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Old 07-13-2010, 11:36 AM   #1
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Tank build - newbie again... need thoughts

Hello!

I have kept salt water tanks off and on for the past 18 years. I maintained a 100 gallon reef tank for about 8 years with a lot of success. Tore it down about 6 years ago (was building a house, lost interest etc...) but kept the tank. I had built a stand and hood for it but that has since been tossed. So thats my past.

Now I am ready to pull the tank out of storage and build a new stand/hood and get back into the hobby which brings me here. My wife has convinced me to go with a fish only tank which I have agreed to do this time around (mainly due to expense and amount of work involved with a reef tank).

I am hopeful that I can get some advice from you all on the "systems" I should consider as well as any other thoughts you may have. Budget is obviously a concern but I do realize that getting started again will not be cheap. If you are interested in helping please read on.

What I have: 100 gal. Acrylic tank.. 60x18x20. Tank has always been well cared for and still looks new. Has a single overflow.... have misc. power heads, fluval canister filter, bio ball - trickle filter system, a skimmer that that should probably be replaced, lots of crushed coral sand and other misc "things". When I tossed my hood I also threw away all my HO ballasts and end caps etc.. (yeah I know.. should have held on to those...)

Stand:
Typical 2x frame construction... finish will be important to me but I have built furniture so while Im not going to spend a year building this thing it will not be a walmart style stand either. Trying to remember everything I hated about the old stand I built... Thinking I will use a 20 gallon sump but could go with a 10 or 15 too. I am not to worried about building the stand - should be straight forward but will welcome any thoughts.

Hood/lighting:
I hated my last hood...It looked fine but was not well designed.. I built it with the fluorescent ballasts and tubes mounted to the underside of the hood... it weighed a ton and was a pain for my wife and I to remove every time I needed access to my tank. I am really looking for some better ideas here. I would consider hanging lights but it wont be a reef tank and I don't think my wife would like that look. so I think some sort of fluorescent system may be best again? I know there are lots of options out there - I just don't have experience with any of them. Would really appreciate thoughts here.

Filtration:
Trickle filters is an old technology... My reef tank really filtered it self - the main thing I did was run some skimmers etc... I would like some thoughts on a good easy way to filter a fish only tank. Assume some bigger canister filters combined with my trickle filter combined with a skimmer would work?

Stock:
Not to worried about stock at this point - over the years I have kept the majority of all typical salt water fish/inverts etc.. but I am curious about the synthetic corals available now... I know thats probably blasphemy to any reef tank owners but again I am just looking for a fish only tank and don't want it to be an open sand floor and also don't want it to look like a few rocks were just tossed in.

Ok, I have written enough... please offer comments, questions, advice or if need be flame away.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:19 PM   #2
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Welcome back to the hobby and to AA. 100 gallon tank is a good size. As far as the hood check out my tank in my images. You can put the bulbs across the top and just put a dome on top. I guess since you are going FO then you wont have LR in the tank. Trickle filter will be OK but you`ll need a good skimmer and frequent PWC`s to handle the excessive nitrates the system will cause. As far as the crushed coral ditch it. Go with a good argonite sand that will help to buffer the water and easy for your livestock to clean. Sorry we dont flame here. Good luck on the restart.
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:36 PM   #3
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melosu58, thank you for the welcome and comments.

I looked at your tank photos - very impressive tank. Im going to miss having a reef tank but have decided on a FO tank for now. As far as LR goes I am still undecided at this point. So no crushed coral? I will look into the argonite sand. Regarding the lights - my wife is going to want a hood to conceal any fixture - but perhaps a hood which rests on the tank and conceals a dome style fixture like yours.

I unpacked my tank and started construction of the stand....

The tank which needs a good cleaning at some point.



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Old 07-14-2010, 01:02 PM   #4
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Will start construction of the stand today... Here are my little plans.....

The front... I am going higher with my stand this time to get the tank up higher.



The guy who built this tank for me put the overflow right in the back corner... Im sure this is typical but it makes getting the overflow line through the stand top and structure a pain. I didn't plan for it last time I built a stand... this time I am keeping that corner clear of structure.




I will be starting the Hood as soon as I have the stand done... any more thoughts on lighting for me? All thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:35 PM   #5
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Welcome back!

Your wet/dry filter either with or without a cannister filter will handel part of the nitrogen cycle for you. As Mike said, you need to do regular partial water changes to remove the nitrate buildup.

A good skimmer will help with dissooved organics (though even that is now open to debate).

A shallow sand bed with a few rocks stacked on either end will help with filtration, give your fish some hiding/sleeping space and looks great. Either aragonite or playbox sand will do and will become live sand once there is bacteria growing in the tank.

Good luck.
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:56 PM   #6
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cmor1701d,

Thanks for the comments. I remember the water change routine - not a huge thing... a bit of a pain but then thats part of maintaining any tank especially a SW one.

I will be sure to add some rocks/decoration of some sort.. still thinking about live rock... Was also curious about some of the newer fake synthetic corals etc.. Some of the tanks Ive seen with these in it were really impressive.

Regarding the hood.. thinking about a fixture similar to this:
http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...2&pcatid=12772

I just don't want to spend that kind of money on lighting for a FO tank. I may decide to go reef in the future so getting some fixtures I could add to would be ideal. I like the idea of a nice clean fixture like this since it can just lay on the tank and be concealed with the hood I will build. Any recommendations on fixtures?

And Go Skins
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Old 07-14-2010, 04:46 PM   #7
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If you are not going to have corals then just any lighting will do. You dont need the high powered lighting. And BTW go Cowboys.
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Old 07-14-2010, 05:02 PM   #8
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Okay so now Im waiting for the Eagles fan to chime in... LOL!

melosu58 - thanks again for your comment.. Yes I agree with you and thought about that after I left my comment (which has been edited)... Part of me still thinks I will end up with corals at some point so I would want to be able to upgrade... Perhaps just buying some inexpensive HO fixtures like the kind used in my garage will suffice for now...

I was also thinking about just biting the bullet and going with a nice lighting system now and then just slowly sneaking corals into the tank (its my wife who wants to do FO).
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:52 PM   #9
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Haha, my initial thought when I read through this "I give this guy 2 weeks of a FO tank" lol, once you go reef, you never go back. My exact advice to you was going to be to overbuy on the lights, or retro something that would be easy to add to when it comes time. You could start with some T5 retros then you could move them to the side and squeeze some MH in between when your will power is all dried up. :p
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Old 07-15-2010, 11:54 AM   #10
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Jimbo7,
Yeah you read me right... I am already dreaming about a new reef tank.... Just have to keep it secret from the wife for now.

I have the frame for the stand completed - will post up photos soon. Ordered the finish material... 3/4" Wire brushed VCG Fir.... Not all that cheap but needs to look pretty....

Quick question - I currently have a 15 gal glass tank that I was thinking of using for a sump but really think thats going to be to small. I think a 30ish gal would be better.. I would like to build a nice sump with baffles etc.. this time around. The plan is to buy an inexpensive glass tank and put in plexi baffles. I live in a little mountain town and will be heading for the big city this weekend (well big city for Idaho anyway... lol) and want to pick up as much of the supplies for the sump while Im there.

I still have a submersible pump so I won't need to drill the sump tank. So a sump tank, some 1/8" plexi and some tank silicone? anything else?
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