how to setup a 55 gallon reef

jingles230

hello I recenly came across a bargain that included a 55 gallon tank, 2 powerheads, and two filters, and two lights all for 95 buckerooos. I recently started for the first time a 20 gal. sw tank and I know how fAIRLY EXPENSIVE THAT IS. here is all the equipment I have including the stuff from the 20 gallon- 4 filters, 3 powerheads, 3 lights, and two heaters. so what else do I really need to start a reef? I know I will maybe need some special lights but what else? and how much may it cost.

thanks
 

harpua2002

You'll need a lighting upgrade, but what type you buy and how much you spend are going to depend on what kind of corals you want to keep.

Also, I see in your aquarium info that you seem to be using tap water. If you're going reef, I'd highly recommend an RO/DI unit or it's likely you'll have some major problems with algae.

You may or may not want to use the equipment that came with the tank. The filters aren't really necessary, but you'll want the powerheads. What kind of filters and what kind of powerheads come with the tank?

Just as a final comment, are you sure you want to set up a 55 gallon reef? As narrow as it is, a 55 is an aquascaping nightmare IMO... maybe hold out for a 75 gallon? If you keep upgrading, you're going to find yourself spending a ton more than you had probably expected.
 

jingles230

well what do you mean by aquascaping?? and if I add declorinators then the tap water should be alright?
 

locoyo386

Well the 55 is only 12.75" and the 75 is 18.5", this will give you more room for the rock work and leave space for swiming aswell. Also not all tap water has the same content or at least the same amounts of them. Some tap water is good enough to use in saltwater fish tanks. Just make sure that it is with a TDS meter. Otherwise they could be algae problems or high nitrates and phosbates (which lead to coral death if they are high enough).
 

jingles230

well my water in the 55 is well water, I had it tested yesterday and the phosphates were goood and the nitrates were good too so I'm all set right?
 

jingles230

so high nitrates and high phosbates are the only thng you need to worry about in tap water?
 

David C

You should also be concerned about heavy metals that can be found in high concentration in well water depending on where you live. When you had your water tested for nitrates and phosphates, what were the readings? What is considered good in a Freshwater system can be bad in SW.

Dave
 

sgould

there's quite a bit of stuff potentially in tap water that can cause you problems in your tank...phosphates, nitrates, silicates, metals, minerals, etc, etc. RO water is best as it removes all that stuff and leaves you with...water!
 

harpua2002

Yes, exactly. If I were keeping a fish only tank, I would probably use tap water. But for the thousands I have invested in my reef tanks, there is no way! If you're wanting a reef, I'd strongly suggest getting an RO unit.
 

locoyo386

so high nitrates and high phosbates are the only thng you need to worry about in tap water?

No, you have a lot of other things to worrie about, like sulfur, copper, iron and many more. That's why you test with TDS meter to check how much ionozed solids are present in the water.



Not sure what level would be safe for a reef, maybe 1-4 somewhere there.

I also aggree in that if you are going to with a reef tank, it's best to use RO water. Keep your nitrates low aswell around 5 or less.
 

jingles230

well ill ask them again to test for those but shouldnt stress coat take care of all the heavy metals?
 

locoyo386

well ill ask them again to test for those but shouldnt stress coat take care of all the heavy metals?

Not sure which stress coat you mean, but here is a link to the one made by API;



The "stress coat" is supposed to and I quote "Neutralizes heavy metals. Use when starting a new aquarium, adding or changing water and adding fish." Not sure which heavy metals it's refering to. I would imagine it would help, just like it does in freshwater. Not sure if they are only ment for freshwater or if they can be used for saltwater aswell.
 

jingles230

yeah the apI stress coat
 

harpua2002

Using Stress Coat or any other dechlorinator for tap water still can't compare to using RO water for a reef tank. Any phosphate, silicates, or other nasties are probably going to cause a big algae problem once you add reef lighting.
 

locoyo386

Using Stress Coat or any other dechlorinator for tap water still can't compare to using RO water for a reef tank. Any phosphate, silicates, or other nasties are probably going to cause a big algae problem once you add reef lighting.

Well building a turf filter will help with that. It is easier to deal with high nitrates and phosphates, than it is with other elements you don't want in the tank. The nitrates and phosphates will not kill anything if kept in check. Some metals or elements, such as copper, can kill things fairly quickly, thus the RO is recomended. Even if yo use RO, you will still have to deal with nitrates and phosphates in a reef tank. RO water is not the cure for nitrates and phosphates.
 

harpua2002

Well building a turf filter will help with that. It is easier to deal with high nitrates and phosphates, than it is with other elemts you don't want in the tank. The nitrates and phosphates will not kill anything if kept in check. Some metals or elemts, such as copper, can kill things fairly quickly, thus the RO is recomended. Even if yo use RO, yo will still have to deal with nitrates and phosphates in a reed tank. RO water is not the cure for nitrates and phosphates.

High nitrate and phosphate in tap water isn't easy to deal with IME. Of course you'll still have nitrate and phosphate in a reef tank, but the RO/DI unit in and of itself cuts down on the problem greatly. My water reads 0 with a TDS meter out of the RO/DI. Of course phosphate is added with foods and such, but it's a lot easier to keep it under control when it isn't in the source water.

I'd also beg to differ about nitrate not killing anything; there are plenty of corals that would be sensitive enough to die from high nitrate.
 

nemo addict

I'd also beg to differ about nitrate not killing anything; there are plenty of corals that would be sensitive enough to die from high nitrate.

