OK...I'm taking the plunge!!!

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by mrnish, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. mrnish

    mrnish

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    So..I've been reading the forums all last night and this morning and have decided to turn my 55gal freshwater into saltwater:bounce:...It probably won't be until next year everything is up and running, but I want to do everything right. I need to do a lot more reading and researching equipment. So my first question is...Is it a good idea to buy all the equipment first then when I have everything start the tank, or should I just buy the basic necessities first and add as I get more money??....

    I should probably decide what I'm going to have in the tank before I start buying equipment. I guess there is a lot of options I have with a 55 gal...I'm going to research fish and coral today and hopefully have a list for you guys to help me with.

    Well, until then...I'll be dreaming about fish and coral
     
    mrnish, Sep 6, 2010
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  2. mrnish

    mrnish

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    Also....what do you guys think should be the first piece of equipment I should buy??...I guess it would be most important piece of this whole puzzle. Lights?, protein skimmer?
     
    mrnish, Sep 6, 2010
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  3. mrnish

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    I think you should buy your equipment slowly as you go, but be careful not to buy cheap/crap stuff the first time around, that you'll only have to replace later on down the road.

    For example, if you want a reef tank with corals, lighting is very important. The lights you have for a freshwater setup will be just fine for a fish-only tank, but you will have to spend more on a new light setup if you want to keep corals. So I'd say to just start out with fish and non-photosynthetic inverts for now, save up money, and buy lights when you can afford them. By that time, you should have a good familiarity with your tank, and will be comfortable trying your hand at corals.

    A protein skimmer is very important. I'd say if you are going to spend your money anywhere, to get a good one. If you get a good one now, you won't have to replace it down the road. Check out www.aquacave.com, and look at the Reef Octopus line of HOB skimmers. You want one that is ideally rated for twice the volume of your tank. Octopus HOB skimmers generally cost $100 to $200.

    You will also need to buy a couple powerheads (two will be fine) for water movement. If you have some from freshwater, you can clean them off and just use them. Saltwater tanks need a lot more water movement, so odds are you'll have to get more, or stronger ones.

    You will need to fill the tank with rock (1 to 2 lbs of rock per gallon). So aim for 50 to 100 lbs of rock. You can buy it all as live rock (which generally runs $4 to $10 a lb.), or to save money, you can buy it mostly as dry rock (base rock), then add a few pounds of live rock to the tank. The live rock will seed the base rock, making it live eventually.

    Lights, protein skimmer and powerheads are really the most essential and basic of the equipment you'll need. Anything beyond those is pretty much optional.

    You will need to think about where your water is coming from. For a reef tank, it's a bad idea to use tap water. You should only use RODI water. You can buy RODI water at any Walmart or grocery store, or you can buy an RODI unit for yourself and make it at home (a small one will run you $100 to $150, larger and faster ones will be more expensive).

    I'd say unless you are going to be buying your water from a store, an RODI unit is an important purchase.
     
    Bifferwine, Sep 6, 2010
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  4. mrnish

    mrnish

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    So do I need a sump or is it possible to do everything without it?....I'm assuming if I use a sump then the skimmer, heater will be in there and not showing in the display tank, correct?
     
    mrnish, Sep 6, 2010
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  5. mrnish

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    That's correct. You don't need a sump, but using a sump is preferable. Not only does it hide a lot of your equipment, but it increases the water volume of your system, making it easier to manage.
     
    Bifferwine, Sep 6, 2010
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  6. mrnish

    andersoned14

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    sumps are awsome but not a must. One thing is it cleans up your tank like you said and it also gives you a place to grow thing you do not want to look at everyday. And the added bonus of more water volume is always a plus, it helps cover up the mistakes people tend to make try to recreate the ocean.
     
    andersoned14, Sep 6, 2010
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  7. mrnish

    andersoned14

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    Damn Biff you got there just before me. Good show. You are everywhere:mrgreen:
     
    andersoned14, Sep 6, 2010
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  8. mrnish

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    I'm like the wind.
     
