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FAQs about Large Marine Systems 2

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Related FAQs: Large marine Systems 1, & FAQs on: Large System Design, Large Tanks, Large System Lighting, Metal Halides for 40-200 gal. Systems, MH for 200 gal. Plus Systems, Large System Filtration, Large System Skimmers, Large System Stocking, Large System Maintenance, & Shark Systems Fish-Only Marine Set-ups, Fish-Only Marine Systems 2, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Marine System Plumbing Biotopic presentations

new tank.... Hysterical        4/12/16
getting a 240 gallon fish only salt water tank. Which filtration do u recommend? Refugium systems or sleeve?
<'Fuge for sure>

Would u recommend sleeve without refugium? Why?
<All gone over and over on WWM>
What kind of lights do u recommend on a reef tank?
<Hahhaaaa; this too. Don't write, READ>

Pieter's 20 foot long reef tank <bent-glass, very nice SW>    9/12/13
Hi Bob,
<James (Salty)>
Do not know if you have ever viewed this before but thought you may be interested.  Pieter is using our Atlantiks to light this monster system.
<Did see some stills of this system that you sent along. Impressive. Am going to share on WWM. BobF>

300 Gallon Acrylic Tank Question, stand planarity issue     1/16/13
I have been working on a used 300 gallon 10’ x 2’ acrylic tank and stand for the last year. This is going to be an upgrade to my 72 gallon reef. I covered the existing stand with ½ inch birch plywood, added molding, stained and varnished the whole thing and I am very happy with the results. When I first got the tank I noticed that the top of the stand was not completely flat so I took a lot of time trying to make sure that the top was level. After all that I still do have some areas where I can slide a piece of paper between the tank and stand. This was the case even when I test filled the tank. So my question is would it be a good idea to put a piece of Styrofoam or similar material between the tank and stand?
<Mmm, yes I would>
My concern is that this material would break down over time and put more stress on the tank.
<No; less than if you left it out>
The other issue is that the tank is 10 feet long and I’m not sure I can even get a single piece of material that size.
<A cut to fit piece will be fine>
 What would you recommend in this
situation? Thanks in advance.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

before and after pix

R2: Larger Sized Aquarium (96x30x30), stand/underneath – 07/08/12
<<Hey Rick>>
What options do I have if after filling the tank, there are still a few minor gaps between the bottom of the tank and the top of the Styrofoam (I found another spot at the front corner that currently doesn't sit flush)?
<<It’s important that the tank sit flat and planar. It may settle on the foam you have just fine as it gets filled…but hard for me to say from here. If you have real concerns maybe removing the foam before filling the tank is the best option (I kept many tanks without such, decades back), or maybe switching it out for something not so thick if the surface of the stand is “less than perfect.” A sheet of ¼” high-density insulation may be all you need…and should be less prone to distortion/damage during installation than the Styrofoam. (I know, easy for me to recommend…I do understand how difficult any shifting of this tank will be)>>
<<Perhaps you can get someone local to come “put eyes” on your project and get their opinion as well. Maybe an LFS/Installer…or even another experienced hobbyist. I’ll also ask Bob to chime in, if he sees this. EricR>><Nada mas. B>

Large Tank Stand – 06/09/12
Hi crew,
<<Hey Kevin>>
I'm looking for some help designing a stand for a 300 gallon tank.
<<Okay… I built the stand for my own 375g tank, so let’s see if I can help>>
I couldn't find much information on large tank designs. The dimensions are 72 in long by 36 in wide and 28 in tall. It is an acrylic tank. I was thinking of doing something like the following picture shows but using 2 x 8's instead of the 2 x 4's.
<<Doubled 2x6 (glued and screwed) would be my choice…stronger and more importantly, more stable/less prone to twist and bend>>
I also was thinking of notching out 4 x 4's for the corners but after researching, a lot of people say they twist and warp so it's not a good idea?
<<They can, yes…go with the doubled-up 2x lumber>>
Also I would have two vertical supports in the front and back middle
<<Ah okay, good… As such, “doubled” 2x6 beams front and back sitting “atop” the support legs as you show will be fine. If you decide to forgo the middle support for any reason (access, etc.), then use triple 2x6 beams.>>
and would have front to back bracing on the top every 12 inches
<<2x 6 again…and consider using galvanized joist-hangers for strength here>>
and 3/4 inch plywood on top of that.
Just wanted to get your input to see if this would work or if you have a better suggestion.
<<As stated…and you’re off to a good start. You might also think about using “hurricane connectors” to strengthen all joints. You can find these at places like Lowe’s and Home Depot. And lastly… If you have any doubt, have your plan/stand looked at by a structural engineer. In fact I recommended you have one come out and take a look under the house where you plan to place the tank and make any needed suggestions re extra support for the floor (can be as simple and inexpensive as a few concrete blocks and pipe-jacks…also found at HD/Lowe’s). The couple hundred bucks spent to have the engineer come out will provide much peace of mind>>
<<Happy to share… EricR>>

240 Gallon Cube Setup/Marine Set Up 5/9/12
Hello Friends,
wwm: Hello Ranjith
I am in the final planning stages for a 240 gallon cube. Tank viewable from 3 sides.
wwm: A great tank size for a coral display.
Please could you share your views on the items below. Is a bit lengthy, hope I don't put you to sleep ?
wwm: Zzzzzz. :-)
Biotope: Reef Flat What I plan to grow: Acropora/Montipora, 1-2 Clams, 2-3 zoanthid pieces,
wwm: Be careful in your selection of Zoanthids so not to choose Palythoa species as they can be very allelopathic.
Xenia [too much or incompatible?]
wwm: Fine, along with my statement.
Fishes: 5-7 Anthias, 1 Regal Tang, 3 Flame Angels,
wwm: May be some territorial disputes between the angels. Suggest adding them at the same time to minimize this.
1 golden head goby, 1 goby that you see on acropora branches [too much or incompatible?]
wwm: The Citron Clown Goby feeds on the mucous polyps of Acropora in the wild and is considered reef safe but will nip at the polyps or bases of Acropora species and possibly other SPS corals. If the aquarium is not heavily stocked with mature colonies of Acropora, these fish may severely damage Acroporas kept in smaller colonies.
Inverts: 2-3 skunk cleaner shrimps. Stocking plan: 3 months just live rock curing and pod population seeding in the refugium and tank. • Xenia, Zoas after 3 months • Clams after 4 months and Acropora/Montipora after 5 months [snails added with the SPS as feeding will increase] • Gobies first around 6 months, then the Anthias, Flame Angel, last the Tang.
wwm: I would put the tang in with the Anthias.
Tank dimensions: 48” x 48” x 24” [L x W x H] with possibility of reducing height to 18” instead of 24” if that will help easy access without making it look bad.
wwm: Access may be hindered if the tank sits up high. A small ladder may be needed to service/clean the system.
Substrate: 1” depth of fine aragonite substrate. Lighting: 4 units of AI sol blue [would I need 8 considering total footprint is 8SqFt?]
wwm: I would suggest writing to AI for their recommendation. I have no experience with this pendant.
Circulation: 2 MP40 [reverse sync mode] on either side of the back wall and one nano wavebox above one of them.
wwm: The nano wavebox will be useless in this size tank. I would also recommend two MP60's rather than the 40's. No wavebox is necessary using two MP60's in sync mode.
Additionally one 8000LPH return pump which after headloss should give around 5000LPH@5 feet head. Circulation Questions 1. Would the number of units, combination and their placement I have mentioned above get me the desired flow in the CUBE?
wwm: Yes.
2. Should I run the Vortech in a sync mode instead?
wwm: Definitely. Just be sure you order the Vortech's that are capable of wireless sync.
3. Would the Wavebox reduce the effect of the Vortech below it?
wwm: Forget the wavebox.
4. Would it be better to use 2 Tunze controllable streams and sync them with the wavebox using a wavecontroller from Tunze?
wwm: I wouldn't.
5. Do I need a eductor connected to the return line?
wwm: Can try it although I do not believe it will be necessary.
Filtration: • Calfo style collection area on the back side of the tank. Three 1.5” drains connected on one side of the back wall. Should I keep 2 in siphon mode or should I just let all 3 be normal overflow?
wwm: I'd use all three as drains to the sump.
• 1 reef octopus 5000 internal skimmer [12”x24” sump compartment feeds to refugium].
wwm: The sump size is pushing it a bit. I would get one rated for a 250 gallon tank.
• Refugium with 6” DSB and any one macroalgae [24”x24” divided in between to make a raceway] one of the 3 overflows from display tank feeds this in addition to output from skimmer chamber. Will a normal output daylight tube be enough here?
wwm: I'd go with a T5 lamp.
Inverse daylight setting needed?
wwm: Is generally recommended.
• Return chamber 12”x12”. Will have a 8000LPH submersible return pump. • Around 100Kgs liverock in the display tank. Cured in the refugium to start the pod culture. Do I need so much or only around 50KGS?
wwm: One pound per gallon is a good rule of thumb depending on the type of rock. Some rock types weigh more than others.
Remaining 24”x48” space kept for chiller and water change container.
wwm: I don't believe you will need a chiller with LED lighting unless you live in a warm climate.
Maintenance [hope to be doing this ?] • 24”x24” container beside sump to make around 190 Liters [~20%] weekly water change. This would be used as top off container on weekdays and mix salt in the weekend for water change.
wwm: May want to consider an ATO device both for top off and to slowly fill the tank with new saltwater.
• A little later down the road, a CA reactor. Your comments would be greatly appreciated ?
wwm: You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)
Re 240 Gallon Cube Setup/Marine Set Up 5/12/12 - 5/12/2012 
Hi James,
wwm: Ranjith
Thanks for the quick response.
wwm: You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)
You mention to use two MP60. The minimum flow for each of them is 3500GPH which is 15 times flow for my tank [240Gal]
wwm: Ah, my mental error. I had in my mind your initial choice were the MP10s. Two MP40s should be just fine.
In total that would be 30x tank volume flow. Is that not an overkill? Regarding the sump You said sump size is pushing it and to get one rated fro 250gal. You mean only skimmer chamber or the entire sump?
wwm: Does not matter about the size of the skimmer chamber, the entire sump. In the event of a power failure, the sump will need to hold the water that will be drained to it.
I would need the chiller as I live in HongKong and it gets HOTT here ?
wwm: OK
Lastly, you mentioned about an ATO for top off and replacing salt water How can I replace salt water using an ATO? And link or reference to a product?
wwm: By placing the suction line of the peristaltic pump into the vessel of newly mixed saltwater. Here is one example although there a few brands to choose from. http://www.marinedepot.com/JBJ_Automatic_Top_Off_(A.T.O.)_System_Water_Level_Controller_Electric_Powered_Dosing_Pumps_Top_Off_Plug_In_Units-JBJ_Lighting-JB5111-FIDPETPU-vi.html 
wwm: And to you. James (Salty Dog)

300 Gallon Acrylic fish Tank for sale Or Trade 1/10/12
Hi There Bob and Crew,
<Hello Jim>
I was thinking of buying this tank to upgrade my 180. I wanted to get your opinion on the system itself. To Me it sounds like there is not enough water flow. 300 Gallons though. My blonde Naso Tang, and Blue Face Angel would be in heaven.  Thanks, Jim
"300 gallon <sic>True view <Tru-Vu> acrylic fish tank, complete set up.  Right now it is saltwater tank that has been up for four years, with at least 200 lbs live sand, 300 lbs of live rock (some lava and some Fiji rock).
<I would not use the lava rock.>
The dementions <dimensions> are 96x24x30.  It has a blue backing.  It has two Rapid Pro filters , model PS4 which is a 3-stage filtration system with sintered glass cylinders and bio balls, along with traditional filtering on top of these.  It is an excellent set up.  It has a built in protein skimmer, skimmer overflow, a powerful submersible pump which delivers 1,000 gallons per hour. It also has the auto fill system, which connects to the filtration system.  It is a unique gravity fed water replacement system, that compensates for tank evaporation. This also comes with the air pumps and water lifters.  I have added a custom light fixture for this tank.  It has lunar led lights for night, and either metal-halide lighting or the T-5 fluorescent Actinic and blue bulbs.  The tank does not have a stand, I set it on cinderblocks.
<Mmm, scary.  Acrylic tanks need to be supported full length/width. 
Hopefully the cinder blocks were close together, level, and had a plywood top the same dimensions as the tank.>
The tank has a mature Sailfin Tang (recovering from HLLE),  maroon clown- large, one Hawkfish, one mature Mimic Tang, and one large black/blue damsel, along with a few snails and blue and red hermits. I have invested over $5,000.00 in this tank, and love it. I hate to see it go. But we are moving and I do not want to make a long move with it. It does not require a lot of water changes due to its size and filtration."
<Sounds like a decent deal to me.  Increasing flow will be necessary and two Vortech MP60's along with the 1000gph pump should give you plenty of flow and wave making in this system.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re  300 Gallon Acrylic fish Tank for sale Or Trade 1/10/12
Hi James,
<Hello Jim>
The thing I am very worried about that I did not include before is, He has not done a water change in four years!! Holy S**t was what I was thinking.
Its the worst case of fish abuse I have ever seen. I would report him if there was such thing as Fish Police. Of course I did not say this. lol Do you think the rock and sand is shot from that?
<It's likely covered with algae by now.  Have you viewed the tank?>
I figured I would completely tear the tank down and scrub it out and let it set for while. I would then use the rock (not the lava rock) for base rock for new live rock. The Tang has no face left at all from the hlle.  He said, " I can't understand how my tang got hlle."
<Water quality and nutrition are of the upmost when keeping tangs.>
The two Vortech MP60's are really expensive. Is there a cheaper solution?
<You could go with the Koralia low voltage units and their
Wavemaker....much cheaper.  I'd definitely go with propeller pumps though, move much more water without the jet effect.>
Do you think I should add a sump and a better skimmer?
<Depends what brand skimmer it is and what it's rated for.  I do not believe it's necessary to replace the
I hope life is good James!
<It's as good as it's going to get....still above ground.  James (Salty Dog)>

