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equipment list for first reef tank build

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nh murph

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2014
Messages
13
Location
New Hampshire
I plan on building my first reef tank next winter. I would like to start getting my equipment now, and have come up with a list. I'm a saltwater newb, so I would appreciate any thoughts about the equipment I am looking at. I will be mostly interested in corals but would like a few fish and inverts. Here is what I have come up with so far:

40g breeder tank
20g long tank for the sump. Could go up to a 30g
DIY steel framed stand
DIY LED lighting
BRS 5 stage plus RO/DI 75gpd
Reef Octopus NWB 150 6" skimmer
Reef Octopus CR1000 calcium reactor or Maybe a doser instead
2 Jeboa 6000 pumps... 1 to run the sump return, then 1 to run manifold for accessories
Reefkeeper Lite Plus controler
Cobalt Aquatics Neo Therm 200W heater
Phosban 150 for GFO
Power heads... Still undecided.
Ozone maker (open to suggestions)
ATO system (open to suggestions)

I had thought about a refugium, but would rather use the space in the sump for growing frags. Like I said, this is new to me, so I am open to suggestions. I just want to finalize my equipment and design before I buy anything.
Thanks!
 

tike

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Joined
Mar 24, 2005
Messages
1,901
Location
Tacoma,WA
Welcome aboard!!! I already gave you my suggestions so let's see who else will chime in!
 

IPisces

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Mar 31, 2009
Messages
6,455
Location
Hansville, WA
Oh crap...I started this post like three hours ago and forgot to hit the submit button...lol

Wow, great plan so far.
If you are set on a 40B, see if you can find one that has a built in overflow, or if you cant, have one drilled for an internal overflow. Its so much easier and cleaner than an overflow box. Otherwise If it were me I would go right for a reef ready 75. the little extra room is so worth it.

If I am right, the jeboa 6000 runs 1500 gph. That is way to fast for the typical 1"-1.5" overflow that is normally on that size tank. 1-1.5" overflows are only going to be able to handle 600 to maybe 800 gph and...I think I only run about 350 gph after head loss on my tanks. Except for my 240, its running much much more.

Create the flow in the tank with powerheads. I, myself am partial to the Hydor Koralia pumps. I have 2 of the 1400gph pumps in my 40B and dont think its enough flow.
 

reefman069

want more mini maxi
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
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Location
puyallup
looking at your list. i would get a apex controller over a reefkeeper lite. the apex is very easy to use. for the return pumps i would get a waveline dc 6000 pump. it comes with a controller with six speeds. super quite pump. i also would get a jebao pump for flow. these pumps put a really cool wave in your tank. makes your coral pulse back and forth. for the heater i would get a titaniun heater with a jbj truetemp controller. don't have to worry about them bursting inside your tank and killing everything. welcome to reef frontiers. if you have any questions. ask away. we all can help.
 

nh murph

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2014
Messages
13
Location
New Hampshire
Thanks! I was planning on doing the bean animal setup for the overflow box. I would rather put the box in the tank so if it fails, it fails inside the tank. I'm pretty handy, so drilling the tanks for plumbing won't be an issue. I'm going with a 40b and a 20 or 30 gallon sump because that is the max weight I am willing to put on the floor where the tank will go.
I am kind of leaning towards acrylic tanks. Not really sure why, but that is where my brain is leading me.
I want to go as automated as I can so if I am away for work it won't be hard for my better half to keep it up. She would have no problem mantaining it, but she manages the farm and works a lot of hours, so it would just be hard for her to find the time.
I have also had others suggest the wave pumps for flow, so I think I will go that route.

How about a Doser? Any recommendations?

ATO? I'll have my RO/DI unit plumbed for a constant water supply. Can you top off with straight RO water or will it have to be salinated first?

When I get all this equipment figured out, I plan to do a whole design on AutoCAD before I start building.

I appreciate all the advice I can get. I just want to do it right the first time so I don't wind up replacing things once I am up and running.
 

trido

Fish Tank Freak
Joined
Sep 28, 2006
Messages
3,524
Location
Lynnwood
If you want automated as possible then I agree with others about using an Neptune apex over the Reefkeeper. An apex can be hooked up the internet and programmed to e-mail and text you if something is wrong.

