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Old 05-09-2006, 11:44 AM   #1
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First Saltwater Tank - 125gal. Conversion

I have been keeping freshwater fish for about 6 years now. I moved up the ranks from 10gal, to 55gal, and now I have a beautiful 125gal tank built into the wall in my basement. I have a very easy set up as I can access the back of the tank, where there is a water supply, drain, and plenty of room for whatever I need to put back there (about a 12X12 room).

I have two Ehiem canister filters, that are designed for 130 gal., One dual line air pump, the light that came with the tank (with a flora-life bulb), and a blacklight mounted above for nighttime effect. I have plenty of room underneath the tank for a sump system, but I have no experience with sumps. I have read the articles about them and still know very little a diagram or drawing of how it works would help me dramatically!

I would appreciate any help you guys can offer as there is no where else for me to go (I think Kansas City has boycoted aquarium stores or seomthing as they have all gone out of business, or never exsisted to begin with).

1) What goes in the sump besides the pump and filter lines?
2) How big of a sump should I find? I was thinking 20gal. as that would be enough for 10-15% PWC.
3) I will be buying a skimmer, not sure which yet (suggestions would be great), does that go on the sump?
4) What kind of lighting change do I need to make? I don't plan on doing any coral, as I don't have the experience or the time.
5) Should I get new media for my filters, or is it okay to simply rinse them out?
6) Should I get an undergravel filter? I have never used one, since I have always had some cichlids in the tank.
7) I have a water softner system on my house, but am not sure if I should use the sift water or the tap water for my water supply.

I'll add questions as I think of them, but I appreciate your help, this is not going to be a small job, I know, but I want to make it as easy as I can on me and the fish. Any suggestions are more than welcome! Thanks!
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Old 05-09-2006, 12:06 PM   #2
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Quote:
1) What goes in the sump besides the pump and filter lines?
Heaters, return (to the main) pumps, maybe a protein skimmer, UV sterilizer pump and lines

Quote:
2) How big of a sump should I find? I was thinking 20gal. as that would be enough for 10-15% PWC.
I'd go with a 40g breeder tank instead.

Quote:
3) I will be buying a skimmer, not sure which yet (suggestions would be great), does that go on the sump?
See below - Aqua C.

Coral doesn't take time IMO. Just the proper light. I'd probably look at PC lighting, may 4x65w if you won't go coral - don't give up on the notion. It's easy IMO. Try looking at the 4x96w also for some less light needy coral.

Just did the Aqua C EV180 w/ a mag7 pump. Check them out. I like mine. Quiet and efficient.

I'd give up on the idea of underground filtration for SW.

Most importantly, pick up a copy of Robert Fenner's Conscientious Marine Aquarist book before you buy one single thing. The $30 bucks will be the best money you ever spent in this hobby IMO.

On the water, RO/DI water is best to help keep algae growth at a minimum. Test you house water for phosphates (test kit at any LFS) and that might tell you a lot about your water needs.

And of course, welcome to AA.

Get the book. Good luck and I hope you stay in touch as you go.
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Old 05-09-2006, 12:10 PM   #3
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Welcome to AA

The post Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank will answer a lot of the questions you have.

Since your tank is an in-wall tank with plenty of room behind you won’t be limited in the size of your sump. The larger the better IMO. I’d use a 55 gal tank personally since filled 2/3 will add about 35 gal to the total volume of water. Things you put in are heater, skimmer, fuge, & pump. See this DIY post for building a sump. Also checkout www.melevsreef.com for more info.
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Old 05-09-2006, 12:22 PM   #4
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The king of the great links strikes again 8).

Great thought about a larger sump since its behind the wall too!
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Old 05-10-2006, 02:06 PM   #5
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Thanks guys, It's too bad I sold my 55gal! I'd like to fit the sump under the tank if I can, just to keep the line length to a minimum, and keep it out of my way. There are virtually NO fish stores in the Kansas City metro, and the only ones I have found to be any help are about a 40-60min drive for me, so I will be posting here ALOT. I will try and get some pictures posted if I can. Do you know of any picture servers I can use. I use a free one for my RC Car pictures, and thought there might be one for fish too.