Advice needed on large reef tank. Rusting, circ., lighting     10/26/11
I am Vijay Kumar from India. I have spent countless time going through the great advices from you guys. It has really helped me in making many crucial decisions in this difficult hobby of reef aquarium. Now I am in the process of a 3300 liters mixed reef aquarium dimensions are 8.5' * 3.5' * 4' (L*H*W). I have a few questions for which I would like your help
1) Due to suppliers credibility in India for acrylic tank supply. I have made the tank with 19mm toughened glass with ss316 frame. Now is there any coating that we can use to prevent rust in the long run?
<Not as a one-time application... you might get away w/ occasional re-application of epoxies or resin paint/s>
2) I have narrowed my lighting requirement to 400w *4 14000 k metal halide bulbs with 8 nos 4 feet 54w actinic blue t5 bulbs and 4 nos 4 feet 54 watt 6500 Kelvin bulbs. Can I go with the same proposed lighting or kindly give me your advice so I may proceed accordingly and to recap I am going for a mixed reef ?
3) With respect to circulation I am having a reef octopus return pump which gives me 7000 l/Hr flow also I have 2 Sicce voyager 10 around 15000 l/Hr pump each which is placed on the back side at both ends flow is directed to the front glass.
<Better by far as a surface generated gyre. See WWM w/ this search term>
Now my question is should I go with Tunze Ts48 kit or EcoTech mp40. Which make would you go for.
<The Tunzes>
If Tunze would TS 48 be enough to create the waves and the necessary circulation( Especially after the new study).
If Vortech how many mp40 would be needed(As these are the only two models available here). Also One side of my tank is up against the wall , hence my placement can be either in the back or on one side. Given the consideration what will be your choice.
<The side>
4) Is there a necessary to also go for a wave box if I choose the ts48 kit.
<Not necessary; nor advised>
Thanks will appreciate your views very much
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Protein Skimmer Options/Protein Skimmers/Selection 1/14/11
Hi Bob and Crew,
<Hello Paul, James with you today.>
I have a couple of questions regarding equipment I will be purchasing for my own personal 210 gallon tank that I hope you can help with or give your educated opinions on. The tank will be not be a full blown reef but not a FOWLR either, somewhere in between, but the fish load will be moderately heavy.
Through a distributor I can get several items at distributor prices but the selection is somewhat limited. The best skimmer they have for this size aquarium is the Eshopps Cone Snow S200 skimmer, which I can get for approximately $400 or slightly under. What is your opinion of this skimmer, or do you think there are better options to be purchased online elsewhere for approximately $400? What brand/model in that price range do you recommend?
<This skimmer is only rated up to a 200 gallon tank. With your moderately heavy fish load, I'd look for something a little higher, say around 240+.
I haven't heard any feedback on the Eshopps skimmer so I can't comment on it's performance. Likely the best skimmer for your system, and keeping within your price range would be the AquaC EV240, a very good skimmer from a company that is second to none in customer service. You may also want to check out the Octopus, Vertex, and ASM line of skimmers.>
2nd piece of equipment that I have a question about are R.O. units. Through the same distributor I can get either a Coralife, Kent or Seachem unit. All features assumed the same, what is your opinion here?
<Wouldn't matter which brand to me, basically the same, but I'd get one with a post DI filter like the Kent Maxxima RO/DI.>
I thank you in advance for your help as always and send to you the regards of Penn-Plax Inc.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Upgrading Tank   9/19/10
Bob and crew,
I am again in need of your advice.
I'll make this brief: I am currently upgrading my 120 FOWLR to a 300 FOWLR (I have already inquired about aquascaping last week). ALL of the live rock in the old system will stay in the old system (to be used for a reef tank). The new system will have all new rock (150 pounds of base rock and 50 pounds of live rock to seed the base rock). The tank will be cycled.
However, how do you suggest I move my fish (9 total: 3 tangs, 2 triggers, 2 wrasses, and 2 damsels) to the new tank without creating an ammonia spike?
Would you move a few fish at a time?
<You have to add the fishes carefully over time, yes. Even if the tank is 'cycled' the populations of bacteria will not be large enough to support a sudden influx of life. You would be better using at least some of your old system rock here, and the 'reef' will benefit from some added new as well, in the way of biota. Over time, certain populations out-compete others, so that the general biodiversity decreases as time goes by. Occasional 'new' additions of live rock/ sand can help to replenish this as the system ages. I would quarantine all live rock sans fishes and with light though for several (up to 8) weeks>
Furthermore, I know the tangs like the system to be aged so they can graze on the rocks. Considering that all my live rock will be new, do you think the tangs will do ok until the tank ages?
<Should be if fed well (try NLSpectrum pellets). I would add some of your old rock here though, why I wonder are you considering not doing this? I would mix both old and new rock in both systems>
Should I add some macro algae to the display?
<Try Nori & pellets, perhaps vitamin soaked Mysis>
Thanks in advance (once again).
<No problem>
- Eugene

Outdoor Saltwater Pond Heating So Cal - 5/22/10
Hi, I live in So Cal (San Diego)
<Am in Mira Mesa>
and have a 250 gallon saltwater reef tank and a large Koi pond of over 10,000 gallons. We're redoing our Koi pond this summer to make it deeper because some of our Koi are getting really big. I've thought off and on about moving the marine fish into an outdoor saltwater pond because 250 gallons just does not look as big as it used to, so it seems like it may be a good time to add the salt pond.
I've figured out about all of it except how to heat the saltwater pond.
<An "exchanger"... Have just come back, last week, from the pet-industry's largest show... Interzoo, seen Teco's offerings here... Is what I'd invest in if I were doing what you describe. http://www.tecous.com/
The saltwater pond would be about 1500-2000 gallons made out of concrete and pond liner with the sump/filter system/skimmer etc plumbed under a deck by the pond, the sump etc will be another 400 gallons. A couple mo.s of the year we have some lows of 30 degrees, and in the spring and fall the evenings can get considerably cooler than days. I want to keep the pond in the 70's consistently. Half the year the temp will be no issue and will pretty much stay that way naturally, but the other half year will fluctuate or be too cold without good heating.
Any ideas would be great. I've been looking up a lot on the net and your site but there doesn't seem to be many saltwater ponds.
<Mmm, no... Too expensive to operate; insufficient interest...>
Also electricity in So Cal is really expensive. What would be the best and most economical way to heat this?
<There are other... some quite novel means. It would behoove you to "send this out for bid" with various service companies... Maybe call Pat Hurley at one of his stores... Aquatic Warehouse... and ask him re possibilities here. There are heat pumps of various designs that are economical long/er term. Bob Fenner>

Stand design for 250 gallon deep dimension  -- 1/21/10
Hello Bob and crew.
I was wondering if you might be able to look at a DIY tank stand that my friend has constructed for me. I am not, by any means, a carpenter so I am really nervous about this project. I have done a lot of research online, and keep coming across really contradictory opinions about a couple of different issues.
<Mmm, I see some things I definitely don't like here>
Firstly, I have attached some low rez photos of the joints (where the top and bottom frames meet the legs). There were some gaps, so some shims were put in place to try and fill the gaps. Is this an issue?
<Not so much if the shims are "hard">
250 gallons is going to be a lot of weight,
<Yes... more than a ton>
and I don¹t want to take any chances... So my concern is that shims will not provide the same even strength that a better cut piece of wood will. Will this stand hold a 60x36x27 tank?
<It probably will, but...>
My second concern is in regards to the top part of the stand. A lot of emphasis has been put on getting the top level and flat. I used a belt sander and a six foot level and tried to get it as flat and level as I could.
<I'd place a thin piece of Styrofoam over... a half inch piece will do... be squashed>
For 95% of it, it is flush with the level. I am confident that you could not slide a credit card between the level and the top of the stand.
There is however, one area where there is a space of about 1/8th of an inch (back left corner).
<... too much w/o the foam if this is an all-glass tank>
The low spot runs over a span of about 10 inches. When the level is on the back of the stand running the length of the back, there is no low spot, but when you run the level on the left side, there is a small dip near the overflow area. I have 3/4 inch foam in place around the edges of the stand (where the tank lip will fit).
I thought this technique was to compensate for slight issues like this, as well as absorb any hard areas in the wood (like knots) that would put stress on the edge of the tank.
I read in your book, as well as the Reef Aquarium (Delbeek and Sprung), that doing this was a good idea. However, there are guys on the internet saying that you can¹t do this with tanks that have a plastic rim around the bottom and that it will cause failure.
I am confused. Am I missing something here?
My last concern is about leveling the stand to the floor. I have attached (as per your book) 3/4 inch plywood at the base of my stand. I have put shims under the plywood. (see photos). The stand currently sits perfectly level. I have hardwood floors (with concrete underneath. I live in a condo).
Do I need to shim in all the gaps between the floor and the plywood?
<No... the plywood/base should not have shims under it at all... the support inside of, on top of the plywood base should>
Or just in the areas under the legs and corners? My tank arrives Saturday and I am terrified. I went the route of DIY so I could build an extra strong stand and to save a few dollars. But what good is saving a few dollars if I am going to cause an enormous amount of damage to my fellow condo owners. Do all these little issues add up to danger? Can you please tell me if this stand will work?
Thank you.
<Well... I would have made the uprights out of 4 by 4's rather than the apparent 2 by 4's here... and the corners? There are gaps twixt the doubled 2 by 4's adjacent to each other... AND the elements all need to be braced in three dimensions... It appears the top of the stands laterals are simply sitting on top of the uprights... I would at minimum get some large "L" brackets and stainless or brass screws and put them at all inside corners. Bob Fenner>

Re: Stand design for 250 gallon deep dimension  -- 1/21/10
Thanks for your input Bob. I think I am going to abort on this stand and buy the stand that came with the tank. Put plywood on the floor, and shim between the plywood and the bottom of the tank. Does this sound like a decent plan of attack?
<It does Jason... I'm much relieved by your decision. Cheers, BobF, swimming in San Diego!>

Set Up a new Large Aquarium... Uhh, not yet  12/21/2009
Hi Crews,
<Just one here>
I'm planning to build my second glass aquarium, since my first one didn't work out.
My first Aquarium was 218cm long, 73.5cm wide & 120 cm height,
<Wow! You must have long arms!>
made from 19mm glass thickness, fit in a wall, drill a hole at the bottom & install a pipe to the filtration below the aquarium.
The pipe were standing in aquarium around 1 m height.
<Whoa, let's slow down here. I strongly suggest you do a bit of reading before embarking on this "drill a hole... a pipe" arrangement. There are much better designs. Start studying here:
the third tray down... Plumbing, Through-Puts, Overflows....>
At first, it was great, the water was very clear with sands at the bottom & shark in it.
But lately the glass was bending so it leaked. (I just found out that glass can bend?)
<Yes... it's a super-cooled liquid... You're fortunate it didn't break...
Was this thing braced? Have you searched, read on WWM ahead of writing us?>
So I have to remove my shark & intend to built a proper one.
<Your preterites/verbs don't agree... in time>
Please guide me to set up a new same size aquarium, with the filtration system below (since the aquarium is going to set up in a wall).
<...? What? Please guide yourself... Maybe start here:
scroll down to "Large Marine Systems", then the area on Tanks... DIY Glass Construction... You've got a bit of learning to do before acting on any plan. Bob Fenner>

Re: Set Up a new Large Aquarium 12/22/09
Wow Bob,
Super quick respond, thank you.
Well, yes I have read some inside WWM. Especially the DIY glass aquarium.
The set up of glass aquarium isn't a problem since I asked someone who used to glue glass aquarium.
I used Dow Corning clear silicone.
But maybe the size of the aquarium matters?
<It does>
I was inform to use 15 mm thickness glass, laminate with a 12 mm tempered glass.
<For what height?>
For the hole in my wall, what size of aquarium do u suggest?
<Please read where you were referred previously. The hole size and numbers depend on flow rates, what you want them to do>
I drill the hole in the bottom because I can't fit in the filtration pipe beside or behind the glass..(the glass is fit in perfectly inside the wall, & both side see through)..
<I see. Well... you'll need more than one hole... to fit the return likely... Are you thinking of building an internal overflow tower/weir?>
I'll read more in the section u've told me.
But frankly, I'm confuse about what I read there (maybe because I'm a woman, can't understand perfectly about all the technical stuff..^_^)
<Mmm, I don't accept this as so... I know many women that are more tech. savvy than I will ever be or many of my male cohorts>
& Yes, the first aquarium was braced.
Thanks again for your help & wonderful complete web.
<Getting better all the time. Cheers, BobF>

300gallon fish system help... tell me the truth... in one hundred words or less    8/19/09
Hello, I 'm in the planning stage of my new fish only system. I need a little help. The tank is going to house a queen angel, a grouper, maybe a moray or a look down, not sure on the rest yet.
<... Joe; where are the spaces twixt your words? Please run your corr. through a grammar/spell-checker before sending>
The tank is 300 gallons 72in.by36inby27in.high.I have been told a wet dry is the best way to go with bio-balls for this system.
I have told use live rock only ,with& not at all because the rock can house parasites. My next question is about skimmers I was thinking of in sump. But have been told a out of cabinet with 3 to 4ft. reaction time is better & more choice of pumps. Thanks,joe
<... ludicrous. Please start reading here:
and the linked files above... And we can chat if/when you have more of an idea what you're about. Bob Fenner>

240 Gallons Of Decisions, Decisions -- 08/18/09
Hello all,
<<Greetings Shawn>>
I hope everyone is well, and finding their summer or winter (for those of you of the southern hemisphere) to be an enjoyable one.
<<So far so good'¦thanks!>>
I'm currently facing a dilemma that I hope someone can lend some experience to.
I want to build my dream reef system
<<Ah'¦a nice dilemma to have>>
and I want to combine my 2 current reef tanks (120 gallon 48X24X24, and 75 gallon 48X18X21) into a single 240 gallon system.
<<Okay'¦assuming the two systems are compatible>>
With that being said, I can't decide on what would be a better tank layout for the inhabitants that I want to combine. I'm concerned about some compatibility issues and would like to give enough space to minimize the need to exclude some of my beloved pets.
<<I see>>
I'm in a debate over whether a 48X48X24 tank or a 72X30X24 would be a better choice.
<<Mmm, yes'¦ Both are excellent designs (I do like how you have made the depth greater than the height on the 6ft tank'¦as opposed to a 'standard' build). I think maybe the location of or viewing vantage points of the system, type livestock, and/or type of reef 'niche' you wish to replicate will determine the final choice>>
My thought for the 48 inch tank is to use a center overflow to create an island with various caves and overhangs that the fish can swim around.
<<And a perfect concept if this tank is to be viewed from ALL sides>>
I'd like to use powerheads to create a circulating current around the island and would use (2) 4 ft. fixtures, with 175 watt halide and T5 lighting.
The 72 inch setup would most likely be a standard dual rear overflow design with more traditional aquascaping
<<I hope 'traditional' doesn't mean the ubiquitous 'rock wall.' There's no reason not to be (and many reasons to be) more creative, even with the 'traditional' rectangular tank>>
providing multiple small islands of rock with plenty of hiding spots. I'd need to buy a 72 inch light fixture with (3) 175 watt halides and PC lighting.
My current stock:
120 gallon - 4 inch purple tang, a male / female pair of tomato clowns, a male / female pair of Laboute's wrasses,
5 resplendent anthias (all female so far). There are various SPS and LPS corals including Acropora, Montipora, Xenia, hammer and torch corals, brain coral, and zoos of all kinds. Kind of a mixed bag of everything.
<<Ah yes'¦the typical 'mixed garden' reef [grin]>>
Two Crocea clams and a cleaner shrimp also live here. I've been blessed with little problems.
75 gallon - This tank is only 8 months old and houses a 3 inch yellow tang, a 3 inch regal tang,
<<The Regal is inappropriate for this size tank'¦glad you are upsizing>>
a male / female pair of percula clowns,
<<You may have issues combining the Clowns between the two systems>>
a male / female pair of flame wrasses,
<<Neat again!>>
and a scooter blenny. The tangs here are a big reason for the upgrade.
There is a Maxima clam and some zoos in this tank as well. I'm obviously concerned about the wrasse pairs and the clown pairs being combined.
<<Less of a problem with the Wrasses than the Clowns, in my opinion. Even should you add multiple Anemone specimens (which I DO NOT advocate here), the Maroons would and will likely claim the whole tank against another Clown species>>
My hope is that space will be my friend and theirs as well.
<<There's always exceptions'¦but I think you need another 100g or so here>>
I plan on adding the purple and yellow tangs together and if peace can't be found I'll part with a beloved pet.
<<Can be done'¦ I have five tangs from four genera in my 375g reef display>>
I'm optimistic because it worked in my LFS with a yellow, purple and sailfin tang introduced at the same time.
<<The manner of introduction can play a big part, yes>>
I know that this is somewhat open to experience, and differs from fish to fish, but any thoughts on my system design, introduction order, and ANYTHING of note would be greatly appreciated.
<<Ultimately you have to decide which appeals most to you'¦ The 4-foot square display would prove unique over most and provide for some interesting aquascaping options. The 6-foot display would prove better for the 'patrolling' fishes you have. But'¦ If you were to return the Regal Tang, I think you could get by with either option>>
Thanks to all of you for the service you provide.
<<Is our pleasure to assist>>
I'm sure you've saved many a hobbyist and many a fish with your help.
<<As are we'¦ Thank you>>
Shawn Green,
Baltimore, MD
<<Eric Russell'¦in a hot and muggy Columbia, SC>>

