Going to be a reality for me finally!

Discussion in 'Saltwater Beginners' started by pirahnah3, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. pirahnah3

    pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    Ok so this summer I am making it a priority to get a SW tank up and running. After much conversation on here, thru pm's and with my LFS I think I have it down.

    What it looks like I will start with is:

    29gal Drilled tank FOWLR
    20gal long sump (Yeah its oversized but thats fine with me im also hoping to put a refugium in it as well)
    Skimmer (if needed after all the natural methods)
    Lights Probably basic for now
    15 or so pounds of live rock
    Sand substrate
    2 Clown fish.

    That is the initial plan, I do not plan to use RO water as my LFS actually said if im not going to get into Corals then RO is a waste of my money for the time being.

    If there is anything here that is way out of the park or reality not a good idea? If so give me some good ways around it or some good solutions to go after.

    Yes the Sump may be over kill but that is kind of practice as I want to turn one of my larger tanks into a SW tank.
  2. harpua2002

    harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    I disagree on RO/DI being a waste of money. You can get your own unit on eBay for about $100, so small potatoes compared to what you're going to spend on live rock and equipment. With reef safe fish (clowns) IMO you cannot say for sure that you will never want to get into corals. There are some very easy corals like mushrooms, zoanthids/palythoas/protopalythoas, and some of the leathers, etc. that do not require a ton of lighting or expense to keep them thriving. IMO RO/DI should be used in any salt system but just like anything else, you will find differing opinions on that.

    The only potential issue I see with the setup is the sump- if you are using a standard 29 gallon stand that you get at the LFS, I don't think a 20 gallon long (same footprint as 29 gallon) is going to fit inside of the stand. I've got a 20 long under a 50 breeder in an AGA pine stand. My stand holds my 36x18 tank but getting the 30" sump in there was a tight squeeze.
  3. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    I'll second the RO/DI :;hf

    The reason we love RO is that it is pure water. There are no impurities in it, no phosphates, no nitrates, no heavy metals etc etc. It's up to you, but the reason I chose to go with RO/DI is to eliminate a potential cause of issues. I read far too many posts on other forums about the problems they experienced using tap water (and we have excellent tap water)

    With your sump - also be sure to plan ahead, and should you decide to get a skimmer, you'll need to be able to get the collection cup out. Make sure there is plenty of room above the sump walls to get the cup out. FWIW - I'd put a skimmer in straight away, but that's just my humble opinion.

    On the skimmer front - just curious as to what 'natural methods' you are referring too? DSB/Fuge/Macro? Skimmers are a great preventative measure to remove organics that can cause higher nitrate/phosphate levels in your tank.

    And I can pretty much assure you that you'll be drawn to corals in no time flat, as Harpua mentined, there's plenty of easy corals out there. And if not corals, you'll pretty quickly be wanting an anemone :giggle:

    Good luck - and welcome to Salt!!!!!!!

  4. Mike

    MikeFishloreAdmin Moderator Member

    I'll third the RO/DI recommendation and your tank will look and be much cleaner if you use a protein skimmer. Use a skimmer.
  5. jerilovesfrogs

    jerilovesfrogsFishlore VIPMember

    traitor! going to the dark side. but hey...maybe it's more fun over there. >:D

  6. OP

    pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    I was looking into a fuge instead of the skimmer, mostly algae and such for it.

    As for the RO/DI Im just really curious, as to the reasons, as if im aiming to grow some live "stuff" to remove it from the water, why do I want to remove it from the water in the first place? Even if I use a skimmer that removes the same thing that we want to seemingly take out with RO water. I have the results from a lab test on my water and we found no major amounts of metals,

    Sodium 8.87 mg/L
    Potassium 0.71 mg/L
    Copper 0.02 mg/L
    Iron 0.13 mg/L
    Manganese Not Detected
    Magnesium 2.07 mg/L
    Calcium 52.85 mg/L
    Arsenic Not Detected
    Lead Not Detected
    Zinc. Not Detected
    Sediment Absent
    Alkalinity 77.5 mg/L
    Chlorine Not Detected
    Chloride 16.91 mg/L
    Hardness 140.5 mg/L
    Nitrate 4.40 mg/L
    Nitrite Not Detected
    Ammonia Not Detected
    Sulfate 14.36 mg/L

    here are the results of my tap water so any advice now knowing this is great
  7. HealthyTanksNew MemberMember

    +1 on the RO/DI. Your tap water can change.
    Your clowns will thank you.

  8. OP

    pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    Tap water is most likely not going to change much as it is an artesian well.
  9. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Ultimately the decision is yours, there are many SW keepers that have success with tap/well water. Others have had nothing but problems until they switched to RO/DI.

