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Old 08-25-2014, 10:14 AM   #1
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Aquatic_Adam's Plunge Into SW Help and Journal Thread

Hello all!

Been awhile since I have been back on this forum and this will be my first time taking the dive into SW. This thread will basically serve as my coverall for questions, pictures, and progress

Here is the gist, I have basically a blank canvas of a 125g aquarium that I would like to create a reef. Again, I have no experience with marine but I have had many a year with planted freshwater (gives me some cred right? Right?)

Here is my general thought process for what I want to see:

*I would like to create a sump/refugium as I do have many spare tanks lying around
*I would like to go LED (Build My LED to be exact)

I know that first thing's first, I need to add some support under my floors for this tank. That is step one. But while I am in the process of doing that, can I have some help making an equipment list?

Thanks all! Stay tuned for the evolution of this 125 to a reef!
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:37 AM   #2
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Is the tank drilled? If not then now is the time to get it done, as long as the glass isnt tempered. This will make life alot easier on you.

You will need the normal stuff, like a heater....but also will need a protein skimmer for that size tank. Go for 1.5X times of the tank capacity as far as rating for the skimmer. Manufacturers always over rate their skimmers. lol
You will need approx. 150 lbs of rock and say 250lbs of sand. You can go with part live rock and part base rock which is waaaay cheaper than live rock. It will become live after a few weeks and in a few months you wont know the difference.
You have the sump idea and lights already considered so thats mostly it. lol Get a refractometer to test salinity, much more accurate than a hydrometer. And you will most likely want to pick up a ro/di water making unit. Lugging that much water will get old quick.
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:38 AM   #3
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Sadly it is not drilled...I was worried about that...looks like its time to look up some YouTube videos on how to do that! Haha

What size should I be shooting for for the sump/refugium?
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:42 AM   #4
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I think a 55 is good size sump for your tank. When you drill don't forget to drill a hole for you return. Can't wait to see your progress


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Old 08-25-2014, 12:00 PM   #5
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What size should I be shooting for for the sump/refugium?
Go as big as you can fit, the bigger the better
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:32 AM   #6
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Ok. I have a spare 40g long sitting around that I wouldn't mind parting with. Now the next thing is to look into how I want to construct the Sump.

Is it possible to do a sump without drilling? I know there is the "overflow" method but is that less reliable? What are the pros/cons of drilling vs overflow?

Sorry for the millions of questions, I just want to do it right!
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Old 08-27-2014, 01:06 PM   #7
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More questions!

Calling all lighting experts.

As I meander around the BML website, I am bombarded with a plethora of options.

Here is my general thought:

A 14000K BML fixture at 90 degree beam angle. I would then maybe supplement that with a Finnex Acintic Blue fixture. (Don't think I can afford dual BML fixtures at about 400 a pop...)

I guess I don't particularly understand the beam angle and how that will effect the reef, as well as the need for supplementing with the Acintic Blue...I know that the blue really helps the florescence of the corals but is that as needed as the 12000k/14000k?

On top of that...BML has both the Original Series (high output) and the XB Series (very high output) and within each series has multiple light levels inside of them (ultra high, high, medium, viewing). I guess I am having difficulty choosing that as I am unsure as what corals I will be trying to keep? I know that the viewing and ultra high are out as viewing isnt for corals, and I am definitely not going anything that would need ultra high (first time with Marine means I am trying to keep it relatively easy on myself). I was thinking of getting the high lights and just a dimmer. That way if I wanted to get hard corals I can adjust accordingly?

Pardon the pun...but I guess I am feel like I am drowning in all the details for a reef aquarium!

****EDIT****

It appears I misunderstood the lighting levels. This is a calculator for how many fixtures will be needed. Disregard that...Although even at medium levels...it tells me to get 2 fixtures of 14000k...man that is expensive...
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Old 08-27-2014, 02:00 PM   #8
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Here's a couple really good articles on sumps (there's a 3 parter linked at the bottom that's very thorough) that should help with those questions.

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2008-01/newbie/index.php

As for lighting, you can look up the Tao panels on eBay or amazon there going about $100 a piece right now and would allow you to keep anything you want. Search 165 watt dimmable coral led" and you should find them. Or if you don't mind spending a little extra money you can look at the reefbreeders value unit, same thing but from a good company that offers a complete 2 year warranty for $160 a piece.
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:34 PM   #9
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Here's a couple really good articles on sumps (there's a 3 parter linked at the bottom that's very thorough) that should help with those questions.

Reefkeeping 101 Sumps! by Marc Levenson - Reefkeeping.com

As for lighting, you can look up the Tao panels on eBay or amazon there going about $100 a piece right now and would allow you to keep anything you want. Search 165 watt dimmable coral led" and you should find them. Or if you don't mind spending a little extra money you can look at the reefbreeders value unit, same thing but from a good company that offers a complete 2 year warranty for $160 a piece.
Thanks Big Red!

Read up some on both of those fixtures. It seems that the main difference that I can tell is that the ReefBreeders seems to have more red in the light (which I kind of like as I was leaning towards the BML 20000K fixture).

Have you had experience with either of these? I guess I am leaning towards the ReefBreeder for their reds, but I don't see many reviews (on Amazon at least...) where as for the Tao fixtures I see basically nothing but good/5 star reviews. I am assuming for a 125g I would need 2 fixtures correct? Then just run them at 60% or so output.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:25 PM   #10
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Depending on how high you hang them each panel covers 2-3 feet of tank. And I ran value units over my 20 longs for a long time, loved them, just sold them a few months ago as I shut down the tanks.
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:50 PM   #11
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I was talking to the ecotech people regarding my light fixture and they told me the extra red can cause algae.......not sure if this is true or not but it would make sense.

Technically corals do not need all those extra colors, they are mostly for our benefit.
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:47 AM   #12
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I was talking to the ecotech people regarding my light fixture and they told me the extra red can cause algae.......not sure if this is true or not but it would make sense.

Technically corals do not need all those extra colors, they are mostly for our benefit.
Fair enough.

I guess I was leaning towards it (ReefBreeder over TaoTronics that is) as when I was looking at the BML website, they had a 20000K fixture that was suppose to resemble the color temperature of Metal Halide (20000K Reef Spectrum - XB Series - Build My LED, LLC). This seemed to make the tank just look so much more vibrant than the 12000K or 14000K. They say that this 20000K fixture includes 400nm UV and 420 nm Violet. This (outside of the UV) also seems to be present in the ReefBreeder but it looks like it is excluded from the TaoTronics fixture.

(Bonus question: can someone tell me what the difference between the ReefBreeder Value vs SuperLux is? All I can find is basically some bells and whistles. Is there an LED/intensity difference or just a new body and built in timers?)

I know that for years, and still to this day, people live by the Metal Halide fixtures for their tanks. Is that just for intensity, or is it because of this color spectrum?

I am still having such a tough time choosing between them, as the fact that TaoTronics has such an overwhelming amount of positive reviews is just so hard to ignore. who knew that even something as basic as lighting was going to be such a battle!

All I know is that with either of these fixtures, I figure getting 3 of them is the safest choice to provide the correct level of lighting (even 3 TaoTronic fixtures would be less expensive than one BML fixture...)
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Old 08-29-2014, 11:08 AM   #13
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The superlux is essentially the same thing, but with one power cord and a built in timer for both channels. Simplifies things a little, with the value you need to buy 2 timers or one that can handle turning on and off multiple things at different times to automatically turn the light on and off at your desired times.
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