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FAQs on Reef Set-Up 12

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Related FAQs: Reef Set-Up 1, Reef Set-Up 2, Reef Set-Up 3, Reef Set-Up 4, Reef Set-Up 5, Reef Set-Up 6, Reef Set-Up 7, Reef Set-Up 8, Reef Set-Up 9, Reef Set-Up 10, Reef Set-Up 11, Reef Set-Up 13, Reef Set-Up 14, Reef Set-Up 15, & Reef Tanks, Reef LightingReef Lighting 2Reef Filtration, & Reef LivestockingReef Livestocking 2, Reef Feeding, Reef Disease, Reef Maintenance, Marine System PlumbingMarine Aquarium Set-UpLive Rock, Live Sand, Fish-Only Marine Set-ups, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems Reef Maintenance Biotopic presentations Algal Filtration in General, Mud Filtration 1

Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1: Invertebrates, Algae
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Would LOVE Your Opinion On My 225 Gal Reef... (Hee-hee...Opinions are what we do best!) -- 09/24/09
Greetings everyone at WWM!
<<Howdy Jamie'¦Eric here>>
Wishing that all is well with you.
<<Okay for a Thursday, thanks [grin]>>
I apologize in advance for the multitude of questions I pose.
<<No worries>>
I've finally got to the stage of "setting up" my 225 gallon reef tank and I'm really excited to see what you think about it.
As I've done much studying on your WONDERFUL site, I've planned this according to the future inhabitants
- Reef system with live rock/sand, mainly soft corals, some SPS (maybe), peaceful type fishes. Here is a "thinking list" of creatures with associated questions:
Kole Yellow Eye Tangs - will they be more territorial if I get a "pair" or will they enjoy their lives better?
<<A pair 'might' work out, but this tank is still a bit small for such in my opinion'¦is a gamble>>
McCosker's Flasher Wrasse - 1 male and 3 females OR Red Fin Flasher Wrasse in the same combination?
<<Beautiful fishes, but they do suffer when kept with other 'boisterous' fishes'¦better kept when the system is designed around 'them'>>
Blue/green reef chromis - school of 5 or more?
<<7 to 9 if you wish'¦but'¦I think a better choice for a 'schooling' fish would be a small Cardinalfish species. There are several choices among the more 'social' species. A couple options might be the Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera), or the Longspine Cardinalfish (Apogon leptacanthus). Aside from the fact that I find the Cardinalfishes more interesting than the Chromis species mentioned, if careful about species selection it my experience that losses from conspecifics aggression are a mute point'¦unlike the so-called 'peaceful' Chromis species>>
Yellow Longnose butterfly fish - again, I'm wondering if having a pair would make them more territorial?
<<Another gamble I think'¦ Dr. Ellen Thayer is of the opinion that just about any marine species available to the hobby can be kept in pairs'¦given the right conditions/environment. Unfortunately that often equates to just sheer volume and the size of the system. For these 'roaming' fishes, 12sqft just does not 'equate' most of the time>>
Midas blenny vs. Linear blenny vs. starry blenny - which one do you think will do better in this system?
<<I don't think it matters much, but any of these may prove to be trouble for the Gobies and/or Dragonettes you have planned>>
Goby and pistol shrimp pair - their behaviour is so interesting that I can't go without a pair,
<<Do try to acquire as such>>
BUT is this system so big that they will disappear?
<<Maybe'¦but then I have seen this happen in tanks as small as 20g. Despite our wishes, animals don't always take up stage 'front and center' for our viewing pleasure>>
Pair of skunk cleaner shrimps, crabs, hermits...
<<Mmm, I'm not a fan of the Crabs/Hermits'¦ Too opportunistic for my tastes'¦though I do think I'm in the minority in the hobby re>>
Here is a list of I would like "with caution", and in need of your thoughts, again.
Mandarin goby - I would wait for a long time to get them because I've learned that my system has to be teaming with copepods for them to be successful,
<<And best supplemented 'continuously' via an inline plankton producing refugium>>
but I was wondering if they would not do well because of the other more "aggressive" feeders that I've got above.
<<This is a valid concern. These slow moving feeders (ever watch how they carefully scrutinize everything?) are easily outcompeted for available natural foods>>
Blue throat trigger - I've heard and read some success there?
<<I kept a male/female pair in my own SPS dominated 375g reef display>>
Are they worth the risk though?
<<Not the flashiest, but an interesting and intelligent fish'¦and quite docile as Triggers go'¦in my experience. A single specimen would likely be a fine choice for your system>
Dimensions on this tank is 72"L 24"W 30"H. It will have a Lifereef LF1 Berlin Filter Systems, the LifeReefugium, and the Lifereef protein skimmer.
<<I see>>
For wave action, I'll be installing two gen2 Vortech propeller pumps Mp40w --
I'm not sure where to really put them as the choices are on the back wall of the tank versus the "left" wall so I don't have to look at them, but I'm not sure if that will be enough flow for this size tank.
<<Mmm, unfortunately it is not always possible to hide such (I have four big ole' Tunze pumps in my display)'¦best to place them on opposing walls. As for whether they are 'enough''¦time will tell>>
The lighting system I'm planning on is the Hamilton Technology Belize Sun 6ft 250 W HQI 10K + 4x96W CF with LED.
<<Nice units>>
I like the more "natural" or in my mind "snorkeling" type look so I think the 10K is the one that is less blue.
<<The higher the Kelvin Temperature the more 'blue' in the bulb>>
I did have a canopy but after trying to figure a good way to cool the lighting system I thought it would be easier to just go without it.
<<Indeed this is so>>
I'm thinking of using egg crate so that my fishes don't jump out to become fish jerkies.
<<Though any fish can jump from your aquarium, the Flasher Wrasses are the only real threat re among your proposed selections'¦and just so you know, they 'can jump through' the ½' grid of the eggcrate'¦especially when 'pursued'>>
I do wonder about salt creep if that water is exposed like that - what do you think?
<<I prefer an 'open' system myself'¦ Any salt creep is minimal (as long as you don't have a lot of 'bubbles')'¦>>
I still can go back to the canopy with a retro fit kit of the same caliber but I have to raise it to be at least 12 or 14 inches so that I won't melt the top of my tank.
<<Personally, I wouldn't bother with the canopy>>
I am planning on at least 4 -5 inches of live sand. The rockscape will be extensive with lots of caves and niches covering most of the back wall with maybe a few small islands near the front of the tank.
<<Do be sure not to overdue/to leave plenty of swimming room for the fishes and growing room for the corals>>
I'm so excited to be sharing this plan with you as it has taken me months of planning to settle down on this.
<<I'm happy to conspire with you>>
I look forward to reading your thoughts and suggestions for adjustments and changes so please feel free to share your thoughts.
<<No problem'¦have done so>>
I can modify most things with the exception of the tank and Lifereef filtration system as I've already placed an order and Jeff is building it as we speak.
Thanks again for making this site available for fish lovers everywhere and thanks for taking the time.
Jamie Barclay
<<It is a collective effort'¦happy to share. Eric Russell>>

46 gal. Bowfront Upgrade to Reef 6/22/09
Hey Crew,
< Evening >
I have been doing a lot of reading on your site lately because I am getting ready to upgrade my 46 gallon bowfront setup to a reef.
< Excellent start. Reading and research go along way towards a healthy aquarium. >
I don't have any livestock in the tank right now because of a terrible outage we had recently. This is the first time we have been out for more than an hour in over ten years so I don't think I need to worry about that again anytime soon. But anyway back to the aquarium. I have about 65 pounds of live rock sitting on top of about a 3 inch crushed coral sand bed.
< Crushed coral can be a waste trap. You may want to consider adding a couple of inches of sand before it becomes a problem.>
I have 3 powerheads on a wavemaker that total 480 gph. Is this sufficient?
< 10 Xs turnover is a minimum. I prefer about 20 to 25 Xs. >
I am thinking about getting a couple new powerheads if I need them.
< I would add at least one more or swap one for a larger powerhead. >
As for filtration I have a remora skimmer that does an awesome job and I also have an emperor 400 HOB filter for chemical filtration. I considered upgrading that to a canister filter, but I would rather use the money for better lighting.
< Save it for lighting. Canister filters can become nitrate factories unless properly maintained. >
I am looking at a power compact fixture with a total of 192 watts. Would this be enough to keep LPS or even SPS corals? Maybe an anemone down the road?
< You could keep LPS under the PC with proper placement. Not enough for SPS or anemones. I would save my money and look into a T5 fixture with individual reflectors. Much more efficient lighting. >
If not could I just put another fixture next to it to add another 96 watts? I have enough room above the tank for that but I just didn't know if it would work. The fish I would like to keep include 2 ocellaris clowns, a midas blenny, a Kaudern's cardinal, a purple Pseudochromis, and a bicolor angelfish or a coral beauty -- I haven't decided yet. Thanks for taking the time to help me out.
< Fish stocking list looks ok. The Midas blenny could become aggressive with age and dwarf angels can be coral nippers.
GA Jenkins>

Expanding reef tank
Tank Upgrade, Moving on Up  6/18/2009

< Hello!>
I have a 29 gallon reef tank with 4" sand bed, 50 lbs of live rock, Candycane, torch, and various mushroom corals. This tank has been running pretty well ( for about 3 yrs) and without error except for a population
of aiptasia .Which I cant seem to get rid of..
< Even the most diligent of reefers has fought the aiptasia battle. >
I have recently acquired a 55gal Truvu which I want to switch over to.
< I love upgrades!>
I am very nervous about taking the sand out and moving it over there
< I would be too. >
and if I should buy someone's live sand and rock from a similar and well running tank to add to mine or should I just but some aragonite and let my sand bed seed that ? and when I move my sand won't
all the detritus being stirred up stress out my corals ? I already have the full setup and same lighting watts per gallon my 29 has. Thank you for reading this.
< I went through the same thing about 2 years ago. After much consideration my process was as follows::
1) New sand. I bought enough sand for the new setup and used a cup of my tanks to seed it.
2) I added just a few pieces of "live" rock
3) I waited a few weeks for any cycle and to let the bacteria population multiply.
4) A week before the move I did a water change in both tanks.
5) The day of the move I moved everything over. Water, corals, rock and fish.
I used buckets and enough of the old tanks water to cover corals. I then pumped the remaining water into the new tank.
Next I began dripping the fish. Then I added the water from the buckets and the corals. The fish where added when the drip was done. It took me a bit but I had no loss of life and after a few weeks I began to slowly add more live rock to fill in a bit. I hope this helps GA Jenkins >

Tank Set Up, Return Pump and more 6/15/09
Hello Crew,
<Hello Henk.>
I am setting up a new tank, and am having it made according to following dimensions:
47.2*27.6*27.6 (120cm*70cm*70cm), about 150 gallon.
I chose for these dimensions because I will have a 10cm (4 inch) wooden trim at the bottom of the display tank, and a trim of about 5cm (2inch) on the top.
The bottom trim is meant to cover most part of the Deep Sand Bed in the display tank.
There will be an internal overflow box in the center at the back of the tank, with two standpipes of 2 inches.
The sump will be divided into 4 parts, with one part where the water enters, second compartment with skimmer and Ca reactor, third part actual sump with the return pump, and a fourth part will be a refugium with DSB and macro algae. The refugium will be fed with water directly coming from the display tank, with a means to control the water flow. Water from this refugium will then flow over into the part where the return pump is located.
<Just do be sure to run this restriction off of a T, allowing anything that is restricted by the valve to still continue on from the overflow line to other parts of the sump.>
I am planning to start out with some of the easier LPS, but would like over time to focus on SPS.
Now, for my questions... Regarding the return pump, I read on your site the determining factor for the size of the pump is the flow the overflow can handle, and I have not been able to find how much flow two 2 inch standpipes will be able to handle safely (and preferably without too much noise)?
<A single 2" internal diameter line will handle 1350 gph or so without issues....this does assume there are no horizontal runs in the overflow plumbing.>
Here in Beijing, the German Messner pond pumps are quite popular with reef keepers (seems to be the most widely used import return pump here), but I have not really been able to find any information on European or American message boards or websites regarding the use of these pumps in marine settings, so I am wondering whether or not these pumps are a good choice. I am not sure if you have heard of people using these pumps as return pumps?
<I have never used one, but these are submersible pumps, therefore no "saltwater seal" needed. You will be fine with one of these.>
As for the return into the display tank, I have the option for choosing either 2 or 4 returns, is 4 always better than 2?
<Not always, it can be too large/too many, diffuse flow too much.>
I plan to supplement circulation with 2 Tunze 6105 stream pumps and a multicontroller.
I am just wondering if I choose 4 returns all located at the back of the tank, won't I have too much laminar flow, compared to when I would choose two returns pointed towards the sides of the tank, where the Tunze pumps will be located?
<Oh, no, just place them in the back. You can use PVC 45 deg elbows or a product called LocLine to direct the flow from each output.>
I am currently considering a return pump of about 2100gph. I assume there won't be much loss, the return pump only would need to pump about 5 feet up in a straight line, before either being divided over 2 or 4 returns.
<The loss is surprising, I would go with four 1/2" or two 3/4" returns for the flow you will end up with.>
Would you advise more flow through the sump, since the overflow might be able to handle more?
<No, this is plenty. Other issues arise, such as noise and micro bubble problems with too much flow through the sump.>
Finally, as to the lighting, if I want to keep my options open to have clams and grow SPS in the tank and not only at the top third of the tank.
Will two 150W metal halides suffice for a tank with this depth, or should I go for the 250W lights?
<250s if you want to be able to set stuff wherever you want.>
I have been reading and learning plenty from your website, and I hope I could run the above questions by you, since it is my first marine tank and people here in Beijing seem to implement a method of reefkeeping quite different from what is advocated on your website (usually with non-flood safe overflows, apparently no DSB tanks here at all, and heavy in-sump mechanical filtering with filter padding).
<Heee, too many people here too!>
Henk Naert
<Scott V.>

