Broke Enthusiast Wanting The Best!

Discussion in 'Saltwater Beginners' started by HenryLovesReefer, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. HenryLovesReefer

    HenryLovesReeferNew MemberMember

    Hello everyone,

    Wasn't sure if there was a Introduction page but, I am Henry. I'm currently trying to start up a new hobby. I have done Freshwater setups in the past so I know about the nitrogen cycle. Ive done alot of research on SW aquariums , and I know pretty much what I want. As I continue reading the vast ocean of information, questions arise.

    As of right now I am planning to take this project one step at a time. I come to you guys for assistance through this long beautiful process. As the title says I am strictly limited budget wise, but I am willing to save up for the best. I figured the process of getting the water to the correct parameters will give me some time to gather everything I need.

    I have a pretty clear understanding of what type of equipment I need for this project, but I would like some help on deciding which equipment are the most crucial to start a SW tank.

    I am planning on doing a FOWLR/Corals in a 40B tank.

    My 40 breeder tank consist of

    2x 50w Heaters
    45g of salt mix water
    40 lbs CaribSea Arag-Alive Bahamas Oolite Aquarium Sand (roughly 1.5 inch of sand)
    [ After three days, My water is starting to clear up, but still not clear. Barley can see the back of the tank]
    2x Airstones
    and 3 live rocks

    I want my water to be heaven for the corals and fish I want to house. I understand there will be some time of conflict with some fish and corals, but again I am willing to learn the ins and outs of this hobby. Starting with beginner corals until I learn enough about taking care of them to graduate into the more harder to keep corals. Any and all help will be appreciated and I want to thank everyone in advanced. This is going to be one crazy ride but it'll be worth it!

    I've looked up prices on each piece of equipment, and I really want to get this right the first time as for these pieces are not cheap. To maintain pristine water quality , I've read that my setup should include a Sump/ Refugiums , And more than adequate water flow. I suck at math ill put it out there nothing to hide, All of this GPH coming from different pieces and turning over your tank really confused the heck out of me. Protein skimmers return pumps and power heads all have to do with great water quality. So I guess my first question to start everything off is:

    1.What should I focus on next giving the information provided about my tank setup as it is now?
    2.Should I focus on a Sump tank first?
    3.Would it be better to buy a premade sump tank from drfoster, or make one your self?
    4.Lighting wont be needed until corals and fish are introduced?
    5.What type of lighting will provide enough light for a 40breeder tank without frying everything?
    6.Was it to early to add Live rock?( critters are all probably dead now haha )
    7.My water is still cloudy. I might have aggravated the sand when filling up the tank or it could be from the salt mix. clarification?
    8. How many times do I have to turn over my tank per hour?

    I know theres a bunch more questions stored in my head but, those are the top questions I have as of right now. I know they will branch off into so much information. I will appreciate any piece of knowledge you guys have to offer.
  2. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    Hi Henry.

    Welcome to the darkside as I like to call it ;)

    It is so refreshing to see a thread like this in focusing on good equipment quality. Get it done the first time around right?? :)

    Let's see here...
    A sump would be awesome in hiding all your equipment away from your display tank.

    Let me get this straight.
    So you already have the tank going with live rocks? The best way to do a sump is drilling the tank. You can get one of those HOB or make your own overflows, though, it does not look as clean.

    2) You can certainly make your own sump. I made my own, but before I got to use it. I decided to get one of those All-In-One systems where the "sump" sits in the back. Look up Innovative Marine 25 Lagoon. That's what I have.
    Anyways, if you are good at DIY projects, and can cut glass and silicone, then it's fairly straight forward. There's plenty of instructional's out there of what diameter hose people used and the return pump. You can even look up head loss for pumps and overflow pipes calculators that will calculate all that for you.

    3) Personal preference. Making your own sump gives you room to plan around all your equipment sizes when you silicone the baffles. Also, a bit cheaper, though my sump looked horrible. I was terrible at my silicone job.

    4) Correct. Lighting will not be needed for now.

    5) Look into Radion lights. I wish I could afford those. You can adjust the intensity levels and all that. Also, World Wide Corals uses Radion's exclusively to grow their corals.
    You can go with T5's if you are into that, a lot of the reefers I talk to uses a mixture of T5s to grow their corals, and LEDs for show. Kessil's are also good. Try looking at Kessil 160 Tuna's or even the Kessil 360 tuna's. I use the AI Prime HD LEDs and I really like the phone app controllability. For a 40 breeder, I think you might need 2-3 lights depending which ones you go with.

    6) nah - you are fine.

    7) I think the oolite sand is pretty fine, so you might just have a sand storm for now. It should settle. Make sure the powerhead is not kicking up the sand too much.

    8) This one depends what kind of corals you keep. Softies like mushrooms and zoas can thrive in pretty low flow, LPS corals are about medium flow, and SPS are high flow.
    I think for a 40 breeder, 7-10 turnover is good. The neat thing is though, I have a 25 gallon, I probably have 15 times turnover, but I kind of watch the flow pattern and place my corals accordingly, because not all areas of the tank is getting high flow. If you get the power-heads that let's you control the flow setting (which I highly recommend) You can actually dial it down till you see how it fits your needs and your coral's needs.

    If you plan to do a sump, I would personally focus on that first.
    Do you plan to do a refugium? or run a protein skimmer? or both?

