My first marine tank... much needed advise

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Hi everyone,

I'm still in the planning stages of my tank and could really do with some help and advice.

The tank is a 900mm x 450mm x 450mm rimless tank with 10mm starfire glass. Sooo pretty, I just could not think of a freshwater planted scape that would do this tank justice, hence my decision to go marine. :m04:

I'll start with the easiest to care for soft corals (mushrooms, leathers and zoanthids) and a pair of ocellaris clowns to get my feet wet. If all goes well, we'll take it from there.

Other livestock I'd like to get would include the blue legged hermit crab and a skunk cleaner shrimp of course.

Lighting at the moment is 2x 39w oddysea dual units (4x 39w t5 bulbs in total) with a mixture of 10000k and actinic bulbs. (Should I decide to go for more demanding corals I'll add some LEDs to the mix)

Filtration will be a BH1000 hob protein skimmer and live rock for bio. I'm going to start sumpless for now. If I fail and I turn away, I can turn the tank into FW, but if I succeed and I persue this part of the hobby further, I will get the tank drilled and prepped for a sump (will then look further at the different overflow options). I'll use a boyu ef45 canister filter for chemical and uv filtration, and stay on top of cleaning it to ensure no unecessary build up of nitrates.

Flow is where I'm having the most issues. I'm not sure what flow I'll need since I've read conflicting info online. For softies it appears 15x flow would be sufficient. Now if my tank is 180l that would be a total flow of 2700lph, however I've been told I'll need a lot more than that, at least 3800lph. I currently have 1x 1000lph power head (or flow pump) so if I only need 2700lph I can just buy another 2 of these... but if I need more, then perhaps 2x 2000lph pumps would be a better option?

I can obtain RO water from numerous shops in the area so will opt for this and check the costs of it in the long run before I decide to invest in an RO unit.

Most of the equipment I'm buying second hand (thanks guys, you know who you are) so will save a ton of money there which I can use later for live rock and live stock. :thumbup:

How much live rock will I need? Some say 15 - 20kgs while other say 20 - 40% of the tanks total volume, 20% being about 36kgs.

For the substrate, since I live in Cape Town and have access to the beach, would it be ok to get sand from the beach rather? (below the water line of course :m01:)

Sadly I'll only start this tank in December since I have FW fry in there at the moment which needs to grow out (unless I'm able to make another plan and get started sooner.)

I hope to get the skimmer and refractometer by this weekend, so all that would be left for me to get in terms of hardware and consumables are the flow pumps, containers for holding water and mixing water and the test kits.
To start with, would I need the Calcium and Magnesium test kits?

Have I forgotten/missed anything?

Super excited and cannot wait to get started :m04:
 

459b

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Welcome back to MASA!

For softies it appears 15x flow would be sufficient.
Not sure where/how people come up with these figures. Flow needs to be sufficient to stop detritus building up. Rather get a decent sized flow pump, you really cant have too much flow.

Some say 15 - 20kgs while other say 20 - 40% of the tanks total volume, 20% being about 36kgs
Amount will depend on what type of liverock and what other filtration methods you using. What you want you want your tank to look like is also key.

but if I succeed and I persue this part of the hobby further, I will get the tank drilled and prepped for a sump (will then look further at the different overflow options
Id think positive and get it drilled from the start. Drilling later on will mean draining tank, moving livestock etc
 
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To start off with calcium and magnesium isn't necessary. Especially for softies.

So get :

Ammonia and nitrite. You'll only really need these to monitor the cycle. So you might not even want to buy these. Can just borrow from a fellow member

Nitrate and phosphate
Alkalinity
 
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Welcome back to MASA!


Not sure where/how people come up with these figures. Flow needs to be sufficient to stop detritus building up. Rather get a decent sized flow pump, you really cant have too much flow.



Amount will depend on what type of liverock and what other filtration methods you using. What you want you want your tank to look like is also key.



Id think positive and get it drilled from the start. Drilling later on will mean draining tank, moving livestock etc
Thanks, what flow would you suggest? 20 - 30x? More?

Can I say I want a beatiful tank? If I go sump route, I'll add a DSB and refugium for added bio filtration. Live rock will consist of base rock on the bottom with various types of live rock stacked to create a heaped shape. It honestly depends on what I can get.

Ok, I've got to go see someone about a quote and must send pics to another person for a second quote for the drilling and the sump. Am considering building the sump myself with the help of my husband, but will check the quotes first to see which is the better option. Don't have the confidence to drill the tank ourselves, but plumbing won't be an issue :m106:


To start off with calcium and magnesium isn't necessary. Especially for softies.

