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Gort

Dazed and confused
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Messages
222
Location
Renton
Hey folks. After a disastrous start a few years ago - my wife called me a Clownfish assassin - I've got the urge to give it another go. Although I've seen many great nano-reef tanks, I didn't fare so well. If I set up another tank, it will be 50 -75 gal. Also, I'm considering artificial coral reef inserts.

Tell me true - is that lame?
 

spieszak

Administrator
Joined
Oct 8, 2012
Messages
1,795
Location
Seattle
Two issues with coral inserts. They provide little filtration (by means of surface area where good bacteria grows) as opposed to live rock, and they tend to end up with algae growth on them that ruins how they look anyway.
Live rock is going to do much more for you and look much more natural.
Its not impossible to keep a tank with inserts, but, IMO its definitely harder.
 

Gort

Dazed and confused
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Messages
222
Location
Renton
Stacey,

Thank you for the feedback. I was under the impression the maintenance would be easier with inserts. If I provide adequate filtration external to the tank, would that be feasible?
 

spieszak

Administrator
Joined
Oct 8, 2012
Messages
1,795
Location
Seattle
Most folks who run reef tanks will tell you that live rock is all the filtration you will need, save for a skimmer. Most other things whether it be hang on or canister filters, or even filter socks in a sump tend to trap and build up detritus leading to nitrate issues unless they are changed on a pretty strict basis.

Many folks coming in from freshwater tanks make the mistake of sinking money into filtration rather than rock and circulation (powerheads). Nitrates are tolerated much easier by freshwater fish (they don't like them, but the numbers have to get higher to bother them than they do for a saltwater fish)

If it were me, I would focus on getting porous live rock (dry is fine, and cheaper), ensure I had decent flow in the tank (couple powerheads to keep water moving), and forgo filtration entirely, save for possibly a skimmer... which might even be unnecessary if you don't intend to keep corals, and keep up on water changes

Fair warning, it seems nearly everyone ends up wanting to keep at least _some_ corals.

If you know you don't want to go in that direction, that's great... if you have the possibility of corals in mind in the future, save yourself some time and money and start with a tank/sump/skimmer setup now. Even if you never move to corals, a sumped tank will give you the most options long term, allowing for things like an auto top off, or reactors to be more easily and safely added...

One last thing. Tanks with sumps can be expensive, and the idea of them overwhelming. Once you understand how to mitigate most of the failure possibilities, and realize you can probably drill and plumb it yourself, they get less scary. Those are topics folks here can help you cover... once you've decided which direction you care to go.
 

Katchupoy

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 9, 2003
Messages
2,187
Location
Kent 98031
Let's talk about the limitations of the hardware setup first.... Are you going to have a sump or not? What size of tank?

Let's do size of tank first. Maybe a 40 breeder? That you can have for 40$ during a dollar per gallon sale at Petco

Then a 20 gallon long sump? Which can also be bought from Petco.

Remember that the stability of the reef tank is in the volume of the water. So you can have a 10 gallon tank that is hookup to a 50 gallon water container....
 

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