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FAQs on Reef Set-Up 6

Related Articles: Reef Systems, Reef Set-Up, Being Conscientious Save money and the reefs By Jennifer Smith, Technology: Putting on the Brakes:  How much is too much? By Tommy Dornhoffer, Refugiums, Reef Filtration, Marine System PlumbingMarine Aquarium Set-UpFish-Only Marine Set-up, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, RefugiumsMarine Biotope, Marine LandscapingFishwatcher's Guides

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 7, Reef Set-Up 8, Reef Set-Up 9, Reef Set-Up 10, Reef Set-Up 11, Reef Set-Up 12, 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

Looking to complete tank  3/13/07 Hello, At the moment I have a 36 gallon tank, 40 lbs of live rock, 2 Margarite snails, 2 Astrea snails, 3 Nassarius snails, 2 red leg hermits, 3 blue leg <You really only need one of each of these snails.>   hermits, 2.5 inch sand bed, a clown goby, and a flame angel.   <You are really close to your stocking point max.> At the  moment the tank is getting close to done, I need to do several things in order to make it good for the long run. <Ok.> For one, I am trying to rid of a hitchhiker crab. He has been in the tank since I set it up several months ago. I never noticed any problems, he ate the krill I gave him to keep him occupied, and also ate a dead snail and dead hermit  crab. I figured he was a detritus eater, and wouldn't harm anything else, but I  still couldn't risk it, and tried to catch him. Now, he has taken a liking to  all my snails. Of the 6 I had, not including Nassarius, he ate the 1 dead one, 1  which was on the verge of dying, and a third that was completely healthy. it was  the last straw when I saw one of my snails still, and slowly moving toward his  rock. I realized he was pulling him in, so I buried his home in the sand to keep  him out of trouble for a couple days. The glass trick does not work, I cannot  find a glass that will fit in my tank, and a glass that will allow him to crawl  into. Everything else isn't steep enough. He isn't small. a bout 2-3 inches in  length. I need suggestions to get him out. It is impossible to force him out of  his rock myself, literally. <It is not impossible to force him out of the rock.  You just don't know the trick!  Do this.  Watch the little guy closely, and note which hole in the rock that he retreats into.  Once you have this for sure, get a turkey baster or syringe and fill it with carbonated water.  Club Soda works.  Hold the rock over a waiting bucket, and spray the carbonated water into the crab's hole.  This should cause him to leave, consequently falling into said waiting bucket.> Second, I was looking to add another fish. I want a third small fish, but I am looking to make a decision. I want a decorative shrimp and a starfish, and  need to know what fish wont bother them. If the angel will bug them, then I will  go with a wrasse. Also, are there stars that are not too difficult and are  peaceful in the home aquaria? <I would try a smaller species such as N. decora.  The wrasses get a little big with what you already have.  There are stars that would work with the animals that you list, but the volume that you have is not large enough to house any of them.  There is a possibility that the Clown Goby could become food for the shrimp as well.> I also know that my tank is a little small for the  angel, so I may have to give him to my uncle where he will be happy in a couple  years. <This would be a good idea.> Last, I am looking for a decent fixture in order to promote coralline algae growth and macro algae's. I cannot afford a refugium at this time, nor fit it anymore, so I will house them in my aquarium, but need a proper light fixture for them. <You can grow Macro Algae, as well as Coralline algae quite well under normal fluorescents.  I would opt for a Power Compact fixture that would be suitable to your size tank however, as this will give you the ability to keep some soft corals and SPS corals in the future if you decide.>

Marine Set Up ... reef, filter.   2/13/06 Hey guys. I am kind of overloaded on information and just what your thoughts on my set-up. I am striving for a reef tank with a good variety of corals and some good algae. Most importantly no ammonia and nitrates.. etc. <Obviously..> I have a 55 gallon tank, 3 inches of live sand, a good amount of live rock, not sure how much. If I had to guess I would say 100lbs, about 400 dollars worth is how I measure it. Yikes! Maybe 350. Fiji I believe. One Prizm (hang-on) Skimmer. Doesn't say the flow rate but supposedly rated for up to 100 gallons. <A decent skimmer, using one on a 30 gallon, but I don't believe it processes enough water per hour to effectively handle a 55, but much better than none.> LFS sold me that. Two Maxi-jet 1200 powerheads and that's it. I know there is more I could do but is it enough with my dedicated 10% weekly water changes? <Yes, but I would add another power head and consider a more efficient skimmer down the road.> Thanks for doing what you do. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Kevin Murray

Sand bed question  - 2/11/2006 I have a 135ga. tank (been set up for fish only with crushed coral ten years) that I am converting it from FOWLR to a Reef tank. I am removing the under gravel "slowly" and planning on leaving about 1" of (from my FOWLR setup) cleaned crushed coral (to save money & keep from removing it all) and add about 2" to 3" fo live sand to top. I will have a good size wet/ dry/ protein skimmer/ UV/ canister filter/ power heads for very good water flow. Does you see any major problem with having about 1" of crushed coral mixed with 2" to 3" of live sand. <No.> Will I need to clean it regularly (monthly as I have in the past)? <A good quality live sand should contain worms, microcrustaceans, etc.  These guys are suppose to do the work keeping the sand churned and gobbling away at the detritus.  Sand sifting stars help a great deal in this process. I don't believe I would want to use a UV with a sand bed, will kill beneficial critters along with the bad guys.> Do you think I should definitely remove all crushed coral and have at least three inches of live sand? <Choice is yours.  I'd prefer all sand if I was doing this.> Would I need to clean at all? <As above and do search our site for more info on this subject.  James (Salty Dog)> Kent B. Murrell

Marine Set Up  2/9/06 Hello and thanks in advance for your input. I've attached two photos of hitchhikers that came on my LR that I can't seem to ID. <Don't see any photos my friend.> I spent the past two days pouring over WWM and still can not seem to find an answer. The first photo, id1, seems to e some kind of living organism like a feather duster. Although the one pictured appears to be dead, there are other small patches of this that are have puny white ridges protruding outward. They are about an 1/8 of an inch across and tightly packed together. Any idea's as to what they / it is? Then in the second photo, id2, is what appears to be some kind of growth over the rock. Im pretty sure it is not alive, it has a porous surface. Not really worried about it but would like to know what it was or is. Also, am in the planning stages of setting up a 55gal reef tank. I plan on getting either a predrilled tank or having one drilled with two, 1" or 1 3/4" drain lines. Would this possibly be to much drainage? <If you go with the Gen-X, two 1" drains will be plenty.> The sump will be a custom 20gal. For inside the sump am planning on using an Aqua C Urchin pro for skimming,<Good skimmer.> 200watt Ebo heater, and am still confused on what I want as far as filtration. I planned on at least 100lbs of live rock as well as a 3" bed of 0.2-1.2mm aragonite which should take care of bio, <Will you be using live rock?> but I'm not sure what to use for chemical and mechanical. Would a power filter even be useful in this setup? <Will your sump have a drawer for chemical/mechanical media?> As for a return pump, am leaning towards the Gen-X PCX30 (825gph). Would this be sufficient flow or could I possibly be over loading the drains? <That should give you more than enough flow for the 55.> As far as lighting is concerned, I want to keep polyps, brains, maybe some SPS corals, as well as clams. Would 2 x 65w 12,000k daylight lamps and 2 x 65w actinic for a total of 260w of PC lighting be enough for some/all of these? <Borderline for brains, SPS and definitely not enough for clams.  I suggest going with twin 150 watt HQI's for what you have in mind.> Sorry for so many questions and I'm sure a lot of this is just preference but any advice that could save me from a head ache down the road would be much appreciated. Thanks, Joel F. <Do reply with answers to my questions and we can finish this up.  James (Salty Dog)>

Table Salt To "Cure" A New Tank? - 02/04/06 Hi WWM Crew, <<Howdy>> Many thanks for the advice so far on my new reef setup - managed to get some water in last night to leak test & it's all looking good so far ;o) <<Great!>> 24" cube main tank, 23" x 10" sump.  Just a couple of questions if I may - <<Ok>> I have read somewhere (on a different site I think) advice to run a tank destined for salt water with cheap domestic table salt mixed to an approximate SG in order to cure pipe work and ensure that anything which may be attacked/dissolved etc by saltwater in the system is attacked/dissolved by this temporary (and cheap) salt mix, subsequently drained & disposed of prior to filling with real salt mix (IO is my current brand).  I can see the thinking behind this and it strikes me that it might just be a good idea, what do you think? <<Mmm, more than thirty years in the hobby...never heard or known anyone to try/do this...is unnecessary in my opinion.>> The tank currently has fresh tap water in for leak testing which will need to be drained & disposed of so chucking some cheap table salt in would be no problem. <<Actually, I would simply add the (marine) salt (with carbon and/or Poly-Filter in the filter path) and be done with it.>> The system is of the "ecosystem" "miracle mud" design & I intend to have a substrate in the main tank (about ?" deep to avoid the dangerous zone of 1" to 3").  I understand that this will be aesthetic rather than functional <<Yes>> (other than providing a more natural environment for livestock than a bare bottom) & I know I do not want crushed coral - been there done that!!  Should I be looking for sugar sized aragonite? <<Will depend on your water flow...a larger grain-size may be preferable.>> What size is sugar sized? <<Um...the size of...sugar...>> What other grade/sizes would be suitable?- as you can tell I'm a little confused here so any advice would be great <<Anything in the 1mm-3mm range would be fine too.>> - brand names available in the UK would be most useful if at all possible. <<Hmm...I had a reef tank when I was over there in the late 80s/early 90s...I know different grades of substrate were available but don't remember any "brand names."  CaribSea is a popular brand here in the states that may be available in the UK as well.>> Also would this depth of sand bed be too shallow for narcissus or similar cleaners? <<Nassarius (snails)?  No, will be fine.>> What cleanup crew would you advise for such a shallow sand bed? <<The afore mentioned Nassarius snails...I also am a fan of Cerith snails.>> On the same topic, the sump will have a miracle mud area (11 ?" x 10" x 1"deep) lit with Chaetomorpha algae which will hopefully flourish- what cleanup crew would you recommend here if any (including a guide to numbers/quantities if you could please) <<None needed really, but a half-dozen Nassarius snails won't hurt anything either.>> Cheers, Chris <<Regards, EricR>>

