so I got a 60 gallon tank for my birthday and I've only ever had brackish and fresh water tanks. I even had a pet store I managed with Freshies only.
I want a reef tank. I have a little extra money now, and a little extra time and I'm ready. Thing is I know NOTHING about them. Well okay I've been reading up on them and I'm overwhelmed to say the least. Holy S**T there is a lot to figure out.
It's about like surveying 100 people about their favorite car.
What I want.
1) Something fairly economical ( I don't want to drop $1000 in a night)
2) Something fun - I like a challenge, and am not against experimenting.
3) difficulty is not a big deal. I'm handy and pretty sharp, but speak S L O W L Y at first. I'm a landlocked mountain girl - I don't know what the h**l a bulkhead is.
What I was shown at my local retailer was a Deep Sand Sump Refugium. I love this idea. A boring ol filter is just that - and I love the little critters that can grow and thrive in it. I also am a bit of a hippie and love the fact that it's a "natural" way to filter the tank.
I found a refugium "kit" on Ebay. Seems legit, and economical.
I have a 60 Gallon tank, and bought a 20 gallon for the Refugium. Doesn't fit under the other one in the cabinet but I'll figure it out.
I found a "reef octopus" protein skimmer that had good reviews, and will probably purchase it.
I've got a Hydrometer on the list, thermometer, and a nitrate test kit, as well.
I know I need special lights, and am on my way to figuring out "which ones"
My questions are this: I can't find reference as to how to "Actually" hook the refugium up to the top tank. I find links on how to make one, but not how to build the actual hookups to the top.
Also what about GPH
exchange rate for a reef tank? Also, the pump to pump the water back UP. (does the protein skimmer pump it OUT of the tank?) How big of a Pump?
And the inlet isn't just a big hose- it would suck all the little critters into it. what about the outlet? How do I hook it to the tank?
Flex hose or PVC
Does it hook to the top - or all the way at the bottom of the tank by the sand (in the main tank)
What else do I need?
I know I need "reef" living rocks and sand, but some sites say that's redundant to the refugium. But I want corals and Anemones - the whole shebang.
Also, the Refugium "kit" says it doesn't come with "bags" wtf are they for and where do I put them? (where do I buy them)
What about the sponge I saw in the overflow part of the refugium (just before it's pumped back into the tank) at the pet store. Best type?
(the kids in there didn't have a whole lot of good solid advice. they were barely able to explain how it works.
What do I do now. LOL....What's my material list for home depot?
I'm not worried about fish - I'll figure out that later - besides right now
I can't decide between having only GRRRRS! in there (I love love Lions and Triggers)
Or Dory and Marlins (for the kids)
I'm guessing I can't have both.
I saw a list of "must haves" starfish, mangroves,shrimp, etc...for the beginnings of the refugium...is this optimal or should I set the tank up with ONLY live rocks at first - adding the little critters later, then the fish?
Current list of supplies I have:
20 gallon tank
60 gallon tank
Heater that was in a 55 Gal
tank previously. It's adjustable.
thanks in advance.