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Old 08-02-2014, 09:16 AM   #1
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What do i need?

Hi guys. So i have a 40g tropical tank at the moment, but have always wanted a saltwater reef tank. Basically, ice been looking online and on forums aswell as this one, and im totally baffled! I need someone to break it down to me in the easiest way possible, what filter is going to be the best, i already know about live rock and sand, but the rest are just too confusing for me to work out, so again if someone could tell me:

What external filter will be the best/cheapest?

What lighting am i going to need?

Any other equipment i will need?

Step by step guide to setting up (simple as possible for someone with 0 knowledge of reef aqaurium)

And finally, coral and fish that will be the best?

Thanks all




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Old 08-02-2014, 11:09 AM   #2
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Just a skimmer will do for filtration and your live rock wil also be your main sorce of filtrarion too. You will want to cycle like any other tank lights I would suggest something like the tao dimmable leds on ebay. For fish yoy could go with a few different types but really its uo to you live aquaria would be your best bet just look in the nano fish section.

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Old 08-02-2014, 11:18 AM   #3
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Cool thanks for the reply, what skimmer would you recommend for my 150ltr bow front? Does a skimmer hang onto the tank? Id rather one you can out in the cabinet underneath the tank, reasonable price? And what filtration will i need in the skimmer?


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Old 08-02-2014, 11:30 AM   #4
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Cool thanks for the reply, what skimmer would you recommend for my 150ltr bow front? Does a skimmer hang onto the tank? Id rather one you can out in the cabinet underneath the tank, reasonable price? And what filtration will i need in the skimmer?


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There's a lot to decide on setting up a tank before going out and buying it.

1. Refugium - most reef tanks utilize these. They allow you to put unsightly equipment into as well as grow a macro algae for nutrient export. You can keep a skimmer in one of these.

2. Filtration - all filtration is done with live rock. I would suggest buying 1 - 2 lbs of live rock per gallon of tank volume. You can buy dry rock at a fraction of the price and cycle it in the same manner as a fishless cycle.

3. Flow - shoot for 10x - 40x the tank volume per hour in flow with an assortment of powerheads.

4. Lighting - decide on the types of coral that you would like to keep and then purchase a light to match. This is commonly the most expensive purchase.
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Old 08-02-2014, 12:21 PM   #5
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Im looking at a fluval 206 external filter for this. Lots of good reviews, would you say thats a hood choice or not? Its up to 200l aquariums so i guess its alright for my tank. Would i still need a skimmer if i bought this?


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Old 08-02-2014, 12:35 PM   #6
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Im looking at a fluval 206 external filter for this. Lots of good reviews, would you say thats a hood choice or not? Its up to 200l aquariums so i guess its alright for my tank. Would i still need a skimmer if i bought this?


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Actually, canister filters are a bad idea on salt water tanks. They generally just contribute to high nitrate levels. Salt water tanks don't need a traditional filter. Instead think of the live rock as your filter media. It is super porous and all the bacteria you need will grow on and in it.

Bulk Dry Live Rock - Bulk Dry Live Rock & Live Sand - Bulk Reef Supply

Skimmers are there for nitrate removal. You don't absolutely NEED one but it will make your life ALOT easier as well as save you a ton of salt.

Instead of looking at a traditional filter for flow look at powerheads such as these.
Water Pumps & Wavemakers: Hydor Koralia Evolution

I would personally choose both a 600 and an 850 for a 40 gallon tank and the koralias are a very good brand of powerhead. I've had mine for a year and a half now and couldn't be happier.
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Old 08-02-2014, 12:45 PM   #7
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Okay. So just to be clear, no conventional filter, a skimmer, live rock for filtration, and powerheads? So once i have all of this, how do i go about setting up? Also i want live sand and some soft coral as ive heard these are easiest to look after?


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Old 08-02-2014, 12:46 PM   #8
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Sorry for so many questions but i really need as much clear advice as possible before i commit to converting over to a reef aquarium!


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Old 08-02-2014, 01:07 PM   #9
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Okay. So just to be clear, no conventional filter, a skimmer, live rock for filtration, and powerheads? So once i have all of this, how do i go about setting up? Also i want live sand and some soft coral as ive heard these are easiest to look after?


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Yeppers. And you also need to decide whether you want a refugium or not.

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Old 08-02-2014, 01:10 PM   #10
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Is a refugium necessary or can i still run the tank without one? Will there ever be a need for one in future?