For a 40 breeder, and especially a first tank. I wouldn't recommend Ozone. You really shouldn't need it. You can use a UV sterilizer if you must have some sort off sterilizer.

I agree with the comment about about using a smaller return pump and then getting a jebao powerhead for a wave maker.

For your ATO. I love my Tunze Osmolator. But if you get an apex, you can buy a Break Out Box and build your own ATO. Then if it fails will email you or shut off other parts of your tank if you need it to.

I wouldn't build my own LED if I were you. There are a lot of fixtures on the market that do just as well or better for the same price or less than DIY. I just removed my DIY from my 210 and couldn't be happier. I still use a little bit and it has its place in our hobby but for your situation a store bought fixture will last longer and look better.
 

tike

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 24, 2005
Messages
1,901
Location
Tacoma,WA
Thanks! I was planning on doing the bean animal setup for the overflow box. I would rather put the box in the tank so if it fails, it fails inside the tank. I'm pretty handy, so drilling the tanks for plumbing won't be an issue. I'm going with a 40b and a 20 or 30 gallon sump because that is the max weight I am willing to put on the floor where the tank will go.
I am kind of leaning towards acrylic tanks. Not really sure why, but that is where my brain is leading me.
I want to go as automated as I can so if I am away for work it won't be hard for my better half to keep it up. She would have no problem mantaining it, but she manages the farm and works a lot of hours, so it would just be hard for her to find the time.
I have also had others suggest the wave pumps for flow, so I think I will go that route.

How about a Doser? Any recommendations?

ATO? I'll have my RO/DI unit plumbed for a constant water supply. Can you top off with straight RO water or will it have to be salinated first?

When I get all this equipment figured out, I plan to do a whole design on AutoCAD before I start building.

I appreciate all the advice I can get. I just want to do it right the first time so I don't wind up replacing things once I am up and running.
Here's a little write up on the bean set up http://www.beananimal.com/projects/silent-and-fail-safe-aquarium-overflow-system.aspx
If you are drilling yourself, acrylic is much easier to do but you have to be careful when cleaning algae from them because of the high scratch factor. For dosing i use the bulk reef supply 2(3) part http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/brs-2-part-calcium-alkalinity-kit-pre-portioned.html, you can automate it with a dosing pump like this one.
http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/bubble-magus-dosing-pump.html
Your top off water should be straight RO water. You are replacing water that has evaporated....salt doesn't evap...so IF you replace water with saltwater you will increase the salinity of the water.
 

nh murph

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2014
Messages
13
Location
New Hampshire
Here's a little write up on the bean set up http://www.beananimal.com/projects/silent-and-fail-safe-aquarium-overflow-system.aspx
If you are drilling yourself, acrylic is much easier to do but you have to be careful when cleaning algae from them because of the high scratch factor. For dosing i use the bulk reef supply 2(3) part http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/brs-2-part-calcium-alkalinity-kit-pre-portioned.html, you can automate it with a dosing pump like this one.
http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/bubble-magus-dosing-pump.html
Your top off water should be straight RO water. You are replacing water that has evaporated....salt doesn't evap...so IF you replace water with saltwater you will increase the salinity of the water.
Thanks for the info and links. I assume they make algea cleaning equipment for acrylic. I am thinking the cleanup crew will help with that too. I have heard avoiding crabs in the cleanup crew is best if I plan on soft corals. I was planning on a deep sand bed with lots of live rock, and maybe some live rock and sand in the frag compartment in the sump. Does that sound right?
 

trido

Fish Tank Freak
Joined
Sep 28, 2006
Messages
3,524
Location
Lynnwood
I have heard avoiding crabs in the cleanup crew is best if I plan on soft corals.
I've never heard that. If your doing soft corals you really really dont need UV or Ozone. Softies like dirtier water. SPS like super clean water.

I'm not familiar with every LED on the market and dont really have any great suggestions for you. I have EverGrow's from Barrier Reef Aquariums and will DIY a moonlight soon enough.
 

1guydude

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Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
3,111
Location
p-town, WA
Ur really green.
No offense. We all were.

