Posted: Jul 06, 2012 6:13 am Post subject: Saltwater Aquariums
I'm finally looking to pull the plug on a saltwater aquarium and wanted to get a few thoughts since there are a couple of people on here that have them. I'm looking into a 75-90 gallon tank with 100-125 pounds live rock and also an equivalent amount of live sand. This will be a simple setup with a limited number of fish and easier to keep invertebrates.
The main things I'm stuck on right now are lighting and filtration. I'm looking at either metal halide on the lighting or a T5 HO setup with lunar LED's. Filtration is the bigger question. I'm stuck right now on whether to go with berlin style sump system, a wet/dry, or one of the new large canisters. I'm leaning more towards the sump with built in skimmer and a refugium, but I think it may be overkill with the rock/sand and limited fish. However, I would rather start right and not have to replace as I get further along.
I've had freshwater as long as I can remember, but taking the step over to saltwater has been slow mainly because there is too much information out there with too many different options.
Do you have any interest in corals? Have you looked into LEDs? Leds are very easy to DIY (or you can purchase nice fixtures these days for less than before). With LEDs you use way less energy (which will lead to less heat), you get the shimmer of halides, and you have unlimited color combinations with auto or manual dimmers.
I would do a sump and skimmer, a fuge too if you have the room. Wet/Dry filters will lead to nitrate problems that will lead to algae problems, same with canister filters unless you change the filter material out frequently.
Posted: Jul 06, 2012 6:44 am Post subject: Re: Saltwater Aquariums
I'm leaning more towards the sump with built in skimmer and a refugium, but I think it may be overkill with the rock/sand and limited fish.
this is the way to go, not only for filtration, but algae control.
i've had my 46g w/ a ~25-30g sump for about 12 years now. here are my thoughts on your proposed setup:
personally, 100-125lbs lr is a lot for a 75-90g tank. not functionally, but visually, imo. my next build will be a little more minimal on lr and more open area for the fish to swim. that said, you also mention you would go light on fish, so there's that. again, that's a personal pref thing and the more i research, the more i like less lr strategically placed vs the wall of lr look (that i currently sport myself).
i have a 3-4" dsb right now and the biggest pain in the arse is cleaning that last inch of glass because the sand gets in the magnet and scratches the hell out of it. next build will be a 2" bed and 4" dsb over a plenum in the refugium. go w/ oolite - it's the finest grain.
i like the new t5 lighting that i've seen in the stores. here's the one i've been coveting for a while now: linkage
your filtration would be fine w/ the lr in the tank, ls in the refugium, some macroalgae in the refugium and a skimmer. add in a uv filter and you'd be pretty much guaranteed crystal clear water. maybe a calcium reactor for the corals, but that's starting to get beyond my knowledge base.
if you don't already browse the forums at reefcentral.com, start. unreal level of knowledge there.
That's very similar to the light setup I'm looking at. It's an AquaticLife T5 HO 6 light fixture with Lunar/LED's. I've looked at the full LED setups and I'm not ready to drop that kind of coin on one yet. I've also looked at some of the combo metal halide with T5 HO and Lunar LED's but I don't think I want to get into the higher end corals right now.
Part of the reason I'm looking at more live rock is I'm probably going to go more invertebrates, fewer fish, and beginner mushroom/soft coral setup. I'm a lot more interested in the easier to keep corals than having a bunch of fish right now. It's going about it backwards, but I think with the right setup to start with it shouldn't be a big problem.
I've been browsing reefcentral quite a bit lately. It seems as though no one can agree on lighting/filtration though.
nasarius snail. have a cowrie too, but he only comes out at night. know i have pics of him somewhere, but can't find them right now.
coral banded shrimp (have a cleaner too, but new so no pics)
new electric flame scallop that has been kick ass so far -that's an electric pulse in blue. so cool! he moved around quite a bit, but seems to have found his spot - smack dab in the middle of the tank, which is awesome (he was kind of hiding in the back for a while).
six line wrasse
diamond goby - HIGHLY recommend for keeping the sand clean. these guys do work all day every day.
flame scallop and brittle serpant star
conch - this guy is an algae eating machine. eats too much coraline, but mows green hair too.
purple psuedochromis - refuses to stay still for a picture
That's a cool setup. I've been considering a smaller setup for my room, mainly smaller creatures of the gulf instead of coral reef though. Just a matter of money and getting the fish/inverts from the gulf to auburn
i'm starting to get the itch to finally make an upgrade to a bigger tank w/ better setup. been doing a lot more research lately, just can't seem to find the money...
