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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, i am Daryl. new to here. new to saltwater.

I have read alot of message this few days, decided to join.
I have 3 fresh water tanks.
and i really want to start into reefing.
but i know nothing about saltwater tank.
i read alot about cycling , copper and maintence, but I have a couple REALLY basic questions.
I know u guys probably answer these questions way too many times...

1) What is a sump? what is it's function and the purpose of using it? is it mandatory for a reef tank?

2) What is a Skimmer? what is it's function and the purpose of using it? is it mandatory for a reef tank?is it mandatory for a reef tank?

3) I know PowerHead sucks water in and pumps it out fast to creat water flow. but what is the purpose of doing it.

4) R/O unit is the unit that generate purified water, is it mandatory? what is it filtering out from tap water? do i have to condition the tap water before adding it into the R/O?

5)What kind of filter is being use in a reef tank other than the sand and LR...is one necessary?

6)what is a Refugiem?what is it's function and the purpose of using it? is it mandatory for a reef tank?

7) what other equinment is needed for a reef tank?

I know my current tanks cannot be use as a reef tank anymore. so i guess i will be investing into a new one.
but i wanted to keep the budget as small as possible....since i am still young...i don't have alot of income.
 

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Ughhh.. Dinoflagelettes..
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Actually those are very good questions and the right ones to ask as a beginner getting into saltwater keeping...

Right now I don't have time to answer them all, but will respond back later with answers if someone doesn't beat me to it...
 

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Hi Daryl, welcome to trt. I'll try and answer some of the ??? for you.

1. a sump is essentially an extra water holder, increasing the volume of water makes keeping levels stable. A sump is a great place to hide equipment (heater, skimmer etc.)

2. A 'protein skimmer' or foam fractionator creates foam that binds dissolved organic compounds (DOC) and collects them in a cup for easy disposal.

3. Powerheads are to simulate current. Common practice is about 10X water flow (100 gallon tank = 1000 gallon per hour movement)

4. RO/DI units pull out all the phosphates, nitrates, trace metals and other dissolved solids. You do not have to condition tap water before it goes through the RO unit.

5. LR, LS and a protien skimmer are sufficient for filtration, though you will find some people run carbon once a week or so for the polished look.

6. a refugium is a refuge for copepods, isopods, amphipods, little shrimps, worms and the like. It is often used as a food supplement, or as a filter when populated with macro algaes and even mangroves. It is not a neccessity, but it sure is nice.

7. Other equipment - RO/DI, REALLY GOOD SKIMMER, good lights. You can go all out and add a calcium reactor to keep CA levels high and buffer ph.

There are many different ways to do it 'right' so take what I say with a grain of sea salt ;).

Peace.
 

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welcome and great questions!!!

foobuddha gave some great responses. if you need more info let us know.

the biggest thing you need to think about is exactly what do you want to keep in the tank. which kinds of corals/fish. this can dictate how much light and flow you will need. view the pics from other peoples tanks to get an idea.

again welcome.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
wow~ thankz buzz and Geoff. and foobuddha for your great help.
ok now let me go read more...
for some reason i realize everyone who like pet fish seems to like fishing and diving as well...am i true ? hehe..
I used to dive in Hong Kong before i move to toronto...
 

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Welcome Darryl!,

Great questions... The answers that were provided were excellent.... but wanted to address something... you mentioned you wanted to do this as inexpensively as possible (as we all do)...however IMO if you want a reef tank.. it's quite costly.... to begin with... the lighting is quite expensive, after that I strongly recommend a good skimmer and very good circulation, both of which are not cheap. So my advice is... if you truly want to build a reef system.... save your money, purchase the equipment a little at a time, until you have all the necessary parts.

Again, welcome aboard! :dance:
 

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Good point Jim!

Daryl, it does get expensive, but to minimize cost, spend more - I know that sounds illogical, but you'll find a lot of people who have shelled out money on equipment that they have had to replace later on. Spending a little extra in the first place will save you money in the long run.
 

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Actually FooBuddha it makes plenty of sense... spending the money now will not only save you replacing the equip later on.. but will also save you from losing fish/corals.
I know this is terrible... but I lost so many fish because I didn't have the right equip to begin with. When I add up those expenses, I could've bought equip easily....I can't tell you how much I regret not doing it "Right" the first time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
wow i went to big al's(LFS) today and wow... after i did all the research and got all the knowledge last night, those fish and corels looks different today, but the price tag remains the same LOL....the average for a tiny little corel is like 69.99 bucks CDN. it is probably because toronto is so far away from any sea.... and 1 lb of LR is 9 CDN... for now, iwill keep admiring people's reef, until i get a real job...
 