Dream Reef Follow Up -- 06/13/09
Hi again!
<<Hello Mike>>
I e-mailed you a while back with the plans for my 120x54x34h dream aquarium
<<Ah, very nice! Some 950 gallons'¦>>
(the subject was "My Dream Reef Aquarium").
<<Hmm'¦I'm not finding it>>
I thought that you might like to know the changes I have made to the list re lighting, current, and skimming.
I would appreciate any input.
After really looking into it, I did decide to use four 400w MHs instead of the ten VHO fluorescents.
<<A much better choice in 'my' opinion'¦ Better penetration, aesthetics, bang for the buck'¦though I do think you could have gotten by with 250w lamps and a good reflector (e.g. -- Lumenmax/Lumen Bright)>>
While the VHOs would work,
<<Mmm'¦depending, here>>
it would mean putting all of the more light-demanding corals in the top 1/3 of the tank.
<<Likely, yes>>
This is not really something that I would like to do. I forgot to mention that in the last e-mail. I added two more of the Rio Polarios,
<<I find these interesting units'¦but wonder if they justify their cost. If you are of a mind, do let us know your thoughts/observations of these units after you've had them for a bit>>
so now there is a turnover of a little over 23 times per hour.
I also decided on an ASM G-5 instead of the G-4X to go along with the Marineland Pro 300.
<<Wise'¦ And though I think the ASM unit to be a much better piece of gear than the Pro'¦for what you have invested here I'm surprised you didn't just opt for an appropriately sized quality skimmer from the start (e.g. -- Euro-Reef, H&S, Bubble King, etc.)>>
On another note, what are your thoughts on polycarbonate as a building material for an aquarium?
<<I don't think I have ever seen it used; and maybe there's a reason for that? Maybe it's not 'stiff' enough at the thicknesses commonly used in acrylic aquarium building'¦maybe it discolors over time'¦or maybe it's just the difference in price (acrylic appears to be about 30% - 40% cheaper)'¦admittedly, all speculation on my part. Perhaps this is a question better put to someone who builds such tanks for a living, maybe you could try sending this question to Tenecor and see what they have to say about it>>
I have looked into it a bit and have found some very mixed opinions as well as mixed information.
<<I don't think I'm am going to clear this up for you either [grin]>>
And on another, what would be a reasonable estimate of the weight of this system once fully set up?
<<Figure 10lbs per gallon (don't forget to include sumps/refugiums), and then add another 10% just for safety sake if/when figuring load capacity/reinforcement needs of the floor where this system will reside>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Re: Bulkhead depression - final follow-up 2/1/09 Hi guys/gals.. <Hello.> Hope you are about to enjoy the super bowl right about now. Thought I'd answer back to your ?'s to my ?'s. <Sure.> I'll summarize for you:
Re: Durso fluctuating <<Do you have any slurping or flushing sounds?>> Yes, but I've continued to research on your site and have come across the air tube method down the air hole. So I'll give that a shot when I get a chance. I've got the fluctuations stable now with just a slightly bigger hole. <This will remedy your issue so long as you are not flowing too much relative to the size of the bulkhead.> The humming sound I was hearing was the flex PVC pipe coming through my wall - from the sump on the other side, and then into the back of the stand. Turns out it was just touching the hole I made in the stand for the return line to come in. So I simply drilled it a little bigger and it cut the hum in half! <Great!>
Re: Fuge lighting
I've been reading on your site about the LOA fuge light (65w) so I picked it up at Home Depot today. I'll have to figure out how to wire it up as it doesn't come with a cord :(. Can I place this directly on top of my acrylic fuge cover or is that too risky? <You can so long as it is supported as such you are confident it will not fall in! As for wiring the thing, a cheapo pigtail available at the same Home Depot will do. If you look through the electrical PVC goodies you will also find a 1/2" female threaded waterproof PVC fitting that will seal the cord where it enters the light.> BTW, my fuge water level is only about 5 1/2" high in a 14" X 12" X 16" square not a lot of water. Knowing the low water level, how should I set this up? 1/2 sand bed with algae? I do have a full 3.5 - 4" DSB in the main tank (65 gal tall). <That would be fine.>
Re: Skimmer - Vertex IN80
I've read on WWM the head height should be about 1" below the junction where the collection cup goes in (I think it was a EuroReef reference, which looks very similar to the Vertex). Can you verify? I realize it's not an exact science, just trying to get a ball park since I'm new at this. <That is the ball park, yes, a good place to start.> Re: Some other banter.. I probably don't have enough life in there to really get things going. I only have a few pieces of donated rock rubble and one bucket worth of old water from a neighbor's water change. I still need to buy my main light for main tank as well so I'm not in a rush. Will add some more rock this week and start to ramp it up slowly. <Sounds good.> Thanks in advance! :) <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

New Marine Tank Setup (Proceeding Slowly) -- 01/30/09 Hello, <<Hey Mel>> Your web site has been a great source of information during my investigation into keeping a reef tank... <<Ah, excellent>> Now I think I need a bit of reassurance (or not!) that I am on the right track in converting my freshwater cichlid setup into a marine setup. <<Okay'¦how can I help?>> This has so far taken me about two years of research and financial saving after I got interested in the Astrocoeniidae family... <<Wow'¦good for you. Most folks tend to 'rush right in' and then pay the price for doing so later>> My tank is 180cm x 42cm x 60cm (approx. 130 gallons) <<Hmm, if my conversion and calculation is correct'¦this tank is closer to 180 gallons U.S.>> which is NOT drilled in order to accommodate a sump. <<I see'¦ Perhaps you could utilize a pair (for redundancy) of siphon overflows for this>> I already have a six foot metal halide lighting system which includes three 400W 20000K metal halides and four 4ft T5 actinics. <<Okay>> I also have a sand bed with a plenum underneath and will be purchasing live rock to fill about one third of the display. I am thinking about purchasing a Tunze Wavebox and Tunze Reefpack (500L). <<Great gear... I am a big fan of Tunze's product line'¦I use several models of their Stream pumps, and the Osmolator 3155 on my own system>> I am leaning towards buying the Tunze Wavebox and Reefpack instead of the Aqua C Remora Pro, four Tunze Turbelle Stream 6065's and a couple of Eheim classic 2217 canister filters (Yes, yes, I know canister filters are not the greatest option but I already have them and will clean them out once a week religiously!!). I am interested in keeping members of Acropora and Montipora in this setup - what would be an easy-to-keep coral species to start off with that won't upset these later on keeping in mind a reasonably maintainable six inch zone of clearance between colonies? <<I have found Montipora digitata (particularly the bright green variety) to be quite easy to maintain and would consider this a good species for a novice such as you. When you decide to move forward with other genera/species, consider obtaining aquacultured specimens (frags from other hobbyists are a great source) as these are generally hardier and easier to keep than wild collected corals>> I am aware that I will need to master the art of keeping my water parameters at specific levels consistently and so will begin with livestock very slowly. <<Ah yes'¦ Do consider letting the system run empty (but go ahead and add the live rock) with the lights and filtration operating (put the lights on a timer/s to replicate about a 12-hour lighting cycle) for several months or longer before you begin stocking. This will do much for establishing sustainable colonies of beneficial micro- and macro-fauna in the absence of predatory fish/inverts, as well as give your system some time to find its 'balance' re its water chemistry>> The fish species I am interested in include Anthias, Chromis, Pseudochromis fridmani, Amphiprion percula (no anemone), Paracanthurus hepatus and Gobiodon citrinus. <<I don't recommend G. citrinus (or similar species of the genus) for new 'SPS' tanks. These fish can overly stress young/small Acropora frags/colonies to the point of demise with their branch-hopping and polyp-picking behaviors>> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. <<I hope I have given you some food for thought>> Thank you, Mel <<Happy to share. Eric Russell>>

Re: Marine System, reef set-up  11/20/08
Hello Scott (and Crew of course)!
<Hello Michael....I feel like watching Night Rider now for some reason.>
Thank you so much for your much needed advice... YET AGAIN =)
So it seem as though most of my freshwater equipment can be thrown out the window... a pity but on the flip side, it is truly a relief to get a feel for where I should be heading with my tank! Thank you for that guidance once again!
<Very welcome.>
(Truly frustrating over here in Hong Kong due to language barriers, my LFS owner is absolutely amazing when it comes to picking out good specimen but we hit a wall when we try and discuss anything more complex).
<Even without language issues many LFS here in the states sadly fall into the same category.>
Scott, do you think the below setup will be adequate for a reef setup?
1) 75 Gallon Tank
2) Euro Reef or AquaC Skimmer
3) 3 Tunze Turbelle Pumps (combined water flow of approximately 11,000
4) One Air Pump
5) One Chiller
6) Two Heating Tubes
7) One Metal Halide Light (150W)
1) Aragonite Substrate (1 Inch)
2) 50 pounds live rock, more to come gradually
<Sounds fine, but do just keep the air pump around for a back up. With the Tunzes/skimmer you will have plenty of gas exchange. Air pumps in marine tanks can just be a pain with bubbles in the display.>
Thank you once again for all of your amazing advice and do take good care!
<Welcome again, do enjoy the new setup. Scott V.>

Re: Marine System 11/26/08 Hello Scott! (And Crew!) <Michael!> Thank you once again for your much need guidance! =) <Very welcome.> I apologize for my belated response, my beloved (???) company sent me away again... I get this uncanny feeling that they are sapping me of every last ounce of energy before sacking me heehee! What a wonderful industry I work in =P <!!> Night Rider!!! Who can ever resist... I watch the US channels here in HK and they always have the super old reruns of all those shows I grew up on, brings back good memories... Boy am I getting old hehehe <Ah, and there is a new Night Rider too!> Anywhoo~ I followed your advice and ridded myself of all the old F/W equipment (mainly canisters) and am now contently watching my fish FIGHT (struggle rather) against the output from the 3 Tunze NanoStreams! Thank you for enlightening me, I sincerely do appreciate it! (All occupants survived the changes!) <It is quite shocking how much flow these fish can handle.> Just a quick update on the ongoings in my little saltwater world... I am not sure if you recall but I had a small 17 gallon tank which I used to de-chlorinize/mix my salt (bought a plastic tub to do this in instead)... this tank had now been "converted" to a small saltwater tank which will house live rock only... with the hopes that I will be able to breed food stuff for my main tank (micro inverts... hopefully)! Setup: 1) 17.24 gallon tank 2) 1100 LPH canister filter for expanded water capacity (will be removed once I purchase a better skimmer) 3) Nano Skimmer from a company called Dymax with 200 liter capacity (absolutely HATE their products but I had no other option... if you have  an opinion on this brand would love to hear your thoughts!) 4) T5 Light Fixture with deep blue T5 bulbs (8W *2) 5) One small wave maker (Chinese Brand, very low flow, will be upgraded to a Tunze Nanostream once stock is available) 6) 100W heating tube 7) high speed fan to help with the heat in the summer months 8) 2 inch substrate (aragonite) 9) No live rock yet but will add in soon So that is it for me I guess =) Oh Scott, I did get a chance to "contribute" a little bit... not much by any means but a start none the less! =) <Thank you very much.> Lastly, thank you in kind for all of your great advice. I understand that with this structured community and the wonderful web as your platform, responding to avid hobbyists/fanatics must seem like a walk in the woods. <Sometimes, but rarely!> However, for people like me, sites like yours are invaluable. Just your insight on my questions alone have saved me priceless hours of reading and researching. Not to say that reading and researching is bad but this is an alternative means for people without the time or resources to approach an absolutely amazing hobby without having to shy away due to personal constraints/limitations! Thank you once again Scott! <Thank you Michael for the encouraging email!> Most sincerely, Michael <Talks soon, Scott V.>

