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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As you can see this is my first post on this forum. If this was an audio-video forum, I would be giving a rookie advise on amps or dvd players, but tonight I'm the rookie and I need your help.

I will be buying a 92 gallon corner tank to set up a reef tank, The type widely available. My plans are to keep hard and soft corals, as well as some of the safe reef fishes, but I'm in need of help choosing the light type and intensity, and those gadgets needed for water movement in order to keep those corals that need it. I guess it would be a must to have a good skimmer, which one is good enough for this size tank? I do not need help with the wet and dry system or the pump as I have kept saltwater fishes for 28 years.

just to be clear my budget is not unlimited, and I would have to closely monitor not spending more than I need to in order to keep a healthy reef tank of this size, but at the same time I want to buy descent equipment to keep the system with as little problems as possible. Maybe you can direct me to some of the on line stores with good prices to cut down on cost. Your advise will be very important for this project, and look forward to learning from those who are experienced in this hobby.
 

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spaceman spiff
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Welcome to TRT! We can start arguing specifics in a bit, but generically speaking here are a few tips to get started.

First, with the wet/dry, consider making it more of a sump. Eliminate any bio-balls or other detritus trapping materials.

Skimmer wise, you could look at the Octopus NW-200 or similar, if you wanted a little bit better grade look at something like the EuroReef RS135. Either of those would do well.

Lights, you've got a few options. The corner is kind of dimensionally awkward for lighting, but a good 250W MH lamp with a good reflector supplemented with a couple of fluorescent bulbs (look at T5s) may be a good option. Maybe Amy (YLChik) can help out here, as she's just about to chose her lighting setup for the same tank.

Flow in the tank, a couple options here too. One is a closed loop system, another would be powerheads. I like my Tunze 6100s, but they're a bit steep and may not be the best solution in your tank. Look at the Korilia pumps, as they're a bit more cost effective, particularly when dealing with the size setup you've got.

Hope that helps, fire away with questions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your welcome and quick response.

I always used bio-balls on my wet and dry filter for my 125 gallon fish tank and they did trapped a lot of detritus. The sump method you mention, I am not familiar with it, could you care to explain?

Reguarding the flow in the tank, What's the benefit or negative impact of the closed loop? which by the way I do not know anything about.
 

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spaceman spiff
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Sure thing.

A sump is simply and area separate from the display tank to house equipment and sometimes other things (such as a refugium to grow macro algaes for nutrient export, or a frag section to grow out corals). I've built a few sumps (you can find an example here), but you surely don't have to put the effort into it that I did. A simple smaller glass aquarium will do. Often, people will put in baffles to segregate areas for different purposes (just glass or acrylic siliconed into the selected sump tank). Commonly, these include a combination of a skimmer section (to house the skimmer, obviously, but usually where the water drains into the sump from the display), a refugium section (as mentioned earlier), maybe an equipment section (for things like phosban reactors, maybe a calcium reactor, etc.), some bubble traps (to eliminate micro bubbles from returning to the display), and a return section (for the return pump, and sometimes also where the auto-top off device will refill the tank). Here's a picture of mine completed from the thread linked above, which has a skimmer section on the left, water flows over the top of the baffle into the frag grow out area in the middle, then a bubble trap flowing into the return section on the right.



Check out www.melevsreef.com to find numerous sump designs and some acrylic how-to, if you're the crafty type.

-----------------------------------

Moving on to closed loops, this describes a plumbing setup that is designed to distribute water throughout the tank. Essentially, you need an external pump, and you have to drill a bunch of holes in various locations throughout the back of the tank (with a corner tank, it may be a little more complicated). Usually you have 1 or 2 of the holes serve as intake for the pump, and then the others redistribute the water. You can use things like SCWD devices to vary when the water returns to the various return pumps. Bill (fly guy here at TRT) has some unholy closed loops setups, as can be seen below (or in the link). The nice thing with a closed loop is that you dont have bulky powerheads taking up real estate in the tank (just the small nozzles coming through the tank wall), though they usually suck up more power due to the pressure rated pumps power needs compared to powerheads (and sometimes more heat).