Sand beds in marine aquariums   7/11/09
Hello crew,
I have been looking over your FAQ's about DSB's and such and I was wondering your thoughts on something for a possible 600 gallon reef tank I want to set up in the future (about 2 years from now). This tank would have a nearby dedicated room housing the sump, skimmer, chiller, etc, so I wouldn't skimp out on equipment due to lack of space. I would have 650 plus pounds of live rock.
I know there is a lot of internet talk of the bare bottom tanks. But I have heard that SPS reef tanks tend to do especially well with such a setup. Do any of you have experience with this type of setup with SPS corals?
I don't especially like the looks of such a tank, but I didn't know if it was better for the SPS corals to do it this way as long as you provide excess flow and filtration, etc.
<There are pro and con arguments for such... I am much more in favour of using substrates myself... even in intense culture operations>
Regarding DSB tanks: for a tank like I am talking about setting up above, would it be possible to use a .5-1mm substrate/sand at about 2-3 inch depth for the main tank and use a very fine .125-.25mm sand at 4-6 inch depth in the sump?
Would this give me the benefit of a DSB without actually having the DSB in the main tank?
<Very likely so>
I understand surface area comes into play, so if you have the sump made large enough would that work?
And if you use a DSB (either in main tank or in sump/refugium), should you EVER try to clean or stir the bed (ie with a syphon hose during cleaning)?
<IMO yes>
Or should you just clean the top inch or so or what? And would a tank using a DSB ever need to be "broken down" after say 10+ years due to detritus buildup even if water parameters are continually in check and normal and the livestock is doing well?
<Likely this would be a practical matter... with adding more soluble material every half to full year or so... as you'll find the substrate dissolving...>
I mean, if the tank is doing well in all aspects, is there ever a need to take everything down and clean it all after 10-15 years or so?
<Mmm, not necessarily taking down totally... but as stated, this may be the more practical route to go; versus siphoning out old/less soluble remnants of the "old" substrate, adding, replacing with new>
I have heard of people recommending "taking a tank down" and redoing it after so many years, but not necessarily when using a DSB setup (and in these cases the tank is usually experiencing some problems with water parameters or livestock not at optimal appearance). At the same time, most people use a syphon to go into the sand bed and clean it when doing a water change; but it that a proper thing to do with a DSB or do you literally just "leave it alone"?
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/substrepl.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Setup Problems with New 350g Tank -- 01/20/09. Someone with the crew.... HELP!!! <<Yikes! What's the problem?>> I spoke with Eric Russell a while back <<Tis I again>> about my future 340Gallon tank and it is now well under way and has hit 400 Gallons. <<Neat!>> I have hit a HUGE issue with it though concerning it being .... level in a sort. <<Uh-oh>> The stand is a concrete block and I-beam setup. (3 - W6X20 I beams supported on each end by a concrete wall, (block with concrete poured in holes)) <<Okay, let's see if I understand'¦ You have 3ea. 6'x20' beams (laminated, I assume) spanning approximately 7-feet and supported by cement-filled concrete block end walls. Sounds like more than enough to me'¦but what did the structural engineer say? [grin]>> The beams were level when they sat without the tank front to back and side to side. (Checked with a 4 ft level, tank dims are 84X36X30) Over the weekend I got some unpaid help to pick the tank up and put it on the stand. During this process we construction glued the beams to the concrete, construction glued a 3/4 inch piece of exterior grade 7 ply plywood, that was sealed with Rustoleum paint, to the I beam, and then a 3/4 inch piece of insulation to level out inconsistencies. All of the gluing and then the placing of the tank on the stand happened within 30 min to an hour. <<I trust you checked to make sure all was level and planar after each stage of the operation'¦>> I started to fill the tank with tap water today to check for leaks, when I left to go out to dinner I threw the water hose back inside the house (it was attached to an outside spigot.). When I did this the water left in the hose began a siphon and sucked all the water back out of the tank. (It was only about an 1/8th - 1/4 full) So while I was frantically searching for a leak (not paying attention to the trail of water that had poured from the end of the hose I threw through the window), I found a 1/4" gap between the Foam/plywood/Tank on the front left corner. <<Not good>> The gap dissipates over the distance of the tank. And the front left is the only place it exists. Someone told me that the insulation foam will not even compress under the weight of the tank, <<'¦!>> and this wouldn't be the reason for the gap??? <<The foam WILL compress'¦but is not the reason for the gap. I wish you had supplied a picture'¦. Oh wait, you sent a link in a follow up email: (http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1515150&perpage=25&pagenumber=4). Ah okay, I see now>> (I was thinking that the weight of the water that was in the tank would have caused it to compress a bit...maybe not?) I'm at a loss. The tank itself as it sits is still level front to back AND side to side. <<Since this is an acrylic tank, I'm now wondering if the defect is in the tank and not in the stand'¦hmm'¦ Acrylic tanks will take a bit of flexing'¦and this tank may well be fine in the long run. But'¦ I would consult with the manufacturer of the tank before going any further. And if it turns out, I would also get any recommendation from them to press ahead 'as is,' in writing>> Signed, Confused Reefer... :( << Hang in there Adam'¦ It may turn out you need do no more than fill the tank and let it set a bit'¦or you may have to remove the tank and re-check and re-level the stand. But talk to the manufacturer of the tank first, they are the best to advise you here. Especially if you don't want to void the warranty on the tank. Cheers mate, EricR>>

Re: Setup Problems with New 350g Tank -- 01/20/09. As I'm sure you've noticed from looking at the thread the I-beams were steel 6in at 20lbs per foot (3/4" thick). <<Ah! No, I didn't get this from the photo'¦but then I didn't look over the entire thread>> And no I didn't level after adding the plywood, it was slightly bowed from when I painted it and I figured the weight of the tank would flatten it back out. <<Mmm, I see'¦ Then maybe the corner of the plywood is turned down a bit as a result of the bowing'¦I can't tell for sure, but it does look as if the plywood extends a bit to the front past the beam?>> The tank manufacturer is actually a local fish store that made the 120 in my basement now. <<Oh good'¦>> He is coming out Thursday to get the tank back on the stand and work with me to get it right. <<Excellent!>> I did find that taking a four foot level on the bottom of the tank it wobbled back and forth about 1/8 of an inch,... <<Ah, okay'¦ Probably not a big issue (or all that uncommon even), but we'll see what the guy who built the tank says, eh>> On the side that had the gap... <<Well there ya go'¦>> Hopefully we will be able to get things straightened out Thursday. <<Am sure you will>> Thanks for your input. :) <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Re: Larger Scale Live Rock Alternative -- 08/21/08 WWM Folks, <<Howdy Ryan>> After much deliberation and fretting, we have decided against "substituting" rock with anything. <<'¦?>> We have located a few pallets of "dead" rock, and have settled on the fact that this is going to be our best option, for many reasons. <<Ah, ok'¦and I agree'¦even 'dead' rock is a better alternative than any non-marine (e.g. - terrestrial rock) or artificial (e.g. - concrete, ceramic) substitute in my estimation. If only for the buffering and bio-mineral content>> (Obviously "cost effectiveness" is not one of those reasons!) The issue of our existing 1,000lbs of rock potentially needing a "boost" was brought up in our last message, and this is what concerns us now. <<Okay>> With 2,000lbs of rock on its way, we want to be sure that we are going to have enough bacteria to get things rockin' in the most effective and timely manner possible. <<I see'¦ That which is most beneficial in my mind re bio-diversity would be to add some 'new' live rock to the system. 'Fresh' rock would be best'¦and have little impact re spiking the nitrogen cycle considering the volume of your system and the current amount of cured rock. A couple boxes of new rock scattered throughout the rest would certainly give that 'boost'>> I've spent some time reading through a few of the ideas regarding bottled bacteria, and their effectiveness, but they mainly seem to be focused at the home aquarium, not a 3,000 gallon facility. <<Indeed'¦and generally used to start/restart the biological processes in new and damaged home systems'¦though adding to a healthy system can also be of benefit>> With the amount of "amazing and wonderful" products that are available today, in your opinion, which has proven effective? <<Hands down 'Bio-Spira''¦ This is a refrigerated product that is very effective, but considering the size of your system I think some live rock would prove no more expensive>> And would there be any benefit (or draw backs) to combining multiple manufacturers products for something on this scale? (i.e. Seachem Stability, Marc Weiss Boost, etc?) <<These others will be of varying to even questionable utility'¦bets to stick with just the Bio-Spira if you go this route'¦though I like the live rock idea better>> With a considerable amount of water and rock, I'm sure one bottle won't do it, <<Indeed'¦>> so should I make some crazy bacteria cocktail? <<You could I suppose'¦but using a mix of un-refrigerated products that have been sitting on a shelf for who knows how long will be of unknown value>> Any thoughts on the negative results this might produce? <<The negative aspect is slight'¦the possible addition of a product or products that do little more than pollute the system. I suggest you either not worry about it at all and let the existing system 'ramp up' the new rock in time, or use the Bio-Spira and/or live rock in whatever amounts you can afford'¦and maybe still having to wait a bit for the system to balance. There's no overnight wonder-product for what you seek'¦but the fact you already have 1,000lbs of cured/bio-active rock along with a large amount of water (do mix the old water with the new) is in your favor re getting the system up and running quickly>> Thanks again, Ryan <<A pleasure to share. Eric Russell>>

Right combinations or not... 15 foot tall cylindrical tank... tiny fish choices   7/24/08 Hello My wife and I are having a steel framed house built <Wave of the future... strike that, the present> and in the center of the house will be the showcase of the house. It is a 10ft diameter X 15ft tall cylinder marine aquarium. <... is this a mis-print? A fifteen foot high system? Wow!> The house is a two floor structure. The walls on the house are 10 ft high and then there is a gap for the build up of the second floor to go around the aquarium and then there is about 3ft of the aquarium showing on the second floor. I will have it age about 8 months before I add any fish or invertebrates. I was wondering what your feelings are for an aquarium with Cardinalfishes, Dwarf Angels, and Damselfish. <... in such a volume? I'd likely have/keep larger species...> The species that I plan on keeping are Apogon cyanosoma, Apogon novemfasciatus, Centropyge nox, Centropyge aurantia, Centropyge heraldi, Centropyge vroliki, Chrysiptera talboti, and Chrysiptera tricinta. I was wondering if this good. I know that the dwarf angels will bully each other in smaller aquariums but with one this big I doubt it since it will have plenty of hiding places. I plan on having 10 each of the cardinals and at least 6 each of the damsels. Is that too many or not enough? <... You likely won't "be able to find them" in this volume, shape system... the curvature of the sides...> What invertebrates could go with such a set-up? <The list here is huge...> Your help is greatly appreciated. Are clownfish, in particular Ocellaris Clowns (both orange and black varieties) good tank mates and how many of each? <... could be quite a few...> Thank You David De Veny <Might I ask, have you looked into the cost of the tank itself? If not, I think you will be surprised at how much the cost "jumps" per every foot or so of increase in height... I suggest you do a bit more reading period, before going further... Chat with fabricators, your general contractor... re what is involved here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Right combinations or not... 15' tall cylinder... stkg...    7/25/08 Quoting WetWebMedia Crew <crew@wetwebmedia.com>: > I have talked with the contractor and the fabricators. My wife and I know how much it will cost. You suggested to go with larger fish. What suggestions do you have? Do you think larger Angelfish and Butterflies? I want a setup that will be pleasing to the eye (lots of color) and peaceful. Thank You. David <... for the hundreds of thousands of dollars this is going to cost I advise you to do a bit of reading... Some Pomacanthids and Chaetodontids would indeed be amongst my choices for such a show piece. RMF>

Larger Scale Live Rock Alternative -- 07/09/08 Crew, <<Hey Ryan>> Thank you for providing such an extensive resource to our community, your service is second to none. <<Thank you much for the kind words'¦redeeming indeed>> I have read and re-read most of what has already been published here regarding different types of live rock "substitutes", (i.e. cinder blocks, lava rock, homemade, etc.), <<I see>> and our problem/situation is on a bit of different scale than those discussed thus far. <<Oh?>> We are in need of a much larger volume of rock, and due to the obvious costs, etc., are in search of ANY reliable alternatives. <<Mmm, I understand'¦but do realize there is no real 'alternative' to live rock, only poor substitutes of varying degree>> We currently operate a coral propagation facility with roughly 1,300 gallons and 1,000lbs of rock that has been in our tanks for years. Well-seeded, to say the least. <<Maybe so'¦but also likely in need of a 'boost'>> January 1st, we are expanding to a new location, with roughly 5,000g planned, and would like to get "whatever it is we are going to use" for rock/bio, to start seeding in our current system right away. <<Some of your existing rock will serve well as a start-up bacteria culture'¦but after 'years' is low in soluble bio-mineral content and alkaline reserve'¦as well as diminished bio-diversity>> We have the time and space now to start whatever "curing" process is going to be needed before introducing it into the current system, but we are concerned about the long term effects of items like cinder blocks, etc. leaching at the new shop. <<The biggest immediate concern is elevated pH (as high as 12.0 and above with new 'cement' products), but this is easily 'cured' down to acceptable levels'¦though the process can be lengthy (8 weeks or more). Long term issues in my experience with cement-based rock are excessive/problematic nuisance alga growth'¦and the fact that it provides no real bio-mineral content or buffer capacity/alkaline reserve>> So, my 2 questions are... Is there any truth to the different "soaking" methods (vinegar) to prevent this effect? <<The vinegar will not 'prevent' anything'¦rather, the Acetic Acid can be useful in 'speeding up' the curing process. I have no personal experience with this method as I have always just used a plain water-soak, and from what I have heard, the added cost/trouble is little worth it. But do feel free to give it a try and decide for yourself>> In dealing with something on this scale, has any rock substitute been proven reliable on a long term basis? <<Terrestrial limestone may well be your best choice here. It will be much more dense/heavy than good live rock, will not support as much bacteria load as live rock, and brings nothing to the table re bio-diversity'¦but can be bought cheaply in bulk, and is a more 'natural' source than the cement-based products (e.g. -- cinderblock)'¦and though you will need to test to be sure, it will not likely need 'curing.' With the limestone, do consider utilizing as much 'new live rock' as you can to provide those needed elements the limestone can't provide'¦perhaps as much as a fifth of the total volume (but the more the better!)'¦doing so will also make the limestone 'better'>> Thank you for all that you folks do. Ryan Haag <<We are happy to assist. Eric Russell>>

