55 Gallon Reef Equipment List

  • #1
Hello everyone,
I am thinking about setting up a 55 gallon reef. I have an idea of what I would do, but I want to make sure everything sounds good.

So as an equipment overview this is what I was thinking(I will go more in depth on each one later):
- 55 gallon tank
- Stand
- Sump refugium
- Lighting

Now I will go more in depth on them...

Sump Refugium:
I was going to DIY my own using a 20 gallon long aquarium. What I would use to make it is...
- 20 gallon long tank
- CPR CS 102 Overflow box
- 4ft. drain hose
- Filter Sock
- Coralife Super Skimmer Needle Wheel 65 Protein Skimer
- Dry rock, and live sand
- Refugium Starter Kit(from liveaquaria)
- EcoPlus 1267 Return Pump
- Eshopps Curve Refugium Light
- Heater
- Glass and fish safe silicon
- Plumbing/return tubing and fittings.

Does this sound like everything needed for a sump refugium? How does this sound for a sump refugium?

For lighting I am not quite sure what I want. I want good light that will not "break the bank." what would you reccomend?

Now for inside the aquarium with livestock and everything(I will go more in depth).
So inside I will have:
- Live Sand
- Dry Rock
- Coral
- Fish

For the Corals what I was planning to have was...
- WWC Firefly Pavona
- WWC Cactus Pavona
- LA Lakers Scroll
- WWC Honeycomb Leptastrea
- Green Star Polyp
- War Coral
- Pink Polyp Montipora Cap
- Cat Eye Zoanthids
- Candy Canes
- Acropora Frag
- Indonesian Zoanthid
- Duncanopsammia Frag
- A few other frags of easy coral

How do these corals sound? What light would be good?
P.S. I would order all coral from WorldWideCorals.com and UniqueCorals.com.

As a fish livestock I want peaceful, active fish. The fish stock I was thinking is...
- 2 Ocellaris Clownfish
- 3 Blue Green Chromis
- 1 BangaI Cardinalfish
- 1 Firefish
- 1 Bi-Color Blenny
- Clean-Up Crew
- 1 "Centerpiece" fish(if possible, and if there is enough room without over stocking)

How does this sound as a fish stock? What centerpiece fish is reccomended, if it is possible to have another fish?

I would appreciate and feedback, help, and answers to questions. How does everything sound?

- Jack
  • #2
Awesome!!! I'll be very happy to follow along on this build thread. I'm a beginner, and have a 20 gallon tank without a sump, but have been studying a lot. I'll answer what I can.

Your sump sounds pretty good to me, though I can't really speak to branding. I've only had my tank running for about 2.5 months but am happy so far with Hydor powerheads and Eheim heaters.

My first thought was, why not use acrylic instead of glass for your sump's baffles? It's more easily DIY'd imo.

You have some nice corals in your list, so you'll want a good light. If I'm not mistaken, a 55 is rather deep, yes? I think I would call on NART LJC6780 & KinsKicks for good ideas on the best light for your size tank.

As for your scape... I would say to consider your rockscape quite carefully. Consider the corals you want, where they'll need to be in the tank and their placement. Also, it's not uncommon to start with mostly dry rock with a little bit of live rock added to help seed and cycle the tank.

Corals - study each type's lighting and flow needs and consider this with the scape Also, World Wide Corals just had a great live sale and should have another in December.

For your fish - I would make sure to stock from weakest to strongest, and give each type a good few weeks to establish themselves before adding the next fish. I would start with the firefish.

Some of the folks I mentioned above can probably help you with a centerpiece fish as well.

Again, this is going to be awesome! Congratulations!!! I'm very excited to follow along.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thank you so much. That's a lot of help. I will wait for some other responses too and can hopefuply get lots of good information.
  • #4
Center piece fish in a 55 gal..... I'd vote for a Flame Angel.
I love them and would love to have one, but I can't properly house one in my tank, but you sure can!

Refugium item looks good, I also bought all the parts for one and built my own with a 10G... but ended up switching tanks before I ever had the chance to use it.
The lights, you can go with the curve light or just buy a hydroponic light off Amazon for $20. Works really well for me growing chaeto morpha. I'm not sure about that skimmer, I'm not a skimmer person so you may want to do some research in that, I have heard that Reef Octopus makes great skimmers. For Heater, I vote Colbalt Neo-therm. I have a 100W to run my all in one 25 gallon. I think 2 x 100W might work for you. I'd go with 2 smaller heaters instead of one big one, this is a jic fail-safe if one of the heater malfunctions and stays in the on position.

Fish stocking is perfect.

Those corals you listed sound good. Though corals are like a ever changing style. Like, once you get into the weeds of things you'll find that you'll no longer like certain ones and start falling in love with some other corals because you can keep it thriving better in your tank. With that said, once your tank is cycled and stabilizes with the water parameters, get a green star polyp frag, zoas, and a Duncan to see how it fairs in the tank. Observe for a few weeks to see how they do and then get a few more. WWC is good to order from.
Don't look at corals till your tank is ready. Lots of people can't hold back and end up getting them when their tanks aren't properly cycled or with stable parameters.. they end up with a headache trying to save the corals.

