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Old 06-28-2005, 03:48 PM   #1
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I need help starting a reef tank with fish

Ok here it goes, I am intrested in starting a reef tank. I have tried it before and I would say I roughlyspent around $1500+ before I finally gave up. I found that in my situation (meaning my set-up) was very awkward. My aquarium is in the wall and required me to access it through a closet on the other side and that was very tight quarters. Here is what I have so far from my last horrific attempt.

Tank--55 gal

Lighting--power compact (would be nice to know the output)
cost me around $300-$400

I have a sump with a protein skimmer in it

2 powerheads in tank

I know that may not be good enough info but obviously I am still a novice. The sump is about 2-3 feet under the tank and may need a strong motor for circulation. That is about all I know about my set-up for now. Now here are some of the issues I had last time.....

--Heat!-- 80-85f degrees. Those lights in combination with most of the aquarium in the closet lacked air circulation. Plus I am in Phoenix, AZ.

--The lighting-- had to be kinda offset more to the rear of the tank because the wall it was in limited to be placed in the center. I may need to consider knocking out more wall.

--Water circulation-- may not have been sufficiant enough. Alot of algae (dark red, green) would "Carpet the floor of the tank. The light may have been on too long (10/12hours) I would cut it back but still quick algae growth.

What i would like to have in the tank is sea anenome's, Mushrooms, some soft coral and some fish...etc everything i see i guess which is nnot good i know now. I never knew how to find out where certain corals should be placed in the tank or how close to lighting they should be. But right now my main concern is what are the necessary parts (equipment wise) I need to get for re-starting this tank. UV sterilizer? Don't have, do I need? Thank you for any help
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Old 06-28-2005, 04:33 PM   #2
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I would start by getting a ro/di water filter, if you had algae issues before did you use tap water?
You will need to have good air flow around the tank to help with cooling issues and the way you discribe it that is a problem..
the light you have is it a combo light? PC and MH or MH or just PC?
How did you get the water from the tank to the sump last time and how did you get it back up?
UV is not needed... A good water filter is...

things needed
Live rock min 1lb per gal
Live sand or play sand
return pump depending on overflow rate a mag7 or 9.5 would be good
RO/DI water filter.
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Old 06-28-2005, 04:40 PM   #3
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Im sorry i edited my 1st post, it is a power compact flourecent. As far as moving the water from the tank to the sump I had a overflow box mounted on the back of the tank then from the sump there is a submersible pump that move it back to the tank.

As far as the water i used none of it was tap water. I would have to drive about 40miles to the Fish store just to get their RO water for water changes. That may have been another problem, water changes became a tedious task and pretty much just would top off the tank rather than do 10% water changes. If that caused alot of problems for me then I have learned my lesson. And for the high temps I may need to consider a chiller though very expensive I still may need to consider.

One more thing, is it best to convert the sump to a fuge?
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Old 06-28-2005, 04:44 PM   #4
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Yeah, get a ro/di system if you're having algae problems from tap.

Heating seems to be a problem so get some small computer fans and place them over the water to cool it down. But IMO you should try and figure out a way to get good air circulation in the wall.

For live rocks get about 40 lbs of live rocks from liverocks.com and 60 lbs for hirocks.com.

I wouldn't spent the money on live sand. Buy either aragonite sand or play sand (at HD or Lowe's) that passes the vinegar test.
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Old 06-28-2005, 07:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
that passes the vinegar test.
OK, I'll ask. What's 'the vinegar test'?
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Old 06-28-2005, 07:46 PM   #6
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If you take the bulbs out of the pc light they should say the watts on the end... How many bulbs..
Overflow box run about 600 gph flow into the sump so a mag 9.5 sould be good for a return. I would T it off and have 2 return lines going to the ends of the tank. Not knowing how big the sump is I can not say if there is room for a fuge/sump combo.
You need room for heaters, pump and skimmer so you would need a big sump to get a fuge in there also.
Sounds like you need the RO/Di unit.. airwaterice.com sells great units and ebay also has good deals on them. Unfiltered water has mad more then one person bail or think about bailing from the hobby... Algae can be a nightmare to battle..
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Old 06-28-2005, 11:42 PM   #7
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Re: I need help starting a reef tank with fish

Quote:
Originally Posted by palmero
Ok here it goes, I am intrested in starting a reef tank. I have tried it before and I would say I roughlyspent around $1500+ before I finally gave up.
My advice, DONT DO IT! It is expensive and addictive. If I could take it all back now, I would.

My husband and I are fixing to move (dont get too excited, its gonna be about a year yet) to Hawaii and we are very upset about having to break down and sell our reef. I love my tank passionatly and am going to be heart broken to see it gone. We are both committed to starting a new tank in our next duty station, but I am not sure if I can take the heart ache of loosing something I put so much time and money in again.
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Old 06-29-2005, 12:52 AM   #8
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Yeah, what's the vinegar test?

For the heat problem, couldn't a chiller be used? I bought an aquarium chiller, on ebay, of course, and it only cost me around $300 total. It brought the temp down from 85 to 78 and maintains it there all the time.
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Old 06-29-2005, 10:18 AM   #9
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Aragonite based sand should have a reaction to vinegar...it should fizz slightly because it's a base, and vinegar is an acid.
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Old 06-29-2005, 12:08 PM   #10
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Ok i checked out my lights ....

PC (great now i forgot) I know its either 96 or 98 watts. Now Im pretty sure its 98. There are two bulbs one is the blue actinic light and the other is the daytime .

I do also have regular 48'' single bulb canopy that i have had since i originally got the tank. But stopped using it cause i figured i would never find a 48'' bulb that would suit the corals.

As far as my sump I dont know how many gal it is but i can try to describe. (this is all a rough estimate..) 36' x 24' x12. It is a 3 chamber sump. It came with bio balls, the skimmer on one end ....bio balls in middle then the other end the opening is where the pump goes which i had to get a sub pump to get the water back to the tank. I know that may not help but i paid about $250 for it about 3-4years ago.

A chiller is what i may have to do for the tank. There is no other way to drop my temp down enough. Even in the winter time the lights make it too hot, i have tried fans but did not work for me.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I FOUND THE SUMP....HERE IS THE LINK

http://blujay.com/item/ProClear-Aqua...160301-1312826
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