New Tank Set-Up

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Jan 15, 2004
Hello All! This is my first post here and I thought I would use it to give an overview of my tank plans and get some feedback.


I setup my first reef tank about 2 years ago. I knew very little about reefkeeping, in fact it was my first dip into saltwater. It was a 120g AGA with no sump. I used a remora pro HO skimmer and 660w of VHO lighting. I had 165lbs of LR and a 4 inch DSB with powerheads providing flow.

After 8 months the tank was coming along well and I had learned a lot about reefing. Enough to know my tank set-up was not going to cut it. I decided it would be in my best interest to sell off my corals and fish and take down the tank. This would allow me to save the money a was pouring into keeping the tank running and put it towards my upcoming wedding and buying a house. Once settled into the house I could begin my tank and do it right.

Well, it has been over a year since that day. I have gotten married. I have bought a house. I have settled in. I have also spent every spare minute of that time dreaming, planning and reading. I have just started drilling my tank and am very excited about getting started.

Here is the plan (FINALLY):

120 gallon AGA (built in the wall)
4, 2" holes drilled (2 for overflow, 1 for CLS and 1 for feed to refuge). 100-125lb of LR and no substrate (barebottom). This will be a mixed reef (mostly SPS).

2-250w 10000K Metal Halides
2-100w VHO (probably actinics, may mix in some 50/50's)

CLS- Mag 12 feeding a 1" Sea Swirl
I also expect about 2500gph from the returns (working on some sort of return manifold, probably with loc-line).

I have a 50g rubbermaid stock tank for the sump which will house a MRC MR-2 with Gen-X 8500 skimmer, heaters, auto top-off, carbon and probably some extra LR. Return pump will be a Dolphin Ampmaster 4700.

I will be using a 50g rubbermaid stock tank for a refugium as well. A Mag 3 will pull water from the display and feed the refugium, which will be above the display and gravity feed back to the display. I will have 220w of VHO lighting (reverse photoperiod) and apprx 30-50lbs of LR. Refuge will house no fish or predetors of any kind and some macro algae. Undecided on substrate, leaning toward a thin layer of large grain crushed coral, or none at all.

Thats about it. I will be adding a calcium reactor at some point, but intend on using a kaklwasser top-off for the cycle / break in period of the tank. I will be using RO/DI water from the get go.

Im sure I'm forgetting something, but look foward to any questions or commments.

Thanks, sorry for the loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong post.



Reef Keeper
Jul 5, 2003
Hey Mapster great to see ya on board, welcome to Reef Frontiers.
Sounds like you have a nice tank coming online very soon, about time!!!!, lol.
Hey I have a couple of thoughts for you, I think you have your return and your closed loop pumps backwards. I would go with the mag 18 for the sump return, the 4700 will be to much and yu will have bubble city. Now the 4700 sounds like the perfect closed loop pump. Try to get as many returns from it as you can, it will make you water flow that more dynamic. On the returns drain lines 2 inches seems like to much, I would go 1 1/2 max. the 4700 also only needs 1 1/2 for a feed line.
I would also rethink the fuge, being bare bottom and having a good skimmer, will make it so you dont have to play the macro algae game no more, it does have so pro, but also has alot more cons.

anyway lets have some fun, hehehe



Gaitor Wrestler
Nov 27, 2003
Welcome Map,
This site is really great for info. I too am setting up a new 150 gal sps tank. It's always good to see how different reefers set up their systems. Do you have any drawings or pics you can post of your tank? I'm sure you will get a lot of response here.
Good luck!............Scott :)


Jan 15, 2004
Mojo - Could you explain why 2" drains would be overkill. Noise? I though 2, 2" drains would give me a good safety net. This is my first experience with plumbing so lay it on me. The tank will be built into the wall so noise wont be a major concern.

RE: the fuge:
Your right, I think I will skip the macro all together and use it as a safe haven for pods to accumulate and spill over into the reef (lights or no lights?). I realize the 50g tub wont be able to support the tank but it should make a good natural supplement. I like the added water volume too and maybe turn it into a grow out tank down the road.

RE: the pumps:
Maybe I could have the return feed to the Sea Swirl and use more powerful pump for the CLS. Anyone know how much flow the 1" sea swirl can handle (guessing 1000gph)

good stuff, thanks for the input.

szidls, I think I have an old MS paint sketch around I could update and post.
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