New tank - almost there 02-05-06 Hi WWM Crew, <Chris> Many thanks for the advice so far on my new reef setup - managed to get some water in last night to leak test & it's all looking good so far ;o) 24" cube main tank, 23" x 10" sump Just a couple of questions if I may - I have read somewhere (on a different site I think) advise to run a tank destined for salt water with cheap domestic table salt mixed to an approximate SG in order to cure pipe work and ensure that anything which may be attacked/dissolved etc by saltwater in the system is attacked/dissolved by this temporary (and cheap) salt mix, subsequently drained & disposed of prior to filling with real salt mix (IO is my current brand).  I can see the thinking behind this and it strikes me that it might just be a good idea, what do you think? <If you choose to use this method, make sure you use non-iodized salt. My personal belief is that it is not needed.>  The tank currently has fresh tap water in for leak testing which will need to de drained & disposed of so chucking some cheap table salt in would be no problem. The system is of the "ecosystem" "miracle mud" design & I intend to have a substrate in the main tank (about ?" deep to avoid the dangerous zone of 1" to 3") I understand that this will be aesthetic rather than functional (other than providing a more natural environment for livestock than a bare bottom) & I know I do not want crushed coral - been there done that!! Should I be looking for sugar sized aragonite? What size is sugar sized? What other grade/sizes would be suitable?- as you can tell I'm a little confused here so any advise would be great - brand names available in the UK would be most useful if at all possible. <If you are only using it for aesthetic reasons, get what ever size you like.  If you are planning on getting sand dwelling fish or critters, change the size to meet their needs.> Also would this depth of sand bed be too shallow for narcissus or similar cleaners? <No, they will be fine.> What cleanup crew would you advise for such a shallow sand bed? <This will depend on the size of substrate you settle on.> On the same topic, the sump will have a miracle mud area (11 ?" x 10" x 1"deep) lit with Chaetomorpha which will hopefully flourish- what cleanup crew would you recommend here if any (including a guide to numbers/quantities if you could please) <None. You don't want predation of any sort. That will allow this section to act as a refugium. Travis> Cheers   Chris

Converting to reef tank, using WWM   2/3/06 I've finally gotten the bug to convert my current 60gal tank to a semi-reef.  I currently have about 20lbs LR and some LS, 3 tangs & 1 clown.  From what I've read, I know that I need at least a protein skimmer and sump (I currently have a canister that I run carbon).  I've been leaning towards an Euroreef skimmer <Pricey, but good> and as far as a sump goes... I'm not sure if I should go the Rubbermaid way or buy a fabricated one.  My plan is to add more LR so that I can add a couple of more fish and eventually and corals.  Can you recommend make/model of skimmer and a good sump. <...> Thanks - Dan BTW, love your site! <Then use it... these areas are thoroughly covered on WWM... use the search tool and/or indices... and read. Bob Fenner>

Reef set-up  1/31/06 Hi ..... <Hello> I want to set up a 150 gallon reef , with corals , and about 6 or 7 fish , together with 225 lbs. of Fiji , and Marshall Island live rock . My question here is , that I have 120 lbs. of Carib Sea Fiji Pink Aragalive , 0.5-1.5 mm. Can I mix their Special Grade Reef sand with it , or should I stay with one or the other ? Will a 4" bed be deep enough ? <Can mix, four inches should be fine> Also, I have an All- Glass sump , 20"x24"x40" , and was wondering if I can make this into a refugium? <Yes> Should I start out with the bio-balls , and slowly  take them out ? <Could... or leave out from the get-go> The live rock will be fully cured when I add them . <Always "re-cures" to a degree when moved> I have a Mag Drive 36 , and the corner flow is 7" , so will this be okay ? <... likely you will want to re-direct/tee-off much of the flow... perhaps to a recirculation/closed loop arrangement> and lastly, I have a Red Sea Prism Pro Deluxe skimmer. Will this be alright ? <Probably not... you will want something larger, more efficient> I appreciate your time and effort on these matters , as I want this to be right .                    You guys do it all !!!                         Ted Stasso <Evidence of good thoughts here Ted... Keep studying and keeping good notes.... keeping your "passing lanes open" as we used to say in football/soccer... and you'll do fine. Bob Fenner>

New Tank Set-up 01/28/06 Thanks for taking the time to read this post.  Any input is greatly appreciated.   <<Hello John. Ted on this end>> First off, I haven't spent a dime on any equipment...yet. That is the next step after hearing from you. The last month has been doing research on WWM, and Reef Central. My reading has included: The New Marine Aquarium, Paletta; Reef Secrets, Nilsen, Fossa; Natural Reef Aquariums, Tullock; The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, Fenner; Ultimate Marine Aquariums, Paletta; Aquarium Corals, Borneman. Here is my plan: 120 gallon 48 x 24 x 24 All Glass display tank (reef ready) Black waterproof background 48" Aqualite Pro 250w HQI 40 x 20 x 24 sump divided into skimmer, return, and refugium In sump return pump rated to 1000 g/h with head loss calculated in In sump heaters 2 at 150W GFI + Powerstrip installed with electrical cord drip loop 2 powerheads rated at 400+ g/h Korallin Kalkreaktor C-1502 Aqua C Ev-180 Skimmer I would like to figure out an auto top-off using a container of RO/DI water. Dedicated buckets, sponges, tools including arm length gloves Custom tank stand engineered to hold total weight and provide space for sump and tools.   Display tank 100# Fiji or Marshal Island Live Rock Refugium 20# of mid quality Live Rock 75# of fine to mid sand spiked with 20# of live sand Plumbing: two water returns from tank divided with gate valve regulating volume to refugium and the rest going to skimmer section.  Return line from return tank divide by SCWD that switches flow between two heads in display tank. Rock in tank will be scaped in two triangle mountains facing opposite corners.  The rear being largest the front right going half way up tank.  Gravel zone between the two. 10 or 20 Gal Quarantine Tank with heater, filter, air pump and pvc pipes filter will be kept in refugium unless quarantine tank is in use. Livestock: Mostly SPS Corals, T. Maxima Clams (2), 6 line wrasse, Yellow tang, Orange Line Cardinals (3), Coral Goby, Indo Pacific Shrimps After months (a year?): True Percula (2 juveniles) and a Heteractis Crispa. If you could take a look and tell me what you think. Is there anything you would do different or anything I'm missing?   <<Seems like a sound plan. A couple of things to consider. You don't mention DSB vs. SSB vs. BB. You do mention gravel. Please research these terms as well as "detritus" and "nutrient trap". Also, the 6 line wrasse will preclude the addition of small invertebrates like snails. The effect of this is that you won't be able to maintain a clean-up crew.>> Thanks so much.  You have already taught me so much!! John <<You're welcome. Thanks for researching before jumping into this fascinating hobby. Good luck-Ted.

New Semi-Reef Set-up  1/26/06 Hi guys <... and gals> Compliments of the season to you all. Thank you all for an absolutely amazing site. I am upgrading to a fairly large system and would like comment on the basic setup I am proposing. Mainly a FOWLR plus a few SPS corals and more to come. 2500litre main tank, size 2500mmx1200mmx900mm deep with a sump 2000mmx600mmx600mm capable of holding about 650litres.   I plan to have 2x18000litre/p/h Spek pumps on a closed loop creating a little wave action! Coupled to each of these two pumps will be 2x Oceansmotion 4ways.( i.e. 2x outlets with 8x returns) Driving the balance of the water from tank to sump and all the peripheral tanks and equipment such as skimmer and chiller will be a Spek 28000litre pump. ( MUST I take the 4x 50mm outlets through the base of the tank inside skimmer boxes or can I take the pipes straight out of the back of the tank?) <The back... much better, safer> I calculate roughly that I should be getting a return to tank of about 15000litres. Lights will come from 4x 400Watt m/h plus some tubes which I must still decide on. How am I doing so far? <Sounds, reads fine> I am trying to cut down on all the little pumps and power heads and simplify the system. I am mindful of the heat buildup due to pump and water movement as well as the heat from lighting. I will be air-conditioning the area behind the tank and if necessary will have to buy another skimmer. kind regards Ian Shepherd <The anticipation, planning phases of these projects is tremendous fun... Bob Fenner>

Reef Tank ?  - 01/23/2006 Hello and thank you for all the valuable advice and recommendations you and the staff give us.  My ? is I would like to purchase a 60x2x2 show tank and my lighting is currently 2x250 (Ushio 10Ks) and 2x96 actinics. The tank also has one corner overflow.  What type of return pump (?gph) would you recommend for this type of tank (125 gallon). <Something that might get you 10-20 times per hour flow rate...> I would like to place some crocea clams and some mixed corals (frogspawn, monticap, hammer,)  Would my lighting setup be good enough given the depth of the tank. <Likely so... particularly by placing the clams and higher-light organisms closer/more directly below the lights overhead> I might also later want to get a green BTA and some acros.  My filtration currently is a EuroReef G-3 skimmer, sump.  I also plan to add a refugium (20 gallon tank) with its own dedicated return pump (what gph?). <Posted on WWM> Thank you and as always, I appreciate your response. Jose <Enjoy the planning, anticipation Jose... You'll do fine. Bob Fenner>

FOWLR To Reef...   1/17/06 Hi, <Hey there! Scott F. at the keyboard tonight!> I feel as though I have no idea what I am getting myself into. <Well, we all feel that way at times!> I am seriously considering taking my FOWLR that contains all reef-safe fish except for a juv. Chrysurus Angelfish that I will take a chance with because their is no way I am getting rid of it. <I agree! Keep it...If you are willing to accept the possible losses to inverts, it will be an amazing "exclamation point" for this tank!> The only other fish I am questioning is a Moorish Idol; <Well, I know that experimenting is what the hobby is all about, but the majority of hobbyists have had so little success with this fish that it is really not responsible for me to encourage you to keep them.> the rest of the fish include a Flame Angel, Coral Beauty Angel, <Two potentially reef-munching fishes> Tri-Color Wrasse, Swissguard Basslet, 5 Chromis, 2 Percs, Powder Blue Tang, Lineatus Wrasse, and harem of three Blue Flasher Wrasse. <Nice mix, but is your tank large enough for this bunch?> My first question is about lighting, the tank is a 135 gallon tank and the dimensions are (72''x18''x24'') (L,W,H). <I would consider thinning out the population just a bit.> I would like to know if there is a more economical alternative to metal halides for this deep of a tank.  For reference, I would like to keep the more basic, horribly broad term but ok since I know very little haha, and an RBTA for my Percs.  Do you think that the Percs would take to it? <So hard to say. Anemones are absolutely not necessary for success with Clowns, and many of the Clownfishes in our hobby are tank raised and have never even seen an anemone before. Anemones do require a high level of care for long-term success and their husbandry should not be undertaken lightly. Personally, I would not attempt to keep anemones without metal halide lighting, although it is possible to do so. My alternative lighting recommendation for many reef animals would be compact fluorescents or T5 lighting. Personally, I think halides offer the most flexibility for many stocking plans and systems.> Also, I have a UV sterilizer and a protein skimmer working full time, would I need to turn them on in cycles with the corals or other filter feeders? <I'd run the skimmer 24/7, and if you are inclined to use UV, I'd also run it on a continuous basis.> Thanks for all of your help, now all I have to do is look at the seemingly endless list of awesome corals and pick a few. <Another fun task. Just research thoroughly and create a sensible stocking plan!> You guys are like the Ghostbusters to me when I have a question haha. Regards, Dave    <Who ya gonna call...? LOL Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

High elevation reef Dear WWM Crew, I am setting up a reef tank at high elevation (8000 ft) and was searching your site for specific known problem areas regarding high elevation and the effects it has on dissolved oxygen content, specific gravity, and anything else that I may be overlooking?     <Mainly the limitations (lower stocking densities, smaller margins of error you mention... and more rapid chilling possibly. But can be done> Thank you for your help. Tom Hobson <Bob Fenner>

