It's Finally time!!!
After five years of having a freshwater community and about three years of constant research, I'm finally setting up my saltwater tank. I went on a bunch of GTA forums last weekend and made a big list of the best aquarium stores in my area. This week after work, I've been visiting them all to scope them out and make a plan. I have a few more to visit (they're literally on opposite ends of the city) and I plan on starting to buy things on Friday night!! This post will be really long because it's going to be my entire plan for the setup. Here we go!
It'll be a 37gal + 10gal sump FOWLR
. I haven't really nailed down a stocking list yet, but some of the fish I'm thinking of are blue-green reef chromis (I must
have some of these - they're my favourites), a pair of Picasso clowns, a gramma basslet, a bicolour blenny. I can't keep anything too delicate because my tank is at my dad's house and I'm only there every other week.
The back of the tank will be painted, but I'm not sure on the colour yet. I really like blue because I think it looks more natural but I'm having a really hard time finding a shade. I hate
that blue they use in fish stores, but I don't want to go too light either because I'm scared it might pull focus from the fish.
On to the plumbing. I'm still working on the design of the overflow, as I want my weir to run the full length of the tank to skim as much of the surface as possible, but the tradeoff for that is valuable space (my tank is only a foot from front to back). I'm going with a Herbie drain and all the plumbing will either be hard or soft PVC
(and I'm drilling the tank, of course). My return pump will sit about 3ft below the return nozzle, so I'm thinking of getting a 800gph pump (the next lower size is 530gph; too low IMO
after you factor in head loss). I may even drill two holes for the return and use the pump to power two nozzles to create more opposing currents.
I think my sump is going to have 3 compartments: the first for mechanical and chemical filtration, the second for a refugium (this will be the majority of the sump), and the third for equipment like heater and return pump (my pump has to be internal because a 10gal tank takes up the entire volume of my stand. Yes, you've read that correctly - I won't be having a skimmer. I plan on using Ecosystem Miracle Mud in my refugium as well as macroalgae and some live rock rubble. I probably won't be able to fit the recommended amount of mud, but a skimmer's too expensive for right now and I don't plan on keeping a high bioload anyways. As for the sump itself, I'm buying a plain 10gal tank and having glass cut for the baffles and such. The sump design is still being finalized. I plan on using a hood on the sump to minimize evaporation, and I'll install a Plexiglas window over the refugium to shine light in for my macroalgae. I'll probably just end up using a desk lamp for that.
Since I'm not keeping corals in the near future, the stock hood and light are staying on my tank, and I'll just use a regular 18,000K T8 bulb.
For added circulation, I think I'll get either two Koralia Nanos or one larger Koralia.
And finally, the inside! I'll be doing about 40lbs of live rock, and most of it will be Real Reef because I want to contribute to preservation of the natural reefs. However, some will come from the ocean because I plan on buying rock from multiple stores to get as much biodiversity in terms of hitchhikers as possible, and some of the good stores in my area don't carry Real Reef. I also plan on having sand on the bottom; probably about an inch and a half or so.
And there you have it! That's my plan. There will be a lot of updates and pictures to come as I start getting all my materials and setting everything up.