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Old 05-13-2004, 05:34 PM   #1
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New Tank -- Lots of Questions

My parents have bought for me a new fish tank as a graduation present. They're offering to pay for all the stuff I need to set it up, and I'm now trying to figure out exactly what all I want to put on the tank and how I want to do it. To complicate matters, I'm moving into a new apartment (downstairs, thankfully) at the end of June. So, I have to figure all this out and have the tank up and running by then so I can simply move my fish from one tank to the other in the move. Before I get started with the questions, here's a list of the stuff I have so far...

Old tank
42 gallon hex tank with stand
2x55 watt PC lights (1 full 10,000K, 1 full .03 actinic)
1 ballast running both PC lights
1 hood for both PC lights
1 reflector for both PC lights
Sump for 75 gallon tank
9-watt UV sterilizer w/ Mini-Jet 404 pump
Protein skimmer for 75 gallon tank w/ Rio 600 pump
Mag 7 return pump
300-watt heater
600-gph overflow
40lbs of live sand
45lbs of live rock

New tank (needs and already-haves)
ALREADY-HAVES:
92-gallon corner tank
Stand
Canopy
Glasstop
Mag 12 return pump
2 x 270gph oscillating powerhead

NEEDS:
PC or VHO actinic lighting
Metal hallide lighting
Fans for lights
Refugium
Protein Skimmer
UV sterilizer
Live sand
Live rock

As far as the refugium goes, I plan on building that myself. I may post with questions later when I'm in the process, but that part I think I can handle. I guess I can start with the real questions now:

1. I'm thinking about using a single 250-watt 10,000K MH on the tank. It has to be actually white, though. I've seen a lot of 10,000K's that are almost actinic-looking. What brand should I go with? Also, how can I be sure that the ballast will work with the bulb? I've heard rumors of a dimming ballast for MH's, but I haven't seen any information on them in a while. Can anyone verify that they do exist?

2. I'm also thinking about what I should do for actinics. The tank is a sort of odd shape, so I'm thinking about getting a 1x96-watt ballast and putting that bulb towards the front of the tank where it is wider and then using one of my 55-watt bulbs in the back with the old ballast from the old tank. Then, if I can extend the wires far enough, I can run the other bulb down to the refugium to light it. Is it okay to have the fuge lit only 12 hours a day? It would only be lit as often as the actinics were on.

3. Since I'm going to have to buy more rock/sand and I'm likely going to order the rock, I am considering putting 40ish gallons of water in the tank with the two oscillating PHs and ordering some rock 2 weeks before moving. Then I can fill the tank with the new rock/sand and let it cycle down in our garage. Then I'll move the tank to the new apartment and commence with moving the contents of my old tank into the new tank. Is this a sound plan?

4. Now to consider switching tanks. When we do this (assuming I follow the procedure in question #3) the new tank will be at the new apartment, about half full, with some rock and sand. The old tank will be at the old apartment with all of my live stock, the 40ish gallons of water it holds, the old sand, and the old rock. I'll have one large Rubbermaid bin and an unlimited number of jugs for water. I think I'll unstack my rock, siphon out some water into the Rubbermaid bin, take the rock and put it into the bin, then bag the fish I can catch, and put the rest of the water into jugs. I'll take the tank (with a very small amount of water and the sand in it), the bin (with rock and water in it) and the jugs to the new apartment. Then, I'll put the sand from the old tank into the new tank. I'll take the bagged fish and put them in the bin with the water and rock. I'll put the water that was in the jugs into the new tank and start a drip acclimation on the bin (which will be holding all my livestock and my old rock at this point). After acclimating for a couple hours, I'll slowly move everything into the new tank.

5. I haven't yet decided on a protein skimmer. I've heard tons of good things about the Aqua-C Urchin Pro, but it's only rated for a 120-gallon tank, and I'm going to be using it on a 90-gallon. I prefer to keep my protein skimmers rated for much larger tanks. Should I go with this skimmer, or should I try for something a bit bigger?