Planning A New (Large) Tank - 01/02/06 Hello crew and happy New Year! <<Hello and Happy New Year to you!>> As always, I offer my great appreciation for your site and your assistance.  Thanks to you I have had much success with my current 225 gallon reef tank. <<Excellent to hear.>> I am about to begin a remodeling effort for my house and will be moving the tank to a new location, giving me an opportunity to go even larger and fix some of the things I don't like in the current tank. <<Larger eh...sweet!>> I would love your input on the initial design decisions (and will no doubt come back with more questions if that is okay). <<You bet>> The new space is going to allow for an 8' x 3' x 3' tank (about 540 gallons).  I might be able to push it to 4 feet deep, but haven't decided. <<Do it if you can afford/accommodate...you'll regret it forever if you don't.  But then, it's easy for me to spend your money <grin>.>> My current tank is acrylic with deep sand bed and I have put numerous scratches in it, <<Same here>> particularly when cleaning close to the sand bed. <<Yep...a necessary evil.>> Since I want to continue with the sand, I want to have a glass front. <<And back/sides/bottom I hope.>> I read recently that the low iron glass tends to be more prone to scratching, have you found that to be true? <<No personal experience with this, but have heard same as you.>> Would you recommend using low iron or not? <<If it were me...I would go with the low-iron glass.>> I would be interested in getting a composite tank with fiberglass (or some other material?) sides for all but the viewing pane.  Do you know of any fabricator for tanks of this nature? <<I don't...and I tend to think it would be safer to have an all-glass tank rather than trying to seal/adhere dissimilar materials.>> I have attempted to create a biotope tank as described by Tullock in his Natural Reef Aquariums book.  I probably have not gone far enough in this direction, choosing animals from the indo-pacific lagoon biotope he describes (giving me the most flexibility and variety of species). <<Mmm, not so much the biotope that provides/limits flexibility as the fact the animals will be kept in a small (by comparison) closed system.  Best to focus on a single species within the niche for optimum results.>> I mostly keep LPS corals with a few soft corals mixed in.  I will be keeping the same arrangement in the new tank.  Can you give some suggestions for lighting on the new tank?  My preference is metal halide...more bang for the buck with a more natural appearance in my opinion.  Likely 150w (10K) pendants will be more than adequate for the species you plan.>> I currently have 2 pendant MH bulbs on about a 6 hour (midday) photoperiod and 3 VHO bulbs on about a 12 hour photoperiod. <<I would increase the MH to 10-12 hours.>> I like the concept of the Outer Orbit lighting systems but I don't think they make any setups that will provide enough light for my new tank. <<I don't think so either, you'll probably be best served by using single pendants on this tank that can be positioned/spaced as necessary.>> I also worry about having my VHOs and halides built into the same system meaning I would have to replace both if the controller for one failed.  I also don't need to worry about finishes on the lights as the tank will be built into the wall in a dedicated fish room. <<Then look in to "retro" kits to save a buck.>> I know that the recommended amount of water flow has increased substantially since I built the last tank.  My guess is that the new recommendations of 20 times tank volume applies more for SPS than LPS and soft corals.  Would you agree? <<Not necessarily, all will benefit from vigorous water flow.>> What would you think would be an appropriate amount of flow and how would you go about producing it? <<A MINIMUM of 10x tank volume in a random/turbulent fashion.  The larger Tunze Stream pumps will work well for this size tank.  Or you can fashion a closed-loop system if you wish to keep equipment out of the tank.>> The largest LPS I have now are a variety of Euphyllia, a Bubble, a Pearl, and several Favia.  Finally (sorry for the length of the post), <<No worries mate.>> do you have an opinion of the work of GEO ( http://www.geosreef.com).  I have seen other large tanks built with his equipment and am considering ordering his kalkstirrer, calcium reactor, and protein skimmer. <<Again no personal experience, but have heard good things from others re. Try hitting the BB's (RC/Reefs.org) to see what those who have the equipment say about it.>> Thank you for all of your help and recommendations!  Your site has long been a favorite of mine and I spread the word whenever possible. Larry <<You're welcome Larry.  Regards, EricR>>

Re-establishing Infauna 01/01/06 Hi, <<Hello-Ted here.>>I recently moved to a new house, and when I  did, I also moved my 29gal saltwater tank with me. It has a CPR  13.5in refugium (about 2 gal), skimmer, charcoal canister  filter, about 20+lbs of live rock, and 10lbs of substrate. The aquarium was up  and running about 2 yrs, had cleaner inverts,  soft corals, fish,  shrimp, who are now with a very happy neighbor who recently got into the  saltwater aquarium hobby.     The tank and all components were in dry air for about 2 days or  so.  I currently have the water in the tank, properly adjusted and  running for about 2wks. I am going tomorrow to get a few snails to get started again.  I have yet to see any of the pods on the glass, or in the substrate, and all the purple and green bacteria that use to be  on the rocks is gone as well.  I got a few small chunks of live  rock from my LFS, but they've only had their tanks up for about 6 mths, I  was looking for something that would give my aquarium a little more  diversity.  In the previous location, the LFS had very established  tanks (+5yrs up and running) and was able to give me several bags of  substrate from their various tanks that helped me get a great amount of various little live things in my refugium and main tank. However, I have been unable to find any established marine dealers in the local area. Are there any  online products that would give me similar results to a substrate out of established aquarium tanks and refugiums? I have a deep sand bed in the refugium, and plan on getting some macro algae to go in it as  well. I have read a lot about miracle mud, but I was looking for  something with real biodiversity and small live critters in the  "mud."  All I am really looking for is something that would help get my tank back into the "crap, what's that little thing crawling in the refugium, he wasn't there yesterday" mode, without buying more liverock, and no "seeding" material readily available in my local area. <<Monitor your system and after the tank has gone through it's cycle, add the infauna. Inland Aquatics (www.inlandaquatics.com) and Indo-Pacific Sea Farms (www.ipsf.com) are two good sources for infauna. Also, check around for local hobbyists or hobbyist clubs. Sand exchanges with some locals are excellent way to diversify the life in your system. Good luck - Ted>>

Tank Set Up Possibilities - 12/22/2005 Hello---I have been reading your posts for months.  Thanks for being such a great resource. <Our pleasure to help friend.> I set up a 20 gallon tank with some live rock, fish and inverts about 6 months ago. As it seems the pattern, I just progressed to a larger set up in my living room a few days ago. My question is:  What are my options for a tank set up? <More than I could write here.> I have about 60 pounds of Fiji LR in a 44 gallon corner tank. I am using 2 large powerheads and a return pump for circulation. The return comes from an empty 10 gallon sump (it was the largest that would fit in a corner stand). I have an Excalibur skimmer in the sump with a heater. What type of tank can I have? I would like to mix fish and inverts with some hardy corals. I am at a loss as to whether I can have a FOWLR tank or if I have to stay more toward the reef end of things since I don't have any biological filtration but the rock. <I think you meant that the other way around, right? If you're looking for some hardy corals to try out, then stick with the Mushrooms and Zoanthids. These should give you a feel for it.> I have a great friend at a LFS store here in Pittsburgh, but I think I may be calling on him too much. <You can never call on true friends too often (for advice...money is pushing it).> I appreciate any guidance you can provide to me. Thanks in advance. Mark <Well Mark, this tank can be whatever you make of it. Corals are fun and challenging. Just take it easy. Once you can diagnose and address situations as they arise, then you're ready to move up to a more challenging type. Many exciting times ahead of you. - Josh>

FO to reef  11/24/05 Hi, I have a 37g SW tank, FO, sand bed, HOB protein skimmer, Fluval 304 canister and a fluidized bed filter, I would like to convert to a mini reef with a few reef safe fish. nothing too complicated or extravagant. Lighting is 2x65w 50/50. <Okay> If I add about 30 lbs of LR, will that be enough to seed the sand bed? <Yes> Do I really need the fluidized bed filter? (originally installed as a bio filter in lieu of LR) <No> On the issue of a sump/fuge, I understand the benefit and importance of having one, but would you recommend a DIY with a 10g, or if you were to recommend one, would it be a HOB or under tank with overflow box? <Bigger the better, either way> Thank you very much for your help and even more for your website! Steve <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Mud/DSB/Refugium  11/15/05 Good morning and thanks as always for your willingness to share your expertise. <Welcome> I have now setup up my brand new system with a 4-5" DSB (Aragamax) in the 90G show tank, and a 6"+ DSB (Aragamud and Southdown) in a downstream refugium. I plant to put macroalgae in the refugium, and seed both DSB's with critters- live sand, MiniStars, etc. My question is the ORDER I should do things, with this brand new system.  <Okay> A) First, since it is not an established system, can I/should cure my LR in the tank?  <I would likely do so... if this was the only/best place... or you had no other, yes> B) Should I buy macroalgae and/or critters first and establish the live sand in the DSB's, or put in LR first? <Better to wait on these till ammonia, nitrite are absent, some nitrate accumulating> Unsure if the LS should be there to help with the in-tank curing (if that is recommended), or if the curing process would just kill the infauna in the sand? <Mostly the latter> C) Maybe just the macroalgae first for nutrient export? <Mmm, no, best to wait on this too> I am sorry if this is covered elsewhere, there is so much information now (which is great) that it is not that easy to find specifically matching questions. Thanks in advance for your thoughts! Regards, Bob Lee <Thank you for writing so clearly, completely. Bob Fenner> 

A New (Very nice) Reef Set-up 11/3/05 Thank you for providing this service. You have probably saved more marine life than Cousteau through your efforts. <Hehe, thanks for the kind words.....now if I just had that French accent of his I'd have to hide indoors from all the ladies.> First let me describe my system for you. I have a 90G tank with 125lbs of live rock, below is a custom built refuge/sump. The refuge/sump contains a 10Ga section with Gracilaria being tumbled, another separate 10Ga section with live rock and rubble in which I plan to put clams, a third section of 3Ga in which I am growing pods, and a final section which operates as a sump and holds a EV180 skimmer from Aqua C.  The first two sections hold a DSB of 6", which provide 42% of the surface area of the equivalent DSB in the main tank. The main tank substrate is a minimal 1/2". There is a closed loop system of 1000GPH with SCWD to alternate flow. The flow through the sump/refuge is approximately 800GPH. The return to the main tank runs through 2 SCWDs to alternate flow.  The lighting in the main tank is two 150 MH and two 96W Actinics. The refuge is lighted off cycle with a 96W 50/50 CF. For temperate control there is an Artica chiller. The tank has been cycling for three months. I'm using RO/DI water. So far, I've not had a substantial algae bloom. A clean up crew of 30 snails and 8 blue-legged hermit crabs has been keeping up rather well. I also have two small A. perculas and three Lysmata debelius in the tank. Before you ask, everything wet (Gracilaria, snails, crabs, shrimp, and fish) went through quarantine. <Sounds VERY well planned out, well done.> Now I'm seeing small feather dusters, coralline algae, and a colony of Zoanthidea.  <Great signs.>  The water chemistry has been stable for three weeks. Test results using a Salifert test kit, PH monitor and refractor are PH: 8.15, Temp.: 79F, Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: 0.2, SG: 1.025, KH: 11.2, CA: 356, Oxygen: 9, Mg: 1,260, I2: .06, Sr: 10.  <All acceptable.> Now for my questions, I would like to establish this as reef tank with a maximum of nine 3" reef compatible fish. Is this setup going to work?  <Depends on the individual fish but for a crowded reef tank I would prefer to see a light load rather than a heavy load. I would stick with fish such as gobies, cardinals, Chromis, blennies and so on.>  When would you consider it appropriate to add the first coral  <Sounds like everything is stable enough for few hardy specimens.> and what would be a good beginner coral?  <Zoanthus sp. is always a good first start as are Green Star Polyps.>  Should I add the corals or remaining fish first?  <I prefer to allow the inverts. to establish first before stocking all of the fish.> One more question, the A. perculas were tank reared. They went through quarantine without issue. I gave them a fresh water dip before they went in the tank. They were eating well in quarantine. They've been in the main tank for two weeks. They look very healthy. They swim around the tank together. They are alert and curious. They keep circling the tank at a moderate speed. However, they show little interest in the food pellets they had been eating. I've noticed they're been eating the pods off the glass. I counted as many as 6 pods per square inch on some section of the glass. Are they getting enough to eat from the pods?  <Mmm....Possibly but that won't last, try offering some other foods such as Mysis shrimp.>  I've read that A. perculas are pigs and never turn down food, so I'm concerned. But, I don't want to be one of those newbies that over feed and foul the tank. Should I be worried?  <Not yet these fish are quite new, start offering more of a variety.> Thanks for your help! <Quite Welcome.> Michael <Adam J.> 

