Building up a marine tank 115l - Advice needed!!


Dhasvir

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Hey guys, I'm no stranger to the marine hobby... The last I had a saltwater tank was about 7 years ago and I had got a brand new Boyu 550 tank. after a year of reefing i, unfortunately, had to sell the tank as i could not keep up the costs of a nano marine tank, a huge 500liter freshwater predator tank, a big koi pond, dogs, budgies and a bearded dragon. i had a mini zoo on at my house and the saltwater tank was just the most pricey in terms of maintenance. I have recently got a better financial stance and wanting to start the hobby again. i dont wanna blow the budget on a brand new already built tank as i would then have the same problem as before. i even went to my local petshop and got quoted on the exact same boyu 550 tank with the necessary equipment and it was R16 000.... i was absolutely shocked as ik back then i payed no more than R8000 with red sea salt, refractometer and powerheads... i have looked around for a second-hand tank and the best i could find was a tank for 1500 but it was unfortunately sold. i have done more research and thought of actually just building up the tank myself... the price of a 90cm tank would be around R800 and thats more than ok with me... its just im scared to run a sump... i thought of adding an internal one to the tank but im scared that i may not seal it off properly as this would be my first time to do so... i still can have this made by my local shop and all in all i dont see it costing more than R1500 as it would be 1 black acrylic panel added to the back of the tank with 3 other dividers for the filtration... the tank according to the my pet shop is 115l , 91.5l x 33.5w x 38.0h. now i dont know how big my internal sump should be but i would like it to at least be able to handle 1/4 of the capacity of the tank. i was looking about 30l filtration size of the tank, so the size of the internal sump would be 91.5l x 8w x 38.0h.. this will run along the length of the tank. i would just like to get your guyses advice on a build of the tank and then the equipment..
as far as all the research and countless youtube videos i have watched i know i will need a:
-mechanical filter media(i have tons of sealed filter floss bags and sponges that i save for my freshwater so ill use the new bags of filter media for the saltwater
-biological and chemical filtration( my local petshop recommends ceramic and carbon bags.. ill just get enough and extra till the one chamber of filtration is full and i have also seen Chemi pure used in marine tanks, so ill also invest in that.
-protein skimmer, this is where i need help. i have no idea what to get. i heard that i should get 1 twice the size of my tank and i have watched how to "break in" your skimmer... so i am looking for a 200l protein skimmer... i will buy this later on in the months as im only spending R2000 a month building the tank up and i know skimmers start in the 1000s for big tanks but i dont know how much it would cost for my 115l tank.
-lighting ( i have seen the name Zet lighting a few times and i think as a beginner it would be a good place to start with as i dont have intentions to keep complicated corals, just your regular zoas, and hardy corals.
-i have seen RODI units start at R3000 at my shop but for me it will be cheaper to buy the water from my petshop at R3 a liter for weekly water changes. i will see in the future if i can pick up a second hand one for cheaper..
i understand the hobby of saltwater is a expensive one. there is no shortcut to it... It would be amazing to have a red sea aquarium one day but for now my budget holds me back... and my farm:011:
But i have set aside R2000 for the next 3 months and dont wanna pass that limit... i still am on the lookout for a quarantine tank for this tank i wanna build now but i would rather start this build and then get that..
thanks for the help:m12:
 
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If you want I could draw up a tank according to your dimensions required and send you the drawings, cutting list..... With the filtration on the back length, your overall width would of course increase to accomidate skimmer, media, heater and return pump. Something like the IM120 system.
 
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Dhasvir

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If you want I could draw up a tank according to your dimensions required and send you the drawings, cutting list..... With the filtration on the back length, your overall width would of course increase to accomidate skimmer, media, heater and return pump. Something like the IM120 system.
Hey, please.. this would be much appreaciated as i just gave 8cm width to the filtration as im unsure what size the skimmer would be...
my e-mail is dhas.sewnandan@gmail.com
 
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Just buy all your equipment second hand bud. Prices drop by like 50%. I have a setup that everyone complements me on.. Just about everything is second hand and yet still in perfect condition
 
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My advice/opinion

First find out what your goal is, what you want to achieve.

If you want some small clowns with couple of corals, 550 or similar would be fine but if your goal is to have a mixed reef with big tangs then rather buy once and save.

I have seen a red sea 250 max for sale heavily scratched for under 3k all in one system.
Maybe get that and polish it up.

Start with you goal and then get a system to Match.
Look for someone who has a tank with the look and feel you want and get their advice.
 
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I am by no stretch of the imagination an "experienced reefer".... In fact I'm still the annoying guy that keeps asking stupid questions and nievely believes that there is some way to enjoy this hobby without ruining my bank balance....

But!... I do have advise to offer to someone who is about to make the same mistakes I have made so far.

"just my opinion"

If you have the space, just get a system with a sump....

