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Old 01-02-2010, 11:57 AM   #1
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Switching to the dark side...

Well, its been quite some time since I have been here on the forum. To be quite honest, I was getting pretty bored as a freshy. I have been in the hobby longer than I can remember, and to be quite honest, I like the challenge. A challenging and developing tank is what keeps me motivated.

Currently, I have a high-tech, high light freshwater planted tank. It looks like this:



I think that now I want to move into SW. I love the reef look and want fish, inverts, and coral. I am not a complete noob to keeping a SW tank, as I kept a SW nano for quite some time.



This nano had an electrical problem though and almost started a fire. I got rid of all of the stock and pitched the tank.

Due to living in a small condo in chicago though, I can't get another tank, so I have decieded to change the 56 gallon tall freshwater into a reef tank.

Because it is a high-tech fresh, I think I have just about all of the equipment I need. It is currently lit with (2) 150 Watt metal halide, and supplemented with (4) 25 watt T5.

I have a Fluva 305 cannister filter and a 200 watt heater.

I will need to get a skimmer.

My biggest fear is all of my stock. I have some fish in there that I have had for years. I hate to see them given to somebody that doesn't know what they are doing that is just going to kill them.

So anyway, if all goes as planned, you will be seeing more of me around these parts.

Any advice for the transition? Still trying to figure out how much base/live rock to buy, if I need to buy live sand, and all of the other issues around changing to saltwater.

As always I am excited for the adventure.
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:01 PM   #2
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This link will help you out as far as equipment needs.

Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank.
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Old 01-03-2010, 02:03 AM   #3
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Ok, small change in plans. Went and visited our local aquarium store today to look at some of the options and I think I am going to upgrade my tank.

THey had the new marineland 93 gallon cube in the store. Its a 3324 tank. I was always limited because the spot that we have the tank is just shy of 48". This opens up a whole host of possibilities. Then, looking on marinelands website, they have a 150 gallon cube which is 36X36X27. I think thats going to be the one. So now, I need to get a wet/dry/sump with protein skimmer, and basically everything else new.

I am excited about the extra capacity though, so we will see how I move forward. Anybody have experience with these tanks? I know they are still kind of new on the market.
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Old 01-03-2010, 02:25 AM   #4
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Make sure your floor can support that tank, fully loaded it will be almost 1500lbs for the 150g. As for lights, I would look into doing retrofits and stick them in a canopy with T5 actinic supplementation if you want it. I would think at 27" deep on the 150g you should go with 2-4x250w halides, the number of halides was just a rough guess. As for rock, 1.5-2lbs per gallon, the same guideline could work for sand too. Skip the live sand and get dry aragonite sand as the rock will seed the sand so you can save a few dollars. You could do a mixture of 60% base rock and 40% live rock, I bet 70%-30% would work too. As for skimmers, Reef Octopus are supposed to be great skimmers and are decently priced. As for powerheads, many, including me, use Hydor Koralias and love them. Make sure to get two heaters instead of one incase one of them fails.

HTH.
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Old 01-03-2010, 02:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thominil View Post
Make sure your floor can support that tank, fully loaded it will be almost 1500lbs for the 150g. As for lights, I would look into doing retrofits and stick them in a canopy with T5 actinic supplementation if you want it. I would think at 27" deep on the 150g you should go with 2-4x250w halides, the number of halides was just a rough guess. As for rock, 1.5-2lbs per gallon, the same guideline could work for sand too. Skip the live sand and get dry aragonite sand as the rock will seed the sand so you can save a few dollars. You could do a mixture of 60% base rock and 40% live rock, I bet 70%-30% would work too. As for skimmers, Reef Octopus are supposed to be great skimmers and are decently priced. As for powerheads, many, including me, use Hydor Koralias and love them. Make sure to get two heaters instead of one incase one of them fails.

HTH.
Good advice. Thanks.

One other question, can I upgrade my two 150 metal halide to 250 by simply retrofitting a new balast and changing bulbs or do I need to worry about the gauge of wiring within the fixture?
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Old 01-03-2010, 02:58 AM   #6
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I would just gut the old halide wiring and install new so everything matches your new ballast and sockets. Someone else should comment on the use of old wiring, but I would just put in new.
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:32 PM   #7
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Well I decieded to scrap the 56 gallon and just get a 150 Gallon cube (36 X 36 X 27). The tank 150 has been ordered as of yesterday. The LFS expects delievery of the stand and tank in a couple of weeks. I think that I have made up my mind on a few pieces of equipment necessary to get started.

I think that I will use this thread as a log of the build. I currently have the 56 gallon tank up for sale in multiple places, including in the classifieds here, but as of yet havn't had many bites. The LFS where I am buying the aquarium has agreed to buy all of my fish and plants off of me. If worse comes to worse, Ill just pack the tank up and put it in storage until I can sell it.

I have not been happy with the skimmer designs I have seen for sale. I am still on considering building my own. I am currently designing it and plan on uploading the design concept on this thread for input.

I will be using an ASM-G2 skimmer. I will also be purchasing two new 100 Watt Heaters. I would like to incorporate a top off reservoir into the end of the sump. Basically, a last compartment which will hold about 5 gallons of R/O water connected to a power head and a float switch. This will keep the sump all inclusive and allow me to just add R/O water to the last compartment as required. You will see more on this idea when I upload the sketches later today.

I think that the light fixture I currently have is going to have to be good enough for now. I will be replacing both 150 Watt MH bulbs with 14K and new atinic T5. This represents about 2 watts per gallon of light, though we all know this isn't a very good representation of light output. I remember seeing that somebody put together an actual calculation sheet to measure usable light which didn't use the watt/gallon method some time ago. I will address upgrading lighting in the future as its going to cost alot just to get this thing up and running.

Thats it for now. Hopefully somebody answers the couple of questions I have here. Look for more information in this log as things develop.
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:16 PM   #8
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Ok, here is the Sump Design. Lets hope this uploads. I am a noobie keep in mind, but what problems do you see?
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