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Old 09-23-2003, 03:12 PM   #1
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Returning to hobby, pls review

After 6 years I'm returning to the hobby of salt water critters. My 1st swt was a complete string of disasters. This time around I did my homework and found out why things went wrong before and how to set up a proper tank.

My future setup:
60 gal tru vu acrylic tank (free)-to be plumbed for reef
35 gal glass tank to be used as a sump (was my old tank)
custom stand to be built by my pop, he's a woodworker, I'm thinking white oak veneer w/ solid wood trim in a cherry stain, 12" canopy
4 x 96watt cf lights, 2 10,000k and 2 blues
Aqua-C skimmer, in sump kind
600 gph pump to a switch (forgot the techincal term) that mechanically will rotate the water return between 4 'heads'
2 rotating powerheads
plus the thermometers and heaters etc...
auto dosers and auto feeders

Critters:
60-80lbs LR
25lbs LS to 'seed' a 4" DSB, considering a plenum underneath
I"m thinking no more than 4 med to small fish in this tank. My old tank was overstocked and under filtered
It will start as FOWLR and I'll slowly work my way into corals

The best part is I've learned not to rush it, I hope to put in water in Jan as I slowly buy all the hardware and wait for the stand to be delivered. I want high end products and am willing to pay for them this time around. I'm actually thinking I'd like a bigger tank But....I'm still moving around every other year or so and 60gal is already going to be a pain in the ***. I found this forum and am so happy to now be in touch with people more knowledgeable than my prior group. I hope to ping ideas off people as they pop into my head, but I think I've got a solid understanding of cycling and timing of how to do it 'right' on this tank.

Thanks for listening to me babble.
e
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Old 09-23-2003, 05:25 PM   #2
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Welcome to AquariumAdvice

your plan looks pretty good to me to start with just a couple of comments.

LR: most folks go for aobut 1.5-2xwater volume so you'll want 90-120 lbs of LR. A portion of that can be base rock to save yourself some money.

DSB: lose th plenum idea. Current trends in DSB are that you WANT an area with no oxygen to force bacteria to break down your nitrates. plenums defeat that purpose. As with the LR, the bulk of your DSB can be built with play sand, such as southdown or yard Right etc. And then top that off with a few pounds of LS. the bacteria and critters will spread easily.

just as some other random tid-bits check out our Articles Section for information ranging from how to Cycle Without Fish, to Quarantines.

hope to hear lots of updates on your tanks progress!!
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Old 09-23-2003, 05:26 PM   #3
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What is a plenum?
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Old 09-23-2003, 05:31 PM   #4
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a plenium is just a space between your sand and bottom of the tank !!
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Old 09-23-2003, 06:35 PM   #5
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You just said with a DSB you'd have an area with no oxygen, that's exactly what a plenum does, plus what I've heard to do is to put down a fine mesh so that your critters can't bury there way down into it.

I'll have to think about it some more. I am reading alot ( mostly at work ) of what I want to make sure I don't screw things up. Plus since I know it's expensive (and never ceases to be) that I'm saving and buying quality hardware up front and not cutting costs (although I am always looking for deals!) So a few months of research and purchasing should help me out.

I know that if I have un-cured live rock that it's probably best to buy 90lbs at once w/ live sand so that it'll all cure together when I"m cycling the tank so afterward I won't have spikes. **** there's alot to know!
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Old 09-23-2003, 07:36 PM   #6
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I thought that DSB was the next step in denitrification technology. I can't remember where I read that plenum was "yesterdays news" but I did read it somewhere.
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Old 09-24-2003, 02:44 PM   #7
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when I first started I was reading up on plenums and I was under the impression that water was passed through this space to keep it from becoming anoxic.

If the anoxic zone is just water (the gap created by the plenum), then there is nothing for the bacteria to live on in that zone so, it would seem, that the area would be wasted?

IMO, if your going for an anoxic area, save yourself the hassle of making a plenum and just make it a solid DSB.
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Old 09-24-2003, 04:59 PM   #8
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Rather than say we are trying to achive levels of no oxygen its more in line to say a DSB will provide areas of low oxygenation.
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Old 09-24-2003, 05:43 PM   #9
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Hmmm...I'm sure a DSB would work, but you'd still have to put a mesh in there to keep critters out from turning the sand over. It's my understanding (although I"m going to do more reading on this now) that the bacteria that converts the nitrate to Nitrogen gas do this in an anerobic state. So you can't have water flow which will add oxygen to the mix. The second reason you'd want a plenum is b/c the sand (being fine) takes up more space that could be used by bacteria.

