Quantcast

noobie(sort of)

Help Support Reef Frontiers:

reefaddict

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 2, 2004
Messages
120
Location
ohio
i have been in the freshwater breeding part of this hobby for 20+ years and i atempted to start a reef set up 10 years ago trying to adapt my existing freshwater stuff(ug filter, powerheads, canister filter, regular florecent bulbs etc..) needless to say it did not work.
Today i visited a local store and the owner showed me a few tanks ranging in size from 90 to 125 gallons. they were pre drilled and included a uv sterilizer, wet dry filter, berlin skimmer and a lighting set up consisting of 3 vho bulbs, either 48 inch or 72 inch depending on the tank size using a ice cap ballast. full wood canopy and matching cabinet everything fit together as a unit. very clean looking(no exposed hoses wires tubes etc).

the reason for my post is, i am very close to deciding on buying one of these tanks( probably the 125) but before i do, i wanted to ask the experts, people who don't stand to make a profit on my decision. I have alot of tanks at home that i can convert to a reef ranging from 40 gal. up to 135. is it worth spending 2400+ $ on a reef specific set up or should i save the 600 to 800 by converting what i have??
thanks in advance for your help and which ever way i go, i will become a frequent visitor to this site!
 

jlehigh

Hermit D Crab
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
1,208
Location
Kirkland/Juanita
Well here is a non-vendors .02 cents.

Though the set-up sounds nice you will find that this reef specific hobby will suck you into it's endless possibilities and mind numbing knowlege building excercises.

Through this process you will probably find half of the equipment in the package you want to change out.

I believe what the more tenured hobbiest will ask you to answer the following questions:

What types of corals/fish/critters interest you?
Do you want a near maint free tank?

Start here and then build your tank the way you want it. You can feel free to list the specifics of the set-up. 2400.00 sounds reasonable but then again I don't know what EXACTLY you are getting. I do know that my 280gal in-wall has not cost much over what this complete 125 you saw, but then again I do not have the expense of a finished Stand and canopy.

btw: I did not see a source of Calcium listed above.

Unseen expenses:
Live Rock 2-10.00 per lb
Clean-up crew for 100 gal = roughly 150.00
Test Kits 40.00-100's
Water circulation = limitless

Well I've already lost track and my mind has run a tangent back to my tank so I'll stop there for now! Keep posting here though! That is a very good step.
 

Katchupoy

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 9, 2003
Messages
2,188
Location
Kent 98031
I dont think its worth it...

Use your old tanks and invest the money to other important things such as...

a very good skimmer
a very good light setup... (depends on what to keep...)
a good RO/DI water system...
sump... you can use smaller tanks that you aready have...

the only difference between the new tank you want to purchase and your old tank is...

scratch due to wear and tear... but if its not that bad.... why buy?

pre-drilled tank with built in overflow... this can be solved by installing an hang-on back overflow...

the particular size of the new tank... For reef, they want deeper. meaning from front to back. And the height at least 22-24 maximum. But with your existing tanks... i dont think they changed the standard dimension of these tanks except if they are the new ones coming out...

my 02 cents
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
I have to agree, thier are so many folks upgrading and so on all the time that you can get good equipment at half the price then in a package. Lets take a look at what you have on hand and see if we can put a system together.

Mike
 

reefaddict

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 2, 2004
Messages
120
Location
ohio
noobie (sort of)

thank for your input.

I was kind of leaning towards working with what i have.
i have a 135gal 12 year old tank with some scratches. it has an all glass top in 3 24 inch sections. the existing lighting is 3 72 inch flour. fixtures with a total of 180 watts. i have numerous 55,40,20 gal. tanks that i could use for sumps. the one thing i did not mention in my first post was the store owner also quoted a price to convert my tank with 3 vho lamps with ballast ,full canopy(custom built), wety dry sump, berlin 250 skimmer, overflow box for 1300 bucks. also in my other post i did not mention that the price on the full set up was for items that the owner put together as a package, not a pre packaged setup where the bare minimum equipment is used. the stuff he put together looked like quality items (from my limited experience) .

to answer some of your questions: I want the tank as maintenence free as posible.
i would like to be able to have whatever inverts are available not being limited by the equipment.
i have figured the cost of livestock and maintenence seperatly so my budget for the tank is >2500. another 1500 or so for inhabitants.
i am not used to typing this much!!:lol:
 

reefaddict

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 2, 2004
Messages
120
Location
ohio
noobie

one other thing i forgot.
my existing tank has a greenish tint to it. it is an old pre tempered glass (thick) tank. i was concerend how bright lighting would affect that coloration and maybe intensify it?
 

Ray Pollett

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
196
Location
Blaine, WA
"i would like to be able to have whatever inverts are available not being limited by the equipment."

This statement rules out the lights you currently have and the light setup the LFS is including in my opinion.

As little maintenance as possible is different things to different people. So can we try to clarify it a little. How much time each week do you want to spend within reason. Is 45 minutes too much?

Ray
 

reefaddict

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 2, 2004
Messages
120
Location
ohio
newbie

45 minutes is not too much, 2 hours isn't too much. as a matter of fact i have already ruled out a calcium reactor because of expense. i can add it manually.
i do not have a problem with normal maintenence i guess i was trying to say that i don't want to set up a tank that constantly needs attention to keep it running. scheduled water changes, testing ph,salinity, phosphates etc are things i consider regular maintenence. changing 50% of the water weekly because i can't control nitrates is the kind of thing i would like to avoid and replacing sick or dead livestock because of inadequate lighting/filtration. that is the kind of "maintenence" i do not want to do.
 

