Need Help What to buy and setting up my New 125 Gallon Saltwater Aquarium?

Discussion in 'Reef Fishes' started by shah822, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. shah822

    shah822

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    I just bought a 125 gallon oceanic aquarium from a guy locally. With the purchase he gave me A LOT of stuff. I have never done saltwater and think that I am going to try it this time. I would like to do a Saltwater Reef Tank. With my purchase, he gave me 3 Filstar Xp3 Canister filters, Angstrom 25W UV sterilizer, multiple powerheads,and a full RO/DI system, and much more.

    The reason for my post is that I was curious how to set this full system up. And What I need to buy additionally. First things first he gave me 2 35"Coralife florescent lights. I know that this will not be sufficient but I was curious what type of lighting I need to get. I also have a 48" Coralife T5 light with both the 10000k and blue Bulb. I really would like to know which lighting would be cheapest and work with a reef tank.

    Next I was curious about the filters. I planned on setting all 3 of them up with this tank. I know that one will be hooked through the UV filters. Is it necessary to have a UV in saltwater or no? Also, Do I need a protein skimmer? If so which is the best inline one I can hook with my XP3. Also, With the filters, which Media do I use? Is it the same media as freshwater media? Carbon, foam, bio max, etc.

    Next I was curious how much live rock and live sand I should get for the aquarium. I do want to have a decent amount of fish and was even thinking about getting a lionfish eventually.

    All in all i really would like to know what else I need to get to use this freshwater equipment for a saltwater tank. Thanks and I look forward to an in depth response
     
    shah822, Mar 8, 2012
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  2. shah822

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Welcome to the site!

    I'd ditch the canister filter (keep it for running carbon on emergencies, but they really have no place in saltwater -- they are nitrate factories).

    Check the rodi cartridge...find out how old those are, they might need replaced, too.

    Some people here use UV filters. I don't know if they leave it on all the time, though.

    A skimmer is not necessary, but is really useful. It takes out the excess waste from the water column before they break down into ammonia/nitrites/nitrates.

    Did your tank come with a sump and overflow (whether built in or hob overflow)?
     
    wontonflip, Mar 8, 2012
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  3. shah822

    markrj

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    +1 on ditching the canister filters. I had one for 3 months. It's no longer in operation and instead I use a DIY Algae Scrubber.
     
    markrj, Mar 8, 2012
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  4. shah822

    shah822

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    Ok I really want to keep the canister filters. I figured if I have 3 of them the filtration would be very good! I know that they are not the best but I just would hate for them to go to waste. The tank does not come with an overflow box it just has the normal piping that comes with the filstar. It is the intake and than they come with a spray bar and a jet nozzle. Well I really would appreciate it if you could list out what I would all need. I posted this same post on yahoo answers and I really didn't get the best answers. Just trying this site out to see what people think. Please if you could, list out exactly what I would need if I keep the 3 filters. Also lighting substrate, live rock etc.
     
    shah822, Mar 9, 2012
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  5. shah822

    markrj

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    Your live rock is the ultimate filtration.

    If you keep the canister filters you will need to change the filter media weekly or even more often.

    You will still have stuff getting stuck in the filter media and within a day or two depending on your bio-load, nitrates will start to elevate. You must change the filter media to prevent this.

    I tried just rinsing it and trying to get it as clean as possible but my nitrates stayed elevated until I dumped the canister filter.

    It gets quite expensive replacing that media every week. Especially x 3!

    You should really look into a Overflow box (I just ordered a Lifereef and it should be here tomorrow) and a sump/algae scrubber/refugium setup.

    Excessive maintenance requirements will kill your interest in this hobby. It almost did mine. SInce dumping the canister filter and installing the algae scrubber I have not even performed a water change. Just top offs. I used to do 20% water changes every 3-5 days.
     
    markrj, Mar 9, 2012
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  6. shah822

    shah822

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    I was thinking if I get a new filter, I would get a TOMS Aquarium Pro filtration. Read really good reviews and also, I like the Auto refill. One other question that I have is what type of light should I get. I know that everyone says do not skimp on the lighting. I have a 72" 125 gallon aquarium. Can I do 2 36" lights or should I just do one 72". Also, Anyone have a suggestion on the type of light I should get. Maybe give me a link or whatever. I am planing on doing a coral reef aquarium. thanks!
     