Reef System, how? Read WWM 11/2/05 First of all I'd like to say I've been looking at a lot of reef sites over the years and yours have to be the most information that I've found to date. Ok I have a 55g tank that I'm restarting used to be fish only now thinking of going into a reef i was wondering if there was any info that you could give me on how to do so. <?> So far like i said its a 55g with a wet/dry filter (thinking of making it into a refugium going to look on here to find out how to do that) <Posted> it has a Perfecto hood (going to make that into a hood with 4 VHO's was looking for some ideas on that) <... see WWM re> I have 2" sand bed and one rock (lol going to go with live rock ) nothing in the tank has been cycled its been down for around 1 year now so I have to start from scratch so any idea's would be a big help Dez <All there for you... Bob Fenner> 

New System and a Peculiar Radish 10/22/05 Hi People, <Perc> Going great after just over a year (in no small part down to you wonderful people) but time for more space! <Always> Just wanted to run my new system design past you & see what I've missed, what you would do differently, alternatives to consider or potential problems. <Okay> It's going to be a "Ecosystem" setup with a miracle mud sump to Ecosystems design without skimmer for now but I'll add one, probably a Tunze Nano Doc if I find it necessary. My current tanks inhabitants are - 2 clowns, 1 scooter blenny, 1 porcelain crab, 5 dwarf pygmy blue legged hermits, 6 turbo snails & 1 as yet unidentified snail, various zoos, mushrooms, button polyps & xenias.  All of this will be moved to the new system along with lots of live rock that I have and supplemented with new LR. More fish & corals (soft mainly) will also be added over time. The new main tank is going to be a 24" cube of 10mm float glass, weir fitted in the centre back and drilled for a 1+1/2" (38mm) Durso style standpipe (CPR CS150 overflow with 1+1/2" bulkhead deals with 1600gph according to Marine depots site so I recon a 1+1/2" should do me) and 1" (25mm) for sump return pipe. <Should, yes. Do take care with the placement of this tank, the drilling of through-puts... they're breaking everywhere> Lots of LR will be in there in a tongue shape piled to the back of the tank (which will be against a wall) possibly with some sort of support under it and < 1/2" (less than 1/2") sand around the outside of the LR structure  1. Would you bother with another overflow in this size of tank? <Mmm, nope> 2. What kind of size should I make the weir? (planning to move 2000lph (500gph ish) but want to plan for spare capacity - possibly for extra return (see below)) <Space is limited... maybe four inches, 10 cm.> 3. Is a double bottomed tank worth considering? <Yes> The Durso will feed the Miracle Mud ecosystem sump/fuge underneath made to the ecosystem design - 24"L (or as close to as I can fit in the cabinet) x 10"W x 12"H with bioballs, mud etc as per the ecosystem model 2410 4. Probably going to use Chaeto and Caulerpa? what other types should I consider? <This is posted on WWM... I would skip the Caulerpa: http://wetwebmedia.com/refugalgfaqs.htm > For the MM sump return pump I am probably going for a Tunze Master Recirculation Pump (1073.030) 3000lph link here - http://www.tunze.com/149.html?&L=1&C=GB&user_tunzeprod_pi1[predid]=-infoxunter051 which I think will give me about 2000lph at a 1.5m static head through the 25mm return to the main tank. This return would feed a closed loop type manifold at water level. 5. Should I reduce the pipe size at any point here? <Yes... at the discharge ends, and possibly over the tank junction> 6. Accounting for elbows etc how much flow can I expect to lose? <Likely 20-25%> 7. I was planning to use 45 deg angles on tee's for the outputs - How many outlets would be reasonable with the 2000lph (500gph) I am aiming for (10x main tank vol.), this I really have no idea about! <For this size tank, 3, 4 maximum> In addition there would be another small fuge, maybe 12"L x 8"W x 10"H mounted higher then the MM sump & drilled to overflow into the return section of the MM sump, fed either by a Tee (valved) from the MM sump return or a dedicated powerhead/pump. I want create a different environment from the MM sump in here (I am aiming for about 10x main tank vol. turnover for the MM as per the ecosystem design) to benefit different food organisms for the main tank.  8. Small DSB or just a covering of sand or possibly LR rubble for the 2nd fuge? <Up to you... I'd make one of them a DSB at least> I have heard of using green scouring pads (abrasive pads used for cleaning & dishwashing here in the UK - not sure what they might be called in the states) for pod cultivation here - any thoughts on this? <Take care to get ones that don't have additions... cleaners> 2. Would about 3x vol. (of this small fuge tank) be appropriate? <Should be fine... up t a handful of turnovers per hour> 3. Other thoughts about the contents of this fuge appreciated <Mmm, also posted on WWM> I have been considering a closed loop in the main tank (or feed from MM sump if I need more flow than the Tunze will supply) to feed a spray bar arrangement underneath & behind the LR structure to blow detritus out hopefully (this might be difficult otherwise) - pump would be located in the cabinet & fed/returned through bulkheads 1. Does this sound worth the effort & expense? <Not IMO> 2. Closed loop feed or from extra pump in MM sump? <Either/neither> I think that's all! Many thanks again  Cheers, Chris <I (and I bet you) wish you had space for a larger system... Bob Fenner>

Nano Reef Tanks  10/6/05 Dear Mr. Fenner, <He's not in at the moment can I take a message? I'm just teasing, this is Adam J with you tonight.> I love your book. It is very informative helpful. <Love that book myself, I read it to death. Seriously had to buy a new copy.> I have a 20gal. long aquarium that has been set up for 16 months,  that I am starting to turn into a reef tank. <Ooh, careful now reef tanks are addictive…but worth it.> The filtration is a Whisper Second  Nature Power Filter and an Aquaclear 200. The Whisper filter has a  whisper filter bag and a black sponge. The Aquaclear has 1 block of foam with the rest of the filter filled up with bioballs.  <I see no mention of a protein skimmer. In my opinion a protein skimmer is the most essential piece of equipment to a reef tank. Please look into one.> I also have a Rio 180  powerhead.  <Mmmm, in my experience these last about six months, and they are potentially dangerous. I have been shocked by four now.  I would look into a Maxijet 900 or 1200.> The total filtration is 350gph. The total water movement is 530gph.  My water chemistry is as follows Temperature is 81 degrees  F PH ~8.6 I am currently lower the pH to  8.2 Ammonia ? I ran out of the test kit for  ammonia. <Not likely to have any ammonia in a well established/cycled tank but you should get a re-fill for emergencies.> Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 I don't think that there is any ammonia since all of the other readings are zero and my 2 mushroom corals are doing  fine. <Yes, likely none.> I use reverse osmosis water for water changes and to top off the tank. My  lighting is 130watt compact fluorescent lighting fixture with 1 65watt   10,000K  daylight bulb and one 65watt true actinic 03.  <Sufficient lighting for most animals hosting zooxanthellae in a 20 gallon tank.> I do not have a  protein skimmer and was wondering if I need one, and if I do what kind would be  best for my tank. <Yes I would purchase one, I am fond of the Aqua-C remora for a hang on the back application.> I have 3 fish, 2 Ocellaris Clownfish ~ 1.5" and 1", and 1  Yellow Tailed Blue Damsel fish~ 1". I can remove the damsel to another system if  it ever becomes a problem.  <Good, definitely an eye on the damsel.> The tank has about 7lbs. of live rock <I would like to see at least DBL this in a reef tank of your size.> and some blue  leg hermit crabs. I also have a cleaner shrimp. This is my first reef tank  and I have the following questions. 1. How much live rock would I need to  keep a Mandarin Dragon? <In all honesty a dragonet would not be suitable for your tank. They need large established reef-tanks with at least 100 pounds of liverock.> 2. Do you know of any easier to keep  corals other than mushrooms. I am planning to get more mushrooms already, but  would like some variety. <Check out specimens in the Zoanthus sp. Tons of variety in size and color. Generally very easy to care for.> 3. Is a protein skimmer necessary for the corals I would like to keep. ( I want to stuff my tank with different  varieties of corals) <In my opinion a protein skimmer is necessary for 99% of marine tanks.  A skimmer would definitely help you maintain water stability a lot easier than without one.> 4. Would it be possible to keep any kind of stony coral in the future. <Most of those in the hobby defined "Long Polyped Stony" (LPS) variety would be open to you.> 5. Will my Clownfish ever become a mated pair? <Possibly, it can take up to a year for them to mate, and that's after they show initial interest in each other.  Check out Joyce Wilkerson's book "Clownfish" as well as the WWM FAQ's for more info.  To speed them up make sure they are fed a large variety of foods and stay "fat." It would also help if they were the only fish in the tank.> 6. Would it be a good idea to get a  rotating power head to replace the current one. I can't have both due to lack of  electrical outlets. <The few stand alone powerheads that are on the market have not been "perfected" yet. However I would replace the Rio 800 you currently have, as I mentioned above.> 7. Do you know an invertebrate that  would make a good center-piece to the tank. (I prefer bright, colorful and under  $35.) <As far as coral or motile inverts like crustaceans?  For coral a nice Euphyllia would be nice for your tank eventually. As far as motile invert, I am really fond of "reef-safe" shrimp.> Thanks lots for you're help, <No trouble at all.> MDM <Adam Jackson.>

