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My Future (and first) Tank

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Twill, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. Twill

    Twill Inactive User

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    Hi everybody! I'm new to SW and just trying to get as much info as possible as I start up my first tank! In case you missed it, I introduced myself in a thread in the Welcome forum, so I'll let that speak for itself: http://www.greateriowareefsociety.org/site/Community/DiscussionForums/tabid/78/forumid/13/postid/4355/view/topic/Default.aspx
    On to the tank:
    Display:
    I keep going back and forth on whether I want a 29g or a 20long. Since they have the same footprint, the stand I am going to buy from PetSmart will work for them both. At times I think the 20 will be easier to manage at make attractive, but I'd also like to just go for it with the 29 (which really isn't all that much bigger, and would give a little more wiggle room). Any helpful opinions on this?
    Stand:
    I finally found a stand I like at PetSmart (I think the stand has been the hardest element of this to find! So many of them don't leave any space for a sump of much size, and I didn't want to build my own stand). It's a nice-looking dark wood finish stand. I will have to do a little modification to it, because it has plenty of space underneath, but there is a central support wall running from front to back which pretty much ruins my ability to put a sump of any size in it. I'll be leaving out that central support when I put the stand together, but augmenting the tank's stability with additional supports of my own (that leave plenty of floor space for a sump!).
    Sump:
    As for the sump, I measured the stand and I'll be able to fit a 15 in there (or a 20xh, if I can find one...I don't think I've ever seen one in stores around here, but maybe I just wasn't looking). It'll have baffles forming three compartments (water input from display, fuge, and return). Right now my plan is to get the display set up with sand and LR and let it get off to a good start by itself while I get the sump going.
    Other Equipment:
    Lighting: I've ordered this fixture: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+3733+12109&pcatid=12109 with 1 65w 10k and 1 65w actinic
    Overflow Box: Still reading a lot about different kinds. I think I have it narrowed down to between thesether:
                    -Quietflo: http://store.hurricanefilters.com/quprov1.html
                    -Lifereef: http://www.lifereef.com/frame.html
           Has anybody had any experience with either of these that they could share? Or have any other brands to suggest?

    I'll try to keep this thread updated as my tank progresses. Please jump in and offer suggestions and help, I definitely need all the help I can get!!
     
  2. JB Veteran Reefkeeper

    Marion
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0
    First off, it's good to do a lot of research and reading before starting a saltwater tank.  However, be aware that there is a lot of bad information out there mixed in with the good stuff, so you have to kind of be careful.   Personally, I think you made the right decision by posting here, we've got a lot of pretty knowledgeable reefers in the area.
    One thing that is especially true with saltwater is that "bigger is better".   The more water you have in your system, the more forgiving it will be to problems and mistakes.   I'd get the biggest tank and sump you feel comfortable with.   The smaller the total water volume of the system, the more vulnerable it will be to large parameter swings and those are not good.
    The other thing I would REALLY encourage you to consider is dropping the idea of going with any type of external overflow box and simply by a tank with internal overflows or have your new tank drilled before you ever put any water in it.  If you have it drilled, it's pretty easy to build a little overflow box around the hole.   The one sure thing about those external overflow boxes is this:  At some point, they ALL fail and it's almost always when you are not around to catch it.   When that happens, you're most likely looking at a flood and/or major tank problems.   Having a drilled tank will really help you sleep at night and it will most likely be cheaper to do than buying an overflow box.
    Good luck and keep asking questions here!
    -JB
     
  3. glaspie69

    glaspie69 Experienced Reefkeeper

    Ratings:
    +41 / 2 / -0
    Welcome.

    I'd have to agree with JB you'll end up hating that overflow, I'm not sure anyone who has one likes it. It costs about 5 bucks to drill a hole compared to buying an overflow and an air lifter pump which will run alot more. The second thing I would look into is a different set of lights, pc's are a good beginer light but if your going to buy a fixture rather than have the lights in a canopy I would suggest buying a metal halide system from the get go, the heat would be about the same and with mh you would have a much better start at a healthy tank. Jason
     
  4. Twill

    Twill Inactive User

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    Thanks for the advice!

    I guess I originally avoided the idea of drilling because I didn't know how to do it. Do you know where I can go to do it (hardware store? Lowe's/Home Depot?). Also, do you know of any good links that detail the process of fitting the bulkheads, making the overflow box, etc.?

    I read a lot about the differences between the various lighting systems, and eventually decided that I was ok with the PC's as a starting point. It's pretty likely that eventually I'll want to upgrade to MH's, but for now I just wanted to get started in the hobby without spending more money than is necessary to get a decent system going.
     
  5. JB Veteran Reefkeeper

    Marion
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    If you go to a good LFS (local fish shop) or online, you should be able to buy bulkheads that fit stanard PVC parts. Just pick the right sized bulkhead for the size of plumbing you want (Probably 3/4") and wherever you buy the bulkhead from should be able to tell you what size hole you need to have drilled in order to use it. Any glass shop should be able to drill the whole for you, but if you post in the Davenport regional forum, you might even be able to find someone to do it for you.

    I used PC's on my first tank, and they were OK, but I was never really happy with the light output and they were prone to failure. Have you looked at T5 setups at all? They have great output when you use individual reflectors and they come in lots of color temp options. Check your LFS to see what T5 options you have (chances are chain places like PetCo and PetSmart will not have very many choices. If the LFS's don't have any good deals, you can always go to hellolights.com.

    -JB
     
  6. Madjabjoe

    Madjabjoe Inactive User

    98
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    Twill, if you plan on using a protein skimmer on your system I have posted an Aqua C Remora skimmer in the for sale forum. I beleive you can hang it or use it in your sump. Check it out if your interested.
     
