.
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Old 08-23-2012, 07:52 AM   #6
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Setting up a sump/refugium is highly recommended and in my opinion is a must if ur planning to go reef in the future. I have 2 Marineland C-360 coz I got my tank set up before discovering this forum. Im now planning to set up my sump/refugium before I go reef. Just giving my wife some breathing space after all the cost we just had. lol.
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Old 08-23-2012, 05:14 PM   #7
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I plan on starting with a FOWLR tank, but eventually I want to make it a reef tank.

I have a extra 10 gallon tank that I was think about using for a sump. Is 10 gallons going to be big enough? Any suggestions on how to set it up?

Thanks everyone for all the help.
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Old 08-23-2012, 07:51 PM   #8
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I used a 15 gallon tall tank for my 30L reef and it was just barely big enough. It's usually recommended to have a sump that'll fit a skimmer, reactor, return pump, and still have a space for a refugium as well as head space for overflow from the main tank in case of a power outage or pump service. I don't remember which size tanks fit under a 55, but a 10 isn't big enough.

You'll want to take the inside measurements of your stand and get the biggest container that will fit down there. Even a rubbermaid container that's sufficiently large would be fine. You only want to do this once so just take your time, do some google and YouTube searches and see what you can afford to save up for.
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