So new, and not sure where to start.

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by teqvet, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. teqvet

    teqvet

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    Little bit about the aquatic history... I started freshwater keeping about 2 years ago. We have a 75gallon tank with some CA/SA mixtures. Over the summer we left and made the mistake of letting the wrong person care for our pets. In short, I lost a great deal of moneys worth of plants and fish and the tank itself has been barely hanging on since then. I brought it back form the brink of total disaster but it's still pretty bad even 4 months later. I've made the decision to rehome my current fish species to one of the local fish dealers.

    To the subject of the post, I have been lurking around these forums for quite awhile now trying to get a better understanding of things. I understand the initial start up cost of SW hobby is quite expensive but much easier maintained over time. I'm very interested in creating a small reef in the home for my 75gallon. I understand the best thing to do would be to create a sump? I have a 29gallon I could use to do this (i think) but it has been out in the back this winter so I'd have to make sure it can still hold water ok. That would be about 100 gallons of water int eh system after water displacement from rocks/sand in the tank (Im estimating here). My current light system is likely going to be too low, which bums me out. It's a 48" T5HO dual light fixture made by hagen. I understand canister filters are bad mojo for the SW hobby? I have an eheim pro but as I understand it's going to do me little good here. Biggest things I can see right now are a possible upgrade on lights, a skimmer, sump(which will also need a pump) and some powerheads as well as some live sand and live rock.

    Does this cover the basics? am I missing something? Whats the best bang for buck items I can get to start this setup? I've been reading this site for weeks but it's a lot to take in.

    Also, I live in Pensacola, Florida where we have some of the whitest beaches. Would bringing in sand off the gulf be possible or not a good idea?
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
    teqvet, Jan 20, 2010
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  2. teqvet

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    You pretty much got the right idea.
    Just dont waste your money on live sand.Get the dry aragonite instead.It'll become live in no time.You can also save some cash by using dry lace rock and seeding it with a few pounds of live rock.

    Lights,I'd suggest a good set of T-5s like these.Current USA Nova Extreme Pro T5HO 10k/460nm Actinics
    Or even these Giesemann Infiniti HQI Metal Halide + 4 x T5 Light Fixture if the budget permits.

    These CoralVue Protein Skimmers for Saltwater Aquariums & Reefs are the most recommended skimmers.

    And welcome to the site.Were here to help and answer any questions you have.
     
    yote, Jan 20, 2010
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  3. teqvet

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Hi and welcome! If you take sand off the beach, be wary of hydrocarbon contamination... It's really common in beach sand because of boats and jet skis and stuff. I think you're better off just buying dry sand. It sounds stupid, but one drop of oil in your sand could spoil your whole tank.

    You will need new lights to keep corals and inverts like anemones and clams. But the lights you have right now are fine to start off with rock and fish. You can get some cool fish and some non-photosynthetic inverts, enjoy them, learn to keep them, and in the meantime figure out what you want to do for lights. You don't have to get new lights right away, as long as you keep fish and non-photosynthetic animals.

    You will want to get your tank drilled, or buy a pre-drilled tank. That way you can set up a sump. Alternatively, you can set up a sump without a drilled tank using an overflow box, but most people that go this route later regret it and wish they had just drilled their tank.

    You will want an inch or two of sand -- anything more is just going to trap crap and detritus. You also want 1 to 2 lbs of rock per gallon of tank size.

    As for powerheads, I recommend Koralia and MaxiJet brands. Both are good, but Koralias are much pricier.
     
    Bifferwine, Jan 20, 2010
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  4. teqvet

    teqvet

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    It looks like I'm looking at a minimum of 1k$ in additions to what I'm currently set with. 430$ lights + $169 skimmer + ?? for sand and rock? Or you mentioned something about two different types of rock?
     
    teqvet, Jan 20, 2010
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  5. teqvet

    Rcpilot

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    Welcome!!

    If you're looking for a cheap skimmer - and I mean CHEAP - look at Aquatraders. I bought the PS-75 for my 29g frag tank (about 50g total water with sump and fuge) and I love it. It was only $50 delivered to my door. I've never been this happy with a cheap piece of equipment in my entire life.

    I agree on the lights. You can do rock and fish for now and save up the cash for a good light later.

