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Newbie With No Clue But Bucket Loads Of Hope

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Dclark82, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Dclark82

    Dclark82 Registered

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    Hi everyone,

    Apologies in advance for the long post.

    Despite registering with the site back in 2012, I'm still considering myself a newbie as I've been dipping in and out of the hobby for a few years now - as will be noted from the number of messages I've posted to date.

    I have however recently moved house (July 2017), and in doing so have bought a larger tank in the hope of establishing a Marine tank. :) My past experience has been completely fresh water (100L tank) and I'm dreading the change to Marine - so much so that I've had an empty tank for 6 months now.

    My local garden center were selling off an ex-display tank with a mishmash of pipe work. So now, I am the proud owner of an AquaReef 275 with sump (which I think is about 30L). Tank dimensions being 70x70x70.

    The tank came with a protein skimmer, 4x T5 Lights, and 2x Heaters. I've additional bought;

    - Return Pump (Reef-Pump DC Aquarium Pump 4000)
    - Filter sock
    - Refractometer

    If I'm honest, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with next steps and the options available to me. I would be grateful for advice on what I do next. Here's what I think I need to undertake:

    1. Buy egg-crate to place on base of tank.
    2. Buy wave maker fan - need to decide what would be an appropriate fan. Do I need one or two?
    3. Replace sump bio-balls (which came with tank). But not sure what to replace with, I've been told I could use Live rock.
    4. Live rock v dry rock; I believe I need about 1lbs for every 10L of water. So give or take about 25lbs of rock due to water displacement. I need advice on whether I should put rock in the tank or within the sump. I'm leaning towards pre-sculptured dry rock in the tank, and having some live rock in the sump.
    5. Sand - Need advice on how much I need. I'm guessing the amount is more of an aesthetic requirement to ensure there's sufficient grounding for rock etc. But question whether sand should also go into the sump, not sure what the (dis)advantage this would have.
    6. Sump - does this need lightling? Currently it doesn't but is housing 2x heaters, return sump, protein skimmer, and bio-balls (which will be replaced).

    I feel a bit silly writing this, but the next big fear is water. I don't intent to buy a RO-unit immediately, and will likely arrange to buy circa 300L of water from local fish store. This alone worries me as will require several trips back and forth. However, should I undertake a test run of the tank with tap water to make sure everything is working?

    Am I missing anything else? I'm guessing I'll additionally marine water test kit, and all this before I decide what type of fish set up I'd like.

    I'd like a community tank with Clownfish, Gobies, Fire Shrimp, but I would also like a Dwarf Lionfish. Anyone have recommendations for a first time Marine owner?

    Grateful for advice and help.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  2. WardyC

    WardyC Registered

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    It might be an idea to read some of the threads of tanks your size and this may point you in the right direction and give you some ideas , I wouldn't bother with bio balls I would use siporax or live rock if you want to keep the rock in your dt minimal , I wouldn't bother with egg crate in dt this will just give the opportunity for things to break down in the sand bed , I have a 3ft tank and I am currently running two wavemakers a mp10 and a gyre . you probably should look at getting yourself a media reactor as well .
    if you are feeling overwhelmed it may be an idea to just take a step back read a bit more try and get together with some local reefers I have had my reeftank up and running for two years now an it is a massive learning curve still but is a hugely rewarding hobby .

    If it has tought me anything it's patience

    Good Luck
     
  3. Mr Dave

    Mr Dave Registered

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    Hi pal, im sorry but I have to disagree with some of the comments above.
    Yes get some egg crate and place it under your rock structure and place your rock directly onto it before adding sand and this will help prevent the rock work slipping on the glass over time.
    Siporax is a great product for N03 reduction as it helps colonise de nitrifying bacteria and id far more efficient than live rock, it does take a while to seed though. So it is all dependant on your stock levels.
    Sump light is dependent on whether you plan to run cheato for P04 reduction, if not then sump lighting is not required.
    Sand is your choice -finer sand will be blown around so perhaps a medium grain ? If you are planning on keeping wrasse they sleep in the sand so you will need 2-3 inches (wrasse are great for eating pests)
    Wave makers- all down to budget and choice- I live EcoTech but they are expensive , have a look at Jaebo
    RO water have a look at what the cost will be in buying 300l plus 25l a week for top ups then water changes including fuel costs. Im sure you will see it is cheaper to buy your own unit. Have a look at www.littleocean.co.uk Toby is a top man
     
