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Old 01-26-2006, 10:47 PM   #1
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Realizations/Decisions, but mostly questions

**Disclaimer - This is a long post composed of a number of questions. I would like to inform those that while there are alot of questions, they are researched questions, and not the common "I like fish, what do i need" questions, they are more or less organized, relevant, and hopefully worth your time**

So all ive been doing the past 2 weeks (aside from going to class and work ) Is reading, reading, reading, and i've loved every minute of it and have many more of those minutes to come.

I really, honestly and truly, DREAM to have a mini reef tank. However the constant advisement from authors and you aficianados is that it just seems like alot of weight for the newbie to handle.

What ive decided to do, for atleast a few year(s) is to go with a FOWLR tank, while trying to maintain the pristine water conditions you need to house gentle sessile invertebrates. (One day that clown fish will be paired with an anenome! :P )

I generally try to go about things with the mantra of "excellence in everything," but lets face it, we all make mistakes. Mistakes are amplified much greater when unfamiliarity is introduced, and i have no problem admitting than when it comes to being an aquarist, i am fairly ignorant. Not to say that im not rapidly trying to correct that =)

With that being said, I know more or less WHAT I need in order to sufficiently house a stable aquarium, but what "type" (for lack of a better word) i am unfamiliar. For example, i know computers fairly well, if you were to say (assuming motherboard compatability) "I know i need RAM, but i dont know what type" I would gladly and confidently say "Corsair is a terrific brand, high performance and very stable" (not to mention guaranteed for life )

-Aquariums themselves are easy, I want a 75gallon (pre drilled reef ready)

-I wish to include a sump/refugium to my tank. I have never been, or will be a plumber. Is it difficult to set up such a system? are there "universal" sets which you can buy for predrilled tanks?

-In the first chamber of my sump, i want a protein skimmer of which i need suggestions on high quality skimmers that are reputable.

-The next chamber will be the refugium. Assuming the 30gal tank ill be using is standard size, should the baffles be designed so that the opening into the next chamber is at the top or the bottom of the tank, and also, what material is used for the actual baffles, and how do the adhere to the sides of the tank?

-What else should inhabit the refugium besides a DSB?.

-What is a good brand of return pumps, which will be in the last chamber of the sump?

-For the tank itself, i plan to use 2in of LS, and about 100# of LR (to begin atleast)

-For the lights, the tank isnt that deep, and there are no lightdependant coral, so theres no need for MH. I like the sound of VHO full spectrum daylight, and actinic blue tubes. I understand that you need 3-5w/gal
which is 225-375 for my desired tank, and know that VHO tubes have usually about 110-160, so 3 would suffice, but of the particular lights i want, which brand names are reputable? and do the lighting fixtures in which the tubes connect come in standard tank sizes? (i am completely unfamiliar thusfar with the hardware of lighting fixtures for aquariums)

-Heaters i understand should have 3 watts/gal for larger tanks, so i would need a 250watt (i realize what 75*3 is but i havnt seen any 225watted heaters so far) what is a reputable brand? and is it perfectly acceptable to keep the heater in the sump?

-With the flow of the return pump adding oxygenation to the tank, are powerheads necessary? whats the common rate for aquariums?

otherthings i know i need, but would like suggestions of what type include:

-Test kits (what to test and the brand)
-RO/DI units (brand/stage)
-Syphon vacuum
-multiple 5 gallon buckets

From my reading so far, ive decided to go with fish that are considered with a certain amount of hardiness (as if there is such a thing in SW from which ive adversely read, lol) and they include:

Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion Percula)
Flame Angel (Centropyge Loriculus) or Beauty Angel (C. Bispinosus)
Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma Flavescens)

to atleast start out, i admire the esthetic quality of these fish very much, and hopefully they can withstand my shortcomings when I begin.

Lastly, i do hate to ask this, but i am rather new to all of this, and my mind is just brimming with informations from the books ive been hovering over, but is there anything i have completely missed that is absolutely essential, or nonessential alike that would just be advantageous to have?

I sincerely thank all/any of you who took the time to read this and even respond, I am eternally grateful and the path you are putting me on to a successful aquarium is one i will follow to the bitter end, so your time was not wasted.

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Old 01-27-2006, 08:58 AM   #2
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Welcome to the world of SW. A sump is not difficult to set up. Go here: http://www.melevsreef.com/allmysumps.html this will help explain it all. You may want to rethink the chamber placement in the sump. I use the intake on the left with the skimmer. The fuge is on the right and the return is in the middle. The baffle material can be glass or acrylic depending on the material the sump is made of. If the sump is a glass aquarium I would use glass for the baffles. If the sump is made of acrylic I would then use acrylic baffles. If you use a glass setup then the baffles can be held in place with silicone. If you are using acrylic baffles in an acrylic sump then you need acrylic glue, silicone will not adhere to acrylic well. The baffles should be set up so the middle baffle is about 1 inch off the bottom to allow water to flow under it. The outer baffles should be sealed on the bottom and tall enough so that water will flow over them, about 1 inch lower than the water level. The refugium can contain lr and some macro algae in addition to your dsb. There eventually be some copepods among other things in there. You will need to light the fuge also. I use a supreme mag 9.5 for my return. You may want a mag 12 depending on your head height and the flow you are looking for. For a fowlr you do not need anything other than no lighting. Putting the heater in the sump is a very good idea. I like the new visitherm stealth heaters. PH's in the tank in a setup like this are only there to create more flow in the tank. You are aiming for atleast 10x turnover per hour, including the return from the sump. I use a AP Master test kit for my sw and fw tanks. These will do most if not all your tests. You can add alk and ca tests if you like but I don't think you need those right now. Skip the hydrometer and get a refractometer. They are much more accurate. Any brand should do. You can check ebay for one as well as an ro/di unit. Get atleast a 4 stage unit. This is the one I have. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=4428691941
If you want a syphon vac, I use the Python. I really only use it on my fw tanks. You really will not have much use for it if you use aragonite sand in your tank.

You look like you have it pretty well covered.

Good Luck,

Good Luck,
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Old 01-27-2006, 09:08 AM   #3
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Brian I thank you very much
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Old 01-27-2006, 12:07 PM   #4
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Welcome to AA

Macrosill covered most of it but I had a few observations.

The reef ready 75 gal is a great tank to start out with. Personally I would get your vho, PC or if money isn’t an issue MH/PC lights instead of basic NO lights since you want a reef tank at a later date. No sense in wasting money on lights you will get rid of down the road.

As far as a sump/fuge is concerned this thread goes into quite a few details as well.
For a skimmer the ASM - G2 Protein Skimmer is one of the best “in sump” skimmers for the money.

Both the Angels will probably give you trouble with a reef setup. If you don’t mind returning them when you do get corals then go for it. Otherwise I would go with more “reef friendly” fish from the start.

Please do a fishless cycle and once your tank has cycled then add one fish at a time preferably in a QT for 3+ weeks and once added to the main get 1 more to add to the QT.

For ro\di ebay usually does have the best units for the money and the following 3 are the ones I see more people buying from.
Filter-Direct-store (most popular)

When in doubt ask questions and you should be fine.
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Old 01-28-2006, 08:59 AM   #5
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Thanks alot
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