    Bifferwine, Sep 6, 2010
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  9. mrnish

    mrnish

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    Ok, so I will be building a sump...For the main tank, do I need to drill holes in it or can the tubing be hanging over and secured down? All the sump designs I'm seeing are drilling holes into the main tank
     
    mrnish, Sep 6, 2010
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  10. mrnish

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Since your tank is not drilled, you will need to buy an overflow box. CPR, Eschopps and LifeReef are all good brands of overflow boxes.
     
    Bifferwine, Sep 6, 2010
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  11. mrnish

    mrnish

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    Alrighty folks...I will have a 10gal. sump for my 55gal. I was looking at pumps and overflow boxes, as for the pump..I found a Hydor L40 pump at 740gph...is this too much?...I know the rule of thumb is 10x the vol. of the tank. Should I get one closer to 550gph or is more better?

    Second question...should the flow rate of the overflow box match the pump?...or can it be more or less??..I was thinking of getting the CPR CS overflow, but not sure which model.
     
    mrnish, Sep 6, 2010
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  12. mrnish

    BL1 ............. Moderator

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    The pump should have a higher flow than the overflow you're looking at. And when you look at pump flow rates, it will always be less when you figure the distance it has to travel to your tank. Get a higher flow pump and you can tune it with a ball valve on the return side
     
    BL1, Sep 6, 2010
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  13. mrnish

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    +1 Brian. If you get an overflow box rated at, say 650 gph, a pump rated at 740 gph will be fine. You can dial it down with a ball valve.
     
    Bifferwine, Sep 6, 2010
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  14. mrnish

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    Looks like your well on your way.:D
    But I will add this.Instead of shooting for 10X turn over through your sump,slow it down a little bit.The more time the water spends in the sump,the more excess nutrients the skimmer and refugium ( if you go the route ) can remove.
     
    yote, Sep 6, 2010
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  15. mrnish

    mrnish

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    Gotcha!!!
     
    mrnish, Sep 6, 2010
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  16. mrnish

    chbix

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    Biff is on it!

    You can drill your own holes if you feel like you can. There are many videos on youtube showing how, you need a diamond tipped hole saw for your drill and need to add water as your drilling to cool the saw. I know some of the kits come with the hole saw you need and templates.

    You can also get an over the tank one like biff stated. I personally am also building a 55g set up with a sump and Im going to build my own overflow, in fact just got back from lowes with all of the stuff for my overflow and to turn a 29g tank into a sump.
     
    chbix, Sep 7, 2010
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  17. mrnish

    Northstar24 The Tang Herder

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    Welcome to the reef, it looks like everyone has you pretty well covered. My suggestion is to go out and purchase the Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert Fenner, its a great source of information on saltwater systems.
     
    Northstar24, Sep 7, 2010
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  18. mrnish

    mrnish

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    You read my mind...I was looking for a great book to start reading!
     
    mrnish, Sep 8, 2010
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  19. mrnish

    lilreefgirl

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    I was in the same position you are about 6 months ago. I gave myself a year to get everything set up. I have a 60g with a 30g sump. I cant wait to get it finished and get the water in it!!
    I struggled with the drilling (more anxiety about shattering the glass than anything).
    A good YouTube vid is on by "Limpit's reef" - it's in my tank showcase. I watched that and adjusted my design as I needed it. He shows you how to drill the holes - it's worth taking a look. Just make sure your tank is NOT tempered, or the glass will shatter.

    FYI to anyone reading and interested - Hagen brand tanks are NOT tempered. I contacted the company directly and they dont make any of their tanks with tempered glass.

    Anyway mmish - the people on this forum are awesome - keep asking questions and you will get answers. I wouldnt have made the progress I have without them!

    Welcome aboard!!!
     
    lilreefgirl, Sep 8, 2010
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  20. mrnish

    mrnish

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    Thanks for the info lilreefgirl....I have noticed that everyone on here is really helpful nice...I been to other forums where the experienced just like to put noobies down instead of helping them.

    Any suggestions on a protein skimmer??...I'm having a hard time finding the right one...I will be having a 10gal. sump. Does this limit my options having a smaller sump?
     
    mrnish, Sep 8, 2010
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