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masroberts9
05-15-2010, 03:47 AM
So, I have decided to build a reef tank. I actually decided a good while back, but its been a real slow developement. I am looking for suggestions. Some tips and things. My goal is to keep and grow healthy softies, lps, and sps. Im interested in good awesome reef safe fish. really any info you can offer is welcome.

what i have so far is a 200 gallon tank with a 6'x2' footprint, stand, canopy, a fairly large overflow that doesnt keep up with my retun pump, a euro skimmer (that is actually kickin butt), a mag 7 for the skimmer pump, a 40 gallon sump, a 20 gallon refugium with cheato (i think that's what it's called), a stick of mangrove, and a 5-6 inch sand bed, a mag 24 return pump, 7 mj 1200 power heads (3 have mods), 4 36" 39 watt marine glo T5 HO bulbs (not sure the color but they are pretty blue), 2 400 watt SE MH lights (one bulb is reef grow 10K and one reef grow 15K), both powered by pfo ballasts. Also, I have a little backpack RO/DI unit. I tested the rodi water for tds before adding salt and it was showing about 300 ppm. I kind of expected it to be a bit lower.

I have dropped in a dead fish to help cycle it and am interested in getting some live rock and live sand. i don't have a time line for adding in livestock or anything, but i know i can get pretty impatient. thanks in advance.

masroberts9 added 10 Minutes and 51 Seconds later...

oh yeah i also have a 75 watt flood light style plant light on the cheato. should i run that 24/7? i have about 600 watts of heater. and timers on every light.

TheCanuck
05-15-2010, 04:29 AM
Woot Saltwater. man i am excited :D

masroberts9
05-15-2010, 04:47 AM
yeah buddy! It's on! No playin around here. I had an 8 foot tank that i was going to set up, but it was dropped by a would be theif. after paying for new glass and what have you I was rather limited on funds, then i found a sweet deal on this tank set up and sold my 8 footer. basically it was things like those that have slowed this process as much as it's been slowed. I mean I thought this was a sweet deal, but there were lots of let downs. this set up was torn down when i went to buy it. It was a fairly reputable guy off of one of one of the salt forums (not jay), so I went ahead with the purchase. Turns out that all the powerheads needed new parts, the mag 24 didnt work, the (3)400 watt ballasts didn't work, the stand was a cheap mass produced pos that was slowly being crushed by the weight of the massive custom canopy and lighting system (i mean i'm sure it was designed to handle the tank, but this canopy was not considered in its construction). All the plumbing had to be replaced since it was torn and broken out during the tear down. blah blah blah. basically, i would have been in the same place had i just kept the 8 foot tank. its been an adventure. Everything is up and running now though. I built a new stand (super sturdy), re plumbed, blah blah blah.
I had thought about taking pics during the stand build, but I was almost done by that time. I definitely didn't want to start over for documentation :hehe:. Ill take some pics here in a minute.

masroberts9
05-15-2010, 05:39 AM
i'll have to get pics tomorrow.

TheCanuck
05-15-2010, 02:08 PM
Sorry for some of the problems you have been having. A lot of people would have just quit by now, but man you've already been working hard! I have no doubt this tank will be amazing!

WoW, you remind me of when i got my 125. I was just like screw it i am doing SW! I remember you toying with the thought of SW and now your 200 gallons deep! Talk about jumping in haha. Well get some pics up, seems you have already been doing quite a bit. If you need any help with deals or getting parts/components for your tank let me know. Or where to get live sand etc..

Once again i can't wait for this tank to come together, i am kinda in the same boat with my 360. I want to do low light corals, such as mushrooms, polups, leathers and maybe some others. Maybe you will go for more in depth but i plan on having a huge community of smaller fish to bigger tangs. Then sharks in the middle. My two reefs on the left and right side that are like to separate reefs and in between the two coral rock build ups there will be 8ft of open water for sting rays and sharks. I am also low on the budget etc, not the best time to start a new big tank but helps the impatient actions that i usually do haha. I get real impatient as well. Sad about seeing the green dude go though, but i gave him a better home than he had. He will find a better home than i can provide as well. The family is all excited about him going, they are all terrified of him. They all want a community reef with sharks as well, and my dad said he might chip in on fish etc. It will be more of a "family tank", idk if they will ever buy a fish for it but at least everyone can enjoy the tank now.

sorry for the rant, big SW tanks are exciting. A 200 reef is a HUGE reef man, and a great size to start. It maybe really expensive to fill with liverock and corals though, but you could always do a half lace have liverock like i did. Theres also other tricks as well to keep price down.:hehe:


O and whats your ideas for full filtration? If you have a canister or small sump part i have a good 20lbs left of rubble come, you can come pick some up. Great for kick starting a tank!