When nitrate is allowed to accumulate or build-up to high levels it can effect the health of the fish because algae feed on nitrate, this is one of the main reasons problems with algae blooms occur.
The amount of nitrate in any type of saltwater system is an immeasurable one, but an acceptable range for fish-only tanks is from 10 to 40 ppm. Although fish-only tanks may run at much higher levels, sometimes with no ill effects, this is not recommended. In reef systems even a minor level of nitrate can cause damage as well as death to delicate corals, anemones and other invertebrates, as well as some crustaceans. The acceptable range of nitrate for reef tanks is 0.25 ppm, but not more than 5 ppm
So you was right to differ ,
 

locoyo386

High nitrate and phosphate in tap water isn't easy to deal with IME. Of course you'll still have nitrate and phosphate in a reef tank, but the RO/DI unit in and of itself cuts down on the problem greatly. My water reads 0 with a TDS meter out of the RO/DI. Of course phosphate is added with foods and such, but it's a lot easier to keep it under control when it isn't in the source water.

I'd also beg to differ about nitrate not killing anything; there are plenty of corals that would be sensitive enough to die from high nitrate.

That's why I said "if not kept in check". If the nitrates are somewhat present but not high, that will not kill corals, unless they get to the point that the corals can't tolerate them. If you like you could list all the corals and how high they can tolerate nitrates, cause I do not know that. All I know about it is that they have to be low. Some say around 10 and some say 5, but most recommend 0.
 

locoyo386

When nitrate is allowed to accumulate or build-up to high levels it can effect the health of the fish because algae feed on nitrate, this is one of the main reasons problems with algae blooms occur.

Can you explain what you meant by the comment highlighted in red above.

The amount of nitrate in any type of saltwater system is an immeasurable one, but an acceptable range for fish-only tanks is from 10 to 40 ppm. Although fish-only tanks may run at much higher levels, sometimes with no ill effects, this is not recommended. In reef systems even a minor level of nitrate can cause damage as well as death to delicate corals, anemones and other invertebrates, as well as some crustaceans. The acceptable range of nitrate for reef tanks is 0.25 ppm, but not more than 5 ppm
So you was right to differ ,

Can you explain how the high nitrates affect the fish. Also can you provide reference to documented research to where this is drawn from. I would greatly appreciate it as I have yet to found anyhting on the toxicity of nitrates to marine fish.
 

locoyo386

When nitrate is allowed to accumulate or build-up to high levels it can effect the health of the fish

Read this article and tell me what you think, it is with respect to toxicity of Nitrites (not nitrates) in marine fish;

 

nemo addict

When nitrate is allowed to accumulate or build-up to high levels it can effect the health of the fish,,,,,,,,,,, because algae feed on nitrate, this is one of the main reasons problems with algae blooms occur.

Was a typing error ,,,

In the only published article26 that I could find showing toxicity tests to typical reef aquarium fish, Tom Frakes and Bob Studt exposed tank-raised clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris; Figure 2) to nitrite concentrations ranging from 0 to 330 ppm in artificial seawater. Two of five fish died after a few days at 330 ppm, giving an LC50 not appreciably different from the other species listed in Table 1. At 33 ppm (the next dose down from 330 ppm), the fish were lethargic and breathing with difficulty, but otherwise experienced no lasting problems. At 3.3 ppm nitrite no effects were observed.

just a bit from your link ,
 

locoyo386

Just keep in mind these are nitrites not nitrates, and they are being esposed at 330 ppm. Nitrates usually only reach around 160-180 ppm (at least in my tanks anyways), so how does that copare to nitrites which are believe to be more toxic than nitrates.
 

harpua2002

Ok, we're talking about a reef tank here, which is why my comments about nitrate and phosphate and other nasties are directed toward keeping a reef tank. I have 2 reef tanks at the moment and I can tell you I'd be fighting a losing battle keeping algae at bay and keeping my corals alive without RO/DI water. If you're going to spend thousands of dollars to set up a reef tank (and if you're doing it right, you will), I look at an RO/DI unit as protecting that investment and making life easier on you. That's my whole point and I'm not saying anything about how it relates to a FOWLR tank, which is obviously much more forgiving. If the OP wants to keep any corals other than mushrooms, xenia, and GSP, I would strongly suggest RO/DI water.
 

jingles230

they said the phosphates were exellent
 

harpua2002

But without a number, we don't really have any information.
 

jingles230

it said on the back that it detoxifys heavy metals
 

harpua2002

Cool, if you want to try it with tap water that's your choice.
 

jingles230

I had no phosphates in my tank
 

jingles230

the phos read 0
 

Gozer_1

Cool, if you want to try it with tap water that's your choice.


I will have to agree with you. I did the tap water thing for a while and will never again. Not just phosphates but all the other stuff. You can buy this and that to remove some things but using Ro/DI you start with nothing but water. Pure water, then add to it only the stuff the tank needs. It keeps things in a control. You always know exactly what is going in and you save money on chemicals and filter media. I switched to using Purified Water (the green jug) from Walmart until I could get my own RO/DI. As I said, several years later, I'll never use tap on any saltwater tank unless it's gone through the RO/DI. You can certainly get away with tap but switching made a world of difference for me. And most certainly not the "cure" for anything just a great place to start out. The cure is time and good maintenance habits.
 

jingles230

well I mean with the water changes I am going to use tap water that is good, not from a well from now on so I mean the well water will eventually be replaced I guess
 

harpua2002

Tap water most often isn't good for a reef whether it comes from a well or not.
 

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