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Old 09-20-2003, 01:01 AM   #1
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update on progress and more questions

Well We have decided to get a 75 gal glass tank with a built in over flow. The local pet store has them for $235. We have a base we can use and we bought a wet/dry system minus pumps today.

At this point we have to decide on lighting, substrate and pumps.

lighting:
I have seen the standard 48" strip light which are pretty cheap. Most places don't recommend them for salt water. I saw a light on ebay that looked promising: JB 48" (55wx4) Power Compact lighting. SIZE: 48"L x 6.5"W x 2.25"H

This light can be had for $80 and comes with a 2 10000K and 2 Actinic bulbs. Is this OK or do we even need this much more fish only(maybe LR)?

Pumps:
We are looking at using a MAG 7 for the main pump and adding a skimmer and pump later. We are trying to keep cost down as well. Seems like most of the recommended skimmers are $150+

Would the mag 7 be enough for a main pump and supply current to the tank? I have seen some tanks that don't use power heads since the flow of the main pump is so great.

Substrate:
Seems as if this is a big debate. I went to a Salt Water only fish store today which I was shocked to find. He recommended a DSB. I do like the sand look but the multi-layer/color substrate is not really appealing. The stuff I read about using certain play sand and seeding with live sand sounds easy enough but I think 3" would be all we would want. Is this acceptable for a filtration mechanism? We have some crushed coral that is well cycled and algae grows like crazy on it. Is using this promoting the cause?

At some of the stores it amazes me to see sumps with nothing in them and all the filtration being done in the tank minus a skimmer. These are of course reef tanks. The sump we bought has bio balls but does have a separate chamber off of that.

Having live rock would be nice too for decor as well as filtration but we can't afford 100+ lbs of rock. Base rock appears to be an option but not sure what can be used as base rock right now.

Any suggestions or tips at this point? We really want good filtration and the *look* of a nice salt water tank.

If you made it this far, Thanks!

I have been reading these forums alot lately and have learned a lot of different methods but some threads leave you hanging
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Old 09-20-2003, 05:43 AM   #2
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A friend of mine used Lava rock as his base then topped it with Live Rock .. Looks very nice. I'm going to do that same. MAybe find some black lava rock. Or on ebay they have live rock that you make.. looks like it would work, I may try that ! Good luck !
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Old 09-20-2003, 06:13 AM   #3
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My recommendation, before you go any further with this, is to order a copy of "The Concientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner. It's probably the cheapest thing you'll buy for the tank. It will give you tons of basic info and will be something you'll probably refer to for years to come. It covers all types of marine tanks and filtration with pros and cons of each. Of course we don't mind answering questions here at all...that's why we're here .
We have a member here who sells base/live rock at good prices and I can't remember the web address . I'm sure someone will chime in with it though.
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Old 09-20-2003, 08:48 AM   #4
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I agree with LoganJ. This would be the best thing. a lot of the questions you ask will be revealed. I personally recommend "The Marine Aquarium Reference" by Martin A. Moe Jr. I believe it is out of print, but the local library should have it, or you can order it used on amazon.com. It is absolutely the most complete book you can read, with quite the in depth descriptions, and easy to follow.. There are not a lot of pictures because it is a reference book...

Quote:
This light can be had for $80 and comes with a 2 10000K and 2 Actinic bulbs. Is this OK or do we even need this much more fish only(maybe LR)?
A 4x55 watt fixture would be fine for a FO tank. and not a bad price....

Quote:
Would the mag 7 be enough for a main pump and supply current to the tank? I have seen some tanks that don't use power heads since the flow of the main pump is so great.
I understand keeping costs down but don't skimp here. The Mag7 should be enough for the return, however, some report heat issues using them as submersible..You are also going to need powerheads in there to move the water good to create good oxygen exchange on the surface... So, I suggest 2 Maxijet 900's or 1200's...

As far as substrate goes, you probably do not need a DSB for a FO tank, as the nitrate content will not be of major concern, and a SSB should be sufficient... I would choose sand for the natural look, however, you can use CC and it would still be ok. You can also vacuum CC where it is hard to vacuum SSB or DSB.


If you are going FO, I would suggest a minimal amount of LR and keeping the bio-balls for your filtration.. Depending on what fish you are fancying, some are messy eaters, and you will require them to help breakdown waste...

HTH
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Old 09-20-2003, 09:40 AM   #5
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My recommendation, before you go any further with this, is to order a copy of "The Concientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner.

LoganJ: Found this at Amazon. Thanks.

Timbo2: Thanks for all the suggestions. One member had posted about using CC and aragonite substrate. Would this give it a more sand like appearance but still allow vacuuming?

I agree on not skimping on the main pump. One kit we looked at used a CAP1800 which did not look good enough. MAG seems to be a better brand and we thought the 7 would have adequate flow. We will look some more on this. Powerheads are ok too.

It is a shame that we have had a SW tank for 9 years or so and still have too many questions. It was simpler then because we did not have all this information

Thanks.
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Old 09-20-2003, 10:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
One member had posted about using CC and aragonite substrate. Would this give it a more sand like appearance but still allow vacuuming?
For a time it will, the finer grains will eventually end up on the very bottom and the CC will rise to the top... but the vacuuming can still be done.

Believe it or not, I have a CAP2200 and it has lasted the better part of a year and is still running strong... Keep in mind that these pumps are technically RIO pumps and have a bad reputation for not restarting after a power fail..but, like I said, I have had mine and I am happy with it so far... I bought a backup though just in case..The Mag7 is going to be a more reliable pump in the long run..I still advise Powerheads for more flow...it is up to you ultimately....

A lot has changed over the years, although the basics are still the same...
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Old 09-20-2003, 11:18 AM   #7
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substrate

We are going from a 38 gal to a 75 gal so we will have to get some more substrate.

As with anything on the internet, opinions will vary. The guy at the SW only store here said he could build me a cheap system fro $1200 but it would not be stuff he recommended. He shot most stuff I asked about. CAP pumps especially even though he had some on the shelf. $1200 was way more than I even wanted.

I am probably over analyzing a lot of this. We went many years with just and UG and a whisper HOB filter. Plus I was perusing some exerpts from the book LoganJ recommended and there is mention of an undergravel with HOB filtration as a beginner setup.

I would like to overkill on the filtration a bit since 2 kids makes regular water changes and clean up hard sometimes. A little bit of flexibility would be nice.

Thanks again.
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Old 10-01-2003, 01:05 AM   #8
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update #2

We got our tank with the built in overflow. The overflow is in the center instead of the corner but I think it looks ok. We ended up getting a Amiracle wet/dry SL150 off of ebay.

After looking at the Amiracle website, it shows the drain hose just sliding into the overflow with nothing holding it in. Would this not come out? I ended up glueing the supplied barb fittings to the bottom of the overflow was directed by the tanks instructions and using clear hose and SS hose clamps. This seems safer to me.

We built our own stand because the one we had was not in that great of shape. It turned out beautiful. 2x4's and 2x6's are definitely stronger than the cheap stands in some LFS.

I need some advice though. We are only planning FO, a SSB, and wet/dry filtration at this point. I think LR would really make the tank look more natural so I would like to add 40lbs or so. My wife found a recipe for making your own base rock so we might try some of that too. Also, would adding some LS benefit the tank with a SSB? Is any of this going to help water quality since I don't want a DSB and 100+ lbs of rock or is it just decoration?

With the SSB I can't vacuum and bio balls doing the filtration, will this be acceptable? I don't want to spend alot of money on LR and LS if it really won't benefit me.

Thanks.

We will hopefully have water running through the new tank tomorrow
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