The Reef Is Calling...

SeanyBaggs123

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Welp... I have officially gone way off the deep end and purchased my first tank with the intentions of building a reef tank.

I will regrettably be getting rid of my freshwater tanks to focus solely on this build and the maintenance thereafter required with a reef tank.

I checked last night with a pair of polarized sunglasses, and I believe the tank is NOT tempered glass. Before I do anything else for the build (other than tons more research), I will probably install the overflow to make sure I still have a fish tank to build

Got this 135 with a hood and stand for 300 bucks!

This will be a longggggg build as I don't want to skimp on any equipment, and I don't feel like putting that much money down on it at one time.

Stay tuneedddd....:woot:
 

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Mrfister1116

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Oh nice... yeah I’m in central ky so Ohio and Indian show up. I’m fairly new to saltwater myself and it’s definitely a hobby you can spend as much as you want on.

I’d highly suggest deciding exactly the tank you want before moving forward. There’s so many different ways to go, fowlr is probably the cheapest for set up but I started off doing that and had to buy new powerheads and lights after it was filled with water when I realized I wanted a reef haha

Allots going to depend to on how diy you are too.
 
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SeanyBaggs123

SeanyBaggs123

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Mrfister1116 said:
Oh nice... yeah I’m in central ky so Ohio and Indian show up. I’m fairly new to saltwater myself and it’s definitely a hobby you can spend as much as you want on.

I’d highly suggest deciding exactly the tank you want before moving forward. There’s so many different ways to go, fowlr is probably the cheapest for set up but I started off doing that and had to buy new powerheads and lights after it was filled with water when I realized I wanted a reef haha

Allots going to depend to on how diy you are too.
I've decided to diy the sump, have a skimmer picked out, have my RODI system picked out, still on the fence about ATO or any bio filtration for the sump, chaeto in the refugium and probably nothing else, custom internal overflow, probably 200 pounds of dry rock, undecided on lights, but 100% going to do this with building an LPS/Softy reef in mind!
 

Mrfister1116

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I need to add an ato ... just to cheap right now haha

Your own ro machine is definitely worth it I started off buying water from my lfs with a 20 gallon and it adds up so fast

I also suggest the instant ocean bio spora, I’ve used it on two tanks now and it really jump starts the cycle.
I also suggest getting atleast a piece of love rock to go with the dry just to Get the little life Forms going

As for bio filitration in the sump, allot of people point out your rock in the display is your bio filtration and it’s certainly accurate but I keep rock in my sump, no refugium I need to build one, to help breed the pods mostly
 
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SeanyBaggs123

SeanyBaggs123

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That's pretty much why I'm putting a refugium in. I know the algae helps take nitrates out of the water too, but I want pods in case I ever get a mandarin fish

I will definitely use bio spora, I don't have the patience with 2 kids to do it any other way haha. I've had good success with stability in freshwater tanks. Can't be that different, and like you said, if I get some live rock... should help.

definitely not using buckets for ANYTHING haha. So the RODI and ATO are necessities for me to start the tank. I'll neglect it if I don't set those requirements for myself.
 

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Bummer to see you leave the Freshwater side of things!!! Good luck on the new venture!

What kind of fish are you planning on getting? Look into chalk bass. After I discovered those, I almost went out and spent $2K on a saltwater setup just to keep them. They look very similar to miniature versions of my favorite fish, the calico bass.
 
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SeanyBaggs123

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ystrout said:
Bummer to see you leave the Freshwater side of things!!! Good luck on the new venture!

What kind of fish are you planning on getting? Look into chalk bass. After I discovered those, I almost went out and spent $2K on a saltwater setup just to keep them. They look very similar to miniature versions of my favorite fish, the calico bass.
I will definitely look into that!!!! and I may not leave it altogether. I'm pretty attached to the fw CO2 injected tank in our bedroom... who knows. Either way I'm definitely not leaving the forum!

I haven't put too much effort into exploring stock yet as there is a vast array of equipment I'll need want, and immediately after that Corals )) So, the fish are sort of an afterthought haha. I'm sure I'll have a pair of Black Ice Snowflake Clowns if I can find them though
 

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ystrout said:
Bummer to see you leave the Freshwater side of things!!! Good luck on the new venture!