+1 u won't need ozone, or dosing, or even auto top.off imo right now.
All these things will come in time. U will be researching things as they come and before hand research and reading is great! Congrats there.
All I did was watch some utube videos of a guy mixing sw in a bucket with his hand.

Uve got a good tank! Your stand height depends on if ur sitting down or standing well viewing the tank.
U can easily draw a line on ur sump. Like in the return section.than u just pour the rodi water in up to the line.
Lights...should b led imo. 120w maybe two smaller ones.
Simple timers from hellmart can help too.

Fuge can b setup in diff ways. I really like my deep sand bed fuge. With rock and no light. Sponges and feathers and such will grow here.
+1 the salt stays in the tank. Water evaps so just replace water no salt.
Also water change water change waterchange. I can not stress it enough. I didn't learn this till.later... try and set up ur wc easily too.
Buckets
Powerhead for mixing salt
Heater so its same temp.

Your tank will need these water changes.

Bean animal is not needed imo. I've had both. I prefer the full siphon with a strainer and gate valve. Also another driller a lil higher with an up turned 90deg pvc for emergency.
When it drains to the sump...make the emergency pipe above water so u can hear it splashing. Letting u know.

I envy u for having the help from the lady. Do u have her support? Not a cheap hobby.
O and I like glass tanks as a personal prefrence.
D

U are.correct. buying good equipment that u need and can use down the road for upgrading now is the way to go. I've bought so much junk its.not funny. Or bigger powerheads after bigger powerheads. Bigger skimmer after bigger skimmer. More light. The list goes on.
 

tike

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 24, 2005
Messages
1,901
Location
Tacoma,WA
Just a heads up...i invited nh murphy here from another forum because he just wasn't getting much response over there and I knew here we would probably overwhelm him with info! So far so good! Way to go RF. Okay...... I run evergrow LEDs over my tanl and love them. I bought mine off e bay before Barrier Reef aquariums was selling them so I got a 1 year warranty rather then the 2 year they offer. You can go to ebay and search evergrow led to get an idea what you're looking at. If your just doing softies I believe you can get away with one unit. Hermit crabs won't mess with any livestock in the tank. As for the deep sand bed, I ran a tank with one for 2 years, then had hella problems with high nitrates(50 ppm's +) so i ditched it. I think a layer of a inch would be plenty.
 

nh murph

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2014
Messages
13
Location
New Hampshire
Ur really green.
No offense. We all were.

+1 u won't need ozone, or dosing, or even auto top.off imo right now.
All these things will come in time. U will be researching things as they come and before hand research and reading is great! Congrats there.
All I did was watch some utube videos of a guy mixing sw in a bucket with his hand.

Uve got a good tank! Your stand height depends on if ur sitting down or standing well viewing the tank.
U can easily draw a line on ur sump. Like in the return section.than u just pour the rodi water in up to the line.
Lights...should b led imo. 120w maybe two smaller ones.
Simple timers from hellmart can help too.

Fuge can b setup in diff ways. I really like my deep sand bed fuge. With rock and no light. Sponges and feathers and such will grow here.
+1 the salt stays in the tank. Water evaps so just replace water no salt.
Also water change water change waterchange. I can not stress it enough. I didn't learn this till.later... try and set up ur wc easily too.
Buckets
Powerhead for mixing salt
Heater so its same temp.

Your tank will need these water changes.

Bean animal is not needed imo. I've had both. I prefer the full siphon with a strainer and gate valve. Also another driller a lil higher with an up turned 90deg pvc for emergency.
When it drains to the sump...make the emergency pipe above water so u can hear it splashing. Letting u know.

I envy u for having the help from the lady. Do u have her support? Not a cheap hobby.
O and I like glass tanks as a personal prefrence.
D

U are.correct. buying good equipment that u need and can use down the road for upgrading now is the way to go. I've bought so much junk its.not funny. Or bigger powerheads after bigger powerheads. Bigger skimmer after bigger skimmer. More light. The list goes on.
Real green! Had some fw in the past and a 35g fw going now, but that's it. There is SO much more to doing a proper reef that I figured now was the time to start learning and planning for doing a build next winter. It will also help spread out the cost over the next 8-9 months.

