I'm just beginning my first reef tank. I've been reading and researching for what seems like forever, saving all my hard-earned pay, and I'm ready to actually get my hands wet now. Before I do, however, I want to run my proposed set-up by all you experienced reefkeepers for some final gems of insight.
First of all, I can’t say much about the livestock I hope to keep, but I can say that I don’t want too be too limited. I will eventually want soft corals, LPS
, as well as other invertebrates such as a cleaner shrimp and maybe an anemone. Oh, and maybe a few fish. Basically, I want to be able to do just about anything I want! I will of course, however, conservatively stock the aquarium and be mindful of the behaviors and requirements of the animals I introduce.
So, here are my proposed specs:
55 gallon glass aquarium (of standard 48" length)
~50 lbs. of live rock
2 MaxiJet 1200 powerheads for circulation
DIY hood with the following retrofit: 2 X 175 watt/5500 K
metal halides and 2 X 65 watt actinic. The lights are about 10" from the water surface of the main tank. I will install two 3" fans in the hood for heat dispersal.
15 gallon "ecosystem"-style sump w/ Caulerpa
sp. and some Miracle Mud-like substrate
Mag 9.5 pump in sump
SeaClone 100 in-sump protein skimmer
250 watt submersible heater
Inverted 2.5 gallon reservoir bottle for dispersal of kalkwasser
Some kind of light source
That's about all I can say right now. How does it sound? Questions? Comments? Looking over the specs, I noticed that I have said nothing about substrate in the main tank. I was thinking about going substrate-less. Is this ill-advised? Will the substrate in the sump be sufficient? Perhaps I should have something in the main tank to accommodate a cleaning crew o' critters… If so, what? Play sand? Oh yeah, and what are some good, affordable, not outrageously-priced alternatives to Miracle Mud? Also, in order to facilitate gas exchange, I would like to keep the top of the aquarium open. What can I install to prevent fish jumps? Will eggcrate do, or will my lights cast a strange grid shadow throughout the aquarium? And finally, what is the best way to set-up the two lighting fans? Both blowing in, both blowing out, or one of each?
I appreciate everyone's comments and critiques and want to further thank everyone in the forum for sharing their experience and knowledge. It has helped me tremendously. Rock on!