Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Jester10 10-24-2012 10:54 PM

Protien Skimmer and other equipment Question
I"m getting a saltwater set-up ready. Just got a 55gal tank with topfin 60 filter, powerhead, and some other useful stuff. The only thing I don't have are HO lights and a protein skimmer.

I've done some research and I know that live rock does 80% or more of the filtration. The other 20 I'm assuming is taken care of with a protein skimmer, a "clean up crew", and water changes.(please correct me if i'm wrong.)

I was wondering if I could could convert the topfin fiilter into a a Skimmer with some creativity and some PVC pipe or something similar. I was curious if they simply skimmed the top of the water getting the layer of protein off or if I'm missing some thing. I've tried to see how the work with pictures on Google but nothing was really useful with out some explanation.

As for the lighting it came with 2 stock florescent hoods(will be changed out) will that be ok for a FOWLR tank? I want to keep clowns and other similar small fish and inverts?

Water parameters
hardness-very soft (well water through a softener)
getting it ready to start cycling so chem levels are irrelevant atm

Reefing Madness 10-25-2012 12:12 AM

your numbers are not exactly correct. A Skimmer removes detrius from the water column before they are able to do any damage to your system. So I think that a good Skimmer is better for a system than a large amount of Live Rock. Live Rock at 1lb per gallon grows bacteria that further help clean the water coumn. And lastly a Sump with Algae or a Alage Turf Scrubber does the rest for you. But, if your just going with a FOWLR, then a skimmer and a sump is not needed. Just watch your water parameters. A big skimmer would be advised, because it will keep your water cleaner longer than just doing weekly water changes. Normal Output lighting is fine for a FOWLR.
Parameters should read out as follows
PH- more like 8 to 8.4
CA- at least 380 for a FOWLR
Nitrates- under 40 for FOWLR

Jester10 10-25-2012 12:17 AM

If or when I want to upgrade to a reef tank I would defiantly need a Skimmer then? And is a sump necessary for a reef tank or does it just make it that much easier to keep everything in check? I've read up on them and know them fairly well I'm just trying to get all my info straight and make sure what I think I know is correct.

Reefing Madness 10-25-2012 09:21 AM

Skimmer definately needed for a Reef. Sump is not a necessity, its just a bonus to have,

Jester10 10-25-2012 10:05 AM

I've read some people use RO/DI units. what's the beneifit of them? Would I need one with well water with the parameters given above?
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Reefing Madness 10-25-2012 02:04 PM

99.9%. Pure water. To get water parameters correct, you add stuff.

Jester10 10-25-2012 04:34 PM

Found this ad on the local CL Aquarium Equipment is this a good deal? I"m gonna try to bring him down a lot since if I wanted to spend that much I'd go get it new.

Reefing Madness 10-25-2012 05:20 PM

Jester10 10-25-2012 05:27 PM

Yeah i want everything for like 150 or trade
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