Galapagos FOWLR 7/5/08 Hi there - <Dick... sorry this had gotten mis-placed, forgotten here evidently> I have made the intelligent decision to squander my children's inheritance on a 17,000 gallon FOWLR tank in my basement. I have marine experience going back to Robert P. L. Straughan <Wow!> but this is beyond me, so I've consulted with engineers and have hired people at the local public aquarium to help design the system w/refugium, etc. Since it is going to be a FOWLR, any idea where I can get the necessary live rock at bulk prices? <Which part of the world do you live in? Will acquaint you with folks who can best supply to your area> Re stocking: I am thinking of attempting a Galapagos biotope, which means in my mind Passer angels and Moorish Idols. I know the latter are extremely finicky eaters, and the former are bullies to other species as well as to each other. My only hope would be that somehow the water volume would spread out the aggression and the live rock plus feeding sponge-based foods, etc. + the refugium (do you have a size recommendation?) would make the Idols feasible. If this is not a pipe dream, what are your thoughts on stocking levels. <Can be done. I've been to the Galapagos a few times> If it is, what suggestions do you have regarding other Galapagos species as substitutes/additions (I'll pass on the scalloped hammerheads I saw - tee hee). Thanks for a great web site. Best, Dick <For what you have involved money and its equivalents wise... I'd go to Amazon.com and such... put in the terms: Books: Galapagos, underwater, fishes... and read. Bob Fenner>

Re: Galapagos FOWLR 7/5/08 Thanks so much. Re the live rock: I live in Seattle. You're great! <Mmm, Well... I'd look into buying a whole bunch of "base rock" or building a structure within to place live rock... can be as simple as stocking cinder blocks... and there are a few dealers that will send you a whole bunch of boxes at a discount. Do you deal with a particular retailer there that might allow you to piggy back a few thousand pounds? BobF> Re: Galapagos FOWLR, Marty, please read re a large base rock order to Seattle 7/6/08 I'll have to check - no big volume dealers here. <I have been in Seattle, given a talk to the local reef club there... Do contact "Mike" at Aquarium Frontiers (owner/mgr.), club members and ask them who has made a bulk live rock purchase before... OR if there might be a few folks who would like to make a bulk purchase... I will help you make contact with your LFS to/through Pacific Aqua Farms, SDC... to make a large, discounted purchase... I also am going to cc a friend in the trade here, Marty Beals, of Tideline, also in the LAX area, to see if he can/will ship you a large quantity of base rock... this is coral rock... that will do what you want/need to... chemically, physically... and in short order become populated with life> I never thought of cinder block and didn't know it was inert. <Is not... but is made of materials, "goes" in the direction you want it to... is used by many folks, public aquariums, culture facilities... is safe, useful, cheap, readily available...> I think the tank is so large that premium grades of rock may not be necessary on top of the base (who'd notice?). <Mmm, believe/trust me... you do want a bunch (thousands of pounds) to start off the system... not wait, have other issues...> The thought of curing it, even though already "cured," gives me the willies. <Mmm, no big deal really... just "cure" in place> Another issue is introduction of the fish. Whatever I put in there to cycle the tank <Won't need this... the rock will do... just wait a month or two> is probably in there to stay. <Quarantine, dip/bath all...> It seems folly to put Moorish Idols in until the tank is well established, and putting the Passers in first would be a disaster. I'm thinking of sergeant majors first, to cycle maybe six (?) months, Moorish idols, then the Passers - all in groups. Again, I've got to read: I'm a long way from even the sergeant majors. Thanks for all the help, Bob. When I get the thing up and running, I'll send pics. <Good> Note: somewhere I think I have an old Robert P. L. Straughan price list from the 50's: queen angels were $7.50, Sargassum fish $5, and neon gobies $3. Percula were $100 at our LFS. Now I feel really old. Cheers, Dick <I know what you mean... I too have a collection of Straughan's books, articles, been to his haunts in FLA... He WAS the man as they say. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Location of a big tank   4/20/08 Hi, <Hello Terri> I'm in the process of moving my fish from a 225 to a new 300 gallon tank. This is a fish only set up, and equipment includes a closed canister filter, very large, that fits under the cabinet with the skimmer and uv, a chiller that will go off to the side, and T-5 lighting. Should I leave enough space to walk behind the tank if needed or just a few inches from the wall? After tomorrow, this won't be an issue! Thanks, Terri <Mmm, well... A few inches at least is a good idea to allow ventilation/circulation of air to discount moisture/mold... and to provide a gap for possibly heat/cooling by conduction through an outside wall... Am not so sure re a big space to get behind... as may "look funny" and really not net you that much benefit, in reaching, moving gear, electrics, plumbing... but, to each their own! Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Location of a big tank   4/22/08 Bob, Thanks for the advise, the old tank had a short cabinet, and some things had to be set between the wall and the cabinet. This tank has very generous cabinet space, and was set a few inches away from the wall as you mentioned. Cabinet size may not be first on everyone's list, but can really make a difference. <Agreed and good point... the roomier the better> The tank looks incredible, and the best part was watching the fish swim in their new home! Best regards, Terri <And you, BobF>

new 650 gallon tank -02/23/08 hello. bob and team im getting 8ftx3ftx3.5ft marine tank. and I am an intermediate im going to buy the best equipment available here are the fish that I want to keep queen angelfish emperor angelfish majestic angelfish Koran angelfish annularis angelfish cream angelfish Volitans lion 2 yellow tangs 2naso tang 2 regal blue tangs 2powder blue im making sure that the pairs are male female are these fine in this sized tank.. also can I add 2 Moorish idol juveniles.... thank you for your information and I love your website. bye <To start, please see the following: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fishindex3.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fishonsetup.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reeflvst.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarLvSel.htm ...and many other articles on these topics. You have a lot of reading to do. I'll let you get started. :-) Best, Sara M.>

300 Gallon Tank Setup 1/29/08 Dear crew, would greatly appreciate your input on how you would plumb and setup a virgin 300gallon acrylic tank? <OK, no problem.> Measurements are 96lX24wX30h and 3/4in thick with two overflow boxes one in each corner 5inX6in. It sits 3ft above the floor on a wrought iron stand on a cement slab. It will be a fish only tank, but would like to try reef in 4 or 5yrs. I had a duplicate tank in glass 10yrs ago, but lost it in a divorce. I ran 1 ½' bulkheads in each overflow box (no risers, pretty noisy) which teed under the tank into a 55gallon tank I turned into a wet /dry. I had a 1in return run by a little giant#4pressure pump which ran 4ft up, back into the middle of the tank. I also was running an ocean/clear canister filter on a separate little giant#4 from two 1in bulkheads on the bottom of the tank. I had a top fathom protein skimmer I ran part time (always had to tinker with it) with fluorescent lighting (nothing special). I also was using 4in of crushed shells for substrate. Ten years later here I am starting from scratch. Here are my questions. 1. What modifications would you make to the plumbing? <The plumbing sounds fine so long as you plan to run 1500 gph or less (maybe around 1000gph to stay safe) through your overflows. If you want more plan on an extra 750 max per each additional 1 ½' or step them up to 2' for around 1300 gph max. Do leave some safety margin in these overflow rates, do not run them to full capacity. It is also a good idea to have some redundancy here. As far as returns, this will depend on the flow rate also. You can run your returns through the bottom as before, just be sure the actual outputs are near the top of the tank to prevent too much siphoning in the event of a power outage.> 2. Are wet/dries outdated and canisters better (rainbow)? <More modern day reefs no longer use either, as well as the growing number of FOWLR (fish only with live rock) tanks. The live rock provide biofiltration and your sump houses equipment such as your skimmer, heater, a filter sock if you want, etc. If you want a reef down the road you will need to invest in live rock anyhow, and it is a great addition to a fish only tank. Also consider adding a refugium, the bigger the better.> 3. What protein skimmers would you recommend (here AquaC is pretty good). <These are good skimmers, do look at the EuroReef line also.> 4. Would I be better off with metal halides (what wattage) or compact fluorescents? <For a fish only it is just what light appeals to you to see your fish. Halides will cost more to run and will generate more heat that will be transferred to the tank. If you will need them when you convert to a reef depends on what you wish to keep. If it will truly be 4 or 5 years before the reef conversion, fluorescent will be the way to go, unless you particularly want the shimmer halides provide.> 5. what type of substrate crushed coral or sand? <Sand, it will trap less detritus. Also consider setting up a DSB, check out the article and related FAQ's here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm . DSB's will provide some denitrification.> 6. Would you add another pump for just circulation? <Yes, again how much depends on what you run through your sump, but a minimum of 10 times your tank volume per hour for total circulation. You can accomplish this with powerheads also.> 7. What size risers would you put in the overflow boxes to cut down on noise, if 1 1/2 bulkheads would you use 1 1/2diam risers or reduce to 1in. <The larger for sure.> 8. How high would you go with the risers, 12in high? <First of all, for risers, I assume you are talking about the Durso style standpipes? Put them a few inches below the upper edge of the overflow. If you put them too low you will have much more noise from the water falling into the overflow.> 9. What type of pumps would you recommend, am I better off with pond pumps? <For return pumps, Iwaki or Eheims, and PanWorld are my personal choices. If you want a closed loop for circulation the Reeflo Dart pumps are very energy efficient a quiet.> 10. Would you recommend the use of a uv light or ozone? <I am not a fan of using the UV. Ozone is a great addition, but not completely necessary. A good skimmer, addition of a refugium and live rock will to fine.> I ran my old tank for 3yrs without any problems, but think I was a little lucky since my tank was overstocked. Thanks for your time and recommendations. thanks, James <Welcome, do keep reading, things have changed a bit since your last tank. I have included a few links to get you started, good luck, Scott V.> http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i5/Filtration/Filtration.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/thrhullsizing.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm

Big Tanks Need Big DSBs -- 06/30/07 Hello, <<Hi There>> My main display tank is around 900-gallons. <<Neat!>> My Nitrates have shot up lately, to 50+. <<Not so neat'¦>> I have set up a 7-inch deep DSB in my refugium tank. It is 23-inches x 16-inches in surface area, with the other half of the refugium live rock. <<This is a start, but you need much more here for this large and likely well-stocked system>> Is this a big enough DSB for my system or should I have more? <<If you have the capacity, definitely go larger>> I do have another 50-gallon tank connected to the system, which I could also use if I have to. <<Indeed do this, and add another if you have the space for it. You could even use plastic trash cans/storage containers for this purpose. The more the better in my opinion. As an example'¦ I have a somewhat smaller system with a 375-gallon display. I have 1,000 lbs of sugar-fine Aragonite in the display and another 300 lbs of this material in a 55-gallon in-line dedicated vegetable refugium. I'm a firm believer in the DSB methodology>> My clown trigger is getting some white spot although my other fish are fine, probably stress from the nitrates. <<Possibly, yes>> How long does a DSB take to have any effect? <<A DSB should start providing 'some' benefit fairly quickly (say about a week), but will take a bit of time (weeks to months) to realize its full potential (can be helped along by obtaining/adding a few cups of substrate from fellow hobbyists/your LFS). Though with the small DSB (in relation to tank size) you have now, you may not notice much improvement other than a possible slowing/stabilization of Nitrates'¦if that>> I have ordered another skimmer (Bubble King) so that will help as well. <<Beautiful skimmers'¦but, is your current skimmer not doing its job?'¦or maybe simply not 'big' enough?>> I'm doing 105-gallon water changes once a week as that is about as fast as I can make my water. <<Unless this system is 'very much' overstocked I would think this to be sufficient'¦the answer to your Nitrate issues is likely to be found elsewhere>> I have recently started using Ozone, can this cause Nitrates? <<Not that I am aware'¦ Randy Holmes-Farley has written some excellent pieces about Ozone usage (and so much more) in the hobby; do have a look on Reef Central at his archived articles in the Reef Chemistry forum>> Have to ask. <<Understood>> One more thing, should I also get an Aqua Medic nr5000 nitrate reducer to help things along? <<This could prove beneficial. But these Nitrate reduction units seem too 'fiddly' to me'¦would much rather put my stock in a large DSB>> All the big systems around here are using them but they do cost, an additional mV control and probe is needed. <<Yes, pricey bits of gear>> I will do anything for my fish so if you recommend them then I will have to part with the cash. <<Mmm, perhaps as a 'last-ditch' effort'¦ Add as large a DSB (even multiple containers re) as you can and see how things proceed'¦I would even consider putting a macroalgae (Chaetomorpha gets my vote for its 'user-friendliness') in the vessels over the DSB for some additional organics removal'¦with all lighted on a reverse-daylight schedule. I would also add Poly-Filter to your filter flow-path or in a large canister filter to pull down those Nitrates>> Oh well, I enjoy it so much. <<Indeed>> Thanks for the help again. <<Quite welcome'¦hope you find it useful>> When I see people in shops struggling for information, I just pass them a bit of paper with your website on it, boy do they thank me when they see me next. <<Ahh!'¦a strong endorsement indeed, and is redeeming to know>> Kind Regards, James <<James, I would be most interested to hear how you proceed/things progress'¦please do send me an update if you find the time. Eric Russell>>

Large Scale Aquarium Systems - 06/27/07 Hello Bob, <Brian> I am always anticipating what seems to be the next level or natural progression of where my business is going (so I think). <You are wise here, twice, perhaps thrice> It seems that it is only a matter of time before I am given the opportunity to either design, install or maintain (preferably) a "Large Scale" aquarium system. To me a "Large Scale System" would be defined as 1,000 gallons or greater, salt or freshwater and usually for public display (restaurants, zoos, science centers etc.) With my experience up to this point being aquarium systems (primarily saltwater, and specifically saltwater reef) up to 800 gallons or less, how does one transition into the business of these systems. <Accept the task at hand, think/cogitate (maybe furiously), and get on with it... Akin to food recipes, a good deal of what is done is scalable> I would think that the most ideal method is to apprentice with a company or organization already dealing with these systems? <Could be> I do not want to lessen the magnitude of these systems by thinking that they are very similar to smaller, < 1,000 gallon systems, with the only difference being a matter of scale in filter sizes, plumbing sizes, lighting etc., but I wonder if that is indeed a lot of the difference? <In all actuality, not really> I am also in the water garden arena and I have built and managed systems of up to 40,000 gallons. However, I know that these are open systems, and treated very differently from closed/aquarium systems. Your expert input would be greatly appreciated! Sincerely, Brian Dahle www.fishmanservices.com <Mmm, is there a given aspect you'd like to discuss? I do agree that lake mgmt. is different than small volumes... harder, longer-term, less-expensive means of "turning" (like navigating a large ship with a small rudder)... but in practical consideration, there is not much difference between a hundred gallon fish tank and a thousand gallons... or ten times this amount. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Large marine filter gear 6/6/07 First, thank you in advance for your time and expertise. I live in FL and building a 300gallon, 375 with refugium filter reef system. <How nice!> An ETSS 600 Pro skimmer was recommended to me. <Mmm, there are better choices... Posted on WWM...> Is this the best and should I use ozone to a new system. Regards, Shawn Sturm <I would definitely look into and use Ozone (and maybe even a desiccator to go with it) if this were my large marine system. Bob Fenner>

Double Skimming? -- 5/19/07 Hello, <Hi, James> Is it a good idea to run two skimmers at the same time? <Sometimes. It depends on your situation.> I have recently built a new 920 gallon system. <Ooh, nice!> I am using an aqua-medic 5000 baby skimmer, which is rated at 528 gallons. <Does sound like it's a little undersized.> It is  producing dark good quality skimmate non stop. <And you are wondering how much it is leaving behind...> So, I am looking at the AquaMedic 5000 twin which is rated for 1320 gallons.  Should I run the twin along with the baby or just use the twin? <If you have room to run both while you get the new one tweaked and broken in, you will have a chance to see what both will do.  If they both continue to produce significantly, then you may want to keep both if serious skimming is your goal.  If the larger skimmer makes the original obsolete, it will be obvious.  I am running a similar experiment myself, and am soon to remove the original, as the new skimmer is removing enough that the original is not earning its keep.> Many Thanks in advance, James.

