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Old 02-25-2011, 08:41 PM   #1
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my filter should do 10 times the gallons that the filter is rated for

I'm starting my first salt water tank and it's hard to get straight answers from fish store owners who are trying to make a buck. A guy told me that my filter should do 10 times the gallons that the filter is rated for! All the books I read and all the guys I've talked to say twice! I have a 60 gallon tank and I bought a Rena XP3 rated at 375 and a Reef Octopus protein skimmer at 150 gallons. I plant to use about 50 pounds of live rock and I'm going to start with fish only. This has got to be enough right? Also do I really need live sand to start with or would a regular substrate be ok. It's starting to get real expensive.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:49 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA!!

Dry aragonite sand very well rinsed will do just fine. The joke around here goes something like this... "didja hear the one about the live sand sealed up in an airtight bag...?" Get it, right?? Nothing lives in a sealed bag sitting on a store shelf. Read our articles section for fishless cycling too.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:54 PM   #3
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What kind of tank are you trying to have? What types of fish? Most saltwater tanks do better with a sump, not a canister. Is the skimmer a HOB?

Live sand IMO is just wet sand with the equivalent of a bottled bacteria supplement in it. Bacteria can go dormant, sit idle as a spore, and then when in the right conditions seed a thriving community of bacteria. Just because it is in a sealed bag or bottle doesn't mean it is sterile. That said I wouldn't waste my money on it. You should have live rock and that alone will be much more than you will need to seed the microbial ecosystem in your tank.

I used dry black sand in my reef, love the look of it.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:31 PM   #4
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+1 to the dry aragonite sand; only thing I would suggest differently is picking up a cup of sand from a fellow reefer or from you LFS as seed for the new sandbed.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Wy Renegade
+1 to the dry aragonite sand; only thing I would suggest differently is picking up a cup of sand from a fellow reefer or from you LFS as seed for the new sandbed.
The sand the guy has is from his tanks. That's a good idea! I'll just buy a pound from him. Thanks.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Fishguy2727
What kind of tank are you trying to have? What types of fish? Most saltwater tanks do better with a sump, not a canister. Is the skimmer a HOB?

Live sand IMO is just wet sand with the equivalent of a bottled bacteria supplement in it. Bacteria can go dormant, sit idle as a spore, and then when in the right conditions seed a thriving community of bacteria. Just because it is in a sealed bag or bottle doesn't mean it is sterile. That said I wouldn't waste my money on it. You should have live rock and that alone will be much more than you will need to seed the microbial ecosystem in your tank.

I used dry black sand in my reef, love the look of it.
Yeah it's a HOB skimmer. A sump will be hopefully in the future and with more experience. I'm just going to start with a couple of fish and see where it goes. A sump looks complicated. Is there a website that tells you how to go about it?
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:45 PM   #7
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When you cycle the tank and establish bacteria, it'll be no time until your sand is alive with organisms too. What does "seeding the sand" mean anyway...at least compared to what happens when a tank is cycled? If someone could explain that, it'll help me learn something too.
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:00 PM   #8
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Seeding the tank with live rock means that whatever came in on the live rock can find new and more places to grow, so you get more life growing. More filter feeders filtering, more scavengers scavenging, etc.

What fish are you thinking of so far?

Every sump is different, but they are definitely worth the work. Mine has three sections. The first is where all water going into the sump goes (from the display, skimmer, reactors, and auto top off). It is also where any additives are added. The next section is the refugium with chaeto algae growing in it, some oolite sand as a substrate, some Xenia, a few pieces of rock rubble, and a heater. The last section is for all the pumps (return to display, skimmer, and reactors) and the sensor for the auto top off. Your sump doesn't have to be this complicated, add what you need for your tank, not what you can find or see on other aquarists' sumps and tanks. If I did it again I would use dark glass for the baffles so the light stays in the fuge and doesn't grow algae in the other sections.
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:21 PM   #9
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Don't put xenia in a sump.
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:31 PM   #10
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Why not? It is a great method of nutrient export, just like chaeto. Some people even use tridacnid clams for the same purpose (although they are more than beautiful enough to be in the display IMO). My Xenia is a better method of nutrient export than my chaeto. It is more valuable when you try to get rid of it too.
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