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Old 04-03-2013, 07:53 PM   #1
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Saltwater: The planning stages.

I've been doing freshwater for a little while and think it's time to make a saltwater tank. I was originally going to do a 20 gallon (tall) nano tank. Had most of it figured out but with a decent bonus from work and the wife telling me to go bigger we saw that petco is having the dollar per gallon sale til the end of this month. Which throws me off course a little bit. Now the idea of running a sump is getting the best of me. I just don't know much about them. I know the basic idea and the benefit of using one but i'm still in the dark on some things. Has anyone stumbled across a website or two that break sumps down or a q&a style format on them ? I'm a little lost when it comes to gph I should be aiming for and what size pipe to use for the plumbing among other things.

I was looking at doing the 40 gallon breeder with a 20 gallon sump. I was considering the 55 gallon but I like the footprint of the 40. I have a 55 set up for fresh right now and its just cramped on the inside. A very narrow tank in my opinion. Besides a larger volume of water, do you really see any advantages going with the 55 besides a larger stocking list ? I may be avoiding both these tanks with the sale going on at thatfishplace their anniversary weekend but would like to get peoples opinion on that set up because its what i'm going to fall back on depending on prices.

People generally say to start putting skimmers on 55's or bigger. With starting out with a FOWLR how important would it be/how long could you run a tank before running into problems without a skimmer within the range of a 55-90 gallon tank ?

Please excuse the long read. I tried to keep it short while still giving a little detail. Thank you for taking the time to read the post and responding with any helpful information or opinions.

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Old 04-03-2013, 08:22 PM   #2
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For tank size, get the biggest one you like.

I ran a 30 gal FOWLR for almost 6 months before I upgraded. At first I had just a filter and my nitrates climbed very high. I then got a hob skimmer/refugium and my trates came down. IMHO a skimmer is required even for those sized tanks. I would also recommend the fuge as well.

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Old 04-03-2013, 08:41 PM   #3
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Any brands of skimmers you would recommend or to avoid? I've seen/heard a lot of people talking about reef octopus. I would assume with using a sump that it would be best to get one for in the sump rather then a hob to put on the sump tank? And I would plan to get a skimmer for anything 40 or bigger. I would just purchase it a little later down the road when I started stocking the tank with more then a cuc or a fish or two.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:22 PM   #4
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I like the 40g better just because of the bigger foot print. You can fit more into a 55g though.

First you need a overflow. Look into the different types of overflows available to you and everyone will tell you getting your tank drilled is better than using a HOB overflow. The number one complaint about overflow is the noise from the overflow area and the noise level from the drain lines. You do the research and pick the one you like the best.

Each overflow and drain line will allow a maximum gph to from display tank to the sump. Knowing the maximum will help you choose your return pump. If a certain overflow allows a maximum 800gph, then your return pump must not return more than 800gph. Return pumps are affected by gravity (height from pump to the output of the display tank), number of elbows you use, and the diameter of the return line. There is an online calculator that can help you with these calculations, PM me if you want these calculators.

Sumps are made in many ways. If you just want basic setup, then most sumps are built around the skimmer. Overflow drains water to one side of the sump, flows through the other side, and pumps water back up to the display tank. Baffles are used to help minimize annoying microbubbles (look this up if you don't know what I'm talking about). The skimmer would be furthest away from the return pump to help minimize microbubbles. Put in a refugium if possible to grow macroalgae like chaeto. These are 2 of the most basic things you can put into saltwater tank that will benefit you the most. The flow is better if its slow going through the sump. The faster the flow, the higher the chance of microbubbles getting to your display tank.

HOB skimmer is definitely not as effective as sump style skimmer (ok either in-sump or externally hooked sump). Reef Octopus is a good pump for the money, but the big ticket item for any skimmer is its pump. Many Reef Octopus pumps have decent pumps (some have good pumps), but they still perform well for the money.

Better to do a quick google search to get more faster answers to simple questions and post when you have specific questions.
Kind Regards,
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salt, saltwater

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