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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

After many years I have finally settled into my life and decided that I have the time and desire to give a saltwater tank a go. I loved the one my dad had in his classroom at school and would like to get one going to reconnect with him a bit.

I've researched a ton of information about required equipment, FO/FOWLR/Reef, maintenance, etc. I just am having a hard time processing all of it. I know that I want to get to the reef tank in time but I want to make sure I can run the tank and get it setup and functioning correctly. Also is it better to start out with FOWLR and move into reef or should the reef start with it.

I would like help in deciding on a few items as well:
125-150 gallon tank - easier to maintain - Good brand?
Black box led's - yes or no?
Important setup steps?
What hardware items should I not discount shop for?
Information you wish you knew when you started?

Please feel free to treat me like a complete newbie and bestow your knowledge on me. I want to make sure that I spend what I need to in order to make it a worthwhile endeavor but I don't want to overpay. Help me get this thing setup! Thanks in advance for all your input!
 

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Welcome and have fun.
Generally larger tanks are more stable due to larger water volume to dilute pollutants.
A lot depends on your budget.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have about $1500 to get started. I was thinking it might be best to find a used tank as a decent setup to get me going and add on high quality pieces as i go. If buying a new tank is the way to go though I can find more money.
 

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There is not much wrong with buying a used tank. It is often better to see it with water in it so you know it holds water. Look at all seams well for bubbles in the silicone. If there are large bubbles the seam will eventually give way.
The largest expense if you are going to have a reef tank is the lighting, which and easily run hundreds of dollars for a 125-150 gallon tank. Even the black boxes will run you around $350 for a tank that size. Even if you start out with fish only or fish only with live rock (I don't think anyone really runs a fish only tank these days) it will be cheaper to go ahead and buy lights for a reef tank. Not much point in buying them twice. If the tank comes with a cheap light kit I would put off buying more expensive lights until you are about ready for them, that way you can save up money for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok thank you! Seeing it full is definitely a great idea. And yeah I was prepared for the lights being a big expense for a tank like this so I'm hoping to find a setup with them already like you stated. Is it hard to adjust a tank to new lights when that time comes?
 

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No just a matter of getting the new lights a brightness of the old ones (about) and slowly increasing it. Since any decent LED will have a dimmer that is not a problem.
When it comes to LEDs get a fixture with at least 3 LED units many have or 1 w or fraction of a watt LEDs and they just don't penetrate enough to keep light demanding corals well.
 

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Welcome! Pretty new myself. Been reading and researching since last spring and just got my tank running a few weeks ago. :eek: Haha, took me a while to decide on lots of things, plus I was really busy at the time.

Just wanted to welcome you and let you know that you definitely found a good place to get any questions answered. Real knowledgeable group here. And again, welcome to your new obsession...

PS, really cool way to get closer to your dad. That’s awesome in itself and good for you.
 

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Welcome to TRT

Could always go with a 75 gal, I know petco has them on sale last time I was there for $89.99. If going used inspect it very well as some people will just leave the tank in the sun and that shortens the life of the seams.

If you go 100-150 gal tank I would suggest running a sump so look for a reef ready tank if possible. Something that size will benefit from a skimmer greatly. Think anything under 100gals is considered small and you can get away without one with weekly vacuuming/water changes.

I have 2 back boxes and there fine. Put out a lot of par for sure. Recently I put my T5 lights back on my softie tank, just a more pleasant look to me. So you could look into those also. Or a combination of the two in a hood or canopy.

I would suggest looking to see if there’s a local club close to you with a website, I know the one that’s local to me there’s always people selling tanks and full systems and I would trust them long before I would Craigslist.