    As for the removing it only to put it back in concept, well that's an interesting one. By starting with pure water, and only adding what is required/normal for a marine environment, you know what you're dealing with.

    What salt water are you going to use? Natural Sea Water or mix your own?

    Have you compared your well water to natural sea water? Salt water is not just a case of take some water, and some salt and away you go. There is a fairly complex combination of elements in sea water. When it's all said and done, I went with RO/DI because it made sense to start with pure water. Also for top-up, the evaporation rate in a SW setup is higher than a FW, and the only bit that evaporates is the pure H2O, all the other bits stay behind, using tap/well water to top-up just increases the concentrations of what's already in there. Using RO/DI means you don't change the chemistry of the water with top-ups.

    I'm not trying to convince you to use RO/DI, just trying to explain why (IMO) it's a better alternative. When you mix paint, you don't start with blood red paint and mix white to get pink. You start with pure white, and add the colour - same concept really.

    Also, please be clear on protein skimmers. They are not filters per say, they add to the filtration system by removing dissolved organic carbons (left over foods/proteins etc) to help reduce the organic load on the system, and thus helping to maintain/reduce the bio-load on the sytem and to some extent, helping to clear the water. They do not remove non-organic matter (such as metals, chlorides, sulfates etc).
  10. OP

    pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    ok so lets take this in two parts now.

    The Water, I was looking at mixing my own with the stuff you can get in a bucket at the LFS. He has a great deal on 5gal buckets.

    As for the skimmer, so I would put a skimmer in front of all the filtration in the sump? I was hoping to avoid as many moving parts as I could with the setup.
  11. psalm18.2

    psalm18.2Fishlore LegendMember

    Have you asked your fish store for water? My local store gives customers salt water all the time. People are always going in with buckets.
  12. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Depends on the skimmer, you can get external, in-sump and HOB style. I use an in-sump skimmer, because it fits nicely (was custom designed that way though), and more because if something goes wrong (i.e. cup overflows, pump breaks) it falls back into the sump, not all over the cabinet/floor. My sump has 3 sections, with two inputs. I have water flowing from the DT into the right section (skimmer) and the left (fuge), both sections then overflow into the middle section (return) and back to the DT.

    If you're going to use fine filter floss or similar mechanical filtration, I would put the skimmer after this section.

    Gives or Sells ??? Our LFS' all SELL natural sea water to customers.
  13. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    Im clueless in sw tanks but I sure am envious of you!!! Hope we see pictures along the way!
  14. mikegipNew MemberMember

  15. ivonko

    ivonkoValued MemberMember

    hey man im a noob and you know more than i do about fish or aquariums but here is a super cool article i was reading (especially for salt water tanks)
    so i thought you might wanna check it out. its a diy for a nitrate/ phosphate remover that according to the article is better than the skimmer because it only removes inorganic waste vs organic waste that the skimmer removes. best of luck!
  16. Mike

    MikeFishloreAdmin Moderator Member

    I don't consider a refugium and a protein skimmer an either/or proposition... they perform different things IMO. You can use a refugium to grow macro-algae and that will help with the nitrates and phosphates in your display and will become a source of competition for the phosphates/nitrates with your algae in the display tank. I think of refugiums as a place to grow live foods or keep other animals away from the display tank's animals (a place of refuge). A good protein skimmer will do a much better job at completely removing dissolved organics and proteins from the water column.

    Regarding your tap water tests - you have copper and nitrates in your tap water, phosphates probably too but I don't see phosphates listed. Copper is harmful to inverts and the nitrates and phosphates = algae food.

    I definitely don't want to discourage you in any way, just giving you my thoughts. You can definitely set it up with dechlorinated tap water if you want a fish-only type tank. Just be ready for algae problems until you get a really good sized ball of chaeto growing. Even then, the chaeto may not be able to keep up with the demands of the system depending on stocking levels. If it were me, I'd look into setting up both a refugium and skimmer, along with RO/DI. :)
  17. OP

    pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    Thanks mike! that was kinda the resolutions I was looking for.

    After numerous chats with my local store who are being so helpful and patient with me on this it appears that I'm going to start with RO system thou I don't want to spend the money I think after all it might be worth it for the end game.

    I also now have a better understanding of things, so to the next sump question here, What size tank should I use for a sump for the 29gal? I would like to do as mentioned with the skimmer in the sump but also a place to grow that nutrient sucking algae, and the needed bio mass. I would like to be able to get some of the required live rock out of the tank eventually.

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