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Old 04-04-2006, 08:57 AM   #1
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First Saltwater Tank Checklist

This is going to be my first saltwater tank. It is a 125 gal glass aquarium. I want it to be a FOWLR for now maybe corals later. All of you experts please look at my list and tell me what I am missing or need to add more of. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
-Coralife 125 Skimmer
-2 Visi-Therm Stealth Heaters (250 watts each)
-2 1200 Maxijet Powerheads
-Digital Thermometer
-RO/DI Unit
-90 lbs Live Rock
-90 lbs Base Rock
-Live Sand/ Sand Mix(enough for depth of 2 1/2 to 3 in)
-160 gal worth of Salt
-Marine Test Kit
-Right now I have 4 48" Lights @ 40 Watts a Light (They Say Plant & Aquarium on them)

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Old 04-04-2006, 09:27 AM   #2
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Firstly, Welcome to Aquarium Advice!

your plan looks pretty good. I'll only comment on a couple things.

What specificly were you planning on for your "live sand"? if its the "live sand" in a bag branded and sitting on a store shelf, I would pass on that. For real live sand find a LFS that will scoop a few pounds out of an existing tank in their store. Many will do it. With your LR and this real live sand you'll have plenty to seed your sand bed.

Even for a FOWLR, those lights are about a bare minimum. I had normal output lights on my 55 when I first started and thought things were ok. When I upgraded my lights to power compacts the rocks and everythign else just sprouted with life. If you have the means, upgrade the lights to at least PC or VHO.

Lastly, don't skimp on your test kit, it's you're finger on your tank's pulse.

What's your plan for set-up and cycling?

Good luck!

Acronyms and Abbreviations
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Old 04-04-2006, 09:51 AM   #3
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I really haven't gotten that far into this because I am in the process of building a house and I am not going to set it up for about 5 more months. But that is why I am planning everything now so I can make as few mistakes as possible. I am a little confused on how to put everything in order for cycling. Do I put the sand in first, fill it halfway with water, mix in salt and then add the base rock and live rock on top of that then top it off with however much water I need or is there a better way?
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:23 AM   #4
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You might want to up the skimmer to the Coralife 220 model, always try and overskim. (my opinion, of course). And if you want corals later on, be careful with the fish you choose to put in the tank, some find corals very tasty.
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by rtoycrow
I am a little confused on how to put everything in order for cycling.
Welcome to AA as well

To answer that personally I’d add your aragonite sand first, then fill it up with ro/di about 60% of the way and mix the full amount of salt needed for your tank (roughly ½ a cup per gal depending on the sg level you want (1.020-1.025) in a 20 gal trashcan with a PH for 24 hours then slowly add that to the tank and mix with a ph for at least a couple of hours. Your lr can be used for fishless cycling if there is sufficient die-off and once your ph/sg is stable in the tank it can be added.

For your stock list everything looks good but I also wanted to comment on a few items.
Depending on the temp difference you keep your house at and what you want the tank at you might want to consider 300-400 watt heaters. The 250w will work but if you keep your house at 69 and want the tank kept at 79 for example they will be working overtime to keep it at that temp. Also if it’s a glass heater I would consider getting a titanium heater to avoid possible breakage.

The two Maxi-Jet 1200 will only provide around 600 gph or about a 5 times turn over on your tank. For FOWLR you want to get it closer to 1200+ gph and I’d either use two Seio Super Pumps pointed upwards and at each other or if price isn’t an issue then get two Tunze Turbelle Pumps which can be added to a controller later on to simulate more natural currents.

A lot of people get RO/DI from ebay for around $100. Below are the 3 most popular sites:
Filter-Direct-store (seems to be most popular on this site)

Also airwaterice.com is a good place if you don’t want to deal with ebay.

180 lbs of base/lr is a great start but you will probably want to get it closer to 250 lbs down the road.

Not sure if you are going with a swing arm or floating Hydrometer but if you can get a refractometer you would have much more accurate results.

I would double up on the salt.

If your tank is roughly 48 1/2 x 24 1/4 x 25 ½ which I assume is close since you mention 48” lights then if you plan to eventually keep high light corals I would go straight to getting MH/PC lights instead of only PC due to the height of your tank.

Other things you might want to consider if you haven’t bought your tank yet is to get a reef ready tank with predrilled overflows to avoid having to deal with a HOB overflow if you want to add a sump later on.

A skimmer is also highly recommended to remove DOC and keep your water pure.

Research is key to successful SW fish keeping and reading all the saltwater articles on this site and the articles on liveaquaria.com is an excellent way to get acquainted with all that’s required for this expensive hobby.

If you have any questions let us know

P.S. I BOLD all my links
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:49 AM   #6
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I would stay away from the packaged aragonite sand, order live from the ocean, its gobs better!
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Old 04-04-2006, 11:20 AM   #7
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Actually my tank is 72 in long. I have the 48" lights but I have them on oppisite ends of the tank to spread the light out. I guess I will need to up the wattage a good bit. As for the powerheads, I have already ordered two. Could I add a maybe one or two more to get the same effect. And if the heaters aren't enough maybe add one more 250 watt? I want to thank everyone for the help. I really appreciate it.
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Old 04-04-2006, 11:30 AM   #8
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You can add as many ph as you want but since most people do not like the looks of a bunch of ph in the tank I’d still get the more powerful ph and use the other ones as back up and to mix salt. Also since you are even considering corals in the future I’d get the more powerful PH to kick up your gph’s closer to 2300+ which they will need. Having that much current doesn’t hurt for FOWLR either.

Another option is to use a closed loop system using an outside pump if you don’t mind the plumbing
You can use either PVC or vinyl tubing and for intake a simple intake screen does the job. For output you can use a cheap return pipe, use an expensive Lifegard Customflo Water System, or custom design your output with Loc-Line. (Loc-Line will give you the most options.)

For lighting aim for at least 600+ Watts when you can afford it which will allow for low to medium light corals

For high light corals you will need MH/PC lighting.

Edit: Personally I wouldn’t do a 3rd heater because getting them all within a couple of degrees is much harder and one of them is still going to be doing most of the work. Two more powerful heaters is recommended or you can just get a more powerful heater if one of the two you do have fails.
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Old 04-04-2006, 11:41 AM   #9
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Some really great advice given so far.

adding a couple more MJ 1200's will barely put you at the 10x turnover per hour. If you are going fish only, you'll probably be fine with it, but remember to increase your flow down the road before beginning to add corals.

I always advise, as tecwzrd did, to really research this hobby before jumping in. You have the advantage of time in your favor. Most like to jump right in and learn as they go. This obviously has its pros and cons. However, given that you have time, its beneficial to read lots and develop a sort of idea of what animals really interest you and get a feel for what your final goal of what you want your tank to look like.

Planning ahead and reading will allow you to build the best system now and avoid the headaches of future additions like sumps and fuges if you decide you want them.

I have a couple other things to add to your list. a GFCI, ground fault circuit interupter, and a grounding probe.

The GFCI protects you from being electricuted and the grounding probe will carry away any stray electricity given off by faulty equipment to protect your fish.

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