My First Reef - Filtering Questions

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by webdizzy, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. webdizzy

    webdizzy

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    I have several years experience in the aquarium hobby, most w/ freshwater but my last couple of years I had converted to FOWLR (I'm guess that means "Fish Only With Live Rock"?). I took the tank down a few years ago due to lack of time and money. Now that my kids are grown, I'm considering getting back into it.

    My last setup was a 46 Bow Front with an Emperor power filter and live rock. Never had a skimmer or sump or anything else. I'm considering trying a reef this time with the same tank but want to improve the filtering. I want to go slow with this setup, doing fish only at first, but want to do it right so I can move into invertebrates and corals.

    There's so much info on the web, but it can get rather confusing, especially in regards to filtering. Some people say live rock and skimmer is all you need. Others are adamant about sumps. I like the ease of canister filters, but it seems they are advised against on these forums. Some say to mix live sand with crushed coral, others say something else. Etc. I'd like to keep it simple and not too expensive, and am not crazy about having to build or buy a sump.

    Would live rock/sand and a good HOT skimmer (such as the AquaC Remora) really work well as some have said in these forums, or do they mean LR and a skimmer added to a sump? What are the advantages, concerns and potential problems with a sump?

    What if I did without a sump and used:
    Live Rock
    AquaC Remora HOT Skimmer
    Marineland C-360 Canister Filter (would this be needed?)

    Oh, and what about powerheads? Do I need to add any to the above if I've got water flowing from the skimmer and filter? How many?

    Thanks for any input!
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2009
    webdizzy, Sep 29, 2009
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  2. webdizzy

    bjohanson1234 .........

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    Sumps are not needed. They increase the water volume and add a bit more stability.
    The skimmer you mentioned has been recomended to me for my 30 gallon tank. I havent purchased one yet due to lack of funds.

    Aim for about 1-2 lbs per gallon for your tank. You can save money by purchasing dry base rock and seeding it with a couple peices of nice live rock.

    The sand should be aragonite sand. Buy this dry also since the live rock will seed this too. It will save you money. Most people aim for an inch or two of sand on the bottom.

    The canister filter if not cleaned regularly, can cause nitrates to raise. If they get higher than 20 ppm or so, corals and inverts can be affected. Some people on here just run it once a week or so to clear up their water.

    If you are planning to eventually go with corals, save up your money and get a good light. Either a t5 HO or a metal halide. Aim for about 4 watts per gallon and you should be able to keep almost anything.
    If you want an anenome, please make sure you are not talked into buying one when the tank is less than a year old. They are dificult to keep and require very stable conditions and strong lighting. Some LFS will sell them to a newbie because they just want to make a quick sale and dont realize that building a good relationship with customers actually helps business.

    Welcome to the site:Cheers:
    Ask questions we are all here to help each other out
     
    bjohanson1234, Sep 29, 2009
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  3. webdizzy

    bjohanson1234 .........

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    Sorry missed this

    Powerheads. You want one that will keep the surface rippling for oxygen exchange
    You will also need to add them bassed on how much flow you need. Some corals require stronger flow than others. You also want to make sure there are no dead spots in the tank (or very few) where :pooh: will pile up.
     
    bjohanson1234, Sep 29, 2009
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  4. webdizzy

    Melosu58

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    When it comes to filtration all is needed is LR (the amount mentioned above) and a skimmer. Also the PH`s mentioned above. Usually on a 30 gallon or less you really dont need a skimmer. Frequent PWC`s will do the same thing.
     
    Melosu58, Sep 29, 2009
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  5. webdizzy

    AdeptMrSniffles I have a Blue Thumb

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    Damn, BJ has you covered.

    Like has been stated. Save your money for a light fixture that will cover your future needs. Don't shy away because your only keeping fish for now because you'll regret it in the end when you want to start keeping coral.

    A lot of people have a HOB (Hang On Back), same as HOT?? (Hang On Top??), and they're perfectly happy. I think it all depends on the livestock you keep. The more they :pooh: the better skimmer you want.