Setting up a 75 gallon Mini-Reef 9/25/05 Hello WetWebbers, <Quack Quack, hello there friend!> my tank is finally up and running, I have 80 lbs of live sand in my 75 tank. I have a couple of questions about what to do now. I am going to purchase 76 lbs LR from FFE tonight, of a mixed variety (lalo, Tonga branch, and premium Fiji) is there a difference in cycling time for my new tank if I bought cured, or uncured rock. <Your cycling time will improve when using fully cured rock versus uncured rock. As for the rock you just ordered, make sure to aquascape properly using lots of open areas and minimal contact time with the rock and sand or (rock on rock). Additionally, kick up the water circulation as much as possible during the cycling phase. Basically, put as much water flow as you possibly can in there without kicking the sand up all over the place.> My LFS told me that my new hydrometer had to be broken in? and some bubbles go onto the pointer which causes it to rise, leading to unreliable results, and recommended brand of hydrometer. <For better salinity accuracy, look into purchasing a refractometer. These are very easy to use units and cost approximately 50-80 bucks from most reliable vendors.> Also which to put in tank first, inverts (cleanup crew) or fish, does it matter? <Clean up crew can go first, as a few weeks pass and all conditions are up to par, you can slowly begin adding one or two small fish every few weeks. Don't go overboard with the fish load. For a 75 gallon perhaps 1 medium sized fish and 3-5 small fish should be all, especially if you are a beginner.> I have about 1100 GPH flow rate and 6 watts per gallon 2 actinic blue and 2 actinic white all VHO, is this enough for a rose anemone? <The lighting should be okay for a rose. Do further research perhaps on additional water flow. Three or four additional MaxiJet 1200 powerheads should do the job just fine for your tank.> Also when the LR is cycling how often should I do water changes, and how many gallons should I change out. <During the initial cycling phase, you don't necessarily have to change much water. Once the cycle is complete, I would suggest a 40 or 50% water change, followed by weekly 10% water changes. Don't run your lights more than a few hours per day during the cycling phase.> I'm looking into the Eclipse 12 for my QT tank, what do you think? <Sounds good, great to hear you'll be setting up the QT tank!> That's all I can think of right now, thanks again, Clare. <No problem Clare. I'm glad to hear you're excited about this new system. Keep researching/learning and I'm sure it's going to turn out great! - Ali>

Sump, Overflow, wave maker, etc (setup advice)  9/23/05 Hello Bob and crew. It's me again. I just wanted some more advice and share recent decisions I've made. Decisions: - Invest in EuroReef CS5-2 skimmer - Purchase LifeReef overflow box instead of CPRs. New questions: - Should I go with a 20 high or long glass tank for the sump? What are the advantages of having a higher water level with the high or more surface area with the long? <Ability to fit in skimmer if tall... for the taller tank> - Need simple but working baffle design.  I'm not a very DIY guy but read that I can have home depot cut acrylic for me so all I need is to glue it on.  This is the only part I'm stuck in.  I guess I simply don't know how a baffle works.  I've seem some with foam and some without.  What is the foam for? <Mechanical filtration> Is the baffle area where you put your chemical media (i.e. carbon).  By the way are the PhosBan reactors really effective for phosphate control. <Can work... am a bigger fan of biological means> Thanks again, Anthony <Keep reading... Ozreef.org, Calfo's BOCP, our Reef Invertebrates book... Bob Fenner>

New Tank/More Reading  9/23/05 Hello, <Good morning Tony> I have a 50 gallon tank with 2 Fluval 403's and a SeaClone 100 skimmer, and I have just finished cycling the tank with damsels. <This is really not fair to the damsels.  There are other ways to do this that don't involve the mistreatment of fishes> I would like to make a reef tank.  How do I do this?  What do I add to the water weekly & monthly, water changes... how often? how do I keep the nitrates low?  Please give me detailed directions. Greatly appreciate it, Tony <Well Tony, there are not any "detailed directions" I can offer you just yet.  First you will need to search all throughout this site.  All of these issues are covered in great detail here.  What animals do you wish to keep?  Form a stocking plan and begin there. That will help you tremendously as much is subject to what you are housing.  Good luck - Josh>

Preliminary Qs  9/21/05 Hi Crew, <Hello> Many thanks for your previous fantastic advice.<You're welcome> I think the size of my system may have a significant influence on the answers here - any nano 'spurts about? I have a 60 litre (15ish US gals I think) marine tank with lots of LR, SeaClone skimmer (I know!!) & Fluval 203 canister (cleaned twice weekly) which has foam followed by carbon, RowaPhos, floss & finally more foam.  Inhabitants are 2 clowns, 1 scooter blenny (dragonet), 3 snails, 4 dwarf pygmy blue legged hermits & 1 porcelain/anemone crab. In addition to a few zoos & very small mushs etc.  Also currently a sea hare helping out with an algae bloom that I am hopefully seeing the dying stages of! I want to add a sump of about 20 - 30 litres (very space limited) below & to the side of main tank and a separate above tank refugium (10-20 litres) Sump - Purpose is to add volume & contain skimmer mainly but with space for chemical media (I want to dump the canister!) <OK, sounds good> 1. What turnover (throughput) rate should I be aiming for in the sump (if the answer is 10 times tank volume is this the vol of sump or main tank?) <main tank> in order to provide the most efficient skimming (or any other concerns) - flow and current are provided by powerheads in the main tank so this does not need to be taken into account (will be replaced eventually with a closed loop system) <Yes, 10X tank volume including powerheads in main tank.> 2. would I need any mechanical filtration (apart from the skimmer) - ie would a coarse prefilter be required? (regularly cleaned) or would the skimmer & LR be all that I need? <I would use some type of prefilter in the sump.> 3. Would filter socks with chem. Media (carbon & RowaPhos) be ok just dumped in the sump (in an area of reasonable flow) from an efficiency point of view? <Yes> Fuge - Purpose is to produce food (plankton & pods etc) (gravity return to main tank) & will probably have a small DSB (4-6") & LR rubble <Good> 1. same question as 1. above but for the fuge (bearing in mind small size & desire to culture strong pod population) <I'd go with a flow rate not more than 10X the fuge volume and baffle the incoming water so as not to stir everything up.> 2. will a DSB be worth it in a tank of 10-20 litres (total sys vol will be between 90-110 litres probably), will I see the benefit of this re denitrification? <The live rock should be enough.  I would consider adding Miracle Mud in the fuge.> 3. I am assuming I will need a small cleanup crew for the fuge (which will be on display) what is recommended & "pod safe"? <hermits, snails> Also, the main tank has been running just over a year & currently has 3/4" crushed coral (oh how we learn after the fact!!) I know this is a detritus trap & also know that It will need renewing - I want to rip this bed out & add a thin layer (1/2") of fine sand - I presume I can get on with this whenever but my main question here is around the critters& flora & fauna (bristle worms, small snails etc etc) that inhabit this bed currently - <I think I'd leave this alone, be next to impossible to just get the critters out.  They are helping in keeping that bed free of detritus.> 1. I am assuming I don't really want to lose them in the change & would like them to transfer to the new sand bed either in the main tank or in the fuge? 2. how would I accomplish this transition? <Do you know any illusionists?  Be difficult to say the least, my friend.> 3.  I have heard of people suspending their old substrate in a sock above the new bed to allow the critters to exit & take up residence in the new bed, does this work? <Interesting.  Don't know but it would be worth a try.> Please do throw me other issues/ideas to think on & add to the mix <Your plan sounds good as is.> Briefly on the topic of the sea hare - he is about 3" long & has just about run out of algae to eat after almost clearing my tank within a week (he will be returned to the LFS as agreed in the not so distant future).  How long will this fella be ok for without deliberate feeding? <They will starve to death without algae.  I'm guessing 7 to 10 days max.> & at which point should I return him? <When the food supply is exhausted.>I don't want to either return him too early only to see a return of algae or starve him to death! - I need the balance. Many thanks in anticipation of your response - I'll get on with the design & no doubt flash more ideas/questions past you in due course. <Good luck with your plan.  Also search WWM, keyword "nanoreefs".  May find more info there and also in "refugiums". James (Salty Dog)> Cheers   Chris
Re: Preliminary Qs  9/21/05
Hi James (salty dog), Many thanks for the quick reply, could you just clarify one point for me please - In relation to point 1 below - it is the throughput of water (into the sump from the overflow on the main tank and pumped back up to the main tank) that I'm after really - I currently have 2 600lph powerheads in the main tank (1200lph = 20x tank vol)(in addition to the canister return) so flow & current is fine I think.  What I want to establish is the optimum flow through the sump in order to achieve settling of muck and optimum skimming.  This is bearing in mind that the tank will be a 12" x 12" column 18" tall (approx)(unconventional shape/size  due to the space available) with one large baffled chamber & I think if I have 10 x (main) tank volume (600lph) the water will flow through so swiftly there will be little opportunity for detritus settlement but if its too slow I assume my skimmer will suffer? <Skimmers only remove large particles by chance.  Their job is to remove dissolved nutrients.  Your skimmer will not suffer.> Although this said, I think really I am aiming to have detritus settle in the fuge to be recycled into food organisms - however it would be easy to hoover muck out of the sump regularly - am I on the right track? <You are on the right track my friend.  James (Salty Dog)> Again - many thanks      Chris

Stocking Order For 200L Reef Tank - 09/17/05 Hi There, <<Howdy>> I have a couple of questions. <<ok>> Briefly, I've kept freshwater tanks and am setting up my first reef tank.  It's 200 L with a 40L sump utilizing Miracle Mud and Caulerpa.  I cannot decide whether to skim or not - conflicting advice on the net, but have a Tunze skimmer so can go either way. <<Interesting you bring this up.  I've attended two seminars just today by Anthony Calfo and Eric Borneman respectively (I'm currently attending the MACNA conference) where this was discussed.  Current thought is this...no, you don't need a skimmer to be successful...yes, it is highly recommended you use one.  A protein skimmer is a wonderful filtration/export device, and an excellent safety net...USE THE TUNZE. Flow rate through the sump will be about 13x with another 4-6x in the tank. <<A word of caution...13x turnover through your sump will be a pain to plumb so it doesn't make horrendous noise, splash, bubbles, etc..  I highly recommend you reduce turnover through the sump to 3x-4x tank volume, and utilize alternate methods to produce flow in the tank (closed-loop, Stream pumps, etc.).>> Lighting is a 150W MH with two 55w power compacts and blue actinics. <<ok>> Kalkwasser will be dosed through the top up system and RO water used to make up saltwater. <<very good>> Everything should be up and running over the next month or so. The order of stock additions etc. is important as due to my location everything that goes in has postage, shipping costs, sometimes significant - e.g. a soft coral may cost the equivalent of $20 but 24 hour delivery is $60 so optimizing deliveries and orders is important. <<Understood...and not an uncommon problem for many folks. >> My planned schedule is as follows: Set everything up with RO water and run for a few days to check hardware, etc.  Add salt, run for a few days, add Caulerpa, Run for a few days.  Order Liverock 20kg cured - would I get away with 48hr delivery on this? <<Can do, quite common for rock shipments. >> Run for a week or so. <<Mmm...cured or not there will be die-off, you will need to let the tank cycle before adding livestock.>> Order cleaners, 50 red/blue legs, 24 astrea/cerith snails, brittle star, 2x peppermint shrimp 2x cleaner shrimp.  Can these all go in together?  At this time? <<Can go in together...once the tank cycles.>> Run until everything has settled down.  I intend to add corals (loose use of term) - easy species, non-aggressive <<They ALL are aggressive to some extent my friend.  Everything competes for space on the reef.>>, (selection criteria based on information from this and other sites but mostly from books by Fenner, Tullock and Knop) a clam or two, and eventually, a pair of Ocellaris clowns <<No anemone I hope.>>, 2x Banggai Cardinals, a 6-line wrasse (for the clams), a mandarin (after many months when hopefully the Mud and substrate is teeming with copepods). <<It is my opinion this tank is too small (not enough useable/suitable strata) regardless how long it is up.>> Is this too much fish? <<I don't think so...other than the mandarin being unsuitable.>> So.. at what point can I start adding corals?  Clams?  Can I add them all together?  (to reduce shipping costs) or is that putting all my eggs in the one basket? <<Do you have adequate quarantine facility?  If so, order all and quarantine, then stagger (a few days to a week) their introduction to the display.>> Fish? <<Same protocol>> Anyway if you get to answer this, thanks for your time. David <<Get those books David and start reading...Regards, EricR>>