Extremely large tank setup, care questions.  Business possibilities.   5/13/07 Hello Mr. Fenner.  I hope emailing you direct was alright? <All comes, goes to the same place...> I talked with Adam Jackson from your staff and he said you would be best at answering this question so I am sending this straight to you.  Our store may have a huge tank setup in the near future and we are wondering (I get the responsibility to email you) how it is done.  I am sure you have seen the extremely large (6,000 gallon) tanks in Florida and elsewhere.  The tanks I am referring to are the cylinder tanks with the fake rock and coral insert for an overflow and return, these are at restaurants such as RainForest Cafe (not sure you've heard of that). <Yes... have been to... even seen these tanks fabricated... SeaClear/Tradewind/Casco... in Cerritos... the four owners are friends...> So here are the main questions, how do these tanks with a small amount of sand and no visible live rock break down ammonia and nitrite? <Filtration provided elsewhere...> My first thought is loads of Bioballs? <One approach...> I am assuming these tanks have enormous sumps filled with either the Bioballs or a massive amount of live rock? <Another> How frequent would a very large water change be on a tank like this? <With "proper" maintenance, not often... expensive to toss...> What type of equipment is needed for something like this, meaning UV sterilizers, protein skimmers, filters, return pumps, and anything else? <I would limit the use of UV here, but if it can be incorporated, add an Ozone generator...> To be honest this is so far over our heads that I'm not sure how we would be able to pull something like this off. <Mmm, keep gathering data...> How much would it cost to have you flown in and advise us as to what to do (I am joking, unless it's possible)? <Am sure there are folks able to help you locally... I'd have Jeff Turner on by... will BCC him here> I believe those are the main questions that we have for you at the moment.  Once again I hope it was OK to email you direct.  Thanks, Ryan Nienhuis. <No worries. Bob Fenner>

Livestock Choices for Large Fish Only  -- 05/03/07 Guys, <Hello Adam...this is Adam with you this morning.> Right now in my 240 g saltwater, I have 20 blue Chromis, 2 yellow tail damsels, a dogface puffer, a Sweetlips, a lawnmower blenny and 4 large hermit crabs. <So the puffer and the Sweetlips are either too small to eat the damsels/Chromis or too slow.> I'd like to add an assortment of angels, butterflyfish and tangs but want to add the right number and right kinds so that the tank remains--it's doing great now--a peaceful community. <Well; what specific animals out of the families you mentioned are you interested in? Some angels, even in a tank of this size, will not do well with co-geners or conspecifics; same with the surgeons.> Also, if there other fish to recommend please do so. <This is a matter of personal preference of course and I don't know what your set-up is like.  You have some compatibility issues already...the puffer can/will become "nippy" as he ages and if the Sweetlips lives to adulthood (most don't in aquaria) he will eventually begin hunting your smaller specimens. So before I recommend livestock choices, I'd like you to divulge a little more on your preferences and what the direction of the tank is.> Thanks, <Welcome.> Adam <Adam J.>
Re: Stocking a 240g saltwater tank
 -- 5/5/07 Adam, <Adam.> Thanks for this info.  Give me a few days to read up on the links and names you provided and I'll get back to you with some more questions. <Ten-Four.> Thanks, <Welcome.> APH <AJ.>

Re: Stocking a 240g saltwater tank -- 5/4/07 Adam, <Adam.> Thanks for getting back to me. <No problem, anytime...usually I'm quicker.> The Sweetlips is about 7 inches long and I've had him for about a year. <Good, that's longer than most folks have them.> He loves feeder goldfish <Mmm...do read this; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm .> but I mostly feed him frozen shrimp, squid, octopus, etc. <All good.> He's yet to chase the Chromis or damsels. <Interesting for him to recognize the goldfish as food yet not chase fish of similar size.> Dog face puffer is the same size and is slower than the Sweetlips but a bigger eater <As most puffers are.> --eats same food as above. <Cool.> So, I'd like to have as many angels/tangs/butterflyfish in the 240 g with as much color variation as possible. <As far as angels I'm a huge fan of Genicanthus angels; they are planktivores and they can be kept in harems (one male, multiple female groups). I'm also a fan of the three amigos (though only two are attainable really; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/pomacanthus/zonipectus.htm). As far as butterflies; a  duo of Heniochus could suit you. Surgeons, well I'd stay away from  most of those in the Acanthurus genus...they get pretty big, though a few may suit you, same goes for those in the Naso genus. Check out the Zebrasoma genus first. Much more detailed info is posted on WWM.> If moving the Sweetlips and/or puffer down the road is needed I do have room for another (4th) tank. <Awesome.> Right now I have a very peaceful 130g tank (5' x 30" tall x 18" deep) and an aggressive tank 6x2x18" that has a clown trigger, niger trigger, Foxface lo and snowflake eel. <The eel and the Foxface might actually be more suited to the peaceful tank; I'd consider swapping them out with the Sweetlips or the puffer...or even both.> Basically what I need to know is the exact different types of tangs that can live together (if introduced together) plus the same with butterflies and angels. <There's really no hard and true rules, too many variables among species and individuals for that matter. How about if you come up with a stocking list I'll look over it and/or modify it for you.> And also what's the most fish I can add at once to a 240g without upsetting any chemical/waste issues for the water. <Well obviously you need to quarantine them first, and it depends on the size temperament of the fish but generally I prefer no more than one or two at a time. Of course there are exceptions...likely with the surgeons/tangs if you choose to get more than one.> I care for the fish daily but I also have a pro come in twice a month for water changes, salinity checks etc. <Cool.> Also, I know these fish can be costly but give me advice as if cost were no object--I can always work down from there. <Use the WWM search engine on the home page and enter the animals I talked about above...there are pictures as well...see if you like any of those.> I appreciate your advice and really enjoy the site. Please let me know if there is anything else you need to know about my set-up that can help you in your counsel. From one Adam to another, APH <Adam J.>

Moving BIG Tanks    5/3/07 Ok, now you can start a whole new section on your website for me.... "Moving Fishtanks 101". <Okay> So I've moved my 90 gallon tank several times, no problem there.  How does one go about moving a 200gallon tank that is likely around 300# of glass? <More planning, friends...> I'm not sure if the movers will take it or will be equipped to take it.  Ultimately, if the thing was dropped or damaged, I'd have a lot of critters homeless and would take about 8 weeks to get one built. <If you would rather... and have the money, there are likely aquarium service companies about that will move it all for you...> That aside... my real question is, if I clean out my ShopVac, get a new filtre... is there anything wrong with ShopVac'ing out my 200lbs of sand? <Nope... we/ our service co., used to use these... the "top" of the vac actually fits quite well on a regular "pickle bucket"...> I'm just thinking it's gonna be a real pain to get that tank sand free if I don't vacuum it out.  Just rinse it really good when I go to put it back in? <Yes... Bob Fenner> David Brynlund

Preparation, SW, large sys... still not ready   3/21/07 Hello all!   I have emailed your site for over a month now. The advice I have received and the knowledge I have gained is immeasurable!  Thank you.   I will be setting up a 240g (96x24x24) in the near future.  I am going to forgo the clown trigger due to what I have read on this site and references for other local fish store owners.   I am deeply intrigued by the Hawaiian dragon eel.  I have read up on it and asked several questions before. Thank you once again for your help.   The Hawaiian dragon eel is going to be the center piece of my aquarium.  As for the tank mates I would really appreciate your advice.  I was thinking of adding a Pinktail trigger, Naso tang, emperor angel (I was told that the emperor angel will get to <too> big for the dimensions of this aquarium. <Yes> If so, what other large angel could suggest?) <Mmmm, for having the Moray as your center piece... none> and a volitans lionfish.  For filtration I will be using a Euro-reef RC250 with and ozonizer. <Mmm... need more... biological, mechanical...> I will be employing a closed loop system for added water movement.  As per Anthony Calfo's diagram.  I will have two overflows and was wondering how to make it a closed loop with not being able to put PVC in front of the overflow? <Mmm... could loop around, truncate on either side, even drill through...>   My questions are as follows.  Are these fish compatible with the Hawaiian dragon eel? <All are potential prey> Is this too many fish for the system? <Mmm... not initially> If the fishes are not compatible, what fishes would you recommend? <Heeeee! You're not joking? To go with what? The Moray... see WWM re the "Compatibility" and "Systems" of what you list, are interested in...> Do I have adequate filtration and water movement?   <No>   I would really like a trigger and a lionfish but know that this may not be possible.   Thank you once again for your patience and time.  It is greatly appreciated!   Brent <You're getting closer... but I'd still be reading, studying, dreaming and scheming at this planning stage. Bob Fenner>  

Newbie 1st Huge tank... Not quite ready...    3/20/07 Hi, I live in Hawaii <Mmm, which Island? Am familiar...> and we're looking for a 1st salt water aquarium. We actually had a hard time finding tanks this big and equipment to go with so we have to order mostly online. I've been reading a lot for the past few days on this site. My Conscientious Marine Aquarist book didn't come in yet. We're looking to get a 300 gallon acrylic tank for our Arowana but I want to set the tank up for salt water in the future. I'm not exactly sure what the proper route the equipment is. <"Many roads..." depending on what you want to keep, what you want to do with it... how much time, money you want to invest, keep putting in... how fanatical with gadgets you intend to try to be...> I couldn't find diagrams showing people's setups. I'm still researching for the equipment but this is what I came up so far. Does this all sound good? I attached my diagram for my setup. Also I can't figure out the overflows. Does the hole go on the top half or bottom half of the tank? <Mmm, can be either, both...> The company says they will drill the hole for me. I want everything to be hidden as much as possible. Thanks. <These are important decisions... requiring knowledge, careful thought... My advice, don't have this tank drilled until you're aware of your options... Easily enough done... by reading...> 1.    Aquariums > Rectangular acrylic 300 Gallon Tank 96" x 24" x 30" Tall 2. Overflows > back corners 3. Stands > Rectangular > CS Oak 200-240-300 Gallon CS Oak Stand 96" X 24" X 30" Tall http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a232/pikherchu/Aquarium/4781.jpg 4. Canopies > Rectangular > CS Oak (Not sure of the height) 5. Protein Skimmers > Euro-Reef Euro Reef RC500 http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a232/pikherchu/Aquarium/RC250-REV-2_0-500x 752-1.jpg <Oh, for browsers... these images are proprietary... We don't "lift" others work (w/o paying for it, or having the owners' express consent to do so> Rated for aquarium systems of +/- 500 gallons with a medium bioload Footprint/ sump space required for skimmer: 17" x 24" Height: 30" Reaction chamber diameter: 12" Reaction chamber volume: 8.38 gallons Inlet sizes: 1" Outlet size: 1.5" Pumps (included): (3) SPE5 Euro-Reef modified EHEIM 1262 pumps Pump power consumption: 120 watts (3X40w) @ 115/120 VAC 60hz Air intake: 2400 LPH <Yes... but to point out... the water exiting from the skimmer won't magically flow uphill to the sump as illustrated... will have to be mounted in the sump or at a higher elevation...> 6. Lighting > Possibly two or four Hamilton 3' retrofit light kits. 2 metal halide 250W and 2 98W super actinic blue fluorescent bulbs with VHO ballast. Dawn to dusk effect. http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a232/pikherchu/Aquarium/680.jpg <Again, many possibilities... depending on... Really... investigate the life you intend to keep... gather, arrange the gear to suit it... not the other way around> 7. Pumps > Iwaki (don't know size or quantity) 8. Chillers - Heaters > Pacific Coast 1/2 HP CW-0500 (We have a split air-conditioning unit on mostly during the day and night. It's about 75-80 degrees in the room. Do we need a chiller/heater?) <Likely the latter... more than one> http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a232/pikherchu/Aquarium/00000028-200604060 94031-43579794.jpg 750 gph minimum/1500 gph maximum 6000 BTU removal capacity 60 db noise level 15" x 19.5" x 15.5" 1" PVC inlet and outlet connections 10 degree cooling up to 450 gallons and 30 degree cooling up to 240 gallons. 9. Sump > KIS Reef Filter - 125, Reef Filter 24" x 12.5" x 16" http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a232/pikherchu/Aquarium/3931.jpg 10. Refugium > Eclipse 25 gallon 24" x 12.5" x 26" Tall (current tank with Arowana) 11. Live Molokai rock <Neat> 12. Live CaribSea sand if it's legal to have <Mmm, I think so... Call the shops on your island re. Bob Fenner>

Lifereef Skimmer, sel. period for a 600 gal. SW   2/27/07 Just one quick question today, I have had a 180 gallon for 6 months now. My skimmer is Lifereef VS3-30 powered by a Mag 12. I love my skimmer and everyone has their opinions on which is the best. The Lifereef is simple to use and keep tuned and pulls a full 1-2 cups of nog per week. Million dollar question: If you were going to set up a 600 gallon reef what skimmer would you use? <Mmm, either one or more Euro-Reef products, but would consider a Deltec...> I am thinking to just go with what I know and get a Lifereef VS3-72 (rated to 1500 gallons--I always double what its rated for) But there are so many custom and well known high dollar skimmer's out there that seem to work just as great. Deltec is seen many times on huge beautiful tanks. IMO the skimmer is the engine and I want to make sure there's not a diesel out there I would be more happy with even though my V6 is doing just fine. thanks Jeff <And am hoping still for the advent of RK2 hobbyist sized units... Bob Fenner>

