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Old 03-23-2006, 11:50 PM   #1
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Converting 125g FW to Salt FO... Filtration questions...

Like the thread title says, I've got a 125 gallon African cichlid tank I'm considering converting to a salt water 'fish only'. I've got a 6 month old 29 gallon reef, with a 15 gallon sump/fuge, Coralife SuperSkimmer 65, couple of powerheads for additional flow, the standard reef setup. I was considering the same type of setup for the 125, but in reading a lot, I see a lot of people do it differently, more closely to a fresh water. My 125 cichlid tank is a reef-ready tank, so I'm running a 30 gallon sump on it, with bio balls. I've also got an XP3 and an XP2 on it. From what I've read, I know I could just use that for filtering a FO saltwater tank, but I want to know what's the 'best' filtration for a FO saltwater tank. I know, I know, there probably is no 'best' way, just peoples 'favorite' way, but I'm just trying to do as much research as I can before I start. I'm now considering just using my current filtration on the tank, but losing the bio-balls, putting a skimmer in the sump, and using live rock in the main tank. A 'fish-list' I'm considering:

Flame Angelfish
BlueGreen Reef Chromis (4)
Powder Blue Tang
Triggerfish (Huma Picasso or Blue Throat)
Lawnmower Blenny
Harlequin Tusk
Foxface Lo

I would like a shallow sand bed for looks, maybe 1 to 2 inches. So, some questions.

In 'reefing' bio-balls are looked down upon as a nitrate factory, is that the current philosophy with FO tanks? Or do lots (or most) people use bio-balls?

I've also read that a lot of people don't use live rock in a FO tank. Why not? Should I go with maybe 100 pounds live rock? 50 pounds? 25? None?

I've read that a skimmer isn't really necessary, but is it beneficial at all in a FO or FOWLR tank? Somewhat beneficial? Greatly beneficial? Not beneficial at all?

UV sterilizer in a FO or FOWLR, somewhat beneficial? Greatly beneficial? Not beneficial at all?

Fuges? It would be easy for me to T off the sump return, and direct some of the water to a 10-15 gallon-ish tupperware type fuge, with a bulkhead cut into it for returning water to the sump. I've read differing opinions on the effectiveness of a fuge for a FO or a FOWLR, and will probably get more conflicting opinions here, but I'll ask anyway.

I'm not against spending some money to 'do it right', but I don't want to spend money I don't have to. If the items in question above don't add much to the filtration, I wouldn't get them, but if they would help a decent amount, that's what I'd do. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-24-2006, 03:49 PM   #2
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The ole 50 question trick huh. 1)fish list looks OK I guess. The powder blue you might want to hold off till tank is established. They are famous for being ick magnets. 2)I have a 1 or 2 inch sand bed with no problem. 3)I have bio balls in my 3 part fuge but I am in the future going to change out with LR rubble. Better filtration. 4) FO just means that that person dont want LR. You can have it if you want as a matter of fact I suggest you should. LR and a skimmer as they are the best filtration you can have. That`s the only filtration I`ve had on mine for as long as I`ve had it with no problem. I have about 175 lbs in my 125. They say 1.5 - 2 lbs per gallon.5)IMO a UV is very beneficial but that will open the debate of the ages. The are good for killing free floating algea spores and parasites. The key is free floating for both of those. I have never had a Algea problem with my tank in 8 yrs since I had a UV. Is it because of the UV or because I only feed my tank every other day or because of weekly PWC. We will never know but I like the security.6) I think a fuge will benefit your tank alot. They reduce excessive nutrients and give added water volume.
Everyone of your questions will be answered differently by everyone that responds. There is no one way to do the job. Eventually you will have to weigh all the components and come up with the final choice. What I have answered is what works for me. All of it is IMO. So there is 50 answers for 50 questions. Have a good day.
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Old 03-24-2006, 09:21 PM   #3
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In 'reefing' bio-balls are looked down upon as a nitrate factory, is that the current philosophy with FO tanks? Or do lots (or most) people use bio-balls?
Regular maintenance is the key. there are better options out there but with regular PWC and cleaning they will be fine.
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I've also read that a lot of people don't use live rock in a FO tank. Why not? Should I go with maybe 100 pounds live rock? 50 pounds? 25? None?
As a reefer, you know of the importance of LR. It is eaqually important in FO tanks...ah...FOWLR tanks.
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I've read that a skimmer isn't really necessary, but is it beneficial at all in a FO or FOWLR tank? Somewhat beneficial? Greatly beneficial? Not beneficial at all?
A skimmer is still very important in a FO tank. 1.5-2lbs/gal of LR and a good skimmer will b great filtration. It is even more important if you house messy eaters.
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Old 03-24-2006, 10:12 PM   #4
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50 questions, but melosu58, I think you only answered 49!