Re-200L Reef Tank - 09/18/05 Hi Eric, <<Hello David>> Thanks for the quick reply and sound advice.  See quotation below from the support at EcoSystem re: turnover.  I guess I will start it all up and then arrive at the rate that gives the best compromise. "Hi David- Circulation WITHIN the EcoSystem 2nd chamber needs to about at least 10-12x the tank volume. I prefer 15x....so make sure that that is the flow rate going into the EcoSystem.  The high flow rate of the EcoSystem is based on the unique design of the filter boxes that requires high enough flow rate to achieve the unique vortex cycling over the MM bed that determines the high filtering capacity of the MM as a filter substrate.  (note that EcoSystem as a filter does NOT need help from other filter if set up correctly)  The water flow/circulation of your tank truly is determined by your corals.  Some corals need high turbulence which can be achieved with multiple powerheads and of course state of the art wave-makers.  But for the most part a general rule of thumb in the plumbing setup for an Ecosystem is make sure that your return pump is 500 gph greater than the desired flow rate (of again 10-12 or in my opinion 15x the tank volume) to compensate for flow reduction from friction and distance.  Then utilize power heads and other equipment to increase circulation to the noted 20x turnover rate in the tank itself or truly to eliminate any dead/stagnant part. Valerie Tann EcoSystem" You can see why confusion reigns.... <<Ah yes...I didn't realize you were using an EcoSystem sump.  Definitely follow the manufacturer's instructions re, like you say, you can make adjustments later.>> Everything else is fine, a pity about the Mandarin though... <<Agreed...lovely and fascinating creatures.  But for the vast majority of hobbyists, best left in the ocean I'm afraid.>> and no, I don't plan an anemone. <<Excellent to hear my friend.>> I can increase the size of my quarantine tank but if I quarantine corals for such a period would I need to use intense lighting on the quarantine tank too? <<Absolutely not...normal output florescent bulbs will do nicely for this purpose, just be sure to acclimate the corals to the light in the display when the time comes.>> Actually I have the books and they are well thumbed at this stage :) <<G'donya mate...keep reading/learning/enjoying/sharing.>> Thanks for your time, David <<Tis a pleasure, EricR>>

Tank set up  9/13/05 I am interested in a VERY low maintenance tank. <Aren't we all!> I currently have a  17 gallon reef. Can I change over to a 60 gallon cube but not go totally reef? <Yes> Keep the population to a few mushrooms, a few fish, maybe a couple clowns,  pygmy angel and a goby or two. A bubble coral and a shrimp or two. Would I have to  go with 60 lbs. live rock? <It would be more ideal for what you want to do>I guess what I'm asking is can I have a semi-reef  tank using more conventional fish only filtration combined with live rock and  sand as long as I'm keeping easier animals? <Yes again> I realize my lighting would need to  be appropriate. Money is not really an issue. <Good, send me some.  My daughter just got married Saturday.:)> Maintenance and long term success   are more important. What would you suggest. I travel a lot and the tank I have  now is to hard to get people to take care of and too small not to have some daily  maintenance i.e....evaporation. What can you suggest. <Debra, the larger the tank, the better off you are.  Problems happen slower in larger tanks, gives you more time to react to a problem.  If I was in your shoes, I would go with a minimum of 55 gallons.  I would use a hang on refugium with lighting, a Rena XP-2 canister filter using Chemi-Pure as the media, two additional powerheads for a total circulation of 600 gph.  The Rena pumps approximately 300gph so two powerheads capable of 150gph are needed, and last but not least a good protein skimmer, preferably a Remora hang on.  I mention this skimmer because I feel it is one of the easiest to maintain and it's a plug and play. Good luck Debra.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you Debra Jansen

First reef tank  9/13/05 Hi guys, I know this is a fairly typical question as I've been reading over the FAQs all day, but I'm hoping you won't mind commenting on my specific plans. I think I've finally talked the hubby into letting me set up a saltwater tank (I thought I became an adult and got a job so I could get more fish without having to talk anyone into it? *sigh* ). I've kept FOWLR before (had to sell when I started college), but never photosynthetic inverts. I'm thinking about: *40 gal breeder tank (36x18x16) *2 powerheads (~400 gph each) *Bak Pak 2 skimmer (with occasional Chemi-Pure) *Coralife Aqualight PC fixture with 96 watt actinic and 96 watt 10,000 K *1 firefish or fathead Anthias (or possibly both and skip the angel below) *1 C. argi (or not, see above) *1 Pseudochromis springeri *1 yellow clown goby *1 tail spot blenny *2-3 peppermint shrimp *10 scarlet reef hermits *10 margarita or astrea snails *1-2 Tridacna clams *1-2 feather dusters *star polyps (will research specific species closer to time) *mushrooms (ditto above) *Caulerpa (to aid with nutrient removal) *45+ lbs. LR *4" sand bed I'm hoping to add all fish in the 1" or less range. The tank would be set up in this order (with maybe a minimum of one week between additions, total time to set up in the six month range): 1) tank, skimmer/powerheads, sand, saltwater, 2) live rock, 3) higher inverts, goby, blenny, 4) feather duster, Anthias and/or firefish, 5) corals, 6) Pseudochromis and angel, 7) clam. I'll be doing weekly 5 gallon water changes which I'm hoping will negate the necessity for much supplementation (I'll observe calcium and alkalinity levels). Daily feedings will be with Selcon-soaked frozen foods and phytoplankton. I'm hoping to buy captive-bred/aqua-cultured where possible (Pseudochromis, goby, clam, etc.).  Only non-optional critter is the springeri (that's the hubby's fish choice). My choice is the clam(s), but even that could be sacrificed if necessary. I specifically chose small fish species so I could have more variety, but will I still be overstocked with the five fish I mention? Thanks very much for your time! I hope you guys are having a good weekend. Laura >>>Hello Laura, First off, the amount of light you propose is not sufficient for some of the tridacnids. For your setup, I recommend T. squamosa as they tend to do well in lower light situations. Green star polyps, mushrooms, pipe organ coral, various zooanthids and such will do just fine under those lights. Add the Argi LAST. This is one of my favorite little reef fish, but they can be holy terrors! Caution with the Dottyback along the same lines as well. You may have to rearrange the rockwork when adding the last of these two fish. A far better choice would be P. fridmani. They are a brilliant magenta, MUCH more calm, and can be kept in a pair in a tank that size. Try and talk your hubby into this species instead. ;) I recommend skipping the Anthias in a tank that size, but you should be fine with 4 small fish. Keep in mind, the angel may prove to be too aggressive at some point, although I've had good luck with them. Unfortunately your one "non-optional" fish is probably the one that will cause you the most problems. Dottybacks, with the exception of fridmani, do not mix well with other fish in smaller tanks. Aside from that point, our stocking order seems fine. Best of luck! Jim<<<

Sump, Overflow, wave maker, etc (setup advice)  9/9/05 Hello Crew, <Anthony> I've read all i can comprehend to the point of confusion <Stop! This doesn't make sensu dictu...> about setting up a reef tank (mostly softies).  I thought it best to enumerate what i have so far and what I need recommendations on. What I have: 1. 60g 48"acrylic with 80# live rock (4 ft head from ground) - no built-in overflow 2. current usa 48" 260 total watts PC retrofit 3. Arctica 1/10 hp chiller (not yet installed) 4. Aqua C Remora hang-on skimmer 5. Fluval 404 canister filter What i want to do in order of priority: 1. Install the chiller which requires 240-960 gph 2. Pump: The Mag 7 (700 gph) is what I'm planning on.     BUT: 3. I'm considering a return to SCWD or Sea-Swirl. Would this affect the flow by much?   <Mmm, yes...> And  which would you recommend.  I think I can get rid of 2 powerheads with the SCWD - it's cheaper and won't get in the way of the Fluval canister return. <Okay> 4. I'm not a very DIY kind of guy and I'm thinking of replacing my canister with a Berlin style sump (nothing fancy like a refuge).  My purpose is freeing up space in the main tank from heaters, skimmers, canister hoses. <One of a few important advantages> 5. I would need an overflow box. Should I go with the CPR 50 (300 gph up to 60g) or the next size CPR 90 (600 gph up to 124g)? <The larger... two even if it were me/mine> 6. The Berlin Sump BS-1 ($135) is what I had in mind but it's only a 12g sump which is advertised as being sufficient for up to 125g. <... a disaster in the making... not enough volume... for even just transit volume problems... the amount of water "in play" while the pump is on/off... go larger, the bigger the better> Is this too small to accommodate water from the overflow during power failure (i have a 60g tank). The bigger one is far to expensive for me to consider. <Bingo... consider making one, buying a container and modifying... saving up> Or should I just use an old 20g high glass tank.  But I don't know how to set it up with some mechanical filtration and a place for carbon. <Lots of places for help here... read on Ozreef.org re plans> 7. Back to the pump. would the 700 gph still work with the chiller and sump. Won't I need the right gph to avoid overflow problems. <Uh, yes... you can throttle down (valve) the discharge/s... but better to not way over-shoot your needs/wants> 8. Also since I have a relatively small tank is 1/2 flexible tubing be good enough or should I go with 5/8" especially if I go with the sump <Bigger...> 9. One last question about the sump. Other than the benefits I mentioned are there others that may be of use when I become a seasoned reef keeper? <Heeeeeeeeee! Keep reading, thinking my friend... and keep good notes. You'll do fine. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sump, Overflow, wave maker, etc (setup advice)  9/9/05
Bob, <Anthony> Thanks so much for taking time responding to all my questions.  Though I wasn't clear on your answer regarding the right pump (gph?) for what I'm planning: Is 700 gph ok? <Yes> 60g main 20g sump 600gph overflow box 1/10 in-line chiller (240-1000gph) 4 ft head Also, can I use my aqua-c hang-on skimmer on the sump. <If you baffle, back up the water to a constant level...> What mods do I need. Should I extended the pump hose?  And would it be as good as a remora sump version? Thanks, Anthony <... please see WWM re skimmers (Aqua-C), sumps... Bob Fenner>

Live rock cycle jumpstart? Foundation equipment - 7/31/05 Hi guys, hope all's been well. <Hi Jon, Ali here> I have another question for you. (obviously)  I am setting up another tank.  It is a 140 gallon with so far a mag 350 and several powerheads, and 150 lbs of Aragamax. <Is this a reef or a fish only with live rock??> I will add more filtration, probably a sump soon, I was just trying to get a jump on cycling the tank. <If you plan on keeping corals, dump the mag 350, add the sump and a heavy duty skimmer. Read up on the Euroreef, AquaC models and invest in a good quality RO/DI water filtration system. Additionally consider having at least a 3-4" sandbed with the Aragamax. To achieve this, 300 pounds of sand will more than likely be needed.> But, my question is this:  I purchased 100lb of live rock, from an online store that I have used many times.  I never got an ammonia spike, or any change in ammonia at all for that matter.  On previous tanks I was usually off the charts within a day or two. Any advice would be appreciated. I have enjoyed your site for many years, your teams wisdom is impressive. <You want to jump start your cycle? Why? Stability is extremely important and generally nothing good ever comes from jump starting something in a saltwater aquarium. Add the sand bed, fill your tank up with properly filtered RO/di saltwater, add as much current/circulation as you can, add your live rock and let your tank 'run' with just the sand and rock for a good 2 months at least (keep your lights on no more than 3 to 5 hours a day during this time). Even if your levels appear to read low, maintain the tank for the full two months as stated above. After this time, test your water, and begin adding animals,...slowly. Once again, remember to invest in the skimmer and RO/di filter. These two items shouldn't be looked at as add-ons or upgrades. They should be looked at as foundation equipment, just as important as the main aquarium itself.> Thanks in advance.  Jon <Good luck Jon! Keep reading/researching and enjoy your new system - Ali>

