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Old 11-08-2015, 06:49 PM   #1
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More "annoying" beginner questions

Sooo... we just had most of our freshwater tank wiped out with a case of Neon Tetra Disease that came with cardinal tetras from LFS. In discussion with LFS, a well-run store that paid us back for all our deceased fish, has suggested that we dismantle the tank, disinfect everything, and start over to ensure that the protozoans are gone. In doing further research, this seems like a wise decision.

ANYWAY, I've always wanted a saltwater (reef) tank, and feel that now might be a good chance to convert our existing tank over to salt. I've done loads of research, and my brother-in-law has 2 large, impressive reef tanks, but I have a few questions that I'm still confused about.

Tank is a 26gal bowfront (a little small, I know, but it's what I have to work with), with 2 HOB filters (Aquaclear 30 and Aqueon 20) and a digital integrated thermometer/heater (Fluval E 100W). I'd like to put down a 1-2" sand bed.

Advice is greatly appreciated!

Live rock: brother-in-law has offered me some live rock from his established tanks. I've also read conflicting viewpoints that it's best to start dry and establish your own bacteria colonies to prevent disease spread?

Sump: I get that it increases the working size of your tank. Do I need a sump? What else does it do? If my tank isn't drilled, can I create a sump? Very confused on sumps and EVERYONE has a different opinion!

Refugium: Create in HOB filters? I get why a refugium is a good idea, but am a little fuzzy on how to make one. Where does the filter medium go if the HOBs are refugium? Which leads me to the next question:

To filter or not? Could one of my HOB be a refugium and the other a filter? Why does freshwater need a filter and it's not entirely necessary in salt? Because of the biological filtration from the live rock?

Power heads: does the flow coming from the filters count towards the 10x water volume, and/or is it possible to overdo flow?

Protein skimmer: sometimes people say not necessary for tanks <30gal, but does it make life easier?

Lights: OMG I have never been more confused. I get that my fluorescent bulb hood has to go, but I am straight up confused about lighting. Brother-in-law swears that metal halide is the only way to go for reef, but I'm interested in other opinions. LED?

Critters: the only critter I'm totally set on is a peppermint shrimp. I also like the purple/blue and yellow guys, obviously I need more saltwater fish research!

THANKS!
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Old 11-08-2015, 08:27 PM   #2
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1) Your brother in law's rock is fine, unless of course his tank is riddled with disease.
2) You don't need a sump, but it's helpful. You can use a HOB overflow box if you like and rely on siphon to transfer water, but I suggest drilling the tank now before you fill it. It's quite easy. A sump holds all of your components that you don't wish to see in the display. That said, you can just run the tank the way it is, and use the HOB filters.
3) I highly suggest some sort of mechanical filter. Something that you can clean easily, and frequently. HOB filters are pretty good for this.
Live rock will complete the nitrogen cycle due to it's anaerobic bacteria present deep inside, which will convert nitrate to nitrogen gas, but there will still be detritus which will need to be removed somehow, or it will eventually build up, overwhelm the bacteria, and cause problems.
4) all flow counts, and yes, you can have too much flow, but your flow req's will depend on what corals you intend to keep. If you wish to have just soft corals and lps, then moderate flow is fine, but sps, and you'll want a lot more.
5) anything that cleans the water is a good thing. Protein skimmers can never do harm.
6) metal halide is good, but has major drawbacks- heat and electric usage, along with 9-12 month expensive bulb changes. The right LED is much more efficient. You just need to decide what you are willing to spend, and then we can help you pick a LED fixture that will work for you.
7) If you like peppermint shrimp, you are going to be quite impressed with the salty side of the hobby. Pepps are boring to most, and mostly added just for control of other pests.
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Old 11-09-2015, 09:42 AM   #3
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Thanks Doug!

I'd say my budget for LED lights is in the $200 range. I do want to have corals, so would like to have some options with my lights down the road.
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Old 11-09-2015, 03:59 PM   #4
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I would suggest the Chinese leds I love mine
google tao tronics
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Old 11-09-2015, 07:42 PM   #5
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Yesd, I second 54seaweed's recommendation of the quite common, manually dimmable, Taotronics(or similar) fixture. Something like this-
Sunspect 165W LED Aquarium Light for SPS LPS Coral Reef Full Spectrum Dimmable | eBay
will work fine and allow you to keep whatever you want.
I would probably use one of these and remove the optics(it's extremely simple) for a wider spread.
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Old 11-09-2015, 08:08 PM   #6
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I bought Chinese LEDs from Mr.X and I even told him about the amazing coral growth and color I've had in the just few months. I'm very happy with them and wish I would have gotten them from the start instead of wasting $400 on other LED fixtures


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Old 11-12-2015, 07:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_X View Post
1) Your brother in law's rock is fine, unless of course his tank is riddled with disease.
2) You don't need a sump, but it's helpful. You can use a HOB overflow box if you like and rely on siphon to transfer water, but I suggest drilling the tank now before you fill it. It's quite easy. A sump holds all of your components that you don't wish to see in the display. That said, you can just run the tank the way it is, and use the HOB filters.
3) I highly suggest some sort of mechanical filter. Something that you can clean easily, and frequently. HOB filters are pretty good for this.
Live rock will complete the nitrogen cycle due to it's anaerobic bacteria present deep inside, which will convert nitrate to nitrogen gas, but there will still be detritus which will need to be removed somehow, or it will eventually build up, overwhelm the bacteria, and cause problems.
4) all flow counts, and yes, you can have too much flow, but your flow req's will depend on what corals you intend to keep. If you wish to have just soft corals and lps, then moderate flow is fine, but sps, and you'll want a lot more.
5) anything that cleans the water is a good thing. Protein skimmers can never do harm.
6) metal halide is good, but has major drawbacks- heat and electric usage, along with 9-12 month expensive bulb changes. The right LED is much more efficient. You just need to decide what you are willing to spend, and then we can help you pick a LED fixture that will work for you.
7) If you like peppermint shrimp, you are going to be quite impressed with the salty side of the hobby. Pepps are boring to most, and mostly added just for control of other pests.
very nicely explained doug ....
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