I started with a "all in one" 110l system with the filter compartments along the back of the tank, it served me well!... But it just such a mission.

You are going to spend Alot more time and money in the "filter" section of your tank than you can even begin to imagine. I am sure that I spend more time looking at and fiddling with my sump than I do looking at the actual tank.

Adding chemicals to maintain stable parameters of other chemicals that don't even exist on freshwater test kits, tuning and emptying your protein skimmer, trying to get algea to grow there so that it stays out of your main tank, and then harvesting it to get rid of all the unwanted nitrates and phosphates it has consumed... Cleaning filter sponges, filter socks, or whatever mechanical filtration method you choose to use, topping up with RO water regularly so that levels don't drop and salinity remains stable.... And the list goes on.

Unless you plan on keeping fish only, Going from freshwater to marine is like going from being able to mow your own lawn to being a commercial farmer.

Every single thing that goes in your system is alive and serves a purpose, even the gravel and rocks.... The days of grabbing a few lekker looking stones out of a stream and chucking them into a tank with some tap water and dechlorinator are over, and managing to successfully tune your skimmer is more rewarding than breeding those rare cichlids.

You will be patiently hand picking every bit of sand, rock, clean up crew and fish and coral that (hopefully/sometimes) live in your system.... Some of which will be more expensive than an entire freshwater setup, and at the heart of that investment is your filtration system. Make it easy for yourself from an accessibility and expansion point of view and get a sump.
 

Dhasvir

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I am by no stretch of the imagination an "experienced reefer".... In fact I'm still the annoying guy that keeps asking stupid questions and nievely believes that there is some way to enjoy this hobby without ruining my bank balance....

But!... I do have advise to offer to someone who is about to make the same mistakes I have made so far.

"just my opinion"

If you have the space, just get a system with a sump....

I started with a "all in one" 110l system with the filter compartments along the back of the tank, it served me well!... But it just such a mission.

You are going to spend Alot more time and money in the "filter" section of your tank than you can even begin to imagine. I am sure that I spend more time looking at and fiddling with my sump than I do looking at the actual tank.

Adding chemicals to maintain stable parameters of other chemicals that don't even exist on freshwater test kits, tuning and emptying your protein skimmer, trying to get algea to grow there so that it stays out of your main tank, and then harvesting it to get rid of all the unwanted nitrates and phosphates it has consumed... Cleaning filter sponges, filter socks, or whatever mechanical filtration method you choose to use, topping up with RO water regularly so that levels don't drop and salinity remains stable.... And the list goes on.

Unless you plan on keeping fish only, Going from freshwater to marine is like going from being able to mow your own lawn to being a commercial farmer.

Every single thing that goes in your system is alive and serves a purpose, even the gravel and rocks.... The days of grabbing a few lekker looking stones out of a stream and chucking them into a tank with some tap water and dechlorinator are over, and managing to successfully tune your skimmer is more rewarding than breeding those rare cichlids.

You will be patiently hand picking every bit of sand, rock, clean up crew and fish and coral that (hopefully/sometimes) live in your system.... Some of which will be more expensive than an entire freshwater setup, and at the heart of that investment is your filtration system. Make it easy for yourself from an accessibility and expansion point of view and get a sump.
Hey Bud... I do agree with you on the maintanence part of having an all in one built in filtration system to the tank... i remember even with my brand new Boyu tank how much time it would take me every weekend just cleaning out the skimmer's collections, rinsing the sponges , changing carbon bags, testing the water parameters and writing them down in my notebook... i hardly had anytime to admire to look at the scape of the rocks, the thousands i spent in fish and coral. my main mistake then was letting my dad "suprise me" with a cowfish... it was an absolute pain to feed as he had to be fed specially with thongs and when my dad got him, he only temperature acclimated him and put him in with that shops water... being a 100l+tank there was an internal disease that spread from the cowfish to my others and my water levels spiked so quick that a water change and buffing chemicals could not stop it in time... needless to say that now he knows not to touch any of my fish tanks or my koi pond.

So i do wanna upsize a little bit on the tank as ik bigger is better for saltwater but so is equipment and water changes. I see a lot of successful marine tanks run sumps and to buy a R600 sump will just be cheaper than to have acryliic cut to size with compartments. it will just be the first time i have ever ran a sump and i have watched videos on how they work but its just a litlle scary to run first time.. on my freshwater aquarium i have 2 internal filters, and 2 canister filters that cost me about R7000 in total... theyre a lot more easier to maintain as its only 1 trip a month to my local petshop where they clean my canister filters for me. i dont mind trying a sump but ill definitely need someone to help me set it up with the plumbing and especially having a hole drilled into the tank for an overflow box...

i have actually had my eye on a tank, with a stand, sump and mountings for lighting... ill just need the help getting the correct equipment for it
 
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I must say that there is tons of help and advise around. People in this hobby are very helpful.
 
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