    I don't think many people around here, in the Living Reefs community, have a bad outlook on canister filters as long as they are kept clean. I've never bothered buying one, but if you have one and can use it to run carbon then by all means.... use it. Just make sure you religiously maintain it.

    Powerheads, as stated above, keep things moving in your tank. I keep LPS and Softies in my tank and they don't like too much flow so I don't have any kind of monster powerhead, I even had to buy a ball valve to slow my return from my sump. However, if you get the necessary lighting for SPS, then you need to make sure you have strong flow.

    My advice: Look at some tanks in the "Tank Showcase" section of the forum. If you like what you see then I'd try and mimic their setup.

    One last thing, BJ gave you a great heads up with an anenome. They may look cool, but you gotta wait. Patience is key to SW tanks. Just my :twocents: Good luck!
     
    AdeptMrSniffles, Sep 29, 2009
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  6. webdizzy

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    The only thing I can add,is to make sure you've got enough water movement in the tank to keep detritus and other waste in suspension.That way your skimmer has a chance to remove it from the water.
    And welcome aboard.Were glad to have you here.
     
    yote, Sep 29, 2009
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  7. webdizzy

    Ted Living one day at a time

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    welcome in the others have you covered. :D
     
    Ted, Sep 30, 2009
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  8. webdizzy

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    I'm also a fan of skimmer + live rock, no canister.
     
    Bifferwine, Sep 30, 2009
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  9. webdizzy

    webdizzy

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    Thanks for all the replies! Sounds like what I want to do, LR w/ skimmer, is confirmed to be a good way to go. I'm sure I'll have other questions as I move towards putting it all together. In fact, I already have at least one more, but will create a new thread.
     
    webdizzy, Sep 30, 2009
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  10. webdizzy

    webdizzy

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    One more thing -- about the live rock -- should I add it all at once, or is it something I can do like half to start with and then the other half? Or would that mean the tank would cycle again?
     
    webdizzy, Sep 30, 2009
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  11. webdizzy

    bjohanson1234 .........

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    If you add it part now and part latter, make sure that the LR is fully cured. If you get it from the LFS, it should be and as long as it stays wet, it should be fine. If you order it online and it gets shipped, you will have to make sure it cures before adding it. You can add a piece of base rock no problem to a cycled tank.
     
    bjohanson1234, Sep 30, 2009
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  12. webdizzy

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    If you can afford to add it all at once, that's the better option since there's a chance it will kick off another cycle if you do half and half. If you can only add half now, then do what BJ says.
     
    Bifferwine, Sep 30, 2009
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  13. webdizzy

    webdizzy

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    What does "cured" me for live rock?

    How should I add the rock to the tank -- before or after the water? Would be kinda hard to arrange it w/ water in the tank, but doesn't it have to stay wet?
     
    webdizzy, Sep 30, 2009
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  14. webdizzy

    bjohanson1234 .........

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    cured means that anything that has died off in the shipping process has been decomposed and has quite adding to the nitrogen cycle. You can tell that a piece is cured by smelling it. If it smells like ocean, its good. If it smells bad it isnt cured yet.

    You can remove it from water for a while and nothing else will die off on it as long as the rock stays wet. Also, dont be afraid to put your hands in the water it comes with the territory. They sell arm length gloves if you dont want to get wet.

    Brian
     
    bjohanson1234, Sep 30, 2009
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  15. webdizzy

    Ted Living one day at a time

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    Cured means that their wont be anymore die off from the rock. When you have die off on the rock you get ammonia spikes which causes a cycle. If you get all the rock you need at the begining then you can use that to cycle your tank. If you add more rock to a setup tank then you need to cure it in a container (garbage can) for a few weeks until their isnt any more ammonia. Most people fill the tank half way to three quarters then add the rock and sand. You wont be able to tell what it looks like for a few days until everything settles then you have to rearrange to how you want it. The rock sent from internet sellers usually comes wrapped in damp newspaper and plastic. For the few minutes that you have it open while getting it into the tank wont make much difference.
     
    Ted, Sep 30, 2009
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  16. webdizzy

    dcantucson

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    +1 to all above
     
    dcantucson, Sep 30, 2009
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  17. webdizzy

    Melosu58

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