What kind of fish are you planning on getting? Look into chalk bass. After I discovered those, I almost went out and spent $2K on a saltwater setup just to keep them. They look very similar to miniature versions of my favorite fish, the calico bass.
You don't need to spend anywhere near that to keep a chalk bass. You might even be able to keep one in a 20 Long if you just want it and a few smaller and somewhat assertive tank mates and that would run about $350-$400 to get it set up with all accessories included (if you go Fish Only). 40 breeder would be plenty to keep one and several other fish.
 

ystrout

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Jesterrace said:
You don't need to spend anywhere near that to keep a chalk bass. You might even be able to keep one in a 20 Long if you just want it and a few smaller and somewhat assertive tank mates and that would run about $350-$400 to get it set up with all accessories included (if you go Fish Only). 40 breeder would be plenty to keep one and several other fish.
I would think the live rock would be at least $400 right? 60 pound of live rock for $6 each plus tax? Isn't that the average price? I just figured it was best to give them a 75G home (with a sump). And if I did a tank that big, might as well just do reef which would get expensive...

It's really not the price that's the issue for me, it's that I am still living in apartments. I move once a year... I already move a 75G community tank (danios, dwarf gourami, spotted congo puffer, cories, tetras), a 14G pea puffer tank, an 8 gallon betta tank, and my 20G snail breeder tank for puffer food. It's my least favorite day of the year. We're going to buy a house in the next year or two, then getting more tanks is more realistic.

But ya, a 40G FOWLR tank is much more reasonable if there's no sump... Then I could upgrade to a 75G reef tank once I'm permanent. Although my fiancé would kill me if I brought home another tank hahaha.
 

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You can do dry rock and seed it with bacteria to become live rock. It runs about $3 a lb. Or you could compromise and go with something like Caribsea Life Rock (man made) that is dry rock with an inert bacteria coating.

You can get a 40lb box of it for $159 from Amazon (works out to just shy of $4 a lb):



I have used the Caribsea Life Rock on both of my tanks and I really like it.

I did a review of it here where it compares the options:


Both the dry rock and life rock are also free of pests
 

ystrout

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Jesterrace said:
You can do dry rock and seed it with bacteria to become live rock. It runs about $3 a lb. Or you could compromise and go with something like Caribsea Life Rock (man made) that is dry rock with an inert bacteria coating.

You can get a 40lb box of it for $159 from Amazon (works out to just shy of $4 a lb):



I have used the Caribsea Life Rock on both of my tanks and I really like it.

I did a review of it here where it compares the options:


Both the dry rock and life rock are also free of pests
Does the man-made caribsea rock grow the anaerobic bacteria deep down in the holes?
 

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CONGRATULATIONS Sean!!! She's a beast!! It's gonna be AWESOME!!

It appears we're on the discussion of rock, so here's my take. If you want purple rocks without waiting for coralline growth, Life Rock is worth its cost. Is it worth it to me? Nope, but I'm not a coralline chaser to be quite honest and don't care if my rocks are ever purple. Why? Because I don't want to see much bare rock in the first place... I want to cover it with coral.

I also am a fan of using dry rock over live rock. Both have their benefits and drawbacks. Live rock - can insta-cycle a tank, brings with it all kinds of beneficial microfauna and such but... it can also bring pests of both the fauna and flora kind. Also, it is difficult to build the rockscape of your dreams when you're dealing with rock that must be kept wet all the time. Dry rock - will not bring pests, or anything else, including the cycle and beneficial fauna but the aquarist can really take their time in building a really nice scape, which is important since this is the backbone of your reef... you'll look at it a long time and it will shape the overall display of your corals, not to mention, be the safe zones for fish to feel comfortable and sleep. Aaanndd... I know it's a right pain in the rear to change a rockscape in an established tank because although I have done so, I've wanted to for a long time. Last thing about dry rock and perhaps what's seen as its biggest negative is that it needs to be cured, which is a process that rids the rock of any dead organics that may be and are likely to be contained within. Dead organics break down into nitrates and phosphates, the favored foods which cause nasty algae outbreaks.