600G In-Wall Plumbing Nightmare -- 02/22/07 I wanted to bounce some ideas off of you guys, I'm open to about anything right now <<Sure...bounce away...>> I own a small service company, (we do custom installs as well) and we had a customer request a tank re-haul.  It is an older in wall tank that was set up for fresh, and we would like to make it into a marine Fish Only display. <<Ok>> It's a giant tank! <<Cool!...love big tanks...have a 375g in-wall reef display myself>> It's about a 600 gallon system, 10ft long x 4ft tall and about 24"-36" deep. <<Very nice>> It is an in-wall with the two larger viewing panes visible and the left and right sides are bricked in, so basically it's a transparent wall with the ends bricked in. <<Same configuration as mine...>> It has six bulkheads, ~ 1" each centered on the bottom glass every 2ft.  Underneath the tank is cabinet space, but its cut up into sections by vertical supports for the tank. <<Indeed...but hopefully room for a sump?...refugium?>> I can get below the house if need be to place equipment since its pier and beam. <<Ah yes, my house has a crawl space as well...which is where I positioned the chiller for my system>> But it would be very hard to fit a sump of any real size in between the supports. <<Hmm, what is the possibility of pulling/reinstalling this tank and building a redesigned support stand to allow for the ancillary systems?  I built my stand to support the 375g display tank, and designed it to be open enough to fit a 75g sump and a 55g refugium beneath the display>> The current filter uses a cartridge filter and a large external pump. <<Mmm...a possible maintenance nightmare...in my opinion.  Am sure you are aware some purposeful chemical filtration (carbon/poly-Filter) and employment of a large fluidized-bed filter or two will serve better here.  The cartridge filter could be left in place if desired but will require strict maintenance on a weekly (or more often) basis>> The two outer (far left and right) bulkheads had some kind of clear rigid pipe going towards the surface (I believe they were return lines) and the remaining four had strainers below the substrate <<...?!>> as intakes- (Could be the other way around.).  My idea was to plumb Durso stand-pipes from the outer bulkheads and tuck the Dursos along the glass on the far sides of the aquarium- (would 90 out of the bulkhead to the left and right end of the tank then go up towards the surface). <<The fewer turns the better here.  Why not build skimmer towers to house the stand-pipes and go straight up?  The skimmer boxes could then be camouflaged with live rock>> Or I could just pop the drain and the return right above the substrate and cover with rock. <<Mmm...this too could work since you're not utilizing a sump and the drains will need to be plumbed directly to a pump>> Then plumb in two large Eheim Canister filters, and use the center as a circulation pump, the returns would have check-valves and would rise just above the sand. <<I wouldn't use the check-valves.  Aside from the huge amount of restriction from these valves that may damage the canister filters...sooner or later they 'will' fail...though I suppose this is a small concern really considering the drains will be plumbed much like a closed-loop with a canister filter installed.  (a ball-valve to shut-off flow to facilitate maintenance of the canister filters will be a necessity.  But I still like the skimmer tower if for no other reason than to 'skim' the fats/proteins/colloids/et al that collect at the water/air interface on the surface of the water) Heating this tank, I have no idea. <<Look to the 'in-line' options available.  As implied, these heaters can be plumbed 'in-line' on the output side of the canister filters>> Plumbing a protein skimmer? - I have no idea. <<A dilemma indeed, in the absence of a sump.  Are the ends of the tank accessible?  Perhaps you could employ several of the largest 'quality' hang-on skimmers you can find (Deltec, AquaC)>> The other options would be trying to plumb three sumps together to make a large sump- but that may be too much of a headache than its worth, or using a similar system, with an external pump and module filtration like the cartridge filter that's there now. <<I would drill/plumb together the three largest tanks that will fit beneath the stand...if it were up to me...  You really do need someplace to install a skimmer (or 'skimmers'), and probably some ancillary biological filtration.  You wouldn't need to use 'all' the drains to feed the sump and could still employ direct-fed canister filters for chemical filtration, etc if you wished.  But if a sump is just not possible then perhaps as you say, the modular filtration systems will have to do>> Any fresh ideas would definitely help! <<Ahh...if only I could see this arrangement firsthand>> Oh and by the way, big fan of all of you guys, I've seen a few of you speak in Dallas, and Houston on a few occasions- always learn so much. <<Bob has indeed assembled a fine group of folks here>> Thanks, Jeff Morley <<Do keep brainstorming this Jeff, and feel free to 'bounce' any further thoughts/questions my way...am certain there is a reasonable solution.  Regards, Eric Russell>>
Re: 600G In-Wall Plumbing Nightmare - 02/22/07
I've decided that it's impossible to do a sump, so I'm going to do the two Eheim canister filters with attached fluidized-bed filters-you were talking about the fluidized sand bio-filters right? <<Correct>> Where can I find an in-line heater that large?  How many watts is it going to take? 3,000? <<Mmm, will have some dependence on ambient room temperature, but if not overly cool I think you could get by with around 1000-1200 watts of heat.  My system is about 500 gallons en toto and I get by with two 300-watt heaters>> The one I've seen is $1,000- is there more economical units than that? <<There are, have a look here: http://www.aquaticeco.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/product.detail/iid/9092/cid/2198  A "pair" of 300-watt heaters plumbed in series on the output side of "each" canister filter (four heaters total) should do the job I think>> To address the film on top of the water, I'll use a large pump to move water across the surface, and perhaps an attachment that connects to the intake of the pump to skim the surface. <<Very good.  But speaking of skimming...hopefully you have come up with a way to employ some type of foam-fractionation device as well>> I think this is going to be the direction I go in; perhaps I'll add a UV-sterilizer as well. <<Can be a useful tool...if maintained/kept clean>> Any advice is greatly appreciated. Jeff Morley Lone Star Aquariums Custom Aquariums & Service www.lonestaraquariums.com <<I hope I have been of service.  Eric Russell>>

Large SW Aquarium Stocking - 1/25/07 Mr. Fenner:   <Hey Dennis, JustinN with you today.> I would very much like your input as to a salt  water aquarium that I am setting up.    <Ok> The dimensions are as  follows:  6' long,  2' tall and 30" wide.   <2 foot deep? I hope you've got some long arms, my friend! *grin*> I want to purchase a  young salt water angelfish that will be the star attraction of the  aquarium.     <Ok> I want an angel fish that will be hardy, but the  main thing is to have a personality much like a fresh water Oscar or a salt  water bat fish.   Would you please give me a list of some of the   angels that are noted for their personality.    <To my knowledge, all larger angelfish are noted for their personality. We cannot make this choice for you, Dennis, as it is not our aquarium. In an aquarium the size you describe, any aquarium-suitable species should do wonderfully. See here for more info on the species available: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/bestmarangs.htm and the files linked in blue above.> Also, there will be  live rock in the aquarium.  I would also like a  school of Chromis,  either the green or blue variety.  I do not want to overstock the  aquarium.    <Not a whole lot of chance of that with your aquarium size, and current intended stocklist... you will do fine.> How many Chromis would you suggest?   <7 to 9> And would you  also give me a list of some other small fish that I could add to the aquarium  that would be 4" and under.  Many thanks for your help.    Dennis. <The list of smaller fish here is innumerable, Dennis. We really cannot make the choices here for you, and all this information you request is available, both here at WetWebMedia, and at many other locations around the net. Perhaps a thorough browsing through our species selection sections is in your future? Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm and follow the indices to the information you seek. -JustinN>

Shrimp as ray food, Oblivious questions re a large SW system   1/16/07 Hi I was wondering what kind of protein skimmer I should buy. I have a 150 gallon now with a carbon filter. Is a protein skimmer the same as a filter or do I need both? <Mmm... a skimmer is a type of (marine) filtration device... Most folks find other filtration necessary...> I am in the process of getting a 500 gallon tank. What is necessary to run such a marine tank? <?> Wet dry filter, Protein skimmers? Any other suggestions on product? <Yes... Please read... here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm Too much to relate... w/o knowing what you intend to keep, do what with...> One more question, is ghost shrimp a sufficient diet for my ray? <No> Should I be giving Vitamins if so which ones? <This and much more you need to know and will enjoy is posted/archived on our site... Please see WWM... learn to/use the indices, search tool...> If anyone is in desperate need I can ship ghost shrimp to picky eaters in need. I am fortunate enough to live on the bay!! Thanks Michelle <Ahh, thank you for this kind offer. Bob Fenner>

Stocking a Large Marine Tank...Sequence of Introduction/Compatibility Issues -- 01/15/07 Dear distinguished Wet Web Media Crew: <<Greetings!>> Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year, <<Thank you...and may I wish you the same>> and thank you for the benefit of your experience and wisdom. <<Tis a pleasure to share>> My wife and I spent nearly a year reading the information on your site and in your books before purchasing a 70-gallon marine system some eight months ago. <<Most excellent to read this!  I love it when budding (and not so budding) hobbyists take to heart our pleads to read/research/learn what they can; and yes, ask questions, 'beforehand' >> All is going very well with the tank, set up as follows: -oversized wet/dry filter with bio-balls -Euro-Reef RS 135 protein skimmer -Eheim 1262 recirculating pump -50 lbs. Fiji live rock, 25 lbs. coral skeletons -50 lbs. live sand -3 fish: Queen Angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris), Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurus), Clown Trigger (Balistoides conspicillum) - now all 3"-4" <Mmm...you need a bigger tank mate>> When we purchased these fish, we did so with the understanding that a larger tank would be needed in the future. <<Sooner than later...>> Thus, we have purchased an 8 foot, 450 gallon tank. <<Ah!  Outstanding!>> It will be recirculated by two Dolphin pumps at approximately 15x/hour, filtered through course, 100 micron and 50 micron filter pads, run through two protein skimmers with a combined capacity of 1,000 gallons and passed through Chemi-Pure before returning to the tank. <<This sounds very good...and hopefully your research has made you aware of the importance of cleaning those micron pads 'at least' weekly>> The tank will contain 3/4" live sand, 500 lbs. of live rock and 100 lbs. of coral skeletons. <<A word of caution/opinion here...  Don't get caught up in the 'pounds per gallon' adage for including live rock.  Instead, consider what you will need to provide an aesthetically pleasing display while also providing hiding/sleeping places for the fish but also leaving 'plenty of room' for the fish to swim/move about.  Even in reef systems it is my opinion that hobbyists tend to cram way too much rock in to the tank...often fueled by the belief that 'more is better' or because someone told them they needed 'X' number of pounds per gallon of volume.  I have found in my systems that I have been able to get by with as little as half, and even less, the 'recommended' quantity of live rock (most often pushed by those who 'sell' the rock) and still maintain adequate bio-filtration (which in your case, a FOWLR system, can be easily and effectively augmented through the use of supplemental fluidized-bed filtration).  My suggestion to you would be to start with about half what you list of good quality porous live rock (do be cautious of dense/heavy limestone 'cultured' rock), and nix the coral skeletons altogether>> We would like to stock the tank in the following manner.  Initially, one mated pair of Maroon Clownfish (Premnas biaculeatus) and one Mappa Puffer (Arothron mappa) would go into the large tank (after cycling) in order to acclimate, grow and establish territories. <<I would add the clownfish last...due to the very reasons you state.  Once these fish become established/grow large they can be surprisingly aggressive to the point of doing physical harm making it difficult to introduce more timid/gentle species later>> After several months, the three existing fish (angel, tang and trigger) would be added to the large tank to join the clownfish and puffer. <<A month between group additions should be sufficient>> Three additional fish, a Harlequin Tuskfish (Choerodon fasciata) , Red Sea Bird Wrasse (Gomphosus caeruleus) and a Sohal Tang (Acanthurus sohal) would be placed in the 70 gallon tank for 6-12 months before moving to the large system. <<I don't understand this...why not just place in the larger tank as acquired?  Also worth mentioning in my opinion...despite their sometimes fierce appearance, the Tuskfish is relatively peaceful, sometimes even timid, (with regards to fishes...shrimp/crabs/snails are another matter) and should be one of the first fishes placed in this larger system>> No other fish are planned given the concern for bioload in the future, as the fish grow. <<Very good>> Your thoughts, comments and suggestions (e.g., alternate or additional species, equipment recommendations, husbandry ideas, etc.) will be greatly appreciated. <<Ah yes, one more thing...  Do read up some more on the Clown Trigger.  These fish are REAL BRUISERS...as this fish grows/matures it will very likely kill everything else in the tank along the way.  A better/alternate species in my mind is one from the genus Rhinecanthus.  Since you appear to have a penchant for Red Sea fishes, perhaps Rhinecanthus assasi would appeal to you>> Sincerely, Don and Jill <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Stocking/Compatibility, Lg. SW    12/18/06 Hi Crew, I'm saving up for a 265G tank and have developed my stocking 'wish' list. I wrote a few weeks back, but my wife has reviewed and thus the list has changed. <Heeee!> It will be a FOWLR with some ornamental shrimps. My concern lies with the compatibility of the angels below (2 pairs of the same genus) and whether the overall tank size for this list is appropriate. Are there any other concerns that you see with this? Scribbled Angel Chaetodontoplus duboulayi Blue Spotted Angelfish Chaetodontoplus caeruleopunctatus Flame Angel Centropyge loriculus Golden Pygmy Angel Centropyge aurantia Powder Blue Tang Acanthurus leucosternon Fridmani Pseudochromis  (2)Pseudochromis fridmani Yellow Tang Zebrasoma flavescens Golden Butterfly Chaetodon semilarvatus False Percula Clownfish (2)Amphiprion ocellaris Helfrichi Firefish (2)Nemateleotris helfrichi Your thoughts/inputs are greatly appreciated! Thanks, Ian <In a tank this size... starting with "mid-size" or smaller individuals, you should be okay here. Once these fishes are grown a bit, established... it may prove difficult to introduce much in the way of others in their niches. Bob Fenner>

New "Dream" System - 12/01/06 Hey crew, <<Hey Bob!>> I am in the midst of planning what I hope will be my ultimate dream system. <<Lucky you!  Most hobbyists only ever get to dream about such things.  I myself was lucky enough to install a 500g SPS in-wall system about three years ago>> My reason for writing in is that this is a sizable ($$$) undertaking and I don't want to make any serious mistakes. <<Indeed my friend...not including livestock, I have more than $25,000 invested (per my wife anyway)>> I am working with a custom tank builder who has made some recommendations for the system.  I would like to get some second (or third) opinions embarking on this venture. <<Wise...the more the better>> Main display - 620-gallon acrylic tank 114x42x30 with integrated overflow on back wall.  Display will be designed around SPS coral (primarily) and fish. <<I'm happy to see you are choosing a particular "genus" of coral to concentrate on, rather than going with the ubiquitous "mix reef" type of display...you will be more successful for it>> Aquascape will be constructed with both a reef face and back reef/lagoon area in hopes of encouraging more natural behaviors and growth patterns from the inverts and fish. <<Nice>> Filtration will be located in separate room with dedicated ventilation. <<Very smart...my system is built in to a wall, but I also installed an exhaust fan that has proven invaluable at removing moist/warm air from the space (assisted by 12v computer fans to keep things "moving")>> Skimmer - AquaC EV2000 <<A fine skimmer (met the company owner a couple weeks ago in HI)>> Calcium reactor - Korallin 4002 UV sterilizer - 120 watt Aqua UV <<This is unnecessary and even unwanted, in my opinion.  Aside from the maintenance hassle to keep the unit efficient, it will destroy/reduce populations of beneficial micro-biota utilized (needed?) by the coral, et al>> 250-gallon sump with DSB and live rock. <<Excellent...but I would limit the amount of rock/keep much of the sand bed "exposed">> Sump has a lid, which will keep the DSB in near total darkness. <<Not necessary...but not a problem either>> This sump will feed all skimmers and other filtration hardware as well as provide location for GAC and other chemical media. <<All good>> 200-gallon raceway style refugium with zones for macroalgae, pod culture and frag grow out. <<Cool>> Circulation provided by two Dolphin Ampmaster 4000 feeding off of sumps at a total return rate of 6000 gallons/hour. <<Mmm...might do better to put one of these on a closed-loop...this is an awful lot of water to process/deal with going through a sump/overflows>> Closed-loop pump - Sequence Dart return line will be connected to an Oceans Motion 4-way device <<Very good...but do consider how you're going to get 6000 gph through that sump...efficiently.  I doubt you will be able to speak above the ruckus it will make.  And the overflows needed to handle such flow...mercy...>> Eductors to be installed on all return lines.  Additional flow to be provided in display by a pair of Tunze Waveboxes. <<Neat!>> An Aquadyne controller will provide system monitoring and some automation. <<Automation is key on such large systems>> Here are my initial questions:  Is 450 gallons of sump/refugium overkill for the display? <<Not at all, bigger the better.  Many public aquariums utilize sumps/refugiums that are "larger" than the display to take advantage of the intrinsic values re>> Would the equipment sump/DSB work better if illuminated? <<Not necessary>> Should I plan on dosing with Kalkwasser as I begin to add SPS to the system (it appears from my research that many hobbyists do this and a calc reactor) <<Indeed (I do)...utilizing a Kalkwasser reactor may prove beneficial>> Is there anything in my initial filtration plan that causes concern? <<Just the amount of water you plan to process through the sump>> Obviously I will have lights, live rock, and other items, but this part is what has me scratching my head right now. <<Ok>> If I am successful with this set-up, I plan to expand into a coral grow-out area with additional capacity. <<I see>> I look forward to your thoughts. Bob McCook <<Do keep me posted on your progress.  Regards, Eric Russell>>