    Were you looking for specific brands for other equipments?
    Heater - go with Cobalt Neo-therm
    Powerhead - Vortech, though Jebao SW-2 is no slouch and pretty cheap.
    Lights - Radion, Kessil, or AquaIllumination
    Skimmer - I have not personally used any skimmers, but I have heard Banshee makes some good ones, or Reef Ocotpus.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Culprit

    CulpritFishlore VIPMember

    Doesn't he need an RO/DI unit if he's doing corals?
  4. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    @Culprit Kind of yeah. All depends on the TDS of your tap water. It is recommended you go with RODI though.

    Plethora of RODI units out there, Spectra Pure is one of them that a lot of the local reefers I know uses.
    I didn't go THAT in depth Colin ;)

    But since we are at it... Other items you will need:
    - TDS meter
    - RODI Unit
    - Refractometer
    - Refractometer calibration fluid
    - Reef Salt - (Don't bother asking which is the best reef salt lol. It's like asking people what is the best fast food chain) I personally use Red Sea
    - Saltwater test kit: Specifically for KH, Calcium, Magnesium, Nitrates, Phosphates, and pH (For Nitrates and Phosphates, get a low-range test kit)
  5. OP

    HenryLovesReeferNew MemberMember

    Darkside, My cup of tea! Getting started in the hobby I really dont feel like I want to go drilling holes. This tank will help me get my experience up. Once I get my own place I am planning to put my knowledge to the test and go for a BIG BOY tank.

    So please correct me if i'm wrong. If I run a sump, somthing like this I notice this is seperated into 3 sections. Instead of putting my Protein skimmer in the DT it would be put in the sump?

    What else goes in the sump. I heard of some type of algae plants and live rock going in there as well. If I threw my heaters in the sump would I still have to heat my DT with a separate heater?

    I currently wont mind a overflow hanging off the back of my tank. I watched a few videos how to do an HOB overflow box and that looks like the way I want to go this time. My sump placement will be directly under the DT itself.
  6. OP

    HenryLovesReeferNew MemberMember

    Im afraid that I made a mistake with this sand. Do you think this sand will restrict me from housing SPS? Im not sure how much water flow itll take to kick up the sand again and make the tank cloudy again. I used a little feeder to blow off some sand from the live rocks and It would cloud up that area for 5-10 minutes, is that normal?

    dumb question but whats the difference between a power head and a wave maker?
  7. OP

    HenryLovesReeferNew MemberMember

    I do need a RO/DI unit and am planning to get one. Just some clarification on this unit. This will produce my water I do water changes with ??
  8. Culprit

    CulpritFishlore VIPMember

    Well, kind of. What an RO/DI unit does is filters your water, making it soft and taking out anything like hard metals. Then, you have to mix in your salt to do a water change.
  9. OP

    HenryLovesReeferNew MemberMember

    Do you think will do its job?

    This looks like it does the same exact thing just for a bit more money.

    Is there a certain brand I should be hunting? and how many GPD is recommended?
  10. OP

    HenryLovesReeferNew MemberMember

    Rule of thumb is 3 watts per gallon, correct?

    45g x 3watts = 135watts

    Should I do 1x 100watts and 1x 50watt heater?
  11. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    That's kind of normal to cloud a little if you blow off sand from the live rock.

    Essentially a wave maker is a powerhead. A wave maker powerhead just comes with more options to dial down different flow settings

    There's no certain brands in particular. Get a TDS meter just to make sure that that water being filtered is good.

    Arnt you doing a sump too?
    It's best two have two small heater than one big heater yes as a fail safe jic one stays in the on position. So try the 100W and see if it will be sufficient. If you decide to go with a bigger sump, and it's not heating properly, you might want to add like a 50W or 75W depending on sump size.
  12. OP

    HenryLovesReeferNew MemberMember

    Ah I forgot about the sump, so a wattage that is sufficient for both since they are connected.

    The heaters would sit in the sump then I assume?
  13. OP

    HenryLovesReeferNew MemberMember


    Is there anything I can do to make my water clearer?
  14. AWheeler

    AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    How long has it been filled and running? What kind of water movement are you doing (gph)?
  15. OP

    HenryLovesReeferNew MemberMember

    Filled and running for about 4 days now going on five, I only have a 240GPH wavemaker in there right now.
  16. AWheeler

    AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    If you mixed the salt in the tank directly, it can take awhile. Upping the turnover rate mixes it faster. I'd wait a few more days at least and you should be more clear.
  17. OP

    HenryLovesReeferNew MemberMember

    I premixed the water before I put it in the tank. I do have a FW established filter with active carbon in there, If I throw that on my reef tank for now, Do you think itll help clear it?
  18. AWheeler

    AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    The filter that is established might make the cloud worse, different bacteria, You could take the filter out, (keep it in the fw tank for back up) and then put the filter on the sw tank with no media in it, unless you have some poly media laying around. That would help clear it up too.
  19. OP

    HenryLovesReeferNew MemberMember

    Hey so what do you think!!?

    I think it cleared up pretty quickly. Patience is definetly a virtue, I can tell this is going to be worth it to wait.
  20. Culprit

    CulpritFishlore VIPMember

    Looks good! I think you need to mabye get some more live rock and make it a little higher. Just my opinion!