R2: Plans For New 340 Gallon Tank -- 11/30/08 Eric, <<Hi Adam>> You mentioned you had a similar 300 gallon setup... <<375 actually'¦96x30x30>> How did you do your stand? <<I built it myself in place (my system is within a wall)'¦and then had it verified as adequate by a structural engineer (along with the under-floor reinforcements)>> Material? <<Wood>> The guy who is building my tank suggested I just go with a wood stand, as it is what he uses for all of his tanks in the store and everything that he does for customers. <<Will work fine, with proper engineering/consideration>> I am worried about the longevity of the stand. <<Mine has been in use for five years'¦no visible deterioration>>>> I don't want the thing to come tumbling down in 10 years. <<Indeed>> I looked at these plans for a 300 gallon 8' x 30" tank, but they don't seem sufficient for something just shy of 2 tons! http://www.talkingreef.com/forums/member-tank-projects/5534-steveks-300-gallon-reef-tank-build.html <<It does look a bit 'anemic' for the task'¦but then I always tend to over-engineer my projects>> I thought about using 2" X 6' s instead of 2 x 4 s and 1 x's? <<Mine is built with 2x6 and 2x4 material. The vertical supports are spaced in the front similar to those in the link; accept they are doubled 2x6s support a 'triple 2x6 beam.' The rear vertical supports are doubled 2x4s on 16' centers supporting a 'double 2x6 beam.' The ends are enclosed with doubled 2x6s, and the interior of the field is supported with doubled 2x4s hung with galvanized joist-hangers. All laminations (doubled and tripled boards) are 'glued and screwed' for rigidity with polyurethane glue and treated deck screws. The top of the stand is covered with a layer of ¾' exterior plywood, screwed to the deck'¦and a layer of 6mil plastic (runs up the sides of the wall interior about 1.5') under ¾' plywood was also placed under the stand before construction began>> I've also considered concrete block with a metal frame on top to support the tank? <<Have heard of similar'¦but prefer my wood-built stand. Have also seen all-steel welded and powder-coated stands'¦nice, if you can afford it>> Also if wood is to be the material of choice, treated or untreated? <<I used untreated because of fears of contamination due to the close proximity of the 75g sump and 55g refugium under the tank. In retrospect I don't think this is much of a concern'¦and although I don't see any issues with the untreated stand, if I were to do it over I would use treated lumber just for the peace of mind/possible longevity re moisture concerns>> I have 3 more weeks to get a stand completed... tying to get plans set and commence... ;) I'm getting excited! Adam <<Do let me know if you have any further questions. Good luck! Eric Russell>>

Corrected-The reef epic continues - Seeking final advice prior to set up Seeking final advice prior to set up 10/19/08 Salutations! I would first like to thank you all for a fantastic site! I have read so much valuable information I am almost overloaded. <This is a good thing!> This is why I bring forth the opportunity below. Situation: 3 Year long 180 gallon reef project. Experience: 5 years running a 75 gallon w/50 gallon refugium...and all the joys and nightmares of keeping an unplanned experiment that is this old tank set up. Goal: 180 Gallon section of gorgeous coral reef (SPS and others) with fish and a clam or two. Low maintenance self sustaining eco-system that is also somewhat eco-friendly. Progress thus far: Build 36" tall stand and cabinetry etc...Check Tile floors: Check Move tank into house: Check Design/implementation plan: 1. Build Plenum and add sand (Carib Sea Sea-floor special grade) 2. Fill with freshwater 3. Stabilize 4. Add molly's 5. Add salt over a 1 week period 6. Add dead base rock, Texas Holey rock, DIY reef rocks 7. Wait a month - then seed with good coralline algae <I would add some actual live rock also, more biodiversity.> 8. Wait a month 9. Start adding fish (Slowly) Equipment: Plenum (add sulphur beads to plenum dead space) <Skip this, with an adequate refugium you will not need this.> Predator-PDFS-1 Skimmer 2-1500 GPH Overflows (planned) - CPR Overflows <Do consider actually drilling for an overflow, you will be glad you did. http://www.reefercentral.com/drilling_video.html> 750-1000 Watts light - MH and VHO (Considering LED Setup for heat and power benefits) <The LEDs are nice, the T5 lighting is better/more cost effective for the time being.> 30Gallon sump/refugium/mud bed Sulphur denitrator - In-line UV Sterilizer <Again, a properly set up and maintained system of this sort will not need the two above.> CA reactor (Eventually) <A great addition to a reef.> RO-DI Auto Top off <This too, great!> 2-6kgph internal powerheads (considering 1 or 2 EcoTech Marine powerheads) Rainbow Life-guard 6000 or larger return pump. Chiller 1/3 hp Questions: 1. Is this design overkill? <No, except for the denitrator and UV IMO.> 2. Do I need this much circulation? Roughly 3kgph average (with a peak potential of 7.5Kgph) <The flow can work, depending on how it is implemented (not too laminar; one direction). http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm> 3. Am I creating more problems by having the plenum with sulphur media and sump, and sulphur denitrator? <I think so, would skip this.> 4. Will I do more harm by NOT introducing truly "wild" liverock? <Live rock is beneficial, should be introduced.> 5. Local home improvement store sells fiberglass screen rated to handle large pets...would you recommend it? <Yes, this is fine for many apps, including plenums.> Thank you, Shaun Drutar <Welcome, Scott V.>

New system design critique & questions, reef  9/29/08 Hi to all you WWM gurus, <Hello Chris.> It's been quite some time since I last wrote to you but here I am back! First off, the obligatory but still very much heartfelt thanks to you all for the wondrous resource you provide to all us inadequate reefers out here. <Thank you.> I have been an obsessive reader of the daily FAQs for around 4 years now & have hardly missed a day! I have also read probably most of the marine section over this time as well (sadly my memory is not up to the job of remembering all of the advice therein!) I also have Bob's CMA book, Anthony's Coral prop book and their joint effort - reef invertebrates - all of which I recommend without hesitation (when is the next Natural Marine Aquarium book due Bob? soon hopefully!) <No idea, perhaps Bob may.><<Unfortunately all are on hold. RMF>> For clarity I have put my specific questions at the bottom of this email however any comments you have in addition regarding my plans are as ever more than welcome. <Okay.> Anyway, the reason for my email is the planning of my new reef system (mainly SPS with some LPS & of course fishes!) The plan so far is - Main Display/Coral growing tank - 60" L x 26" W x 20" H Main tank with approx 18" water depth which should give me around 460 litres/122 US Gallon. This will be fitted with a "coast to coast" weir along the back of the tank (60") drilled for two overflow drains of 32mm (1 1/4") each draining to sump. Lighting will be 1 x 150w MH & 1 x 250w MH probably with 6500k Iwasaki bulbs (supplemented with actinic tubes) 0In this tank I plan to have patches of sand (retained by glass walls) for Fungia & slipper corals etc, probably Caribsea 0.5-1mm grain, initially 20 - 30kg of Ultra grade Fiji LR (light & porous) in an open structure (possibly 2 sea mounts) supported on eggcrate. Most water motion will be supplied by Koralia/Tunze style diffused /stream pumps - I'll be shooting for around 20,000 litres per hour here. Livestock will be mostly SPS with some LPS and moderate fish load (I want to plan for moderate to high here) Refugium tank - Slightly above this (just enough to gravity drain to main tank) & off to one side will be a 24" x 24" refugium with a tank height of 18" & a water depth of approx 14" - gives me around 132 litres/35 US gallon water capacity. This is drilled for a 20mm 3/4" drain through side of tank (no weir fitted currently) which will drain to main tank. I aim to supply this with a dedicated pump feed either from the main tank or the sump supplying around 750 litres per hour/200 US Gph with no additional flow in the fuge. <I would definitely make the drain on this refugium larger, a ¾' is only good for 150 gph reliably and they do clog/plug very easy.> With this fuge I am aiming to generate plankton/pods & other live foods for the system and nutrient export, to this end the fuge will have Chaeto and a thin substrate of Caribsea Fiji pink 0.5mm - 1mm grain less than 20mm deep with LR rubble This will be lit by 2 x 6400k energy saving bulbs (30w each - equivalent to 2 x 150w conventional bulbs) There will be no predatory critters in here just Nassarius & Ceriths & hopefully good populations of sand critters. Sump - To the side of the Fuge (giving "L" shaped setup to all 3 tanks) will be the sump, 42"L x 21.5"W x 22"H with a water depth of approx 15" which will give me around 221 litres/59 US Gallon water here (leaving a "spare" capacity to full of 103 litres/27 US Gallon for pump failure) Chamber design yet to be decided but 1st chamber will be where drains from main tank are & Deltec APF600 skimmer and fluidisers for carbon & Rowaphos (all sitting in chamber - raised if need be) with Schuran Pico Calcium reactor feeding to this chamber (to be upgraded at a later date when calcium uptake outstrips this reactor). At the other end of the sump will be the return pump chamber with auto top off and Oceanrunner 3500lph pump returning to main tank - this should give me around 2-2500 litres per hour (530-660 US Galph) at my estimated maximum of 1.5metres of head (likely to be less than this & thus slightly more flow) also here will be the fuge feed pump if I decide to pump from here rather than from the main tank directly. So, a total system volume of around 813 litres/ 215 US gallons This system is going in my basement where I have loads of space so footprint is not a real issue here <Great!> Now - onto my questions! 1. I would like to run a DSB of around 6" depth of sugar fine aragonite sand (unlit) mainly for NNR however any free live foods produced here are clearly more than welcome!, I potentially have an area available in the sump of 21" wide by around 17" long, should I use this space or use a separate container fed from & draining back to the sump? <Either will work the same, if you have the space a separate container gives you that much more volume and it could make things easier to manage going modular.> I am tempted more to use the separate container and leave the space in the sump for settling and possibly LR (I want quite an open display without too much LR) . <Sounds good.> Would you recommend in sump DSB or remote in this instance - if remote approx what size would you shoot for (surface area), how much water depth above DSB and what flow rate approx. <Many people have had great success with just a simple 5 gallon bucket as a remote DSB. If you have the room and resources the larger the better with DSBs.> If in sump will the flow rate through the sump be adequate or need tempering? <You may have to diffuse the flow as to not blow the sand around, but the amount of flow should be workable.> 2. Is the substrate for the fuge suitable for my intention? (live food production & nutrient export), should I have the LR rubble on top of the thin sand bed or separated by a divider? <The substrate is good, I would put some LR rubble or even rock in there. LR is a food production media too. More info here, it is constantly being added to: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/podreprofaqs.htm> 3. Is the flow through the fuge adequate in this size of fuge? I think my lights here should be fine. <Oh yes, both will be fine.> 4. What quantity of LR should I be shooting for bearing in mind the nutrient export from Chaeto harvest & NNR activity of the DSB? - I am figuring maybe around 40kg in total of super porous & light "ultra" Fiji - am I in the right ball park here of do I need to go cap in hand to my wife for an extension of the budget! <Filtration wise this will be fine. Since you want little rock in the display, aesthetics in the rock count are out. Do keep in mind that many fish require quite a bit of LR in which to graze and hide.> 5. Does the flow through the sump seem about right (considering this is quite a wide sump at 21 1/2")? <Yes, this will be fine, a very practical/manageable flow.> 5. would you bother with my "sand islands" in the main tank or just go for a thin sand substrate all over? <I personally would not bother with the islands, but it is your taste that counts here!> Many thanks as ever. Cheers Chris <Welcome, have fun with this project, Scott V.>

Re: New system design critique & questions, reef  10/1/08 Hi Scott, <Hello Chris.> Thanks for the reply. <My pleasure.> I agree with adding another drain to the refugium - hole cutter ordered - lets just hope I don't pop the tank in the process! <Go slow with light pressure. Let the hole saw do the work and all will be fine.> I've decided to go for a remote DSB - what size should I be looking at for a system this size? Would a 18"x12" bed be about right at 6" deep? <This will work, no definite size guidelines here. Just that bigger is better.> Aragonite is fiendishly expensive in the UK, what are the issues with using some aragonite mixed with silica sand to cut down the cost considerably? <A few. The shape, silica sand tends to be sharper/more angular which leads to easier "packing out". The sharpness can also be detrimental to snails and such in the sand. You will also lose some buffering ability. That being said, some do use silica sand for this purpose, it does work. If it were me I would not mix. There is nothing inherently wrong with mixing the two, I would just either go the cheap route and place all silica or buy aragonite as funds are available. I would hate to see you spend the money on half aragonite, mix with silica, only to want all aragonite in the future. For more info pro and con visit http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubfaqs.htm and the linked files above.> or coral sand? <Not crushed coral, the large type.> (it's not a good time for a 2nd mortgage!!) If this size of DSB is about right what flow rate over should I be shooting for? <A few hundred gph up to your total sump flow, assuming the flow is diffuse enough to keep the sandbed in tact.>probably with around 4"-5" of water depth over the sand bed. <This will be fine.> Also I've decided to go for 2x150w Halide (possibly adding another 1 or 2 later). <Sounds good.> Cheers Chris <Talk soon, Scott V.>