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Old 08-02-2014, 02:07 PM   #11
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No not necessary at all. IMHO your overthinking this a little bit, simplest way to run a 40 reef tank IMO is :
1. Hob filter, aqua clears make options here, an ac70 would be a good fit. Ditch the stock media and run purigen or chemi pure and some phosphate media if needed. I like running filter floss to catch any floating debris, I use polyfil from Walmart for this $9 for a bag that will last a year easy (throw away the used floss during your weekly maintenance and replace with fresh)
2 hob skimmer, reef octopus or eshopps would be my recommendations here, look for one rated around double your tanks volume
3 good porous rock and a good amount of flow. The goal is to keep detritus suspended so that it can be pulled out by filtration while at the same time allowing water to flow over the rock so nature can do it's thing. The korilias are nice, the jaebos wp's series offer a little more controllability and aren't much more so you may want to look into those.
4. Good lighting, usually the most expensive part, but getting a good light first is best because your taste in coral will change so you may as well get a light that will support anything right from the start rather than buy one down the road (happens to every one )
5. Now this is going to be the last thing listed but it is IMO the most important part of a reef tank, ro/di unit. They will pay for themselves over time and are the best thing to buy if you want a successful reef. Control the water your adding to the tank and it's WAY easier to keep your params in check.

Also keep doing your research and ask questions, that's what were here for.
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Old 08-02-2014, 02:09 PM   #12
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Is a refugium necessary or can i still run the tank without one? Will there ever be a need for one in future?


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They aren't necessary but pretty much everyone uses them because of their benefits. Most people that start without refugiums end up adding one later on but it's much more difficult to add one after the tank is set up than before.
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Old 08-02-2014, 02:19 PM   #13
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I'm just starting my build and will be following along too! Feel free to follow me and see how I'm doing.

The skimmer is going to go in your sump, which is pretty much a separate smaller tank under your main tank. (If you choose this route) the skimmer filters your water by using micro bubbles that begin at the bottom of it and float the waste products to the top of it to where you can clean it out.

I would recommend a complete sump system instead of using an external filter. My reasons being is that it will add more water volume to your aquarium which will help you stock more critters. Also, you can put more equipment in it such as your heater, PH probe, refugium, skimmer, and what not. (Probes and refugium are optional, just making examples) the downside is that it's more expensive but a really good investment.


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Old 08-02-2014, 02:24 PM   #14
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Again, can i run just a skimmer and powerheads, if so what skimmer is best? If the live rock is good filtration anyways then if i can avoid a filter i will. Just fyi im in the uk, so stuff from walmart is pretty useless to me lol!


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Old 08-02-2014, 02:26 PM   #15
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All these sumps and hob filters etc are so confusing to me and i cant seem to find anything relating to them on amazon, other sites etc. im looking for the most simple and easy way to run a successful reef aquarium, but at the same time doing so properly!


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Old 08-02-2014, 02:38 PM   #16
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It's alright! Gotta take everything with a grain of salt because it's a lot of preference mixed in there too. You can do a hang on back skimmer. It will accomplish the same job. Wal-Mart is pretty useless for aquariums in America too. 👍


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Old 08-02-2014, 02:39 PM   #17
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Don't mean to get personal, but what's your budget?


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Old 08-02-2014, 03:14 PM   #18
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As low as possible not going to lie. Although i am willing to spend more money where its needed..!


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Old 08-02-2014, 03:43 PM   #19
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All these sumps and hob filters etc are so confusing to me and i cant seem to find anything relating to them on amazon, other sites etc. im looking for the most simple and easy way to run a successful reef aquarium, but at the same time doing so properly!


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A sump / refugium is nothing but a tank that sits under your display tank. Water will flow down into the tank on the bottom from the display tank through either a Hang on the back overflow or a drilled hole in the side of the tank. There is a pump in the lower tank that pushes the water level back up into the display.

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Originally Posted by FishyBusiness40 View Post
Again, can i run just a skimmer and powerheads, if so what skimmer is best? If the live rock is good filtration anyways then if i can avoid a filter i will. Just fyi im in the uk, so stuff from walmart is pretty useless to me lol!


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You can run the tank without a skimmer as well. I've been running my 20g reef with just powerheads and live rock for about 4 months now. Previous to that it had been running with a refugium and no skimmer for over a year.

HOWEVER things such as a skimmer and a refugium will all contribute to making a more stable system. This will make it easier to keep your corals alive and fish happy.


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As low as possible not going to lie. Although i am willing to spend more money where its needed..!

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If you want to start with a low cost system then I would suggest starting out with a basic fish only tank. Don't worry about corals yet. Then save up for the additions such as a refugium or skimmer as you can afford. This will help you get used to dealing with water parameters as well as giving your tank plenty of time to mature.
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Old 08-02-2014, 04:04 PM   #20
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As low as possible not going to lie. Although i am willing to spend more money where its needed..!


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Well, let's see what we can come up with. Let's start by what you will need. If it's going to be reef, you gotta have salt. Have you figured out a brand yet? You'll need sufficient lighting. Do you want to grow everything from soft corals up to SPS and Anemones? You gotta have real good lighting for that. I would suggest an LED fixture but you can use metal halides, or T5 output. Yours is 40 gallons, what are the dimensions? Mine is a 40 gallon with sump included and my tank 20x20x20. I'm going with a Reef Radiance Pro 120 to grow whatever I want. It covers up to a 24 inch span and is a little less than 300 dollars. It also has a built in programmer that you can set your lights to dim at certain times of the day. Pick a salt and a light, and we'll build from there! (If that's what you wanna do)

Also, I'm doing almost all dry rock because it's cheaper and will eventually seed itself.


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