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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I've been doing research into my first tank and a theme that I've read a lot in threads is people saying things along the lines of "It would've saved me a lot of time/effort/disaster if I'd done...differently", "Next time i would change..." or "I wish I'd known...when I set up my tank".

I'd love to know what folks would change or would do to improve their tanks, what has been a pain or a mistake, or conversely what you did that is brilliant; please share your pearls of wisdom about setting up a tank!

I don't know if this is possible or feasible, but I'd love to set up my first tank in a way that I avoid at least the major hiccups which people have done and gained wisdom from!

Make it as broad or as specific (eg. powerhead or return pump flow direction) as tickles your fancy.

Hope to get some tips all in one thread!

:)
 

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besides going with LED lighting from the start.......
Next time I will purchase the same amount of rock for my tank but BIGGER pieces. Other than that, I don't think I would change anything.
 

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Export with Care!
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Mine is simply lots of planning and lots of research. Basically everything I want in the tank equipment fish ect I am laying out before hand. All parts will be in place and ready before going wet :) No fighting to work something in or changing out equipment while the tank is running. Well that's the goal. Also it's left me with enough time for others here to suggest or discuss and double check my work.

Taking all I have learned and not cutting corners in cost this time. I've been building up a plan and equipment for a year lol. My build thread is the log of it all.
 

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Chasing Stability
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Bigger tank and the right equipment the first time. If you skimp now you'll pay for it later.
 

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Zombie Maker
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872 Posts
Things I love

Coast to coast overflow
Beananimal return system( dead quiet)

Things I would change.

Go bb right out the gate .
Cook my rock a bit longer
Put my return in the middle of the tank instead of one end,it tends to make getting balanced flow a bit harder.
Keep my DIY sump design a bit simpler. It's hard to get detritus out.
Settling tank.
Did I mention settling tank? :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
These are awesome. Thanks for your input!

besides going with LED lighting from the start.......
Next time I will purchase the same amount of rock for my tank but BIGGER pieces. Other than that, I don't think I would change anything.
emkbass, would you go for bigger pieces for ease of putting it together/stability or for aesthetics?

1.) Use all dry rock and never use any live rock

2.) gotten a BIGGER tank haha
Cleverbs, that's something I've been thinking about. How did you make the dry rock "live" - did you add a small piece of live rock from elsewhere? If so, do you cure it first? Or did you buy live rock and cure it and leave it sitting in the sun? How do you get the corallines in the tank with dry rock?

Bigger tank and the right equipment the first time. If you skimp now you'll pay for it later.
dirtycontour, this is good advice. something that's tempting to do when you don't know the value of the equipment. I will definitely heed this one! A bit more saving and time to get whats best.

If the finances are present do you guys think starting with a 120g is too ambitious? I know water stability is better with higher volume but obviously don't have the experience to know if the maintenance workload increases proportionally to tank size... it seems that you're doing all the same tasks, they just all might take a wee bit longer.

Things I love

Coast to coast overflow
Beananimal return system( dead quiet)

Things I would change.

Go bb right out the gate .
Cook my rock a bit longer
Put my return in the middle of the tank instead of one end,it tends to make getting balanced flow a bit harder.
Keep my DIY sump design a bit simpler. It's hard to get detritus out.
Settling tank.
Did I mention settling tank? :p
Wopadobop, I'm not sure but do you think a settling tank is a good idea? :wink: that is interesting about the position of the return. Do you think if you had a return on one end of the back wall and a return from a closed loop on the other end it would balance flow? I don't know anything about the coast to coast overflow (yet!) i'll have to read into that :)
 

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Fuzzy Stick Crazy
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7,319 Posts
I dont really agree with dry rock. Its mined from ancient reef structures that are nowhere near water and is loaded with phosphates.

On the other hand Live rock is not loaded with phosphates but is usually covered in all sorts of life including pests.

There is risk with both but I find that if you cook LR it will yield better results and quicker than curing dry rock.

Things I would have done is....

LED from the start (took me 6mo to change)
Put the majority of your equipment budget in your skimmer, light, and power-heads in that priority.
DIY everything if you are savvy. I make almost everything I need now from scratch (stands, lights, not tanks)
Get a HUGE SUMP. For example I have an 80gal sump (filled to 50gal) under an 89gal display. My original plan was different but it worked out to be really stable.
Closed Loop systems are infinitely versatile and really nice for systems above 40gal.
GCFI everything
Dont get a tank thinner than 20 inches.