Natural Reef Tank? Set up, op.  -- 09/22/08 Hi, <<Hello Sue>> I have been working with my son for the last 5 years on our reef tank, sharing the learning and the expense. He has moved on to college and I have the reef tank. <<Good to know you're staying in the hobby>> I have been reading everything I can on this hobby. <<Wise of you>> I have more time to reacquaint myself with the Wisconsin Reef Society and Reef Central. <<The/a local hobby club is an excellent resource. Posting queries on the NET such as you are doing here is a helpful recourse in many instances, and certainly welcome'¦but nothing beats having a knowledgeable hobbyists available to come 'lays eyes' on your tank if/when a 'situation' develops>> In doing this, I am quickly becoming overwhelmed by the numerous items used by the members to maintain the reef systems. <<Oh? Taking your time and reading/researching should these 'items' should help with this>> I do understand many differing corals need differing lights and so on. <<Indeed'¦ We often encourage hobbyists to 'specialize' for these very reasons. How specific depends on the individual wants/likes of the aquarist'¦but by at least not mixing organisms from differing niches of the reef one can 'narrow' the requirements of their system and ultimately increase its chances of success>> What I am concerned with is----I have only live rock, sand, protein skimmer, power heads working for my tank. <<Not uncommon'¦and can be quite successful as such'¦though the addition of a sump and refugium would be a very worthwhile addition, in my opinion>> We started off with an expensive Eheim canister filter but emptied it and just run water through, a kind of sump. <<I see'¦ These units, though pricey as you state, are of very high quality. But unless one is very diligent about maintenance (cleaning the unit at least once a week), they are usually best left off reef systems. Keeping the unit in service but empty as you have done is fine, and does provide some small increase in system volume. It also makes the unit available for 'emergency' use re some chemical media. Speaking of which, you might want to consider utilizing a small bit of carbon in the canister filter on a punctuated yet regular basis. Running a cup or two of carbon in the filter for a few days (3-4) every two-three weeks will help to improve the REDOX of the system, help remove nitrogenous solutes, and help keep the water clearer>> I have kept the fish load very low, one fish our damsel, sadly passed on while we were on vacation. I did add a Sixline wrasse, and tried a magenta Pseudochromis who is in the time out tank now. <<Mmm, did you research these fishes beforehand? Both can be big trouble in smaller systems>> I have beautiful frogspawn coral, gorgeous open brain, xenia, some polyp type coral sprang up years later from a live rock and those are growing well, some indo/pacific mushrooms. <<So'¦leaning toward that common favorite the mixed garden reef>> I also have a short spine sea urchin for years, dwarf variety reef crabs, Nassarius snails and a couple turbo snails and some grape Caulerpa in the tank. <<Do read up re this genus of macroalgae as it can quickly become problematic in reef displays by overgrowing sessile inverts and/or releasing noxious chemicals>> I use compact fluorescent 10K actinic at about 260 watts. The nitrates are never up, no ammonia; the alkalinity is up around 8.2-8.4 steady, <<I'm guessing you are referring to the pH here, rather than the alkalinity>> salinity I run about 1.026 to 1.028, <<I would strive to keep this closer to NSW values (1.025/1.026)>> calcium drip made from a milk jug and small tubing, nothing fancy. Will my tank be fine using this method? <<I suspect it will/has been'¦but you tell me'¦is it running fine?>> I was not feeding often maybe 1 time a week but with our new fish now feed 2 times a day, Formula 1, 2, Cyclops-eeze--all frozen, once a week DT's phytoplankton (live), occasionally Zooplex, Phytoplex. <<Do be cautious re overuse of the liquid supplements'¦some even refer to these as no more than 'pollution in a bottle'>> I use Lugol's iodine, <<Most any system can benefit from iodine/iodide supplementation'¦but be very cautious here with this very strong iodine solution>> molybdenum and strontium, these I add per bottle recommendations every 4 days. <<There is still a need to test to determine dosage, even a need for such. Many systems can supplement these ions quite easily and economically through frequent partial water changes>> Hopefully, I am not over feeding now. <<Is easily done'¦ But I am a big proponent of feeding your fishes/reef, and a couple small feedings a day is much preferred over your previous mentioned feeding regimen>> I try to adjust by the look of the critters and testing; if not what is my tank's normal, I adjust also with a small water change. <<Ah! A fine methodology>> I use RO water from the grocery store---very cheap by the gallon. <<Mmm'¦you don't mention the size of this tank, but even so, I suspect an RO-DI filter would pay dividends here>> I was having some issues with algae growth a couple years ago and so switched as we have higher phosphates in the drinking water. <<A good move>> Although, I have also increased the calcium a bit and that has helped too. <<Yes'¦maintaining Calcium and Alkalinity towards the higher end of the scale is thought to hinder the growth of some nuisance alga>> Not much algae, occasionally a little more Cyanobacteria than I want. <<Based on some personal experience; keeping your salinity from going above NSW levels may help here. As will reading (if you haven't already) the articles and other hobbyist's accounts on the website. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm >> But, I do not have as many snails, reef crabs and cleaner crew as are recommended by some companies in the tank. <<These 'recommendations' are generally unsustainable populations. Many of these critters (e.g. -- 'reef' crabs) are opportunistic omnivores that will consume much more than the nuisance organisms. You can use these 'cleanup crews' if you wish (some here like them, some don't), but be careful not to employ too many as they will only perish and contribute to fouling the system>> My questions: 1. I am happy with my tank but am changing lighting to T5 6 bulbs 54 watts each (my lighting fixture is going, the bulbs are good but fixture is not). <<The T5s are an excellent alternative/upgrade>> Will that be too bright for my mid-ranged frogspawn? <<I don't have enough detail on your system (size/depth of tank, placement of the livestock, etc.) to say with certainty, but these animals are quite adaptable to a wide range of conditions and, as long as properly acclimated to the lighting, will be fine>> 2. Can I keep the light fixture over open water on legs or over a glass covering- or do some people hang the T5 over the open water and how close to the water do they have to be ( the compacts are on legs and over glass)? <<My preference is to NOT cover the tank to foster better light transmission. Whether supported on legs or suspended is up to you and what works best with your tank configuration'¦but either way, it is generally recommended to keep fluorescent bulbs within about three inches of the water's surface to maximize light penetration>> 3. What other corals would be found in the Indo-Pacific area that would complement what I have (I would love your opinion)? <<My preference would be to steer away from the Corallimorpharians and 'polyps' and stick with Euphyllids like your Frogspawn with maybe the addition of Anchor coral (Euphyllia ancora) and/or Bubble coral (Plerogyra spp.). Adding some color variances of Brain coral (Trachyphyllia sp.), with a few Plate corals (Fungiids) scattered on the substrate should make for a nice display. Do keep in mind; the Euphyllids will require adequate separation from everything (some as much as 10') to prevent them stinging/killing their neighbors with their long sweeper tentacles>> Do the mushrooms I have belong? <<A few low in the tank might be okay for a time'¦but these most noxious of organisms have a way of propagating throughout a tank'¦and to the detriment of many of the other organisms>> 4. I thought I read somewhere that it is now thought beneficial to place a tank under a window with window light but I cannot find where I read that again, is that true? <<Hmm, I doubt you would be able to position the tank such that this would prove of much benefit'¦or at least be worth the possible swings in temperature (drafts or heat build-up'¦depending). I would not do this solely for this reason>> 5. I would love some reassurance that having a reef tank doesn't have to cost tons of money- <<This is generally in relation to the 'size' of the system'¦but even then, once the initial costs are done, a balanced system can be left to grow without undue maintenance expense>> -i.e.: corals will grow to cover open areas, <<Ah yes'¦ Many hobbyists are in a rush to fill every open space in their tanks (and then have to deal with the problems of overcrowding in the long term), but selecting a few choice specimens and giving them the room and time to grow will make for a healthy and attractive (and more natural) display>> once the initial expense of live rock, sand, lighting and protein skimmer not much else is needed except maintenance (and up to date light bulbs)- <<Indeed'¦as long as you can resist the urge to 'add just one more coral/fish'>> -I do plan to add a refugium as I think that is a great idea for copepod growing. <<As well as for fostering other planktonic and epiphytic life, increasing bio-diversity and water volume, etc.'¦a whole host of benefits>> 6. Is there something I am missing as reading the forums on Reef Central has my head swimming with so many items people have? <<You have the basic components'¦as well as a bit of time/experience with this system. You stated you make adjustments to the system based on the look of your critters'¦well, what are they telling you now? If your system is healthy as is, there no need to be concerned with other's 'items'>> I truly appreciate your information. <<We're happy to share>> I have many of the books but see that new ones are now written and plan to update my books as well. <<Very good>> I enjoy reading the questions and answers; I love reading the articles and keep them handy for reference. <<There is indeed much info available on the site, and may I suggest a Google search on marine setups/maintenance'¦keep reading/researching!>> Thank you on the Wet Web Crew!! Sue Milwaukee, Wisconsin <<A pleasure to assist. Regards, EricR'¦Columbia, SC>>
Re: Natural Reef Tank? -- 09/24/08
EricR <<Hello Sue>> For some reason I thought I had put the size of the tank in the email. I cannot believe I did not do this. <<Helpful info for sure'¦but no worries>> Anyways, it is 75 gallon the depth from top to top of sand is 20 inches. The substrate is aragonite. I have about 125-150 pounds of live rock mostly Fiji some Tonga (unusual shaped). <<This is an awful lot of rock'¦where will the corals have room to grow'¦fish to swim?>> The tank has been up and running for 5 or 6 years. I have about 2-3 inches of aragonite. <<I am a big proponent of DSBs'¦I would add another inch or so to boost this substrates usefulness>> Early had up to 4-6 inches but was told by the one who wrote the book to take it down a bit. <<There are varying opinions for sure, and the grain-size of the substrate also plays a role'¦but I would still add an inch or two here. My own reef system sports a bed of sugar-fine Aragonite from 6'-8' inches in depth>> The first year we had large amounts of Caulerpa, then removed all. <<This genus of Macroalgae can be very useful'¦and also very problematic. It is likely best that you removed it>> During this time we did develop hair algae and just removed this mechanically. <<A little 'hair algae' is not necessarily a bad thing as it provides a bit more bio-diversity and habitat for same'¦and is certainly 'natural'>> The tank is running just beautiful as it is set up with the protein skimmer, powerheads, compact fluorescent lights, heaters, an expensive Eheim canister being used as a sort of make shift sump. <<Mmm well, perhaps better left alone then'¦ rather than worrying what others are doing to/in their systems>> We currently have some grape Caulerpa in the tank, if which will be removed and put into a refugium when I can get one added. Which I hope will be in the next couple months. <<The refugium will be an excellent addition, but I will urge you here to reconsider replacing the Caulerpa with a more 'user-friendly' species of Macroalgae like Chaetomorpha linum (https://livecopepods.com/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=8)>> I had mentioned that I had a magenta Pseudochromis and Sixline wrasse that did not get along so the Pseudochromis is in a small timeout tank, a 10 gallon for which I have purchased a 29 g BioCube. I had sent an email to the Crew about the wrasse and Pseudochromis. The Crew thought given the tank size and live rock the pseudo and wrasse would be OK but to watch. <<Generally a 'gamble' with both species>> We all underestimated this Pseudochromis. <<Not uncommon>> I have decided to keep the Sixline in the 75 gallon tank. <<This fish too can be quite the little terror'¦and will likely make it difficult to add other fishes of similar size/shape/habitat>> I am trying not to create the "garden variety" type of coral reef tank for my home. <<Ah good'¦I myself like to gently steer folks towards specializing a bit by selecting a particular species to keep, a particular habitat/niche of the reef to replicate, or even to just make sure they choose animals all from the same ocean as I believe this makes for a better, healthier, easier to keep, and certainly more 'natural' display in the long term. But even so, there's no disputing the popularity of the mixed garden reef>> In my plant gardening, I have native prairie plants specific to the soil and area I live. <<Ah, I see'¦and no doubt this makes tending your garden all that much easier/successful>> I am trying to do the same with my tank, although even with reading the books, I am still somewhat confused by which corals grow together in the reef. <<Unfortunately there is still little hobby data re (though maybe someday when ScottF gets his book completed and published'¦), but some useful Intel/ideas can be gleaned from diving books and non-hobby 'coffee-table' books on the world's oceans/reefs>> I have not been able to scuba the reefs but have snorkeled lagoons. <<An excellent way to observe what life grows/interacts/gets along'¦or not>> I have seen plate coral and Acropora, closed brain all in the same lagoon. For now if I can fix my compact fluorescent (I think the ballast on one light is out) I will keep these until I can afford a T5 set up. So I think the LPS is good for the current lights. <<Okay>> Once the T5 at about 350 watts I hope that the LPS will be fine. <<As stated before'¦if acclimated to the new lighting, all should be fine (see here, and the associated links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm )>> What I am also looking for is a South Pacific, French Polynesia reef tank--so when speaking of niches is this what lives in a certain area or what goes together only with light as a consideration? <<The former'¦generally speaking these are the different reef zones (fore reef, back reef, reef wall, reef crest, rubble zone, reef flat, etc.). But even so, incorporating 'all' the same life found in these niches in to a home aquarium is not always practical. I once saw a picture of a rubble zone in which a largish rock provided home to eleven different species of coral, both hard and soft. It was a spectacular visage, but replicating such in the home aquarium would be very difficult re negative interactions between species'¦something obviously of less impact on a natural reef with its volume (millions of gallons) of water change/movement>> I have not yet started to feed the Zooplex or Phytoplex sticking to the frozen Cyclop-Eeze, formulas 1 and 2, mysis shrimp. Should I just not use the Zooplex and Phytoplex? <<I wouldn't'¦ Addition of these easily abused and likely unnecessary and, in my opinion, products of questionable utility runs the risk of too easily upsetting the 'balance' your system seems to have achieved. However, I would suggest broadening the menu a bit with frozen Glass Worms if you can get them, as well as New Life Spectrum pelleted food>> In the 75 gallon tank I do not have much room on the substrate for coral. <<I suppose not, considering all that rock you have>> The frogspawn I have is huge and branching. <<And will need room to expand>> I do have the open brain on the substrate and he is huge also. <<Depending on the individual/species/color (if it has a funnel or convex shaped skeleton or is of a 'red' color variety) this is likely an appropriate placement>> To keep the ten inch space rule I would be able to add 2 more coral on each end of the tank. <<Proper spacing, even of like/same species, is very important to reduce the likely hood of negative physical interaction'¦which consequently, happens most often at night/when the lights are out and you don't immediately notice>> I could add the bubble and the hammer/anchor if it is not branching as you recommended. <<All are aggressive species with strong stings'¦but are also better suited to the direction your little 'biotope' is taking over more chemically noxious Corallimorpharians, Zoanthids, and soft corals'¦especially given the size and make-up of your system>> I have seen photos of plate coral on their side up against the rock???? It looked unnatural and so I did not think I would do that; is that OK to place them this way?? <<I would simply place them 'flat' on the substrate. These organisms do have the capacity to 'move about''¦and will likely find positions to their liking on their own as long as you start them off right>> I was referring to pH not hardness! Glad you caught that, I have been working so many days in a row I cannot think straight! <<I do understand'¦in the middle of an 'account implementation' myself>> Off after one more day of work (in a poison center)! <<Bet you're looking forward to that>> The pH of 8.2 to 8.4. For the specific gravity it seems that the coral did better slightly higher than NSW so just try to keep that where all occupants of the tank were happy. <<Perhaps a difference in readings from the testing device\method used'¦and fine like you state>> I can adjust slowly down as I strive for 1.026 and range between 1.025 to 1.026. I had thought to top off the tank with salt water to maintain the same salinity--using less if the tank is more concentrated. <<Mmm, best to not do this'¦to big a risk of large swings. Use freshwater for top-offs'¦and adjust salinity only as/if needed'¦and can likely be done with your frequent water changes>> Because that will add more minerals that are natural to the reef, rather than adding the strontium and molybdenum which is what I had been doing until I reviewed the forums of Reef Central and our local reef society. That way I cannot over dose these chemicals. <<Especially on a tank this size, supplementation of bio-minerals is easily done with frequent partial water changes>> Given that most of the "clean up crews" are too many critters and starve: 1. Would GARF from Idaho be a trusted place to provide what a tank needs? <<You can get these critters from most anywhere'¦but I suggest that 'you' do the research and decide how many/much you need>> 2. How many crabs, snails, sand sifting critters are needed? <<Avoid any 'sand-sifting 'starfish'¦the tank isn't large enough and even then, these critters are very efficient at decimating the beneficial substrate infauna. Crabs and snails (assuming the so-called 'reef-safe' hermit crabs and snails here)'¦perhaps no more than dozen of each>> 3. Can a blue Linckia or small red star live in the tank? <<You need to research these'¦ Avoid the Linckia species altogether (dismal survival rates), but a small Fromia species could do fine>> I did read up and actually emailed WetWebMedia about the Pseudochromis and wrasse. I was told the size of tank should be OK but Ooops, we underestimated the Pseudochromis. <<A highly territorial and aggressive genus'¦though there are more captive-bred specimens becoming available that seem a bit more 'tolerant'>> So, I am getting a BioCube the 29 gallon just for him. I guess I could put the mushrooms and star polyps in that tank. <<Indeed!>> Here I have been so carefully growing these on larger live rock in the main tank. But, I can devote that tank just to mushrooms and the Pseudochromis. <<With no more fish additions, this should be fine'¦and fun/attractive too, I think you will find>> And, leave the other tank as you recommend. I truly believe to keep trying to keep the same animals in the niche together as you suggest. <<Ah, excellent (ScottF'¦we have another!>> I do not have much open area for substrate, and the open brain takes up most of the room--he is huge. So is the frogspawn. <<Normally, I would suggest removing some of the rock to make room for growth and fish/water movement'¦but'¦I am hesitant to do so here and now. Perhaps when you become a bit more comfortable with what you know/are learning'¦>> But I can maybe squeeze in the bubble coral on one side as the frogspawn is in the center. The frogspawn is above to the left of the brain. I should put the star polyps in with the mushrooms, and I have out of nowhere these other coral polyps I think growing. Not sure if I can move all that live rock into the 29 gallon and it will be difficult to re landscape the 75. <<But still likely for the better>> Although it would definitely give more substrate room so I could lie more of the Fungia corals down or can these be placed on live rock. <<Most all live on the bottom substrate'¦I would not put the animals in among the live rock>> When I get the refugium would you suggest the mud as I have just received a video from Leng Sy, or a live sand bed? <<The 'mud system' is interesting'¦but ooh the price! Tis up to you as either should work fine>> Does the light over the refugium have to remain on for an unnatural 24 hours? <<If you go with Leng Sy's mud system then follow the instructions re'¦if you go with the Chaetomorpha over a DSB then use a reverse-daylight lighting scheme>> Thank you for your help. The more I read, the more confused I am. Sue <<Keep reading my friend'¦you're getting there. I'm here to advise if/as you need it'¦but there's so much more to be gained by searching for and acquiring the information yourself. Regards, Eric Russell>>
R2: Natural Reef Tank? -- 09/25/08
EricR-- <<Hiya Sue>> Thank you, <<Quite welcome>> I feel by utilizing the BioCube I can keep my beautiful fish (the mean one), have a place to put the extra live rock that has the mushrooms, Zoanthids on which then will open my tank to more substrate. <<Agreed>> I can add finer sand to the top of the aragonite to increase the bed. Yup, I had 4-6 inches but was told to lower it down because of H2S potential by a well respected author of the book. <<Hydrogen Sulfide is a common concern re deep sand beds, but is a largely overrated concern in my opinion. I have used the DSB methodology for more than a decade and have never encountered problems re H2S. Utilizing a fine substrate and good water flow will go far towards reducing organic buildup which can contribute to the formation of H2S in anoxic regions of the bed. There is no disputing the toxicity of Hydrogen Sulfide gas, but there are a lot of hobbyists out there utilizing deep sand beds with no problems at all re this gas. And by the way, H2S can form in a 2'-3' bed quite readily as well'¦especially under live rock. To really reduce/eliminate such chances you would need to reduce the depth of the substrate to about ¾' or less. As you can see, opinions will vary widely. It's up to you to research all aspects and use your own good judgment to make a decision>> While Leng's idea might be a good one, I am comfortable with what I am doing now so will just continue. <<Okay>> Where can one find the macroalgae you recommend? (For sale) <<I sent you a link in my earlier response re, but here it is again: https://livecopepods.com/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=8 >> And, now the BioCube. I am getting this with live sand, some unknown corals as I am getting this from someone in the Wisconsin reef club who has to get rid of some of his tanks, per his wife. <<Uh-oh>> It will be arriving just in time for my days off so I can spend time and have some fun. <<Neat>> I am moving the larger rocks with the mushrooms so that will be plenty of rock for the BioCube and open space for substrate placement in my tank. The seller will be bringing this over with his live sand and small amount of water. I do have water made and sitting in a 5 gallon container--not enough but I think I will have to go slow, add slowly to what he has brought over. Then I will have to acclimate each rock with mushroom to this new tank and put them in. Then I can put my fish and some frogspawn frags --I can grow this from a mm size to a large piece. <<Do test the water before adding the livestock'¦even with the old water, rock, and substrate just 'moving these around' may disturb the bio-filter enough and/or release organic compounds and cause this tank to cycle>> For some reason we like each other. And, then once they are doing well give them away. Should I keep his live sand, I do not know anything about him or his tanks? <<If the sand is pulled just before he delivers the tank'¦give it a sniff when you get it and if it doesn't reek, go ahead and use it. Otherwise, you can rinse it well in clean saltwater and reuse then, though you will likely have rinsed away much of the infauna>> Will the tank recycle when I add the live rock? <<Maybe (see above re)>> How long will I have to wait before I transfer this live rock to the tank once I have added enough water? <<If there is no rush, it can only help to let the water age a day or two before adding the rock>> You have been much help, and a great support in my efforts to create the correct bio-niche. <<Ah'¦gratifying to know>> I plan to take my time finding those corals and making sure I have adequate placement. <<You and your system will be happier for the effort>> My branching frogspawn is huge and probably time I give some away. But with the opening of the substrate I can add 1 -- 3 more corals so that may be just enough for me. As for fish... The only fish in addition to the wrasse I really want is the yellow watchman goby---what is your thought? <<Should be fine>> And, a blenny--of this I am not certain, perhaps a bicolor if one fits in my niche I am creating. <<A little research will tell>> I am happy with just one fish also. So which ever direction you recommend I will follow. <<I love fishes'¦ The addition of a couple small fishes will add some 'movement' and interest to the tank>> And, while snorkeling we were surrounded by blue green chromis and thought perhaps a group of 3-5. <<These rarely remain a 'group' in small systems, in my opinion/experience'¦with the dominant individual causing the demise of the rest'¦in true Damsel fashion>> Although increasing fish makes the reef harder to care for which makes me hesitant. <<Fishes will increase the burden on the system greatly, yes'¦but if not overdone are quite manageable'¦and are an attractive and even required (in my opinion) addition to any reef system>> I am glad you told me about the Linckia. <<Ah yes>> They are so pretty but I do not want to endanger their life nor deplete the oceans. <<Best left to advanced hobbyists for sure>> Sue <<Regards, Eric Russell>> 