Ray Pollett

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
196
Location
Blaine, WA
On saltwater tanks, on most they fall between 20% every other week to 1/3 every week. It depends on how it was set up, and if they took the time at the beginning to do each step and wait till the tank is ready for the next step.

As to lights: If you want to be able to keep any coral you want, you will need MH and actinic 03. That means usually a different hood type ( due to heat ) and sometimes a chiller due to heat. With those corals you usually also need higher water flowfrom what I've heard and read.

I do a lot of things different than the norm and most people. I use water changes to keep the water parameters good. With regular water changes you do not need the additives unless you keep high calcium users like clams and some of the stonies. Then only a calcium additive. The water changes replenish the rest.

If you could be satisfied with softies, It would allow you to use a cheaper set of lights( replacement bulbs for PC, T5, and VHO are also cheaper than MH). A calcium reactor is not needed, Canopies for them are standard and cost less. If tank is in an air conditioned room no chiller is required (Usually). I run the tanks with two Emperor 400 filters Up to about 180 gallon. You can always upgrade later if you find the maintenance is OK.

Another consideration is are you a perfectionist. Can the glass have any algae on it. My freshwater tanks need the glass cleaned every couple of months (no visable algae untill then). Saltwater has more algae on the glass. Most see some haze forming after a few days and need to be cleaned every week or two. One thing to remember, with out algae a reef would die fairly quickly. So if you want to keep alive what lives on a reef, doing so with an algae free tank is not the easiest way to go.

Ray
 

reefaddict

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 2, 2004
Messages
120
Location
ohio
newbie

thanks for the reply ray.

i am most likley getting a tank with a custom made canopy that is about 12" tall and it looks like it can accept just about any lighting system there is. the more i read and learn i am also thinking vho + mh instead of just vho. i am putting this tank in a family room in the basement of my house, a room that stays cooler than the rest of the upstairs rooms. if my thermostat is set at 74, this room is about 68. do you think that is cool enough to "chill" the tank with 3 175 or 250 watt mh's and 2 160watt vhos(125gal 72x18x24)? also do you think that lighting system will allow me more freedom to choose more corals that are available?

i have a 55 gal and a 40 gal tank in an adjacent fish room that i will keep for isolation and water mixing for partial water changes.

i am not a perfectionist but, i would like to keep the front glass clear of algae.
 

Ray Pollett

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
196
Location
Blaine, WA
Re: newbie

reefaddict said:
thanks for the reply ray.

i am most likley getting a tank with a custom made canopy that is about 12" tall and it looks like it can accept just about any lighting system there is. the more i read and learn i am also thinking vho + mh instead of just vho. i am putting this tank in a family room in the basement of my house, a room that stays cooler than the rest of the upstairs rooms. if my thermostat is set at 74, this room is about 68. do you think that is cool enough to "chill" the tank with 3 175 or 250 watt mh's and 2 160watt vhos(125gal 72x18x24)? also do you think that lighting system will allow me more freedom to choose more corals that are available? -That sounds like a better choice for what you want to keep. There is a good chance it will stay cool enough. I would set it up without a chiller and see. If it gets too warm you can set up a fan to blow air around the canopy and see if that works to keep it cool. If not than add a chiller. I would go with the 250 W MH.

i have a 55 gal and a 40 gal tank in an adjacent fish room that i will keep for isolation and water mixing for partial water changes.

i am not a perfectionist but, i would like to keep the front glass clear of algae.
The 40 or 55 would work great for that purpose.

Ray
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
I agree that if you don't want to be hampered in coral choices, then MH would be nice to have. Just FYI - adding a fan to cool a canopy can change the temperature of the bulb, thereby changing its color. If possible, adding a fan to blow the sump is great when you have the sump option.

As far as algae goes, keeping a tank completely free from algae is extremely difficult, as there is always matter and nutrients to feed it (whether it is growing on the glass, rock or free floating).

Here is the Great Threads forum. If you haven't checked it out yet. There are some good threads there that may help you make some decisions. Husbandry, Filtration concepts, lighting, etc.... Hope they help!
 

reefaddict

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 2, 2004
Messages
120
Location
ohio
newbie

i bought the set up today 125 gal, 2 x 250 mh 2x 72"vho, sump skimmer uv sterilizer, pump , salt and 150 lbs of live rock. i take delivery next week. the rock when i get it set up.
i will keep you posted on how a total newbie can do this wrong.
i hope you guys let me know what i am doing wrong as i go.
i wasn't sure about 2 250's instead of three but my lfs said i could place corals that need the light under the lamps and i could keep the more light sensitive stuff between the lamps. sounded good to me.
 

Katchupoy

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 9, 2003
Messages
2,188
Location
Kent 98031
Yup, 2 x 250 will do but totally depends on your taste... and like you LFS said, you can put demanding corals under these lights and softies everywhere.... :p you can always upgrade later on without trashing your current setup
 
Your email address will not be publicly visible. We will only use it to contact you to confirm your post.

Latest posts

Top