Correct Advice From LFS?


Went to the LFS store to talk about converting my 55 Freshwater to SW. I went with my wife since the tank will be in our living room. I wanted her to have a hand in setting the tank up. She was interested in having a reef setup with live rock and corals.

On my 55 Freshwater I currently have 2 AC 500 filters running. I talked to the LFS and they suggested switching to a canister for increased filtration. They also said a protein skimmer was pretty much needed. No matter what we do, he suggested having a ripple effect on the surface.

For lighting, since we wanted a reef and have a full wooden canopy, he suggested a retrofit set that would screw into the underneath side of my wooden canopy.

I asked about adding some tangs and said the 55 is pushing it and that he really wouldn't recommend it. I know a 55 is pushing it so I'm glad he gave an honest answer.

As for substrate, he suggested that we stay away from any kind of colored substrate. My wife likes the really tiny, light colored substrate anyway.

As far as corals and anenemoes, he suggested waiting at least 4 months or so until the tank was more mature before introducing these guys.

He also said to cycle with live rock.

Live rock at the store isn't sold by weight, instead it's sold by pieces. They were selling about 50 lbs of live rock for about $280 though and sugested about 1lb of LR per gallon.

I think that's about it for the info and questions that were answered. Your thoughts on everything?


Hello CM,
Hopefully some of the salt members will respond today. I hope you can share some photos with us once you're all set.
Good luck!

David C

It sounds like you have a decent LFS there. Have you considered a sump? With a reef, they come in handy to hide your protein skimmer and anything else you decide you want down the road, i.e. calcium reactor, auto-top off. They also keep your water level in the display tank at a constant level. IMO, their benefits far outweigh any risk associated with having them. If you go with a canister filter, be aware that you will need to open it up and clean it out every few days to keep the nitrates low. From what I've read, nitrates in a reef tank are kept somewhere under 5ppm, normally at a level near 0ppm and there's a reason canister filters are called nitrate factories. Retrofitting your canopy isn't too difficult, but you may need to add a couple of computer fans to the sides of the canopy to pump cool air in to keep the heat down. Reef lighting can get hot pretty quick and has a huge effect on tank temperature. With rock, the general rule is 1-2lbs per gallon. I have 160lbs in my 90gal and I really like the look. To get away cheap, you can get base rock for the bottom layer since most will be buried in the sand.



With the exception of the canister filter, I pretty much agree with your LFS. As posted aboth, I also reccomend a sump and would also add a refugI'm with the sump if you would want a reef.

I also agree with the retrofit. They are much cheaper and you could do so much with them. I've only had one fixture (came with a used tank) and it was pretty good. I kind of assemble it with a retrofit canopy though

As for substrate, I hate sand....just my opinion. If you are to go with substrate though, stay away from curshed coral. The finer they are, the better because it would not trap food an algae, but the downside is that they always fly everywhere and it gets really annoying over time.. Make sure its live sand or atleast make sure its agronite.
  • Thread Starter


Thanks for responding. I got a good feeling when talking with the guy but I wanted to double check with you guys.

You guys also suggested the sump. He mentioned that was a good idea too and it is something I'd like to have as well.

Sounds like my LFS store is right on and I'm glad to hear it.


All of those sound good. I do suggest a sump too, though. I have a sump and it saves you troubles. You can treat the water from there and do your top offs and make sure your water level is good. It also adds gallons of water to your display. I'm pretty sure my sump holds between 25-30 gallons. Just make sure that in case of a power failure, you don't overflow the sump.

I like decent LFS people.
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