The New Setup, Marine 9/1/08 Hi guys, <Nick> How are you all? <Speaking for myself, great.> After having had some experience with a couple of freshwater aquariums I have decided to check out the marine tanks. There is a local business that is offering a deal on a complete setup. I would like to use the tank for a full reef setup but after reading about the needs of lighting for corals and things I would just like your opinion before I go ahead and make a costly mistake. Tank: 48"L x 18"W x 20"H Filtration: 1100 LPH internal canister filter, under the tank trickle filter with 2100 LPH return pump and protein skimmer <If you plan on a full blown reef with live rock, I would skip the trickle and canister filters altogether. These turn into nitrate factories; your live rock can provide the biofiltration. http://wetwebmedia.com/reeffilt.htm and the related FAQs will give you more info on this. Do also look into the protein skimmer provided, they are not all equal.> Heating: 200 Watt heater Lighting: 4' Twin T5 High Output Light with 14000K tubes I've read that many setups have blue light actinic tubes. Do I need them or is the lighting in this setup sufficient for what I need? <Actinics are really not needed for your corals, we humans in general just like the look they provide for the tank. The lighting above is a good start, depending on what you wish to keep you will likely end up needing to add more light than this. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm> I look forward to your reply. Thanks. Regards, Nick <Welcome, Scott V.> PS Can you please recommend any decent reading material to help make the change to marine as smooth as possible. Thanks again. <I would start with Bob Fenner's book 'The Conscientious Marine Aquarist'. The second addition was recently released (yellow Lemonpeel Angel on the cover). Just reading through the pages of WWM can provide you with a wealth of knowledge. Do continue educate yourself before dropping the big bucks on a system. I think all of us have many hundreds, if not thousands of dollars worth of equipment we would not have bought after some education. Welcome to reefing!> Just to let you know how it came together...

