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Old 11-03-2010, 12:25 PM   #1
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Fully Automated Systems?

Hi there
I was thinking of eventually investing in a marine reef system for my home. I was checking this website out where this company will make you a custom marine aquarium, bring it to your house and set everything up for you.
They also state on their website that you don't need to change the water in their fishtanks as they will install an RO unit and Float Switch onto the sump and that will handle the evapouration of the water and keep salinity and water level the same.
I was wondering how true this was. I was thinking of evenutally investing about £2400 maybe more on a 7x2.5x2 (WxHxD in feet) that comes with everything, sump, skimmer, plumbing, float swtich, RO unit, UV Sterilisers, etc.
It would be very handy for me to have a system that basically tops itself up with fresh RO water rather than doing a 25% water change every week i am usually quite busy working but after getting my 60g tropical tank ive just become obssesed about getting a full reef in my living room.
Calculating the it volume of this tank is around 270g and it comes with a 70g sump so its working out at 340g for the whole system and u can imagine changing 25% of that (about 90g) will take alot of time and i dont have the room to have a waterbutt with 90g of salt water in it standing for afew days before i use it for a weekly change I also like the idea of these guys coming over to my house, doing structural checks making sure the floor will hold the aquarium and bracing it where needs be and then setting it all up correctly as i know im not too good at plumbing and if im spending alot of money on a marine system and fish i want it to be done properly, no scerw ups.
Just wondering what your guys 2 cents were on these Automated systems.

P.S This is the website i was looking at Aquariums,custom aquariums,.marine aquariums - Home

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Old 11-03-2010, 01:04 PM   #2
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If you want to pay a company to come in and do a whole custom setup for you, that works, but it takes a lot of the fun and learning out of the hobby if you do that.

As for the topoffs and weekly water changes, they're 2 different subjects. You need to top off at least daily (or most of us have an automated system) to overcome evaporation and keep a consistent salinity.

Water changes accomplish a completely different thing. Nutrients in the water and salt mix will get depleted over time and need to be replenished, something that purely topping off with RO/DI water doesn't accomplish.

Fish only systems are less susceptible to this, since there's not a lot of stuff (aka corals) to consume the nutrients, but even those need water changes on occassion too. Not necessarily weekly, but once in a while nonetheless.

In the DC Metro Area? Check out GWAPA and WAMAS
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:34 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice.
Im not too bad with setting up tanks, i got my tropical up and running in no time but thats easy stuff equipment wise. Im a music producer so i dont really know much about plumbing, electronics and all that stuff and especially with plumbing the skimmer into the sump and using pumps to get the water round i just wouldnt have a clue where to start. Im obviosuly going to be doing alot of reading about keeping a marine system before investing a proportional chunk of my yearly salery on it i just dont want anything to go wrong after spending all this money so having it professonally setup would be ideal.
So your saying i may still have to change the water once a month maybe? That isnt too bad really i just know that changing my tropical tank water is sometimes abit of a ballache having to boil 8 kettles to get the water up to tempreture can take awhile and is quite tedious and thats about 12g weekly so i cant imagine what chaning nearly 100g every week will do to my electricity and water bill plus the amount of marine salt i will have to buy. If your saying once monthly is good to change about 100g then i may consider it but as stated before i really dont have the time to change that much water every week and a 50ga day RO unit is about £80 so it would take a full 2 days to get the right amount of water + another day to let it stand leaves 3 days with u huge butt of water in my kitchen which i will be quiet honest with you doesnt have the space these old inner city houses werent built for luxury or space ill tell you that .
Just a question in advance, how many fish could i get in a 270g +70g sump? I was thinking of going for a commuinity setup, clowns, tangs, shrimp, cardinals, gobies, firefish, gammas maybe a green manadrin (the sump comes with refugum, calepra and a light) after i have gained some more experiance in the matter.
Thanks for the help
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:13 PM   #4
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Once a month may work out for you, but it's best to do a PWC every other week if every week is out of the question. Yes, that requires someplace to make rodi water and salt mix to mix in, a heater to bring it to temp and a power head to keep it circulating.

My advice to you would be to start with a smaller tank. I have a 125 gallon and do a 20 - 25 gallon pwc every week, or at least 2x/month. I have a 150 gpd RODI unit so making water for that only take a few hours. I also top off my 45 gallon BRUTE trashcan top-off container once a month. The RODI runs overnight for that.
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Old 11-06-2010, 09:22 AM   #5
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I have never heard of anybody boiling water before a water change, is there something in your tap that is harmful?

I am considering building a built in 300 gallon tank when I move from a condominium to a house. I have a 150 gallon reef now, with sump and RO under the tank. Its a bit of a process to do weekly water changes. Thus, when I get a house, I will have an aquarium room behind the tank, and will have two tanks filled with RO. One will be with salt for water changes and the other will be top off. Additionally, I plan on plumbing a few pumps to a floor drain that will allow me to simply pump out X amount of water and then pump the new water back in.

I am already working on plans in my head. Everything will be controlled from a control panel I will build with switches to run the various pumps, a float valve for the RO/DI machine, and powerheads used for stiring the salt. Hopefully, my water change time will be down to 15 minutes rather than 2 hours.
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Old 11-06-2010, 10:01 AM   #6
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well, i change out 25 gallons of water a week on a tank at a health club about 10 minutes away from my house, and it doesn't take me 2 hours to do that start to finish.
if it's taking 2 hours to change out some water in a tank in your home, you just need to think of a more efficient way to do it.
when my system was set up in my home, it would take me a total of 10 minutes to change out 50 gallons of water.
the plumbing and electronics involved with the setup of a tank isn't rocket science. i know people look at others' tanks and get dizzy with all of the pvc and wires, but believe me, if it's you setting it up, you know what everything is for, and where everything goes. it's not as complicated as it seems.

that 2400 euro...what does that include? you'll have bi-monthly or even weekly maintenance to pay for as well. again, if you are talking reef, you are going to need someone to pay more attention to the system than 2 x a month.

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