    shah822, Mar 9, 2012
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  7. shah822

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    If you keep the canister, just be sure to rinse them out regularly or you will have nitrate issues. IMHO, you already have a great bio filter w/ the rocks and the sand. A skimmer would be better than a canister because it will actually take OUT the organic waste from the water column before it actually breaks down; whereas the canister will keep the waste in the water column and break down into ammonia then nitrites then nitrates. It's just extra work. And once you start a tank with the canister, it's harder to take out of the loop if you have nitrate issues later because you'll have to do it gradually over time.
     
    wontonflip, Mar 12, 2012
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  8. shah822

    FishyReef Broke Reefer!

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    You are going to be much better off investing in a good skimmer and ditching the canister filters in the long run. If you feel bad not using them because they came wiht the set up, you could always try selling them to someone who could use them for a freshwater tank. As far as live rock goes, you can buy mostly dead or dry rock (check out bulk reef supply or marko rocks) and then seed it with a few lbs of live rock - it is much cheaper than buying all live rock. You will need 1-2lbs of live rock per gallon. If you don't have powerheads to circulate the water you should also look into getting a few of those. Koralia evolution powerheads are good and attach to the sides of your tank via magnets, preventing tank crashes from suction cups detaching! A final pieces of equipment you should look into getting is a refractometer - this will be much better for measuring salinity/specific gravity than a hydrometer - and get a good testing kit (not the test strips that you dip), API and SeaChem both make decent kits.

    Welcome & good luck!
     
    FishyReef, Mar 12, 2012
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  9. shah822

    d2mini VIP Member

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    +1 to all above info!

    Canisters are not for reef keeping.
    Live rock and sand is what will provide natural filtering, along with the clean-up crew.
    Feed lightly and you can get away with no skimmer for a while too. In fact if you do a google search you can find nice skimmerless tanks out there.
    I feed lightly and I hardly get any skimmate in my skimmer cup. I empty it maybe once a month.

    Hight Output T5 fixtures will give you the best bang for your buck.
     
    d2mini, Mar 12, 2012
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  10. shah822

    Sir Alex Dragon the eel (below)

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    Here's my advice on the lighting: A six bulb T5 would be the cheapest way to go, ranging from $400-$800 (for your sized tank), which would probably be able to keep hard corals and anemones closer to surface. You're also missing out on the shimmer using T5s... Metal halide is a very proven source of lighting. Under three 250 watt halides you will able to keep anything. The disadvantages of MH include excess heat, large power consumption, and expensive bulbs. They are also more expensive than T5 ranging from $430-$1500. Then, what a lot of people have been choosing lately is LED. It produces very little heat and uses a lot less energy, while still keeping the shimmer and high par of MH. You can even adjust the color spectrum and create a very realistic sunrise/sunset effect with the high-end LEDs. Their only problem is their price. They can range from $600-$2250 or even more.


    Further details: Here a couple good T5s: Aquarium Lighting for Reef Systems: Current Nova Extreme Pro T-5 Fixtures & Sunlight Supply Tek Light High Output Fluorescent Lighting Fixtures (guess you'd get two 36"?)

    I don't know much about metal halide but I've heard some fairly good things (and some bad) about this fixture: Odyssea Metal Halide System

    As for LEDs, fin-sanity in PA makes remarkably low priced DIY LEDs. It's $599 for the 96 LED system which is what I think you need. I have their 66 LED system and all my corals seem to be doing well, it just lacks the features of high-end LEDs. Another kinda affordable LED is the aquatic illumination SOL fixture, which has control of the blue, royal blue, and white spectrum, as well as sunset/sunrise customizeability and thunderstorms. It's $400 per unit and you'd need 3. And... The radion. Ecotech's radion is the new king in LED lighting, with full control of the blue, royal blue, white, green, and red color spectrum along with thunderstorms cloud simulations and not just a customizeable sunse/sunrise, but completely customizeable throughout the whole day using the computer software. Unfortunately you'd need 3 units running at $750 each. It would be a big investment but you may find it worth it.
     
    Sir Alex, Mar 12, 2012
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