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Old 12-03-2012, 09:50 PM   #1
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I am new to saltwater. I know a lot about freshwater but saltwater is not my speciality as of today. I'm wanting to start a saltwater tank but I want other advice and wisdom on the matter. I would like to invest in a nice 55 g tank which probably wouldn't be drilled for a sump system. Does a 55g need a sump system? It seems like I've seen some and they do not have them. And without corals would you need a protein skimmer? Do you need a filter? Canister? Or does the live rock take care of that? Clearly I am no where near close to achieving this tank, but I would just like to have these questions answered. Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:57 PM   #2
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Get yourself a good book. Talk to workers at a LFS (but be wary). Is a sump necessary for a 55? No. It will be a little tougher when setting up, but make things much easier in the long run.
I was in the same boat as you 3-4 weeks ago. Looking for a 55, didn't want to deal with drilling for a sump, completely overwhelmed. I found a local LFS, asked them about a 55 gallon. They didn't have one in stock, but has a 75 gallon predrilled. He explained it to me, but said he could always order me a 55.

I got the 75 gallon, a pre built sump, and a plumbing kit. Wasn't hard to set up at all and I am a moron when it comes to plumbing.

Protein skimmers are very very good ideas.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:06 AM   #3
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Awesome that you're possibly joining the sw hobby! Protein skimmers are not a must up to 40 gallons usually. You could go without one, but they are really helpful with removing organic waste which would turn into nitrate if not extracted. Great part of filtration. Canister is an option, but they can be nitrate factories if not properly maintained often. You could have a HOB filter like an Aquaclear 110. Live rock is biological filtration, but mechanical and chemical are required too (one of the two at least). A sump is the best option IMO. It allows you to put a protein skimmer out of sight (and don't have to turn it off every time you need to clean the cup) and you can have a refugium, reactors, etc.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:38 AM   #4
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I'm just really confused lol I see A LOT of saltwater tanks that I question if they are done properly. I'm trying to start this tank without spending $1,000,000. I spend enough money on my tanks as it is and my fiancé will kill me if we shovel out a ton lol I've read a sump can be used in a non drilled tank. Is this true? I just don't want to take advice from an uneducated person.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:48 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Ljk09 View Post
I'm just really confused lol I see A LOT of saltwater tanks that I question if they are done properly. I'm trying to start this tank without spending $1,000,000. I spend enough money on my tanks as it is and my fiancé will kill me if we shovel out a ton lol I've read a sump can be used in a non drilled tank. Is this true? I just don't want to take advice from an uneducated person.

That's true with some type of overflow method, although I hear they can be loud and have a higher risk of flooding. I'm by no means an expert though. The most popular way tends to be popular for a reason. My two cents.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:51 AM   #6
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If someone is giving you false advice (or if it's true for that matter) fact check it! You need to do research on your own and taking in advice from the LFS, some websites, and even on here can be false/bad advice, but it's up to you and other to make sure you are not being mislead.

Anyway, a DIY sump can be the same cost as a canister filter. Yes you can have a overflow and a return line without drilling in the tank.
Deluxe CPR Continuous Siphon Overflows - Bulk Reef Supply

Return Jet - Bulk Reef Supply

This can be a little dangerous if there are leaks, and a little noisy, but those can be prevented. There are some helpful articles on AA about sumps, refugiums, etc. for beginners. Check it out sometime.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:50 PM   #7
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You don't need to spend a great deal of money to have a fun, interesting, and colorful tank.

I would forego the canister filter. Reason being is that it simply traps detritus and allows it to breakdown in the water column, deminishing water quality. Fish are poopers. They live in their own toilet. The important thing in keeping saltwater fish is to create a way for nutrient export to take place. Protein skimmers do that. They remove junk from the water that would otherwise have a toxic negative effect on the fish as it breaks down. That's not to say that you need one, but you would have to focus more on water changes every other week or once a month of say 25% to provide that nutrient export......removing junk from the substrate and dirty water, replacing it with clean saltwater.

The short answer is that saving money on equipment just means you will have to be more pragmatic in maintenance (changing carbon and water).