Whats your plans for lights?

Sand? used? new? petsmart sells live caribeasea sand for 10$ less than DNA, and is the best sand.

masroberts9
05-16-2010, 02:07 AM
for filtration i have a 40 gallon sump. a protien skimmer powered by a mag 7, and a 20 gallon refugium with cheato, mangroves, and a 5 or 6 inch dead sand bed. However, i plan to add live rock and sand.

for lighting i have 2 400 watt mh's i am looking for 10k maybe 14k bulbs. I think that i can get away with the 10ks since i have 4-36" really blue T5's.

Dude i would love some rubble rock! I'll send you a PM.

masroberts9 added 4 Minutes and 52 Seconds later...

oh dude. i saw your vids of your greed dude. he was pretty incredible. i'm sorry you are getting rid of him. However, I'm sure you'll be able to keep a larger variety of fish now. He was a bit aggressive in those vids :D. well that's a moray. <--- for those who don't know.... that's not french for love :hehe:.

masroberts9
05-16-2010, 03:45 AM
so here are some pics. keep in mind that I plan to skin the stand. it should look great when i'm done. also the big mess of wires in front are from the powerheads that helped to mix the salt. i will be constructing a smaller cabinet to set on the left side of the tank to house the pfo ballast and whatever else i feel needs to go there.
http://i414.photobucket.com/albums/pp227/masroberts9/DSC04274.jpg?t=1273996087

the refugium...
http://i414.photobucket.com/albums/pp227/masroberts9/DSC04239.jpg?t=1273996679

the sump...
http://i414.photobucket.com/albums/pp227/masroberts9/DSC04241.jpg?t=1273996869

the skimmer/skimmate...
http://i414.photobucket.com/albums/pp227/masroberts9/DSC04242.jpg?t=1273996990

just the t5s on...
http://i414.photobucket.com/albums/pp227/masroberts9/DSC04244.jpg?t=1273997332

return pipe with syphon break/overflow with vacuum line...
http://i414.photobucket.com/albums/pp227/masroberts9/DSC04247.jpg?t=1273997988

kicking off the cycle...
http://i414.photobucket.com/albums/pp227/masroberts9/DSC04269.jpg?t=1273998721

t5s on/ mh off...
http://i414.photobucket.com/albums/pp227/masroberts9/DSC04246.jpg?t=1273998941

I'll get a pic with the mh's on later. so, i want to work out good placement for the powerheads. I understand that their placement is critical for corals to get their food. I'm not sure if 3 mj 1200s will be enough or if i should mod somemore and use them too. I have 7 or 8 if i need them. really i'm not sure what's next in this process. i'm thinking live rock and live sand, determining the placement of the rock, then getting the circulation thing down. then hurry up and wait for the cycle to finish. I know i want to boost the coraline algea growth. i have heard that Purple Up is a good way to do that. I would like to have plankton grown in the refugium ( i think thats one way to feed the corals) so, i need to figure out what all that entails. then well, i think i'll be ready for livestock...:confuzeld:

TheCanuck
05-16-2010, 10:40 AM
for powerheads make sure to order off ebay. They are super cheap. The best way to decide how many you need it is set up your live rock structure then use powerheads to stop all dead spots. You wont know where they are until you get rock set up.

Also for boosting coraline algae growth go to DNA and ask for scrapings. They will tell you they don't really have any but just keep asking! Tell them you want a whole bunch of algeae scrapings and they should grab you some you can seed your tank with. Richard did this for me and my lace rock is already turning purple. BTW i recomend Kents purple up.


Thats a nice top canopy too. Very nice and high, its always great when your tank makes a great fish tank and a really nice peice of furniture as well! you need a black backround!!

Rift2Reef
05-16-2010, 11:09 AM
Purple up is snake oil.

Getting algae scrapings is a good idea though. Make sure you dose a two part solution like B Ionic to keep your Calcium and Alkalinity levels up and coraline algae should grow in no time. It's not really photosynthetic so it can grow in low light and bright light.