I do understand that I could get rolling without things like the ATO and doser, but I figured I would rather get it all from the start to allow for better planning and a cleaner looking build. I am very mechanically inclined, and build complicated things regularly. I am kind of a perfectionist when I take on a project, so having it all present and accounted for from the start is just my usual MO. You should have seen how much stuff I originally had on my list that I've already been talked out of! I am diligent with water changes in my fw tank. 50% every Sunday. I realize 50% is a bit much for a sw tank, but whatever I find to be the optimal amount will be done weekly.
Fortunately I have a great girl. She supports anything I do, and is excited about this project. She does have a knack for finding the most expensive and highest maintenance fish and coral and clams on the page though. (We've been looking at this stuff for a while)

My main reasoning for building LED lights is the building it myself part. I just like making things. If longevity is better on a manufactured light, that could change my mind.

I had a bit of a suspicious feeling when I was told that crabs in the cuc were trouble, that's why I mentioned it.

Does using live sand and dry live rock make the tank cycle much faster? I have read some contradicting methods of cycling a sw tank, but I was leaning towards live sand and dry live rock.

I'm real glad tike invited me over here. All the advice is awesome. The other forum has some real good people there, but it seems to get a lot less traffic and comments. It's good to get opinions and experiences from a bunch of people.

Thanks again to everybody. I'm psyched to start ordering some equipment!
 

nh murph

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2014
Messages
13
Location
New Hampshire
Between my side by side, building guns and now this, the UPS guy is conditioned to give me my packages at work so he doesn't have to drive all the way out to the farm!

I have been looking at all kinds of coral! How well does it ship? The LFS has some stuff, but I have found way better stuff online!
 

tike

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 24, 2005
Messages
1,901
Location
Tacoma,WA
It ships pretty good...you will always have that "order" which comes in DOA. I just refrain from shipping during the winter months.
 

1guydude

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
3,111
Location
p-town, WA
Depends on wat u get and where u get it.
Most will ship good and well though.

Stony coral is a lot more sensitive to new tank swings and light.
I really don't know anyone that is running ozone I don't think.
Bio pellet reactor is my choice.

Also a good old bag of carbon for a cpl days.
The doser pump is so u can add calcium magnesium and alkalinity to your tank.
I'm just hand dosing or manual dosing right now. I need a doser.
Imo.its not needed till u have enough stony coral or coraline algae.

Anyone wanna start on cycling...
D
 

nh murph

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2014
Messages
13
Location
New Hampshire
Well, my GF had knee surgery on Friday, so I've been home with her for a few days, and have had a bunch of time to read up on equipment and look at all of your suggestions. I've got an updated equipment list that is pretty comprehensive, but should do pretty well for a complete and automated setup. Instead of the 40B, I think I am going to go with a rimless 50 tall (36x18x16) and have them put 3 holes in it and an internal overflow box for a beananimal style setup.

So... here I go.

50 Tall rimless glass tank from Glass Cages with 3 sides starphire glass, drilled for 3 1-1/2" bulkheads and an internal overflow box installed (if I order soon, I can pick it up in Boston in June and save a bunch on shipping)

20g long tank for a sump

BRS 5 stage plus RO/DI

Reef Octopus NWB 150 skimmer

Reef Octopus BR-110 Bio Pellet reactor

Waveline DC6000 pump with a manifold for return and accessories

Jeabo wp25 wavemaker

Bubble Magnus dosing pump

Tunze Osmolator Universal 3155 ATO

Neputne Apex Controller with lab grade pH probe

Neptune energy bar 8 (probably gonna need a second to go along with the one that comes with the controller)

Neptune salinity module PM2

Neptune Lab Grade conductivity/salinity probe

Neptune pH/ORP module PM1

Neptune ORP Probe

Neptune Advanced Leak Detection Module

Neptune Solid Surface leak detection probe

Neptune Break Out Box

Lighting will be LED, but I am still looking at options

I might go with an auto feeder as well, but still reading up on that.

I'd like to be able to leave this whole thing alone for a few weeks if I had to, and check up on it remotely, so this seems to be the way to go. Gonna be expensive, but you only live once, right? Do I seem to be a bit more on target with this shopping list? I know there will be a lot more stuff required once the thing is built to get up and rolling, but I'd like it to be fully functional and ready to go before I fill it up.
 
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