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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi ,
My name is Matt & I am setting up a 120 gallon reef tank . Although I have read up on this hobby for a month , I have many questions That I hope you people could help me with.
There are so many brands & options out there for filtration, I am confused as to what will work with this patrticular tank (120 gallon with overflows). I would put live rock & sand to help cycle the tank. I believe I should add a wet/ dry filter w/bioballs, canister filter, protein skimmer, and a u/v sterilizer and 2 pumps.What brands & sizes are sufficent?
I plan on having the fitration in the basement ( 8-10 feet below bottom of tank).Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I do have a good amount of money put aside for this so I dont want to skimp on anything. I also plan on buying my fitration online so asking a local pet store for help wouldnt work. Once again thank you in advance for your help!

Matt
 

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the new guy matt said:

I do have a good amount of money put aside for this so I dont want to skimp on anything.

Matt
Welcome to the board!! I haven't been her too long but the advise I have gotton from these fine folks has saved me bunches of money.

And by the way. However much money you have saved up, it's not enough. I can attest to that. It's NEVER enough. :)
 

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You are going to get millions of different anwsers on that issue, but I think most everyone will tell you to get rid of the canister filter.... The best thing would be buy the best skimmer you can get. Check out www.myreefcreations.com/

Hope you can figure out what you are going to need!!!
 

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I think the consensous will be to lose the wet/dry as well and go with a refugium.
 

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I would skip the bio-balls/wet-dry and just run a sump. Maybe do some home modifications [get a big rubbermaid tub] and make a refugium [aka fuge] in it.

Protein skimmer, IMO the most important along with lighting. If you just have lights and skimmer, that's 90% of the `game'.

I don't run UV, some do ... wide variety of ideas on this. Consider it, read conflicting opinions ... while they kill bad things, might kill good too. Not essential to me.

Canister filter ... nice to run carbon now and then, but there are other methods [less expensive] too. Esp. if you customize your sump ... worth consideration but not a lot of money IMO. Easy to get used ... I run carbon roughly 1 week a month, that's it. No need otherwise, IMO.

Pumps ... given it's the basement you have to consider head/pressure so that they'll work well for you. Think a lot [and research] methods of providing chaotic flow in your tank. With that much water flow, maybe too much for a SCWD unless you T-off your pipes a few times and run a couple on lower-flow/pressure ... but a great method of wave movement. Maybe think about some of the Tunze stream powerhead/pumps for wave movement, they put out an amazing amount of flow [on a 120, you need it] the better ones have wavemakers that work awesome with a pair [or even single] one ... probably one of the better wave-movement devices for a big tank. Much better than smaller powerheads IMO.

I'd focus a lot on the plumbing, esp. the return flow and water movement in the tank. Good pump for the sump, get a great skimmer [maybe Euroreef?] ... and ask a LOT of questions on the rest [seem like debated equipment, to me].

And if it's going to be a reef tank ... I'd suggest picking up Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals book, Anthony Calfo's Book of Coral Propagation [not just about propagation] for sure. They have a lot of good info on setup, different parts of systems [refuiga], water flow ideas, and are great references for corals. They'll save you money by avoiding corals you're not set for [or don't do well] plus give great tips on how to care for corals once you've got them. There are other books, some great too; I just favor these and have read them each a couple times.

Anyway, good luck. Get a digicam and record progress, maybe a calendar to record when you start things up, add rock, add livestock, record test readings on ... mine has been invaluable, esp in the first 3 months [and to remember when you got something to compare with growth and stocking speed].

Good luck, ask us a million questions, and get ready to enjoy having your time disappear as you stare [and reach into] the tank.
 

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Let me be the first to welcome you to TRT You guys know what that means....:banana: :banana: :banana: :blob: :banana: :banana: :banana:

You will be very happy you just asked those questions before going out and spending way to much money.

There are 4 basic ingredients for a reef tank.

1) live rock
2) sand (amounts will vary from one person to another)
3) protein skimmer.

Then of course, depending on what type of tank you want, fish only or reef, your lighting.

There are many choices to choose from for protein skimmers. Make sure when you do your research you take into consideration the gallons of water in the sump as well as the tank. You don't want to get one that is for 120 gallon tank...also remember that when the skimmers says "up to" that is the max (and sometimes overstated) that skimmer can handle.

If you use a UV sterilizer, remember that UV sterilizers kill all bacteria. Good and bad, so my recommendiation is to be very careful and do more research. Read different post here on TRT ask lots of questions.

Ditch the idea of a canister filter...IMO that's old school unless you are doing a fish only system.

For that distance from the sump to the tank, I would look at the Dolphin AmpMaster 3000 for your return pump.

Hope this helps a bit
 

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In regards to the pumps, don't you guys think it's a good idea to have one pump in the basement dedicated to the sump/fug and one at tank level for a closed loop system?
 

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With all the money you have now saved on canister/uv/wet-dry, add a RO/DI unit to your list. Water quality is of paramount importance.

AND WELCOME TO TRT!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I plan on doing 100- to 150 pounds of live rock (Idont want it completely filled with rock), live sand, 10-20 different coral , invertebrates, and 10-15 small/medium fish. should this also require a canister? please correct me if Im off with these amounts.
Thanks
 

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What kind of corals are planning on keeping and what type of lighting are looking at?
 

