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Old 11-19-2005, 06:17 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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new tank!

Hey all,

I've decided to start a reef aquarium so i've been looking for a tank. I first thought i'd buy one, then I thought I'd build one. But now I'm not sure what to do. I will know, however, as soon as you guys can help me answer a (maybe) simple question.

I went shopping through an aquarium/pet shop near my area and they sell a large 4' x 2' x 2' tanks which is the size I'm after. With this tank they have glass seperating the tank into two, the main section and a section across the entire back length of the tank which contains a trickle filter which supposedly does the mechanical, biological and chemical filtration and then that water is pumped through a protein skimmer then pumped back into the tank.

It looks as if though this setup is quite good but I'm a newbie so someone else might have a different opinion. They sell the setup for AUD$700.

Now the question I pose to you is whether or not this setup is worth it. Is it better than having a seperate unit to filter/treat and manage the water quality? If it is, then I'll buy the tank as constructing one like this would be too difficult. If it is better to have seperate equipment then I'll construct my own tank to economise. Help please guys.

Also, should under-gravel filters be used in reef aquariums?

Alex
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Old 11-19-2005, 01:23 PM   #2
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Under gravel filters should NEVER be used in a reef, because they trap debis under there messing up your water quality. I think the tank is good but I dunno about the efficiency of trickle filters. But If you do get the tank, replace the bio-logical filtration with LR rubble, as I heard it is much better.
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Old 11-20-2005, 05:16 AM   #3
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A simple RR (reef ready aquarium - has builtin overflows) and a sump/fuge setup would work better than a builtin wet/dry trickle filter. If not that, a simple aquarium with live rock and adequate flow is next best.
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flame angel, mated pair of false perc, 6-line, firefish

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Old 11-22-2005, 01:45 AM   #4
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Ok thank's guys. I've been reading a book: The Complete Book of the Marine Aquarium by Vincent B. Hargreaves. It seems like a great book. It's just one of a few that a borrowed from my local library. I was reading through the stages of setting up a marine aquarium and everything required for it. The filtration section I believe to be of significant importance. Now I understand that a filter is supposed to perform mechanical, biological and chemical filtration. I understand that mechanical is to filter out solids that dirty the water and biological is when aerobic and anaerobic bacteria colonise for example the trickle filter and perform their functions of doing whatever they do (can't recall right now).

However, what exactly is chemical filtration?

Also, I read in the book that by far the most effective filter is to use the 'natural' or Berlin system. Then it folowed that if i wished to have some sort of sand or substrate that I would need to use a plenum. It also said that trickle filters would be unnecessary and undesirable as it would introduce nitrates into the system that the living rock would not. So from what i read, I understood that all that would be needed in a system such as this is:
The plenum
'live' sand
'living' rock
a current
mechanical filter
protein skimmer (as large as possible)
the right lighting
the right temperature
But where does chemical filtration fit in?
This system apparently is the most stable when it comes to the water quality and management. Is this true?

Any feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Alex
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Old 11-22-2005, 02:01 AM   #5
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The Berlin system is a pretty decent idea. Lots of successful reefs have been kept in such a system. But a lot of people do not use a plenum, instead opting for whats called an algal turf scrubber (which is placed in a refugium), which is taken from an idea started from tanks at the Smithsonian. It consists seperate tank full of fast growing macro-algae to remove excess nutrients from the water and serve as a host for small life forms, where the main tank water is filtered through. But using only such a system leads to problems as well. In practice, people like to mix and match successful parts of reef systems

I'd vote for live rock, normal sand (live rock tends to seed sand in short order), good water flow, protein skimmer. Plenums are somewhat rare today. More popular are DSB (deep sand beds): 4+" of sand without the plenum, which serves as a nitrate reduction facility. I think they look kinda ugly, but wouldn't mind one in my sump.

Chemical filtration is using carbon in your tanks. Its usualy made of burned coconut shells and is an extremley pourous material. Carbon is a very effective method of reducing a lot of excess biologic waste and other organic compounds from water. It also tends to increase water clarity by pulling out chemicals which color the water over time. It does need to be replaced regulary, since it fills up and gets saturated within 1-2 weeks. I alternate running carbon and no carbon in my system depending on my mood. Some people do run it continuously, while others don't at all.
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55g reef, 2x250W 10k MH + 2x96W PC actninc, 10g sump, AquaC Urchin skimmer, 65lbs LR

xenia, mushrooms, wels. open brain, fungia radiata (orange), green eyed zoos

flame angel, mated pair of false perc, 6-line, firefish

20gH electric yellow cichlid
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