Starting 40g reef tank have some questions - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-14-2009, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Starting 40g reef tank have some questions

Hi there I'm starting a 40g reef tank. The tank itself is a 40g breeder (36x18x16). I have a 150 watt t5 HO light system. I am planning on keeping both corals and livestock. I plan on using fiji live rock.

This is my second system I am creating. My old one is 125 gallons and has been established for 8 years now. I have since moved from home and am currently attending university and have limited space which is why I am making a 40g tank.

That being said, it has been a while since I have started a tank and I have some questions.

Filtration is something I am debating about at the moment. My 125g uses a wet/dry system (I have done some browsing on this forum and have come to the conclusion that wet/dry systems are a taboo topic. I now understand why this is). The filtration system I am looking at for this system is a combination of a sump and refugium. So a 3 chamber sump system, 1st chamber for inlet and skimmer (maybe heater as well), 2nd chamber refugium, 3rd chamber return. Only problem with this system for me is finding a place that sells one I like. Would it be cheaper or easier for me to make one myself or have someone make it for me?

Something else that I'm not too sure on is sand. I have been told many different things by many different people about what sand to use. Live sand, argonite sand, crushed corals. Whats the difference and benefits of each?

My last question is, would an open-top be ok, or would I have to get a top?

Thanks for taking the time to read, and I appreciate any feedback.
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-15-2009, 08:46 AM
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It sounds like you have a good background in the hobby, and you have your thoughts together for sure. I think you have made great choices so far, especially in terms of filtration.

I would suggest a small modification to the sump. I think you should put your return in the middle, and split the drain line between the refugium and the skimmer section. The refugium would be in section 1, the skimmer in section 3, with both sections overflowing into the middle return area. This will allow you to slow down dramatically the flow rate into the refugium, which is ideal.

When it comes to sand I think you are getting lost in the vocabulary. Although you will find different terms being used, everyone generally agrees on this subject. Basically, different people use different terms to refer to the same thing, which is aragonite sand. It does not matter if it is "live" or not, because it will become live in very short time as life migrates off of the live rock into the sand bed. Actually, the "live" sand sold at the LFS is just a cleaner version of aragonite, meaning it will cloud the tank less, and it has been "seeded" with a packet of microlife. Either way, just use an aragonite sand and you will be fine. Remember, if you are looking for the best benefits from denitrification, then you need to use a minimum of a 4'' layer of sand, not to exceed 6''.

Glad you found our forum. I would encourage you to set up a "build" thread in the Saltwater Pictures & Video area. Your experience in the hobby could benefit others, and everyone would enjoy watching your tank come together.
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post #3 of 6 Old 11-15-2009, 10:45 AM
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build your own sump from a used tank it is basically pennies compared to pre-built sumps that are half the size. they are "fancy" but if your hiding it under a stand or in a basement what much does it matter. if you do a quick search on for DIY sumps there are plenty of videos of people making them.
the top of the tank does not need to be covered. if you are going to cover it, do it with a canopy or open mesh netting so your lighting isnt blocked by a glass top or something that will block light. keep in mind the more open surface area of water the more evaporation you will see. some fish are known jumpers but IMO any would jump if they got scared enough.

welcome to the forum.
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-15-2009, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses! I will indeed start a build thread for my tank with pictures and everything. Tonight I am making the stand, so hopefully it will be done tonight, and I can get some pictures posted.

I may indeed make my own sump, probably out of a 10 or 15 gallon tank. Does anyone have any experience doing this, or know someone I can talk to about it?

I came up with another question as well while I was at work. In terms of flow in my tank I was thinking of having an overflow box to siphon the water, this will probably be located on the back left corner of the tank. The return I am thinking of having in the back right corner. I was planning on putting a powerhead in the front right corner, near the bottom of the tank. Is this a sensible setup? Also how many gph should my return pump and powerheads be?

Anyways off to work on the stand, I shall check back in later.

Thanks again for reading, and any responses!
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-17-2009, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Stand Pics

Sorry about posting the pictures so late, but here they are of me building the stand. It's nothing fancy and still needs a plywood board on the bottom for where the filter will sit. I like having it open so I can see and watch the filter.

Here's the top and bottom parts of the stand.

Here is the stand put together.

Side view.

It also has a layer of sill plate gasket on the top frame, which is this foam like material that is used as insulation, it was cheap and will help the placement of the aquarium so the tank sits on an even edge and wont have any high or low points.

The lighting system is arriving tomorrow morning along with the reverse osmosis system. I will post more pictures when I have that hooked up.
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-26-2009, 01:17 PM
Looking forward to watching the build.
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