Equipment list for 500 gallon system   11/26/07 Hello, <Hey Kirk, JustinN with you this fine evening> And thank you for answering my question: <No problems, is what we exist (as a group of like-minded individuals, not as a personal crusade! *grin*) for> For my Xmas present this year, my wife has given me the OK to get a 450 (96x36x30) custom acrylic gallon tank for our new home. <Very nice! Quite an undertaking, and quite a woman for letting it happen. *grin*> The largest tank I have had to this point has been a 125gallon tank. I have been in the saltwater hobby for 8 years, but I must say this is an exciting but seemly overwhelming task. <Can be daunting> I know the choice of filtration, pumps, skimmers and crucial to the success of this project. <Absolutely> With that said, I would like to know what types of skimmers would you recommend for a tank of this size.  I am going to have a mixture of fish (large angelfish, triggers (pink tail or Bluethroat), butterfly (Copperband), clowns, and possible a Naso tang) and corals (mostly being LFS and a clam or 2).  I am NOT going to keep SPS corals. <Am sure you know this, but still feel I must mention that both the angels and the butterfly run a very high possibility of nipping both corals and clams to death.> Skimmers ------------ The research I have done so far has led me to the following skimmers: H&S Bubble King Deltec Klaes I would like to know if a EuroReef or ASM skimmers are a good choice for this large of a tank.  Whatever skimmer I decide on, it needs to be a well design skimmer AND produces a sufficient amount of skimmate. <I believe any of these would be sufficient. Just to be safe, get a skimmer that is recommended for a tank larger than your overall water volume. That should give you the piece of mind you seek, regardless of manufacturer.> Filtration/Pumps ------------------- I am planning on a closed loop system, and for a pump choice it must be quiet and emit low heat.  I was thinking about Dolphin AMP Master pumps, but some other reefers have mentioned larger Bluelines, but I do not know much about them.  Can you offer any suggestions in this area?  How much water flow (i.e., gph/hr) should I plan for?? <Alas, I have no experience with either pump, but going on what I've heard, I hear nothing but glowing praise for the Blueline line of pumps. Sequence pumps also seem to carry a similar reputation. Sorry I'm not of more assistance here.> Calcium Reactor ------------------ Is this a mandatory piece of equipment with a tank this size? If so, can you suggest some models for me to research. <I would not consider it mandatory, no, but it will simplify and automate that much more of your maintenance. Korallin, Knop and Tunze all make readily available calcium reactors.> Thanks for any advice you can give. Kirk <Well, wish I could say I had more specific recommendations for you, here, but I think you will do fine. Just read as much reviews of equipment as possible on online forums, talk to local reef clubs, and research before you purchase. Do keep us informed on this wonderful sounding project! -JustinN>

Supplemental HQI Lighting On A 900 Gallon Tank   8/6/06 Salutations! <Hello Tim> I'm currently in the process of setting up a rather large aquarium, a 10' x 4' x 3' monster (3 feet deep). The tank is acrylic, and has 3 large 30" square cutouts on the top. My setup is as follows: 1) I live in Arizona in a house with a flat roof. 2) I installed 3 24" Solar tubes in the ceiling directly over the tank.  The tubes extend down to about 18-24" off the top of the tank, and don't precisely line up with the cutouts.  The two on the ends are slightly to the outer edge of the tank, and all three are more towards the back of the tank. (Joist placement issues) 3) The tank is in a dedicated room, (front of the tank is picture-frame style into the living room) so aesthetics of the fixtures is unimportant. 4) I plan to dedicate this tank primarily to shallow water SPS and clams. I suspect that the three solar tubes, while providing a huge amount of light and hopefully offsetting my electric bill, will not be enough light for this tank.  I also think that for aesthetic reasons, I will need some blue or actinic lights to offset the natural sunlight coloring. Along those lines, my current thinking is to add three 20,000K 400W HQI MH fixtures to the tank.  However, because of where the tubes are, these would be centered more towards the front 1.5 feet of the tank.  I'm concerned that a lot of my light will go directly onto the sandbed and the living room out the front face.  I was thinking perhaps I could angle the fixtures towards the rear of the tank, but I'm not sure if this will cause a high loss of light through reflection off the water surface.   The other option would be to put 2 halides over the braces between the solar tubes, but I am concerned about the effect of the high intensity light being directed directly at an acrylic panel. I suspect I will end up mounting a fan on the wall blowing crosswise across the entire tank to keep the heat down.  Also, the room is air-conditioned. So: What kind of supplemental lighting would you recommend for this setup? How would you position the lamps? Is a 400W HQI too much power? Maybe some other combination?  I can always also run them for only a few hours each day to simulate a mid-day-sun. Any other thoughts on lighting this monster? <Tim, a few questions before I can proceed.  First, is the tank currently set up and running?  If so, are any SPS corals or clams in the system at present, and, how are they looking with just the solar tubes?  James (Salty Dog)> Tim  

Water Changes...Natural Or Artificial Seawater   7/18/06 Hello, <Hello James> I am building a new tank with a volume of 1017 gallons <Yikes!  I'm jealous.> not including displacement.  I only have 12 fish totaling about 60 inches.  This is a very under stocked tank.  I will  have aqua medic skimmers running   as well.  I was doing a 10% a week water change on my previous 300 gallon tank.  Is 10% a week still necessary for the new tank with   it being so under stocked?  If not, what would you recommend? <With your present condition, 10% monthly would be fine.> My fish being happy is the number one thing for me.  I like to check each fish and look after them, rather than having loads of fish that   you don't get attached to as  much.  I want them to have loads of space. <That they will.> Also, most of the people here in Cape Town are using real sea water but I am still using salt/ro water mix.  Does real sea water harm the system or is it safe enough to  use?. <Not a good idea, read here.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seawater.htm> Kind Regards, <And to you.  James (Salty Dog)> James. T5 Lighting   7/7/06 I am in the process of upgrading my 55G tank to a 140G tank. The 140G is a 30" high tank which I know is less than ideal but was the largest one I could fit into my space. I plan to keep some clams, soft corals, and a few stony corals (high up only). My question relates to the lighting. I have a T5 set up that has 3 80W bulbs and another in front that has 2 54W bulbs. At the moment I have 11K Aqua Blues in the 3 bulb and actinic bulbs in the 2. The lighting seems rather intense but one of my corals at the bottom of the tank is losing its color. Is there a problem with my lighting? <With this depth of water... likely so> Do you have any suggestions on bulb setups? Thanks for all your help. <For water depths over two feet, many "corals" "need" metal halide... Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/T5fluorFAQs.htm and peruse the files linked above. Bob Fenner>

- A Large Tank Inquiry 6/23/06 - Hello WWM Crew.  First off I must say how much I appreciate such an incredible website from so many excellent aquarists, you have answered most of my questions, and helped me along with this wonderful hobby where information is sometimes scarce.  I've had a 120G (48in x 24in x 24in) reef tank set up and running nicely for about a year now, and I've been researching/looking into setting up a larger predator type tank (220G 72in x 30in x 24in). I've had quite a few sources of information, but it seems difficult to find the exact answer to my question.  The fish that I am interested in keeping in this tank are as follows: 1 Goldentail Moray (Gymnothorax miliaris) 1 Blue-ring Angelfish (Pomacanthus annularis) 1 Harlequin Tuskfish (Choerodon fasciatus) 1 Palette Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) AND/OR 1 Naso Tang (Naso lituratus) 1 Clown Trigger (Balistoides conspicillum) 1 Picasso Trigger (Rhinecanthus aculeatus) 1 Porcupine Pufferfish (Diodon holocanthus) I am fully aware of the potential size of each and every on of these specimens, and I am open to any worries/suggestions/changes that you have to offer. <Really, my main concern would be the clown trigger. These fish often become absolute terrors as they get larger and could easily kill everyone in the tank. I'd drop this one fish off the list or consider keeping it by itself in the 120 if you're going to keep that tank running.> I'm much more accustom to working with smaller reef fish which are much cleaner eaters and much less vicious. If anyone could let me know if that list is too much for that size of tank, or if there is room for anything else, I would be very thankful. <These fish will fill this tank so I'd just remove the clown trigger from the list and go for it.> So I hope someone can give me some input, and help me in my decision. Thanks for your time. Alex C. <Cheers, J -- >

The Best Vendor For Large Tanks - 05/09/06 Hi All, <<Hello!>> I'm planning to upgrade from a 90-gallon to a 270-gallon tank.  I was thinking of an acrylic bow-front tank.  Can you provide recommendations on qualify manufactures of such tanks? <<Several about, but you might get a broader perspective by polling one of the fish forums (RC, Reefs.org).  For my money...Envision Acrylics (http://www.envisionacrylics.com/) enjoys a very good reputation...and my personal experience, Tenecor (http://www.tenecor.com/), provided excellent service and quality when I bought my current acrylic tank (375g)>> Thanks again for all of your prior help. Michael <<Regards, EricR>>

DSB For A Large Tank - 04/09/06 Dear Bob, <<EricR here this morning...I think Bob is still asleep/recovering from his Lavaman ordeal <grin>.>> I currently have an 8ft tank and would like to add a deep sand bed to assist in denitrification and to provide more comfort for my stingray. <<A very good idea in my opinion.  I too have a 8ft tank, with a 6" DSB...but no stingray (is a reef display).>> I have read the article on the website, and am aware that 3" depth is a minimum. <<Mmm...can depend on 'grain-size' of the substrate, with larger grain-sizes meaning deeper beds.  But even when using sugar-fine sand my preference is for a 4-inch minimum.>> There is 40kg of fine coral sand, 12 kg of fine grade aragonite currently in the tank which makes up an average depth of between 1-2 inches.  I will create the DSB by adding sugar fine sand, although I would like your opinion as to how deep I should go? <<Were it me, with this mix of sand, I would shoot for an absolute minimum depth of 4 inches...even 5 or 6 inches if your not opposed to the look/loss of depth to the open water column. I know that bigger tanks require deeper sand beds. <<Not sure I agree with this.  All things equal, the sand bed will be proportionately larger in the larger tank.  As far as I'm concerned, 'minimum' bed depths would apply equally to all tank sizes.>> Current inhabitants included a small masked-stingray, 3 snowflakes. <<Sounds like a very nice display.  This ray (Dasyatis kuhlii) seems to be one of the better choices for aquariums (not to be confused with Taeniura lymna...another/different 'blue-spotted' ray with a very poor survival record) and will definitely appreciate a 'fine' sand bed.>> Also, I have attached a spare 10g tank as a refugium (which I know is small, but at least it puts the tank to good use) and would also like to know if creating a deep sand bed in there, without having a DSB in the main display, would have any sort of effect on denitrification? <<Probably not a noticeable effect...considering the size/stock list of the display.  I think putting the DSB in the display is your best option.>> I'm just trying to get my head around the proportionate area of DSB and its correlation to the degree of denitrification. <<Please have a look here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm >> Thanks in advance, Joe <<Quite welcome.  Regards, EricR>>

Hybrid marine system, set-up   4/6/06 Hi, <Hello> I am setting up a 300 gallon reef tank with 80 gallon mud sump.  The main reef tank will house mainly SPS and live rock roughly 200kg of live rock.  I was also planning to run a deep sand bed in the show tank as I am trying to get the maximum diversity of microfauna to help feed my Anthias and other difficult to keep species. <Can be done, though I am a much bigger fan of having such culture, DSB areas outside main displays (in sumps, refugiums) for ease of manipulation and looks> My plan was to place the live rock on the bare base of the tank and build up 6in of 0.2-0.05mm sand round the rocks.  Does this sound ok? <Sure> Also would it be a bad idea to place some coral on top of the sand bed or would this prevent oxygen transfusion and cause dead spots. <Always a risk, consideration. The placing of anything on a substrate affects, changes the path of water circulation above and (profoundly) below/within the substrate. Good to move periodically... like every month or two> My water flow will be 20x volume of the tank per hour with adequate lighting for the SPS and calcium reactor and Kalk stirrer to maintain calcium levels. thanks James <Sounds/reads thus far. Bob Fenner> Skimmer help sel.   2/2/06 Dear crew, <Robert> I am currently under way with an expansion of my existing 300 gallon reef to a new 560 gallon reef with 200 gallon refugium and 300 gallons of grow out for frags. <Some project now!> I have looked at a number of large skimmers and am concerned about the mega pumps required to properly run a unit such as an Aqua C EV2000.  I have been reading Anthony Calfo's book on coral propagation and he discusses venturi style countercurrent skimmers as a viable option. <Don't be thrown by such descriptive terms... there are very junky Venturi types, Countercurrents...> What I can't figure out is how many units (linked in series) would I need, and how much flow would be required to skim the 1100 gallons or so in my total system?  Power consumption is a big problem out here in California and I am trying to find a balance between the necessary equipment, and the high cost of electricity. <I would look to the fine folks at EuroReef here... or Deltec... even RK2... an investment, but worthwhile. Thanks, Bob McCook