Lights - if you plan to keep better looking corals for the tank your size you basically have two options. Buy Chinese LED black boxes for $100'ish and then upgrade in like 6 months or so. It's up to you really. You might even end up liking the Chinese LEDs. I just know a lot of people who uses cheaper LED lights ends up saving up money to buy the more expensive lights like Aqua Illumination Prime HDs, Kessils, and Radions. I personally like LEDs over T5s because it looks sleeker and cheaper to maintain in the long run. Though some old school reefers swear by T5s, so to each their own. WWC uses Radions exclusively, look closely at their shop. Radions hanging up top galoreeee.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thank you. That is a lot of help. I will look into the lighting.

I heard that flame angels can be a little agressive, and sometimes nip at corals. Is this true?
  • #6

Ocellaris/Perc clowns can be aggressive too and nip at corals. I think grantm91 clowns was nipping on his duncans.
Every fish has its own personality. Coral beauties are also known to nip at corals though you'll see many reefers that own coral beauties with no issues.
I think what the problem lies with are complaints on the forums/internet these days. Like, when things go well you aren't going to ask people why are things going well or say much about it so it's left unsaid. I believe you'll see more issues and complaints on the web, because far more people document the bads than goods. Just my two cents.

Like clowns for instance, some clowns can be total jerks to tank mates, to a point where you'll have to banish them for a few weeks in another tank or sump and try to re-introduce to the display tank again. Before I started my tank I read all that I was almost set on just only having clowns because in my head, after reading all those negatives, it won't work having any other fishes in the tank. Next thing you know my clowns are huge docile goofballs. They are curious and will go check it out but they leave everything alone. Even pistol shrimps. I read that people had a rogue pistol shrimp and went on a rampage and killed all their snails and hermits only to make little trophies with their shells right outside it's cave. I really wanted a pistol shrimp, but was deterred from all the negative posts about them. Finally I just went to my LFS and spoke with the guys there, they told me just try it out, if it doesn't workout take it back to them. Best advice I ever took and love my Randall pistol shrimp and Yasha goby.

But yes - its a chance you'll have to take and if any issues comes up just address it accordingly.
  • #7
There is good and bad written everywhere about fish/inverts doing this and that, as NART said it does come down to individuals a lot of the time, its easy to find info of a fish/invert misbehaving because as soon as a person sees the animal doing something what appears to be bad its straight on the persons forum or blog, I'm guilty of it myself. My Duncan looked sad and droopy on and off for about a week and I had no clue why, then I caught my largest occelaris nipping it, I related it to how they introduce them selves to anemones and as I have a BTA in the tank I decided to intervene and full on introduce the clowns to the nem and nipping of the Duncan stopped, I think they were just confused as they are tank bread so I gave them a little help.

Just an example of how info is put out there, all you can do is read multiple pieces of info and build a picture your self, sometimes its all you can do and you still may have issues, the reef hobby is the worst for it I have found.

  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Okay thanks for the help. Do you have any tips to keep aggression of fish down, and keep them from nipping at coral?

Are there any other fish that may be a better option that have little risk of aggression and coral nipping? Or not really.

Sent from my LGL51AL using
  • #9
Just work it all like an equation, how much do you want the flame angel, how bothered are you about having this or that coral, would you be able to easily re-home, just ask all the what ifs and take a gamble sometimes, as no matter how much research you do everything is a gamble to some degree. I don't know a lot about the fish in question but they are beautiful and this is just how I think with my tanks.
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Thanks. I like flame angels. So I will research them a little more. Is there an help or information you can give me to save a little time? Its fine if you cant, just wondering.

As for lighting, I still can't seem to find one. If possible could you tell me some good ones?

Thanks for the help.
  • #11
Apparently with the corals you listed, Flame Angels and Coral Beauties will probably steer clear of.
I think they generally enjoy nipping on SPS and montis. That's as much as I know.

Inexpensive/cheap ones:

or 2x:


Good ones, you might need 2-3 of these. Double Check:

Note - I can't recommend the inexpensive/cheap ones as I never used it myself, so usually if I haven't used I can't give a recommendation. I do recommend Current Orbit Marines as they are decent/beginner lights and should suffice. If you can drop some cash, definitely get AI Prime HDs.

I'm not familiar with any other center piece fishes you can put in a community tank and that's reef safe/with caution.

Pygmy Angels/Potter's Angel though those can nip at corals too. But I think they only pick on certain types of corals. Fact check it.
  • #12
Them mars aqua are basically the same as mine, they get the job done for a budget but not very user friendly, id place anything under them even demanding things but do be careful as you could easily nuke your corals if your not so gifted in the common sense department. Theres no guidelines it just comes in a box, light, plug, go. Also you will have to figure out mounting, I used a universal t5/LED hanging kit, it looks neat but I did have to dismantle the light and drill it to get it that way.
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Thanks. I will check out those lights, and research the angels. Any ither centerpiece fish? I'm just wondering. I like the angel, but want to see other options too if possible.
  • #14
My post was merged I think, so re-read right before Grant's light posts. I don't know of any. Your next step up are Tangs, but those don't go in anything smaller than a 100G

grantm91 Grant's pro with those generic LED lights. They do look good too. I struggled finding a mounting method so said ehhhhhhhhhh ice cream fudgesicles, let's go with AI's
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Oh okay. Thanks
  • #16
55s are hard to scape because they're pretty narrow from front to back. My first reef tank was a 55 and I very quickly moved to something to a much more favorable footprint. Reefing is fun, I think you'll like it

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