You have any more questions on these topics before we move on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Spaceman, that closed loop surely looks complicated, even though I can see the benefits, I don't think it's something that I would dare to do.

About the sump project, it looks very much like a wet and dry system without the bio-balls. what's used to grow beneficial bacteria ?
 

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spaceman spiff
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Spaceman, that closed loop surely looks complicated, even though I can see the benefits, I don't think it's something that I would dare to do.

About the sump project, it looks very much like a wet and dry system without the bio-balls. what's used to grow beneficial bacteria ?
Well that is not my closed loop, I've never had anything like it, but Fly Guy is well versed in them.

In a reef tank, sand and/or rocks yield plenty of surface area to grow the bacteria needed for denitrification. Bio-balls are considered by many to be an obsolete method of reef-keeping, and likewise in fish only systems (particularly those with a large amount of substrate). Not that they can't be employed effectively, but usually they require more maintenance and I personally feel there are more efficient/simpler ways of accomplishing this need. In my tank, I actually don't have any sand, and only rely on about 100 pounds of live rock to provide surface area for bacteria (in a near 200 gallon system)... I'm able to do this by designing good flow with no dead zones in the tank, relatively aggressive skimming, and frequent water changes (monthly at a minimum) with an effort put into siphoning any collected detritus from the sump or display tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
One last question, it's sand the best option for the tank or are there other material that would help to mantain water quality?

Thanks for your help.
 

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spaceman spiff
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Using or not using sand is somewhat controversial... I've stopped using it, I ordered a cutting board from www.cuttingboardcompany.com and put in place instead. However, a sand bed can aid in water quality, especially for new setups and lesser experienced hobbyists. The deal is, they're somewhat finite. They can act as a trap to cover up some inadequacies in tank design; food or fish wastes that dont get removed by the skimmer or siphoning can get broken down further in the sand bed, but at some point it's capacity to do this will end. Some folks say it "fills up," but I dont think it's as straight forward as that. Eventually, those inadequacies will catch up, as the sand bed no longer serves as the means to accommodate for those problems, and you'll start seeing coral health decline and algae outbreaks. This can happen as soon as many months into the setup (if you overfeed and otherwise perform no water changes or skimming) to many years later (5 or more, in my case it took about 4 ;)).

But, if the tank is setup well, the sandbed will be a good addition and help out overall in water quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Chris, thanks for all the information. I'm still a couple of months away from the actual project, but I like to be informed before hand to minimize loss and you have been very helpful, again, thank you.

About sand being used in the tank, I've read that some people use up to 4" or 5", that looks to me as an excessive amount of sand and potential trouble down the road. In my last fish only tank I used about 1/2" of it and it was easy to clean and easier for dead coral and rocks to be placed. I personally like to have a thin sand bed because it makes it look so real, even if it's less than 1/2", but I definitely would like to have something at the bottom of the tank besides plain glass. I will check out the cutting board alternative as well. Are there any other options (different materials) besides those two?
 

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Mommy Mod
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Howdy, I heard my name :)

Chris has given you awesome answers and great things to think about - as always.

Luismanrara I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you are researching first and putting together later! That's my kinda thinking!!!!!

Ok a few random thoughts before they leave my head!

As Chris mentioned I am in the process of setting up a 95 corner pentagon tank - not the most fun to light rectangles are easier :)

Is your 92 a bow front?
Once you are ready to talk lighting can you give us dimensions of the top of the tank- it will help the math inclined figure out if T5's are possible as an option. ( I prefer them, but had to go with Metal Halides - we shall see how that works out for me.)

Skimmers-
When looking for a skimmer remember they are usually overrated - meaning they say they can accommodate larger tanks than they really should.

What kind of fish keeper are you - do you like a heavy fish load? If so consider a bigger skimmer, it will help keep your water quality up - as will adding as large of a sump as possible. ( My set up will be about 200 gallons total between the display, sump and frag tank.)

I am a penny pinching reefer so I like to browse Craigslist, local reef boards, and reef sties for used items. I have found that if I make my choice or top few choices and figure out how much I can spend on said item I can actually usually find it for my price used. I opted for a bubblemaster 200 on my tank, very very similar to the skimmers Chris listed for you.

