Recommendations Please.

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquarium Setup' started by nado1978, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. nado1978New MemberMember

    Hello, I am planning to put together a 75 gal fowdr setup. I already have The tank And am planning on building a DIY stand. I would like to use a sump.

    Ok here goes......what size sump would i need for a tank this size? Will i need to drill The tank or can i run lines ”pex tubing” from The top?

    What equipment is neccesarry....i plan on running The following equipment. Protein skimmer, 3 powerheads, heater, compact flourecent with actinic And moon lighting.

    What other equipment is mandatory?

    Will my dry rock turn into live rock, if so how long will thia take?

    I am new to The SW side Of fish ownership And realize The Work And money that is involved, i have been doing a lot Of research. Thank god for fishlore ; )

    Please let me know all your thoughts And or concerns.
  2. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Hi nado, welcome to Fishlore :;hi2

    There is no minimum/recommended sump size, just what you can get in your cabinet/area. The bigger the better as it adds volume and more space to put equipment.

    Drilling the tank is probably preferable, but you can run tubing with a drain and return line. If you're going to drill, be very careful of the base. The bases are typically tempered glass, and shatter/crack easily. Be sure to only use diamond tip hole saws, and maybe search youtube for 'drilling a fishtank', there's some great videos on there.

    As for necessary equipment, you'll also need a return pump to get water back to the display tank, and some plumbing bits and pieces (depends on the setup as to what you'll need)

    What about testing equipment? Refractometer/Hydrometer for checking specific gravity/salinity. Basic marine test kits such as the API Saltwater Master (high range pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate), you could also look at Carbonate Hardness [Alkalinity] (though more relevant for corals)

    If you have absolutely no intention of keeping corals, the actinic lighting is not necessary, but it does create a nice effect.

    With the dry rock turning into live rock, what are expecting? It will certainly become live in the sense that it'll harbour beneficial bacteria, and possibly coraline algae, but it won't come with all the extra nice 'critters' that rock from the ocean would hold. How long this will take, well it depends how long the tank takes to cycle, and then it's up to nature.

    You'll also need to consider what method of nutrient export (Nitrates and Phosphates particularly). Options are Refugium with Macro algae, Nitrate/Phosphate reactors or carbon dosing (carbon dosing is more of an advanced technique). If you go with fuge/macro, you'll need a simple light over the fuge to promote macro growth.

    What about your water - will you be mixing your own salt water, or using natural sea water? If mixing your own, then RO/DI water is your friend. Note: RO/DI should be used for evaporation top-off anyway.

    Generally speaking, I would aim for 5x water turnover through your sump, and a minimum of 10x turnover for the total system (Powerheads + Skimmer + Return).

    Just my initial thoughts.
  3. OP

    nado1978New MemberMember

    Thanks for The prompt response :) . I will end up making my salt water with deionized water as that is probably The cheapest method unless shipping 100 gallons Of sea water to minnesota is cost effective.

    As for The actinic lighting, i do intend to attempt to recreate The natural,light cycle by having The actinic lighting on at dusk And dawn with The moon lighting on a timer....this is cool.

    If I end up with live rock, which id love to do. Would,i want to use live sand as The substrate or could i go with a cheaper alternative such as The sand at my lfs?

    As far as The chemistry And biology Of The tank i think i will read a book And study more on that. Would You recommend any other filtration other than The bioskimmer And live rock?
  4. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member


    I have no idea on shipping of sea water - maybe check with a local marine shop (they often sell natural sea water). If you're going to mix your own, then go with a reputable salt, there are many good salts out there. And if you're going FOWLR, you don't need to buy the more expensive Reef Salts, which contain higher calcium and magnesium levels, and other trace elements that corals need. (You can always change your salt mix later on)

    Live sand is a personal preference, but personally I just used an arognite sand from Caribsea. I have read a few discussions/debates as to how 'live' the sand is by the time it gets to you, and opted for pre-packaged dry sand - again it's up to you.

    The only other filtration I would consider is as mentioned above, being nutrient export. But with a skimmer and live rock and regular water changes, you may not need it in a FOWLR where nitrate/phosphate levels are not quite so imperative to the livestock (in a reef, it's important as many corals/anemones are sensitive to nitrates and phosphate levels). That said, keeping these two parameters in check can help reduce algae problems.

    As for water chemistry etc, in a FOWLR it's very similar to a FW setup, with the addition of Specific Gravity/Salinity (or salt content), reef setups get a little more tricky. But I certainly recommend you read as much as you can. The more you understand, the better (or more informed) decisions you can make about what equipment to get.

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