    Definitely drill it or have somebody drill it for you. Run the sump about 5x the tank volume per hour. So if you have a 75g tank you want to run about 375-400gph through your 29g sump. So look for a pump that will do about 500-600gph and then account for your typical 48-60 inches of head pressure and pipe losses due to friction. That should knock the pump down to the right volume to run your sump 5x per hour. Maybe a little more but that won't hurt anything.

    If the 29g holds water, we can help you design the baffles and glue it together. It's a piece of cake if you're a DIY type person. Ya just gotta get your plan together, source the parts, order the parts and then start drillin' holes!! :bounce:

    For your first reef, just use powerheads to get the water flow you need in the tank. Turn the tank over a minimum of 10x per hour. I like about 20x-30x but it's a personal thing and it also depends on the type of corals you want to keep. If you plan to keep SPS corals you might need to turn it over 40x per hour or more. If you run it 10x per hour you'll need a combination of powerheads doing 750gph. 20x would be a combination of powerheads pushing 1500gph.

    Agree on the sand. 1" of sand is fine. 2" is okay. I think it takes about 1lb of sand per gallon to cover the bottom in about 1" - maybe a little less. Get dry sand. Live sand is a waste of money. You'll seed it with a few small/medium pieces of live rock. It's all live rock and sand after the first 6 months. No problem using base rock too. It just takes longer to mature. I like watching base rock mature in my tank though. I don't need instant gratification. I'd rather watch it change over the course of years. But it's a personal thing. You can fill it up with 150lbs of live rock if thats what you want to do. It's going to be your journey and your fun - so enjoy it the way you want.

    Start a tank build thread and take lots of pics. :Cheers:
     
    Rcpilot, Jan 20, 2010
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  6. teqvet

    teqvet

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    Yuck, I'll need to have the tank drilled for the sump? Not sure I'm up to that task on my own. Would it be likely IO could have one of he local shops do that for a price? What would be fair price for that type of labor? I guess I could just sale my current holdings and look for a predrilled setup as well.. not sure how easy that will be,
     
    teqvet, Jan 20, 2010
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  7. teqvet

    mng777777 Shark Wrangler Wannabe

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    Hello and welcome to the site.
    You could also look on craigslist for lights and skimmers, you can save quite a bit by checking it daily and being patient. Don't hesitate to ask here for guidance before buying used.

    As for the rock, Yote said lace rock, all he means is that you can buy dry rock, say 70lbs for example, then add 25lbs, of live rock to it and in time it will all be live rock. The term Live Rock just means that it has beneficial bacteria growing in/on it. The same is true for your sand. Just make sure that the dry rock and sand you select is fit for an aquarium. It is a mistake to pull rock out of the lake behind your house, or your neighbors yard, and try to use it because you have no way of knowing what types of heavy metals might be in it. Your LFS will usually sell dry lace rock at a small fraction of the cost of LR.

    You can also usually find someone tearing down a tank and selling their LR on craigslist.

    As for the lights, don't spend that kind of money until you really know what you want to keep in your tank, and understand what you are getting. My first lighting purchase turned out to be a big, expensive, let-down. You can always come here for guidance before making the big purchase.

    Good luck, and enjoy!
     
    mng777777, Jan 20, 2010
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  8. teqvet

    Rcpilot

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    Drilling tanks is easy and cheap. Don't think of it as glass. Think of it as soft butter and the hole saw you buy as a hot steak knife. Zip!! 1 minute later and ya got yourself a drilled tank. If you can run a cordless drill and spray water on a drill bit - you can drill a hole in glass. Can you tie your shoes? It's that easy. :bounce:

    Don't make me post a video. I'll do it!! :mrgreen:

    Don't be scared of drilling a hole in a tank. Look at it as an adventure!! This is going to be FUN!! TONS OF FUN!!

    Tens of thousands of people have drilled their own tanks. None of us are any smarter than you.
     