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I agree with the no cannister, however some one in this board has a design with a 200 gallon Refugium in the basement in a rubbermaid tub, and a Seperate sump with two skimmers and a pump back up into the main tank. The neat idea that I saw in the design is that he had a seperate Tub (I forget the size) for top off, and during water changes, he shut the over flow valve, mixed the saltwater in the tub, and during this he would drain the desired amount from the sump. After a few hours, he would open the top off valve, allow the new saltwater to drain into the sump and turn back on the top off system and system pumps. Not once getting his hands wet...I thought it was a neat trick.

So basically do away with the wet dry, go with a sump and a fuge, and get a really good skimmer. ( I went with two skimmers and now downgraded to one)
Make sure you have the live rock and your sandbed either in your display and/or your refugium.

Ray

Ray
 

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Welcome to TRT!!!

:wavey:

cannister bad. it will not help you if you are planning a reef. it is all about the sump.

is there a reason why you want all of the equipment in the basement? haveing it in the basement requires you to get a much bigger return pump than you normally would get. i like having the return pump the same size as the pump for the skimmer. the bigger the return pump the greater the risk of getting bubbles into your system. the majority of your flow should be supplied by CLS's. i may have 300gph going out of my sump/refugium, but i have 2200gph supplied by 2 CLS's. this is in a 125g.

i think you should look around and figure out exactly what kind of "coral" you want to keep. this will help you figure out what kind of lighting you need to get. if you want clams and stonies then 2 250w or 400w mh would be my suggestion. with VHO actinic supplimentation. if you are going softies then several VHO's would be sufficient.

since money is not an issue.;) i would also suggest a Kalk reactor and possibly a CA reactor. i feel any reef tank benefits from a Kalk reactor, but a CA reactor is really only needed for heavy stony/clam tanks.

hth,

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the replies!
What is a refugium and are there plans to build one on this website?
So I guess I should go with a refrugium/ sump and a protein skimmer for starters.
What is a good model for a 120 gallon tank and will this setup be ok with 15 or so fish?
And lastly( is that a real word?), What should I use for pumps (make /model)& were should they be located.
I believe one before the refugium/sump , then connect to the skimmer ,& then the return pump up to the tank.
Thanks for not poking fun at me for my lack of knowledge!
Matt
 

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15 fish depends a LOT on what size of fish. Mostly little fish, sure. A lot of tangs, angels, wrasses, other `big' fish ... probably not.

For LR ... I'd go with at least as many # as gallons. You can always put some in the sump and 'fuge, but it's a major bio-filter and provides a lot of critters to your tank [and home for them]. I'm consistently amazed at all the cool things [amphipods, copepods, mysis, mini-stars, sponges, plant-life, weird things [forams, odd coraline forms, many unknown things]] that have sprouted from my rock. Good rock is GOOD, and I'm really a believer in LR for filtration and `stocking'.

For pumps, search the DIY forum, search for people with basement sumps. That height means many of us just don't have comparable experience with pumps.

The suggestions on skimmer [get an awesome one, rated for more than your tank - ratings lie] and no canister filter [find a way to put carbon in your sump/flow, it's nice now and then but I don't think 24/7] are dead on.

Personally I'd up the # of corals in a 120, esp if you get frags/captive propagated. Given a year, they'll grow as large as a wild colony, give you more pride in that, cost less and be more healthy to start with ... and I feel are more renewable [you can try any and lose it, just contact the same person and get it again when your tank is more healthy]. In my 58g [36" x 19" wide] I have 4 large colonies [brain, bubble, polyps, yellow turban cup] and about 18-20 frags [3 acro, 2 montipora, 2 pocillapora, 3 toadstool varieties, 3 polyp varieties, gsp, leather, colt, hydnophora, xenia, anthelia] ... which once grown will need more space - but that's what my propagation tank is for. Or will trade some away when they get large [or give some away when they have healthy clones/offspring - I'll keep the offspring].

Find a local/regional reef club and attend a few meetings. Great to talk shop with people, compare LFS's, meet people that for a few beers can help with plumbing, or setup, or anything. And most of all, it's the cheapest and best source of good corals around. I've been to 4 such meetings, have 2 acros, pocillapora, 3 diff. polyps, 2 macro-algaes, toadstool coral ... all for FREE in 4 meetings. And met someone who will drill my prop-tank for free as well. Can it get better than that? Even if you end up buying some, they're healthy, growing corals for cheap that you can ask specific care questions about [unlike anything at a LFS]

And keep asking us a million questions. Maybe think about Borneman's Aquarium Corals book, a great reference and general guide that answered a lot of my questions [still asked some to verify, tho].

Welcome to TRT, darn nice to meet you.
 

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Before spending alot of that money you have squirreledl away I would get the books suggested and see as many reef tanks in person as you can. Try to settle on one biotope( recreation of a specific point on the reef) or at least decide what corals you like and want to keep. Once you have decided that, then choosing the lighting, water movement rates and compatable corals,fish and inverts becomes easier to sort out. Not everything gets along well with others
corals compete for space and food, some fish are not good with corals, either eating them, picking at them to the point the coral withdraws , others may just be gig eaters that create a lot of waste that makes it harder to maintain optimum water parameters.
Remember that salt water tanks have about 1/4 the fish capacity of the same size freshwater tank due to lower dissolved O2 levels and the complexity of waste management in SW as opposed to FW.
Then again tanks devoted primarily to corals benefit from lower fish populations if the fish are utiltarian
Its an awesome hobby, but its not a cheap one, amazing how much $$$$ you can throw into a glass box. Planning and research will help you get the best bang for your money, and promote a healthy environment to amaze your friends with :) Enjoy
 
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