Lastly, no, a sump is not necessary at all. It is helpful in relocating things like heaters that take up place in the display tank. BUT, there are some excellent hang on back protein skimmers (Reef Octopus makes good ones) that do just as good a job as an in sump model. As a matter of fact, I personally think a skimmer will process more dirty water if the intake is directly located in the tank itself. Whole different conversation, but something to consider.

My 2 cents worth
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:52 AM   #8
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Hello

Idk what your budget is but if you're really trying to be frugal. Here is a couple of tips based on my research and my tank.

~ DIY Stand
~Check Craigslist for Tanks and other equipment (of course be smart about it)
~Stick to FO or FOWLR (Saves on lighting which I think is the most expensive)
~Marineland Penguin Power Filter - Super easy & simple and inexpensive on Amazon. (I have the 350 on my 29g FOWLR for over 2 yrs, I've also seen people put multiple ones on larger tanks)

Best of Luck! ^_^
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:10 AM   #9
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Just to give you an idea about a 55g sw tank. I have had my tank for a couple months. I bought the tank and stand for 100 from someone on craigslist. I bought an ro/di machine for 75 from someone on e-bay. I bought a reef octopus bh-100 hob protein skimmer it's working great so far only had if for about 2 weeks. that was 130 shipped off e-bay as well. The filter I have is Marineland emperor 400 HOB style as well. I got it for $60 at petco. It comes with 4 compartments. 2 have filter media and 2 were empty so I put in active carbon to help keep the water clear. It's rated for 90g it's working great for me since I have the protein skimmer too but when getting a filter you want to make sure it can handle double the size of the tank so the aquaclear 110 would be perfect. I jumped the gun on that one, so don't do that, but I haven't had any issues. Invest in a good test kit. The one I have and like is API saltwater test kit. It's on amazon for 20$ right now, mine was $40 at petco. The live rock i got from petco/craigslist I have about 50lbs in the tank and 30lbs or so extra thats not live anymore just didnt have room in my tank. 2 powerheads $30 ea from petco, online pricing is best from what i've noticed. the sand was live sand in bags from petco i believe it was 26$ for ea bag I needed 3. I do not have a sump, but wish I did one to begin with because I have the filter and skimmer hanging on the back of my tank when it could be hidden, but honestly it doesnt look bad. The lights are the most expensive but I was able to find 4 bulb t5 HO w/ 8 LEDS for 102 shipped, off ebay. I love the set up so far, I wish I would of gotten a bigger tank and done a sump. thats my advice i hope it helps to give you a breakdown on pricing and stuff.
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:54 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by TommyP View Post
Just to give you an idea about a 55g sw tank. I have had my tank for a couple months. I bought the tank and stand for 100 from someone on craigslist. I bought an ro/di machine for 75 from someone on e-bay. I bought a reef octopus bh-100 hob protein skimmer it's working great so far only had if for about 2 weeks. that was 130 shipped off e-bay as well. The filter I have is Marineland emperor 400 HOB style as well. I got it for $60 at petco. It comes with 4 compartments. 2 have filter media and 2 were empty so I put in active carbon to help keep the water clear. It's rated for 90g it's working great for me since I have the protein skimmer too but when getting a filter you want to make sure it can handle double the size of the tank so the aquaclear 110 would be perfect. I jumped the gun on that one, so don't do that, but I haven't had any issues. Invest in a good test kit. The one I have and like is API saltwater test kit. It's on amazon for 20$ right now, mine was $40 at petco. The live rock i got from petco/craigslist I have about 50lbs in the tank and 30lbs or so extra thats not live anymore just didnt have room in my tank. 2 powerheads $30 ea from petco, online pricing is best from what i've noticed. the sand was live sand in bags from petco i believe it was 26$ for ea bag I needed 3. I do not have a sump, but wish I did one to begin with because I have the filter and skimmer hanging on the back of my tank when it could be hidden, but honestly it doesnt look bad. The lights are the most expensive but I was able to find 4 bulb t5 HO w/ 8 LEDS for 102 shipped, off ebay. I love the set up so far, I wish I would of gotten a bigger tank and done a sump. thats my advice i hope it helps to give you a breakdown on pricing and stuff.
+1 to this guy, he knows where it's at
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