  7. JB Veteran Reefkeeper

    Marion
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    +3 / 0 / -0
    Good point. A skimmer is a must have.

    -JB
     
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

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    I agree with others.  Good water is primary, but lighting is also important.  I would recommend getting an ro/di system, and MH or T5's, I started out with PC's and they limit your options for keeping coral's and clams.   If pricing is an issue, you can probably find a used MH system from one of the members as there is a lot of upgrading going on in this club.  Also, keep and eye out for people selling Live Rock, it's usually at least 50% less that buying from a fish store and it doesn't need to be cured.
     
  9. Twill

    Twill Inactive User

    23
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    I'm definitely keeping an eye out for LR. $10/lb is ridiculous.
     
  10. Steph & Nick

    Steph & Nick Well-Known ReefKeeper

    571
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    come to the jan 19th meeting in coralville, members might be selling stuff you want for setting up the tank
     
  11. seanndenise1

    seanndenise1 Inactive User

    428
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    bring that tank over ill drill it for ya, im in a tank drillin mood.
    i think im gonna get me some scrap glass and just drill holes all day.
    no seriously, i can drill for 1 inch bulkheads, that would allow you to use 3/4 inch pipe.
    i would definatlely skip the pcs, and go for a halide or t-5 it doesnt cost much more money at all and you will be able to keep practically anything in a tank the size you are thinking of. while you are getting everything together keep an eye out for rock, its getting sold in this club nearly every week.
    do your best to do it right the first time, you will be glad you did.
    and welcome to GIRS .
     
  12. covey

    covey

    254
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    +6 / 0 / -0
    Hello again.

    Anyway good advice all around. I also second skipping the PC lighting. Even the low end T-5 systems are much nicer. If your already hanging out with us your going to want the good corals quickily. It never saves you any money to buy the lighting twice.

    If your worried about the price of Live Rock I would suggest like what Al's said and keep and eye out for used rock or get a couple real nice pieces of rock and get dry base rock like from
    http://www.marcorocks.com/
    give it six months and you will never be able to tell the difference and it will save you hundreds.
     
  13. slovan

    slovan Experienced Reefkeeper

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    Posted By covey on 12/29/2007 1:15 PM
    If your worried about the price of Live Rock I would suggest like what Al's said and keep and eye out for used rock or get a couple real nice pieces of rock and get dry basic rock like from
    http://www.marcorocks.com/
    give it six months and you will never be able to tell the difference and it will save you hundreds.Then you can use the money saved towards better lights. /site/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/_default/emoticons/wink.gif
     
  14. Twill

    Twill Inactive User

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    For now I don't mind at all using the PC's and upgrading later to MH's. I have a 29g freshwater that the PC's can be handed down to and my plants will love it (instead of the very ghetto lighting I have set up now).....or I could always use the extra lighting fixture as an excuse to set up another tank! Ha!
     
  15. Twill

    Twill Inactive User

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    Ok, after more (there's always more isn't there?) reading and research, I think I might plan to use an external durso standpipe as seen in this image:
    [​IMG]
    (Image from http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=69372&st=0)
    I'm pretty sure, in the endgame setup, I'd still want to use an overflow box, as I've read that they can help keep the water surface clean.
    I'm still not totally sure about the purpose of the hole in the top of the end cap, or exactly how it regulates water flow. I like to know exactly how things work so I don't have to just trust everything to work right, but gleaning that knowledge from and image is tricky! Can anybody explain that to me?
     
  16. nick

    nick Well-Known ReefKeeper

    752
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    pets playhouse sells live rock at $6.99lb and hung at sea of marvels will drill the tank for $20 and any local theisans sells all your bulkhead piece that you practically want we have bought alot of those type of things there
     
  17. slovan

    slovan Experienced Reefkeeper

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    Posted By Twill on 12/29/2007 5:44 PM
    I'm still not totally sure about the purpose of the hole in the top of the end cap, or exactly how it regulates water flow. I like to know exactly how things work so I don't have to just trust everything to work right, but gleaning that knowledge from and image is tricky! Can anybody explain that to me?
    The hole on top helps reduce the back pressure in your drain.  In turn, it'll make the water level in your overflow stable and stop the gurgling/flushing noise.
     
  18. Twill

    Twill Inactive User

    23
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    Well, thanks two Sean I have two nice little holes in my tank now! My original plan was to build an internal overflow box, but last night I discovered this thread on Reef Central: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1257783&perpage=25&pagenumber=2

    The concept works similar to a "Calfo" type overflow (I think), in that it skims the surface of the water very well. Also, the height of it can be adjustable and it's removed easily for cleaning. The thing I like most about it is that it only takes up surface space and doesnt require a big box inside the tank.

    Has anyone seen something like this before in action? My only concern is the noise, but according to the posters there it's pretty quiet. They also came up with a possible idea to reduce noise by fitting one pipe into another like a sleeve. You can see that a little further down the page.
     
  19. vvolfe1

    vvolfe1 Inactive User

    453
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    Twill, thanks for the link.  I'll set this up on my one tank today to see how it works.
    Hows your tank coming along?  Is it about ready?  Any pics?
     
  20. Twill

    Twill Inactive User

    23
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    It's getting there. I'm finished reinforcing my store-bought stand, I have the bulkheads installed in my tank and this morning I'm making a trip to Wal-Mart to buy spray-paint to paint the back of the tank. After that, all I need is sand and salt mix and I'll be able to get the tank started! As soon as I pick up some batteries for my camera I'll get some pics taken.
     

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