My main concern is going overboard with the filtration and it and the refugium counteracting the benefits that each offer. I haven't done much research on that setup because I was leaning towards a wet/dry setup. Now I'm moving towards a sump with all the components in the sump. Adding the additional refugium to that is the piece I'm still working through.
I've been going through Craigslist quite a bit trying to find the setup I want on the tank/stand, but it's hard to find a well maintained saltwater setup in my area for a reasonable price. I'm thinking of going and looking at this one though and also checking out the new setups. Glasscages is about 1.5 hour from me and they will do custom built plumbed aquarium/sump setups fairly reasonably and then I would just need to add components.
My main concern is going overboard with the filtration and it and the refugium counteracting the benefits that each offer.
i don't think that is a real concern - at least in my experience/reading. the ls in the tank floor will not offer any biofiltration at all if it's <3", especially if you have sandmoving goby. the lr in the tank and the ls in the fuge will handle your biofiltration, the skimmer will pull protein, and the macroalgae in the fuge will eat nutrients so that microalgae can't grow in the tank.
do have have specific thoughts on what might counteract the other?
this is a bad idea. the water in the gulf and the water you'll be maintaining at home is not the same and it's always risky to take live animals from the wild and try to keep them domestically - that goes for tanks as well. my college roommate pulled it off w/ a clown trigger he captured in cozumel and smuggled through customs and it lived forever, but that's the exception, not the norm. most people end up w/ a dead ______ in no time flat.
my college roommate pulled it off w/ a clown trigger he captured in cozumel and smuggled through customs and it lived forever
How the hell did he keep it alive that long? That's insane. I thought they had to live in a very specific temperature range, with sufficient oxygen and about a million other variables. _________________ You have just entered the twilight zone.
do have have specific thoughts on what might counteract the other?
Counteract is not the right word. I mean is it more overdoing it if you are looking to keep soft corals. The refugium, filters in the sump, and the skimmer will all work to remove particles from the water which also seems like it would remove the food source for the soft corals if you are running all three continuosly along with having lr/ls acting to clean the water.
the only thing that will remove particles is filter media in the sump - everything else is biological: lr, ls and protein skimmer (i guess that's physical, but it's not particles, it's residue). and even then the only particles that get removed are the ones floating at the top of the tank that get sucked into the overflow. in short, i don't think it's a worry for you. clean water is the most important factor to delicate organisms, so erring on that side is always the way to go, imo. trust me, there's plenty of particles all over my tank that i wish would get sucked down into the sump!
Jt, have you looked into the biopellet reactors rather than running a refugium or other filtration? There is a 125 build on Reef Central where the guy is doing a fairly high end coral tank running a biopellet reactor and skimmer in a sump and swears by it.
I'm relaly liking the idea of a refugium seperate from the sump after doing some research. I'm leaning towards the layout below. I'm checking on pricing and based on that this may be a long-term build rather than the quick one I had hoped for. I think I'll probably start with the tank and sump and then add the plumbed in refugium later. I like the idea of having it where I can see it rather than as part of the sump.
I've gone from knowing nothing about saltwater aquariums, to starting to know them all too well.
Just got a position in a coral reef ecology lab. Get 2 credit hours of undergraduate research this fall. Right now, I'm mainly just learning my way around the lab. I'm doing a bit of grunt work including taking care of the tanks, cleaning them, cleaning the godawful protein skimmers, and keeping an eye out on nutrient and salinity levels.
Today I got to make a few fireworm traps, curious to see if they worked. The lab mainly works with clownfish, cleaner shrimp, anemones, nudibranchs, and aiptasia.
It's a lot of learning right now, but I'm really enjoying it, and it makes me want a set up at home. We have about 20 tanks at the lab, some with just fish, some with just shrimp, anenomes and aiptasia in the fish tanks.
I'll try to get some pictures when I go in on wednesday. I should be doing some sort of research with one of the animals in the lab towards the end of fall or in the spring. Ideas are welcome on that.
They use them pretty often. It's basically a bigger test tube with a funnel like screen on the top, and then a chunk of shrimp inside. I'll try to take a picture of one tomorrow. The grad student i'm working with was telling me they work a lot better at night because the fire worms are more active.
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