Through osmosis gasses will exchange to maintain an uniform equillibrum state. Of course that argument also means that oxygen will be present in the plenum or even a DSB. And I just contradicted myself. Ok, so more reading needs to be done.

Most of aquarium keeping is VooDoo anyway, so I'll just use some black magic to make the nitrate go away.
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Old 09-24-2003, 05:51 PM   #10
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IMO, plenums have not been commonly used for almost the last decade. A true DSB is simply that, a 4" - 6" layer of sand in the bottom of the tank.

We've used DSB's with great success for over 5 years now, no plenum, no mesh, etc.
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Old 09-24-2003, 05:52 PM   #11
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The second reason you'd want a plenum is b/c the sand (being fine) takes up more space that could be used by bacteria.
ahh but very little bacteria is suspended in the water column. The bacteria actualy colonizes the surface of the substrate. I believe one of our articles in the Articles Section discusses the theories behind this method of denitrification and the amount of occupiable surface area in a DSB.
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Old 09-24-2003, 07:37 PM   #12
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Having critters turn the sand of is acutally desired to some degree. Im not refering to like a total turn over of the sand bed every day or week but having small worms, mini starfish and small crustations moving about the sand bed allows the bed to remain fluid.

Sand being fine gives more surface area for bactera to live. Sand being fine will also not trap detruis to the degree that the larger crushed coral substrates.
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Old 09-24-2003, 08:30 PM   #13
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That makes sense. Live and learn, at least I'm doing it prior to setting up the tank and dealing with issues as the arise.
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Old 09-24-2003, 10:02 PM   #14
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IMO, if your going for an anoxic area, save yourself the hassle of making a plenum and just make it a solid DSB.
I agree. With a DSB, its just glass, sand, then rock, NO mesh. A plenum, although not a terrible idea, is less stable then a DSB.....as you would naturally assume being that they are not natural occurances. I have read a TON of reports about plenums failing after a short (couple of years) time, and leeching posphates and nitrogen based chemicals back into the tank, which is usually devastating to the tank. They use a plenum at the LFS in their bad *** reef display, but it has a tube sticking out of the sand to allow for at least some water exchange. A plenum is like a UGF, but more constricted. I personally chose against a plenum for my new setup, and went with a 5" DSB, and my buddy did a plenum in his at the same time. It may be coincidence, but he is not seeing the nitrifying process like I am, and he continues to have raising nitrates...........as of a couple of weeks ago. I should check in on him and see how its going. HTH.
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Old 09-25-2003, 04:42 AM   #15
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fgfgfg
plenum? learn something new everyday! I'll have to read up on how to go from CC to DSB now...hmmm
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Old 09-29-2003, 01:25 PM   #16
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Ok, I went and picked the tank up yesterday. Talk about gross. The guy was giving it away b/c it belonged to his roommate who skipped town and rent on him. It was a FW setup that the current roommate continued to feed, but not maintain. It had lost about 1/2 the water and as the water evaporated it left algea plastered to the acrylic. So I kept the fish, emptied everything else and threw away all the equipment etc as I won't be able to use it for my SW setup. It did have a 1 bulb flourescent but that would be massively inadequet for my purposes. 1hr of emptying at his place and 2 hrs of scrubbing later, the tank looks **** near brand new. Amazing.

Ok, next step: making reef ready. I read it somewhere but I lost the place, for the drain to the sump, there's a ration of inches in length as a ration of the tank that should be used for the over flow.
#1 Does anyone know this calculation?

#2 The back is clear and I"d like to have it black. What paint is safe to use, or is there a material you can put back there instead. I don't want any chemicals leaching into my system.

thanks
e
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Old 09-29-2003, 01:41 PM   #17
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#1) I don't know it off hand, scour our DIY Section, you should be able to find it there.

#2) any acrylic paint will work just fine. I believe I hear the most folks just use spray paint for ease of use and the fact that it scrapes off with a razor easily if you want to remove it for any reason. one note of caution; If your going to use spray paint I would cover the top of the tank to be sure nothing gets into the tank itself.
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Old 09-29-2003, 07:35 PM   #18
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I'm looking to buy some more hardware, but I didn' tknow if any websites were reputable and cheaper than LFS. So I thought I'd ask the experts, so far I've mainly been looking at marinedepot.com which has better deals than my LFS.

The two items I"m hunting for are:
Lifeguard Quiet One 4000
AquaC Urchin Pro

Any shopping advice is apprecaited.
e
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