So, what's the verdict? For me, it's Reef Saver Dry Rock from Bulk Reef Supply. It's nice-looking rock, excellent to scape with, and though it is natural Marco rock (natural meaning, not man-made and thus capable of holding dead organics within), and BRS recommends curing any and all dry rocks before adding them to a setup... well, many, many reefers report that when curing Reef Saver rocks, they never gave off a level of ammonia, nitrates, or phosphates and this means... we can be 99% sure we'll be fine if we skip the curing process. I didn't know all this when I set up my own little reef so we have FijI rock, also from BRS, which wasn't really cured. We put it, sand, saltwater, pumps, and a filter on the tank and left the lights off, figuring it could cure in-tank while the tank was cycling. Worked for us.

To be fully clear, the reason why we had a quick and easy, hardly noticeable cure while some rocks (think Pukani) can take months to cure... well, it really just depends on the source as well as the porosity of the rocks. FijI is rather dense, full of many very tiny holes with very few which are any larger. Because of its density, when my rock was in nature, it was capable of holding less life than a much more porous rock like Pukani.
 
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SeanyBaggs123

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stella1979 said:
CONGRATULATIONS Sean!!! She's a beast!! It's gonna be AWESOME!!

It appears we're on the discussion of rock, so here's my take. If you want purple rocks without waiting for coralline growth, Life Rock is worth its cost. Is it worth it to me? Nope, but I'm not a coralline chaser to be quite honest and don't care if my rocks are ever purple. Why? Because I don't want to see much bare rock in the first place... I want to cover it with coral.

I also am a fan of using dry rock over live rock. Both have their benefits and drawbacks. Live rock - can insta-cycle a tank, brings with it all kinds of beneficial microfauna and such but... it can also bring pests of both the fauna and flora kind. Also, it is difficult to build the rockscape of your dreams when you're dealing with rock that must be kept wet all the time. Dry rock - will not bring pests, or anything else, including the cycle and beneficial fauna but the aquarist can really take their time in building a really nice scape, which is important since this is the backbone of your reef... you'll look at it a long time and it will shape the overall display of your corals, not to mention, be the safe zones for fish to feel comfortable and sleep. Aaanndd... I know it's a right pain in the rear to change a rockscape in an established tank because although I have done so, I've wanted to for a long time. Last thing about dry rock and perhaps what's seen as its biggest negative is that it needs to be cured, which is a process that rids the rock of any dead organics that may be and are likely to be contained within. Dead organics break down into nitrates and phosphates, the favored foods which cause nasty algae outbreaks.

So, what's the verdict? For me, it's Reef Saver Dry Rock from Bulk Reef Supply. It's nice-looking rock, excellent to scape with, and though it is natural Marco rock (natural meaning, not man-made and thus capable of holding dead organics within), and BRS recommends curing any and all dry rocks before adding them to a setup... well, many, many reefers report that when curing Reef Saver rocks, they never gave off a level of ammonia, nitrates, or phosphates and this means... we can be 99% sure we'll be fine if we skip the curing process. I didn't know all this when I set up my own little reef so we have FijI rock, also from BRS, which wasn't really cured. We put it, sand, saltwater, pumps, and a filter on the tank and left the lights off, figuring it could cure in-tank while the tank was cycling. Worked for us.

To be fully clear, the reason why we had a quick and easy, hardly noticeable cure while some rocks (think Pukani) can take months to cure... well, it really just depends on the source as well as the porosity of the rocks. FijI is rather dense, full of many very tiny holes with very few which are any larger. Because of its density, when my rock was in nature, it was capable of holding less life than a much more porous rock like Pukani.
Thank you!!! I'm a little nervous, but between the help here, another forum, and my aunt who kept a pretty awesome reef... I'm doing it!!!

I think I have also decided on dry rock for both reasons you mentioned, but mostly for the scaping flexibility. Plus, watching things grow and establish from a blank slate is much more appealing to me then starting with something established. I'm trying to enjoy the journey!