And last but not least. KISS (keep it simple stupid). Simpler systems are easy to run with less possible points of failure.
 

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Forever Learner
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106 Posts
To me the biggest mistake I made was not doing a sump. The next thing is my lights I had to upgrade them 3 times before I got the right ones. The ones I have now are ai sol blue and I love them, they are amazing. I would have gotten a bigger tank if I could do it again. I got a 29g bow front. It's only 17" from back to front and it makes it very hard to to do rock work. The last thing I would say is to keep your setup simple. If it was me and what I'm doing for my next tank is 2 power heads, skimmer, sump, carbon reactor, heater, chiller, live rock and lights. the more "stuff" you have the more that can go wrong.
 

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Currently Tanked
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I'd start without a canister filter. I started my 29 with one and a lot of guys use them on smaller setups. If I have a piece of advice for them, don't do it. Also, Get a sump. Whatever system you have, a sump is an invaluable piece of equipment. And finally, avoid HOB skimmers, mostly the flat kind. Cone shaped skimmers are more efficient. Finally, maxijets are great but for in tank flow either bury them in the rocks or put them in powerhead mode to minimize footprint.
 

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Salty Dog
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1,044 Posts
I would:
Not try to cut corners
Go with the right thing the first time (Skimmer, Lights, Etc).
Definately come up with a live stock plan ahead of time and aquascape.

I have been in and changed the rock arrangement too many times to count. For a while it seemed that every time I got a new piece of coral I had to adjust the rock structure.

map out where you want corals first when laying up your rock.

I however am glad that I did use all live rock from the start...the more seasoned the better. I still see new things pop up here and there. I have gotten lots of pulsing xenia and star polyps that I didn't have to pay for.

You do run the risk of getting pests but hey, that is half the fun.
 

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I dont really agree with dry rock. Its mined from ancient reef structures that are nowhere near water and is loaded with phosphates.
I really, really, really wish I would have understood this when I started. I just assumed that starting with dry rock meant I had a clean slate and was "good to go". I dealt with nasty algae, slime, blooms, etc. for almost a year before my rock completely purged. Of course, it didn't help that I added another 40lbs six months in that just extended the uglies. It was a long uglies but now, wow, so worth it!

Morale of my story is that I will use everything I've learned here over the last couple years to significantly shorten the uglies on my next tank - which may be a nano of some sort for my office when we move to a new location in the spring:thumbup:
 

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I had a large tank, that was far away from any water source, at first it was fine because i was excited and it wasnt that big of a deal, but a year in, it was really tough to go get a 5 gallon bucket of top off water every other day and carry it across my house, much less doing a 20 gallon water change with buckets (4 buckets full of tank water, 4 jugs full of new water) it was tough to keep up. so i would either have a dedicated fish room with a drain in the floor, or i would do a smaller tank.

also, i expaned into corals that need much more care, which is fine, but my cabinet and sump had very limited space, i need a calc reactor, and didnt have the space for it, dosing and testing also got tiresome, so plan ahead. making things automated is expensive, and keeping it clean looking from outside is tough, but it makes keep the tank much more enjoyable and much less of a job.
 

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I would have:

- gotten a larger tank
- started with a sump instead of converting to one later
- started with LED lights instead of MH
- used crushed coral substrate instead of sand

did i mention a larger tank? ;)

the 75G already seems too small.
 

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I had a large tank, that was far away from any water source, at first it was fine because i was excited and it wasnt that big of a deal, but a year in, it was really tough to go get a 5 gallon bucket of top off water every other day and carry it across my house, much less doing a 20 gallon water change with buckets (4 buckets full of tank water, 4 jugs full of new water) it was tough to keep up. so i would either have a dedicated fish room with a drain in the floor, or i would do a smaller tank.

also, i expaned into corals that need much more care, which is fine, but my cabinet and sump had very limited space, i need a calc reactor, and didnt have the space for it, dosing and testing also got tiresome, so plan ahead. making things automated is expensive, and keeping it clean looking from outside is tough, but it makes keep the tank much more enjoyable and much less of a job.
I to made this mistake, My water source is down 2 flights of stairs and across my house so it is a pain in the *** to get water to it. I also have 4 takes right next to my water source and they are SO easy to change water and i dont mind doing it.
 
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