Any help appreciated!!!!

Discussion in 'Saltwater Beginners' started by guppygirl30, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. guppygirl30New MemberMember

    I just purchased a 155 gallon tank. I would like to make this a saltwater tank and make this a hobby. I have never done this before but have always been fascinated by fish and aquariums in general. I have saved up money to be able to purchase the items needed to make this happen. I have done some research on how to begin and things that are recommend that I should get. Long story short I figure I need someone with experience to help me set this up and learn how to properly maintain this hobby. I am excited to learn. Right now I need to know what filter would be good to use and other items I should get. Thanks for any replys.
  2. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

  3. AquaticBrandonWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to Fishlore! :). I would run a sump and a really good skimmer for a tank this size. Are you planning to do a FOWLR tank? Water movement is really important in saltwater. Some really good strong powerheads should work.

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  4. guppygirl30New MemberMember


    I did some research on the Fowlr aquarium... N decided that was prob. Best for me as a beginner. Where could I purchase a sump suitable for the tank...I went out to few places pricing things but they didn't really have the size I needed.

  5. AquaticBrandonWell Known MemberMember

    A FOWLR tank is the way to go for a beginner. My tank started as a FOWLR tank and later to a reef. If you can't find the size of sump that you want, You can build your own sump. I've seen many people build very nice sumps. A pretty big sump should be good for this tank, the sump needs space for a skimmer, heater, and all other equipment. You can also do a refugium.

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  6. LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

    I must be the go-to guy for first time reef/FOWLR setups.. ;D

    A good rule of thumb for sump sizes (in my opinion) are 20 gallons sump to 100 gallons display. You should imo get a sump that holds about 30 gallons of water when filled.

    You should look into building sumps, all you need is a tank, some acrylic or glass baffles (You can get them cut at Lowe's or a glass shop) and aquarium safe silicone.

    Your filtration is 90% live rock. For your size tank, look into getting about 150lb of dry reef saver rock from Bulk Reef Supply and cycling with Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride. The rock is very porous and has a lot of surface area for your beneficial bacteria to grow.

    The purpose of having a sump is to increase the water volume of the aquarium so the parameters are more stable, and is also a good place to hide equipment. If you want to include a grazing fish like a mandarin goby, you're going to want to include a large refugium in the middle of the sump to have a huge ball of chaeto for them to colonize in.

    So... Time for me to get super detailed on what you should buy. Check back on this area frequently because I will be constantly updating it with more things as I remember them. This is everything but the obvious things such as the tank, stand, tops, lights etc.

    The Rock (Not Dwayne Johnson... ;D)

    You're going to want to have Live Rock in your tank, it's a lot easier to set up than a fish only tank. About 150lb should do the job, but you could get away with less rock if it is porous such as pukani rock or reef saver rock, both of which are available on bulk reef supply's website. I recommend the reef saver rock since it is very cheap, doesn't damage the reefs in the wild, and won't introduce any unwanted pests into the aquarium such as aiptasia or bubble algae.


    Totally optional, unless you want a sand-sifting fish, certain starfish etc. The pro to having a bare bottom aquarium is the ease of maintenance. But if you go with sand, you should get live sand such as caribsea aragonite. 1lb per gallon is my rule of thumb for that sand. You don't want more than 1-2" depth unless you're going for a deep sand bed, which I personally believe belongs in the refugium, not the display tank.


    In a FOWLR tank, you want to have around 10-20x flow in your tank. Since you have roughly a 150G tank, look for a collection of 2-4 powerheads that will put out a combined flow of 1500-3000 gallons per hour. I can't personally recommend any brands as I only have experience with Hydor powerheads, but they do the job really well in my experience.


    I would personally just do Aqueon Pros. I have a Cobalt Neo-Therm heater in my 29G reef, but I think Aqueon Pros would suit you better since you're dealing with a much larger system and the cost can build up very rapidly.


    Personal preference are some of the higher end Reef Octopus skimmers. There are other good brands but that's my personal recommendation.

    Test Kits

    You're going to want to get good test kits to monitor your pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrates, Salinity (Refractometer), Phosphates, and if you go reef, Magnesium, Calcium, Alkalinity etc. Go with API if you want a budget friendly, albeit less accurate test kit; Go with Red Sea/Salifert/Hanna checkers for the more premium test kits.


    While I have absolutely no experience with chillers, if your aquarium is having problems getting too hot, instead of needing to be heated (Not rare at all in large saltwater systems) then you're going to need to invest in a good quality chiller.

    If you ever have any questions, don't hesitate to ask either in a thread, or leave me a VM. :)

    Hope I've made myself useful. I always want to spread the knowledge I have so others don't make the same mistakes I have made.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015
  7. guppygirl30New MemberMember

    Thanks for ur help.....very very helpful! This is going to get interesting lol, I feel like a lost pup, but....gonna try my best to get this right!!!
  8. LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

    We have all made mistakes along the way. :) You're off to a good start by starting with a large system, rather than small.

    You're also going to be minimizing your mistakes by asking questions and getting help when you need it.
    You can repay me/us by providing us with some wonderful images of the tank as it's set up. ;D
  9. AquaticBrandonWell Known MemberMember

    I would really like to see pictures of this setup. Since your tank is very large It will be easier to maintain. :)

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  10. guppygirl30New MemberMember

    Thanks for the boost of confidence, I will def. post some pictures as I progress, and Im sure i will be asking tons of questions lol. I actually spent the day refurbishing the wood of the stand, about to clean the glass section now.....looking forward to the end result.
  11. AquaticBrandonWell Known MemberMember

    Looking forward to this build! :)
    Also don't know if you know already, but in a saltwater tank it is not recommended to use Tap Water. There's too many phosphates in tap water which can lead to algae issues. I would invest in a good RODI unit. RODI water is best for saltwater aquariums. You can also use RO water but RODI is better.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  12. LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

    It's not the phosphates that are the main problem, it's the high TDS. Having that high TDS can mean anything from having a lot of phosphates to nitrates to heavy metals, chlorine etc.

    If just a little copper got in the tank it would be catastrophic. It would be very nutrient rich water which is why the algae blooms like mad.
  13. AquaticBrandonWell Known MemberMember

    Yeah. Just don't use tap water. I have been using RO water with no problems, but I would like to get an RODI unit.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  14. guppygirl30New MemberMember

    sry lol might be a dumb question but what is RO water ????? I dont know the saltwater slang words yet.....
  15. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Reverse osmosis water :eek:

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  16. guppygirl30New MemberMember

    ps glad you told me cuz i def. was going to use tap and the salt mix!!!
  17. LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

    Bulk Reef Supply also makes pretty good RODI units, the cheapest one being $150. You can use that to set up your aquarium.
  18. guppygirl30New MemberMember

    Ok thanks for the heads up....def will go that route.
  19. LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

    If you're willing to put forth the extra money, this   in particular would be good for your tank. You could fill the tank from empty to full in around 24 hours and it would put out a lot less waste water.

    If you're looking for a good container for storing water for water changes, I see a lot of people use brute trash cans.

    Also, remember to top off any evaporated water with RODI water, not saltwater. The salt in the water does not evaporate, so you'd only be raising the salinity further by topping off with saltwater. Topping off with saltwater is only recommended when you have a low salinity that you're trying to bring up gradually. I raised the salinity in my reef tank from 1.023 to 1.025 that way.
  20. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    So is that why saltwater setups are so expensive? You need a RODI unit because you can't use tap water?

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum

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