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Related FAQs: Reef Systems 1, Reef Systems 3, Reef Systems 4, Reef Systems 5, Reef Set-Up 1, Reef Set-Up 2, Reef Set-Up 3, Reef Set-Up 4, Reef Set-Up 5, Reef Set-Up 6, Reef LightingReef Lighting 2Reef Filtration, & Reef LivestockingReef Livestocking 2, Reef Feeding, Reef Disease, Reef Maintenance, Marine System PlumbingMarine Aquarium Set-UpLive RockLive Sand, 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 for advice WWM crew Thank you in advance for your help. <hello> I have just recently purchased a 125 gallon tank (72 x 20 x 20) that I want to turn into a reef setup. I would like to some of each LPS and SPS good or not? <good> What I am planning. 40 gallon sump with Kent-marine skimmer TE model. (pump 760gph) Making My own sump with bio balls <bio balls are not needed for a reef> ,carbon and baffles to take out all the air bubbles and possible an area with some live sand and macro algae Return Pump will turn over tank 6 times an hour. (enough or should go higher?) <for SPS, yes> thinking about 2 pumps returning on opposite ends of the tank on timers to simulate tide changes. <good idea> Lights, due to money issues planning on starting with 4 x 96w power compact. (2 10k daylight and 2 50/50) and working up to (as money allows) with the power compact adding, 3 250W metal halide  with 20k bulbs. This would give me a total 1134W. Should take me about 6 to 8 months to get to this point. Will start out with 2-3 inches live sand fine to medium. will start with about 100lbs of live rock and add more as money allows. I want to move everything in my 30 gallon as soon as possible to this tank. 2 yellow tail damsels, 1 clown, 1 large and 1 small leather coral, 1 anemone, 2 emerald crabs, 4 scarlet hermits, 6 blue legged hermits, 8 Astrea Snails, 1 Star fish (not sure what kind), 1 cleaner shrimp. 15lbs live rock. This tank has been running for about 1 year and has 130w power compact with 50/50 bulbs. How soon would you recommend. This 30 gallon will become my QT after. Any advice on setup or possible stocking options would be great. Love your site looking forward to hearing from you. <once all the levels in the new tank are the same as in you 30 gal. set up you can move the animals over. Time line kind of depends on how cured the new  sand and rock is. Once the levels are there put a coral and a fish in if in a week they look good add the rest of the tank. Good luck MikeH> Thanks Norm

Getting Bigger and Better (12/13/2003) WWM crew Thank you in advance for your help. <no problem> I have just recently purchased a 125 gallon tank (72 x 20 x 20) that I want to turn into a reef setup. <A nice size tank for a reef.> I would like to some of each LPS and SPS good or not? <Not really. Start with "coral welfare" here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coraselfaq2.htm  and read more on the linked FAQs. What I am planning. 40 gallon sump with Kent-marine skimmer TE model. (pump 760gph) <You may be better off with another brand such as AquaC, Euro-Reef or Precision Marine. Do more research before buying. Don't skimp on the skimmer. It will be key to your successes.> Making My own sump with bio balls, carbon and baffles to take out all the air bubbles and possible an area with some live sand and macro algae. <Skip the bioballs if you have LS & LR> Do look around on the web for a good DIY design. Simple is usually better.> Return Pump will turn over tank 6 times an hour. (enough or should go higher?) thinking about 2 pumps returning on opposite ends of the tank on timers to simulate tide changes. <I'd suggest only one good pump as a sump return. If you have the space under the tank, an external pump, like an Iwaki, is best. Is this a pre-drilled tank with 2 overflows? Total circulation in a reef should be 10-20X volume. For additional circulation, consider a closed loop from an extra drilled hole returning to a device such as Sea Swirl or SCWD. Many options available. Read more on WWM FAQs and DIY sites like ozreef.org> Lights, due to money issues planning on starting with 4 x 96w power compact. (2 10k daylight and 2 50/50) and working up to (as money allows) with the power compact adding, 3 250W metal halide  with 20k bulbs. This would give me a total 1134W. Should take me about 6 to 8 months to get to this point. <I really like my Custom SeaLife PCs. Well-constructed, easy to use, and aesthetically pleasing. Suitable for all but the most light-demanding SPS and clams. What you should ultimately use really depends on what you ultimately want in the tank. Start learning here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm> Will start out with 2-3 inches live sand fine to medium. Will start with about 100lbs of live rock and add more as money allows. I want to move everything in my 30 gallon as soon as possible to this tank. 2 yellow tail damsels, 1 clown, 1 large and 1 small leather coral, 1 anemone, 2 emerald crabs, 4 scarlet hermits, 6 blue legged hermits, 8 Astrea Snails, 1 Star fish (not sure what kind), 1 cleaner shrimp. 15lbs live rock. This tank has been running for about 1 year and has 130w power compact with 50/50 bulbs. How soon would you recommend. <You will need to be sure the 125 is running ,cycled and stable. You ought to be able to move all of this to a stable system without difficulty. Do search WWM for more info on transferring livestock.> This 30 gallon will become my QT after. <Great! Don't ever skip QT.> Any advice on setup or possible stocking options would be great. <So many to choose from. Stick to reef-safe fishes. Resist the temptation to overstock. Avoid impulse-buying. It is you who must choose the right mix for your tank. Have fun with this process. Once you come up with more specific list, research each choice carefully and consider their needs, temperaments, etc. Would be happy to share thoughts on specific fishes in the future.> Love your site looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks, Norm <A pleasure. Steve Allen>

Big Tank- Big Plans! Hi all, I have been reading your site for a few months now in preparation to setting up my own reef aquarium. <Glad to hear that! Scott F. with you today!> I have come to trust your opinions and value your knowledge and experience. Even though I have done as much research as I can, I would like you to go through the quotation I have had back from the LFS that are going to do my setup and give me your opinion on the equipment and setup. <Will do my best> What I wanted was a reef aquarium, 9' long, 2' wide and 18" in depth (About 200g total). The tank will sit 18" off the ground with a 50g 3 chamber sump/refugium underneath on one side, and a 50g quarantine tank on the other. <Nice idea! But the QT need not be permanent...Just set it up when you need it and tear it down when you're through...easy> The water from the main tank will overflow into the left chamber of the sump, where the protein skimmer, top up, Kalkwasser etc will go, this will overflow into the middle chamber where the return will take it back to the main tank. The right chamber of the sump will have water pumped into it from the middle chamber and will contain sand and LR for a refugium with overflow back into the middle chamber. The right side of the main tank will have a tap for draining off water for water changes etc and this will sit directly over the QT so I can drain the water into the QT when needed. <Sounds great. I like the idea of draining water directly into the QT...excellent idea> After going to the LFS with this idea in hand they came up with the following quotation for setup of the main tank only. The QT and sumps are just standard size tanks and of not major concern. The shop and tank will be set up in England so some of the models may be a little different. (I have searched for the specific lighting solution he proposes but I can't find it, looks fairly similar to the Custom SeaLife products) <Good products> Eco Cooler 1000w 5x Box of grade A living Fiji rock (not sure how much is in 1 box) ideally I want about 250lbs of live rock ,100kg coral sand Tunze Osmolator Universal 3155 <Nice> Sea Test Hydrometer 4x Holdfast Epoxy Putty <You'll be using this stuff if SPS corals are in the future> Reef Crystals (25kg) 2x 1262 Eheim Pump P1 Sterilizer 1060 up to approx 1000ltr (222 gal) Turbo Skimmer (think that's a Deltec) <Deltec products are just coming into the US, but I have heard very good things about them!> FR609 Fluidized Reactor <This is the one component that I would pass on...I just don't think you need it with a good sump, skimmer, live rock/sand, and a refugium> KM500T Kalkwassermixer Float valve kit for auto top up 2x AH2FBSA Silver Double 400w Pendant Light (so 1600w of lighting with another 250w Actinics built in, that's 9w/gal which is a lot) <Yes it is, but don't forget- that's not the only measure of the capability of a lighting system...> RO Unit AP 50 3x HPL 5250 External INTERVAL Pump Suction/Input - 32mm; Pressure/Outlet 32mm This is a large undertaking which is not going to be cheap so I don't want to make any mistakes. 1> To put it simply do you think this setup has any equipment that you wouldn't use/trust either model problems or bad philosophy? <I like your concepts. If you are so inclined, and you anticipate SPS corals, I'd opt for a calcium reactor rather than a Kalk mixer, at least to start (lots of people do run both, but start with one or the other, IMO). As above on the fluidized bed filter> 2> Is the lighting excessive considering it is only an 18" deep tank, the lights will probably sit about 9" off the surface? <Well, some hard core SPS freaks will argue otherwise, but in a shallow tank, you may be able to get away with 250 watts. There will be a noticeable savings in terms of heat and electricity. I'd opt for 250w double ended HQI pendants, which are very efficient> 3> Does the circulation seem fine? <Sounds like you have enough "power"- just create a return outlet pattern that provides good flow throughout the tank...> On another note: I eventually plan on keeping bubble tip anemone's in this setup, I have read up about allelopathy (although I still can't spell it) and would also like to keep other corals (yes I know the problems), with a bommie on one side of the tank for the bubble tips and a 5" gap then rockwork on the other side for the corals etc. <Well, in a tank this size, with good separation, excellent skimming, and good husbandry practices, you could probably get away with it better than you would in a smaller system...Still not a big fan of the mixing of these animals, though.> 4> With regular (weekly 10%) water changes will I be able to keep on top of the chemical warfare or am I producing a coral cooking pot which will eventually see the demise of either my bubble tips or the other corals? <As above- this will be among the best things that you can do to help alleviate potential allelopathic interactions> 5> I intend to try and keep the bubble tips separate and stop them wandering with a perforated glass sheet that I only put down the middle when one of them gets into a floating/wandering mood. I know this isn't foolproof but do you think it might help? <Worth a shot..> 6> What corals are from the same neck of the woods as the bubble tips and have the best chance of surviving, I would prefer to have a small number of larger species rather than a multi-species garden type approach. <Many different possibilities...You'd be best served by doing some research on the 'net regarding habitats of these animals, and how to situate them within your system> 7> Can you recommend anything else that might survive on the bubble tip side of the fence so to speak that will help cover the rocks and provide a nice backdrop apart from the algae on the rocks? <Again, many different possibilities, limited mainly by your husbandry practices and skill at arranging the animals> Ok lastly, regarding the fish I want to keep, these are 2x gold stripe maroon clownfish (mated pair) although a little worried about there aggression), flame angel, school of 7 or 9 green Chromis, 6 line wrasse and if possible, 5 or 7 yellow tangs. <I would not go with that many tangs, but the other fish seem to be fine> 8> Do you think I can fit a small shoal of yellow tangs in this tank? Total water about 240g's and a large water surface area. <I would be inclined to pass at more than 3 of these guys, myself..> 9> Anything I have missed regarding compatibility with the fish/reef aquarium? <Not really- you seem to have a good grasp as to what works and the consequences/risks associated with mixing different animals. You have a nice strategy, and some interesting concepts built into your system design. I'd continue to make use of the many resources available here at WWM and throughout the 'net to help you select compatible animals..> 10> Any other fish that might go well with this small selection? <Well, lots of cool blennies, gobies, and Pseudochromis that would fit the bill...> Probably don't want much more if I intend to keep all the tangs in the tank. <Another good insight on your part> Sorry it is such a long list, I have tried to do my own research as much as possible as I hope the overall setup shows, and this is the accumulation of 3 months relatively concentrated research as well as 2 years yearning for a reef aquarium. Thanks in advance for all your help and for such an informative website. Gary J <Thanks for the kind words! Keep up the good research and execute your plan accordingly- you're on the path to success! Good luck, and keep us informed of your progress! Regards, Scott F>

100 gallon reef tank equipment Hi Guys, <hello>   I have purchased a 5ft 100 gallon tank with the full intention of progressing a reef tank.  With all of the products on the market and all the confusion on what pumps, lights, heaters, etc... that you can buy, I am stumped on what I really need to make this work.  I plan on having livestock, of course well after I setup the reef, however, I would like to make one purchase for everything I need to succeed in this venture.  I was hoping you could give me your thoughts on everything I need, even brand names if you have preferences.  I appreciate your time. <well you are asking a lot of questions here and I will go over some basics with you. There is a lot of info on this site about equipment. If I do not answer what you are looking for search this site and I am sure you will find it. First, skimmer this is going to be one of the most important pieces of equipment you buy. For a 100 gallon tank I would say to use a Euro-Reef cs6-1.They are some of the best skimmers I have ever used. Very easy to clean and maintain. Next, Lights are going to be a tough one, because different corals require different light. If you want to go with VHO's I would use icecap ballasts. They are very well made and are electronic so they do not get hot and use less electricity. If you want to go with halides ,I use e-line ballasts, also electronic. Next, If you are using an external pump go with an Iwaki know this is bad to say but go with the Japanese motors, they are quieter and run longer.) If you are going with a submersible pump go with a mag drive pump. Very heavy duty. As far as heaters go, any titanium heater will do just fine. This should give you a good head start. Try to buy the best equipment you can now. It will save you time and aggravation later MikeH>