Good luck lots of choice to make
Matt
 

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Howdy, and welcome to TRT! I'm with AR, great touch is using a shared hobby to reconnect with your Father....WAY COOL! Hope it does just that for you Folks. 'Information I wish I knew when I started.'.....hmmmmm? I started out on an unusual path. I was given a 210 gallon tank by a Friend, but no bank card to go with it. So I documented 'My journey in Reefing' from a working man's perspective.....lots of love for the hobby, but not a lot of cash. I skimped and explored options, and did a lot of DIY stuff. There's nothing wrong with a 'used tank', IF you know what you're getting.....you have to be careful. I knew the history of my tank, and also knew the last 3 years of it, it sat empty in a storage unit. One of my biggest fears is seeing that monster let loose one day. And the irony is a brand new 45 gallon corner tank I started this hobby with did just that...TWICE! But there is a peace of mind that comes with knowing what you have, either new, or a well cared for used. And choices you make now on setting a tank up will be a blessing in the future, or come back and haunt you...I would view the set up with the eye of one day it becoming a 'reef' tank. Spend the extra on good lighting now, rather than buying it twice. I was hamstrung the first 4 years with our reef as to what I could keep due to antiquated under powered lighting. THAT has recently changes, and ironically far cheaper than what I ever thought possible. And if'n you go with a large tank, and I view anything over a 75 gallon tank to be large, go with a GOOD skimmer. Also fought that in the beginning....from not using one, to swearing by them. Also recently upgraded a nice skimmer to a DIY monster skimmer. GOOD TANK, GOOD LIGHTING, GOOD SKIMMER, and an 'eye' for it becoming a reef. Yep, that about covers it. All the very best,
Hack
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Welcome! Pretty new myself. Been reading and researching since last spring and just got my tank running a few weeks ago. :eek: Haha, took me a while to decide on lots of things, plus I was really busy at the time.

Just wanted to welcome you and let you know that you definitely found a good place to get any questions answered. Real knowledgeable group here. And again, welcome to your new obsession...

PS, really cool way to get closer to your dad. That’s awesome in itself and good for you.
Thank you! Yeah I've been trying to wrap my head around everything. Seems there is so much and I don't want to get frustrated and abandon it like so many people I hear about. And yeah my dad is awesome. Hope this gives us something else to talk about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Welcome to TRT

Could always go with a 75 gal, I know petco has them on sale last time I was there for $89.99. If going used inspect it very well as some people will just leave the tank in the sun and that shortens the life of the seams.

If you go 100-150 gal tank I would suggest running a sump so look for a reef ready tank if possible. Something that size will benefit from a skimmer greatly. Think anything under 100gals is considered small and you can get away without one with weekly vacuuming/water changes.

I have 2 back boxes and there fine. Put out a lot of par for sure. Recently I put my T5 lights back on my softie tank, just a more pleasant look to me. So you could look into those also. Or a combination of the two in a hood or canopy.

I would suggest looking to see if there’s a local club close to you with a website, I know the one that’s local to me there’s always people selling tanks and full systems and I would trust them long before I would Craigslist.

Good luck lots of choice to make
Matt
Thank you! I know there are clubs around me just need to reach out. Do you mind telling me what kind of black box lights you had?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Howdy, and welcome to TRT! I'm with AR, great touch is using a shared hobby to reconnect with your Father....WAY COOL! Hope it does just that for you Folks. 'Information I wish I knew when I started.'.....hmmmmm? I started out on an unusual path. I was given a 210 gallon tank by a Friend, but no bank card to go with it. So I documented 'My journey in Reefing' from a working man's perspective.....lots of love for the hobby, but not a lot of cash. I skimped and explored options, and did a lot of DIY stuff. There's nothing wrong with a 'used tank', IF you know what you're getting.....you have to be careful. I knew the history of my tank, and also knew the last 3 years of it, it sat empty in a storage unit. One of my biggest fears is seeing that monster let loose one day. And the irony is a brand new 45 gallon corner tank I started this hobby with did just that...TWICE! But there is a peace of mind that comes with knowing what you have, either new, or a well cared for used. And choices you make now on setting a tank up will be a blessing in the future, or come back and haunt you...I would view the set up with the eye of one day it becoming a 'reef' tank. Spend the extra on good lighting now, rather than buying it twice. I was hamstrung the first 4 years with our reef as to what I could keep due to antiquated under powered lighting. THAT has recently changes, and ironically far cheaper than what I ever thought possible. And if'n you go with a large tank, and I view anything over a 75 gallon tank to be large, go with a GOOD skimmer. Also fought that in the beginning....from not using one, to swearing by them. Also recently upgraded a nice skimmer to a DIY monster skimmer. GOOD TANK, GOOD LIGHTING, GOOD SKIMMER, and an 'eye' for it becoming a reef. Yep, that about covers it. All the very best,
Hack
Thank you very much for the advice! I will keep all that in mind for sure. GT, GL, GS = future reef!
 