It's funny you mention them. While I research elsewhere, and talk to plenty of members in this community, the BRS 160 52 week series of videos from BRS has been my best friend over the past few weeks!

Also... I had wondered if you could cure the rock in tank, and really was struggling with why you would cure it at all.... So, thanks for putting that to bed!

At minimum I'll have my overflow next month, and we'll know for sure whether I'll have a salt water tank!
 

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Sounds like you're on the right track to me. 52 Weeks was my number one resource and several of the videos were watched again and again in the first year or so. A year after startup, we needed to start dosing for calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium. I read and read and read because this was scary, even going so far as to source articles by Randy Holmes-Farley, a BIG authority on such things and many other aspects of reefing. That guy knows his business but you know what really hammered the knowledge in, making it clear and safe-feeling if not the easiest thing in the world..? 52 Weeks. Check out the FAQ and BRS Investigates playlists too. I wouldn't be the reefer or even half the help around here that I am without that channel.
 

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SeanyBaggs123 said:
Thank you!!! I'm a little nervous, but between the help here, another forum, and my aunt who kept a pretty awesome reef... I'm doing it!!!

I think I have also decided on dry rock for both reasons you mentioned, but mostly for the scaping flexibility. Plus, watching things grow and establish from a blank slate is much more appealing to me then starting with something established. I'm trying to enjoy the journey!

It's funny you mention them. While I research elsewhere, and talk to plenty of members in this community, the BRS 160 52 week series of videos from BRS has been my best friend over the past few weeks!

Also... I had wondered if you could cure the rock in tank, and really was struggling with why you would cure it at all.... So, thanks for putting that to bed!

At minimum I'll have my overflow next month, and we'll know for sure whether I'll have a salt water tank!
I second stella to a degree....dry rock is the way to go; however, if you're really trying to save on rock, considering it's just rock..lol...check out coral base rock on amazon...that's what I used, primarily, it runs about $50ish for 40 lbs of rock.
I needed like 160lbs, so I wanted to do it as affordably as possible.
You can check out my build thread, I'll try to post the link in a second

Deet's 150 gallon Reef Build... | Saltwater Aquarium Builds 375846

Deet's 150 gallon Reef Build...
 
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SeanyBaggs123

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Jonathon001 said:
Lol... I got rid of a fw planted tank to start my reef... then I built another fw planted tank... might better keep the fw and start a reef, you'll end up there anyway! 57]
Already considering making it a heavily planted 135 gallon haha. I have no idea what I"m doing apparently
 

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If you do the reef, dry rock has my vote as well. I always would use dry rock for my scape, and add three to five piece of live rock like cherries on top. Then you get the best of both worlds.
If you do a giant Freshwater tank, well...you've already got that one in the "Baggs" ;)
 
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SeanyBaggs123

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Welp... For better or worse... I'm officially salty!

I sold the 135 posted earlier in this thread because I found a full setup for 600 bucks...
After a long day of anxiety moving someone else's reef tank (and listening to gobbs of inaccurate advice, up to and including "we should feed the fish for the trip to calm them down"). I have her setup.

The tank came with a purple tang, reef safe angel (forget the name), 2 dottybacks (one royal, one orchid), a bangaI cardinal, an oscellaris clown, one turbo snail, and one cleaner shrimp.

I decided a lot of these fish were too big for a 75, and that the wall of live rock he had never gave access to clean the sand bed or the back wall. Nitrates tested at 90.

So, in order to allow myself time to get things tuned and make water for changes.... I traded them in for store credit and agreed with the salesperson on a mated pair of oscellaris clowns, a lawn mower blenny, and a frogspawn frag.

I also removed some of the live rock so that it could actually be scaped (before and after pictured).

I set up a 4 stage RO system in the basement (roughed in, waiting on float valves and an auto shut off)

The plan for this week is to get the skimmer doing it's thing, and to do at least 2 large water changes in an attempt to get nutrients down and get the fish on Sunday.

Any advice on mounting a mushroom coral that has no frag would be greatly appreciated!
 

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