Reef Biotopes 11/27/03 Hello again Anthony!  I hope you don't mind another round of 'tope questions <G>.   <my pleasure> While researching biotopes to mimic for my display I've been under the impression that "biotope" meant limiting my selection of corals to a single specific family; e.g. Acroporids. <not at all my friend... or rather, not only in this manner. A biotope aquarium is simply a collection of naturally occurring tankmates. It can have more than one species to be sure... more than one family (although don't get too frisky here). Start by avoiding corals that would never occur at the same depth (like deepwater mushroom corallimorphs and Porites cylindricus). Of course, do not mix corals from different oceans!> I bring this up because I found a "rubble zone" biotope (Sulawesi) which depicts a boulder surrounded by sand expanses and coral rubble.  The boulder is populated by (if memory serves) 13 different types of hard and soft corals.   <sounds very handsome> So, is the issue of allelopathy driven by mixing corals from different oceans, the unnatural confines of an aquarium, a bit of both? <yes, both indeed... more on the aquarium though (unnatural confines... small volume of water)... but also remember that even naturally occurring neighbors are still conducting chemical warfare. We are simply trying to minimize it (not stop it... impossible) by avoiding excessively noxious species (soft corals and algae) or very unnatural neighbors which will amplify the dynamic and damage> If corals originate from the same region (lets say Fiji), are they more compatible in the aquarium?   <too general... focus on a niche like shallow water in Fiji... or a mud flat in Fiji. There are coral species occurring in niches/depths that would not see each other in Fiji any more than they are likely to see an Atlantic species. So do be more focused here> As I write this I have the nagging sensation that the confines of the aquarium are the limiting factors that would preclude "mixing" corals in the display.   <agreed> I guess I'm just asking you to confirm what I think I already know.   <confirmed <G>> I found the rubble zone a fascinating biotope but suspect that without the "hundreds per hour" water changes of the natural reef, it just isn't a practical mix for the home display.  Thanks for all you do.  Eric <indeed difficult to mix many species in most any sized aquaria when are water flow is pale and water changes are weak by comparison. You will fare better to specialize a bit my friend. Best of luck! Anthony>

The Bug Has Bitten - Filtration for Future Reef >I recently got the saltwater bug and set up a 55 gallon marine tank.   >>Uh oh! >So far, there are about 60# of live rock, various fish and invertebrates, a protein skimmer, a fair-sized  external hang-on filter, and an undergravel filter with 3" of crushed oyster shell substrate and 2 power heads.  The system is thriving, and is a centerpiece in our home. >>Sounds nice. >I now have the bug, and I'm ready for bigger things.  I bought a 180 gallon (2 x 2 x 6) tank, which I plan to eventually set up in my living room directly over a section of foundation wall (since I'm not sure joists could support the weight of a 1-ton tank).  The tank comes with an undergravel filter and 150# of crushed coral substrate.   >>Ok. >My question has to do with filtration of the new tank.  I would like to set it up as a fish/live rock/invertebrate/coral reef tank.  I hear some people like undergravel, and others are sump enthusiasts.  What would be the advantages/disadvantages of using the undergravel filter with the type of tank inhabitants I want?  Would it be better to use a bio/sump-type setup instead? >>For a reef, I, personally, would NOT recommend an undergravel filter, especially for a novice.  They require the kind of maintenance that is problematic in an established reef.  What I would MOST strongly recommend is to spend some money on books - "The Natural Marine Aquarium-Reef Invertebrates" will prove an invaluable tool with regards to setups, ESPECIALLY if designing a refugium and/or algal filter.  My own recommendation would be to set up the 55 as a refugium, with a deep sand bed, either in the tank, in the 'fuge, or both.  They will not be maintenance free (nothing really is), but they will make your chores much easier as nutrients will be recycled rather neatly, leaving a biomineral replacement as your biggest issue.  Then, foam fractionation to start, and once the 'fuge really kicks in, you can remove that entirely (yes, it really can work!).  All of this will require a great deal of research on your part, though. >I don't have a lot of money to spend, nor a lot of time to spend maintaining, so I would like to get an effective system or combination of components that will handle my needs fairly well, to include using plants in a sump or other means to help filter nitrates.  I would even be willing to adapt my old 55 gallon tank and filtration as part of an overall filtration system (can I use the 55 gallon and its undergravel filter as part of the filter for the 180?).   >>The undergravel will simply grab more detritus without allowing an anaerobic areas to properly develop through which basic denitrification would occur.  This would also mean that you would EITHER need to add sand (or sufficiently small) to the substrate, or make it very deep.  Honestly, you'll find your best information within the book, and some of it on the site.  While most folks insist you must use calcareous sand, do know that it is not necessarily a "must", but that it does make certain issues much easier to deal with.  Silica-type sands are also theorized to be too sharp-edged for many of the creatures we hope to propagate within deep sand beds (DSB). >If you had just $200-300 to spend on filtration, my existing 55 gallon tank and filtration resources, and some mechanical/craftsman/fabrication abilities, what would you use? >>I'd spend my money on the sand, a "starter" of algae for the 'fuge, the cheapest lighting possible (shop lights, my friend, they can be set up just fine, though some folks have found power compact fluoros for relatively cheap prices), and do NOT skimp on the pump!  I would actually forego a protein skimmer altogether, too.  But, I'm not like most people.. <giggle> Beyond that, spend your time and money on books and you'll find them to be invaluable in both the long and short term.  On the following site you'll find a listing of good books based on needs (beginners, reefkeepers, breeders, DIYers, et al) - http://www.reefs.org/library  -  And DO search our site extensively.  What is contained within our FAQs can be confusing, mostly because we have differing viewpoints, but I will tell you that the words of Anthony, Steven Pro, and Scott F are based on MANY years of very good experience.  Steven is the only one who does not regularly contribute here, but he does use the sister site forums ( http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk ).  Best of luck!  Marina

Converting FO to reef Greetings, I am about to convert my Fish only tank to a reef tank.  (Finally) <Hi Brian!  Congrats!> Here is my setup: 40Long,prizm skimmer up to 100gal, Tetratec hang on filter, NO 40watt crapper bulb. I use crushed coral substrate and I have only about 10lbs of live rock.  I have 2 oscillating powerheads that move about 200gal/hr.  Here is what I am thinking of converting to prior to adding corals:  260W Power compact (Coralife 2 10K white, 2 actinic blue) Adding much more live rock. <With good quality rock, there should be no reason to go over 1lb per gallon, unless you want it for aesthetic reasons.  It sounds like you will have enough current for most corals.  Your lighting plan should also be plenty for anything you want to keep.> That's about it.  I have already started to monitor the Ca and I am about to start on a 2 part Alk and Ca regiment. <Please do also monitor alkalinity.  This is at least as important as Ca.  Because they are balanced, one of the benefits of two part additives is that Once you have both Ca and Alk stable, you can measure alk regularly (easy to perform) and Ca only occasionally (harder to test).> What else do you think I need to make this a successful reef tank?  I do not have a sump. <I would probably ditch the hang on filter and consider either replacing your crushed coral with a finer grain size sand.  If you replace it in patches, you will seed life from the CC to the new fine sand.  There is no reason to remove every speck of CC.> I also have no Ammonia, Nitrites and NO3 is at about 20.  The NO3 is high but that will be down in a day or two.  I have little or no phosphates also. <How are you going to reduce the nitrates?  Removing the HO filter and adding some fine sand should bring this down safely and effectively.> Do I need a sump?  What about more water flow?  Is the lighting enough?  Too much?  What can I do to control algae since I will be drastically changing my lighting?  What do I need to watch out for? <Sumps are mostly a matter of convenience, but certainly aren't necessary.  You water flow should be fine (especially if each of your powerheads is 200GPH.  If you add a few grazing snails (not too many!  Three Turbos or six Astrea should be fine), it will help thwart any algae problems, but I wouldn't worry too much.  Nothing in particular that I can think to look out for.> In terms of fish I have a few.  Yellow tang, a few little gobies, arc eye, 6 line and dragon wrasse.  Strawberry, valentine puffer, Percula <That is quite a few fish for your size tank.  The puffer and arc eye present some risk to inverts (snails, hermits, shrimp).  The dragon wrasse and yellow tang are destined to quickly outgrow your tank.  Six lines are very effective pod predators.  None of these things are absolute reasons to get rid of any of these fish, but are things to be aware of and look out for.> I do weekly water changes so I think the maintenance is good.  Thanks for your help.  Brian P. <Weekly water changes will be a great benefit.  You may want to do a 50% or so water change shortly before making the change.  Best of luck!  Adam> - From FOWLR to Reef - Hello and thank for answering my questions.  I just have one more.  My question to your fine staff is this. I have a 65 gallon (48Lx13"x15"h) and would like to add some beginner type corals (mushrooms, zoanthids, Sinularia, Sarcophyton, Lobophytum and some other soft corals).  I am planning on purchasing a 48 inch Retrofit 220 watt Power Compact  2-55 watt daylight, 2-55 watt actinic from Custom Sealife or would you recommend for the extra $50 and get a 36" 2x96 watt retrofit or a 48 inch Power Compact with Moonlight fixture from Custom SeaLife. <The extra wattage will help if corals if what you want to do.> Comes with two 65 watt 10,000K bulb, two 65 watt Ultra-Actinic bulb, and four MoonLites. What would you recommend with my current setup and my beginner choices of corals. <Add them slowly.> Please note, I do NOT plan on upgrading to a bigger tank or getting into the more light intensive type corals. I want to stay in the low to medium light corals.  I currently have a FOWLR with a couple of clowns, a fairy wrasse, two damsels, and a royal Gramma. <Should be fine.> Thanks again for all the work and advise you give, I really appreciate it.  Jose <Cheers, J -- >

Converting FO to Reef 1/19/03 Thanks for the advice!  What if I would remove all the filer media from the HO filter and use it like a sump.  For adding supplements, or chemical filer bags etc...? <Not a bad idea!> I am also upgrading the skimmer to the CPR BakPak 2.  I think that will work batter and have a higher flow rate than my Prizm.  I was going to keep doing water changes to reduce the NO3 and I was considering a nitrate reducer like D*nitrate. <Water changes are always good, but I would avoid chemical nitrate reducers.  The sand will do the job just fine.> What kind of sand do you think I should use?  Live sand? or should I just get some natural ocean sand from the LFS?  Maybe a bit of both mixed together? <The best bet is either "sugar fine" sand for at least a good portion of the mix.  Live sand only needs to be used in small quantities to "seed" the rest of the sand.  ESV and CaribSea sell "sugar fine" sand (sometimes called oolitic), or Southdown or yard right brand play sands are also calcium carbonate based (beware of silica based play sand).> Also,  how much water do you recommend I change every week?  5%? 10%.  Should I siphon the substrate each time or just pull out the water?  I really appreciate your help.  I have learned an incredible amount from this forum.  There is no way I would even be doing this without it.  Thanks BP <I prefer to do larger water changes monthly.  Mathematically, it works out that you reduce pollutants more effectively and it is less work.  In any case, 20% monthly is a good starting point.  You can go up or down from there based on your specific  conditions.  Best Regards!  Adam>

Change from FO to reef & fish setup Hi there, I am sorry to bother you with such mundane things <no need for apologizes, we are here to help!> but I would like to give a rundown on the setup I have and how best to achieve my goal of a more reef like tank. 72"x24"x24" Bottom drilled with two (water skimmed from the top) 1 1/2" holes to a 30 gallon sump. Two trickle towers one with reef 500 from Aqua-Medic. One home made Nitrate factory Two Skimmers (Berlin and Turboflotor 1000) One Lifeguard 600 fluidized bed filter Two canister filters one for biological filtration one for chemical i.e. carbon, ROWAphos, leading to a 55watt UV before returning to the tank. <Sounds like quite the set-up you have there!> Stocked with:- One 9 inch tall Orbiculate Batfish (yup, I know he has to go) <Sadly you are right, it's a shame because they are very impressive fish when offered a large enough tank.> One 4 inch Queen Angel I wish to keep this. Fireball Angel Yellow Tang Royal Gramma 4 inch Regal Tang Lime green wrasse 3inch. <Very nice fish, they should make a switch to a Reef setup without to much difficulty. The one fish that I'm concerned about is the Lime Green (Thalassoma lutescens). This fish will eat many invertebrates (snails, shrimp, etc...).  And is not really considered a reef safe fish.  I'm not sure if it would pick on the corals themselves, but I wouldn't want to take the chance.  I recently found a nice "Reef Safe" Wrasse list.  ( http://www.themarinecenter.com/wrassereef.htm) it seems to offer info on the wrasses as well.  The Fireball (Centropyge) are quite nice. Most of these fish's natural diet consists mainly of algae, and in the aquarium the fish are happy grazers, although their diet should also be supplemented with frozen or live foods to give sufficient diversity and quantity. For instance, with the Fireball, because of their wide dietary tastes, Dwarf Angel Fish can be kept confidently with invertebrates and, as they remain relatively small, are the ideal fish for reef tanks.> I only have about 6lb of LR at present, but which filters should I get rid of first and what is the best way to go about this change. <You will definitely need more LR, and once you get rid of the bat fish you will have fish that will enjoy the added rock.  Most of the fish you have love investigating caves and rock work so they will become much more happy with the added LR.  As for filters they all seem quite nice, and none really need to be removed for this tank. though make sure that you don't use a UV sterilizer on the returning water.  Though used quite often on FO tanks, they are not to be used on Reef tanks.  Be sure to look over WetWebMedia.Com for there Reef Aquarium filtration articles.> My goal is to have the fish as above minus Batfish, lots of live rock and a few hardy star polyps and leather corals. <Sound like a nice plan which should work quite well.> Lighting is Two 150 watt halides and two 40 watt actinics. <Should work quite well for a reef tank!> I know this is a tall order but can you point me in the right direction? <Best direction I can point you at is for you to think about purchasing a few choice books.  I suggest you start with "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Bob Fenner.  It's a phenomenal starting point for anyone interested.> Thanks very much in advance........Wonderful site! Simon UK <Thank you for the checking out our site.  There is also a Forum on WetWebMedia.Com that you can visit that will allow you to pick the brains of many knowledgeable people in the hobby.  Good luck. -Magnus>