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My best advice is to get the biggest tank you think you want. Other wise you’ll just be wanting to upgrade to bigger tank anyways. And tank I would think is the most work to upgrade. To just start with fish you don’t need much to get going and then add your upgrades as you get ready for corals and such. Fish just need filtration, flow, good quality water (through water changes)and basic lighting.

I would lean that way if you were wanting a bigger tank but afraid of the cost. Like Hack said there is some elbow grease that can get the job done till better equipment catches up.

I just got my 75 gal running and already wish I would of gotten a 125-150. But I bought the tank used and figured it was a good tank to get the hang of everything. But already wish I would of just went for the bigger tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My best advice is to get the biggest tank you think you want. Other wise you’ll just be wanting to upgrade to bigger tank anyways. And tank I would think is the most work to upgrade. To just start with fish you don’t need much to get going and then add your upgrades as you get ready for corals and such. Fish just need filtration, flow, good quality water (through water changes)and basic lighting.

I would lean that way if you were wanting a bigger tank but afraid of the cost. Like Hack said there is some elbow grease that can get the job done till better equipment catches up.

I just got my 75 gal running and already wish I would of gotten a 125-150. But I bought the tank used and figured it was a good tank to get the hang of everything. But already wish I would of just went for the bigger tank.
Thank you for the advice! I think I found a used 125 gallon with all the equipment (pretty highly rated brands) included. I am going to take a look at it and see it working in a few days and if I like it he will break it down and deliver it. From the pictures he's done a lot of different fish and soft corals. Might be the way to start out.
 

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Welcome to TRT

Could always go with a 75 gal, I know petco has them on sale last time I was there for $89.99. If going used inspect it very well as some people will just leave the tank in the sun and that shortens the life of the seams.

If you go 100-150 gal tank I would suggest running a sump so look for a reef ready tank if possible. Something that size will benefit from a skimmer greatly. Think anything under 100gals is considered small and you can get away without one with weekly vacuuming/water changes.

I have 2 back boxes and there fine. Put out a lot of par for sure. Recently I put my T5 lights back on my softie tank, just a more pleasant look to me. So you could look into those also. Or a combination of the two in a hood or canopy.

I would suggest looking to see if there’s a local club close to you with a website, I know the one that’s local to me there’s always people selling tanks and full systems and I would trust them long before I would Craigslist.

Good luck lots of choice to make
Matt
Thank you! I know there are clubs around me just need to reach out. Do you mind telling me what kind of black box lights you had?
I bought the sb reef light 16” basic. Good lights I’m using them on a different tank, I just liked the t5 better in the living room

Hopefully the tank you’re looking at is what you want and can get it at a reasonable price.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I bought the sb reef light 16” basic. Good lights I’m using them on a different tank, I just liked the t5 better in the living room

Hopefully the tank you’re looking at is what you want and can get it at a reasonable price.

Matt
Thanks Matt. The tank is an Aqueon All Glass 72x18x23 with custom build in dual overflow water loop 29 gallon reef octopus refugium sump with dual filter socks /Blueline return pump model 40X / hang on reef octopus classics Hob 1000 protein skimmer/2 hydro power head Wavemaker/Led light.

The listed parts, from what I could research are pretty good. The seller has sent me a ton of photos and videos of the tank and has been really cool about answering questions.

Anyone with any input on these parts I would like to know. Also what would you consider a good price for this setup?

Thanks!
 

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reef ready 125 are pretty spendy by themselves. The sump looks nice like a store bought one and does all livestock come with it? The reef octopus hob skimmer is better then nothing, but great brand. Surprised they didn’t do a in sump skimmer. What are they asking for it?

Matt
 

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As thin as that light is I would guess you would want to upgrade as it’s probably under powered for coral. Maybe some softies towards the top would be fine. But would be fine to start with but would figure that in when you talk price with him.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
As thin as that light is I would guess you would want to upgrade as it’s probably under powered for coral. Maybe some softies towards the top would be fine. But would be fine to start with but would figure that in when you talk price with him.

Matt
No livestock comes with it, he offered but I'm looking for a wider assortment of smaller peaceful fish. The light will definitely need to be upgraded which is why I plan on the black box lights in a few months when I get it all settled and ready to handle some coral. I am interested to see more of the sump as well. How hard would it be to move the skimmer to the sump? I've never seen one like that. And lastly he is asking $675 for the whole package. (He also offered to send me with buckets of the water to get it up and running faster. Is that a good idea?
 
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