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Old 03-25-2013, 12:20 PM   #1
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Question Setting Up a 75gal. FOWLR as a Complete Novice?

My husband and I have decided we would like to start a FOWLR tank (that we would like to hopefully add coral to way down the line), but as complete aquarium novices, we have no idea where to begin. We talked to the owner of our LFS who recommended starting with a 75gal tank. We agreed that would be a manageable size for us to start, but what else do we need besides the aquarium itself and a stand?

Obviously we will need lights, pumps, filters, etc. But which ones? How many? What size/type of sump? Any size or brand recommendations would be amazing. I see a a lot of lists on various websites, but they all have generic descriptions; as a complete newbie, when I just see "filter" I really have no idea where to start!

Also, if I buy a RO/DI, can I use tap water to fill the tank instead of buying distilled water or the special water from the LFS?
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:39 PM   #2
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The largest sump you can fit in the allotted spot (I'm guessing inside the stand) is what I would suggest. The largest quality protein skimmer you can fit/afford as well. Something rated for 1.5 to 2 times your total system volume.

About 100 pounds of live rock would be ideal, and some sand bed if you so choose. I like calcium based sand for it's buffering capability, and reflectivity.
Here is a sand bed calculator-
MarineDepot.com

As for pumps to push water, you will need flow inside the tank. You could start out with a pair of Hydor koralia, Aqueon, or similar power heads at around 1500gph each.

You will also need a return pump to return water to the display from sump. Danner mag drive 7, or 9.5, or quiet one 3000-4000 would be what I would use.

I hope you chose a reef ready tank with a built in overflow. This will make life a lot easier.

Yes, use your RODI water for everything.

Lighting- there are many options. A question I forgot to ask in the beginning....what do you want to spend? There are ways to get the job done cheaply, and there are components that have extra bells and whistles for a premium price.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:03 PM   #3
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Thank you, this is exactly the type of info I'm looking for. Extra thanks for also making it easy to understand! We are hoping to spend no more than $1000-$1500 on the setup before adding any fish; we are willing to spend more if needed. I may love a good deal, but I understand some things you just can't skimp on!
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:42 PM   #4
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Well, back to lighting then. You have many options, some of which are more efficient than others. High output T5 fixtures are used frequently, as well as metal halide units, but the newest technology is LED lighting. if you choose metal halide or T5, your bulb replacement costs(between 8 and 12 months) and also electric usage should be considered. LED is the most potent and most efficient lighting on the market to date, but it's quite new. LED boasts 50,000 hour life spans and very little heat and electricity consumption, making them the best choice in my experience.
Generally the more potent units come in smaller fixtures. You would need 2 of them over a 4' tank.
Depending on what options you want, you can spend anywhere from $150.00 a fixture, up to about $800.00 or more. Both ends of the price scale will grow corals, but the more expensive fixtures come with extra options like a fade in and out to simulate morning/evening transition, cloud cover, even lightening storms. Please note that all of these options are for human enjoyment and do nothing for photosynthetic creatures.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:39 PM   #5
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Any recommendations on lighting brands of I go the LED route? I see the Marineland reef-capable LEDs and TaoTronics names pop up often but with very mixed reviews. Is there a better brand out there that could light a 48" tank without spending more than $300-$400?
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:13 PM   #6
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Taotronics is what I am using. These are plenty for your tank, and they are the $150.00 units I mentioned. the reason the reviews are mixed, is that some folks are just reviewing them without actually using them. Hardly an honest review IMO.
Marineland fixtures use 1 watt LEDs and don't penetrate very well.
Anything else is going to be more $$$. Aqua Illuminations SOL blue fixtures are good, but now you are getting up there in price. There is a vendor on this site called AQ-LED that may be able to help you with some options as well.
Are you talking 300-400 a side, or total? If you mean total, then Taotronics or similar is your only option.
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:21 PM   #7
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Look to Craigslist. You'd be surprised how many people get out of the hobby after about a year and you can snag some awesome deals. I picked up a 110 gal with sump, lights and everything else including live rocks and fish for $800.
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