Re: Going from FO to Reef + fish Thanks for  the reply, very helpful indeed. <I'm glad we could be of assistance.> I have read the "Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and I recommend this book to everyone, either new in the hobby or old hand. <It's a handy book, you can't imagine how many times I have looked it over.> Would still like to throw a few more questions at you. First of all with my proposed setup, is it ok to keep the Queen Angel? <A Queen Angel (Holacanthus ciliaris) is Not reef safe, will pick on all corals, feather dusters, and clam mantles. Not to mention they get about 17 inches long.  They do best in large FOWLR aquariums that have lots of live rock, though enough open space for them to swim.> I know it may cost me some in live rock but if this is all, then fine just as long as said Angel will not destroy the whole lot. Only time will tell I guess? <Sadly it doesn't take to much time for a Queen to make her rounds in someone's tank.> 2: Should I keep the trickle towers with the bioballs or can I get rid of these with the addition of live rock? <The towers with bioballs simply add another surface for the beneficial bacteria to colonize.  With the added rock you don't necessarily need them.  It's all up to what you prefer I know many people that add things like this to increase the filtration of their tank.> 3: Where do I put the 55 Watt UV ? (please don't say the trash can (rubbish bin to us in the UK :-) as I just bought a new bulb) or should I just forget about it and use the ozonizer instead? <The problem is that you don't want to be using UV sterilizers on reef systems, corals and many other reef inhabitants are filter feeders. And the sterilization of the water will only starve them.  The reason that UV sterilizers are used on FO tanks is that it kills all bacteria/free floating microfauna.  And the thought is that it's better to have no free swimming creatures than have some that are possibly bad. 4: I do plan to add a sander 200 ozonizer. should I put this on the skimmer that works least well (the Berlin) or the Turboflotor which already pulls out one cup per day?...Oh bye the way the skimmate I collect has always been dark green. Is this normal? <Dark green to brown is typical.  If you choose to use the ozonizer then it would be best to have it on the better functioning skimmer since Ozone (O3)should never be allowed to enter into the aquarium water because it will kill everything that comes into contact with it. Also it will attack rubber so only use plastic airlines. If possible the ozone should be removed from the room or neutralized by filtering it through carbon. It can cause headaches and nausea if allowed to stay in the room. Because of this its not as popular as it used to be> 5: Also I would like to add a refugium with live sand/rock/Caulerpa/etc to keep nitrates down. Just in very basic terms how would I go about this? would I utilize the sump I already have? or if not, how would I balance the water levels using two "sumps" <You can use the sump you already have, just add the sand/rock/Caulerpa to it.  I suggest you look at the plumbing articles here on WetWebMedia to learn more about how to do it.  Also there are many interesting articles I found here: http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/sumpprojectsdiy > 6: One last thing, not a question really but a lesson for budding aquarists out there like me learning the hard way. Three days ago I put ?68 that's about $90 of lovely live rock, brimming with mushroom polyps and star corals in my tank. Looked pretty good it did too!  Today I have a few lumps of green hairy rocks and one very, very plump batfish !! ...... Ah well, that'll teach me won't it ? <You might have noticed a slightly fatter queen angel as well!  hehe.  That's why we always say "Research, research research!!!"> Cheers Simon <Good luck. -Magnus>

The "Ultimate" Small Reef Tank? Great site, great info, however maybe too much info to digest by the common person. <Hey- we're all common people, so we can relate! Scott F. with you today> For over a year I've read your threads and by now I have forgot what I learned a year ago.  Here's the challenge: Design the ideal (in your opinions) 55 gal. reef aquarium.  The system will not be a home for the most demanding high light loving corals. Let's say medium to medium high light requirements.  In other words a system that the majority of your readers could afford to put together and that would provide the highest quality environment for the inhabitants.  Go for it.  Give the ideal and let us decide where we have to cut the corners. Thanks for a very informative site. Bert Koelsch <Okay, Bert- break out the checkbook! Remember, what I will propose is just my opinion. If you ask 10 different reefers, you'll get 10 different answers, so take mine with a grain of salt, okay? I'd start by having the tank constructed with a full length overflow (like Anthony outlines in his "Book of Coral Propagation"), leading to about a 25-30 gallon sump, where you'd locate a quality protein skimmer (either a Euroreef or an Aqua C model), some Poly Filter pads, activated carbon, or other chemical filtration media. If budget permits, you could employ a good calcium reactor, like a Knop or Korallin. However, in a tank this small, you could get by with careful additions of Kalkwasser and two-part additives, if you test the water regularly. If you have room, I'd recommend a small refugium, or you could partition part of the sump to serve in this capacity. You could return the water via a manifold around the perimeter of the tank, or you could plumb the return to oscillating units, such as Sea Swirls, or you could use a SCWD for random water movement. Alternatively, you could employ external Powerheads, like Tunze Turbelles or Geminis, for supplemental water movement. Lighting would be a couple of good 150 watt HQI metal halide pendants, such as the Sunlight Supply Reef Optix III's. You could use 150w Iwasaki "50,000k" bulbs (actually closer to a 14,000k-15,000k), and no fluorescent supplementation would be required, IMO. Man, I could go on and on into limitless other details, but that takes all of the fun out of process. I think you get the general concept that I'd use: Good water volume, exceptional nutrient export mechanisms and natural food production capability, potentially strong (but adjustable) chaotic water movement, and high intensity lighting (that still is aesthetically pleasing). All this stuff is still very simple, by modern reef standards. That's my vision...Obviously, you can be successful without all of my specific recommendations, but the concepts are all useful, IMO. Hope this helps! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Newbie Reef question Hi,<Howdy!> I would like to setup a 60 gallon semi-reef tank (mushrooms, colt coral, hammers, and zoos).  I would like to stay away from an internal overflow with a  sump.  What do you recommend if any hang-on type setup.  <I would go with a decent amount of live rock and a skimmer, that is how I run my reef and it works great.  I also run carbon a couple times a month.  A good skimmer is the remora pro by Aqua-C.>I also plan on keeping approx 3 percula clowns, 4 green Chromis, and one fairy wrasse.  I will have also have 60lbs of live rock.  My lighting will be a 4x65 PC.  I do not plan on expanding my tank any further or getting into the more delicate corals such as anemones.<Sounds great!> Thanks for you service,  it is great to have such a great resource available.<Thank you for writing! Cody>

Evolving Reef Tank! Hi crew, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> Thanks for helping to keep me in this wonderful hobby. I was about to quit after nearly 30 years keeping marines (mainly fish only) as I thought I knew it all. Now I have decided to turn my F0 tank into a fish/reef tank, I realize how far behind we are in this hobby in the UK. <Well, I'd beg to differ! In fact, one of your fellow countrymen, David Saxby of London, owns what is often referred to as one of the best reef aquariums in the world! Don't overlook the "hometown talent" in the UK!> I  am trying to read up on everything to do with inverts and the hobby in general, boy, have I learned a lot from your site! and have I got a lot to learn! <Glad you've found the site to be useful! We've certainly enjoyed bringing it to you...And we each learn more every day! That's one of the best things about this hobby!> I would love to fire some questions at you (again) but I guess I must give you a rundown on my setup first. 180g tank 20g sump (tank double drilled with two 1 1/2" holes at each end with pipes to surface to skim from top) Both leading to trickle filters with bioballs. One goes to a skimmer first, a Turboflotor 1000 and then to bioballs) One goes straight into bioballs, (both have prefilters). Also have a Berlin skimmer in sump driven by  Eheim 1060 which doesn't seem to produce much skimmate at all. <Nonetheless, I think having two skimmers is a great idea!> Two canister filters (which I hate) one has nitrate reducing granules (haha) one has chemical, (carbon & Rowaphos) filtration. The chemical one goes through UV (55watt) back to tank. Tank has been running for 5 years with no real problems. I have started to do (further) tests on water quality, as I wish to turn this into a reef tank and move the fish into another tank. SG = 1022  Ph 8.2 Temp = 80F Ammonia = 0     Nitrite = 0   Nitrate = 40ppm <lose the Bioballs> Alk = 4.23       Dkh 11.8  Calcium 270 !......... I am trying to raise my calcium by mixing one teaspoon of Kalkwasser in a bottle of water and letting the sediment form on the bottom for a day. Then I add this mixture to my top up water (minus sediment) which is being added at the rate of 3 drops per second to my sump. This is about the rate of evaporation at the moment. (Summer is a different story altogether) <A sort of "Berlin" technique, which works. You should also check out Anthony Calfo's "Kalk slurry" concept, as outlined in his must-have "Book of Coral Propagation"...It works great!> And now for some questions. I hope you will excuse me, I have many! <No problem!> 1) I am convinced of the benefits of ozone but can I find an outlet in the UK that stocks one??..... No way !!!..... Just for the record I am trying to get the Sander Certizon 200 model. I'm not sure if you're familiar with this or not but all I keep being told by marine outlets in this country is that "ozone went out in the 70's, no-one uses it any more" and "we have stocked those for donkey's years" etc, etc. Any way to cut a long search short I found somewhere that can get me one but I have this feeling that we get ripped off in the UK something rotten!...........Price for the Sander 200 model.....?279...Which comes out around $420 Dollars I believe!!!.....UK cost shock? indeed it is! <Well, the higher-end units, such as Sander, tend to be more expensive in the US, as well. If you're inclined to use ozone, I agree that you should purchase one of the Sander units!> Any way, now the first question at last.  I will connect the ozone to my Turboflotor 1000 (sump mounted). Do I need an air pump or will the venturi drawer enough air in without one? <You may have to find that out through trial and error, unfortunately> Also do I need an air drier?  The relative humidity averages 55% here. <I'd use an air drier, and utilize ozone-proof tubing.> 2) Substrate  I will be adding a refugium with a live DSB (5").........Should I remove my 1-2 inches of mixed size coral sand in my display tank and just add a sprinkling of live sand for aesthetics? <Personally, I'd do exactly what you're contemplating if you're going to use a "remote" DSB> Also whilst on this subject, I have seen a product from FLA which is labeled as live sand and in sealed in plastic bags usually 5k bags...Have you heard of this and is this good enough to use as my DSB? (bearing in mind I have just had an outbreak of whitespot and have lost one Blue Tang and a Gramma loreto.   <Personally, I don't use these products, as I am skeptical of the true density of beneficial bacteria (is it worth the extra cost?). There are absolutely no beneficial infauna (sand-dwelling creatures) in these "live" sand products. Personally, I'd "kick start" my system with some live sand from an established healthy tank> My Platax orbicularis is now in QT) 3) The Batfish which had whitespot has now been clear for 2 weeks in QT.  There are no signs of any further out breaks in the display where resides a Holacanthus ciliaris, Zebrasoma flavescens, Flameback African Angel and a Lime Green Wrasse. How long should I leave the Batfish in QT ? And can I assume the display is clear (of ich) when a month has gone by?  I made the stupid mistake of putting a piece of live rock straight in my display tank! From now on I will quarantine EVERYTHING ! EVERYTHING ! EVERYTHING ! <I'd give the fish and tank a month or so before getting everyone back in there, just to be on the safe side. And I am sure that you will benefit greatly from the quarantine process!> 4)  And my MAIN question. I wish to increase the turnover in my tank and get rid of the four power heads if possible. I have an old AMiracle overflow unit which would also help skimming from the surface. Would it be possible just to add this and another Eheim 1060 pump to the sump for the return? (or am I missing something?.........Please do not say "brain cells" !) <Sure, your idea would work. A better thought might be to invest in a pair of Tunze "Turbelle" external powerheads, or even the new (but internal) Tunze "Stream" pumps, which are amazing! External pumps are a great way to add additional circulation without imparting excessive heat, or having to make major holes or other renovations to the tank itself. and, they are usually very electrically efficient!> I really appreciate the help you have given me in the past few weeks.  I have learnt more in those weeks than I have in the last 20 years. Cheers Crew Simon <It's our pleasure, Simon! Feel free to call on us any time as your system evolves! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Mistakes, Or Innovations? Hello everyone, I love the info. you all have been providing, it has saved me from making mistakes, thanks. <We're very happy to be of help to you! Scott F. at the keyboard today> I have been reading DSB FAQ's for the last two days and I now have a couple of Q's of my own. I think I should have visited your site sooner in regards to this subject. I don't know why I didn't, brain fart :). Hopefully it will be less flatulent in the future:). <I won't touch that one...I could. But I won't! > Anyways, I bought and placed Carib Sea Aragonite ( I think it was Sea Floor Special) in my new 125 gal. corner show tank. It didn't have the particle size on the bag any where but it looked to be no more than 1mm in size. I know it isn't sugar fine or oolitic. It does have many other smaller sized particles in it ranging from what looks to be sugar fine all the way up to 1mm. I was under the understanding that a range in sand size (from sugar size to 1mm) was good to have because the different critters that will eventually be in their need different sizes. Each species needing a particular size in order to survive. So if there is a range in sand size the DSB will be able to support a large diversity of species. True? <I believe that it will> Then I read, after placing this sand in to the tank, the DSB FAQ's on this web site and sugar fine seems to be the size that best be suited for a DSB and particle sizes shouldn't be mixed. <Well, there is a lot of thought and controversy on this matter. Yes, an all oolithic sugar-fine aragonite is ideal, but mixing grades of smaller-grain sands is also useful, IMO. I've done this in deep sand beds before with great results. However, you don't want to mix grades that are too dissimilar, as this can result in lots of compaction and channeling, potentially reducing the efficiency of the bed. Finer grades are useful for assisting with buffering and releasing bio-minerals into the water.> I had also added live sand samples to help seed my current sand bed from reputable LFS's. Since my sand bed is already mixed should I go ahead and fill it with the same material I have started with or should I fill the remaining 2" ( I'm going for a 5" DSB) with sugar fine sand to increase its numbers in the DSB? <I'd continue with the same material at this point.> Next Q. I know that certain sand sifters eat DSB critters, I understand why this is bad and I'm not going to use them, but I have also herd that when sand sifters are sifting they are also destroying the tubes/burrows, that these DSB animals make. In doing so, they are restricting good water flow through the DSB that aids in the denitrification process and filtration and that this destruction is not a good thing. The DSB should be left undisturbed by all except for the DSB animals and only they should do the sifting. Yes, No? <I would say an unqualified yes. I believe that you don't want animals that are too aggressive in their sandbed movements. Even in regular maintenance, the hobbyist should not disturb anything but the top layer of sand, IMO> My 125 gal came with two wet/dry filters attached in the overflow box. They are filled with bio balls, should I replace these all together and put carbon filter pads in their place? My new tank has only been running for 4 or 5 days. <Personally, I'd dump the bioballs altogether, and let the sand bed and live rock do the "filtering" in your tank> My sump is a plastic barrel cut in 1/2 and holds 40 gal. The reason for its addition was because we could not get the pump to stop leaking at the threaded pipe attachments. We were going to add a sump any way. We needed something that would keep the leak contained and it was the best option from what we had to choose from. <A great improve move, IMO!> I know it isn't the most desirable shape but it's what we have to work with for the time being. I wanted to put a DSB made up of sugar fine sand in the sump. I  was thinking of attaching PVC to the inlet hose and have the PVC go all of the way around the inside of the barrel with little holes in it pointed towards the sand. Would this diffuse the water enough so that it wouldn't destroy the DSB? <It probably will. I'm afraid that you'll have to experiment with this. You can always dial down the flow if too disruptive> Would it provide enough current to prevent dead spots or any other harmful scenarios? If this is a good idea, should I place the pvc on top of the sand or just enough above it for adequate (non-destructive) circulation? <I think it will work. I'd place the return just above for maximum efficiency> Almost done:) I have seen some F/O and reef tanks with a little macro algae purposefully planted in there. Some looked like grass the other was green and broad leafed. It looked really nice but should it be done? Or, should all algae's be kept in the fuge? <Your call. As long as you can manage the growth of the macroalgae, and as long as they don't overrun other sessile life forms, there is no reason not to include macroalgae in the display.> Last one, I have rinsed my sand with tap water, I had no other type to use, will the sand in my tank now be leaching tap water chemicals in to my tank? <I suppose that it's possible, but I wouldn't lose sleep over this> I also have some LR in a 50 gal soon to be F/O that had been setting in fresh water from the tap for 2 mo. It was dead at the time and bleached. I don't know why I didn't think of this before, duh, but are they now leaching these tap elements back in to my salt tank? <Again, probably not a problem> There is a lot of emerald green micro algae on them, the snails aren't eating it. I am going to add a fuge in to the system with macro algae, will this eventually remedy the problem, if there is one, with the element leaching. Or will the micro algae growing on it now use up these elements? <Well, it will grow as long as there is "fuel" to use for it's growth.> Sorry, I need to buy Phos., ALK., and Calcium test so I can't tell now if that is what is happening. Ammonia:0, Nitrate:0, Nitrite:0, PH: 8.3, Specific gravity: 1.023, temp. 78-80F DSB 5". Or should I just remove these pieces of LR, they are coloring up nicely now, red, purple, lots of green. <I'd leave it in there at this point> Ok I'm done, so are my hands. Thank you for your time. Shauna <My pleasure, Shauna. Feel free to write any time if you have more questions. Regards, Scott F>