SW set-up trilogy
   8/21/08 Thank you all for your tremendous advice. When answering questions, the crew often asked for feedback on how things went, so here is an update. Mostly just an update for your info, but there are one or two questions near the end. Most specifically about the specifig gravity of my new batch of salt water. I know it is a little long but I am using it to track my progress for my own use in addition to letting the crew know how well things went so far. Enclosed below is just the text of my aquarium diary. You can see the version with pictures included on the following web site... http://mysite.verizon.net/ah30k/myaquariumdiary/ <http://mysite.verizon.net/ah30k/myaquariumdiary/> . I am still missing a few pictures since my digital camera is MIA, but I will eventually find it and upload the missing pics. Thanks again! ah30k --------------- Below is a diary of how I set up our family marine tank: Here is how our progression played out, from the impulse buying of a 175g tank via eBay to the current state of the aquarium. Thanks to all the help from the Crew at WetWebMedia.com who answered my many questions and were one of the few unbiased source of advice I could find on the net! Partial motivations are acknowledging the advice from others which was successfully put into practice, seeking additional suggestions and simply documenting my travels down the road. Day 1 of the journey began 7/2/08 with an impulse buy of a new larger tank to upgrade the family's small freshwater system. I bought a used tank with all the fix'ins off eBay and picked it up about a week later. The tank is a 175g Oceanic Reef Ready tank with hood, glass tops and stand. Photo 1 - eBay Purchase I researched galore for what seemed like months with little to show for it. I often seemed to take backwards steps and wondered if I would ever actually be able to add any livestock. Since the tank is so large and heavy I knew I would have little ability to move things around once established. One worry seems to be power so I routed an unused 240v/30a electric dryer outlet (we have natural gas for our dryer) on the opposite side of the wall into the tank area and now have two dedicated 120v/30a circuits for the tank. Don't tell the building inspector! Based on WWM research, I figured I would need more circulation and drainage than the reef-ready tank could provide. The stock tank only had two 1' Durso standpipes, one in each overflow box. I decided to go with an additional closed loop system containing two additional 1 ½ bulkheads on the back wall and a custom return manifold. Before bringing the tank inside, my glazier neighbor drilled the two additional drain holes on the back wall for a closed loop system. He laughed at the internet groups that claim drilling tanks is easy for rookies, thanked them all for keeping him in business and kindly offered to help me drill the glass. He used a vacuum mounted professional drill from his shop with a professional hole-saw to drill my tank and refugium. Anyone need an unused glass-holes.com hole saw for a 1 1/2 bulkhead? Never been used! No offense to glass-holes, but I could not turn down the professional help! While the tank was outside, I painted the back panel with a blue top-center area fading to black area which camouflaged the drain holes and overflow boxes. I thought this was a good compromise for the blue which I think looks good and the black which hides the internal mechanicals & plumbing. I also painted the one exposed overflow area on the side of the tank which would be visible from the living room. I was less concerned with aquarium safe paint for the external surfaces and went with standard Rustolium spray paint. Everything was looking great except for the white nuts that mount the bulkheads! I then painted the nuts with what I sure hope is aquarium safe paint. It would be nice to be able to buy these nuts in black but I could not find any. Photo 2 - Tank with holes and paint Time to move the tank inside and start the fun work! I built the custom return manifold and plumbed an eBay'ed Iwaki MD-70-RLT (which claimed to be new and sure looked it) via the two new bulkheads on the back glass. I used the same paint I used on the bulkhead nuts for the manifold and laid on about three or four coats of paint on the exposed areas. Photo 3 -- Unassembled return manifold Photo 4 - Return manifold in tank Photo 5 - Closed loop system So far, so good and I am feeling pretty good. It seems to be coming together. Based on my research, I decided to go with a refugium, DSB (in the refugium) and skimmer as the main filtration method. As a result, I removed the wet/dry and bartered (two lbs of fresh coffee beans from a family member) for a 50g tank to use as the refugium which would be located under the tank in the stand. Darn! The 50g tank I hoped to use for the refugium does not fit under my stand due to the support frame around the refugium tank sticking out a ¼' more than the tank on both the front and back. Plan B is to plumb through the floor, under the laundry room and to the garage (about 5 or 6 ft away). I know climate may be challenging in the garage but I can hopefully insulate the tank in the winter cold or summer heat (PA). This may turn out to be OK in the long-run since it will cut down on the noise and make maintenance easier. I am holding off on partitions in the refugium for now. I'll use the moveable partitions I read about here after things are up and running. WWM - Pressure Locking Baffles Based on WWM research that 1' Dursos will only yield 200 -- 300 gph, I converted the two stock ¾ returns to Durso drains to improve flow. To get return lines back to the tank, I threw two quick temporary return lines over the back edge of the tank for now. I plumbed the refugium & T4 pump in the garage to the main tank under the laundry room. I hope the turns do not introduce too much back pressure; I used dual 45° elbows rather than one 90° elbow whenever possible to ease the flow. I took about 30 trips to Lowes and must have spent a fortune on fittings, pipes, tools and acrylic panels but things are looking up! Photo 6 - Refugium in garage and associated plumbing I fired up the tank for a leak test on 8/10/08. Man this is nerve wracking but I have been waiting for this! I put the garden hose in the refugium and plugged in the T4. Nothing! A quick Google search suggested priming the pump. I started sucking on one of the 1' return lines while my son sealed of the other return but quickly started to worry about a big circular hickey on my mouth for the next week and aborted Plan A. Plan B is to find another source of suction. While using the house vacuum is to be very much discouraged, I thought I could be careful and pull out before the water made it into the vacuum. Success and now the T4 is pumping from the refugium into the main tank. Man, the T4 is transferring the water into the main tank faster than the garden hose can keep up so I need to keep unplugging the pump to let the refugium refill. It is SUPER quiet as well. Very impressed with the Velocity T4 (also now called the Poseidon PS4 I think) so far. All looks good so far. Uh, oh. Water is dripping into the cabinet under the tank. Found a loose hose clamp and a pin hole leak in one of the used drain pipes from the original standpipes. To fix the drain without emptying the whole tank, I removed the top portion of the converted 3/4 standpipes to lower the water level in the tank leaving the leaking one high and dry. Water level dropped just as planned. Oops! If he water drops in the main tank, where does it go? Uh, oh. Out in the garage there is a waterfall coming from the refugium all over the garage floor. It is coming from the overflow bulkhead I installed but never plumbed. My impatience with getting the system running burned me. Had I actually plumbed the overflow out to the yard it would have been a non-event. Not much was damaged and I guess a leak is better in the garage than in the family room. Fixed that leak and successfully ran the refugium/tank combo. Although the Dursos are not gurgling at all, the overflows are still a little loud from the falling water about three inches. It seems to be more coming from the areas I cut into the overflows to make room for the manifold so I may seal that area up a bit with silicone. I think I can raise the water level by raising the Dursos but I am really not in the mood for the extra work. Feeling confident, I fired up the Iwaki closed loop system and manifold. Darn that pump is SO much louder than the T4 which is nearly silent. The Iwaki sounds like a shop-vac and is not very wife-friendly! Note the irony in the fact that the silent T4 pump is now in my garage and the loud one is in my family room. This is definitely not good! Back to Lowes and time to move the Iwaki into the garage as well. BTW, Lowes has a much more impressive selection of plumbing fittings than Home Depot. I was so ready to move on to the next step and am not too pumped (no pun intended) about going back to plumbing work ?. I was kind of pleased with how the closed-loop looked and now I have to cut it out. Oh well, so goes like and if this is my big problem in life, I guess I am lucky. Photo 7 - Garage area with refugium and closed-loop pump Success! On to the lights'¦ Ahhhhh! HO, VHO, T5, MH, HQI, shallow water, deep water???? What to do??? I have about 25 ½" of water depth after accounting for sand (72" wide) and want to keep anemones and eventually corals. I have a hood with about 7" of clearance but can and will likely leave the three top access panels open to improve ventilation. Looks like T5-HO and MH retrofits are the way to go since I have more than two feet of water but I am really running short of cash! Since I hear you should really establish your tank for a year before adding the non-fishes I will only do the T5s for now. I can add HQI retrofits later. I ordered two Current Nova Extreme 36' T5 HO retro fixtures (each has individual reflectors on 1x39w 10k and 1x39w 460nm bulbs) for a total of 2x39w 10k & 2x39w 460nm or 156 total watts. I know this is woefully under-powered but I want to see how well these retrofits fit under the hood. From there I can plan out the extra space for two or three 250w HQIs and more T5s. For now I really only need enough light to get the LR cured, tank stabilized and introduce the first couple of fish. Also, I read on one of the ReefCentral Tank of the Month selections of someone with even a deeper tank running with just T5-HOs. We'll see. Time to drain the tap water, make a batch of DI filtered water, de-chlorinate (DI doesn't dechlorinate does it?), order the LR and aragonite and add the salt. The saltwater should be ready to go by the time I have time to pick up the LR. On 8/16/08 I made a tank full of water but am totally stumped by the SG readings I am getting. A dunk of the measuring device tells me my SG is off the chart high. I used a bucket of Instant Ocean (160g) plus some more of a second bucket to the manufacturer's specifications thinking I had about 200g of water in the main tank and the refugium. Why am I so high on the SP???? I will check again when I return from a business trip later this week but I am nervous because I am bringing home 200 lb of WSI LR with me from the airport. If I can't get the water right very quickly then I risk leaving the LR out of water too long. Wish me luck! ======== Estimates of future below here (planning) ======== Next steps are to get the LR in the tank and start thinking of the refugium design. I read that DSBs want raw unfiltered water and skimmers like constant water levels so I came up with the following design. Area #1 is the tank return area with nothing in it. Overflows into the DSB area. Then overflows into the skimmer area and finally overflows into the return area. Photo 8- Refugium Design I am using 1' of sand in the main tank. I know this ½' < x < 3' zone is dangerous by some accounts but I want enough to come close to the lip of the stand surrounding the tank and am not willing to go DSB in the main tank. I don't think it would look good and don't need the extra expense of all that sand. Maybe a risk but I am thinking of sticking with just shy of 1'. If this is super trouble as opposed to just a little dangerous, please someone let me know. <<A really good write up of your own personal experiences. Emails such as this are invaluable to others seeking info in the hobby. Many thanks for sharing this with us / viewers. Regards. A Nixon>>  
Questions from a Newbie 8/13/08 New to the saltwater world, been reading a lot. Have had a 55g freshwater tank for over a year. I have purchased an up and running 55g saltwater with 5 fish, couple crabs, bunch of hermits and snails and a shrimp, live rock (27 rocks, don't know how to estimate lbs) and sand (about 2" deep). Uses 2 fluval cartridge filters, 204 and 404. (Nitrates 160, Salinity 1.030 when I got it! Nitrates 40, Salinity 1.023 now, working the nitrates down with water changes.) I have also purchased a 120g tank with a 30g sump that I am planning to startup. <Okay.> My questions: 1) The setup came with one overflow box, 1" bulkhead. I'm thinking of using 2 overflow boxes, 1" B/H in each or a rated 1200 GPH, but from reading your site planning on 600 GPH, then using a ¾" return to a Current Switching Valve (3iQ Ventures) fed from a Rio 20HF HyperFlow for the return pump (870 GPH at my head height that I will adjust with a ball valve) and 2 Hydor Koralia #2 Powerheads (600 GPH each) for a total of about 1800 GPH total circulation. How does this setup sound? <There are many numbers floating around about how much a 1' drain can flow, 300 gph is the actual number. Also, consider running an extra overflow or two for redundancy, if two will flow what you are running, use three or four overflows. One will likely fail in time and this will keep the water in the tank. Do also consider drilling this tank before setting up, it is a far more reliable method to transit water to the sump.> 2) The sump (pic attached) has ½" openings between chambers. This seems very limiting to me. Will I have to reconfigure or will this work? <This is a bit small, but can work. The issue you may run into with higher flows is higher water velocity through these openings. This means that the baffles will be less effective at stopping bubbles.> 3) I am planning a 5" DSB in the refugium in the sump. Do I still need a DSB in the display tank or can I go 2" deep there? (looking for ways to reduce startup costs, but willing to invest if best for the long run) <You can run a DSB in one or the other, the more the better. If you do not run a DSB in the display, 1' or less is all that is needed/wanted.> 4) Not sure the best way to start the new tank and transfer the fish, sand and rock. I'm thinking of filling the new tank with new water and half of the live rock from existing tank, then cycle for a month or until all the numbers look good. Then move the fish and the remaining rock. With this plan, I'm not sure how to move the sand without making a mess of either the existing tank before I move the fish or the new tank after it is up and running. I'll obviously be buying a bunch of new sand but would like to use the existing also. Your thoughts? <I would just move everything at once. One move is less disturbing, moving half your rock out disrupts some of the filtration on your existing tank, and you should not need to cycle/cure your existing rock in the new system. You may even consider bringing the Fluval filter over to the new system for the first few weeks to help out.> Thanks for your help and for your great site. Jeff Gaines
<Welcome and thank you, Scott V.>

