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Newbie setting up a new tank

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juke

Schooler
Joined
Jan 26, 2004
Messages
75
Location
Everett
I am in need of advice to start my new tank. I have kept freshwater fish for a couple of years, but found that a Fowlr tank with the possibility of some low light corals/invertibrates is very attractive so I got a good deal on a tank and now am in need of some advice!

To start with I have a tall glass 30Gal 24x21x12 - 20#'s of arag-alive sand and 10#'s of cured base rock and that's it. Right now the sand and rock are submerged in about 5 gals of saltwater in my tank. And that's it!!!! On to my questions...

I have heard that Deep Sand Beds are good and I have also heard that if someone had a chance to start over they would never use a DSB. Any thoughts? Pros and cons?

I have also read a lot about how useless some skimmers are. Seaclone, mainly! I have also heard that there are some mods that you can do to improve them. Thoughts? I have just bought a Berlin Turbo Skimmer. Are there any mods that I can do to that to make it better? What type of pump should I use with this? Any other suggestions?

I have also heard that power heads are not always the best way to circulate water. What else would I use?

I am looking to get a 250w titanium heater. More salt water, maybe 30# more live rock and let it cycle for about 2 months. What else would you get if you were just starting out????

Also, any advice on pH monitors? Good bad? I will start with xo
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Juke - Let me first say, Welcome to Reef Frontiers!!
You've done the first step and have decided what you would like to keep.
The fact that you have a 30 gallon means you will have a greater chance of parameters changing quickly. The lower the water volume, then the quicker changes can take place. As long as you know to keep tabs on your parameters, and get to know what your tank inhabitants look like, then you will be fine.
Ahhh - the debate....substrate.....Well, the DSBs function as denitrification and nutrient sink. They require maintenance in order to keep a proper function. The daily maintenance comes in the form of sand bed "critters", such as pods and worms. IMO, weekly maintenance should also be performed. Stirring up the top layer to free up any detritus that has accumulated. The main issue that seems to be the talk lately is Phosphates. This is already present in the sand, and as more and more sink into it...the sand bed can no longer hold anymore, so it begins to leach back into the water - resulting in algae break-outs that are difficult to get under control. As long as one understands that the sand bed will eventually cease to perform as a mode of filtration, a sand bed will be fine. You could just plan on replacing the sand bed once in a while in order to keep it fresh. Live sand doesn't mean it is crawling with critters. The critters in live sand come from the live rock or detrivore packs. The questionable thing is how many critters does a sand bed need to perform properly - and at what diversity? This is hard to determine. Believe me - I was a big sand bed pusher....I still think they are fine and in some cases can work for many years, but IMO only if they get maintained. Here is another thread on the topic of phosphates, since these are one of the issues with sand beds (although you get phosphates from many things - SBs being just one).
Phosphates

As far as LR goes - adding 30# more would be a great idea. You really want to shoot for 1-2# of live rock/gallon, IMO.

Skimmers....well, I have read that there is a way to modify older Sea Clones, but I'm not too familiar with them. I also don't know what type of skimmer to recommend for a 30 gallon, hopefully some members with smaller tanks can give their input on this. Skimmers are a great way to rid the system of extra nasties.

Another suggestion I have is be sure you have good quality test kits. This will assure you of your tank cycles end, and also helps to keep track of your system once it is established.

Sorry for being so long winded - I'll leave it at this for you. Hope this helps, and I hope other members can provide you with their experiences as well.
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
Best thing right now Juke is to pound our library and gather up as much info as you can. If you hit a hard spot, just throw out a question here anytime. When deciding on anything from dsb to bb or from one skimer to another is to weigh out the pros and cons and then use your common sence to guide you.

and welome to Reef Frontiers


Mike
 

juke

Schooler
Joined
Jan 26, 2004
Messages
75
Location
Everett
thanks for the responses! It's great to be here! I have the 1" sand bed now and a berlin turbo skimmer and 2 maxijet 1200 power heads. Would that be sufficient for the filtration? Is there something else that I can use that would help. I would like to get a 15gal sump and have some live rock in there as well. Would a lite sand bed in there be beneficial? Small carbon filter in the sump?
 

Alice

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 18, 2003
Messages
1,108
Welcome, Juke!

I've usually had some kind of substrate in my sump as well but this time I'm just going to throw some of the "ugly" rock in there. A sump is a good place for detritus to settle out and you can just syphon out the crud with water changes easily if there's no sand in the way.

In smaller tanks, evaporation swings can wreak havoc with SG and water parameters; when you get your sump set up, some type of auto top-off would be very helpful.

I think I'd go with two smaller heaters, too, rather than one large one. You probably will only need the heater to maintain the temp when the lights are off or when the ambient room temp gets on the cold side. Two heaters allows for redundent coverage in case one quits on you. A heater controller is also very useful in small tanks; if a heater sticks and/or the temp rises above a set level, it will automatically turn the heaters off. I bought a heater controller after a heater stuck on in my nano and wiped everything out.

Good luck, have fun and we're glad you're here!

Alice
 

H20doctor

MMMM Tasty Children
Joined
Jul 4, 2003
Messages
55
New tank

Hey Juke , Don't be afraid take a sad song and make it better.
Now listen to me , Since I am your middle school best freind.... I should know something. Just come over more, read here on the PSAS and you'll be fine. Get that tank cycled, skimmer on, and it will be the most expensive 30 gal you've ever owned:lol:
 

H20doctor

MMMM Tasty Children
Joined
Jul 4, 2003
Messages
55
No actually , Juke read that book I gave you, its very good , after you finish that one I will give you my Martin Moe... The most important thing of starting a reef is acepting the responsibility of you tank. When its dirty , clean it. when its time to top off water do it. When your 100.00 powder blue tang dies CRY :( This is wisdom from old father Reef of the deep.
 
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