Help Setting Up a New Aquarium (Lights/Skimmer/Etc.)

Discussion in 'Lighting, Filtration & Other Equipment' started by SaltwaterNoob17, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. SaltwaterNoob17

    SaltwaterNoob17

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    I just bought a 44 gallon bowfront aquarium, and I was hoping that you all could help me set it up properly. ;) I want it to eventually be a saltwater fish and reef tank...

    I was looking into protein skimmers and lights, and I am open to any comments, advice, or other suggestions that you all may have. I was interested in the Coralife Lunar Aqualights Compact Fluorescent Strip Lights (a total of 192 Watts consisting of 1 96Watt Actinic, 1 96Watt 10,000, 2 Lunar Lights, and 1 fan), and as for skimmers, I was considering either the Visi-Jet Protein Skimmer or the SeaClone Protein Skimmer.

    Thanks.
     
    SaltwaterNoob17, Dec 15, 2009
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  2. SaltwaterNoob17

    bjohanson1234 .........

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    I will give you advise on the protien skimmer first.
    Never heard of the Visi-Jet so dont know about that one, but the Seaclone isnt worth the plastic it is made out of. I ran one on my 30 gallon when I first started and never got a consistent result from it. I would save up a few more dollars and get something better. I asked my wife for an Octopus BH-2000 for Christmas because Octo has a good reputation and because it is rated for like 4 times my tank size that way if I ever do upgrade my tank, I wont have to worry about getting a new one.

    Lights, power compacts are not as powerful as t5's of the same wattage. Look for a t5 HO fixture at around 200 watts and you should be able to keep almost anything you want. Just remember, If you start off as a fish only tank, you dont need to get the expensive lighting right away. Just right before you get your corals. You dont even need to cycle the tank with the lights. That gives you some time to save up for what you want

    Welcome to the site and a money pit of a hobby:mrgreen::Cheers:
     
    bjohanson1234, Dec 15, 2009
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  3. SaltwaterNoob17

    beano habitual reefer

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    +1

    save money and get a decent skimmer like an octo. you will end up spending money on one later on anyways. as long as you keep a low bioload and are diligent with water changes (every week) you can get away with a canister filter, or HOB filter until you can drop the cash for a skimmer.

    same with lights, dont worry about it until you get corals. until then light is just aesthetics. when you get corals i would go with t5 lighting over pc

    also you need to get some live rock. about 60 lbs should do it, maybe more if you have room. live rock is expensive so that will be a lot to shell out before a skimmer and decent lighting system.

    go SLOW. one advantage to having an expensive hobby is it forces you to slow down with things while you save for the next step. it took me about a year before i had everything ready to be able to put corals in my tank. that was a years experience testing, water changing, and general observing and learning and thinking before i put a coral in my tank.

    oh, and let me be the first to welcome you to the most addictive hobby there is.
     
    beano, Dec 15, 2009
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  4. SaltwaterNoob17

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    I'm glad you asked about the skimmer. It's a mistake that most of us made in the beginning! Seaclones are the worst protein skimmers on the market. Save your money. Get either an Octopus or Aqua C Remora skimmer instead.
     
    Bifferwine, Dec 15, 2009
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  5. SaltwaterNoob17

    SaltwaterNoob17

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    Okay, thanks guys. A few more questions...

    Where can I find either an octo skimmer or remora skimmer online (I had been browsing Drs. Foster and Smith but I don't see them there...)?

    As for the lights...do you all think that a Sundial T-5 Canopy Light Fixtures (156 total Watts) would do the job for a reef, or would it be better to save up for something like a Nova Extreme Pro (234 total Watts)? Also, why T-5 lights over compact; what's the difference?

    Thanks again.
     
    SaltwaterNoob17, Dec 15, 2009
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  6. SaltwaterNoob17

    d2mini VIP Member

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    Welcome to Living Reefs!

    Here's my 46g Bowfront build thread if you want to take a look, maybe get some ideas.
    https://www.livingreefs.com/d2minis-46g-bow-front-t15562.html
    I have an Aqua C Urchin Pro and I wouldn't recommend it. I've never been impressed with it in the slightest.

    For Octopus try Aqua Cave, That Fish Place, Reef Specialty, Empire Aquatics. Just do a google search.

    T5's are the latest and greatest in compact fluorescent technology. There are soooo many bulb color to choose from so you can exactly the look you want. And they are very efficient with high par, allowing you to run SPS coral reef tanks with no metal halide! LED lighting is the future, but at the moment it's still out of most people's reach cost-wise.
     
    d2mini, Dec 15, 2009
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  7. SaltwaterNoob17

    dcantucson

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    Welcome to the site!
    petsolutions.com is also a good site for equipment.
     
    dcantucson, Dec 15, 2009
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  8. SaltwaterNoob17

    SaltwaterNoob17

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    Thanks for all of the help and all of the welcomes you all.

    I thought of another question... I am considering buying a Koralia pump, but I don't know what size to get for a 44 gallon. I was thinking that a Koralia 3 (850gph) would do the job. What would you all recommend?
     
    SaltwaterNoob17, Dec 16, 2009
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  9. SaltwaterNoob17

    bjohanson1234 .........

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    In general, it is better to go with two smaller pumps versus one larger pump. That way you have more control over the flow in the tank. One large one might create a whirlpool like action where two smaller ones facing each other create more of a wave like action.

