Lighting, live sand and rock.

  1. Cowfish928 Member Member

    Hello. What do I purchase and put in the aquarium first, live rock or live sand? Also what kind of lighting should I use in a 107 gallon Aquarium that I plan on growing hard corals in. Any advice would be nice. :)
  2. Coradee Moderator Moderator Member

    Bumping this up for you
  3. Slug Well Known Member Member

    Both at the same time, though I am not a huge believer in "live sand" unless you physically scoop it out of another reefer's tank. Rock, sand, and saltwater all go in at once. I guess you can always add sand later but might as well go ahead and get the mess out of the way.

    Pretty much any lighting from LEDs, T5s, or Metal Halides. LEDs are most expensive up front but cheapest to run on the backend, no bulb costs and low electric bill but can be a bit tricky to dial in correctly. T5s and Metal Halides run hot and have bulb costs but are cheaper front end and are almost set it and forget it type of setup. LEDs are the new kids to the party, MH is the reigning king and a decades old proven method same as T5s. Depends on what you want to go with really. They all can work well.
  4. Cowfish928 Member Member

    Thanks for the response! Slug why do you not like Live sand? Also I have old rock from an old saltwater Aquarium. Could I use that for my new reef? It is just sitting in a bag, dry. Also what light do you recommend the most, what would you personally use?
  5. Slug Well Known Member Member

    I think live sand is a bit scammy. Regular sand, which is cheaper, becomes live sand as the tank cycles and establishes itself. I question the amount of bacteria actually in the "live sand" sold and the viability of it.

    I currently use an Radion XR15w Pro LED fixture on my tank. I would have to really think about what to use with a bigger tank. I like the thought of T5s or metal halides really, but it would depend on what room the tank is in because I can't stand the heat put off by the fixtures. I've tried MH and it was great apart from the tank. I've always wanted to try T5. LEDs have a few limitations with SPS type corals, you don't get as good of coverage compared to T5s or MHs so the base of your corals tend to white or without color if that makes sense. It's a shading issue that LEDs have. Still won't limit you from growing though.
  6. Cowfish928 Member Member

    Ok. Thank you for all this information. Also, what is an ATO. I know it stands for "Auto Top Off System" I just don't understand what they do, and do I need one? Also what does it mean when a reef "crashes" and how do i prevent this. Do I still have to worry about Anaerobic gas pockets in sand with saltwater? If so, would some watchman gobies prevent this by constantly sifting? Sorry about all these questions, but you seem extremely knowledgeable, that is so cool. Thanks! Slug
  7. Slug Well Known Member Member

    For example, my ATO consists of the ATO pump and float switch. The pump sits in a 5gal bucket of RODI under my tank. Whenever the float switch in my tank drops (water level drops) the pump automatically kicks on and tops off my tank stopping when the float switch rises again. This is the purpose of an ATO, to keep your tank full. It's one of my most crucial pieces of equipment IMO. You of course need a reservoir of some sort if you get an ATO. You don't NEED one, but it sure is handy to keep things stable.

    Yes gas pockets can form, but there are lots of critters in SW that will stir sand. Some snails and starfish included. Gobies do ok filtering sand but not sure they go deep enough except for their burrows to really be effective.
  8. Cowfish928 Member Member

  9. Slug Well Known Member Member

    Water change goes in tank itself/or sump. ATO is strictly freshwater RODI used to top off the tank, that is it's only real function unless you work in kalk dosing with it...but that's a whole other topic and not to confuse you more. Freshwater RODI in ATO reservoir for top off only. And when you do a water change be sure to cut power to it so it doesn't keep filling as you take water out of the tank!

    Due to evaporation, you aren't having salt evaporate from the tank. So the lower the water gets the more concentrated the salt is. Which is why you want a constant level in the tank so the salt stays the same. So freshwater evaporates out, fresh water is added in to top off. Saltwater removed for WC, saltwater added to fill tank.

    So yes salt every water change. And if you don't buy your water premixed, I would mix the water the day before the water change to let it mix and dissolve well. With a 100+ gal tank you may need a pretty big mixing container. For my small tank I just use 5gal buckets and jugs. You could do the same but it'd take a good bit.

    I have an AquaFX brand unit. The unit you linked I don't see any issue with. Don't know why you would need that 5th stage carbon filter so if you can find it without that for cheaper i'd personally do it, but I guess it shouldn't really hurt anything if you have it. Just seems a bit useless for this application to me.
  10. Cowfish928 Member Member

    Do you recommend a specific salt brand? Slug
  11. Slug Well Known Member Member

    I like, and use, Reef Crystals by Instant Ocean myself. Give me a bit higher numbers for my hard corals than the regular stuff. But plain Instant Ocean would be cheaper and just fine starting out IMO. All I can really recommend is the stuff I use or have used.
  12. Cowfish928 Member Member

    Ok thanks! Also I bought a stand finally. And I have a lot of room at the bottom. For a sump and refugium. Any suggestions on what I should do next? Slug