A varied list of questions 5/14/03 Greetings all!! And special thanks to Anthony, who has been so kind in the past. <always our/my pleasure> I've searched articles, the Forum, and other websites for these answers, but I'm not quite clear, so I've finally resorted to asking you what I'm sure you have answered before.  First, my current system is: 29g (30x12x18) FOWLR, about 9 months old  Prizm skimmer (which is on its way OUT as soon as economically practical...will go with AquaC Remora Pro), Emperor 330 filter, and 800L/hr powerhead. Livestock are 1 Coral Beauty (the hyperactive one Anthony so gently advised me about :)), 1 Neon Damsel, and 1 Yellow-tailed Damsel.  Fish total about 7" (though they won't hold still for the ruler dangit).  Also 1 coral banded shrimp, a limpet (surprise with the live rock!), and 6 hermits, 2 blue 4 red. About 30-40# LR, moderate coralline growth, starting to perk up quite nicely. Everyone eats well, and looks terrific, water stays pretty stable, weekly water changes, all my parameters are WNL (0 nitrites, 0 amm, nitrates undetectable, sg 1.024, pH 8.2, etc. @78 F-80F). Now, I want to change this tank to a 40 long (48x13x16).  I'm not planning on any more livestock (basically just more lateral swim room for the Coral Beauty) and will probably keep the Yellow-Tailed Damsel in the 29G.  Will eventually try my hand at corals (have a few books to buy!).  Just ordered CSL hood with 2x65W PC's, possibly more in future. 1. Is a DSB practical in a 16"H aquarium?   <as much as I love DSB... it does not seem aesthetically sensible here. Perhaps have a DSB refugium instead inline> And, if so, should it be all sugar sized sand, or can I use the rest of my Carib Sea Aragonite 1-2mm sand in with sugar-sized?  This translates to @ 1 part 1-2mm/6 parts sugar-sized. <I strongly prefer the sugar fine sand at depths over 3"... closer to 6" best> 2. On the Emperor 330, it has "media baskets" in the filter...can I use small pieces of LR?  These baskets are before floss/carbon pads to outflow...any help or harm to this idea?   <little help or harm... I like the foams blocks better for 'pod cultivation. Be sure to use carbon somewhere in the system too... weekly in small portions ideally> 3.  Will a DSB improve lighting on any corals I decide on in the future (lifting them higher obviously).  I plan on low to moderate light-requiring fellas, but not sure if this is enough lighting even for those. <not much of a concern here in such a shallow tank> 4. And last...(sorry for such a long letter!) are there any snails etc in particular that would fare well for this set-up?   <many possibilities here> I have amphipods in the nano which burrow happily around, would like something to do same in the 40 (besides me and my siphoning <G>). Thanks so much for your time!!! Allison <Sounds like a wonderful upgrade. :) with kind regards, Anthony>

New reef set-up questions  Hello Anthony! Back again with some more questions, hoping this time not to repeat myself... <cheers, Thanassis> I have decided to go with two overflow holes, 1 1/2'' each. I will use two EHEIM pumps, sitting inside the sump (not much room to put them outside). <no worries... add a little heat to water which may help or hurt slightly... little concern otherwise> The first, model 1260, will give a flow of 400g/h at 6 ft head pressure, and the other, model 1262, will have a flow of 550g/h at the specific head. I calculated two extra feet for the U-tubing I shall use. Total flow 950g/h, which would mean a circulation of the tank water of about 16 times per hour. I think this should be sufficient circulation. <sound very nice indeed> I am checking with Sea-Swirl but they propose the 1/2 inch model (two units). Since my return hoses from the two pumps will be 3/4'' and 1'', would it be ok of I go from 3/4'' to the 1/2'' inlet of the Sea-Swirl unit? <hmm... good question. Not sure but I would suggest an e-mail to their tech department for a proper confirmation (safety)> If not, then how about a 3/4'' tee and then go from 3/4 to 1/2 on each side? In this case I will connect both Sea-Swirl units to one return, which means that I will still have the return of the second pump "free" no connection to a surge device). What do you propose ??? <definitely best to check with manufacturer with concern for long-term effects on these expensive (but wonderful) units> I am also checking on another product , the SCWD - Switching Current Water Direct. This is a cheaper product , runs without electricity and seems a serious product. Do you have any experience or heard any comments about it? Thanks, Thanassis <alas, no... but please do report your experiences to us to share with other WWM readers if you try it! Kind regards, Anthony

- FOWLR-to-Reef - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have just broken down my 160fowl and due to my addiction to Acros will be setting up reef, but wanted an expert opinion as I have been doing a lot of research. 1)I have a 30 sump due to space limitation, I plan to make a custom Berlin style sump with a 10in deep sand/aragonite bed (aragonite to help stabilize ph since I have a sweet calc reactor :)). I also plan to have a 3 to 4 in sand bed in the tank, with a ton of live rock. On top of this, I want to setup a refugium, with another deep sand bed (I currently have a 20 gal long due to space limits), does this sound like enough filtration for a tank this size, I want to ensure I have zero trates. <Sounds like a decent amount of filtration, but you should guard carefully against overstocking... only add one thing a month, and I think you can take this system a long way. I think it would be possible to overwhelm the filtration you have planned if you overstock.> 2) I have also read that the impact of cyclic to killing off creatures on live rock can be minimized by simply adding an abundance of live phytoplankton, it has been suggested that this also shortens cycling time, while it seems logical to me, I wanted to ask the experts before I dump a whole bottle of DTs into the tank. <I've not yet heard this, and it doesn't really make sense to me either... most of the stuff on live rock that is dying out is really on its way out, without hope for return. I'd think the phytoplankton would just add to the amount of dying biomass. But again, this could be something genuine - try it, take notes, and let us know how it goes.> 3) Is there any scientific proof that Tunze pumps benefit SPS more than a standard powerhead(s) wavemaker configuration? <Scientific? I doubt it.> 4) I have a Purp tang and would like to add Anthias and a clown tang ultimately, I have been warned clown tangs can be aggressive, is this true, should I avoid it? <Yes, do avoid the clown tang.> as always, addicted and thankful for your input <Cheers, J -- >

575 reef components So I am setting up a 575 gallon reef in my house and my local store, which I have been using for years is insisting that I use a 200 gallon Polyethylene tank along with a 200 gallon sump for filtration.  My question to you is, is this necessary and how would I go about setting this up?  I have a separate equipment room in which all of the gear will be going into but this is the largest adventure I have gone on. Any help or points in the right direction would be helpful. Thanks <Sorry if this is a repeat, I tried sending the reply and my internet connection dumped me.> <Well, as for sumps, I would recommend one. A cheaper alternative is to use a feeding trough as a sump, you can find them at farm or home repair style stores. As for you system, I would recommend you read through this FAQ, it's full of good advice: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lgmartkfaqs.htm  then ask more specific questions when you have done that.>

New reef set-up questions: Greece Reef 4/25/03 Really thanks once again, Anthony. <always welcome> A couple of more questions: - Concerning the return from the sump to the tank, as said before I will buy the Sicce pump, model Suprema 1000-4000 lit/hour, which has an adjustable flow through a regulator, so I will adjust the pump's capacity to the 2'' drainage the way you advised me in the previous email. The pump has a 3/4'' outlet and I am thinking of having a 3/4'' return bulkhead (same diameter as the pump) and of course 3/4 flexible PVC tubing. Is this right or is it better to have 1'' bulkhead and 1'' PVC tubing ? <depends on the needs of the tank... greater head pressure will benefit by the smaller tubing (3/4")> - In order to connect the pump with the PVC flexible tubing  do I have to use a flexible hose first to connect to the pump and then connect the flexible hose to the PVC hose? I can not think of another way, is there anything else to go around? <I have no idea, my friend. I have never seen/handled this pump brand in America to know what its outlets are like. It is little matter either way if the tubing is hard plumbed off the pump or flexed> - According to the pump's manufacturer the pump has a capacity of 2300 lit/h (575 gal/h) on the 1.20meters (4 feet) height. This is 8 times per hour circulation of my tank + sump (70 gal), which I think is a good rate. <agreed, if the display (I believe it will) has extra water flow from power heads to get a total turnover of 10-20X hourly> It seems to me that the 2'' drain pipe will be enough to circulate the 575 gal/h, but if not, <agreed... easily> then I will adjust the flow accordingly. My question is at which height should I make the hole for the return from the sump to the tank. <I do not drill a hole at all but instead return over the lip of the tank with a U-tube to be safe. You may still drill a hole of you prefer... little matter> My LFS say it has to be higher than the upper wall of the overflow box, so that we can prevent a drainage in case of power failure. <yes!!! Very true... and hence the reason why a U0tube over the edge is "safer"> Can water really drain through the return hole , in other words pass through the pump and empty into the sump? <yes... fast and guaranteed! Your tank will "back-siphon to the height of the hole... possibly overflowing your sump onto the floor!> - I have read in your site good comments about the Sea Swirl unit and I am interested in buying it. However I still can not find it in an on-line shop in Europe. <just e-mail the manufacturer to find/verify an overseas manufacturer> Is it more efficient than the connection of the return pipe to an all-around-the-tank-wall pipe with tees? <actually, yes... it is an amazing product> Thanks in advance, Thanassis <best regards, Anthony>