Reef Aquarium Set-up 7/30/05 Hi there! <<Hello - Ted here>> I'd firstly like to congratulate you on a site that is packed full of information - reading through some of it has finally given me the inspiration I needed to set up a larger marine tank of my own - its awesome! :)<<Thanks for the feedback.>> So, I'm currently in the process of setting up a 60 gallon tank, with a 20 gallon sump, incorporating 3 sections - refugium, skimmer and return. My first question is about the cycling process for a refugium setup. I have cycled a tank with plastic biomedia before and fully understand the cycling process - is the cycling process exactly the same for refugium setup? i.e. drop in a few shrimps, and away you go? <<The cycling process is identical.>> To kickoff the cycle, what would you think about just stocking it full with about 20 kg.s of uncured live rock?? <<Cycling a system with live rock is good method.>> Will it start getting a bit messy and require way too many water changes?<<How messy and how many water changes would depend. How fresh is the live rock? The less time the live rock is out of water, the better the chances that organisms will survive the relocation to you new setup. Decaying material in the live rock feeds the cycle and the more decaying matter, the stronger the odor of decay and the more water changes.>> One last question - I live in Australia, and am finding it almost impossible to get hold of any Chaetomorpha for my fuge - is this species of macroalgae unique to certain areas or should it exist on all coral reefs?<<There are several species of Chaetomorpha. The one most commonly found in home reef systems in C. linum. It is also called spaghetti algae>> If I still have no success obtaining Chaetomorpha, what is your opinion on Caulerpa?? How high is the risk of it going sexual and leaching nutrients back into the wate?<<If the goal is nutrient export, then I would use Chaetomorpha. It does not have the issues that Caulerpa does. Caulerpa can go sexual with excessive growth or changes in lighting. It is simpler to use Chaetomorpha. Many successful systems use Caulerpa so if you can't find Chaetomorpha anywhere, go ahead and use Caulerpa.>> Thank you so much for your time. <<You're welcome!>> Paul <<Cheers - Ted>>

Creating The PERFECT Reef System 7/29/05 Hello, love the site.  I am currently running a successful 20-gallon reef. <Glad to hear that! Scott F. here today!> I'm going to upgrade to a 40 breeder, maybe a 54-gallon corner AGA in the near future.  I was wondering how you would go about setting up the new tank if money was no object? (Can't let my wife see this post -) <Ahh...if money were not object...! Well, my answer might surprise you. I'd probably avoid a ridiculously huge system, as maintenance is tougher, regardless of how much cash you have! I mean, a water change is a water change! I think it's better to build a more modest sized system (under 300 gallons or so) and simply design and equip it in a way that accomplishes your goals.> Sump or not? <I am an absolute believer in sumps for almost any sized reef system. The versatility and benefits of sumps are well-documented and are very real. Definitely the way to go, IMO.> Lighting?   <Really depends on the animals you intend to keep. Some corals can get by on ordinary fluorescent bulbs. Others have difficulty in thriving under all but the highest wattage metal halides. Do your research and plan the lighting (and other hardware/system parameters) around the animals you intend to keep.> DSB or Plenum? <Maybe a DSB...Maybe a Shallow Sand Bed...Maybe Bare Bottom with a remote sandbed...Maybe a "Rubble Bottom"...Lots of possibilities...Again, choose the methodology that you believe in, and that benefits your animals the most.> Skimmer? <The best one that you can afford. Euroreef, Aqua C, and Deltec are my personal favorites, but there are many others. You don't need to spend a fortune, but you do need to get a very capable, very high quality skimmer. DON'T skimp on skimmer quality. It's the backbone of your system, IMO> Additives? <Regular water changes will provide all of the additives that most of us will ever need! maybe Kalkwasser, if the need arises.> Circulation, etc. <Another one of those "It depends upon the animals that you intend to keep" answers! I'd design the tank for maximum flow capabilities through a water return manifold, a closed loop, Tunze Streams, etc. Even if you choose not to utilize the high flow rates that these systems can provide, you will have the capability should your goals change. Flexibility is important. If you're like most of us reef geeks, you WILL change direction at some point!> Also curious what is your opinion of the SeaClear Ready to Run System 2 Acrylic Tanks - the ones with the "built in" wet/dry filter in the back. <I have used these tanks in the past, and although they have their advantages, I dislike them for reef systems. In my opinion, they have a number of important limitations. Specifically, they make placement of a more capable skimmer difficult (with the possible exception of some hang-on-the back models), and they have limited space in rear "sump". I'd remove the bioballs, and I think that the return pumps are a bit on the weak side for many reef applications. Finally, I find the profile of these tanks to be too narrow. I like low, wide tanks, so these don't do it for me! Don't get me wrong. They are quality, well-built systems. I just don't find them appropriate for my uses. On the other hand, I have a friend who did a magnificent Seahorse/Seagrass environment with one of these tanks, and it was perfect. My final piece of advice is the same thing I've repeated throughout this response: Do your planning for your new tank based upon the animals that you intend to keep. If you want to keep SPS corals, plan a tank and hardware that provides maximum flow and lighting. If you're trying to replicate an environment for non-photosynthetic corals, design a system that takes into account their specific requirements. There is no ONE perfect system or methodology. The very best tanks that I have seen were not always the ones where the hobbyist invested $10,000-$20,000 in high tech equipment. The best systems are the ones where the hobbyist had a clear goal in mind, and set out to develop a system for the animals that he/she intended to keep. Sometimes, throwing money out there is not the answer. Planning, good quality equipment, great husbandry, and careful observation (along with a healthy dose of common sense) are all that is needed to create the "perfect" system! Good luck to you! Regards, Scott F>

Starting new tank 7/25/05 Hello Salty Dog.<Hello> I meant that I have a hexagonal flat back tank. It is 60"x18"x18". Is this an alright sized tank to house a tang? You probably thought that I had those traditional hexagonal tank with minimal space, but before I go out and buy the tang I want to make sure. Thanks. <It will be fine as long as there are no other fish that will attain the size of the tang.  James (Salty Dog)> WWM FAQ Crew <crew@mail.wetwebmedia.com> wrote: Starting new tank hello crew. I have a 90 gallon hexagonal flat back with two built in overflow draining into a wet/dry system (don't know what brand). the wet/dry system in turn pumps water into my ETSS evolution 500 which is powered by a mag 9.5. outflowing water will enter a 20 gallon tank, which I will be using as a refugium, then water returns back into the tank. I have an estimated 644 watts in power compact lighting and 110 watt VHO. My intent is to have corals. At least one Acropora. maybe about 150# live rock. 2" sand bed. numerous blennies, gobies, Chromis( mainly small fish) and maybe a tang, some sand stirrers. No money for a calcium reactor yet, and I'm kind of iffy on using it. seems complicated. I was just wondering if I can dose calcium supplements manually. Would it be a problem for the corals? , or is a calcium reactor a must have for a reef system. Tank water will be moved by 4 maxi-jet 1200. well, anything else you think I would need to run a reef tank?

Lighting and coral coloration Hi there ,    I have several q's regarding Reef Lighting. My q's are as follows; 1) Is it necessary to have actinic lightings at all for Reef Aquarium? << Not necessary, but it sure makes them look better.  Many people would rather have the actinics than have the white lights. >> 2) I am currently using 2X24W T5HO Coral Blue ( Blue tubes not Actinic) from AQUALIGHT , and 2 x24W T5HO 20,000K white tubes . Is this combination okay for a 25 Gal tank of all LPS? << I actually think this is okay. >> 3) I recall seeing somewhere on WWM that the 10,000k white tubes are preferred to 20,000K for certain reasons, if I replace my current 20000k tubes with 10,000k , will it be better Combi? << It will look much brighter, and probably give you much better growth.  Maybe not as good of color, but better growth. >>   My other q's is pertaining to coral colouration. I have a Blastomussa wellsi that appears blue the moment I just turn on my blue lighting( and no, the pigment of the Blasto is blue , not due to the lighting) , as it expands when my daylight is on , it starts to turn dull brown...I suspect this was due to my high nitrate level of 40ppm initially . I manage to lower it to 20ppm currently and is still diligently bringing to 0ppm. Will the blue pigment of the Blasto be able to come back one fine day? << Yes, but lighting has a big impact.  I would just let it be whatever color it wants to be.  Nothing you can really do about it. >> Is there anything that I can do to improve the UV pigment to regenerate? << I think higher Kelvin bulbs helps. >>    Yours Sincerely,    Alex <<  Blundell  >>

Lighting for reef aquarium LOVE your site! <I like it a lot> I'm finally upgrading from a 55 gallon marine tank to a 120 (2' x 2' x 4') in two weeks--YAY!!!. <Exciting!> I'd like to set it up so that I can grow a few soft corals or other colorful reef life for visual interest.  I have a number of Discosoma and numerous small feather dusters (samacina?) that are flourishing and reproducing, as well as purple-red coralline growth that has spread to every inch of the 60-plus pounds of seed rock exposed to light (all this in just a year).  My Zoanthus never did seem to do very well, regardless of the intensity of light they received.  I'm currently using two bulbs:  a 40W 50/50 reef/sun and a generic 40W 6500K, along with some daily sun exposure from 72 square feet of glass panels overhead (the Discosoma love that). <Yes... though this is very little light> This is why I'd like to set up the 120 tank with lighting that will work for all-around reef purposes without resorting to MH or VHO.  I believe that I can install up to six 48" fluorescents in the space over the tank.  At 40 watts each, that's 240 watts total, or just 2 watts per gallon.  I wonder if the standard ballasts would handle 65W bulbs? <Some will> I could get an additional 150W that way, achieving just over 3W/gallon. <Mmm< If you were limited to six 48" fluorescent bulbs, what combination would you recommend? <All "white" of at least 5,500 Kelvin rating, 92 + CRI... but I wouldn't go this route>   And......based on your bulb recommendations, what types of reef life would be a good bet to introduce?  I'm sure I'll be limited as to what will do well under those lighting conditions.  The tank will be in the same spot as the 55G, so the daily direct sun exposure (1 hour) will continue. <Too much to answer here... there are within groups like soft and stony corals, species that would do okay to well under a given light intensity... depending on where placed in the water column, fed ancillarily...> Another question.  Several manufacturers produce black light and "black light-blue" fluorescents.  I imagine they don't necessarily contribute to reef health, and eliminating another bulb to incorporate this would reduce the overall useful spectrum wattage, but would a single one of these provide any viewing benefit? <They are of minimal benefit functionally or aesthetically> Finally, a question on compact fluorescents (screw-in type replacements for incandescent bulbs).  Many put out up to 75W and 6500K.  It seems that I could fit many more of these 6500K bulbs in the same space as the 40" tubes.    Would there be any measurable benefit to the reef by going with these compacts? <Much better... I would keep investigating here... and go with either a system of boosted fluorescents (HO, VHO, CF, T-5's) or a couple of metal halides... you will be "shooting yourself in the proverbial foot" otherwise... Normal output fluorescents will not get you either the look or what you want to keep, do. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Dan

