Making The Jump Into Reef

smitte1
  • #1
Hey guys I've been keeping fresh water for about 6 years now (my whole life if you count betas and my moms tanks) with a little gap in between due to a move with space restrictions and a landlord who wouldn't allow tanks.

I have recently bought a house(good buy land lords hello freedom) and now have the room to get all my tanks up and going again.

I have always wanted to make the jump into reef but always found an excuse not to it's to hard to care for it's so expensive the equipment looks bulky and plumbing complex ext ext ext.

But I am now ready to take it on so I just wanted to introduce my self to the salt forms and say that I'll be lurking around here to suck up as much info as I can while I peice together a setup.

I don't have a lot of money so getting all the equipment is gonna be a long term project but will in the end will be well worth it.

The tank I will be using is a plexiglas 65 gallon I believe 19"×36×24 I think I'll take measurements later I would like to do a sump with a filter sock then a skimmer then a refugium then into return pump.

For the display I'm thinking either bare bottom or crushed coral with 10 pounds of live rock dead rock to fill the rest of the aquascape and plenty of hard and soft coral mostly soft to add a lot of wavy motion to the tank as far as fish and coral stock in not to sure yet.

I have a girl at my lfs who has always helped me with stock level and tank mates for fresh water she is super excited to hear I'm makeing the switch so once the tank is set up and cycled we will begin working on a stock.

Anyway sorry for the huge post any comments tips tricks suggestions let me know and see you around the forums can't wait to join the reef community.
 
Jayd976
  • #2
I would definitely up your live rock to at least 60-70lbs. Live rock is your primary biological filter in saltwater. Meaning the rock houses the majority of your beneficial bacteria. Now since you're taking your time with this you can do a mix ratio say of 70% dry base rock and seed that with 30% live rock to save a ton of money. You need to let the tank mature a bit anyway before adding corals so this will give you the time needed for the base rock to get seeded and covered in coraline algae.
 
smitte1
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
I would definitely up your live rock to at least 60-70lbs. Live rock is your primary biological filter in saltwater. Meaning the rock houses the majority of your beneficial bacteria. Now since you're taking your time with this you can do a mix ratio say of 70% dry base rock and seed that with 30% live rock to save a ton of money. You need to let the tank mature a bit anyway before adding corals so this will give you the time needed for the base rock to get seeded and covered in coraline algae.

Jayd976 thanks for your reply the mix or dry live to save money was kinda the idea I need to do this slow anyway due to financial restraints so I don't mind the extra time I want to get the sump first so I can get the water running and cycling it will be awhile before I can afford a light to support coral so at first this is gonna be a fish and rock only tank.

So my plan was get the sump yo and running get 10 to 15 pounds of live and and 30 or 40 pounds dry rock let it all cycle and lightly stock with just a few clowns or something till I can afford the reef light.
 
Jayd976
  • #4
smitte1
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
sounds like a good plan. Most reef tanks start as a FOWLR tank so you're on the right track.

Nart made a great guide you should check out may help a lot. While its geared towards a nano tank the info in it will certainly help your planning process.

Nart's Budget Nano Saltwater Guide For Beginners
Thanks jayd976 glad to hear I'm on the right track so far I also think in the beginning for maybe a month or so I will be forgoing the skimmer (again money isn't it always money lol) but have no intention of not getting one just need to slowly build up the equipment. Thanks so much for your replys and I will for sure check out that thread you posted
 
Jesterrace
  • #6
There is some good advice here, I will say it will be interesting to see how you do a sump without a skimmer since there is usually a pipe off the return pump that runs to the skimmer. I will say this, while freshwater does teach you some good basic principals it also teaches you some bad habits that don't transfer well to the salty side. Not a major issue per se, but it is good to be aware of these things.

