About to order equipment, last minute questions!

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Aquarium Advice Freak
Apr 30, 2004
Fargo, ND
OK, I am about to order equipment today, and would like to get a last few recommendations. This is for a new 46-bow front setup.

Protein Skimmer
SeaClone Skimmer
I have read you want to get the best one you can afford, and one that is maybe a bit more than you need. I have settled on this one that seems to be good quality and is within my budget, the SeaClone. I know that most people here rave about the Remoras, but that is almost twice as much money and WAY more skimming than I need. :)

Penguin Powerheads
I was planning to get 2 of the 660s, which would give me 350 gph of flow in a 46, which seems in that range of 7 to 10 times your aquarium size.

Penguin 350
I have had good success with Penguin products, and although I have read that power filters may not be the BEST for saltwater aquariums due to salt creep, I will not be allowing my water level to drop low enough for there to be any splashing, not to mention I like the fairly low maintenance of this filter.

Any opinions? I have read a lot about this and done a lot of research, and I think these are good choices for my budget and aquarium size. Anybody have experience with this equipment? Any last minute hints?

One last question! Why on earth is it cheaper to buy this stuff online and pay shipping than to buy locally??? I am getting 2 bags of Aragamax aragonite sand at 60 pounds of weight WITH SHIPPING to me for less than I would pay at the LFS PRE-TAX? What???
Hehe, Tell me about prices at the LFS. I got a care package from Liveaquaria today that had my new skimmer, 3 powerheads w/wavetimer, new heater, coralife dual timer for my light fixture, and 3 months worth of Frontline for my dog. Cost me $23 more than what I was told that the skimmer would cost me at the LFS. I even tried telling the lady there about the on-line price and she said it was impossible. Now she's kinda cold towards me though, so I guess she knows that I know she was trying to gouge the crap out of me.

Comment on your equipment order. I don't have any experience personally with the Seaclone skimmers, but have heard more bad then good about them. I think that there is a lot more to picking out a skimmer than just it's capacity. The amount of time you have to spend fooling with the adjustments on it eventually become a big deal and cause you some frustration. I would get a few more opinions on that one before ordering though.

On the powerheads you should check out the price on the maxi-jet line at liveaquaria. The penguin 660 is ok, I have one in my 50 gallon tank but it's always falling down someplace because the mount to attach it to the glass is really cheap and flimsy. I have 3 maxijets running in there, a 600, 900 and a 1200, and those seem to work a lot better. The 3 maxijets that I got today from liveaquaria are the 1200 models that are rated at close to 300 gph and were cheaper than the ones that you are planning on because they are currently on sale. If you don't think that you need that much flow then you could get a 900 or a 600 even cheaper. Both the maxijets and the penguins are Marineland so not much difference internally I guess. Hope this was helpful.
Please....do yourself a favour and don't buy the Seaclone! I had one for around 12 months which I thought was skimming ok.....I upgraded to a CPR Bakpak a couple of months back and the difference is amazing

Pay the little bit extra if you can
Argh! That's another $40! Perhaps like many other things, you get what you pay for, but I may have to hold off for a while on the skimmer. Does anyone else have anything nice to say about the Bakpak? Anyone else have anything to say about the SeaClone?

Also, I do like those Maxi-Jets, especially since 2 of the 900 models would give me exactly 460 gallons of flow, exactly 10 times my tank! I had been given the impression these were for undergravel filters though? Can they be used just like normal powerheads? Suck water in and blow it out?

sea clones suck. Pure and simple. Too much to mess with for too little results. The thing to do is go with the Remora. It's worth the extra bucks to have the right equipment the first time rather than buy cheap crap three times over. Believe me, short term costs vs long term costs never balance out in your favor. And maxi jets beat penguin hands down. They come with a kit to go either on an undergravel or stand alone with a little filter over the intake. And they're very hardy and easy to clean. Besides, the better filtration you put on your system now, the better chance you have to get it really cool later.
I've never heard one good comment about seaclone skimmers. Remora is the one to beat for small/er tanks.
You can get a coralife super skimmer for just a little more money than the seaclone.. and I will also say that the only thing good on the seaclone unit is the powerhead.. don't waste your cash.

As to the penguin... any hob mechanical filter is somewhat ok but certainly no substitute for 2lbs per gallon of live rock. If you get enough rock you can rely on it and a good skimmer alone for filtration.
OK, I've checked out the Coralife, and it looks good to me. Barely more expensive than the SeaClone, and seems to have a lot of good reviews. When people say it takes up a lot of space, what are we talking here? Can anyone give me an estimate of dimensions inside the tank?

Also, without a power filter, where is your mechanical filtration? How do you take care of "floaties?"

pkremer said:
OK, I've checked out the Coralife, and it looks good to me.
My wife got me the Coralife 65 gal skimmer and it does a great job and it can be used with a sump or hang on back. The size isn’t so bad compared to other skimmers but would usually not fit too well behind the tank since you need 6” of clearance between the tank/wall. If you don’t have a sump then you could still use it on the side.
Also, without a power filter, where is your mechanical filtration? How do you take care of "floaties?"
You shouldn’t have any floaties using a skimmer. Also aiming your PH towards the surface to ripple the water which you should do anyways will keep them away.