New Reef Tank Setup I am in the process of designing a new reef tank.  I currently have a 36 gallon (bow front) reef and although it has provided me with a vast amount of knowledge I feel that it is time to set up a better system.  The tank will be a 55 gallon (36x18x20) that has an internal overflow.  So my first question is how big should the drain and returns be to not have to use powerheads in the tank and what size pump?  I plan on having water drain to a sump where the skimmer and heater will be and then pumped back into the tank.  So basically all filtration will be accomplished with live rock and a skimmer.  Is it possible to do a bare bottom tank?  My local fish store uses this method with great success.  Lighting will consist of four 96 watt compacts which I think will light the tank nicely.  Now when all the equipment is ready to go and I start transferring rock from the old tank is it possible to lightly scrub off undesirable algae in a bucket of saltwater before putting it in the new tank?  Now for the real issue.  I have a mantis shrimp living in the rock.  How do I flush it out of the rock so he does not take residence in the new tank?  Thank you for your time. <Hello, MikeB here.  I would suggest running some power heads in the tank regardless of how much filtration or turnover you have in your sump.  It is good to have a high water flow so detritus does not settle onto the corals and live rock.  Generally, I would like to turn over my tank 5-7 times an hour with ten being optimum.  That is not always practical though.  A bare bottom tank is achievable there are just different things to look for.  Try doing a search for Berlin style reef keeping.  That should answer most of your questions.  As far as the algae goes.  I have done your suggested method before with great success.  If your tank is healthy and the Phosphate is low then it will be hard for the undesirable algae to grow back.  Good Luck. MikeB.>

Reef set-up and operation Hello, First I must say that this is a very informative site, I have found lots of useful information on here. I have been running my 55 gallon saltwater aquarium successfully for 2 months now.  I previously had it running for over a year until "the great tank crash of 04 which involved an angry ex and bleach *cringes* <Yeeikes!> After all of that I re-designed my tank and decided to go for a reef tank. most of my equipment is DIY: I built my own overflow which is a drain pipe, not a box, its works great, and is very quiet. my sump is a DIY.  its a 10 gallon aquarium.  I basically divided it in 1/2 the first 1/2 has a drip plate followed by my chemical media (PhosBan and Purigen) then various media (lava, ceramic, sand, PVC rings)  The other 1/2 holds my heater, skimmer, UV pump, and return Pump.  I have read UV is not needed, I only got it because I got a great deal on it (32$ for a 13watt) my return pump is a 500gpa Sen pump, I have read they make a nice pump.  I understand 500 gph (probably more like 250 - 300 after the route back up) is not enough flow for reef so I invested in a oscillating power head rated at 270 gph. (it also acts as in-tank mechanical filtration)  and then of course my lighting.  I built a wooden canopy and use standard all glass lids.  my lighting is 1 96watt 50/50 power compact bulb and 1 250 watt 10k metal halide bulb the fixtures are both DIY I bought bulbs wires reflectors and ballasts separate.  I also have a 1 watt white led for moon light.  That is the current extent of my system.  I plan to add a refugium and use only life rock in my sump in the future.  I understand this is the best way (with water changes) to keep nitrates down and finish the nitrogen cycle. <Yes, among other benefits>   As far as additives all  I use is B-Ionic and Combi-San My question to you is:  Is all of this equipment enough, my chemistry is almost perfect, 1.022 spg   8.4 ph  great buffering steady 450 ppm of calcium, nitrates are lowering (from 80 - 40ppm) Is this all sufficient or am I missing something, thanks in advance Zach <Sounds like a very nice system. Bob Fenner>

Reef Setup question Dear Bob, <Hi Peter, MacL here with you this fine and lovely evening!> I apologize in advance if my question has been answered before, I tried my best looking through FAQs but could not find it.<They are getting big and lots of information there but its always good to just ask!> I'm getting a 55 gal tank this weekend and want to start it as FOWLR eventually switching (as soon as I can afford the lights) to reef. <You'll be happy with either I think.> I'm planning to use AquaC Remora protein skimmer, 4-5 inches DSB and 45-55 pounds of live rock (sump is not an option due to lack of space; I also want to keep the design as simple as possible because I have no experience maintaining complex systems). Do you think this will provide sufficient filtration for a reef or should I add a power filter? <I would recommend some independent power heads for the reef and you might need them earlier if you put a heavy fish load.>  If so, what kind of filter would you recommend for this set-up? I noticed that you try to avoid pitching specific product/brand but please make exception in this case for I have no experience with reef whatsoever. <We do that because we can only speak to products we have had personal experiences with. I can't tell you about a product that I have never used. I would suggest that you check out the many boards discussions on different brands of things.> Also is it necessary to add iodine and the rest of trace elements for live rock to flourish or should I wait till I get the corals in there?<You will replace all the trace elements necessary by doing water changes.>  By the way, in choosing between Dr. Foster & Smith's Select Fiji Premium Live Rock and Select Lalo Live Rock which one would you personally go for (never mind the price, I rather pay little more but succeed with the reef)? <They have a different look so its really personal preference, there is also some lovely Marshall Island Rock out there and of course the cultivated live rock from some of the businesses down in Florida like Gulfview. I suggest you take a look at the different types and see what really appeals most to you.> Thank you, I greatly appreciate you answers. <Great to hear from you Peter. Hope this helped, if not email me back and we will go more in-depth. MacL> Peter

135 reef set-up Hi, how's it going down there? <Good! and yourself?> Hope all is well. Were just setting up My 135 gallon tank, my parents have been putting up with me for the last couple months about getting the 135 going. I've had a 55 gallon fish only for a bout 8 months and all has gone well with it. I am planning the 135 to become a reef and would like for you guys to read over my final fish and setup list.<No problem.> Having a saltwater aquarium has really helped with grade 10 science.<You would be surprised how much science there is in fish keeping.> It's amazing how many subjects can be related with aquariums, really quite amazing. Hopefully, I want to go to UVIC (University of Victoria B.C. Canada) and take my marine biology degree. Anyway, back to my question here are my setup questions: 135 gallon glass aquarium 27 refugium with DSB and macroalgae 20 gallon sump quiet one 4000, the flow will be around 7-800 gph in the tank will pump a return manifold with this pump. Don't know if I should just use powerheads? <Power heads in the tank will be a good idea, I would consider it a must.> 0.5 -1 inch of sugar sand in tank will have all soft corals, no interest in hard.   Lighting will be a 48 and 24 inch PC with lunar lights. With about 400 watts of light. The tank is only 18" high so I feel this will help with light issues. <I think that is a little on the light side.  Make sure you only have lower light corals and you will be fine.> The stock I would like are as follows: Scopas tang (already have) 2 false Perculas (have 1) coral beauty (already have and will put some corals in 55 for temptation might stay in 55) royal Gramma can you have them in groups? <I don't recommend it.> school of yellow Chromis 3-5 6 or eight line wrasse 3-5 Amblygobius hectori chevron tang and maybe a couple of cherub angels if the coral beauty just go in. What do you think? <I think this would be o.k. for the tank.  Don't put all the fish in at once and you should be fine.>  Will this work out in the long run? <Yes, as long as you don't add any more fish than that.> I won't be upgrading my tank again (that's what they all say right?)<Nope, just me..> hope this works. Thanks for your time Tristan <Tristan, your set up sounds good.  There is no mention of a protein skimmer.  I would hope that you would have one in mind for this setup and you are on the right track.  Good  Luck!!! MikeB>

Lighting options for a 30 gallon reef? - 11/17/04 Hey Guys I am planning to set up a Coral Tank. The tank is approximately 30 gallons and is 20 inches deep (about 50 cm.s). Would I need to have metal halides for these? <Wallace, this is entirely based on what type of animals and corals one keeps. More specifically the corals. For corals I like metal halide (PFO is great brand that I highly recommend. We use them at the Monterey Bay Aquarium on a few tanks and I personally use them as well).> Or are 4 fluoros enough ? (e.g.. 2xactinic, 2xwhites). What if I hold Clams? <For clam keeping and SPS corals I would recommend at least one 250 metal halide (best bet) or 400 metal halide (a little overkill but wouldn't hurt if you can keep the tank cool). More than likely the 250 HQI PFO pendant or retrofit will work for you again, depends on what else you will keep but if you want to keep any species of clam available then this would be your best bet. If you don't have the money then a good amount of power compacts would probably suffice.> Thanks <Thank you for being part of it all. ~Paul>

Reef Setup Tips thank you for such a quick response to my question!! I did find out today that what I found in my tank is indeed a bristle worm and also found out that they can be harmful if allowed to grow too large, so I'll just have to keep my eye out. thank you again. one more question though if don't mind, please. I've had my marine aquarium up for about 8 months and also have a FW setup that I've had for about two years. I am interested in maybe starting a reef tank. any helpful hints to the beginner. my tank is a 54 gallon corner tank. I have a red sea skimmer and an Eheim 2215. any suggestions on how to get started and any extra filtration I might need? thank you much. your website is great guys!! >>>Hmmm...well rather than write you the tome of an email it would take to tackle this subject in detail, I suggest you start by purchasing one of the many good books that are out there now. As far as a few tips go -  1. Don't skimp on the lighting trying to save money. Get the lights you really want when you start off, otherwise you just end up spending much more money in the long run 2. Go with a shallow sand bed, in the 2" range. 3. Your live rock and sand are your filter, you don't need the Eheim. 4. Red Sea skimmers are among the worst on the market. Invest in a better one if you can. Good luck! Jim<<<

How much light and how much calcium? Hi Guys, first question is how much lighting is necessary for a 48 gal reef with all the things you would expect a reef to have. << Generalized question, so I'll say two 150 watt HQI halides, and two VHO actinics. >> and secondly, Where should I keep my calcium levels at? << 450 to 550 >> I have been given different numbers.  So, as Jim Rome would say, What is your take?  Thanks, Pete in Madison Wisconsin <<  Blundell  >>

Reef Tank Setup Hi Everyone Getting ready to make a major jump, 55 gal. reef to a 157 gal. reef  and want to run a few things by you to see if I'm on the right track. For lighting there will be 3, 250 watt HM bulbs with a splash of VHO. For filtration a 250 gal. wet/dry system and a ETSS 600 pro series skimmer (can I use one large pump to run both the wet/dry and skimmer?), about 400 lbs of reef sand seeded with one 40 lb bag of live sand. This is where the planning is at this point, any other tips would be appreciated. Thanks Robert >>>Hello Robert, You don't need the wet/dry, it's superfluous on a reef tank with live rock. Lighting sounds fine. I wouldn't use the same pump for both the return and the skimmer. At least, I've never seen it done it this way. I certainly wouldn't do it, it actually complicates the issue in my opinion. Get an appropriate sized pump for the skimmer, and an appropriate sized pump for the return. Cheers

Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1: Invertebrates, Algae
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Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
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Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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