Question about bottom drilled 300 gal Tank... pump, filtration options   1/18/06 First of all thanks for all your help and tremendous site.. <Welcome> Then as always compliments are followed by questions :-) Details... I have a 300 Gal 96L x 30H x 24W tank. The tank is drilled with 2 bottom drains that go into an Ocean Clear 325 with Iwaki Walchem WMD-40RLT-T115 and an overflow into a 60 Gal Sump with Live Rock and DSB with a Little Giant Model 4MDQX-SC as my return.. <Are these pumps still around?> Questions: What do you think of both pumps? <I would switch out the Little Giant, keep it around for back-up> Are they big enough for their duty? <Mmm, no... the Iwaki is likely fine, about all you can do linked up with an ever-clogging particulate filter, but I would switch the second out for better service factor (heat, flow, energy consumption)...> Would you keep the bottom drains?    <Mmm, a tough one... as opposed to what? If it were my choice, and day one, I would not drill the bottom, but the side instead... If the bottom holes can be fitted with "riser/towers" such that the water overflows to a sump... that in turn there's room for...I would do this, and rig another "pressurized manifold" independently to remove, return water either through the back or over the top>             If so, what do you think of the Canister filter? <Not much... a pain in the keester to maintain, a source of nitrate, bunk in terms of flow... expensive to operate... in terms of what it does. I do hope you have multiple sets of cartridges> In your book you state that these are a haven for waste and buildup... <Oh! I still think so> Thanks again for all your help and love of the hobby!!!! Rick <It is obvious, eh? Do take a read on WWM re Pump Selection. Bob Fenner> "BassPro" size/type marine system  1/16/06 Hello Bob My name is Seena from Canada, I worked in an aquarium store for about a year and now I work at BassPro and in that store we have a 24000 gallon freshwater water tank with large/small mouth bass, pikes etc..... <Yes. Am familiar... have been in the original shop in FLA> and I think a 12000 gallon trout stream. The 24000gallon take I believe has a concert shell with a large acrylic wall and two other small ones one the other side, my question is, would I able to build something like that but in saltwater. Would the concert be safe for the fish? <Yes> And how out I heat this thing? <Very important question... as this, along with pumping, will cost a great deal... I would look into more passive means... solar, orientation of the building... as well as "heat pumps"...> And one last question, for filtration could I use Large sand filters? because that is that we have at the BassPro.   <You could... though filled with other media... I would definitely "draw all this up on paper" ahead of actual buying of gear... Unless you are wealthy, or have some capacity as your employer to offset expense, this project may be too expensive to keep running, let alone set-up. Bob Fenner> Thanks you for your help Sincerely Seena Planning A New (Large) Tank - 01/02/06 Hello crew and happy New Year! <<Hello and Happy New Year to you!>> As always, I offer my great appreciation for your site and your assistance.  Thanks to you I have had much success with my current 225 gallon reef tank. <<Excellent to hear.>> I am about to begin a remodeling effort for my house and will be moving the tank to a new location, giving me an opportunity to go even larger and fix some of the things I don't like in the current tank. <<Larger eh...sweet!>> I would love your input on the initial design decisions (and will no doubt come back with more questions if that is okay). <<You bet>> The new space is going to allow for an 8' x 3' x 3' tank (about 540 gallons).  I might be able to push it to 4 feet deep, but haven't decided. <<Do it if you can afford/accommodate...you'll regret it forever if you don't.  But then, it's easy for me to spend your money <grin>.>> My current tank is acrylic with deep sand bed and I have put numerous scratches in it, <<Same here>> particularly when cleaning close to the sand bed. <<Yep...a necessary evil.>> Since I want to continue with the sand, I want to have a glass front. <<And back/sides/bottom I hope.>> I read recently that the low iron glass tends to be more prone to scratching, have you found that to be true? <<No personal experience with this, but have heard same as you.>> Would you recommend using low iron or not? <<If it were me...I would go with the low-iron glass.>> I would be interested in getting a composite tank with fiberglass (or some other material?) sides for all but the viewing pane.  Do you know of any fabricator for tanks of this nature? <<I don't...and I tend to think it would be safer to have an all-glass tank rather than trying to seal/adhere dissimilar materials.>> I have attempted to create a biotope tank as described by Tullock in his Natural Reef Aquariums book.  I probably have not gone far enough in this direction, choosing animals from the indo-pacific lagoon biotope he describes (giving me the most flexibility and variety of species). <<Mmm, not so much the biotope that provides/limits flexibility as the fact the animals will be kept in a small (by comparison) closed system.  Best to focus on a single species within the niche for optimum results.>> I mostly keep LPS corals with a few soft corals mixed in.  I will be keeping the same arrangement in the new tank.  Can you give some suggestions for lighting on the new tank?  My preference is metal halide...more bang for the buck with a more natural appearance in my opinion.  Likely 150w (10K) pendants will be more than adequate for the species you plan.>> I currently have 2 pendant MH bulbs on about a 6 hour (midday) photoperiod and 3 VHO bulbs on about a 12 hour photoperiod. <<I would increase the MH to 10-12 hours.>> I like the concept of the Outer Orbit lighting systems but I don't think they make any setups that will provide enough light for my new tank. <<I don't think so either, you'll probably be best served by using single pendants on this tank that can be positioned/spaced as necessary.>> I also worry about having my VHOs and halides built into the same system meaning I would have to replace both if the controller for one failed.  I also don't need to worry about finishes on the lights as the tank will be built into the wall in a dedicated fish room. <<Then look in to "retro" kits to save a buck.>> I know that the recommended amount of water flow has increased substantially since I built the last tank.  My guess is that the new recommendations of 20 times tank volume applies more for SPS than LPS and soft corals.  Would you agree? <<Not necessarily, all will benefit from vigorous water flow.>> What would you think would be an appropriate amount of flow and how would you go about producing it? <<A MINIMUM of 10x tank volume in a random/turbulent fashion.  The larger Tunze Stream pumps will work well for this size tank.  Or you can fashion a closed-loop system if you wish to keep equipment out of the tank.>> The largest LPS I have now are a variety of Euphyllia, a Bubble, a Pearl, and several Favia.  Finally (sorry for the length of the post), <<No worries mate.>> do you have an opinion of the work of GEO ( http://www.geosreef.com).  I have seen other large tanks built with his equipment and am considering ordering his kalkstirrer, calcium reactor, and protein skimmer. <<Again no personal experience, but have heard good things from others re. Try hitting the BB's (RC/Reefs.org) to see what those who have the equipment say about it.>> Thank you for all of your help and recommendations!  Your site has long been a favorite of mine and I spread the word whenever possible. Larry <<You're welcome Larry.  Regards, EricR>>

Filtration system  11/28/05 I was wondering if you could give me some advice of some filtration systems.  My wife and I are having a 600 gallon tank built for our new house. We are setting it up marine with the intentions of keeping a small shark (Banded Cat Shark) along some other fish. I am not a beginner in the marine aquarium field but am a bit confused as to the different filtration systems I can use. I've heard of wet/dry, fluidized bed filters, skimmers, etc. If I use a wet/dry system, is a fluidized filter an option or is that over kill?  <You can use a wet/dry system which would work well but wet/dries large enough for that tank usually aren't available over the counter. Would probably have to be special ordered.>  What would a good system include?  <For a non-live rock system I would go with a Pentair system (formally Lifeguard). Their triple mechanical and chemical modules can be configured to meet the demands of your system. They also make a fluidized bed module in three different sizes that can be used with the system. If using live rock, I'd go with a wet/dry filter and a 6000 gph pump. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for the help!  <You're welcome> 

Big plans 11/2/05 I was just hoping for some quick criticisms on my plans for my 600g tank. It's big (obviously) kinda clunky shaped (90x32x48), <Mmm, would limit the height myself... trade off for more width if you'd like... easier to work on/in, keep clean, cheaper to build...> has a built in overflow/filter in the back left corner, I'm guessing probably 75 gallons or so. <The size of the filter?> The back and left sides have black backgrounds. Already drilled it has four holes in the bottom, two on the left side, and one on the bottom of the overflow.   <Going to be noisy> The tank came with two Little Giants, I plan to plumb two closed loops with those pumps, draining from the side where the holes are and each one pump returning to two of the holes in the bottom. Currently I am having a custom stand made that will be able to hold an extremely large refugium above the tank. <You must have very high ceilings!> The stand which is already partially made, and partially in progress is 12" off the floor holding the main tank, <Unusual...> and the top frame will sit 16" taller than the main tank where I will be able to mount lights. The refugium which is still in design I was planning to have the same footprint as the tank, be perhaps 16" tall or so. Oddly enough, and unsurprising to you I'm sure, the cost/effectiveness of the fuge is offering me some very interesting choices. It's significantly cheaper for me to get a 96x24x24 tank than it would be for me to get a 90x24x16 or a 90x32x16 <Oh, yes> which is what I would like ideally.  Silly customizations just rack right up regardless of actual gallonage. I'm sort of inclined to get the standard 240 just because it's cheaper, but I'm not sure how I'll feel about that decision once all's said and done. I feel like I'm sort of cheating your time by asking this sort of question, because it's mostly aesthetic (and I apologize :)  <No worries... though I have no "fashion sense" to speak of, I do have opinions re the looks of captive aquatic systems> - but do you think it would look "off" to have the fuge that is sitting directly above the main system, and really a display unto itself, to be 3" longer on each side than the main tank?  <Mmm, not really... though the main tank being so low to the ground is going to generate comments> And do you think it will be noticeable that it's 6" shorter front do back? <Nope> And do you think that at that volume of water it is "worth" taking the extra 6" of height just because I can for a few extra pennies even though I don't necessarily need the extra height for this particular function? <Not in my opinion> It's really nothing at cost, and adds about 100g with that footprint. Either way...the refugium will drain directly into the tank, and depending on what I decide to do be either pumped directly out of the overflow, or a sump if I decide that I need one. My vision for the refugium is really more of a fishless reef...in my mind's eye there are corals and algae and all varieties of invertebrate life living as harmoniously as critters that would eat each other if they were truly hungry can live,  <Heeeee!> and the 600 with be more along the lines of a FOWLR, putting in whatever noxious lower light corals I can possibly pull off. For the main tank, I have been planning on doing one closed loop in addition to the two coming out the bottom, and due to recent marveling at several other tanks with killer water flow have considered a fourth. I was eyeballing the Dolphin AquaSea that cranks 6000gph, and just drilling straight into the back - 8 outlets - each outlet with a LocLine T - so 16 outlets for that loop. This coupled with the two loops out the bottom would give me ~8500 gph which is pretty respectable for fish only system. My thought is that once this baby is filled, there's going to be no regrets, because there'll be no way to change anything. So I've been considering drilling, plumbing, and closing off 8 more outlets on the left side so that should I have the need and finances provide... I could simply buy another pump and stick it on there. Overkill? <Mmm, in my view, yes... better to limit such plumbing, pump systems to no more than two> Or am I still underkilling? Next thought is the sump - I don't really want one but I'm feeling like I might need one. I want to have an auto-top off system, which is easy to rig in a sump. Can one be practically installed in either the fuge or main... both of which will have overflows? <Yes> Aside from that, the only other reason I can think to have a sump is to have a place the skimmer - of  which I'm looking at the largest AquaC model. That issue is fairly easily remedied by spending an extra grand or so and getting a EuroReef, which I can just plumb obviously. Any other suggestions... or any other reasons I might truly need or want a sump? <Mmm, nice place to add heaters, new water...> Another issue I've run into (mentally) with that is that I have never seen a non-gravity fed sump, which...with the bottom of the tank only 1' off of the ground would be kind of tricky (say impossible?) <Just more limited/limiting> to do. The sump would be to the side, and I was thinking if I valved off the bulkhead at the bottom of the overflow and installed another bulkhead maybe halfway up coming out the side I could just run the overflow halfway full all the time?  <Yes> I think those are most of my plumbing concerns... but the questions are gonna keep rolling for a minute or two. The tank is acrylic, and the stand is steel. If the stand is reinforced with 3" steel beams front to back every 2 feet, is it still critical that the tank sits on a completely flat surface such as plywood?  <The wood will rot... best to have as planar, level as possible w/o> Is that something worth contacting a tank manufacturer about? The inside of the tank is also in need of some buffing/minor scratch removal. Any suggestions about where to get a hold of I'd guess almost bulk quantities of high quality super fine grit sandpaper?  <... I'd sub this job/material search out... take a look on the Net re...> It's a massive project, and planning it has been a blast, but overwhelming. I appreciate your thoughts and time as always!  Scott <If it's not too late, I'd make a plywood "model" of the tank, stand, refugium... and place it where you're thinking all this is going to go... I do hope the arrangement doesn't appear (too) odd. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Big plans 11/3/05
Thanks Bob for your quick re-my queries. <Welcome> I have the tank already... at 1/10th of the wholesale cost...which is why I took it despite it's awkward and annoying to work with shape. I'm going to have purchase scuba gear to work in it but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. <Heeee!> You have made me nervous (to say the least) about my grand design as to it's overall finished appearance, which I appreciate greatly... the last thing I want is a multi-thousand dollar funny looking setup.  <I would "raise this up" as high as your ceiling will allow... leave a good two feet "head room"... though you can likely fashion the lighting/canopy to slide backward/forward... to allow you to get into the system> As of right now, the tank is in front of my garage door, and the garage is set up as sort of a living room/shrine to aquatic life. I had (yes already done, tank now sitting on it) the stand built with this full design in mind: bottom to top - 12" stand, 48" tank, 16" lights, 12-16" refugium, and however much room I had/would need for fuge lights. The only way to possibly fit the whole setup in a standard room (in the future, if/when I move) was to make a really short stand. Also with a 4' tank, the top of the tank will still be significantly taller than say a standard 120 or 125 on a 3' stand, so I figured it wouldn't necessarily look all that abnormal. From the view of my couch, the empty tank and lower stand combo look natural at this point, and that is where I would guess 90% of the viewing would occur,  <Good point... much more "natural" than if appreciated most of the time by folks standing, walking about> and it fully covers up the garage door and most of that side of the room so it's still impressive in this environment despite it's diminished height. The top part of the stand is what is still in construction, and the refugium obvious to our prior dialogue is still just dreams in the works. I am taking your advice and constructing a plywood model to more closely identify with a finished product. Again, your sort of vague and ominous suggestions seemed to imply that you thought it would indeed look odd.  <Yes... but once the novel appearance "wears off", and the life in it becomes more of a focus... should look less odd...> I considered very strongly that it might, but decided ultimately if it were framed into a wall, it would look more like one floor to ceiling tank with a spacer in between than a tank with a big filter above it. Again I apologize for appealing only to your fashion sense ;), <Heeee! Am wearing rolled up sweat pants and slippers presently...> but I want it to look right. Would you scrap the overhead refugium idea in light of the fact that the tank is 4' tall, and even with the tank on a 1' stand the refugium will be seated at over 6' tall? <Hard to state... your plan will work... and am a big fan of relying on gravity... and such an arrangement may look like two semi-continuous tanks after all...> I had planned a 16" tall refugium so that I could have a 6" sandbed, and 10" of living and viewing space, do you think it would look better to go with a 12" tank and do a shallower sand bed or a 24" tall tank so that even from a disadvantaged viewing point you could still more or less see into the refugium? <Depends on what you ultimately want to do... keep... if this upper tank was/is for reproduction of soft and/or hard corals and other cnidarians... I would go with the12" depth...> If I did a 12" tall refugium, If I put it in a room with an 8' ceiling the tank would start 1' from the ground and the fuge would be 1' short of the ceiling - <Is there a gap in-between the tank and this 'fuge? How does it move to allow you access to the main tank?> so it would be perfectly square with the wall. I could most likely extend the 1' stand if I decided against the refugium, so that's not out of the question...it's just expensive to do more work, and expensive in that the top frame has already been designed to hold thousands of lbs of water, which would be needless without the refugium. Not that I think you are ever withholding, but just be brutally honest as to where you think this is will end up, and where you yourself might go with it in my shoes :) Thanks!  Scott <Well... to toss a large new world Cercipithecoid into the works:  If it were me/mine, I'd look into cutting the tank down, around the "middle" to 2 1/2 feet and 1 1/2 feet in height, use the cut off portion below as a/the sump/refugium, have a new bottom fitted on the upper tank... Bob Fenner> 

Sand in large setup 10/18/05 Crew-  <Craig> Quick question. What type of commercially available sand would be acceptable to use for the deeper portion of the DSB? I am not sure I like the projected cost of putting an all aragonite 6" DSB in a 220 gallon tank. Ouch! Is there a cheaper silica free alternative to aragonite that I could likely find in bulk? How many inches of a DSB bed could be of the cheaper variety and how much should be the aragonite? Please let me know of any other details to be aware of for such a proposed DSB. If there are FAQ's that already address this, please point me that way. As always, thank you for your time.  <Craig, here is a link to FAQ's concerning your question.  http://www.google.com/custom?q=south+down+sand&sa=Google+Search&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com  James (Salty Dog)>   

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