New Tank/New Concepts! Hey, <Hey there! Scott F. with you tonight!> Sometime in the near future I am going to be setting up my 55 gallon tank. I have a 25 gallon tank that is a reef tank right now. All of the stuff from the 25 will go into the 55. But the 55 has a few new things that I am going to add. New stuff: Dual Metal Halides 175w 10K, Amiracle SL 150 Sump. My question is concerning the sump. What pump would you recommend for this sump. My LFS recommend a Rio 1400, but I have read some bad things about Rio pumps. <I can tell you from personal experience in the past that they did not impress me with their lack of reliability. If you're going the submersible pump route, I'd look into the Mag Drive pumps- much more reliable, and they are available in a variety of sizes and flow rates. If your sump/overflow could accommodate a Mag 9.5 (700gph at 6 ft. of head), that would be a nice way to go.> I do not want a pump that will fail on me causing me problems. I also wanted to run this by you to see what you think. Before I set the tank up instead of Bio Balls I plan to put live rock in the sump instead. I have read a few things about this, does it really help with lowering and getting rid of nitrates? <Well, bioballs are a great way to break down ammonia and nitrite, but they don't serve to reduce nitrate...Better to use the sump as sort of the "nexus" of your water processing system...Don't use the bioballs; you could throw in some live rock in the wet section to help provide additional biological filtration. Or...You could even light a section of the sump, and float some macroalgae, such as Gracilaria or Chaetomorpha in there, and harvest it regularly to serve as an additional nutrient export vehicle (not to mention, a good place to grow some amphipods or Mysis) for your system.> I will also have a 4" DSB. I plan on keep a few LPS in the future after the tank has been established for a while. For protein skimming I have a hang on filter/skimmer that works pretty good. I may go with a in-sump skimmer in the future. <A nice way to go- several brands/types out there that will do the job!> Also what is the best way to run the return line from the sump back to the tank? Do they make kits for this or what would be the best way? <Well, there are lots of ways to go. Amiracle probably makes some return kits for their sumps, or you can go the DIY route, and run the return to appropriately placed bulkheads, or even more interesting devices, such as Sea Swirls.> I guess the only thing I really need to know is what pump would be the best for my sump. The overflow box is the one that came with the sump. It does not say what gph it is rated at. Hopefully I included all the info that you would need. Thanks, Chris    <Well, Chris, the amount of water that the overflow can handle is of critical importance, as is the amount of water that the sump can handle in the event of power failure/drain down! You really should contact the manufacturer for specifics...But I hope I gave you a few ideas here. Good luck, and have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Old reef 2 new reef Good day gentlemen.   I have a 75 gal reef tank that was established 2 years ago.,   I would like to transfer the contents to a new 180 gal that I just set up ( 2 weeks ago)  I have used the same plenum/sump type set-up for the new tank and it is running now.   <Great, think of all that room you're going to have for more coral!> I  filled the new tank with clean RO water, and maintain the same SG, ph, and dKH, as the established tank.   <Excellent> My question is , does the new tank need to cycle first or can I transfer the rock, corals, fish, and inverts now?   When and how is the best way to do this with out too much stress. <Optimally, yes the tank should be well cycled. The best way would take at least a few weeks if not months of slowly moving the fish over, testing for ammonia and nitrite daily (avoiding any visible cycle), moving live rock over as your biological filter, then finally moving the coral over a month or so after starting. This is the optimal scenario, if you're moving then you may have no choice and everything must go in within a day. It's not the safest way to go, but hey, when I moved, it worked for me! It's all about testing your water and trying to avoid any ammonia or nitrite accumulation. Good luck, and enjoy the new big tank! -Kevin> BTW,  Great site!  very helpful.

New Reefing 6/14/03 I promise, both hands are on the keyboard. <heehee... OK. You're allowed to write in then :p> In an earlier e-mail to either you or Kevin, I think I mentioned I'm just getting my feet wet in the hobby. (Ouch! Not even funny, huh?)   <Doh! If you are, you doing water changes the hard way <G>> I just started this thing up on April 27th and will be going to Alaska for 8 days at the end of July. <Oh, that doesn't sound good... er, I mean... really? No worries... a good house sitter will be fine with clear instruction> I'm just going to let things establish until I get home on August 1st.  Barely scratching the surface & lot's to learn.  That's why I can't get my hands on enough reading. Thanks for the red flag regarding the Anemones & corals.  A specially tank makes sense and sounds like the way to go. <good to hear, bud. Its easily overlooked/ignored... and it is one of the bigger reasons why few anemones live past a year from collection> Eventually, I would like to do a clam set-up also; or would they do OK with the corals?   <the clams are very fine with the corals> From what I gathered thus far, they should be in a shallower tank with more light. True?   <usually... especially for Tridacna crocea and maxima> As far as the EcoSystem set-up goes; I'm not above switching to a different set-up and using a skimmer. As it is, I'm a little ill at ease not skimming. <no worries yet... just read up on how best to finesse the refugium with or without Caulerpa. The skimmer is nice/great... but not necessary. IMO... I would not run without one. Let me strongly recommend you add one to the ecosystem and remove later once all is better understood if you so desire> Thanks again & I hope you at least get to sleep in on Saturday mornings! Greg Berkeley, IL <best regards, Anthony>

How does this sound? New tank setup >So you're saying not to vacuum regularly with the Berlin method? And as far as the protein skimmer, would the Seaclone 150 be sufficient? I plan to skim aggressively. What do you mean by using a refugium?  I have one more question for you and I believe I might be through. I read a little about refugiums and it sounds a little like what I wanted to do. I was originally planning on placing more live rock and sand in my sump to keep free swimming space for my fish. Would it be better to use a wet/dry for my application than the Berlin method? >>I apologize, as I understand it, the Berlin method relies SOLELY on live rock and aggressive skimming for filtration.  The Jaubert method utilizes live sand, usually in the form of a deep sand bed (DSB), and copious live rock can be incorporated.  I believe that many would agree that a combination (arguments ensue over the question of nixing the plenum in favor of a DSB--I favor this) of methods is a good balance.  In other words, I feel that you might do better to go with a DSB, but not using sugar fine sand, something more on the order of 2mm-4mm substrate.  I'll give you a major link that will give you more links than you'll (initially) know what to do with, focusing on refugiums and DSB's. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm Hope this helps!  Marina

Converting a FOWLR to a reef tank Good evening, <Hi Marc, PF with you tonight> I am converting my 180g FOWLR to a mini-reef.  Today we put in 400 pounds of Old Castle sand (Southdown's new owner), which with the existing sand gives me a 5"+ sand bed.  It's good to read this evening, after spending four hours cleaning the sand, that we could have just dumped it in the tank without cleaning if we were careful not to disturb it!  Still sounds problematic to me for future cleanings, however. <Well, just dumping it isn't a good idea. It's better to slowly add it a 1/2" at a time over the course of weeks so the resident life can dig its way out. As for cleaning the sand bed, that's what cleaner organisms are for. Go here http://wetwebmedia.com/ to the bottom of the page and do a search on cleanup critters, lots of articles and FAQs to read.> I am going to install an Iwaki MD 100 RLT which is rated at @ 2000gph (35.6 GPM) because I want to get as much circulation as possible.  I have a couple of other questions, however. 1) I understand I need some random water circulation.  True?  I could do this with powerheads on a random timer, but is there a better way?  If not, where should I locate these?  How do you combat the problem of the powerheads that make an obnoxious clicking noise every time they turn on? <Well, if they're clicking, they should be cleaned. As for current, check out SCWD's, these are nice devices for making alternating currents. Also check out Tunze Streams, they're very nice too. Do a Google search for those.> 2) For lighting, with say 3-250w MHs and some VHOs, can I keep a wide array corals such as the simpler polyps and mushrooms with this lighting, along with SPS and giant clams?  Or are these species generally mutually exclusive? <The mushrooms will likely grow like weeks and burn your SPS's. I would also advise you that having a well aged tank will increase your chances of success. The lighting though, sounds good for what you have planned.> Thanks, Marc <Your welcome Marc, lots of stuff to read and learn about, keeping a reef is a much different adventure than a FOWLR. Have a good night, PF>

Setting up 58 Gallon Reef I need some help.  I'm starting a 58gallon reef tank and haven't purchased a skimmer yet.  I would like to run the tank with a skimmer only.  I have an Iwaki pump (600 gal/hr) from years ago that was only used for about 6 months that could be used as a sump pump.   <This would be the lowest volume I would be happy with, perhaps add a closed-loop to the tank itself to get closer to 20X times turnover, depending on chosen inhabitants.> I've narrowed the skimmer selections down to an AquaC Remora Pro HOT, AquaC EV120 or an ETSS Super Reef Devil.  I would like to purchase the one that is the best bang for the buck.  Major considerations are performance, ease of use, quietness and cost. <With a sump I would go with the Aqua-C EV120 or a Euro Reef of comparable size (use manufacturers recommendation for each.  ETSS is also excellent.) I am also considering a 250w HQI pendant light.  What are your thoughts?? Thanks, Chris White <I would go with two 175's or 250's over this tank, one won't cover it and 175's *just* penetrate enough for mushrooms and softies. If you are interested in SPS or LPS corals, I would go with 250's. Light coverage is about 2'X 2'.  Craig>

Future setup and livestock acquisition Love the site, visit often My current setup, running now for 18 months, includes: 75 gallon not so reef ready tank (using both of the holes for drainage and bring return lines over back of tank) FOWLR Four - 48" URI Actinic-White VHOs (egg crate cover) ~50 lbs of live rock, want/need more 1 inch medium/large size broken shell substrate 20 gallon long sump with Turboflotor and two Rio 2500 for returns, activated carbon inhabitants: 2" tomato clown, 2" flame hawk, 2" blue devil, my mimic tang passed...still miss that guy, half a dozen snails (Astrea I think) and half a dozen hermits after reading the FAQs have decided to make a few changes I would eventually like to have a reef style tank, soft corals, more inverts, etc. , notoriously hardy corals that is.  don't plan on getting into SPS, since I want to avoid having to purchase metal halide.   one I want a bigger display tank...90 [48X18X24] or 110 high [48X18X29] (want same footprint to use existing stand and canopy) unless you advise otherwise I plan on having a deep sand bed likely 5-6" of fine oolithic sand (Southdown if I can ever find it) in the display tank. plan on purchasing a glass tank again, as I want to avoid scratches.  I will not purchase a predrilled tank but instead have it drilled locally for larger bulkheads for throughput, considering  2" bulkheads. will likely increase sump size to allow for refugium/remote plenum/Caulerpa plan on purchasing an Iwaki or two for returns considering two WMD 30 RXLT to replace Rios (heard the 40's are loud and two 30's are apparently more energy efficient than a 70) the American made are much less expensive than the Japanese counterparts...but I will certainly entertain any argument for the later.  considering one pump for return and one for closed loop (that is once I figure exactly how that should be set up) when I change bulbs I will likely get two URI actinics and two URI Aquasuns. separating the actinic from the daylight bulbs as I am told actinics need replacing more frequently than the daylights. long awaited questions 1.    Should I go with American or Japanese Iwaki's)? <Have had nothing but good experiences with both, so from my point of view, whichever suits your fancy> 2.    Two 30's or one 70? <A closed loop is a great idea for a reef tank, and a 30 will work well, however, another thirty is not much output to run life support, such as an adequate protein skimmer.> 3.    With a 6 inch sandbed and VHOs in mind  - should I go with the 90 [3/8 inch glass - less volume but more visual clarity and light penetration to tank bottom] or the 110 high [1/2 inch glass - more green tinted and less light penetration but more volume and viewing area]? <It sounds like your own personal preferences will be the best answer to this question in the end, either one will do just fine functionally> 4.    Someone locally is getting out of the hobby selling their inhabitants for what appears to be a reasonable price compared to store bought specimens, and they have corals, live rock, shrimp and fish BUT the liverock has some huge Aiptasia (call Guinness). Is it worth messing with to quarantine all the live rock/corals/fish and critters to try to eradicate the pest Aiptasia (by injections, peppermint shrimp, etc.) or should I stay away from the deal altogether? <Tough call here. It would depend on how many Aiptasia there are and how sweet a deal it is. Be forewarned: Aiptasia can mean a long and most often frustrating battle. If you decide to take that road, I would try peppermint shrimp as a first option> 5.    If quarantine is the answer, since the fish do not exhibit any problems [and according to seller have not had problems] then would it be foolish to transfer the corals, fish and shrimp to the display tank immediately after the appreciate dips and acclimation and keep the bulk of the liverock in quarantine to work on removing the Aiptasia OR quarantine everything together in a large Rubbermaid container with frequent water changes for a month? [only other quarantine tank I have is a ten gallon with hang on back filter] <it depends, if you are using live rock as your primary biological filter, you may need all of it to support the bioload of the fish/critters> 6. Is it prudent to invest in a calcium reactor if I plan on keeping corals? <I like CO2/calcium carbonate reactors, but they aren't a necessity in light of much less expensive options such as two part calcium chloride/buffer additions, or good old Kalkwasser. Benefits of reactors are the lack of user-induced error once set up and dialed in properly, as well as low operating cost (once the overhead of the reactor/CO2 system is invested, media and CO2 can go several months without refill).> 7.   Any other recommendations? <keep up the good research!> Thanks very much <Best, Chris>

Water flow in Reef 7/3/03 Anthony - having the flow from the sump back to the tank, let's say 8 changes per hour and having the closed loop at 15 per hour, would this be a good way to go? What are your thoughts on this for a reef tank?    RGibson <Sounds excellent my friend. Superb for vigorous growth in most corals and for keeping detritus in suspension for export. Anthony>