If you end up going the used route make sure you know what model of said skimmer you want and ask a TON of questions before you buy. I haven't gotten a bad deal yet, but I am sure they are out there.

Here is a link to my chatty build if it helps you

http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f6/ylchiks-offical-95-corner-tank-build-115446.html

I am in no way an expert, but I have done enough wrong the first time that I am starting to get what not to do ;)

Good luck and happy reefing!!!!!
 

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spaceman spiff
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Chris, thanks for all the information. I'm still a couple of months away from the actual project, but I like to be informed before hand to minimize loss and you have been very helpful, again, thank you.

About sand being used in the tank, I've read that some people use up to 4" or 5", that looks to me as an excessive amount of sand and potential trouble down the road. In my last fish only tank I used about 1/2" of it and it was easy to clean and easier for dead coral and rocks to be placed. I personally like to have a thin sand bed because it makes it look so real, even if it's less than 1/2", but I definitely would like to have something at the bottom of the tank besides plain glass. I will check out the cutting board alternative as well. Are there any other options (different materials) besides those two?
It's a pleasure to help! I'll just get back at you down the road when my stereo implodes or I need new speakers (I worked at circuit city in college, and all my electronics date back 7 years or so... I'm due for sure!).

If you have a shallow sand bed, as you intend, then you'll probably avoid some of the problems that rookies enjoy with deep sand beds (you'll see the acronym DSB often). I know some folks who actually treat their shallow sand bed as a consumable, siphoning parts out with their regular water changes and adding it back as needed. This will ensure that you get all the gunk out over time, and long term it's a viable solution. Still, I'd couple that with a good skimmer, and you'll be in good shape.

Other materials to look for other than cutting boards are just simple thick plastic sheets. I think HDPE is the right kind of plastic, and many folks sell it in 1/2" or greater thickness. I imagine it's cheaper (and likely the same material that I paid a premium for) than what's sold commercially at the website I used. Just look up a local plastics place in the yellow pages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
YLChik, I still don't have the tank in the house, but I will be getting the 92 corner bow front, basically 2 pieces of glass for the sides and the big curved glass in the front (pardon my ignorance) I would assume I would need to get a canopy as well to house the lights that I need? I hope those don't take too much viewing space from the tank. based on this type of tank, what lighting would work best in your experience? Model names and numbers are welcome, including skimmers, pumps, etc. Chris already gave me some to think about, and I have been doing some research on them comparing prices, etc.
 

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Mommy Mod
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YLChik, I still don't have the tank in the house, but I will be getting the 92 corner bow front, basically 2 pieces of glass for the sides and the big curved glass in the front (pardon my ignorance) I would assume I would need to get a canopy as well to house the lights that I need? I hope those don't take too much viewing space from the tank. based on this type of tank, what lighting would work best in your experience? Model names and numbers are welcome, including skimmers, pumps, etc. Chris already gave me some to think about, and I have been doing some research on them comparing prices, etc.
absolutely NO need to pardon for lack of experience here ;)

The canopy and lighting situation.....
wellllllllll.... my personal prefernce is T5's. I think you get better light coverage for less expense and I think it's easier to get the color light in a tank you want- could be I just have experience with them, but for now, they are my preferance.

I use reefgeek.com for my T5 lighting needs and have always bought retrofit kits. ( just means they give you all the parts and you put it together.)

I have seen people buy 2 stands for the bow fronts and flip one upside down and make it the canopy - You could probably cut it down as well.

If you are handy or know someone that is I have also seen folks make their own - staight lines I can do, curves, I am not that brave... yet!

I would do some searches on TRT for 92 bow, 92 gallon build, bow front build, you get the idea and see what you can come up with for a bunch of ideas.

I think KIA had a 92 bow that he built his canopy for... let me see if I can find him...
 

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kid impersonator
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I'm here :wavey:

I made my canopy
I started with a top template of 3/4" plywood that was solid and bottom template with an opening for getting my hand in the tank
then I added 14" vertical slats to look like the AGA stand

images are in my gallery
I can't really paste them with the crackberry
 

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kid impersonator
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tools that helped with the project were

air compressor, finish nail gun, and a brad nailer
 
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