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Old 07-11-2011, 10:39 PM   #1
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Thinking of switching to LR and potentially reef down the road

Hi all -

I currently have a SW set up in a 55g tank and I was thinking about maybe switching it to LR and maybe doing some corals and such down the road and was hoping for some insight and advice from the community.

Current setup
55g tank
Wet Dry Filter
Lots and lots of Dead Rock - I use them all as decoration - at some point some of the rock was live
as far as I can tell the lights are normal florescent lights

So my questions ares:
What else do I need?
Protein Skimmer?
Do I need to do anything to my current dead rock - ie. clean it off, take some out -
What kind of lights are good?
I also read the newbie guide in the reef forum and saw mentions of powerheads - thoughts?
any other thoughts from the pros?

I'm looking to go to live rock, maintaining that and then moving from there.

Thanks for all the thoughts and input.

Regards
Bradley
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:22 AM   #2
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Welcome to AA!

You can stick with the dry rock if you have enough of it. The whole lot will become "live" in appearance after a few months. You should aim for 1-2lbs of rock per gallon, so rinse off and use the dry rock you already have and get more live rock if needed. During your cycle, bacteria will colonize any type of rock in the tank, rendering it all "live".

Protein skimmers are very useful, especially if you want to go reef in the future. I'm not too knowledgeable on the specifics, so someone else will have to help you with brands, etc.

Powerheads are important for creating adequate water flow. I'd say Koralia are the most popular type but you can get pretty much any ones you like.

For lighting, the best options available right now are T5 HO, Metal Halide, and LED. T5 fixtures are going to be the cheapest right now and have been well tested with reefs. Metal halides put out a lot of light, but they also create a lot of heat and can be expensive. LED fixtures are starting to gain popularity for being very efficient and for not putting out much heat. Since it's a new technology, it's pretty expensive but you can find deals here and there. I'd recommend going with a T5 light to start out, and upgrading down the road if needed.

Feel free to ask more questions. I'm sure a few more experienced reefers will be able to help you out.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:50 AM   #3
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thanks for the response and good info. I wanted to clarify something that I wasn't clear about in my OP.

My current SW tank has been setup for over 6 months w/ fish in it and tons of "dead" live rock. Should I clean that rock off? Or leave it and just start adding new live rock? I was planning on adding new live rock today if I can.
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:15 AM   #4
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Your rock is live as it has a bacti. base When you add new live rock look for some that is loaded with life Algae, plants and mabee some coral it will seed the rest of your rock Check to be sure that your fish are reef safe do you have a CUC? Go with 4 bulbs min. T5 and start with some soft corals or mushrooms Zoa's
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:11 PM   #5
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Another question. I just went and got some new live rock today and placed it all around my take on my other base rock. How many hours per day should the lights be on in the aquarium for optimal growth spreadage and how long should it be before it starts to spread to the other rocks?
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:15 PM   #6
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You probably shouldnt have added live rock to your tank. Usually you will get an ammonia spike when adding new lr so typically people cure it separately until the spike goes down. I would be testing your tank for the next few days to be sure.

And everyone hit it, if that dead rock has been in your tank for 6 months, it ain't dead no more! Free live rock right there. lol

I would invest in 2 powerheads for either side of the tank, I personally like the Koralia 750's, great circulation, not too expensive and they have a magnetic holder so they dont fall.

A skimmer would be a nice thing to have especially if youre branching out into corals. Do you have room in your sump for one or do you need a hang on back model?
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:22 PM   #7
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Thanks for the reply. My tank has been up in running for several months but my "live" rock didn't have any of the cool pink/red stuff growing on it and that is what I got.

My pump only has 1 place for a hose and that is pumping the water back into my tank after it goes through the wet/dry filter.

Thanks for the advice on the powerheads. I think I may grab a couple of them. Should they aim towards the top of the tank or what general direction?

What about the lighting? How many hours per day? -- I already put the rock in the tank and no where else to put it. =\
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:31 PM   #8
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So you probably need a hang on skimmer.
Here are some links
Hang on Back HOB Reef Octopus Protein Skimmers
AquaC Remora & Remora Pro Protein Skimmers
CPR Bak Pak 2 Hang on Back Protein Skimmers for Marine & Reef Aquarium

As far as lights, in my opinion a T5 4 bulb system should do you fine. Unless you are gonna want clams and anenomes then I woudl say go for a 6 bulb fixture. Try to get individual reflectors for the lights, some lighting setups dont have them and I think you'd lose out if you get a single reflector type light.

Since the rock is in there, just test your water for the next few days.

My lighting schedule is: Blues one at 9am, whites at 10am. The whites go off at 8pm and the blues off at 9pm. Seems to be enough light and my corals are doing ok.
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:59 PM   #9
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Hi Carey

I ordered a 750 pump today and I am expecting it to arrive on Friday. Thanks for the tips and I'll watch the ammonia.

I really want the coralline algae to spread -- what are your thoughts on Purple Up?

What are the risks with using it?
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Old 07-13-2011, 05:05 PM   #10
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I don't think there are any inherent risks per se, just alot of people don't like adding anything to their tanks, me included. I dose it when I remember or when I'm adjusting my powerheads, it's a great trick for seeing how your water flows.

The only thing is I just tested my calcium yesterday and it was over 500, more than my test could show. Not sure if thats a bad thing or not. lol Never heard of too much calcium.
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