Starting with the basics for my 72 gal reef tank.

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Beeba

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 29, 2003
Messages
300
Location
Portsmouth, OH
I have always wanted a reef tank and my husband bought me a 72 gallon bow front for Christmas. Of course I wasn't prepared to make so many decisions so soon. The store where he bought it recommended using the Pro 75 wet/dry filter with skimmer. Now I need to know what is the best lighting option for growing a reef tank and what type of salt I should use, Instant Ocean or Reef Crystal? If anyone has a better idea please let me know. I'm not going to rush this because I am not made of money and don't wish to make stupid mistakes that can be avoided.

Thanks for any help you can give.
 

reedman

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Jun 30, 2003
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Mukilteo, WA
I'm not going to rush this
Great thinking. Get a good book on reef keeping and corals. Decide what type of reef tank you want (i.e. one dominated by soft corals, SPS, or a mix). Once you decide on this we can help you determine the lighting and flow needs. I, personally, would recomment 2 250W MH and some actinic supplimentation (either VHO or Power Compact lighting).

Spend some time thinking about the aquascape keeping a few things in mind.
1) think about how it will look (obvious)
2) think about how it will impact cleaning (can you clean all of the glass? can you clean the detritus out from under and behind the rocks?)
3) Think about the fish you want to keep and their needs (caves, open space, etc.)
4) think about how you will supply water flow (closed loop with multiple outlets, powerheads, return line from the sump) and how the aquascpe will impact the flow.

Spend some time in the gallery looking at other peoples tanks if you are not sure. Look at some of the tank of the month recipients on other boards. There are some great examples out there that can help you. Most of all ask questions. You'll get good answers here.

I think most folks here (myself included) would not go for the wet/dry filter. It will introduce unnecessary nitrates into the system and (if setup with enough live rock and a good skimmer) is not needed to maintain a healthy reef tank.

Good luck.
-Reed
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
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Jul 5, 2003
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Sumner
Hey Beeba welcome to the board. I would invite you to check out our library also, thier is a ton of upto date info that you cannot get in a book.
As per your tank, what is it that you would like to keep in it. thier are lots of different reqrements for different kinds of tanks and its all based on what you ant to keep. so let us know.

Mike
 

Beeba

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 29, 2003
Messages
300
Location
Portsmouth, OH
For the price of the wet/dry unit I hate for it to be the wrong choice. I can't tell by your post if this is overkill or not good enough. Please help before I use it.

I want to have soft corals and some hard corals (SPS and LPS). Is this okay? I figured I would chose my fish afterward based on what I have in the tank and what the fish need. I would like to add some invertebrates such as shirmp, starfish, and clams.

Perhaps you could recommend a good book.

Any opinions on the type of salt I should buy?

I feel lost and confused now that I've actually started doing serious research.
 

G~

Super Gobie
Joined
Jul 25, 2003
Messages
133
Welcome!!!

a whole lot of options and not a whole lot of info. :) the biggest decision will prolly be in lighting. whether or not to go with halides or flourescents. i agree with not using a wet/dry for a reef.

G~
 

reedman

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Jun 30, 2003
Messages
3,255
Location
Mukilteo, WA
The Reef Aquarium by Charles Delbeek and Julian Sprung is great. I still refer to it regularly. As Mike said in his post there are some great resources here on this board in the 'Resource Library' area.

As for the wet/dry...most people that I know run a sump (just a tank with some baffles in it) to keep their heater, probes, skimmer, etc. out of the display tank. There are those that use wet/dry filters with the bioballs and have success, but most of the time I have seen people remove the bioballs over time and end up with a very expensive sump. I don't have any experience with either setup myself, as I run a sumpless system (just the display tank).

Others will chime in with their opinions. Do your research and determine what you think is best for your situation. There is no 'Right' or 'Wrong' way to setup your system.
 

jlehigh

Hermit D Crab
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
1,208
Location
Kirkland/Juanita
I wish I could tell you the brain pain will end shortly but mine hasn't since I began reefing 5mos ago ;)

Saltwater Tanks for dummies was a good resource I used to get started.

I use instant ocean though most mixes are fine.

You will find that the more you research the more you will realize that NO-ONE has direct conclusive information beyong the basics. Filteration, and lighting can be performed sooo many different ways!

