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Old 06-16-2003, 05:48 PM   #1
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Proposed set-up--Comments?

Hi everyone,

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 and SPS, 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:

Main tank:
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!

Best wishes,

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Old 06-16-2003, 07:05 PM   #2
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~50 lbs. of live rock
In a 55 I would recommend at least 80 - 110 lbs of lr. now I know that can be expensive so you might want to use about 50 lbs of base rock. You can set your 50 lbs of lr on the base and it will seed it turning it into lr!
250 watt submersible heater
I would recommend 2- 125 watt heaters, in case one fails you will have the other to maintain temp while you replace to broke one.
I was thinking about going substrate-less. Is this ill-advised? Will the substrate in the sump be sufficient?
If you do this I would jump up the amount of live rock, and it would work.

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Old 06-16-2003, 07:14 PM   #3
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In addition to what Micheal said...Get a 75g tank to start with. You'll like it a lot better. Everything you were going to use on the 55 will still work on it. I would set the tank up with 150-175 lbs of LR and a 4" sand bed. I would upgrade the skimmer to something better. SeaClones are OK, but you can do lots better. I'd say either a Red Sea Berlin or the in sump model of the Aqua C Remora...Urchin I think it's called. Get it with the MaxiJet PH...Rios are no good.
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Old 06-16-2003, 07:54 PM   #4
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Well its nice to see another beginner such as my self i too have done alot of research and this is what i have for a set up. (may give you some ideas) I have a 58gal ocenic tank with a 20 gal sump. In my main tank i have 50lbs of live rock, 3.5" live sand. i have a seaclone 100 skimmer and it seems to do fine, now if you would go to a 75 gal i would recommend the berlin (i have heard many good things with berlins ) I have a RIO 2100 return pump with 3/4" return pipe.....Now MANY people say that RIO's are no good but i have had no problem with mine and it works fine with no failure. For your lighting i have read and heard of people using fans in any way that you stated. I would possibly run either one fan out and one in. Or possibly run both out that way you will be drawing the heat all out and not circulating within the ballest. The people on here have been a great deal of help to me, and all you can do is just ask more questions. Also about the eggcrate on top of the tank that is a good idea. although i would be cautious with the lights because of the heat...i have heard some weird stuff, like melting and breaking of braces...but with your lighting being that high i would assume egg-crate is an excellent idea why didnt i think of that Good luck to you hope i helped!
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Old 06-16-2003, 09:52 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice, everyone! Keep it coming!

michealprater: You are so right about the LR. I knew I should consider more, but it is expensive. Why I didn't think of using "dead" rock as the base and allow it to seed, I do not know. Thanks! What kind of "dead" rock will suffice? Can it be purchased at my LFS or will any inert rock do? Great idea about the dual heaters, too. I can do that. In fact, I think I have one 125 watt lying around.

loganj: The 75 gallon is a nice idea, but I already have a nice 55 that was miraculously drilled. Moreover, though she has been extremely understanding and supportive, I don't want to ask my girlfriend for even more space (though a 75 gallon is 48" long, too, isn't it? Hmmmm...). As for upgrading to an Aqua C or Berlin skimmer, it is something I've been considering. Especially the Aqua C. I haven't bought the skimmer yet, so I can probably wait a little longer and upgrade. Thanks for the advice!

gooyferret: Nice to meet another beginner. Man, I wanted a 58 gallon too (more width), but couldn't find one in my price range (I bought my 55 used). I'm glad to hear that your SeaClone is doing well. I've heard really good reviews about the product and some really bad. The former, however, seem to outweigh the latter. I'm still thinking of upgrading, though. We'll see... And your comments about the heat of the MH, the fans, and the eggcrate are well taken. I should research this a little bit more...

Thanks everyone. And, again, keep em' coming. I'm lovin' this!

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Old 06-17-2003, 11:55 AM   #6
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Your set up sounds good. I would just suggest you take a longer look at the skimmers. I'm someone whio tried to go the cheap way(skilter, prizm & finally remora pro), and believe me it can be more expensive than buying a good skimmer from the start. I'm not trying to put down other skimmers ( there are also a lot of very successful skimmerless reefers) but I would suggest you stick with either Aqua C, Euroreef, Southbay(euroroof knockoff @ jeff's exotic), ets,
life reef, tunzi etc. These and some other (forget at the moment) skimmers have been recommended by many reefers as the top skimmers on the market. IMHO if your going to spend the money on a skimmer, you might as well get one that works.

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Old 06-17-2003, 12:07 PM   #7
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I also wanted to get a 55, but if you look at it, there is very little room to stack LR where as a 75 has ample room.

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