Calling Mike and StangMan!

  1. ucdcrew Member Member

    :;toastAlright, we're gonna do this. We're going to setup a new saltwater tank. You guys have answered me the most, so you're the coolest, although I will listen to advice from others. Here is my plan...or multiple plans, as it were. I apologize because I've had multiple margaritas tonight, but as they say, drunk words are sober thoughts.

    Plan #1
    I already have a 55g tank. This tank has heaters, some powerheads that I'm not sure are good quaility, a canister filter, and other assorted awesomeness. If nothing else, I want to buy new powerheads (the two I have are ambiguous AquaClear), a sump (30gL to fit under my tank), a new T5HO lighting system that spans the whole 48", a protein skimmer, and rock. I'm thinking 75 lbs dried live rock (ecosaver) and 10lb live rock.
    Problems with system #1 -
    Canopy on 55g is . I mean, I broke it. I could build a new canopy, and possibly do it well if no alcohol was involved in the building.

    I have no idea how to build a sump, however there are easy to follow plans on FishLore. I also have no idea how to care for marine fish, but figure I'd be able to learn to do it correctly through books and help from the awesome people at Fishlore

    I may want to go bigger in the future, which would suck because there would be redundancy in equipment if I was to buy a bigger tank that needed higher rated equipment.

    I have a plan #2, but it involves pretty much the same thing with buying a new tank and putting the old tank underneath a sump.

    So I have some other questions, mostly to decide if this is even a good idea for me. I'm a wildland firefighter, and sometimes I leave town for 2 weeks at a time. I have a super awesome kitty who needs to be fed twice a day when I'm gone., Would I be able to leave for two weeks as long as someone fed and emptied the protein skimmer once daily when they visit kitty? Since you guys have been keeping marine tanks for longer than I've been alive, I figured you'd be good to ask if I'm barking up the wrong tree.

    Edit - haha, I didn't put the drunk toast up there, Fishlore must know I'm drunk somehow.:;banaman
     
  2. Mike Fishlore Admin Moderator Member

    :;toast
    Plan #1 sounds good to start. Getting a 48 inch 8x54 watt T5 lighting fixture would let you keep most anything. If you upgraded to another tank with similar dimensions like a 120 gallon you could reuse the lighting too.

    Get a skimmer that is rated for double your system volume. It'll do a great job on a 55 gallon and will be reusable when/if you upgrade in the future.

    You could get an automatic fish feeder ($10 to $20?) to feed a high quality pellet food when you're away for a week or more and then just have the friend empty the skimmer and you wouldn't need to worry about the fish getting overfed/polluting the tank. You'd also need them to do freshwater top-offs every couple of days too. I have to add about 5 gallons of RO/DI freshwater to top-off my 120 gallon tank every other day.

    Sumps don't have to be pretty since they are usually hidden in the stand. A simple heavy duty rubbermaid or similar type tote would work fine for a sump under a 55 gallon. Put your skimmer, return pump and any media reactors you want to use inside the sump and you're good to go.
     

  3. ucdcrew Member Member

    Thanks Mike! I'm glad you found my ramblings coherent. Or at least semi-coherent. I'm going to have to do this in stages, which is good. I'm thinking I'll get the live rock, and a skimmer and just do a rubbermaid tote for now under the tank. I'll build a sump with baffles, ect, when I get a bit more time. Sounds like the biggest expense will be the 8xT5 fixture.
     

  4. cm11599ps Well Known Member Member

    For starters, have a look at the link I have below this post. That should answer some questions.

    Next up, your rock. That seems like way too much to fit in a 55. Try doing about 60-65 lbs total.

    Lighting. You don't need expensive lighting unless you want corals. You didn't mention this. If you just want fish then you don't need expensive lighting. One thing to consider though. If you do want the expensive lighting then you need to replace the bulbs every 9 months or so. B
     

  5. lorabell Well Known Member Member

    Good luck with all of that.....one thing I didnt see mentioned...is your tank drilled or no????? I have tons of friends that use canister filters only in their SW tank set-ups...its worked for them. I use a canister in my 55 SeaHorse tank (rena xp3)...as said before...lighting is your key to the corals.

    My 72 gal BF reef was not drilled....thinking if yours isnt you will need to consider an overflow system. No big deal...just one other part needed. I can help here(pump size and overflow questions) if needed also.....I learned all of this the hard way.....lol...went through 3 differant pumps and 3 differant overflows till I got it right. Im very fortunate that my LFS has tons of patience with me.
     
  6. ucdcrew Member Member

    The tank isn't drilled, but since it is empty, I was thinking of having it drilled at an acrylic shop. I think I do want to go the sump way, mostly because it will increase the water volume of the setup, and I can put the heaters out of sight.

    What do you do with your skimmer lorabell?
    Lighting - I need to buy something new for lighting. I am not going to do corals anytime in the near future, I want to get proficient at just fish and live rock first. However, my current light is too short for the tank. I was thinking of buying a 2 light T5HO setup because it is not too much more than just buying a dual fixture strip light. If it is going to cause massive algae breakouts though, I may reconsider.

    CM - I think I'll try for 60lbs total rock. I can always add more later as long as I cure it properly right?
     
  7. ucdcrew Member Member

    Ugh. Just found out I'm being reassigned. Don't know where I'm moving to yet, but obviously I'm gonna put this on the back burner until I get a more permanent home, for the livestock's sake.