    I have 2 K1's in my 30 gallon tank in addition to the return pump from my sump
     
    bjohanson1234, Dec 16, 2009
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  10. SaltwaterNoob17

    d2mini VIP Member

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    My 46g bow has two K2's, one K1 and a Tunze NanoStream 6045 which has MEGA flow. I'd recommend one of the Tunze Nano's over the Koralias. Or go all out and get one Vortech MP20. Get you some wave/tide action going.
     
    d2mini, Dec 16, 2009
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  11. SaltwaterNoob17

    SaltwaterNoob17

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    I checked out the Tunze and Vortech, it's just that they're so expensive compared to the Koralias. I think I'd rather buy multiple Koralias then just 1 Tunze or Vortech...
    I'll think about it, though...

    I'm not sure if this is the appropriate place on the forum for this question, but I was wondering you all's opinion on the various salt mixes out there for mixing your own saltwater. Until now, I've run a 14 gallon biocube and bought the saltwater from my LFS, but it's way too expensive to keep buying water from my LFS for a 44 gallon aquarium. Any opinions?

    Also, my LFS insists on me buying this A and B dosing stuff (he says that it is necessary as a buffer and adds calcium/other trace element supplements). Do I really need this? Also, do I need to run the aquarium with chemi-pure, purigen, phosban, chaeto, or any stuff like that, or is an emperor filter and octopus 2000 skimmer enough?

    Thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
    SaltwaterNoob17, Dec 16, 2009
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  12. SaltwaterNoob17

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    It's not necessary to dose anything right now. Salt mixes will contain a good balance of everything a basic tank needs. As long as you keep up with water changes, you will replenish calcium and trace elements. If you decide to try and keep more challenging animals down the road (like SPS corals), you may need to use additives, but you certainly shouldn't have to now.

    You shouldn't need to use ChemiPure, Phosban or Purigen unless you start having water quality problems. You can prevent water quality problems by keeping your bioload low (stick to 1 fish per 10 gallons or so), not overfeeding, and when you do feed, feed high quality foods (frozen, not pellets or flakes).

    I've found that the best salts are Oceanic, Kent Marine and Seachem.
     
    Bifferwine, Dec 16, 2009
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  13. SaltwaterNoob17

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    PS -- it sounds like your LFS is already trying to sell you a bunch of stuff that you don't need. Be careful about that, and double check anything he tells you you "need". Unfortunately, a lot of LFSs look at a customer and all they see is $$$.
     
    Bifferwine, Dec 16, 2009
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  14. SaltwaterNoob17

    SaltwaterNoob17

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    Okay, thanks. One more question... While the aquarium is cycling, should I run the protein skimmer and lights? Why?
     
    SaltwaterNoob17, Dec 16, 2009
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  15. SaltwaterNoob17

    dcantucson

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    Yes on both. The skimmer needs a break in time and the lights will get stuff growing in your tank.
     
    dcantucson, Dec 16, 2009
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  16. SaltwaterNoob17

    SaltwaterNoob17

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    Well...I have a problem. I ordered both a skimmer and lights but they are backordered until mid-January. Should I wait to cycle the aquarium until the skimmer and lights come in? I don't want to screw this tank up, so I'm fine waiting if that is what would be best...
     
    SaltwaterNoob17, Dec 17, 2009
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  17. SaltwaterNoob17

    bjohanson1234 .........

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    You dont need either to cycle a tank. cycling a tank is really just getting the good nitrifying bacteria that breaks down organic waste(fish:pooh:) from ammonia ultimatley to nitrates which arent nearly as poisonous to fish. High amounts of Nitrates causes stress which weakens a fish's immune system.

    As for a skimmer, If you keep up good on water changes after your tank is cycled, and you have a light bioload, you should be OK. But honestly, mid january is only a month away and sometimes a cycle takes that long. When I first set up my tank, I wated a good 2 months before adding anything. But I wanted to make sure it was all ready to go.

    In the mean time, do research on what you want in your tank. Ask any question you feel like we are here to answer them:Cheers:
     
    bjohanson1234, Dec 17, 2009
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  18. SaltwaterNoob17

    dcantucson

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    I agree with BJ
     
    dcantucson, Dec 17, 2009
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  19. SaltwaterNoob17

    SaltwaterNoob17

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    Okay, another question...

    I thought I had the "I'll mix my own saltwater" thing covered, but I didn't realize the importance of a RO/DI unit. Previously, I've always just bought RO water from my LFS, but I can't afford the cost with this new aquarium. I have a water softener installed at my house, and I tested the water for nitrates and copper (nitrates were under 10ppm and the copper was nonexistent). Is my house water okay to use without buying an RO/DI unit? Also, I remember seeing a youtube video where a guy bought a 5 gallon Zephryhills water jug, added his salt mix, and claimed he was good to go. Would that work?

    If I do need an RO/DI unit, what would you all recommend? And can you tell me a little about how they work and the maintenance that they require? (I looked them up, but I only got further confused :frustrat:)
     
    SaltwaterNoob17, Dec 17, 2009
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  20. SaltwaterNoob17

    dcantucson

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    If you're in this for the long haul, then a RO/DI unit is pretty much a basic equipment requirement and will save you lots of money in the end.
     
    dcantucson, Dec 17, 2009
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