New reef set-up questions 6/25/03 Hello again Anthony! <cheers, my friend> In the meantime I have set up my tank. It is as follows: - Tank capacity: 270 lit - Sump: 70 lit (according to your design, thanks for the advice) - Mechanical filtration: Drip-plate in sump with filter-sponge on it + the 2 pre-filters of the pumps. - Thermostat: 1 Jager 200 W - Remora skimmer in sump - Primary circulation: EHEIM 1260 pump (in-sump) - Extra circulation: EHEIM 1262 in closed loop (intake from the overflow and return on the perimeter of the tank with tees) - Lighting: GIESSEMAN system "ECO plus", one HQI 250 W and two 9W blue fluorescent OSRAM Duluxe. <very nice> I have checked for leaks and made all necessary improvements with tap water. Now the tank is emptied and I do not fill it with salt water because I do not know yet how much time it  will take to buy the live rock. After a lot of reading it seems to me that the best way to start is to place the uncured live rock (sent in box and covered with wet newspapers) directly into the tank filled with sea water and let it cycle with no lights and good skimming. No water changes. <I agree... but only if the tank is bare bottomed... never cure live rock in a tank full of sand... pests, predators and diseases while curing can find safe harbor there> When cycle is done, then make a couple of water changes to reduce whatever harmful substances were produced during the curing -tank cycling and/or place some Poly-filter in the sump  for the same reason. Is this ok? <agreed... very fine> Then add aragonite sand. <ahhh... yes. You are quite correct my friend!> The only brand I find in my LFS is Red Sea aragonite sand .It should be about 1-1.5 cm and has rounded shape. Its colour is sub-yellow. It is sold in 5 kilo bags. I want to Make a DSB out of it of 10cm and place on top some live sand from a friend's reef to seed it but I am not sure he has enough critters I will need for my DSB. <any little bit will be helpful> I am now trying to find also a source of starting critters (copepods, amphipods, worms, serpent stars, etc. from the UK). <Hmmm... do check the message boards for a private aquarist that can perhaps help you with a trade> I am also thinking of taking some live sand from the ocean, near my house, and place it in a small aquarium with good circulation and see what happens. <yes... helpful> After a month place it in my tank. Can I do this or would it be too risky for my tank? If yes, what should I watch for during the one-month-period? My LFS brought the other day a box of live rock. They say it is from Indonesia. Though I have no experience of live rock yet, it seems to me that it is a relatively dense rock. The price it high. <nice rock... but always expensive> I am also  checking with European e-shops for live rock. Some of them have rock from Fiji. Is this more preferable? <I think so> A last question about DSB's. I am the first to make a DSB in my area and everybody tries to convince me not to do it. However I have made my choice, <I agree with you... many benefits> I just need some support from you and your site, which I read almost every day. So please help me prove them that I am not a crazy guy trying to do things that they laugh about! Now the question: The returns from the two pumps go with tees just below the water surface and perimetrically in the tank. Would it be a good idea in order to increase the water movement near the DSB, to split the tubing with an extra tee on a corner and go down near the DSB surface ? (not so close that it will disturb the DSB). <more important to have surface agitation and all around high water flow> That's all for today! oh, I tried to check Amazon.co.uk for your new book. It is not there yet. Hope to find it soon. Regards, Thanassis <in about a month, you can order it from Tim Hayes in the UK at: Midland Reefs midlandreefs@inverts.demon.co.uk Coral Farm & Dry goods nr.Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK, ENGLAND www.midlandreefs.co.uk best regards! Anthony>

Responses to beginner reef setup - 7/29/03 "Me thinks the Copperband needs to go. First off, let me say that the Copperband is hard to sustain for a long period of time. Even with reefers with a bit of experience" Actually, the man at the fish store said adding that fish would get rid of all the "bad" creatures living in the tank. It is eating Formula One but I will do my best to find it a new home. <Very glad to hear. In reality this fish has been known to take care of Aiptasia anemones/glass anemones, but I have not heard of much else. Glad to hear it is eating, but again, even though it is eating, this size tank is less than suitable. It's analogous to this: a 270 lbs 6'4 man can live in a 4 ft sq crate but not comfortably. Not a suitable environment and will stress the animal to its death for sure. "Check out offerings at Marine Depot. I saw a deal on there for a Custom SeaLife hood with fan and two 40 watt PC bulbs 1 Actinic and the other a 10K (also comes with their Moonlite LED) for 121.00 bucks with shipping." This might sound stupid, but can you please link me to that light. I'm assuming that that light will be able to allow all of the zoos to live, so I will purchase that immediately. < http://www.marinedepot.com/a_lt_pc_csl.asp?CartId=#pcml  grab the 2 40w as this size will fit a standard 10 gallon tank. This light will grow just about anything you want to put in this tank. I would recommend, though, that you either go soft or hard. It is just too difficult to mix the two types and have a healthy environment. Clams and SPS, Soft, or LPS. The reasoning is due to the allelopathic implications between these corals. Either via stinging, overgrowing, or straight poisoning of the tank. Just something to keep in mind. In any event, you can keep any of these corals from a light stand point. Just choose wisely and research your future inhabitants. I like an all zoanthid tank, though. Would just be gorgeous as they seem to come in every color in the spectrum. Something to think about. Check out www.garf.org. They have some of the most beautiful and hardy zoanthids out there. There is also Blane Perun's www.thesea.org> "Be sure to have 2 smallish powerheads" I have a Rio 50 in there, but I'm trying to figure out where to place it as it blows the sand all over the tank. <Add another 50 and place them both toward the top of the tank. Have one point facing the front of the tank and the other in either the opposite direction or intersecting the other stream. -Paul> Thank you for all of your help--Mike

Getting Off To A Good Start! Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I am looking to set up a 180g tank as a Indo-Pacific biotope with a 55g sump. <I like the sound of this already!> Currently the 55g is my tank and it has a 15g sump.  I have about 75-100 lbs of live rock and 4 inches of live sand.  Right now it has some mushroom coral, 4 fish, and a cleaner shrimp.  The tank I am looking at getting is an Oceanic Reef Ready with two corner overflows.  I have several questions, since I want to make sure I set it up better than my current 55g. <Always better to build on previous successes!> 1)You have mention Eheim pumps a lot.  Would you recommend 2 Eheim 1262 pumps to return water to the aquarium (one for each corner return), a Dolphin 3000 (splitting the return), or an Iwaki? <If the overflows can handle it, go for the Dolphin...> Or would any of these pumps be over kill?  From reading on the web I was under the impression that you would want 10x your volume turn over rate, that is why the 2 Eheim 1262 (900 gph).  Attached is a simple diagram of sump with two dividers. <I like your plan, but 10 times tank volume could be considered a minimum target for serious reef purposes...It's not at all unreasonable to shoot for 20 turns an hour or more...> 2)Is the provide corner returns for the 180g tank enough circulation? I was afraid it wouldn't be, even though each return would have at least 900gph coming out of it.  I had thought of having a different pump ( I currently have a Rio 3500 on my 55g) return water on a separate plumbing line to circulation water on the bottom of the tank.  I am trying to have good circulation, but keep power heads, etc. out of the main tank. See attached air flow diagram. <I agree- I hate the look of powerheads and other equipment in the display tank. Perhaps you could investigate a "closed loop", or you could split the returns into oscillating devices, such as Sea Swirls (my personal favorites), placed towards the sides at opposite ends of the tank, and then maybe towards the center pointing at each other...lots of cool possibilities for chaotic water movement> 3)What is the best way to set up the sump? I thought of partitioning it off into 3 sections.  The two end sections would be where the water came from the main aquarium.  There would be a skimmer on each end or one skimmer connected to both ends with the water from the skimmer going to the middle section. <I'd put the skimmer where it is best positioned to receive "raw", unprocessed water from the display.> The middle section would have 4-6 inches of live sand, some live rock (not sure how much), and maybe a sea cucumber (or something else) to clean the sand.  That section would also have the 2 Eheims (or what pumps you advise) and Rio for the water to return to the main tank. <Not a bad plan...I'd use the DSB in the sump if you don't want one in the display tank- otherwise, I'd just use the compartment for some macroalgae, like Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria (light the section, of course), or carbon, etc.> I had also thought about another pump or dividing one of the above mentioned pumps to send a reduced amount of water to a refugium that I would like to have above the tank, but that is another question. <Not a bad thought> 4)I would like to have a refugium above the tank.  I was thinking of a 30g, but I don't know if that would be a good size or a good idea.  What would you recommend as the best way to get water to it from the sump?  Add a different pump (I also have a Rio 1400 and 2500) or split one of the existing pumps. <Personally, I'd figure out a way to split one of the existing returns...less energy, more simplicity!> The refugium will house macro algae, copepods, etc. and have two bulkheads drilled in the back for overflow to send rich, nutrient water to the main tank.  I had thought about having PVC pipe going from the overflows on the refugium going to the bottom of the main tank to provide circulation like what is shown in the air flow diagram.  What do you think? Would it be enough for circulation?  If it was it would eliminate a fourth pump in the sump or split one. <I'm afraid that you'll have to experiment with that one...There are a lot of ways to accomplish this. For ideas and inspiration, I have to steer you to Anthony's "Book of Coral Propagation" and the DIY website, ozreef.org . Both are excellent sources for these kinds of ideas!> 5)What protein skimmer would you recommend? <I like Aqua C, Euro Reef, Tunze, and ETS, myself. Of these four, I'd go with an Aqua C or Euroreef> Would one be good and connect it to both ends of the sump or one in sump skimmer on each end of the sump? <Two skimmers would be cool...If you can swing it, I'd try two different kinds...Like an Aqua C EV series, and a Tunze...You're talking a lot of $$$, but a neat idea...> I also want to add a calcium reactor, aquarium controller (Octopus or Neptune) with pH, temp, ORP, etc to make sure everything is going smooth, and have the lights put on a dimmer to simulate daylight, as well as have the controller if possible to activate a heater and chiller when necessary. <Personally, I like the idea of a controller just for heating, and maybe lighting. Fully automated tanks freak me out! Call me old fashioned, but I like to take my own water tests...LOL> Will either the Octopus or Neptune do all of that?  Which would you recommend? <Well, they both have different pros and cons...For just chiller/heater control, you could use the "Medusa", and either of the two you mentioned can fulfill other needs. Do check out the manufacturer's websites for specific product capabilities> I am still trying to figure out whether to use PC , VHO or MH lighting.  Hopefully I didn't leave anything out! <Well- that's another one of those questions that's impossible to answer...My advice: Research and assemble a lighting system that meets the needs of the animals you are currently planning on keeping, and won't be useless should your interests change in the future (say, to clams or SPS, etc.)...My advice based on 20/20 hindsight is to go with halides and VHO...They provide maximum flexibility for most situations> After I have everything set up I would slowly like to add coral, fish, and invertebrate slowly to achieve a beautiful Indo-Pacific Biotope. <Sounds awesome! You're making me want to set up another tank!> I hope this isn't too many questions. Thanks, Daniel <No, Daniel- not too many questions...And the answers are all to be found in the resources we have here at WWM...Enjoy the journey! Regards, Scott F>

- 210g Walk-Around Tank - WWM Crew, Your site is awesome. I have turned to your FAQ's and articles many times for help with my existing tank.  <Great, I hope it serves you well in the future.>  I recently purchased a used 2002 Oceanic all-glass tank. It is a 215 gal show tank (72? x 24? x 28?).  It is my intention to modify this tank so it can be setup in the center on my basement den. I want to be able to walk around the tank and minimize any exposed plumbing or devices hanging on it.  I have experience with saltwater aquariums and currently have a 55 gal LR reef tank in my den that is setup to display through a wall. All the equipment, filters, skimmer and UV sterilizer are behind the tank in a utility room. What I notice every feeding time is how much activity goes on "behind" the live rock. That is why I want a "walk around" tank.  <They can be very beautiful and are few and far between for home aquariums!>   I want to setup the 215 tank with a large amount of live rock (~250 lbs) and a 5 inch live sand bed.  <Excellent>  I am thinking about using a 55 gal tank to build a DIY sump and place under the show tank inside the stand. I was also looking into building a custom lighting hood suspended from the ceiling. VHO and halide combination. Here are some of the questions I have: 1. What are my options for modifying the tank and plumbing up the sump? <Well, you could have a glass shop (or even you) drill the tank with for a few bulkheads to drain into the sump. Unfortunately the bottom of the tank is tempered glass, making drilling very dangerous for the glass. A really easy way to do it would be to buy two hang-on overflow boxes to feed the sump. You could drill the cabinet to accept the drain pipe and only see the boxes and a short length of tubing.> 2. Would a protein skimmer still be required? <IMO, yes. A Precision Marine bullet 2 would fit quite nicely in there. As would an AquaC EV-240.> 3. What type and size of circulating pump do you recommend? <This is going to be overflow dependant. Check maximum flow ratings for the overflow style you choose and pick a pump based on that.> 4. What do you recommend for lighting? Does the 5 watt per gallon rule of thumb apply? <IMO, the watts per gallon rule never applies because it does not take into account tank depth and types of lighting. If you care to make this a reef aquarium, I would suggest at least a trio of 250w metal halide lamps because of the depth (even with the sand bed). I would also supplement these with a few VHO actinics for good color.> 5. Would a couple of 250watt heaters placed in the sump suffice to heat the tank above? <Absolutely, it's all the same water. Although this is dependant on how cold/warm the room is, you may need around 4 watts per gallon (now here's a rule that actually works!). I'd suggest using a few smaller heaters to get the job done instead of one or two massive ones for safety reasons.> 6. With this walk around setup, won't this allow me to have more corals by utilizing both sides of my "mini reef"? <Absolutely, and I'm sure it will be stunning!> Any other do's and don'ts you might suggest would also be appreciated.  Bob <Ahh, my friend, far too many to list! But do read as much as you can and hit us up with questions so this tank turns out spectacular. Good luck! -Kevin>