I can tell you my experience, which isn't too extensive so slap the two cent value on it and read way ;)

Live Rock is the best natural filter a reef tank can have. I have 65lbs of Live Rock in my 46Gal bwfnt. Since I do not have a sump/refugium providing additional water volume (good for stability) water flow, and biological filteration I use a mechanical filter as well (Magnum 350 with carbon). This keeps my water clear. The organisms and Good Algae within the live rock perform biological filteration. A wet dry filter performs both types of filteration (biological&mechanical) though I have read that the bioballs can become nitrate factories over time (Nitrates not good). In a nut shell Mechanical filters physically remove waste/debris in the water whereas biological filteration are organisms that feed on the debris/wastes. Live Rock is my favorite aspect of my tank at this point because of the bio diversity. It is also a must for housing a plethera of saltwater inhabitants.

Adding critters to your tank should ocurr after you tank has gone through the Nitrogen cycle. Read the online or printed literature on cycling a tank. Adding live rock in the beginning will help along the cycle and allow you to cure the rock without harming any critters should you wait to add it later. As far as inhabitant goes they will come after the cycle, usually starting with a cleanup crew that will eat bad algae and detritus (wastes) they usually include snails, hermit crabs, starfish..

As far as grouping corals, inverts ect.. each critter has different attributes. Some require more space while others are not territorial. Some are toxic to others while some may be a natural food source for another.. Point being you will want to learn about each critter before adding it to your tank.

Well that covers about .02% of the info on this hobby but don't get too overwhlemed. The stuff you learn about ecosystems, reefs, critters etc is very rewarding and interesting! You will find reefers with more algae than water loving it as well as guys like mojo reef who construct masterpieces the truly replicate reef life!

Hang in there!
 

Beeba

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 29, 2003
Messages
300
Location
Portsmouth, OH
Now my head is really spinning. I should have just asked my husband for a china cabinet. :crazyeyes:
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
Ok folks lets walk Beebe through it slow. First lets get past the set up.
A wet/dry filter is a setup for a fish only tank. it is designed to filter your tank but will allow nitrates to enter the system and corals dont like that. A sump as mentioned above is a seperate small tank that allows a place for you to hide your heaters, skimmer and the balance of the equipment you need, so that it doesnt show in the tank. It is not needed but does make life alot easy and a cleaner looking tank.
The reason I asked about what you wanted to keep is that different corals have different light requirements. Soft corals and most LPS do not require strong lighting, so PC lightig and/or vho lighting will be OK. SPS and clams have more of a demand and usually Metal Halide lighting is required.
Again as mentioned above Live rock is the most popular method of filtration for a reef, although alone it is not enough, a good protien skimmer is the best method for exporting waste.

Instead of going deeper lets stop here for right now and make sure you are following with what we are saying. Again I would refer you to our online library as it has the answers to most all of the questions you are going to ask. Give it a read and feel free to come back with any questions or things you are not sure about.

Mike
 
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Deepsixer

Guest
Beeba said:
Now my head is really spinning. I should have just asked my husband for a china cabinet. :crazyeyes:
Hi Beeba,

Don't give up, I too am just starting out and feel overwhelmed at times. Some of the best advice I received was not to buy anything until I understand what it's for and why I might need it. I've broken this down by system and am going thru it one by one. I bought a real nice book and it's been a blessing. Also, by taking the time to read and research, I will also find out if this is something I really want to do or just a passing fad. I was into this once before but had to give it up so I don't want to make that same mistake again if possible.

Since you already have some stuff, take the time to do the research and you will have better luck with your set up. I took a couple of field trips to the fish store to acclimate myself to the equipment being bantee'd about here. As luck would have it, this store is still being set up from a move and they were more then happy to show me how this stuff works. Today I spent 2 hrs there and they never bothered me to buy anything. This was my second trip there. I know when I do make some purchases, I will be going to them.

Anyway, good luck and stay with it and take your time, it will be worth it in the long run.

:x-mas:
 

Stang69

OFR!
Joined
Jul 1, 2003
Messages
268
Location
Washington
I bought a real nice book and it's been a blessing


Hmmmmm I wonder who told ya that




Dump me a mail again deep

Beeba patiens will pay off in the long run. Learn all you can from the books and the forums. One thing to consider each tank is unique and sometimes takes a little different approach sometimes.


Jeff
 

Katchupoy

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Joined
Jul 9, 2003
Messages
2,193
Location
Kent 98031
Hi and welcome...

