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Old 08-26-2009, 01:16 PM   #1
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returning to the hobby with a 90G

You guys have probably seen a million messages like what is about to follow, but I知 hoping that some of you could help verify what I am planning to do.

We致e just returned from living abroad for two years and will be getting our aquarium back from storage. We used to have it setup as a freshwater tank but really want to have a reef tank.

It痴 a 90G on a wooden stand (http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=7399&d=1147230820 )

I知 thinking that a simple overflow would be the best for creating a return to a sump. How large of a hole would I need to drill through the back wall and how far from the top of the tank should I make the hole?

The questions I have are also nearly endless.
  • How large a sump should I be looking at for under the cabinet? I知 thinking of a 30G long
  • What kind of pump and GPH should I be planning to sit in one side of the sump?
  • I知 looking at a 48 metal-halide system (two 150w bulbs) with two actinic CFs as we would like to have corals in the reef system. Is that enough light?
  • Main fish we are looking at are a pair of clowns, yellow tang, hippo tang and perhaps some other small fish. Are there any problems with those main fish in this size of tank?
  • How large a skimmer would I need?
  • Is RO water all that necessary? Our tapwater is extremely soft (to the point where with freshwater I had to add elements for plants and inverts)

As for cycling the tank: I知 planning on ordering about half the amount of live rock that I would need..uncured. The die-off from the uncured rock should be sufficient to cycle the tank. If I go that route, should I use half the amount of rock as uncured and the rest cured (putting both in at roughly the same time) and wait until all the die-off has finished before adding sand? Or, should I add the sand while the die-off process is still going on?
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:23 PM   #2
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Typical 90 setup (like mine) is a 1.75" hole for a 1" bulkhead draining in the 600 gph range with a 1.5 hole for a 3/4" return bulkhead. Mag 9.5 return pump throttled back a bit. 2X250MH would do you better then the 175's Fish sounds fine. Get a nice Octopus skimmer (my recommendation) that handles 150+. Yes, use RO

If you have the ability, add all the rock at once and get it over with. Unless you're picking the 'cured' LR up yourself at somewhere very near even your ordered/delivered cured LR should be re-cured because die off will happen during transit.

O yea, get the sand in there w/ the rock too... Reg sand, no need to pay a premium for 'live' sand

Fish selection seems fine, though not too many other 'small fish'
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Old 08-26-2009, 03:25 PM   #3
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So, I'll need 500W for the tank? Seems like a lot.

That's a good recommendation for a skimmer for a 150+. can't over skim I guess.

I only planned on using a mix of crushed coral and sand for the substrate. The crushed coral because the water here is so soft that it has nearly zero calcium in it.

What kind of limit should I be looking at for fish, other than those mentioned? I know that the bio load for freshwater can be higher than for salt, but I don't know how different it is.
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:26 PM   #4
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The 150's put you on the edge (IMO), I am assuming the CF's are coming in at 55w each. If they were T5's then it might swing it the other way. 2X 250 gets you there and back though.

Others may chime in, but if I was buying new and the CF were part of the package then I'd be at 2x250 MH
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:44 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice. There's a place here in Ottawa called Marinescape. They have an almost identical tank (at least in dimensions) as mine so I should go there and find out what lighting they are using on it. I know it's MH, but not the wattage.

As for RO units...I had a bit of a brain fart. I'll be moving into a new place this Friday and I think that there is an under the counter type of RO unit in the kitchen (with a spigot for drinking water). There shouldn't be any problem with using that RO unit for tank water, or is there? Most of the difference that I could see on a lot of the units is with GPD.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:47 PM   #6
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just check the TDS
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:55 PM   #7
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What's TDS?
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:00 PM   #8
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:30 AM   #9
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I found some info on the lights that I was looking at:

Coralife Aqualight Pro 48

I know you mentioned that I should go with 250W, but is this a decent brand for lighting? If this model won't produce enough light then I can get the 250w version. Since I haven't done any saltwater before, is there a problem with having too much light or heating the water too much? I know that some freshwater fish don't do too well with a lot of light and it can cause algae blooms....well, not cause but it won't help

As well, I saw something that may help and I won't have to drill the tank. Can anyone give any info on these type of HOB overflows:

CS100 SIPHON AQUARIUM OVERFLOW BOX by CPR Aquatic - AquaCave

I'm not even sure I understand how it works!

Both my wife and I are excited about starting this hobby again. I've also been looking at some places to purchase live rock online. I can't remember the company name exactly, but there's one from Florida and I should be able to get about 100lbs (is that enough for a 90 plus 30 sump?) delivered cheaper than what I can get locally....as well, most of the live rock that I have seen locally is pretty barren looking. It's mostly whitish/grey with absolutely nothing moving or growing in the tanks.
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Old 08-28-2009, 09:38 AM   #10
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Update:

I took a drive out to Marinescape the other day and talked with the owner. I was told that the hang-on-back units are only useful if you already have an existing system in place and want to add another flow. He recommended that I get a 2.5" whole drilled in the rear of the tank for the overflow to the sump. I can't remember if he recommended a second hole for the return from the sump. I'll have to ask when I go there to get a skimmer.

The lighting he recommended was a MH combo hood: two double-ended 150W metal halide bulbs. Apparently in tanks 24" of depth, or less, the double-ended 150s are enough to house anything you want in the tank. Apparently the output of the double-ended 150s is acutally more than 150, but they also consume more than 150watts.

Another thing I talked with him about was how to move the water from the sump to the tank. He said that I could use my old cannister filter from the freshwater setup, but not to move water from the sump to the tank. He recommended that I do use it in the same fashion as before but without any media in it. He said that there will come a time when I will want to use some carbon filtration or other items (calcium) and that cannister would be useful then (it would also be another way to move the water). I'll end up buying a kit from him that would include a small pump and some powerheads and a timer.

There is just so much to learn with this. Going from freshwater to saltwater is like starting everything over from scratch!
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