Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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emmytt11 03-03-2009 05:17 AM

need help starting a reef tank
Hi guys,
new to forum. was wondering if you guys would be help me. ive ready most posts on the forum regarding reef set up and now am confused.
This is the thing
i want to start up a reef tank. buying an aquarum 120x50x100 so about 100-110 uk gallons. But i completely hav no idea how to.
My main problem is SPACE.
ive got this raised like thingy platform in my living room but dont space for an under cabinet. so ii cant go for sump or undercabinet filtration stuff. the tank itself is only occupying a portion of the space. ive got about 45cm on eitherside, 50cm at the back(ive full access to the back thru the window). then ive also got about a sq metre of space on the left of the picture behind the sofa. can fit something that runs to the tank.
My local pet shop suggested a few things but was really sure as they only deal with tropical fish.
now i know theres alot of stuff to know. but i just want to know everything i need to buy to get my tank going.
Will really appreciate any help.

Pasfur 03-03-2009 06:47 AM

The basics of every marine system should be a deep aragonite sand bed, live rock, and a protein skimmer. Your situation is simple, because you don't have as many options.

For a sand bed, I suggest 4''-5'' of aragonite sand. This depth will allow for proper denitrification. Anything less can cause problems by trapping nutrients and eventually leading to algae blooms.

For the live rock, you want between 1 pound and 2 pounds per gallon, depending on the density of the live rock. I suggest looking at pictures of completed reef tanks to judge how much rock to use. You should also post pictures of your progress as you go along, so that we can offer our input.

For a protein skimmer, I would suggest the Berlin X2 Turbo Skimmer. The skimmer is the most important purchase you will make, so you want a high quality unit. Here is where I personally order my supplies:
Berlin X2 Turbo Skimmer - 13.7 in. x 20 in. x 7.9 in. | Venturi Models | Protein Skimmers | Aquarium -

Then you have the basics. You need a submersible heater, salt mix, a hydrometer, a couple of power heads for water flow, and your lighting fixture. Lights depend on livestock, so I can't make a recommendation yet.

I would personally recommend a UV Sterilizer on your display. You can order one from the same web site as above, at a very reasonable cost. A UV goes a long way to helping prevent the spread of disease from one animal to the next.

Next you need to decide where to set up and what size quarantine tank. I would recommend a 20 gallon quarantine tank, but a 10 gallon is sufficient. It can be run bare bottom, with a simple sponge filter and air pump. This will look very similar to a freshwater breeder or fry tank.

Finally, you need to order your testing equipment and chemicals. You need tests for Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH, alkalinity, and calcium, at a bare minimum. Many people would tell you to also test for phosphate and magnesium. You will need the correct chemicals to adjust your readings. You need an alkalinity buffer. I use Kent Marine SuperBuffer DKH. You also need a calcium additive, such as Kent Marines liquid calcium. Some hobbyists also use a 2 part balanced buffering product, such as B-Ionic.

There you have it. The basics. You will probably need to start several different threads discussing the why and how of each. Honestly, this discussion normally comes in hardback form, and is about a 500 page read.-)

emmytt11 03-03-2009 09:53 AM

After 3 long drives to 2 different pet/fish shops. and like 60 posts. this is the most helpful information ive got. Thank you so much Pasfur. by the way the berlin x2 turbo skimmer goes for about 170 ive been offered a deltec mce600 skimmer for 180 and told it was a better buy. Any truth in that

Kellsindell 03-03-2009 01:47 PM

The deltec are supurb skimmers and are very effecient, i've only heard one negative remark en regard to them. I've never used or have heard of the Berlin x2 so i can't say much, but Pasfur is very reputable and I hold his oppinion in high regards.

onefish2fish 03-03-2009 03:36 PM


Originally Posted by Pasfur (Post 177250)

... need a submersible heater, salt mix, a hydrometer, a couple of power heads ...

i agree with everything stated except the use of a hydrometer. i personally recommend a refractometer which goes for about $20 off of

basics were already stated but a good skimmer and light setup are key to a good reef tank. everything else plays a key role as well, flow, live rock, and so forth.

i would go with the deltec.

as for sand you will either want to go deep ( as mentioned ) or bare bottom ( no sand ) and you can also do a 1'' sand bed that does nothing but add looks. out of all the options deep is the best bet, bare can be good too as you can increase flow rates in the tank without causing a sand storm.

i know you said you cannot fit a sump but is the location of the tank changes or if you can figure out how to include one or even for the sole purpose of understanding here is an article,
and heres another read which is basic and your research shouldnt stop here:

emmytt11 03-05-2009 11:31 AM

thanx guys for all your inform. just ordered a deltec mce 600, tunze wavebox and a coralife turbo twist.
Still figuring out what lighting to go with-

will keep you guys posted.

P.s havent had much sleep of late- this thing is more of a drug than a hobby.:greenyay::blueyay::redyay::cheers:

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