1) It sounds like you have already avoided freshwater newbie mistake number 1, which is selecting appropriate aquascape. You would be amazed at how many folks I have seen attempt to do saltwater with fake plants, goofy decorations, gravel and bubblers and then wonder why everything is going wrong.
2) Treated Tapwater serves Freshwater tanks well, but often causes issues with saltwater tanks. The nitrates and minerals in tap water can give you out of control algae blooms in saltwater among other things which are detrimental to marine tanks. Hence why the use of RODI water is highly recommended by those in the hobby as it strips all the extra stuff out of the water, there by giving you water with 0 TDS (Total Dissolved Solids). Most buy their own RODI system and mix it themselves, but for some if they have a reliable LFS will buy it from them. It just depends on how well they maintain the filters on their RODI systems and how much they charge for it.
3) API works fine for freshwater testing, but with marine you really need something more accurate (particularly for nitrates). Among the popular choices are: Red Sea, Salifert, Hannah and ELOS.
4) Understanding that unlike freshwater your filter is maintained in the live rock (or dry rock that is seeded with bacteria to become live rock). I've seen some saltwater newbies freak out when it comes to changing their filter media and not understanding this principal. Once the live rock is cycled, the cycle is maintained as long as you keep the rock submerged.
5) Understanding that the tank water needs to be changed more frequently (small weekly water changes are best)
 
smitte1
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
There is some good advice here, I will say it will be interesting to see how you do a sump without a skimmer since there is usually a pipe off the return pump that runs to the skimmer. I will say this, while freshwater does teach you some good basic principals it also teaches you some bad habits that don't transfer well to the salty side. Not a major issue per se, but it is good to be aware of these things.

1) It sounds like you have already avoided freshwater newbie mistake number 1, which is selecting appropriate aquascape. You would be amazed at how many folks I have seen attempt to do saltwater with fake plants, goofy decorations, gravel and bubblers and then wonder why everything is going wrong.
2) Treated Tapwater serves Freshwater tanks well, but often causes issues with saltwater tanks. The nitrates and minerals in tap water can give you out of control algae blooms in saltwater among other things which are detrimental to marine tanks. Hence why the use of RODI water is highly recommended by those in the hobby as it strips all the extra stuff out of the water, there by giving you water with 0 TDS (Total Dissolved Solids). Most buy their own RODI system and mix it themselves, but for some if they have a reliable LFS will buy it from them. It just depends on how well they maintain the filters on their RODI systems and how much they charge for it.
3) API works fine for freshwater testing, but with marine you really need something more accurate (particularly for nitrates). Among the popular choices are: Red Sea, Salifert, Hannah and ELOS.
4) Understanding that unlike freshwater your filter is maintained in the live rock (or dry rock that is seeded with bacteria to become live rock). I've seen some saltwater newbies freak out when it comes to changing their filter media and not understanding this principal. Once the live rock is cycled, the cycle is maintained as long as you keep the rock submerged.
5) Understanding that the tank water needs to be changed more frequently (small weekly water changes are best)


Jestrace thanks so much for your response yes I'm hopping to avoid as many mistakes as possible through the amazing ppl of this form when I set up my first fresh tanks almost ten years ago I dident even know about nitrogen cycle or that there were stock limits or that air pumps served more then to open the little treasure chest lolol.

I learned pretty fast to listen (sometimes with a grain of salt) to the fourm and plan on being here with any uncertainty I have.

You mentioned about the substrate I plan on doing bare bottom till the tank is cycled and a gsp bottom once the tank is a little bit more established.

As for the skimmer that is very temporary just money constraints maybe a month or 2 an it will be there which I expect it to take me about that long to cycle the dry rock I will be using anyway (after a lot of reading I like the idea of dry and do not mind the extra time).

My next big choice is to refugium or not to refugium.
 
smitte1
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
So it begins the tank is cleaned thanks to my very patient fiancee (thanks for putting up with all my hobbies babe).

It sat outside for a few years and was filthy. I know that's not the right stand plus it's mostly rust at this point so my next step is to build a 2×4 frame and I plan to have a local acrylic shop cut me some custom hinged panals to wrap it.

Then to start building my equitment I might have found a used sump local at a great price I will be going to look at in the next few days for everything else I'll be lurking around the buy sell trade fourm on here.

Suoer exited that I'm finally doing this wanted a reef tank for most of my life
 

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