Setting Up a 40 Gallon Reef Tank - 8/13/03 Hi,  After selling my 75 gallon saltwater set-up, I'm thinking about going with a small 40 gallon reef set-up and am thinking about circulation, skimming options.  <OK>  I'm thinking about not going with a sump, but maybe just using my old Emperor 400 rated at 400 GPH to handle water turnover (I could use a filter pad with carbon on the other side for filtration).  <Don't see why not. Likely though, the GPH rating will not be as accurate as you might think. Either way, you could use this in conjunction with powerheads and the like. Of course, this always depends on what your future inhabitants environmental requirements are>   Is using carbon OK for reef tanks?  <Absolutely! For lots of reasons. Have you looked through our site recently? Check out some of the articles and FAQs like this one: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chemFiltrMar.htm>  Should I even use the bio-wheels, or just run it without them?  <They can become sort of a nitrate trap. Many thoughts and theories on this, but I believe with adequate live rock you can do away with them.>   I was also thinking about a canister filter rated at 300-400 GPH.  < No need for any biological if you are using live rock, because again, they can become a nitrate trap. No sponges or other mechanical filtration as it will likely clog up. There might be a need to open the canister everyday to rinse the media.> If I go with a sump, I would get a smaller siphon box unit that I've had great success with my 75 gallon (LifeReef makes a great siphon overflow box that NEVER lost its siphon despite occasional power outages). <Nice>  The only thing I didn't like about my sump in my 75 gallon was my evaporation because I had two Mag 9's submersed.  I just don't know if I want to go with a sump for a 40 gallon if hang-on stuff will do the job (though it would be nice to hide the heaters). Do they make hang-on sumps?  <I have seen AMiracle Wet/Dry-Sumps around, but I have no idea how efficient they are. Do a search in google for "hang on sumps" see what comes up and check on our message boards for some reviews. Maybe there is a company that will custom make one for you.>   Good idea or not?  <Could be. Maybe a new market to explore> Any suggestions for a good, compact protein skimmer for a 40 gallon reef?  <Many...... I like the CPR products and I really like the AquaC line!>   What kind of GPH should I be looking at for a 40 gallon skimmer?  <See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toskimornotfaq.htm Everything you could ever want to know about skimmers> Also, I'm concerned about lighting.  150 watts?  200?  <Depends on what your future inhabitants are and how deep the tank is. We are more concerned with PAR (photosynthetic Active Radiation? penetration which I believe most power compacts and metal halides address very well. Metal halides in this instance might be a bit much due to the excess heat. Check this out: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm> Anyway, you've always been such great help in the past, I thought I'd go to the best for advice!  <Thanks for coming. Be sure to read through the FAQs and links above.>   Keep up the great work! Mike <We will. Let us know how it all goes. -Paul>

- Fish Only to Reef - WWM Crew, I have a few questions I would like to ask, as I haven't been able to find the answers in your website. You've always been so helpful in the past. :-)  <Hopefully helpful again, but no promises ;) > I have a 30 G glass salt FO w/no live rock currently established with a 3 damsels and a Sergeant Major. I'm interested in converting this tank into a reef tank. It's been established for a year, constant temp at 82, weekly water changes / testing. The tank is using the Eclipse system as its only filtration, w/two 18-watt lights (50/50 & blue). I know that I need to add additional pumps to get more current in the tank. No protein skimmer can be placed on this tank because of the Eclipse system (I know the importance of these as I also have an established 180 G tank). <Well, with some cutting and squeezing, you can fit a cheesy sea-clone. Better than nothing if you are dead set on keeping that eclipse hood.> Is it realistically possible to support a thriving reef tank with this setup? Or will I be fighting a "losing battle", by constantly killing my sea life because my conditions won't support it? I'm asking this as I don't want to start this endeavor if I'm doomed to futility. :-)) <Hehe, well, it's not quite that dramatic. I'd suggest removing the eclipse hood in favor of more appropriate lighting (power compacts come to mind) and a decent skimmer (Precision Marine hot-1 or AquaC remora). You'll also want to establish a live sand bed and live rock. Pick up Anthony and Bob's new book Reef Invertebrates, check out the gazillions of FAQ's and articles here on WetWebMedia, and feel free to hit us up with questions along the way. Good luck! -Kevin> Sincerely,  Craig

Movin' On Up! (Larger Tank) Hey crew, <Scott F. your Crew member tonight!> For a year I've been promising Bob and everyone else I was about to move my 20 gallon nano (he referred to it as "a prison for fish" in an old e-mail) into a larger tank (90 gallons) and I'm now doing it. <Sweet! Glad to hear that!> I have a few questions about the process and had a difficult time finding stuff on this particular situation among your FAQs (do you have search suggestions? Did I miss them?) <Well, we do receive a lot of questions on the process of "moving on up" to a larger tank, but let's see if I c an answer some of your questions> The 20 has all LPS-- a frogspawn, a bubble, a Galaxea, an Alveopora, and a Blastomussa (sp?).  All have been in this tank for at least a year, the frogspawn and the bubble for over two years (they've finally grown large enough so that they're about to start stinging each other, hence the move). <Yep- they simply cannot coexist on a long-term basis in such a small water volume...> The same three fish have been in for at least a year as well: a twelve-line wrasse, a flame angel and a C. cyanea damsel (the last two for two years). <Glad that they're moving on up to larger quarters> The tank has poor filtration (prism skimmer and penguin mini back filter) and 25 lbs live rock plus a shallow sand bed. I do water changes religiously to compensate-- about 4 gallons twice a week-- and the water quality tests well  (ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 0-5, salinity 1.023, ph 8.0-8.3). <An acceptable course of action, under the circumstances> I naturally dump enormous amounts of calcium in (using B-ionic) and it stays consistently at about 350, which is the best I can do in this tiny little system.  I have had absolutely no fish health problems for a year or so (when the twelve line replaced a fish that jumped) and the corals grow steadily at a medium pace as evidenced by their skeleton growth (the tank gets 72w PC light and is about 18 inches tall). I'm moving the residents into a 90 gallon w/sump Berlin-style system with comparable lighting and better filtration (the skimmer will be an improvement the rest seems comparable). I may include a small a refugium (using the lighting from the old tank) but it depends on $-- it may get added at a later date. <Sounds like you're on the right track!> I'm in the process of using my old quarantine tank to cure an additional 40 lbs of live rock (with three powerheads and a skimmer)  for the new system and will be setting it up once this is done.    What I'm wondering is this:  My current plan is to simply move the residents of the old system into the new one once it has stabilized.  Should I or must I quarantine the fish and add them individually, etc.? <I don't think that quarantine would be necessary in this situation, unless you're adding new animals. Moving the existing fish should be done gradually, however, to enable the new tank's biofiltration capability time to adjust to an increasing load> It shouldn't be difficult for me to match the parameters of the two systems for the move, since the small tank is so easy to manipulate.  The two tanks are in the same room as well. Is there much threat of problems stemming from this kind of transfer?  How much of a cycling process can I expect following such a move?   <The main threat to the fishes is stress caused by dramatically different environmental parameters between the old and new tanks. Sounds like you'll be able to match them well. The other possible problem is rushing things (i.e. adding too many animals at once and seeing an ammonia or nitrite spike as a result). I'd take it slow, and monitor water chemistry carefully> Any other advice or suggestions where among your FAQs I could find info? Deeply appreciated,  Derek Milne <Well Derek, I'd do a search using the Google search feature looking for information on "Moving Tanks" or "Cycling New Tanks"- related topics may offer some additional information for you...Enjoy the search, and good luck with the new system! Regards, Scott F>

The Plan Thus Far... <Morning! Ryan with you> You all are an aquarium keepers best friend. <Hey, thanks!>  Not to mention the wealth of knowledge available on your site is unsurpassed on the web.  All your help in the past has been immeasurable and after 11 months of research and reading, I'm ALMOST ready to begin this endeavor. This is the plan so far for a fish/invert tank, eventually migrating to a full reef.  Please let me know if there any flies in the soup. <Certainly> 75G glass tank 29G sump 45lbs Fiji LR, 36lbs Lalo LR, 25lbs Caribbean LR - Uncured to preserve the biodiversity  <Very nice> ~5" CaribSea Aragonite (1-1.7mm) DSB Aqua C EV240 w/ Mag 12 pump (investment for a larger aquarium in the future) Mag 24 return pump - should give 15-20x turnover depending on the final head pressure 2 titanium 200W heaters 2 MH fixtures with 175W 10K bulbs 2 VHO lamps (actinic blue) I believe I listed all the major components, but please let me know if I have left a major necessity off the list. <Considered building a frame for your live rock?  Perhaps I'm paranoid because I live in San Francisco!> He is my planned fish/invert list (corals to come later).  Could you please let me know if you see any problems with these choices, be it amount or compatibility? <OK> Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) Bicolor Dottyback (Pseudochromis paccagnellae) Blue devil Damsel (Chrysiptera cyanea) <Could be too feisty> Firefish, Purple (Nemateleotris decora) Red Velvet Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis) ??? Yellow Hawaiian Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) Peppermint Shrimp x2 (Lysmata wurdemanni) Blue Linckia Sea Star (Linckia laevigata) Blood Red Fire Shrimp (Lysmata debelius) Standard cleanup crew Any feedback or suggested changes would be greatly appreciated. <Looks good, well planned.> Off the subject, I read that you all are looking for help with the website? Particularly the daily FAQs.  Well I know I'm not knowledgeable or experienced enough to help answer questions, but I believe I could be of assistance in organizing the daily into categories to free up the time of the crew to answer questions.  Just a thought.  Let me know. <I will forward your interest along! Best of luck in your new setup-Ryan> Thanks again for everything, Jeremy

Starting A Reef Without Ending A Marriage! Dear Mr. F, oops, Scott. <Yeah- "Scott" is much better than "Mr." anything! LOL> Thank you for your suggestions and comments - most helpful. <I'm glad you found them useful!> Mr. Kim did indeed get back to me with an online store who sell the AquaC line here in Australia. I was expecting them to cost a bit and wasn't disappointed =\ <They are excellent skimmers!> The tank (24x24x18 - 170L / 45gal US) was originally slated to be a Lamprologine shellie home but I changed my tune prior to setting it up but after purchasing an Eheim classic, lighting, heater (useless stainless steel! bring on a Visitherm) and so forth. The bottom line here is that I will be adding approx. 15kg (33 pound) of live rock over several months (minimize die off) atop an aragonite substrate. It was hoped I could house an anemone with a pair of clowns and that was going to be it. After reading of the high fatality rates I'm obligated to not acquire one of these fascinating creatures and therefore the clowns are out, too, or rather won't be going in to begin with. <I'm glad that you decided to hold back on the anemone for a while. That is a very responsible decision on your part! BTW- you can keep Clownfishes just fine without anemones...No problem at all> The tank will be lightly stocked re: fish though now I don't know what they will be - plenty of time. <That's the right attitude!> I looked at the Tunze several days ago. The model that'd 'suit' my tank rated at 180L model 210/3 is possibly not the best option so moving up a step I see a 230/3 and 240/3 but not 220/3? That's not the point though, the point here is that the 230/3 is $666 AU *ouch* <Yep- a big-time investment in any hemisphere!> So right, I've rambled, I essentially would like to know three things if at all possible, no, four - I'm getting cocky now: <Hey- nothing wrong with that! LOL> 1. I'm set on a Remora fractionator but will leave this decision in your capable hands - The Remora kills my budget at $385 AU and I'm waiting to hear what the pre-filter box will add to that. Do I a) get the Remora and pre-filter box from the outset or b) get the Remora Pro ($460!) excluding pre-filter box until a later date? Fortunately they both come with Maxi-jets =) <Well, in  perfect world (meaning unlimited budget!), I'd go for the Remora Pro with a prefilter box. To be quite honest, any of the Remora series will do the job very well! They are great skimmers! See how easy it is for me to spend YOUR money!> 2. I'm about to order a couple of books I've seen recommended here ("The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" & "The New Marine Aquarium") but would like an idea before they get here if a 36watt, 7100k compact fluorescent will support the live rock and beneficial algae? <In a relatively shallow tank like yours, they will do a great job for many of the less demanding corals.> This light blows my 3x30watters in my 3' S. American tank away. <I really like compact fluorescents, myself- they pack quite  punch!> I'll be getting an actinic tube/fitting prior to start up, too. 3. What the bloody hell do I do with the Eheim? <Hmm...Well- it's a great mechanical filter...I'm just partial to biological filtration. It would make a fine supplemental filter as needed, or you can use it for your quarantine tank!> 4. Should the authors of books that impress upon their readers that it's ok to keep creatures from reefs that will likely die regardless of your efforts and best intentions be thoroughly beaten with said carcass or smelly shoes? I guess I'm referring to a couple of 'cheesy' books I have laying about. <Yeah! I can think of some other suitable punishments, too! There are a lot of people out there that consider it "successful" if they can keep their Moorish Idol or Flame Scallop for 6 months...Frankly, that's not success in my book. It's one thing to be experimental, another to be irresponsible! And, unfortunately, we all make mistakes. However, we need to vote with our dollars and NOT purchase animals that do not have good captive track records. It's the only way that those who continue to collect these animals will get the message!> Thanks so much for your time and effort and any help you can provide as I'd be a little lost otherwise, purchasing the wrong literature, attempting to drill sump holes in 10mm glass with a needle vice and so on. So now I'm off to, well, PLEAD with the other half... Best regards,  Kendal McGuire. <Any time, Kendal! Be sure to wear some sort of knee pads for protection while pleading! They really work well! Take care! regards, Scott F>

