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Old 12-27-2010, 03:55 PM   #1
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New 2 salt water, need equipemnet advice

Hi,
I'm a longtime fresh water aquarist making the jump to salt. My existing tank/filter set-up that I hope to use is an 80 gallon bow-front tank (pre-drilled) with a Tidepool sump w/ bio-wheel & 3 trays for media.
I will take all advice but my main questions revole around whats needed to maintain the water as thats what its all about.
Standard filter systems (like mine) vs. protein skimmers vs. live rock/live sand?????? from what i've read i will want a protein skimmer (i'm leaning toward an aqua Remora) does my sump/bio-wheel filter have a place? What type of media should I use? I'd like to stay away (at least for now) from live rock/sand because of the cost. Are live rock & live sand interchangable?
what say you to my filtration needs/requirements?
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:26 PM   #2
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Moving this to the SW getting started forum. You`ll get more answers there. Welcome aboard.
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:29 PM   #3
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What type of saltwater tank are you planning on? Fish only? Reef with corals?

Reason I ask is because depending on what you want to keep (fish only, reef, etc) may vary the answers to your questions.

If you go reef, then you're going to want rock. You need a place to "plant" the coral and rocks are where you do it. Fish only... you don't need rock, but in my opinion it makes for a more interesting and realistic looking tank.

If you don't go with rock in the tank, then you're probably going to want to keep the biowheels that come with that sump. That will provide for your biological filtration. (That is one of the main reasons for rock - to provide a place for the beneficial bacteria to live.)

As far as "live" rock and sand... the "live" just means it has been colonized with bacteria. Any rock or sand in the tank after it has cycled will be "live". Don't waste your money on "live sand"... it will be "live" within a couple months.

A skimmer will be a good thing, with both fish-only and reef. The AquaC Remora is a hang-on-back unit, so not really sure that will work great with your sump. AquaC makes an "in sump" version of the Remora, the Urchin, that you might want to look in to. Or perhaps maybe one of the sump versions of some of the more popular skimmers like Octopus, etc.

As far as your basic question of what it takes to maintain the water, it's no different than freshwater - it's all about waste management. Weekly or biweekly water changes, not overfeeding, not overstocking... those things will be your best defense to keep your water in good shape.
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:32 PM   #4
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The wet/dry you have is, as Kurt pointed out, great for a fish only tank, or fish with a little bit of rock. The wet/dry process does a great job of converting ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. Partial water changes will then keep the nitrates levels in check for fish.

Corals need very low nitrate levels so a wet/dry is not really recommended for that set up.

I don't think you can convert the Tidepool to a pure sump, so if a reef tank is in your future you should plan on switching it out for a sump at some point.

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Old 12-29-2010, 08:09 AM   #5
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So If I understand correctly, I will need a skimmer and either live rock or my wet/dry set up. is that correct?
i'm concerned about the cost of the live rock. What can I expect to spend on it for an 80 gallon tank. Also if I do not go with live rock is my regular fresh water lighting ok & if I do go with live rock I would need to upgrade?
how much more would that run me? is it just different bulbs or would I need a new/different fixture as well? thanks!
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:19 AM   #6
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the aqua c remora is way underpowered for your tank. i would look into something better. something rated for 125-150 gallons.

for rock, you can expect to spend anywhere from 80 dollars, and up. some folks spend 10 dollars a pound for rock. you should be able to find someone on craigslist or a local forum that is breaking down their tank and will sell their rock for a dollar or two a pound. you can also get great deals on components this way.

i also agree that the tidepool sump is not the ideal component.

live rock is just rock covered with bacteria, like kurt mentioned. it doesn't need any light.
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:50 AM   #7
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Hi, thanks for staying with me on this, i'm still a little confused. I think Aqua makes a remora Pro that is rated for at least the 125-150 galons you mention & can be put in a sump. In anycase i'll make sure I get one rated fot my tank & i'll probably go with one that fits in the sump. If my filter set up only good for fish only (and I may just go FO) what is required is I went with some corals? I've read that the large bio-wheel (6" diameter) does a better job than the trickle/ball set ups at removing nitrates. Keep in mind i'll be using a skimmer with any sump set up I have. Also why is it important that i go for a "sump only" set up, mine has a large sump? I'm not trying to contradict you, i'm trying to understand. And back to the lighting, is my fresh water lighting ok for a FO salt or FO w/live rock & I only have to upgrade if I go with corals? thanks again, Dave
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:20 PM   #8
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Compare the Aqua-C to the Octopus skimmer line which gets great reviews (I don't have one). Get a skimmer rated for a larger tank too.

Both the biowheel and wet/dry systems are very good at converting ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. The bacteria that do this require oxygen. The bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrogen (the last step in the nitrogen cycle) require anoxic (very low oxygen) areas such as those provided in the inner recesses of live rock, or a deep sand bed. Without sufficient live rock and/or a large dsb other means of nitrate export are required. This is usually done by weekly water changes, but may be accomplished by denitrator, etc.

The Tidepool as I recall has the first chamber (overflow from the tank) taken up by the wet/dry part that cannot be removed. You would want to remove the wet/dry portion to turn it into a sump.

FW lighting would be fine for FO tank if you like that look. If you want to go with any type of coral you will need much stronger lighting.

Hope that helps.
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:35 PM   #9
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The Remora Pro would be better for your tank, but again... it's a HOB unit and not designed to be used in-sump. I have the Remora Pro on my 46g. It's hard for manufacturer's to really "rate" skimmers because bioloads vary greatly from tank to tank. When I was setting up my tank, I remember hearing "...get a skimmer rated for 2x your tank size", so I'd agree with Mr. X's comment about going for a bigger skimmer. If I had a sump, I'd probably be looking at one of those Octopus skimmers also!
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmor1701d View Post

The Tidepool as I recall has the first chamber (overflow from the tank) taken up by the wet/dry part that cannot be removed. You would want to remove the wet/dry portion to turn it into a sump.

What do you mean to turn a wet/dry filter into a sump? What would be the easiest way? I ask because I intended to have a reef and told the W/D is perfect for that.
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