Please dont forget RO/DI water filter to be used for your salt specially when starting up... A lot of people under estimate this part and they end up starting it on wrong side of chemistry....

Its a big investment but i think its worth it...

and when buying stuff... go search the "used for sale" threads because a lot of people out there are upgrading or getting out of the hobby...

saves you big time...

and then "patience" to take your time... it is the key to success....
 
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Deepsixer

Guest
mojoreef said:
Deepsixer welcome to the board and a great first post for sure.

Mike
Thanks Mike. Thought she might like to hear she's not alone. Getting a little easier as time goes by. Making decisions is the hard part, spending money is easy. :)
 
D

Deepsixer

Guest
Stang69 said:
I bought a real nice book and it's been a blessing


Hmmmmm I wonder who told ya that




Dump me a mail again deep

Beeba patiens will pay off in the long run. Learn all you can from the books and the forums. One thing to consider each tank is unique and sometimes takes a little different approach sometimes.


Jeff

I know you're one of a few. I can say you're the only one local to me on this side of the water I've met and spoke with Stang. Been visiting Aquarium Paradise in Lakewood. They just moved and are still setting up their tanks. They've been great to me. Showing me all sorts of things. Can't tell you how much it's helped. Hey, I did get your email.
 
D

Deepsixer

Guest
Katchupoy said:
Hi and welcome...

Please dont forget RO/DI water filter to be used for your salt specially when starting up... A lot of people under estimate this part and they end up starting it on wrong side of chemistry....

Its a big investment but i think its worth it...

and when buying stuff... go search the "used for sale" threads because a lot of people out there are upgrading or getting out of the hobby...

saves you big time...

and then "patience" to take your time... it is the key to success....
Glad you brought that up. I think I'll do a search. We are on a public well here. I was thinking about having a water test done. We just had a new storage tank installed last year. I am not sure they add anything to our water but you never can tell.

Thanks.
 

jazznreef

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2003
Messages
219
Location
Seattle/Magnolia
take your time

I completely agree with Cesar on all points. I made each of those mistakes when I started. I used tap water 'cause the Roosevelt Fish store told me "Seattle water is just fine for reefs", bought everything new not knowing there were forums like ReefCentral, and jumped right in by buying a complete system that ended up not being dialed in very well (bioballs, crummy rock, tar ballast, etc.). If I could do it all over again I would just chill at first and reasearch, research, research. Take at least a few months to learn! Heck, that's what I'm doing now that I'm planning my next tank and I've had smaller tanks for a few years. I think you should avoid being a "beginner reefer" and read as much as you can so you can start out more informed and less of a beginner.
 

Beeba

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 29, 2003
Messages
300
Location
Portsmouth, OH
Okay, I went out looking today and the pet store where I got my aquarium tells me that I should go with a 48" fixture that holds 2 96w power compacts and I should use the straight pins that have 50/50 bulbs. I also saw a fixture that would fit my aquarium that takes 4 65w pc bulbs. Does this sound like a decent way to start my lighting? I hope you agree with one of these choices becase I think my head will explode if I don't figure out the lighting soon.
 

Gordo

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Joined
Jun 27, 2003
Messages
398
Location
Olympia, WA
Beeba,

You said in a earlier post you would like to keep SPS. I don't think either of these options will allow SPS to thrive. You may be able to keep them alive if you place them in the top of your tank, but they won't do well long term. You're the proud owner of a bow front tank (as am I) and the biggest challenge you will face is finding a canopy that fits your tank and provides enough lighting. I would say a minimum of 400W over your tank to keep SPS healthy. You will also need that much light if you want to keep happy clams. I'm running a mixed reef with 2 10K 250W metal halides and 2 actinic 110W VHO bulbs. I built my canopy, so I don't really know where you should look. Do you have the stand and canopy yet? If so, are you just looking for lighting to go into the canopy?

~Gordo~
 

Beeba

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 29, 2003
Messages
300
Location
Portsmouth, OH
Since this is my first tank maybe I should just start with soft corals and fish. Could I use this type of light and have LPS? My aquaium has the stand but it doesn't appear that the AGA makes a canopy for it. This is why I'm trying to find a fixture that will work for my tank without being unsightly. My husband mentioned building one but maybe I could do that later. Does anyone know of a good place to get live rock? The few places we have in Ohio run about $6/lb and the rock doesn't look very nice.

If I stick with soft corals would the 4x65w pc or 2x96w pc be the best option?
 
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