Setting up Red Sea Reefer XL 525: Maybe

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Jan 16, 2008

Returning to the hobby here and now relocated to Florida. I’ve been trying to decide on inhabitants and a tank. I want to start a FOWLR and maybe in 6 months or so add some soft corals.

I may be buying a used Red Sea Reefer: 108g aquarium, 31 g sump. Offer is from a LFS and includes the tank, stand, sump, plumbing acrylic mesh cover and hanging hood with led strips (no lights for coral, though). Owner said he would deliver (since I can’t move it myself) set up and add water. Total ask is $1,150. I was told they filled it to clean it but it was empty when I saw it. Reputable place, though.

First, what are your thoughts?

Second what else do I need? Here are my thoughts:

Sand: 125 lbs
LR: 125+ lbs
Return pump: not sure brand or size
Heater: not sure either
Powerheads: intake/output on tank is in middle
Filter material for sump- need to research this more.

And maybe a UV sterilizer?

I must admit that after being out of the hobby for close to 10 years I am suffering sticker shock at the prices of everything. Anyway, excited to get going again.

Thanks in advance for your time.
I must admit that after being out of the hobby for close to 10 years I am suffering sticker shock at the prices of everything. Anyway, excited to get going again.

I am the same. I was looking at tanks and lights a few months ago, omg the prices are crazy now. I used to buy 2 foot long tanks (10 gallons) for $30.00. Now they are going for $120. Like what is going on with the prices. Even the fish prices are ridiculous.


Do you need a heater in Florida?

You don't need a UV steriliser. Save your money.

Sponges are the best filter media unless you want the rock to act as the filter. I like sponges and maybe a piece of white filter matting (Dacron) on top of the sponge to trap the gunk. Hose the Dacron off each week and clean the sponges in a bucket of tank water once a month.


Live rock is not necessary and hideously overpriced. I build a basic reef out of limestone from a quarry or nursery. Just make sure it's free of chemicals. Then add a few nice pieces of live rock on top after the tank has been running for a bit. The limestone rock turns into live rock after a few months in the water. You can also use sandstone rock and you can regularly find this in flat sheets/ pieces that make ideal ledges or the top of bridges.

Sandstone and limestone can be cut with a grinder or saw and you can also drill into it and put stainless steel pegs in to hold the pieces together so they don't fall.

Not sure if you have limestone rocks around the beach or in the water in Florida but maybe grab some of that, if you're allowed.


Return pumps should be able to turn the tank volume over at least 4 times an hour at the height of the tank's water level. If the top of the tank is 5 foot above the ground, the pump needs to be able to turn the tank's volume over at least 4 times an hour at 5 feet high. Most water pumps will have a scale on the box or instructions and it shows how much water is pumped at certain heights.

It's always better to have too much water getting pumped up than not enough. You can fit a T piece and tap into the pipe work just above the pump and bleed some water off back into the sump if needed.


No idea on the tank or prices.

If the light unit is suitable for aquarium plants, then it should be fine for corals. If you know what make and model the light unit is, let us know or check online to see if it has adjustable colour spectrums and whatever other features it might have. But aquarium plants and corals use exactly the same sunlight. The sun doesn't change as it goes over freshwater then saltwater.
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