    Rcpilot, Jan 20, 2010
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  9. teqvet

    mng777777 Shark Wrangler Wannabe

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    Drilling is really pretty simple. We will help you through it if you want to give it a try, or any glass shop should be able to do it for you. I have heard anywhere from $10-$40 per hole. Personally I think even $10 is too much but then again they assume quite a bit of liability if they break your tank. Check out glassholes.com
     
    mng777777, Jan 20, 2010
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  10. teqvet

    Rcpilot

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    I bought my hole saw bit from Hong Kong and it arrived about 10 days later. It was a whole $9 for it. That was shipping - everything. $9

    Diamond coated hole saw
     
    Rcpilot, Jan 20, 2010
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  11. teqvet

    mng777777 Shark Wrangler Wannabe

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    RC!!!!! that's twice you have ninja'd me! :frustrat::frustrat::frustrat:

    Edit: 3 times. and you are probably working on the 4th now....
     
    mng777777, Jan 20, 2010
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  12. teqvet

    Rcpilot

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    HIIIIIIIIYYY YAAAAAAAA

    Chop Suey!! :Cheers:

    Edit: Nope
     
    Rcpilot, Jan 20, 2010
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  13. teqvet

    mng777777 Shark Wrangler Wannabe

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    I knew it!
     
    mng777777, Jan 20, 2010
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  14. teqvet

    SeaBee Ha Ha Thats Funny!

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    You can buy an overflow box, eshoppes
     
    SeaBee, Jan 20, 2010
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  15. teqvet

    teqvet

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    I'd read about that but people seem to discourage those. Why is that?
     
    teqvet, Jan 20, 2010
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  16. teqvet

    Smitty

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    Hello and welcome to the site...glad to have you.
     
    Smitty, Jan 20, 2010
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  17. teqvet

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    My my, you got the best of the best of living reefs responding with awesome insight :)

    My 45g has an overflow box...I think they're ok....I can take it out and wash it off when I do maintenance. My problem with it is the utube -- the piece that takes the water from the inner overflow box to the outer box that then brings the water to the sump. It gets an air pocket trapped at the top of the tube, and I have to either shake it out, or restart the siphon. But I know what is causing it....the piss poor return pump that I'm using. It's not pumping water fast enough from the sump to push water through the tube. Other than that, if you really don't want to drill, it's not a bad thing. I prefer predrilled, like in my 125...no siphon problems, cuz it doesn't need a siphon :)
     
    wontonflip, Jan 20, 2010
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  18. teqvet

    teqvet

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    Ok. The overflow thing seems like it might be the best thing then. Wife would kill me if I wanted to look for a new tank even though I got our 75g at a steal of $50. So Skimmer > pump > sump > overflow are the immediate things I need to purchase along with rock and sand.



    Back to lights, someone mentioned holding off on lights until I know what I want to do. I'm most interested in doing something with a lot of corals over time so I can only assume I'm going to want something medium to high light?
     
    teqvet, Jan 20, 2010
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  19. teqvet

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Don't forget the materials you'll need to do your plumbing :) I used PVC for my intake, and flex tubing for the return into the tank...plus the piece to attach the return nozzle on to the tubing (either a flow accelerator - like this: Pacific Coast Flow Accelerator or a return utube like this - Return U-Tubes ) My 45 uses a return utube, and my 125 uses 2 flor accelerators.
     
    wontonflip, Jan 20, 2010
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  20. teqvet

    mng777777 Shark Wrangler Wannabe

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    The answer to that depends on what type of corals you want. If you are planning to go with just softies, you can get away with a lot less light than if you decide to go LPS or SPS. SPS requiring the most light of them all. If you decide to go with SPS and/or clams, you will probably want to look at getting metal Halides, or a t5x8 bulb fixture to fit the length of your tank. If you stick with just soft corals, you can get by with a t5x4 bulb, or power compacts. You should probably spend some time looking through the tank showcase threads, then visit some sites like Blue Zoo or Live Aquaria and spend some time looking at their livestock. Start to create a list of the things you think you want to have in your tank. Based on that, we can help you figure out exactly what lights will work the best for you, and help you with compatibility and care as well.

    The best kept secret in plumbing, is jacuzzi line. Find a jacuzzi or plumbing wholesaler and go get yourself some 3/4 flexible pvc, aka Jacuzzi line. It is better for your pumps and easier to install than rigid pvc. They usually only come in 50/100 foot rolls but you should be able to pick up a roll for around $30. You'll be glad you did.
     
    mng777777, Jan 20, 2010
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