You mentioned that your overflow couldn't keep up with your return pump. How big is the return pump? The key with a reef is to have as little flow moving through your sump/refugium as possible. By doing this you increase the contact time with your skimmer and refugium.

You make up for it by having more flow via circulation pumps inside the aquarium. On your setup a Mag 7 or similar is all you need as a return pump. Try to get 10-15x turnover in the main tank with the circulation pumps and 2-3x turnover going through your sump.

Your skimmer will skim more, your refugium will work better and so on.

It's cool that you've made the saltwater plunge good luck with it.

masroberts9
05-16-2010, 02:56 PM
my return pump is a mag 24. my skimmer pump is a mag 7. i have ball vavles on my return, so i have been able to slow down the return.

my drain splits into two pipes with two ball valves to control flow. one goes to the refugium and has slow flow and drains to the sump. the other goes to the sump with faster flow. all water gets pumped out through the sump.

keep the info coming. I am super new to this and just stumbling through it.

OOwl
05-16-2010, 04:22 PM
Dane, I really like Purple Up. I've been using it in my little 34g reef for over a year and experienced amazing coralline algae growth. I have been keeping reef tanks for 18 years and I've always struggled with calcium additives (too much, too little, too complicated, corals react badly, or something). I dose Purple Up once a day and I'm done with it. I use zero other form of calcium addition; however, I do weekly water changes, which probably helps some too. I can't argue with the success I see in my own tank. I will continue to use it. I hope you'll consider it might have some merit.
Thanks,

Mason, your tank is really beautiful. It will be a showpiece when you're finished with it. When you get ready for coral cuttings, let me know. I'll be happy to give you some great softies. I've got some of the most hearty Xenia I've ever kept. I'm in Arlington frequently so just let me know and I'll meet you with a bag of stuff, free of course.

TheCanuck
05-16-2010, 04:56 PM
i have a calcium mag and reef salts for alkalinity, but then was told about kents purple up and basically its all three of those products in one(idk if thats right). Well like OOwl said i have had decent results, but then again i did seed my tank. I have heard of many purple ups failing but was recommended kents.

Mason you still coming for rubble?

masroberts9
05-17-2010, 03:33 AM
yeah buddy. thanks for the rubble Canuck. OOwl, I would love some softies when that time comes. I'm crossing my fingers that its close, I can hardly wait any longer. I guess I need to get that coraline kick started by overdossing purple up or similar products before i try putting live stock in.

Rift2Reef
05-17-2010, 09:17 AM
yeah buddy. thanks for the rubble Canuck. OOwl, I would love some softies when that time comes. I'm crossing my fingers that its close, I can hardly wait any longer. I guess I need to get that coraline kick started by overdossing purple up or similar products before i try putting live stock in.

Don't do that. You need to be dosing a two part solution alongside Magnesium and some Lugols. You don't need to waste your money on Purple up or a similar product. They don't work.

Oowl I would be willing to bet your success with coraline is to do with your weekly water changes and not the purple up.

Simply google the stuff and you'll see the overwhelming majority of people talking about it say it does not work.

Coraline comes with good water parameters and patience. It could take 4 months it could take a year. That's the nature of the beast.

You'll also notice when you see tanks covered in the stuff it's usually aquariums with soft corals and mushrooms. SPS/clam dominated tanks are rarely run over with coraline because they are competing for the same nutrients.

masroberts9
05-18-2010, 02:59 AM
Don't do that. You need to be dosing a two part solution alongside Magnesium and some Lugols. You don't need to waste your money on Purple up or a similar product. They don't work.

Oowl I would be willing to bet your success with coraline is to do with your weekly water changes and not the purple up.

Simply google the stuff and you'll see the overwhelming majority of people talking about it say it does not work.

Coraline comes with good water parameters and patience. It could take 4 months it could take a year. That's the nature of the beast.

You'll also notice when you see tanks covered in the stuff it's usually aquariums with soft corals and mushrooms. SPS/clam dominated tanks are rarely run over with coraline because they are competing for the same nutrients.

yeah... thats what i meant :hehe:. no, really, i was trying to consider your advice.

masroberts9
05-19-2010, 06:27 PM
well, my wife and I decided to move to California. all fish stuff is going up for sale.