Setting Up Plumbing on a Large Reef Tank -- 07/25/08 Hello all, <<Greetings Larry>> I've just taken delivery on a used 540 gallon tank (8' x 3' x 3'). <<Very nice>> It is drilled in back with two 2" bulkheads in the top corners (about 2" from the top), four 1" bulkheads evenly spaced between the 2" bulkheads, and five 1" bulkheads evenly spaced around 6" from the bottom. <<Wow'¦lots to work with here'¦excellent>> When I get it set up, it will be primarily stocked with LPS from the Faviidae and Caryophyllidae families. I plan to have flow at a rate of about 10 times volume per hour (5400 gallons per hour). Do you think that will be an appropriate turnover for the system? <<I'm a big proponent of heavy and vigorous flow Larry'¦ Some may disagree, but I would plan on at least twice this volume of flow. In tanks of size such as this, the 5400gph you are planning will be disappointing'¦and deficient for the overall best health of your corals/system>> I expect to get about 3700 gph flow from my existing pair of Tunze 6000s unless I alternate them with the 7095 controller, which would reduce the flow rate. <<As the owner of an eight-foot long reef tank myself, and outfitted with seven Tunze Stream pumps of differing models'¦these pumps will have trouble providing sufficient flow along the entire length'¦best to run them opposing each other and together on the controller set to 'Pulse' for maximum effect/water movement in this large tank, in my opinion>> I would like to feed by sump about 600 gph as this is the flow rate required by my protein skimmer. <<That's fine'¦though you certainly have the overflows to go a bit more with any problem'¦how 'bout 1200gph?>> The remainder of the flow I would like to get via closed-loop(s). <<You have the throughputs!>> I'm stuck in figuring out how to tie all of the bulkheads together appropriately to achieve my circulation goals. <<I would 'tee' the deeper intakes to one or more likely two external closed-loop pumps>> The prior owner used the corner 2" bulkheads as feeds to his sump and the four 1" bulkheads along the top as returns from the sump. If I did that, I don't think that I will get sufficient flow from the remaining bulkheads to generate the volume that I desire. <<Not true necessarily. The hydro-dynamics of a closed-loop are much different than those of a gravity drain. If you have a 2000gph pump with a 1' intake port, then you only need one 1' bulkhead to supply the pump. Granted, using bigger or multiple supply bulkheads will reduce the 'force' of the water flow at the intake if this is a concern>> I am considering running the 2" bulkheads to the sump, building a return that goes over the back instead of through the existing bulkheads. <<okay>> That would leave me nine 1" bulkheads for closed-loops. <<More than sufficient>> I could then run two closed-loops, each fed by two of the bulkheads along the top of the tanks and returning by two of the bulkheads along the bottom of the tank. <<This is okay'¦as long as the upper bulkheads are deep enough to not become 'exposed' by fluctuating water levels'¦and will certainly make keeping the intakes clean/open much easier than if they are deep or buried within the rockwork>> I would either close off the fifth bulkhead along the bottom or split one of the returns three ways instead of two. <<Okay>> Is this a reasonable/viable plan? <<It is>> Am I off base or missing something? <<Perhaps only in your perception of how many bulkheads are 'required' to feed the closed-loop pump. But as stated'¦more bulkheads will mean less suction force per bulkhead and less chance of 'trapping ' livestock against the intake>> Also, do you have any recommendations for pumps that would be appropriate for running the circulation? <<Ah yes'¦ Large Iwaki pumps for the closed-loops and an Eheim submersible for the sump return. Dolphin and Sequence pumps would give higher flow rates for the closed-loops, but you would need to increase the size of the intake bulkheads in the tank to match that of the chosen pump model. Though you 'might' be able to keep from starving the pumps by utilizing more than one intake per pump as you have planned>> I could use my Iwaki MD-100 for the sump, but it generates much more flow than I am planning for the sump and has high energy consumption. <<Would work for one of the closed-loops>> I would prefer something more efficient than the Iwaki. <<All things considered (quality, longevity)'¦a difficult task>> Thanks for your help! Larry <<Larry, if this tank is going to be positioned in/near a frequently used family living space you may well find the closed-loops and their associated pumps to be too much noise. If this is the case, you may want to consider spending the money re on more and bigger Tunze Stream pumps to provide for the flow in the tank'¦energy consumption will be a fraction of as well. Regards, EricR>>
Re: Setting Up Plumbing on a Large Reef Tank -- 07/26/08
Okay, I was having trouble figuring out the flow as I was looking at the throughput for 1" bulkheads on an open-loop, which is considerably more limited. <<Ah yes>> I'm not certain I understand why a 1" bulkhead has different throughput for an open-loop than it would for a closed-loop, perhaps you can elaborate a little. <<The open-loop or 'gravity' drain is just that, it relies on gravity and the weight of the water to make passage through the plumbing. Air entrapment, turbulence, bends, et al, severely hamper and restrict the flow rate on a gravity drain system'¦though much of this can be alleviated by using large-diameter (1.5' and greater) plumbing and throughputs. On a closed-loop, the water is 'pumped or drawn' in to the plumbing by the direct connection to the pump volute. The 'power assist' so to speak, enables the water to flow much more smoothly and efficiently through the plumbing enabling a much smaller diameter throughput to flow at a much higher rate than a gravity system. Essentially, merely matching the plumbing and bulkhead to the size of the input on the pump is sufficient to meet the flow demands of that pump>> I will look into upping the total flow for the tank. <<Okay>> I am hesitant to go with 20 times volume as I have seen my Euphyllia unhappy when they get too much flow. <<A good point...and improper 'application' of the flow can cause damage to this fleshy coral from moving/abrading against its sharp skeleton. Still'¦I think you can apply more flow if cautious in your placement of these animals>> I have to be careful with the setup in my existing 225 gallon tank to insure that they are somewhat sheltered. <<Yes>> Of course it is easier to dial back flow than to increase it. <<Indeed>> The setup you describe on the Tunzes is exactly how they are set up in the existing tank. Since they are not on full force, let's say I am getting around 2500 gph out of the Tunzes. I could increase the flow through the open-loop. As you rightly point out, the 2" bulkheads certainly support it. <<Yes>> What if I used the top row of bulkheads as the prior owner did, with the 2" for outlet to the sump and the 1" as returns. <<A quick word here'¦ Even if you upsize to a 1200gph pump, you only 'need' one of those 1' returns. You can certainly use more, but the flow strength from multiple returns will be quite meager. Another option and one which I employ on my own system is to use multiple 'return pumps.' With your 2' drains, a pair of Eheim 1262s would not be a problem at all. This would give you a combined flow rate of 1800gph before headloss, and the redundancy would make your system all the more secure in the event of a pump failure (do also try to put the pumps on different circuits or at least different GFCI outlets)>> That leaves five 1" bulkheads near the bottom to play with. I could use one as an input to a Sequence Dart and return the water to the other four via an Oceans Motions 4 way. <<I like this but for the match-up of the 1' bulkhead and the chosen pump. The Sequence Dart 'has a 2' intake' for a reason. I really think the 1' bulkhead would starve this pump of water and create a micro-bubble nightmare for you. You could use one of the 2' throughputs to feed the pump'¦though you may have to supplement the remaining 2' drain with one or two of the 1' bulkheads if you do this, depending on the size of the sump return pump(s) you choose>> Or, I could do two separate closed-loops, running each with a Dart. <<True, though you would need t use both 2' throughputs here'¦and turn to the 1' throughputs to feed the sump thus limiting your pump choices there>> Since the Darts are rated at around 3500 gallons per hour, how much actual flow would I get in those scenarios? <<The closed-loops will give you pretty close to the rated flow capacity of the pumps as long as you match your plumbing to the inputs 'and' outputs of the pump volute (note that the output port on the Dart is 1.5'). Reducing either will effect the flow rate, while reducing the intake diameter may well create more severe issues. Perhaps a bit more exploring of pumps/options/configurations? Be chatting, Eric Russell>>

Query Marine Setup, 7/20/08 Hi <Hello> I have a 150 litre salt water tank running with: 1 Clown Fish; Yellow Tang; <Needs a bigger tank.> 10 kilos live rock; 2 Banded Shrimp; 2 Anemones; 2 soft corals; <May have problems with allelopathy combining corals and anemones in this sized tank.> 1 Red Stripped Sand-sifting Gobi; and 1 Valentino Puffer. I am running the system with the following: Berlin Air Lift 90 Gallon Skimmer; Deep Sand Bed Filter; Wet and Dry Trickle Filter; Refugium (with live rock, sand and Caulerpa). I am currently running the system in this order, I was wondering if this is the best and most effective order to run it in? <Should be fine.> Also, can you recommend, or is my current skimmer the best for my system? <Generally with skimmers you get what you pay for, see here for more on the more common models, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i1/protein_skimmer_impressions.htm .> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers! Shaun <Chris> 

Upgrading to 120g tank, reef set-up  -- 07/16/08 Hello all...I am fairly new, since February, and have learned a lot since I got the fever. Thank you very much for being a big part of the learning experience. <A pleasure to share> I have a 75 gallon mixed reef tank with about 80 pounds of live rock, two Koralia 2 pumps, and Sea Clone, ( I know, now) skimmer. The LFS gave me direction and when I looked around, this is the way they were setup and they have Sea Clones on everything. <Good that they use what they promote... Are these modified?> This is also the only skimmer they sell. <Mmm, I would not do this though> I was running compact fluorescents and have just upgraded to T5, HO lights. Early on, I was told that I had everything I needed to keep the reef alive and thriving. I have as livestock, a Yellow Tang, Maroon Clown, 4 Blue-Green Chromis, Purple Fire fish, 6 Blue Spot sand sifting Goby, <Six of these?> male and female Anthias (not sure what type... male is pink/purple and female is orange/pink), <A few possibilities here> 1 Cleaner Shrimp and a few snails and red legged hermits. The rest are, Green Open Brain, Rose BTA, Small Sebae, <Mmm... these anemones are getting along... and with the other Cnidarians...> various Zoanthids Frags, Xenia Frag, Favia Frag, Candy Coral Frag, a couple hammer frags and a purple Ricordea frag and a few mushroom Frags. Some of these I had purchased and some I have inherited from a neighbor that had to move. This is why I am upgrading to the 120. My plan for the 120 is: The standard? 120 tank, 48" X 24" x 24" with stand. It is "reef Ready" <See WWM re this term... most such tanks are not adequately drilled> and I will be installing a DIY sump/refugium that I will be making out of a 30 gallon long tank and Plexiglas using silicone as the sealant. <Mmm, Silastic does not adhere well to Plexiglas... if these are through-put fittings, I'd go with gaskets, threadings...> I will be using the same T5 lighting, 2 Blue Actinic, 3 White and one Purple, or at least this is what I received when getting the light. I will be purchasing an Aqua medic Turboflotor 1000 and OR 2700 Pump for the sump, and a return pump. I will be upgrading my heater to a higher grade as well. I plan on going to 2 Koralia 4 units for the bigger tank, but I thought I read somewhere that with the sump and refugium, the pump heads may not be necessary. <Good to have more circulation, redundancy... I would add> I can't find that article any more, so I'm not sure if I read it correctly or not. I will be adding more live rock and live sand into the new tank. I think I have hit all the bases for the background. The questions I am having are: Should the 30G tank be big enough for the sump/fuge? <The bigger the better...> Will the T1000 Skimmer be adequate for the tank or should the footprint (7.25" X 16") be smaller for this sump? <S/b fine... I would choose an AquaC, EuroReef or RK2 unit myself...> Are the power heads necessary when using a sump? <See above. Of use> When transferring everything to the new 120g tank, do I need to let everything cycle again before adding the existing livestock, or is this basically doing a major water change? <More this latter> And finally, is there anything listed that won't work, something I am forgetting or something I should change? <Heeeee! Naught that "jumps out"> Thanks in advance for all the help. Patrick <Thank you for sharing Patrick. Bob Fenner>

Re: Upgrading to 120g tank -- 07/16/08 Bob, <Patrick> Thanks for getting back to me. I also sent an email about the same thing from my Hotmail account. I saw some response in researching that some emails may have been sent to spam heaven, <Heeeee... Or spam h, e, double hockey sticks!> so I thought I would be double sure. Hope it doesn't get too annoying. <Hopefully> Clarifications: The blue dot Goby is only one, but it had six blue dots on it's face, so I thought maybe it was more correct. <I see. Thank you for this clarification> The two anemones seem to be doing fine together... <Can indeed "learn" to get along... in "propitious circumstances"> They are at opposite sides of the tank. Is it possible to keep them in the same tank, or should I possibly think of getting rid of one? <If they're staying put so to speak, all else (esp. stinging-celled life) apparently co-existing... I would not be overly concerned> I was reading a little about the "Reef Ready" tanks, but I may have missed the drilling part. Will look into that again before it's too late. <Good... do use the left shared border link to "Ask WWM... a question" to view the cached view with these words> The sump design I guess calls for glass baffles instead of Plexiglas. I thought plexi would be easier to work with, but, I am finding out that "beneficial" isn't always "easier" <Ah yes... 'tis so> Looks like the K4 Pump heads stay, which I think was going to happen any way. In the second email I sent, I mentioned a few skimmers that I was going to choose from and would still like your opinion. <Oh, sorry... did not read thoroughly... Do you re-mention all here? Elsewise I can resurrect the second (thought duplicitous) email> The T1000, ASM G-2, MSX Octopus 160 or the Aqua C EV-180. <The last is superior hands down. Other good choices are makes by RK2 and EuroReef> Looks like you have mentioned the Aqua C. With the other choices I have mentioned, would I be going wrong with any of them? Price is a concern but not a deciding factor. <I understand... in very short time, the difference in initial cost is greatly overshadowed by inefficiency costs in poorly designed, engineered, constructed products in this category of aquarium gear. Am sure you understand this> Thanks for all the information, everywhere about everything. Hope all is well with you and yours as well as the rest of the crew. Take care and Happy Diving, Patrick <Thank you my/our friend. As a matter of fact, have just come back out to HI... to visit, dive with new, old cohorts... Cheers! BobF>