Phew, this has taken forever to type and think about. I'll probably have a zillion questions by tomorrow that I'm forgetting about right now, but this is plenty for you guys to work with now.
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92-gallon corner tank, 100lbs of LR, 140lbs of sand, 250watt 10,000K MH, 110watts of actinic PCs, Mag 7 return, custom refugium, AquaC EV180 w/ Mag 5

Female lyretail anthias, eyelash blenny, tomato clown, saddleback clown, firefish goby, 2 sand-sifting stars
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Old 05-13-2004, 06:05 PM   #2
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OK Gauge, I'll take a stab at this...

1: I would look at a Coral Vue Retro kit. It will come with an electronic ballast that will fire any bulb (except maybe an Iwasaki 6.5k and I doubt you'll want one of those), a parabolic reflector with socket, your choice of bulb, and all needed cords. Coral Vue did have some problems with their bulbs, but I have been assured that all this has been worked out. Check out www.coralvue.com for some pics of tanks using these bulbs. AFAIK, there are no dimmable MH ballasts available at this time.

2: How about this? Put a 96w across the front and a 55 watt down each side along the walls? That would give you plenty of actinic and shouldn't interfere with your MH reflector. You could use a shop light for the fuge or, if funds are available, pick up one of the Currents fixtures that replaced the CSL Smartlites.

3: Using the new tank to cycle the new rock is certainly a valid option. I'm not sure two weeks is going to be long enough for the cycle to complete though. You don't want to run the risk of exposing your livestock to high levels of ammonia/nitrite.

4: I see no reason why this wouldn't work.

5: I don't think I'd go with the Urchin on a tank this size. It would probably handle it, but an EV 120 or 180 would be better. I would also look at running the skimmer externally using an external pump to minimize heat transfer to the water.

HTH
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Old 05-14-2004, 04:20 AM   #3
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Thanks, logan!

Those pictures of the CoralVue lights look like what I'm wanting - very white light to complement the actinics. I'd like to have a retro kit anyway, so I don't have to worry about parts working together, etc.

I think that I will also take your excellent advice on putting the two 55 watt bulbs along the sides. Very, very good suggestion. For some reason my brain just immediatly assumes the lights will be going laterally along the tank, perpendicular to the way you look at it. Nothing else occurred to me.

As far as the rock cycling goes, how long do you think I should give it? I know that a normal cycle takes longer than 2 weeks, but I figured that with a smaller source of ammonia and more surface area it wouldn't take long.

I'm also quite interested in your suggestion of the EV120. I've looked into it and it looks like a beast of a skimmer. I think I may take your advice yet again. This way I can have both the skimmer and its pump external to the fuge. If I were to get this skimmer I'd definitely want to go with the Mag 5 as the pump. However, I have a Mag 7 now that's running as my return pump, and if I remember correctly, it doesn't have a threaded intake. How would I set it up externally? Is there some way to hook a barb to it? Or am I just crazy and it is threaded? Also, I've never done any plumbing for tanks and such before. I only use hoses and barbs on my current setup. Can I buy the bulkheads necessary to connect the skimmer to the fuge at Home Depot?
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92-gallon corner tank, 100lbs of LR, 140lbs of sand, 250watt 10,000K MH, 110watts of actinic PCs, Mag 7 return, custom refugium, AquaC EV180 w/ Mag 5

Female lyretail anthias, eyelash blenny, tomato clown, saddleback clown, firefish goby, 2 sand-sifting stars
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Old 05-14-2004, 05:38 AM   #4
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I was unable to find bulkhead fittings at home depot.
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Old 05-14-2004, 12:14 PM   #5
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In that case, how would I go about connecting the skimmer to the fuge?
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92-gallon corner tank, 100lbs of LR, 140lbs of sand, 250watt 10,000K MH, 110watts of actinic PCs, Mag 7 return, custom refugium, AquaC EV180 w/ Mag 5

Female lyretail anthias, eyelash blenny, tomato clown, saddleback clown, firefish goby, 2 sand-sifting stars
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