58G Reef Tank - Can it be used for freshwater? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-14-2010, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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58G Reef Tank - Can it be used for freshwater?

Well, i recently lost my Reef tank... to something related to home renovations. The Tank is an Oceanic 58 gallon w/ center-rear overflow. It currently gravity feeds to a Berlin filter system (sump/protein skimmer) I have in the stand below it.

I realize I wont be using the protein skimmer any longer, but is a reef tank useful for a freshwater setup?

I could convert the sump into a wet/dry using bio-balls, or something of that nature, as I have all the plumbing in place and the necessary pumps.I like this idea, as i can hide the heater down there and I have a 1/4hp chiller attached as well to help keep temps steady.

I have two lighting systems, one single MH pendant, or a Tek 156w, 4 bulb t5 flourescent fixture.

I'm thinking I would like to get into Cichlids, haven't done enough research on them yet, so not 100% sure. My main concern now, is finding out if the reef tank is feasable as a freshwater tank.


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post #2 of 11 Old 03-14-2010, 06:57 PM
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Hi rich that sounds like a nice conversion if you ask me.

Are you gonna go with live plants (I'd hope so) if so I'd be worried about the flow rate, since its DIY as you said do you have any idea of your flow rate? With a planted tank something like the tank's volume per house once; max 2x would be plenty sufficient.
However if your whole hardcore sump setup is too much a good quality canister filter can be found inexpensively

Biggest change for you will be LIGHTS FW especially planted needs far less light then SW. For example my 55g here http://www.fishtanks.net/fishtank.php?fishtank=1412 that is set up with a normal 4ft t8 32watts. So really if you're talking in terms of wattage you'd want anything from 0.5-max2 (2 will likely already enhance algae thou). Most important apart from that will be the spectrum you need a full spectrum light which is what comes closest to natural daylight, these are rated around 6500Kelvin. Since you have a t5 fixuture just go to your next best home store, walmart whatever you have close by and buy one there to exchange and I'd pers run 1 tube across the whole tank only, MAX 2 tubes. These lights at the home store's are found by GE, Bright effects, Phillis and are often labeled as Daylight or Ultimate daylight; just be sure to check its around 6500K!

For the Cichlids what's your water parameters on your tap water (pH and KH)?

Edit sorry didn't notice you just joined us WELCOME TO THE FORUM!!!!

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post #3 of 11 Old 03-14-2010, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the welcoming and the reply!

I will need to test the tap, last year they started adding chlorine to our water.I never tested after they did that. I never really used straight tap for the reef, it was always RO/DI into 5 gal buckets.

As for the pumps, yeah... wow... those rates seem crazy to me! In reef tanks, the flow is much higher. I currently have two Magnetic Drive Supreme 9.5 pumps (950 gph). One is the return, which splits to feed the chiller and is then returned to the sump, the other feed is direct to the tank. the second pump drives the protein skimmer. I was hoping to find a way to use these, as I would already have a backup / spare parts.

My main concern with the reef tank was the overflow, especially if I can't use my sump.I guess I could silicone the the overflow so water doesn't do down th back and sit.

Thanks again for the response.

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post #4 of 11 Old 03-14-2010, 07:44 PM
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RO water if you told me you wanna house Cardinal Tetra's I'd say sure. Cichlids who love higher pH and KH I'd say buy a good water conditioner (Tetra Aquasafe does well but if you fear you may have Ammonia coming from your tap water use Prime) and use your home water assuming/ hoping that's having high end readings then RO water (example in my case RO water and my tap water - Same result lol).

I know LOL you SW guys always need much higher flows & lights then us. But I'd seriously suggest you go planted in that tank, not only does it look nice but also really makes for a good water quality for your fish (and its also natural for them).
950gph is uhm about a lil over 8 times wee too much That's gonna flow you any FW fish out of the tank lol. You also won't need a chiller - With the more humane lights FW runs you won't need it unless your house get's some 90-120F during the summer time (Let's hope you have AC).
You CAN use a sump if you really wanted to on a 55g tank its just quite the overkill on a planted 55g And I donno how your's is built to help you to DIY rebuilt and dial it down.

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-14-2010, 10:32 PM
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Hi Rich. Nothing to add but wanted to say welcome to TFK!

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post #6 of 11 Old 03-14-2010, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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So, if I were to go with a canister filter, what should I do with the built-in overflow?

This is a 58g Reef ready tank.
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-16-2010, 05:33 AM
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Too much flow on a planted tank can be problematic, but 8x per hour really isn't at all overkill on a non-planted tank. If you set this up with African rift lake cichlids I think you'd be just fine adding some biomedia to the sump and calling it a day.

Lighting basically doesn't matter in a non-planted tank. Just use whatever looks good. Personally, I think 50/50 lighting looks great on rift lake tanks decorated with nothing but a sand substrate and big rock piles. It really highlights the color of the fish, if you ask me. If you go planted though, I'd recommend using two out of four of your T5 tubes and getting bulbs in the 6500K range.

Kym, what's the flow rate like on your wet/dry? That tank is completely planted and has a built in overflow IIRC.

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post #8 of 11 Old 03-18-2010, 08:29 PM
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Rich Im in the same exact boat as you. 150g Salt with overflow ... just tore it down.

Curious to see if you decide to go with canister or using the sump.
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-18-2010, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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I would really like to go with a heavily planted FW setup, and using a canister of some sort. I'm looking forward to the reduced electrical bills... :)

No one has really answered my question on the overflow though... I am unsure if i can use the overflow and return with a canister. I could very easily plumb it all together, but wasnt sure of the over flow will cause any issues with the flow of the canister.

Here is a shot of the filter system I put together. I can put a reducing fitting to match the hoses of the canister.

again... im just worried I will cause problems with the overflow and size of the canisters plumbing.
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-19-2010, 11:13 AM
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My display tank came reef ready and has a built in overflow with a pretty good flow rate. I'm unable to keep any floating plants in this tank as they get sucked right into the overflow. Other than lacking floating plants I have no problem keeping it heavily planted and thriving. I had to swap out the actinics for 6500 K bulbs and I was good to go. I really don't see a probelm should you decide to go planted. I also really like iamntbatman's idea on the cichlids and lighting option. I almost went that route but decided on a peaceful planted community tank. Good luck with your decision!

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