New here, with a new tank question

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Abissus

New in Hobby
Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Messages
105
Location
Redmond, WA
Hello, I have been lurking here for a while reading and learning. This is a great board and the time has come for me to ask for some direct advice.

I am in the processing up a acrylic 55G 36"Lx18"Wx20"H, and have a few questions:

I am not sure how much lighting I should setup. I have an electronix VHO ballast that can power 4 bulbs up to 400w, and I have a 250W (I believe single) MH ballast. Being a beginner, I planned to start with hardy soft corals. How much light is needed for those?

I noticed people usually have separate soft corals and hard coral tanks, is it possible to have them in the same tank? If so I eventual goal would be have a soft and LPS tank (maybe sps). I also really would like an anenome and a pair for clowns. I understand these will tank a lot more light, and I don't know if I should setup light for my long term goal or for the present (who knows how long I need to move up)

Also, I really like the rippling effect of MH, and I really would like to use it even for softies.

Speaking of MH, can a 250W ballast be used for a 175W bulb?

I have a GenX4100 (~1000GPH) has my return pump that also support a seaswirl, is that enough? Also my tank already has a spray bar at the bottom of the tank, so if something goes wrong with the pump (power outage or worse), would the pump stops water from draining back into the sump and on my floor?

I realize there are a lot of questions, and I really appreciate some advice on them. Thanks a bunch.

Joyce
 

big t

tankless
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Messages
1,914
Location
Denver
To answer some of you questions quickly sps and lps and softies can be kept in the same tank, but the results could end up badly. It is best to keep corals in their own type of surroundings. A 175 w bulb should never be run by a 250 w ballast, it could cause it to fail dramatically (explode). You can use the halide to light for the softies, some will like it some will not. The 1000gph will be really great for softies and lps, sps would prefer more. Your return pump will do nothing to save you in the event of power outtage. It will absolutely backfill your entire tank. The way to prevent this is to have a small hole drilled at just below the water line of your tank to break the siphon. You should clean this hole regularly to keep it clear, and I would also test it regulary to make sure that it still works! You can also use a check valve. If you decide to run the 440w of vho, and the halide you will definately have big heat issues. You will need fans and most likely a chiller. If you just use the vho for now, you will still need fans most likely. HTH
 

reedman

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2003
Messages
3,255
Location
Mukilteo, WA
VHO should be just fine for a softy tank. Should be fine for most LPS as well. When you get into the SPS you really should step up to MH if you want success. That's not to say you can't keep SPS without MH, but it does help your odds of success.

As far as keeping softies with LPS/SPS: You can do it in a large tank, but in a 55, I would suggest against it. If you really want a mixed tank, I would wait until you really have a handle on water parameters and quality before you attempt it. You will be tempting fate the whole time. Softies will give off toxins, shed skins, etc. that can be very detrimental to the health of the other corals.

Anemones are one of the more difficult specimens to keep sucessfully. I would not recommend these to anyone until you are very confident in your husbandry and you water quality is very stable an very high. These will require MH. There are many LPS corals that a clownfish may host. There is also no guaranty that the clowns will host in an anemone. You also need to get the correct type of anemone to match the clown species. Get a good book if you plan to pursue this. JMHO

Softies will handle MH just fine. In fact some thrive under it. A 250W ballast will power a 250W bulb, nothing else.

Flow in the tank is a topic of many debates. Some say you can't have enough. I would think that for a softy/LPS tank you would be fine with 1000gph. If you move to SPS, I would recomend upping the flow.

Pumps will not prevent back syphoning of water. Make sure your sump can accomodate all of the water that will drain by simulating a power outage (pull the plg and see what happens). You can also drill a small hole in the plumbing just below the water line to break the syphon when power goes out. We'd need to know more about your plumbing to give better advice on this.

Ask away with the questions. It's the best way to learn.

-Reed
 

esmith

AQUAMANIAC
Joined
Oct 9, 2003
Messages
451
Location
Shoreline, WA
In regards to the tank draining in the event of a power outage...the pump will not stop the water, you'll need to have a check vavle for that. As far as using a 250 watt ballast on a 175 watt bulb the answer is no.

Either the halide, or the VHO's would work fine for keeping softies, but if you're planning to keep SPS in the future you might as well set up the halide.

HTH,

Eliyah
 

Mushroom Boy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2003
Messages
251
VHO should be just fine for a softy tank. Should be fine for most LPS as well. When you get into the SPS you really should step up to MH if you want success. That's not to say you can't keep SPS without MH, but it does help your odds of success.
I agree 100% with Reedman here.

I would personally avoid the use of check valves as a means of backflow protection. I don't have any personal experience with them, but have read far too many incidents of their failure to trust them (hence, my lack of experience with them :) ). I would recommend the hole drilling, as mentioned above, as a means of siphon break.
 

Abissus

New in Hobby
Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Messages
105
Location
Redmond, WA
Thanks. I believe I'll stick with a soft coral only tank then. Maybe I'll just upgrade to hard corals or just start a second tank when the time comes, which is going to be a while anyway. That;s exactly my plan to start out with softies and move up very very slowly when I feel experienced.

It's too bad about the MH, i really love the ripple look, but sounds like it is a better idea to stick with VHO only for softies. How many should I use then, 3 or 4 URI tubes? (probably half actinic and half actinic white)

As far as that hole thing, I don't think I understand at all. The tank has a spray bar near the very bottom of the tank that serves as the pump return place. So it means when there's a power outage almost the entire tank will drain out via this low hole :( Can you please explain that hole thing in more detail, and what else would work to stop the draining?

Thanks a bunch!
 

szidls

Gaitor Wrestler
Joined
Nov 27, 2003
Messages
794
Location
Lynnwood
Hey Abissus,
Does the plumbing for your spray bar run over the side of the tank and then to the tank bottom? If it does, then you drill a small hole just under the water line. When power goes out the siphon will break when the water level drops to the level of the hole. Mabye a pic of your system will help others to give advice.
Scott:)
 

Mushroom Boy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2003
Messages
251
Also, make sure you "maintain" the siphon break hole (i.e., clean it on a regular basis). This will make sure that no gunk and junk builds up in it causing it to fail.

As far as the ripples go, you could also get that with a VHO setup if you added a 1 watt LED over your tank. The single point of light is what causes the ripple, so you don't necessarily need MH to get that effect.

HTH
 

Abissus

New in Hobby
Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Messages
105
Location
Redmond, WA
Here's a picture of the tank with spraybar, sorry aabout the poor work, it is only Microsoft Paint:



That section on the left side is inside the overflow box.

Hrm, I think I understand the hole thing, please tell me if I am right. This only work if the overflow box is also filled with water (not going straight to the sump. So I can drill a hole below this water level in the overflow box so as the water level drops then air will stop the siphon.

Wouldn't a hole also interfer with the water return pressure however?

More detail on this would be much appreciated (as will my carpet)

Thanks for the idea of the LED for rippling, I'll definitely give it a try!

Thanks
 

Mushroom Boy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2003
Messages
251
So, your return plumbing comes through the overflow if I understand that correctly. Yes, the hole would go in that section. The pressure loss would be minimal depending on the size of the hole you drill. I don't think you'd need anything larger than 1/4" to achieve the break you're looking for.
 

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