Starting A Reef Without Ending A Marriage! (Pt. 2) Dear Scott. <Hello, Again!> Again I'd like to thank you for all your advice, comments (funny!) and suggestions (such as the knee pads when pleading, you sound like you have a worn pair?). <Elbow pads are a good investment, too! LOL> I especially liked your views toward the end of the email, "...Frankly, that's not success in my book." here here!  I won't take up (as) much of your time as I've taken too much already, but... I was only planning on using a 40L (10.5gal)  tank for quarantine placed under the main tank. Your suggestion to perhaps use the Eheim on the quarantine tank made me wonder if this'd be to small for the task (the tank, not the filter).  The other alternative, that'd I'd rather not use if possible, is a 70L (18.5gal). Either way the quarantine tank will be filtered by an AquaClear 201 p/head with the [Hagen] filter attachment which has kept my lovely little L. tretocephalus looking spiffy for a few months now and he's about the same size as the largest fish that'd be in the Q tank (4"). <Either of those arrangements would be fine, IMO. As touched on briefly, you can always use it on an occasional basis to "polish" the water. My only real gripe about mechanical filtration in marine systems is that we tend to neglect the regular maintenance (i.e. changing media/cleaning the filter sleeves), and nitrate and phosphate start to accumulate, and water quality begins to decline....> My question today is will the above setup suffice? - with a length of copper piping for cover of course... oops, PVC piping ;) <Ahh- ya' had me there, just for a second! Sure, the setup sounds great. Remember, a quarantine tank is not a permanent feature. You simply set it up when you need it, and break it down when not in use. The media can be kept in the display tank's sump when not in use, to continuously "recruit" new beneficial bacteria, so that it's always ready to go when those impulse purchases happen (they NEVER do, right? LOL> I'd like to be able to offer more than a mere 'thank you' (docket # 2,724,890) but that's about the best I can do. Thank you =) <Much more than necessary, my friend. We're thrilled to be here to learn and share together!> A BIG thumbs up to Jason Kim of AquaC, inc. in the US and also to the friendly folks at http://www.reefonline.com.au/ who stock the AquaC line of products here in Oz. <Glad to hear that you're locating some great people on line to help you out in your adventure! Best of luck to you- keep in touch! Regards, Scott F>

-More thoughts on reef set-up- Thanks for the reply Kevin. Your knowledge really means a lot here. In fact, it made me go out and buy a Dolphin 2100 Aqua Sea Amp Master. <Note to self, inquire with Dolphin about my commission check...> It's supposed  to do 2100gph @ a 7' head. I will adjust the flow rate to around 1100gph when it arrives. <So, if you only needed half the flow, why would you get this one? Maybe we talked about this last time, but it escapes me.> I am also removing the bio media from the system and converting the W/D system to a Reef. <Very cool, things will go a little smoother this way.> I will be using a 20 gal low for the sump (canning the W/D).  Concerning corals, I think I'm going to wait a bit before I acquire corals and have to jack up the lighting to 400watt MH's. Just had a baby <Congrats! Although they will tighten the budget of your tank, you should have thought about this more... ;) >(thank you) and baby thinks that flow rate is more important (at this point) than lighting is. I agree. I will hold off for corals sake!!! (BTW, After 1 week of curing there are 2 *beautiful* yellow SPS's growing like wildfire 7" below my right overflow(14" below light sources). No idea what they are nor do I care!!!:-) <Hmmm...> Anyway, The secondary question I have for you is how long should I run the URI's while curing LR? I did a search in the FAQ's but didn't see anything (very surprising!!!). <Surprise again, there's an entire FAQ section dedicated to this very subject: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrlightingfaqs.htm, so there!> I have, in the past, cured LR in my garage, in pitch black, for 30+ days in 80+ deg water. I have never cured LR in the main though. Obviously I do not want to promote microalgae growth (which is starting to occur on my tank walls).  Tank parameters are what you would expect one week into LR (120lbs) curing (using FasTest): Amm=off the chart; Nitrate=10; Nitrite= 0.6 <Ouch, you've let the water quality get out of hand. You'll end up killing many more things that had survived the initial shipping. Do several large water changes to keep the ammonia and nitrite at a minimum.> So light requirements might be...what? 4hours? 6hours? Full blown 12-14? There is some nice macro still on the LR. Desirable? It looks like one of the "jacks" from the child's game, only 3 times larger and obviously green. <Check the FAQ's. If you are using proper nutrient control methods (large frequent water changes, protein skimming, carbon use, etc) then you should be able to keep the rock fully lit without worrying too much about a nuisance algae outbreak. I'd say leave them off for a while until you get your water cleaned up.> And at last!!! After 3 hours of lights off, I (jerk like) turn the lights on in the main tank to see what's going on. Last eve I saw about 3 dozen pieces of rice darting around the tank like they were Hau'oli folks at a Waianae Lu'au. <Whoa, talking to a dumb Massachusetts guy here! They're probably either amphipods or copepods, but they won't be around long with those ammonia and nitrite levels...> What were they? Will they be around for a while? Thanks Bra, <Enjoy! -Kevin> Randy in Hawaii.

-Checked out the cook-book reef approach- Hey Kevin, I was reading the cook-book approach to marine set up for the (?) time, I understand from this article that you put the Sand in first after rinsing it and then the pre-mixed seawater. I'll only be able to afford about half the rock I need to start out. <I hear ya, nothing cheap about this hobby, especially the gross, wet, low-tide smellin' rock that we get overnighted from thousands of miles away!> When do you put in the Live rock? <Since the rock will be the first live introduction, you'll put it in once the water is at the proper temperature and specific gravity and has been running for a day or two.> and how do you go about that step-by-step? <If you'll be using uncured rock, you'll want to cure it. My preferred way is to do it right in the tank without any substrate. This way it will cycle the tank, provide a large volume of water to dilute the toxins produced during the curing process, and it will break in the skimmer in no time flat. Check out: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm for more info on that subject. If the rock is cured, just plop it all in after a quick rinse in aged seawater.> I wanted to let you know that I became involved in the forum and have gotten a few questions answered there as well. <Excellent, it's a great way to get tons of opinions on the same question and meet fellow reefers!> lots of good people involved on that end of your site. If you look through it, I am the guy "MTaquarium" maybe I'll change the name when its full (LOL). <Excellent, well, I hope this helps! -Kevin> Cheers. Mike Tol

Reef Plumbing - 8/27/03 Anthony, I have absorbed almost all I can on the website, plus all the questions you all have answered so graciously in emails.  I believe I have all the kinks worked and am looking to make sure there aren't any more flies in the soup (I've had a few).  10 months of research and I still don't have all the answers *sigh*  The tank is a 90G glass with a 29G Sump that will house the AquaC EV-240 PS, 2 250W heaters, etc.  I found a diagram that you had posted about reef aquarium hardware and am going to use an internal skimmer box that spans the back of the tank.  It will be plumbed with 4 2" bulkheads that drain into the sump.   <excellent> The water will be initially returned by an Iwaki MD70RLT (you talked me into it), but the sump will also be pre-plumbed for another Iwaki (55 or 70).  The second pump will be added 6-9 months after the "above the display tank" (your very convincing)  29G refugium is complete to make sure it has time to mature producing ooooodles of zooplankton before corals are added. <heehee... it will pay off my friend :) > The second pump should increase the flow rate to ~2000-2400Gph @ 6ft. Each pump will be split for 3 return lines that will be routed through the canopy and have swiveling 45 degree elbows just below the water's surface (4 corners 1 middle front and 1 middle back).  I had initially thought about just getting an Iwaki MD100RLT, but I like the redundancy.  Comments?   <agreed... the redundancy is good. Also... see here for a manifold description:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm > The only other thing I have a question on is who should I graciously mail the check to? haha.  Thanks once again for everything and I'm sure we'll be talking again. Jeremy <very welcome my friend... best of luck! Anthony>
Reef Plumbing - 8/28/03
Ok Anthony.   The inevitable has happened.  I have discovered 2 more questions since your last response.   <all good :) > How far should the internal skimmer box be below the top of the tank?   <just low enough for comfort/safe running... likely around or not much more than 1-2" from the top of the tank. The running water level will only be 1/4" or so over that> I also read your article on the manifold setup u gave me the link to (excellent informative reading).   <thanks kindly> When I plumb the tank will there be any problems that you foresee by hooking up both return pumps to the single manifold? <hmmm... I'm not trilled about it... does complicate matters slightly. If both pumps are plumbed at the same height on the same sump... then OK. Else, it is not recommended> I also anxiously await the arrival of my copy of "Reef Invertebrates" Once again thanks to you, Bob, and the whole crew for the amazing wealth of knowledge you so kindly share with those of us wishing to increase our understanding in this amazing hobby. Jeremy <best regards! Anthony>

Reef set-up questions Hi Guys, <Cheers, Bill... Anthony Calfo in your service> I have encountered a bit of a set-back with a small reef that I have started and was hoping you may give me some advice. Here's the set-up: 29 gallon, 55wt 50/50 PC (is this enough lighting for easy reef creatures i.e. mushrooms, bubble coral, etc?),  <yes... likely fine for such low-med light symbionts> Whisper 300 Biofilter, Sea-Clone Protein Skimmer,  <upgrade the skimmer or do small weekly water changes at minimum> about 10 lbs. live rock and 25 lbs. live sand.  <more rock would be nice too... even if outside of the display as in a refugium or sump> Livestock: Arc-eyed Hawkfish, Ocellaris Clown, Giant Condy, Irregular white bubble coral.  <FYI... hawks in general can be rough in reef tanks toward other desirable reef denizens (shrimp and crabs especially tasty)... and the arc-eye gets huge!!! 8" long is quite possible and very aggressive... will outgrow this tank, do rethink. And the anemone is a problem in most reef tanks. They are motile, but typically wait until you go on vacation before they move across the tank stinging and killing most other coral they touch until they make it to the powerhead or overflow where they get trapped and die... Yikes. I would never recommend any anemone for a reef... especially a small reef> (The coral was doing excellent with the current light - until the mishap I will soon tell you about - so I assume the lighting is ok, but not sure). I was using tap water (residential private well, no chlorine). The reef seemed to be doing very well, anemone and bubble coral were expanding nicely since they were put in - looked beautiful (set up was 4 mo.s old). Hawk and Clown were good. This is where I goofed.... didn't have a quarantine tank (I do now). I bought two more fish; a dwarf Flame Angel and a Purple Firefish Goby (I was planning on that being the end of the fish load). I took my chances and put them in the main tank. The Angel soon showed signs of Ich (not sure what exact parasite) and the Firefish followed. I had read that Metronidazole worked well with parasitic infections and was reef safe. <I agree with the reef safe part (relatively speaking) but find it to be mildly effective. I have indeed recommended it before, but only for support, not primary therapeutic agent> The local shops didn't have any on hand, so I purchased some generic Metronidazole tablets from a local vet, which obviously contain more than just metro. (the inert ingredients are not really inert chemically, but I don't think any of those ingredients would have caused any prob.s - hard to say for sure.)  <you are correct... I agree. Metronidazole from the vet is fine (inert harmless) but the tabs from the vet are usually double strength (500 mg) compared to ones sold for fish (250 mg)> I dosed the main tank with the proper dosage of metro, in a crushed tablet form. The anemone and coral looked very dead, the anemone shrunk from softball size to quarter size overnight, the coral was stretched out over its skeleton with mouths gaping. I have done many water changes over the past month since dosing (fish since removed and treated with CopperSafe - another issue I won't bore you with, saved hawk and clown, lost angel and Firefish.) The coral bounced back fairly quick, not back to 100%, but looking very good and will eat whatever I feed it.  <excellent> The anemone "comes and goes" daily, eating ok when expanded - but not great. I have changed enough volume, to have changed the total tank vol. (29g) over a couple of times in the past month. The metro definitely had an adverse effect and I won't do that again. I didn't help the ecosystem with the large water changes either, but needed to dilute the metro.  <agreed> A few days after dosing, the whole tank turned brown. Had some beautiful macroalgae prior to dosing (think Caulerpa sp.) that, after dosing, developed a crusty brown coating and stopped growing all together. May have been diatom skeletons - don't know. The problem I am observing is that still about a month and a half later, I am still battling brown "algae", using distilled water doesn't seem to help much. It is filamentous (stringy-threadlike, longer strands - not short like green hair). I would have thought the diatom skeletons wouldn't have formed like this, so I don't know what it is (lack of experience). Frequent vacuuming and water changes is helping.  <very aggressive protein skimming can "cure" most any such nuisance algae within weeks (2-4) if the skimmer is of good design and can be tweaked to produce dark, daily skimmate. Any well designed skimmer can... you definitely need a better skimmer my friend for nutrient export. The water changes are generally a great idea, but they are also bringing in fresh minerals nutritively (for coral and nuisance algae).> Also developing very small amount occasionally of what appears to be Cyanobacteria (pinkish) a bit on the substrate easily (am keeping a good eye on water quality - all params fine (no NH3, NO2, NO3, PO4 - pH good). I wonder though, if the PO4 or NO3 have been generated and tests are neg because they are being metabolized by the algae, etc.  <and the Phosphate tests generally read inorganic only and most any tank can have a lot of untestable organic phosphate> I understand the Cyano is due to poor water quality, but it appears to be almost gone now. The macroalgae is still alive and appears that it will live, but not really growing too much, just holding and very "dull in color and texture". Coral and anemone "ok" and fish appear fine. The biggest issue is still the brown algae, never had prob.s before treatment and had some decent green growth. The only green stuff growing much now is some bubble algae (looks like Valonia). Any ideas what's going on here - never had brown prob.s prior to treatment - or was I just lucky). Has fairly strong fishy amine odor since dosing, even though tests are neg. How long after "shocking" a marine system like that does it usually take to come back around? Are they any suggestions you can make - I am new to marine systems since about 5 mo.s ago. Thank You, Bill Prevo <a daily producing skimming is pivotal in most marine systems... upgrade my friend. kindly, Anthony Calfo>

Small Marine Aquariums
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Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
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Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
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