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Old 01-14-2005, 03:09 AM   #1
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Location: San Antonio, TX
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Need Tank Advice....

When reading this keep in mind im trying to build a mountian sized tank with a mole hill of cash and am trying to keep things as cheap as a can but still get a good setup.

First off this will be my very first saltwater tank ever, and im probably going in way over my head. However i do work at a place that sells show quality koi and fancy goldfish, and i also have my own 55g fancy goldfish tank. so i do have experience. I have heard that if i can do that and with my job experience then i sould manage a reef.

The tank will be approx 420g and i plan on constructing it myself. Tank construction should be relativley easy because i will be having the assistance of my father who has 30+ years of cabinet building under his belt and we will just have to apply his knowledge to acrylic. It will be an "L" shape when viewed from above and will go in a corner. It will be 24" deep 24" wide and have a side 6' long and the other 5' long measuring the inside of the "L" the outside will be 7' x 8'

My filtering will be a DIY wet/dry system with refuguim in the cabinet, and constructed with various plastic containers and will be using foam, poly fiber, possibly carbon, and bioballs. I eventually plan on adding a protein skimmer ( needed if i have refuguim?) and possibly a UV filter i got for free (worth it?) Water will get there by and overflow setup and will be driven by a 1000gph pump ( too big? too small?)

My plan on the lighting is starting with 4x96w PCs half actinic half 10,000k
and starting seeding some limestone with live rock. ( have read it will work) I was wondering could i seed possibly crushed limestone with some live sand? I would let that do its own thing for a couple months and just let things grow. Then add some fish and anemones etc. Then i plan on adding 2x175w mogul or 2x150w hqi MH blubs ( too small?) along one side of the tank (probably the short side) and then slowly add corals once i save some money. I would like to add another 2 lights on the long side so i can have lights there too after i save some more cash.

Im sure my plans will get butchered by you guys, but any advice would be GREATLY appreciated. Advice that would allow me to save some money would be even more appreciated.

Thanx
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Old 01-14-2005, 07:53 AM   #2
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Re: Need Tank Advice....

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReefNooB
When reading this keep in mind im trying to build a mountian sized tank with a mole hill of cash and am trying to keep things as cheap as a can but still get a good setup.
You will QUICKLY discover that there is no cheap in SW. Check out This Thread for example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReefNooB
First off this will be my very first saltwater tank ever, and im probably going in way over my head. However i do work at a place that sells show quality koi and fancy goldfish, and i also have my own 55g fancy goldfish tank. so i do have experience. I have heard that if i can do that and with my job experience then i sould manage a reef.
With almost 2 decades of FW experience, I didn't know jack when I started SW. They are VERY different. I recommend picking up The Conscientous Marine Aquarist by Robert Fenner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReefNooB
The tank will be approx 420g and i plan on constructing it myself. Tank construction should be relativley easy because i will be having the assistance of my father who has 30+ years of cabinet building under his belt and we will just have to apply his knowledge to acrylic. It will be an "L" shape when viewed from above and will go in a corner. It will be 24" deep 24" wide and have a side 6' long and the other 5' long measuring the inside of the "L" the outside will be 7' x 8'
No offense intended, but this will NOT be cheap. Do you have any experience bending acrylic? Working with acrylic is nothing like working with wood. You can easily damage a piece of acrylic in the bending process (scorch, twist, etc.) and be out all of the money for that piece (which is a lot).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReefNooB
My filtering will be a DIY wet/dry system with refuguim in the cabinet, and constructed with various plastic containers and will be using foam, poly fiber, possibly carbon, and bioballs. I eventually plan on adding a protein skimmer ( needed if i have refuguim?) and possibly a UV filter i got for free (worth it?) Water will get there by and overflow setup and will be driven by a 1000gph pump ( too big? too small?)
Ditch the wet dry system, go with LR and LS. Make the under the cabinet a sump for your heaters, protein skimmers (I don't know of one that will do 420 gallons) and a separate fuge. The pump is too small for that size tank, and you're probably going to use multiple pumps since you will need multiple overflows with that size and config.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReefNooB
My plan on the lighting is starting with 4x96w PCs half actinic half 10,000k
You will obviously need 2 fixtures for an L shape, and this will give you low to medium light.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReefNooB
and starting seeding some limestone with live rock. ( have read it will work) I was wondering could i seed possibly crushed limestone with some live sand?
No limestone. Limestone leeches like crazy. I've never heard of anyone wanting to put limestone in with LR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReefNooB
I would let that do its own thing for a couple months and just let things grow. Then add some fish and anemones etc.
Make a list of what you plan to add, then design the setup based on their requirements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReefNooB
Then i plan on adding 2x175w mogul or 2x150w hqi MH blubs ( too small?) along one side of the tank (probably the short side) and then slowly add corals once i save some money. I would like to add another 2 lights on the long side so i can have lights there too after i save some more cash.
I would advise saving until you can afford the fixtures you want. Buying temporary fixtures is expensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReefNooB
Im sure my plans will get butchered by you guys, but any advice would be GREATLY appreciated. Advice that would allow me to save some money would be even more appreciated.

Thanx
Going in on a short budget in SW is hard. I personally don't recommend it. This hobby becomes expensive FAST, but alas, no one listens to that, so...

Think About:

Are you going to use RO/DI?
Do you really have the acrylic experience to build a tank, it's not as easy as wood by far?
A larger sump?
Will the floor support it where you plan to place it?
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Old 01-14-2005, 12:19 PM   #3
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Was just thinking about that last comment reading thru your description - thats a serious amount of weight for any wood constructed floor - If you don't have this sitting on concrete then please check underneath for support beams

otherwise the plan is bold - good luck and take your time - if you do not have the cash for solid/well established items - then wait, its worth it in the long run

also please post up some pictures - would love to see how its going
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