  4. WardyC

    WardyC Registered

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    not a problem with you disagreeing but wonder why you would think rock work would slip on the glass ??
     
  5. Mr Dave

    Mr Dave Registered

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    with the weight of the rock and the flow of the water plus any fish/critters, then we put our hands in to attach/remove corals. I think it is best practice too use it
     
  6. WardyC

    WardyC Registered

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    not a chance of flow or livestock moving 25kg of rock egg crate on base of tank detritus trap in my opinion
     
  7. Mr Dave

    Mr Dave Registered

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    Im glad you said in your opinion there pal. I know of a few reefers whom have had rock movement causing glass damage.
     
  8. Dclark82

    Dclark82 Registered

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    I see merit in both views, I am however leaning towards safety of the glass bottom and fear of scratching.

    In terms of update, there's been none other than I have now bought egg crate. Birth of first child has derailed things slightly.

    Would it be advisable to fill tank up with tap water to test equipment works / no leaks etc and then drain and replace with RO water?
     
  9. sixty_reefer

    sixty_reefer Registered

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    Congratulations on your firstborn buddy it's going to be hectic around the house but also probably a good time to set it up once tings have calm down, it's good practice to test fill and check for leaks on pipe work and silicone. Most importantly is also fill the Display first and check if is leaking true the overflow assuming you have a overflow box.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Dclark82 and doug_amanda like this.
  10. Dclark82

    Dclark82 Registered

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    Thanks. Yeah thinking this could be a good time as we'll just be sitting round the house whilst the little one sleeps, eats, and poops.

    I'm going to fill the display tank this weekend. Tank has overflow/weir chamber so keen to make sure this doesn't leak. Also check the return pump works / doesn't leak.

    Thinking about testing the protein skimmer but not sure how best to test this.
     
  11. sixty_reefer

    sixty_reefer Registered

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    Probably best wait till the tank is salty to test this one but fresh water won't work on it and to be honest you might not even see it work properly in the first few weeks as you won't have any protein to skim


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  12. Dclark82

    Dclark82 Registered

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    So I took the plunge and tested the pipe work with tap water. Annoyingly it leaked.

    The down pipe from the weir only leaked a little but the main leak came from the return pipe back up. Need to work on it this weekend.
     
  13. jim_fitz

    jim_fitz Admin Staff Member

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    hope you get it sorted
     
  14. Dclark82

    Dclark82 Registered

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    Success. Have tested again this morning and on inspection there doesn't appear to be any leaks.

    Now for next steps, tell me you think this sounds right;
    - marine appropriate sand to layer up base of tank. I'm not thinking too much, maybe a couple inches to cover the egg crate. Will start with 2kg but honestly have no idea if this will be enough, probably not. Think I'll order this of Amazon.

    - replace sump Bio Balls that came with tank. I'm going to go with the MarinePure 8x8x4 block (again will order from Amazon).

    - still haven't made up my mind about water but will think about extra rock filtration for display tank.
     
  15. doug_amanda

    doug_amanda Admin Staff Member

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    Sounds good to me, personally I wouldn't bother with the bio balls, they're not necessary, there's plenty of surfaces in the tank and sump for bacteria to cling to, they just take up unnecessary room in the sump. Ideally you will need around 30kg of rock in the display with a good flow around it for good effective filtration.
    Are you planning on getting an RO unit?
    Glad you got your leak fixed :)
     
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