Anyway, thanks to both of you for the replies. I had been reading some other opinions that those you've expressed, and wanted to 'check them out'. Didn't think it was true, just trying to cover my bases. And now, question 51 (and beyond)....


Triggers and the Tusk will eat snails. So, what do I do for a cleanup crew? Hermits? I'm a bit worried about algae control. I'm assuming a fuge would help, right?

I know about the 1.5 to 2 lbs of LR per gallon 'rule of thumb', but would it be OK to use about 100 lbs of base rock and 50 lbs of LR to start, and just stock sloooowly?
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Old 03-24-2006, 10:25 PM   #5
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I know about the 1.5 to 2 lbs of LR per gallon 'rule of thumb', but would it be OK to use about 100 lbs of base rock and 50 lbs of LR to start, and just stock sloooowly?
Absolutely, Will save you money. Check out hirocks.com
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50 questions, but melosu58, I think you only answered 49!
This is not the first time we have had a problem with him on this.
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Old 03-24-2006, 10:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Brenden
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I know about the 1.5 to 2 lbs of LR per gallon 'rule of thumb', but would it be OK to use about 100 lbs of base rock and 50 lbs of LR to start, and just stock sloooowly?
Absolutely, Will save you money. Check out hirocks.com
Quote:
50 questions, but melosu58, I think you only answered 49!
This is not the first time we have had a problem with him on this.
Saving money's what it's all about at this point, as long as I'm not severely compromising the health of the tank. If I can't do it inexpensively enough for that, then I won't do it at all. It does look nice as an African cichlid tank. And I'm DANG close to the cost I want. So, another question.... (What, that's about three million four hundred thousand and thirty eight questions now, right?)

If I use the 30 gallon sump with a decent skimmer (asm G3 for example), with a 10-15 gallon fuge, 100 lbs base rock, 50 lbs LR, sloooow stocking, and a couple of other powerheads in the tank for flow (or maybe a closed loop, I've got a spare Mag9 laying around), could I do away completely with the XP2 and the XP3? If so, I could sell those on ebay, and get maybe 50-60 bucks for the two of them. That would help with the cost issue.
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Old 03-24-2006, 10:37 PM   #7
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Base rock will not compromise the health of your tank. As far as the XP2 and XP3 I would say sell them. I as well as many others only use a fuge, skimmer, and LR for filtration. I also use a large closed loop in my tank, no PH's.
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Old 03-24-2006, 11:09 PM   #8
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can someone explain to me what a closed loop is?
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Old 03-25-2006, 02:16 AM   #9
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It's a loop....





































That's closed!


Sorry about that, I needed a little humor in my life, I came home from a friends house tonight to find water all over my basement floor. No, not from a tank, from the tub next to the washer. One of my kids started up a load of wash, and somehow a few hand towels were in the tub, and clogged it up. I've been shop-vacing the basement floor for a half an hour now.

So, a closed loop. Here's a small simple example:

http://www.melevsreef.com/closedloop.html
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