The Mag unit should be fine for both bio/mechanical filtrations especially if lr isn’t your main choice for now. Just make sure to be diligent about cleaning the filter once a week to keep your no3 down :D

lr is still the best bio-filtration and you could do 50/50 base/lr in the future.
Oh! Have I been giving the impression I don't intend to have any live rock? I see that in several posts now.

My questions were simply about the equipment, therefore I didn't think the live rock needed to be mentioned. I was intending to go with 35 pounds of base foundation rock and 30 pounds of Select Lalo rock on top of that, for about 1.5 pounds per gallon. So if I hook up the skimmer and have 65 pounds of live rock, the concensus is I may not need the Penguin power filter at all?

You didn’t mention anything about a sump. If you don’t have a sump a mechanical filter is nice for tank circulation and so you can drop in GAC, PhosGuard, Chemi-Pure, Purigen, or any other media you want.

Personally I use the Mag 350 Pro on my 55 gal tank along with 90 lbs of base/lr. I use the filter for tank circulation and media. I keep the bio-wheels on the tank at all times so I can transfer them to the qt tank when needed for instant bio-filtration and trash them if any medication is used on the qt tank (they cost $5) They are handy for that purpose IMO and that’s why I use them.

Otherwise it’s really not needed with enough base/lr (as you have planned) and a quality skimmer.

Last thing is I didn’t see any mention of a ro/di unit and it’s highly recommended to use that instead of tap. You could buy distilled, ro, or ro/di water from your lfs/retailer but in the long run having your own unit is cheaper.

A lot of people get them from ebay for around $100. Below are the 3 most popular sites:
Filter-Direct-store (seems to be most popular on this site)

Also airwaterice.com is a good place if you don’t want to deal with ebay.

I would get a unit that comes with a storage container personally so you have quality water for top offs on hand at all times.
Great start IMO. The problem with canisters and HOB's is the amount of detritus they collect... if not cleaned regularly you end up with a real nitrate problem.

have you considered a sump? All you would need is a hob overflow and drain hose plus a mag5(or equivalent) to pump the water back up to the main plus whatever container you want to use to hold water. A sump increases your total water volume and also allows you to move your skimmer and heater out of the display. For trapping detritus the overflow has a prefilter in it and you can attach a 180-micron bag to the end of the drain hose to catch what the prefilter doesn't.

look at some of the sumps at www.melevsreef.com
I appreciate all your help! I have decided to forego the sump for right now. I know they are a good idea, however I currently live in an apartment with a picky management company, and a sump "mishap" would be a disaster that would cost me far more than if it was my own home. And if I ever get brave, I can always add a sump later, correct?

Also, I only mentioned equipment I was still trying to research. I already have the rest of the equipment picked out, including a RO unit from that filter direct store. I have already seen benefits from using RO water for evaporation topoffs.

Finally, I believe that I am ready to order my equipment!! Thanks for all your help! :)
I wouldn’t get a ro only filter. ro only units can still produce trace amounts of po4 which can lead to algae breakouts which is why you want to get an ro\di unit which is usually only about $20-$40 more then a ro unit.
Looks good (y) Just wanted to make sure it was ro/di and not just ro :)
pkremer said:
I appreciate all your help! I have decided to forego the sump for right now. I know they are a good idea, however I currently live in an apartment with a picky management company, and a sump "mishap" would be a disaster that would cost me far more than if it was my own home. And if I ever get brave, I can always add a sump later, correct?

No problem on the sump.. and yes, you can add it later. I've never had an overflow issue with my sump.. the thought might seem scary at first but it is really pretty simple and foolproof.
OK, I ordered the equipment! I ordered from drsfostersmith.com:

1) A 200 W Stealth Heater
2) Thermometer
3) Penguin 350 Filter
4) 60 pounds of Aragamax sand
5) 200 gallon mix of Red Sea Salt
6) Coralife Super Skimmer
7) 2 Maxi-Jet model 900

For ALL of that, they charged me $13.99 for shipping!!! What?? How can they stay in business like that? :) I have received shipment confirmations now for 4 boxes totaling 132 pounds, and my SuperSkimmer is on back order until Tuesday, which means another box will be sent. By the time they are done, they will have sent me 5 boxes at 140 pounds of weight for $13.99! Every component was $10 to $20 cheaper than locally, and then they shipped it for less than the sales tax would have been locally. I will definitely be doing more business with this company!
Yeah, my order that I just got was my first order from them, but I'll definetly be a return customer.

On your skimmer, did you get the one rated up to 125 gal? That's the one that I also got and it's pretty large. Mine is going in a sump but not sure I would want it as a HOB. Does look like a nice unit though. Should have my sump completed this weekend and can get it going and see how it works.

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