Thanks for the link, I could definitely find an empty tank and do the separations like that, but what the point in the baffles? And what the heck is a bubble trap? Boy do I feel like a novice!

I will definitely read that book, I have already read "The Saltwater Aquarium Handbook", but it doesn't get into much detail.

Obviously you put an extra heater in the sump, that's not the only heater correct?

I'll try not to bug you guys too much, but if I have more ignorant questions, do you mind if I PM you?

Thanks again!

tecwzrd - cute kid BTW!
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Old 05-10-2006, 02:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SellUHomeInKC
Do you know of any picture servers I can use. I use a free one for my RC Car pictures, and thought there might be one for fish too.
http://www.imageshack.us/
http://www.photobucket.com/
http://www.photolocker.net/

Quote:
Originally Posted by SellUHomeInKC
what the point in the baffles? And what the heck is a bubble trap?
Baffles go up and down to keep bubbles out due to gravity and water flowing. (water goes down, bubbles stay up) hence the term “bubble trap”.

A bubble trap is useful in keeping bubbles out of the main tank. Bubbles get into the sump from either the down force of water rushing into the sump and/or from an in sump skimmer being used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SellUHomeInKC
Obviously you put an extra heater in the sump, that's not the only heater correct?
You want two heaters, both in the 3W-5W per gal range. ie: if you have a 55 gal tank you want both heaters to be 200+W depending on the temperature difference of the room and what you want your tank to be at. Keeping your tank anywhere from 76F-82F (24C-28C) degrees is ok but make sure the temp stays constant. You do not want temp swing greater then 2 degrees during the day/night cycles. If increasing/decreasing temps do it slowly 1-2 degrees per day.

The point of two heaters is for redundancy if one fails, not so they both can heat the tank. You can keep both in the tank, sump, or one in either. Personally I would keep at least one in the tank in case your overflow stops working for whatever reason. (If you have a sump)

I would buy titanium heaters versus glass ones to avoid breakage issues.

Keep them vertical or horizontal but at least 4” below the water level to keep them from being exposed from evaporation. Keep them off the sand. You can place them behind lr to hide them but I would not let the lr touch them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SellUHomeInKC
I'll try not to bug you guys too much, but if I have more ignorant questions, do you mind if I PM you?
You can PM me anytime but generally it’s better to ask your questions on the forum so you get more then one point of view IMO. Also the only “ignorant” question is the one not asked so please ask first if not sure about something.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SellUHomeInKC
tecwzrd - cute kid BTW!
Thanks, she is my pride and joy
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Old 05-11-2006, 08:33 AM   #7
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You can get that book right here from this site. See "book library" above. $15 used. And I agree, that others may benefit from what you consider ignorant questions. I'm one of those believers in the notion that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Yeah, I know it sounds corny, but think about it... there are hundreds of people out there thinking about doing a tank in the future, or may even have one now and have the same question that you do. You might just help all of'm by asking those questions.

Not saying I don't want any PMs either. Tell you what. If you feel you must PM, do so and we can figure out how or whether to do it there AND in an open forum.
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Old 05-12-2006, 02:51 PM   #8
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Thanks again guys. Real quick questions once again. I think I understand about the bubble trap, but don't you want bubbles in the tank for aeration?? Or does the trap just keep them out of the sump pump? A little confused. Also, other than DrsFosterandSmith, and ThatFishPlace.com where is the next best place to buy equipment and/or fish. I looked inthe links seciton, but wanted your opinions.

Also, what's is the refuge used for? Just LR. The DIY is great for building, but doesn't really cover the purpose of each.
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Old 05-12-2006, 03:26 PM   #9
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Bubbles in the tank have no affect on oxygen levels. Air stones you often seen in FW tanks are only to move water and create surface movement which is where the oxygen exchange happens. With SW tanks we use power heads aimed towards the surface to accomplish the same thing. SW doesn’t exchange oxygen as well as FW does which is why air stones are fairly useless in SW tanks because it doesn’t move enough water.

Bubbles escaping into the tank can cause issues with SW which is why we try to eliminate it as much as possible.

As far as where to buy equipment it really depends on what you are looking for. DrsFosterandSmith is fairly competitive on most things though.
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