Re: Upgrading to 120g tank 7/17/2008 Thanks again. The info is much appreciated and priceless. I'll be looking for the Aqua C EV-180, hopefully at a local establishment. <A worthwhile investment, I assure you. As a matter of note, the folks at MarineDepot (.com) are the exclusive distributor...> It's been a long time since I was stationed in HI, and I wish I had the interest then as I do now. Looking forward to going back one of these days just for the snorkeling. Who knows, I may even take up scuba by then. Take care, Friend. Patrick J. O'Curran <I do hope we meet... above and below water. Cheers, BobF>

55 Gallon Flat Back Hex Lighting Question, Reef set-up   6/26/08 Hello! <William> I just recently went to a club meeting at which Bob Fenner spoke for a few hours and I must say that I learned a great deal J. <Me too> My question relates to a new tank that I am setting up. I purchased a 55 gallon acrylic flat back hex tank (48 long x 20 tall x 16 deep) used from a LFS used this summer (darn being a poor college student). <Richer than I was!> It came with a Marineland Canister Filter, Coralife 4x64W PC light, stand, and a 10 inch tall canopy. I recently purchased a Pacific Coast Imports RPS-1000 skimmer to go with a sump/refugium that I am putting together to go underneath the tank. The plan is to be patient and set up the tank when I go back to school in early August so I am gathering all the pieces for the tank before I go. <Good> Currently I have a 37gallon tank (30 long x 24tall x 12 deep) with about 50 pounds of live rock. I am running a Koralia nano, Koralia 2, and a powerhead from Petco for water flow. I am using a BAKPAK 2 skimmer hanging on the back of the tank. Also a 250w/ 2x24w T5's combination light by Sunlight Supply (Maristar). The tank has been running for around 10 months and going strong. I have two percula clowns, a mandarin, and a peppermint shrimp. There is also a GBTA, <Mmm... this may eat your Mandarin> and a purple long tentacle anemone. <And not a good idea to mix anemones! Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/CnidIndex2.htm> A little bit of xenia, some Zoa's, a green/pink Yuma, and some sun coral (the non light using kind, can't remember the name for it). The GBTA has been in the tank for about 8 months and the long tentacle about 6 and a half months. <Well... looks like they're getting along> My question is that when I move the inhabitants to the new tank what would be the best light for the new tank? <Posted... for a two foot depth of watter... of this length system... two smaller watt MHs of about 14K temp.> The only thing that I would be adding to this tank is possibly a few more LPS and maybe a Kole Tang. (would also like to know if he will be unsuitable for a 55g as I will be keeping this tank for sure for two more years at school). I am interested in something along the lines of MH as that seems to be treating the anemone's well and that is the main focus for the new tank the relationship between the Percula's and anemone's. I am planning to have about a 3 inch sandbed in the new tank as the long tentacle is buried very deeply in my 3-4 inch sandbed in the 37g tank. So I am just wondering what would be the best wattage lighting for this tank as I don't want to have too much on the tank, and I don't plan on having sps anytime soon, the anemone just fascinate me too much to get away from. Thank you so much in advance I seem to have run into a wall on this one. ~Will Bowen <And here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm the tray at bottom. Cheers, Bob Fenner>  

Reef Tank Temperature, Livestock, and General Advice -- 06/20/08 I have a 55 gallon reef I retrofitted w- 325 watts of Coralife compact fluorescent  10K & Actinic (sufficient for corals below) <<Mmm, is debatable'¦I prefer to see a 70-30 mix of 10K to Actinic lighting'¦a 50-50 mix may look nice, but it is not as 'useful' to the photosynthetic organisms>> under a hood w- a rear opening. I have 2 cooling fans salvaged (so not sure the CFM) from an old PC, one @ each end, one inlet & one exhaust. <<A useful employment>> The temperature consistently stays @ 82 degrees. <<This is not 'terrible' in my opinion>> Prior to adding the fans it spiked to 86 & I lost 2 clown fish. <<Hmm, would have expected this to be more of a problem to your corals than your fishes'¦perhaps there are/were other aggravating circumstances>> My question is can I get away w- the 82 degrees since there is not a swing in temperature? <<It is my opinion that, yes, you can. This may not be an 'ideal' temperature as touted by many'¦but it is certainly 'survivable' in my experience'¦and maybe even more 'natural,' if you've ever heard/read Dr. Ron Shimek. As far as temperature goes, I've been diving off the Big Island of Hawai'i a few times now (and talking/thinking about it'¦getting the urge to go again!) and the water temperature was during those visits was 82F'¦and not just at the surface but down to about a 100ft depth. I would also like to add that my own reef system often sees temperatures of up to 85F (with no mortalities re) during the hot summer months here in SC>> It seems to be pushing the limits I see published for acceptable range but I have also read in more than one source that the swing is more important than the actual temperature. <<That too is debated by some, but having to take unknown factors/possible aggravating circumstances in to consideration would deem some measure of stability to be a good thing. In other words'¦for captive systems, it may be best to keep the 'straws' that could break the camel's back to a minimum>> How much affect does ambient air temperature actually have? <<It does have an effect'¦but the heat producing devices of the system (pumps, lights, etc.) are generally an overriding factor>> We keep the house @ about 76-78 degrees but I could possibly add a window unit in this room (assuming I can ever get the window unstuck). <<You would likely need to keep the room uncomfortably cool to have much effect here. But adding more/more powerful fans to step up evaporative cooling is certainly an option'¦I would put one over your sump as well>> Filtration & Flow: 50 pounds live rock w- 1" sand bed Wet / Dry w- filter pad & Seachem Purigen & PhosGuard & charcoal (plan to replace PhosGuard & charcoal w- Seachem's SeaGel) Could I put the media in the overflow or should they stay where the bio balls would go? No bio balls. <<I would keep this where you have it. I am not a fan of placing items within/restricting overflows>> Excalibur SV1 skimmer in sump 600 GPH return 2 600 GPH Koralia 2 in opposite top corners 1 600 GPH power head next to overflow behind the rock ¾ of way down tank. The overflow is off-center @ about 1/3 of the tank length. Is the above sufficient when compared w- the info above & below? <<Livestock incompatibilities aside'¦yes>> Inhabitants as follows: 2 Peppermint Shrimp 2 False Perc's 1 Brittle Star 6 Red Leg Hermits 20ish Astrea (increase) Green Sinularia Xenia Finger Leather (Lobophytum) Green Stripe Mushroom (Actinodiscus) Bubble Coral (Plerogyra sinuosa) Ruffled Ridge (Turbinaria) Candy Cane (Caulastrea) Green Star Polyp (Briareum) Pink Tip Anemone (Condylactis, (passiflora or gigantea not sure)) <<Mmm'¦trouble waiting'¦in this mix of sessile inverts>> Mistake w- the anemone? It is new. <<In my opinion'¦yes. This tank is too small and likely too densely populated for such an animal. I predict problems one way or the other>> Water parameters: Salinity 1.023 (should I raise slightly?) <<Yes'¦closer to NSW levels of 1.025/1.026>> Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite consistently 0 Calcium 420 Carbonate Hardness KH 8 PH 8.2-8.3 Would like to add to tank: 1 Six Line Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia) <<Can be a terror in this relatively small system'¦even if added last>> 1 Lawnmower Blenny (Salarias fasciatus) <<Again'¦the size of the tank may preclude this fish getting enough to eat/being able to meet its nutritional requirements>> 1 Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) <<An excellent choice for this size system>> 2 Kaudern's Cardinal's (Pterapogon kauderni) Would the additional livestock on the wish list be too much for this tank & do you see any compatibility issues? <<You don't list any 'current' piscine livestock'¦if that is the case then no, not 'too' much'¦otherwise, compatibility issues are already noted>> I think I may have done too much to fast but have had no major problems as of yet. Would definitely like your opinion of the overall system & any advice on changes that may need to be made. <<Your 'mechanicals' seem fine, though 'I' would likely upgrade the skimmer to a suitable Euro-Reef or AquaC model. And you have my thoughts on your livestock as well>> Thanks for all you do, your site has been my best source of information. <<Is quite the collective effort'¦we are pleased you have found it to be of benefit. Regards, EricR>>

Reef Tank Temperature, Livestock, and General Advice -- 06/22/08 Thank you so much for the detailed & informative reply, <<Quite welcome>> you guys are the best! <<Thank you'¦talented and knowledgeable ladies here too>> The lights that caused the spike were added in advance of all corals except for the 1 Turbinaria & 1 Actinodiscus that came with the tank. <<Okay>> I feel much better knowing someone with your depth of experience is successful at these temperatures. <<Mmm, yes'¦well'¦no room for error at these extremes (85F/86F)'¦But I think your tank's current temperature of 82F is quite manageable>> I will definitely add an additional fan over for the sump though. <<Will help>> As far as current fish there are the 2 False Perc's that is all. <<I see>> Was the anemone the only "problem child" you saw in my invert mix? <<You have a popular 'garden variety' mix of organisms which are problematic if not managed well'¦but yes, the anemone is the real 'problem child' there>> For the Lawnmower Blenny (Salarias fasciatus) would it be acceptable to supplement feeding with an algae clip? <<These fish sometimes just don't take to prepared foods'¦might be best to culture algae on some live rock in a separate container and 'swap out' as needed Funny you mention the 6 Line as a terror, <<Have seen such in almost all instances'¦even in large (300g+) tanks>> just two days ago at one of our LFS's they had a Gramma loreto & Pseudocheilinus hexataenia in the same tank & the Gramma appeared to be the bully! <<Gramma loreto can be pugnacious'¦and differing circumstances/conditions govern behavior'¦but this situation would likely reverse with time as the Pseudocheilinus acclimates/matures>> I will keep my eyes on Craig's list for a more suitable skimmer. <<Excellent>> Have a great weekend (maybe a trip to Hawaii?) <<Ahh, if only it were that easy! [grin]'¦but perhaps a trip in the not too distant future>> Thanks <<Happy to share. Eric Russell>> (I just so happen to have one of my 5 Coralife's dead center that is a 50/50 so I can replace that with the 10K & get to a 60/40) <<Real good'¦is a more 'useful' mix. EricR>>

Custom 85 Gallon, reef set-up/stkg.    6/19/08 First of all thank you for the informative articles and information posted on your web-site. I have been running FO and reef tanks for two years now and test my water parameters at least weekly. The only issues I ever have are phosphate levels. I just purchased a 36 x 18 x 30 custom tank from my local aquarium specialist. This tank will used for fish and coral. I plan on purchasing a refugium, fluidized sand bed filter, 9 watt Turbo Twist UV Sterilizer and Fission skimmer. My fish bio-load will be minimal (5-6 fish). Lighting will consist of one 150 watt 14K metal halide and one 150 watt 20K metal halide. I will have a 50/50 mixture of lace rock and live rock. I guess my question is does this set-up look sufficient enough? <Mmm... yes...> I do a 10% water change weekly. Feeding consist of brine, mysis shrimp and romaine lettuce <Mmmm, not this>  for my Yellow Tang. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Nick <I do like the shape of this volume... Do write back with specifics (e.g. species you'd like to use) if you'd like. Bob Fenner> Custom 85 Gallon, Cnid. sel, reading    6/22/08 Back to you WWC... <?> I have looked at some of the compatibility issues surrounding corals and was amazed... <Me too> My goal with the new tank is to have a few large <no frags> pieces that will live together in harmony. <Ok> We like leather corals, Blastos, zoanthids, Kenya trees, etc... What would be a good mixture that will last long term? <... for you to read further. B>

Re: Filter feeder setup 6/13/08 Filter feeder setup... GARF non-substrate grunge Hi crew, <Sal... my bro-in-laws name...> I am going to setup up a filter feeder tank and ive been doing considerable research. Im sure this will come as no surprise to you, but the more i read the more confused i get. I am hoping to keep the non photosynthetic gorgonians in this set up. I called the people over at GARF since they have a proven track record at keeping these guys. They are big fans of their GARF grunge. <Mmmm... is "just some old guy in the back with dead live rock and a hammer..." This quote from a prev. employee there> They think that i should use this as the substrate for both my tank and refugium. My only issue with this is that there are some rather large pieces of rubble, shell etc. Will this not become a nutrient trap? <Yes> Is this substrate supposed to be used for a plenum system only ( i don't want a plenum). Should i install a 4" DSB with sugar fine aragonite and then add 1" of GARF grunge over this in both the tank and refugium? <I'd skip this sham completely... leave out the "grunge"> Should i go with the oolitic sand in the main tank only and grunge in the refugium only? <Just the sand everywhere> If so what depth? I am not going to have a skimmer on this tank because this will be a filter feeder tank. Please let me know what u think. Im trying to do my own research but it seems experience is much more important. thanks for all your help. Peace, Sal <And you, Bob Fenner>

Re: Filter feeder setup 6/13/08 Bob, You're bro in law must be one cool cat. Thanks for the recommendation. I will be going oolitic sand throughout. One last ? If u don't mind. Do u agree with the lack of a protein skimmer in this tank? Peace, Sal <Mmm, no... I would run a good skimmer, if not continuously, then on a regular punctuated basis... a few hours every day. B> 

Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1: Invertebrates, Algae
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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