So get :

Ammonia and nitrite. You'll only really need these to monitor the cycle. So you might not even want to buy these. Can just borrow from a fellow member

Nitrate and phosphate
Alkalinity
I'll check my current test kits to see if they can be used for freshwater and salt water, then will just get the others, I can always go to the lfs down the road for the ammonia and nitrite tests. :m106:
 
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I'm currently awaiting quotes for the sump, have looked at the externel overflow box with two holes drilled for the plumbing and a slim coast to coast section cut out for the overflow. It'll be a three compartment sump approx. 800mm L x 400mm H x 400mm W :)

With regards to flow, I've got my eye on the Jebao WP-10 Wavemaker with controller. Will two of these be sufficient?
 
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I've got a similar tank size, i have a 2500lph return pump, a jeabao rw8 and a tunze nano pump(800l/h)
So that's quite a bit of flow, mine is a 200l display, 800x450x760
 
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We went to view a complete setup for sale last night and decided it was worth the dosh, so we bought it and will collect it next weekend :D

It consists of a 1.5m long cabinet with a 1.2m tank and 1.2m sump, plumbing, oddysea t5 quad unit, two sun sun pumps (1x 3000lph and 1x 5000lph) - I'll purchase another 2x jebao wp10 with controller to supplement this - boyu skimmer rated for 1000l, boyu canister filter with uv (will clean it and use it for freshwater if possible), return pump, liverock, substrate, dsb in sump, lights above sump, phosphate remover, test kits and chemicals, half a bag of salt, and fans built into the cabinet.
 
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I wouldn't count on the sunsun pumps running for too long, they are cheap and don't last.
Aquaria-SA has jebao pumps on special at the moment, they are also the legit dealers of jebao and carry a factory backed warranty. 2x rw8 pumps is nearly 1k per pump. that's is almost R600 saving on two pumps(Or certainly from the price i paid when they first came out).

I apologise for not answering your previous question, i have my rw8 set to the mode where it gradually goes from 0-100-0. I don't remember what it's called as i set it when i just got it and left it like that.
 
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I wouldn't count on the sunsun pumps running for too long, they are cheap and don't last.
Aquaria-SA has jebao pumps on special at the moment, they are also the legit dealers of jebao and carry a factory backed warranty. 2x rw8 pumps is nearly 1k per pump. that's is almost R600 saving on two pumps(Or certainly from the price i paid when they first came out).

I apologise for not answering your previous question, i have my rw8 set to the mode where it gradually goes from 0-100-0. I don't remember what it's called as i set it when i just got it and left it like that.
No worries :m106: I'm going to buy the jebao wave makers as well. Maybe get the one up from the WP-10 then for added flow. Will see what Gary has in store for me tomorrow.
 
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Good luck with the build Linxie, its a great hobby. Always buy bigger than you need as you'll more than likely upgrade.
 
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Good luck with the build Linxie, its a great hobby. Always buy bigger than you need as you'll more than likely upgrade.
Thanks pyke :) Super excited to get my tank next week... got lots of prep work this weekend to make space and move the 3 ft to the spare room.

Got my membership with the aquarium so need to go and get some containers this weekend as well for the salt water. Little did I realise I still have a lot of prep work to do before the tank will be up and running :whistling::m01:
 
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I wouldn't count on the sunsun pumps running for too long, they are cheap and don't last.
I have a sunsun pump and its been running now for almost two years day in and day out. Not a days problem. Even the suction rubbers are still ok. They value for money if you cant afford the expensive pumps. And even if you do buy them and they pack up they cheap enough just to replace.
 
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I have a sunsun pump and its been running now for almost two years day in and day out. Not a days problem. Even the suction rubbers are still ok. They value for money if you cant afford the expensive pumps. And even if you do buy them and they pack up they cheap enough just to replace.
Maybe it's a luck thing, i bought one brand new when i started and it lasted me less than 2 months before it started rattling/grinding. I still use the pump in it's current noisy state for mixing salt water. They do have their place.
 
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I wouldn't count on the sunsun pumps running for too long, they are cheap and don't last.
Aquaria-SA has jebao pumps on special at the moment, they are also the legit dealers of jebao and carry a factory backed warranty. 2x rw8 pumps is nearly 1k per pump. that's is almost R600 saving on two pumps(Or certainly from the price i paid when they first came out).

I apologise for not answering your previous question, i have my rw8 set to the mode where it gradually goes from 0-100-0. I don't remember what it's called as i set it when i just got it and left it like that.
I went with the RW8 :m106: Will use that in conjunction with the sun sun pumps until I can replace the sun sun pumps with other pumps. Since I have no idea what flow will be ideal, I think this is something I will need to see for myself and judge by the coral's reaction once I have some in the tank.

I'm very greatful to have a very knowledgable supplier (marine) and reefer close by who has gone out of his way to help me with my tank and give me sound advice.

I've decided to start a thread in the members setup here detailing my journey :m85:
 

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