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Ughhh.. Dinoflagelettes..
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Yeah.... keeping saltwater tanks is a very expensive hobby...

It's also one of the most rewarding when you research enough and can get a nice tank going... But as Prismaco has said, it takes tons of patience..... and money...
 

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I was budded in Edmonton, But now live in Fresno (the seconds closest thing to living in a volcano for heat)

One thing I think you can skip on your list of equpment is a chiller *GRIN*


A note on pumps and sump. You might consider going larger then you need with pumps and sumps. Especialy if you think you might go with a larger tank later down the road. My sump is enought for 120 gallon tank, But I only have a 50. Sumps almost as big as the tank, but I know that within a year or two I will be wanting to get a larger tank 80-100ish. And don't want to have to re-buy all my sumps and pumps.

My return pump is throtled by a ball valve to help prevent pumping too much water back into tank.
 

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Just a thought, but a nano reef can be put together for faily cheap, forgoing the protein skimmer, sump, large pumps and big $ for LR necessary with larger volumes of water. I believe they do require more dedication though but as long as a few rules are followed anyone can be successful at it. I have seen a 1 liter nano reef at the lfs with a piece of lr, hermit crab, and some sort of coral. it had the tiniest piggy back filter i have ever seen and a clip on book lamp with a small compact fluorescent on it.

and just think, a 200 gal bucket of salt would last approx 250 years at 10% water changes every 2 weeks;)

seriously though, a 10 or 20 gallon nano reef may be more suiting to someone in your position. JMHO
 

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The only problem with a person first starting out is that a nano can be quite touchy when it comes to water quality. That being said. Money is no reason to ditch this hobby.

What everyone has said is right. If you buy cheap now, you will buy again later. I am on my third tank, and I don't have a single piece of equipement going into this tank that was used on either of the others...why? Because I bought crap for the two others, and I am doing this one right. As a result I am about 2 months away from filling up an aquarium that I bought LAST May (2002!!!).

I would go ahead and keep reading, learn more about the hobby, and the animals you want to keep. The more you read/learn, the cheaper you will be able to do what you want. Start with the basics...go out and buy you a tank...if you are a DIYer build yourself a stand, and canopy. This gives you both the satisfaction of building something yourself, but also postpones the next step in the process...so while you are building your stand you can be saving paychecks to pay off that 300 dollar lighting system you are thinking about buying.

Price shop. Price shop for everything. I rarely find equipment at an LFS that can beat the prices I can get online (with the exception of maybe salt). Unless you happen to have access to Buzz_Hogs LFS!!!

Dave
 

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ReefDave said:
Money is no reason to ditch this hobby.
Boy Oh Boy. Reef Dave is absolutely right.
I can speak from first hand experience. I have been buying equipment for the last 9 MONTHS, and now is when I'm getting closer to get my system really operational. The reasons: I live in a place where not everything is available. And if it is, they want to scoop one eye out of your face just for checking the price tag :eek: Imagine this: I went to a filter wholesaler to ask for a RO unit. They were offering me a drinking water system FOR $900. No kidding. I waited until I saved enough cash to import a $160 unit. I had to wait 5 weeks until I got it home. I guess what I'm trying to say, is that you'll need a lot of patience. If you don't have all the money you need now, make a plan of what you want to build, an start putting some money together. Buy your stuff little by little, and you'll be there in no time.

:beer:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
hey i just realized my house has some kind of water system... is there any way i can check if my water is good enough for reefing without R/O unit? and if it is a test kit, what elements do i need to test?
also i went to LFS and couldn't seems to see any skimmer, sump, refugium
all i saw is the powerhead.
is there any close up pictures of these equinment so i can get an idea what they look like?
or is there any picture i can look at to understand how people locate their equinment, forexample a picture off the top of their tank?
 

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You can see the return pump in the left compartment with the blue return line.
The two blue lines in the right compartment are the drains. Each drain comes from each croner overflow box in the tank
 

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the whole system...
The only thing I haven't put in the sump is my protein skimmer. It will go in the same compartment where the return pump is.
 
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