My first marine tank.

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by FishxTank, 12 Dec 2015.

  1. FishxTank

    FishxTank

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    Hey guys.

    I have been reading up on starting a marine tank and I think I have read to much.
    I am now more overwhelmed than I was before I started researching. There is so much contradicting information and different forums with different people with different opinions. So I appologise for asking questions you have all read so many times before. But if anybody has the patience to answer them againas direct as psossible I would really appreciate it. Anything that is posted I am just going to go with. This is the end of my start up research. If everything works I will start expanding my knowledge latter. Once I have some hands on experience and practical knowledge of a start up tank.

    The tank is a 4FT, roughly 200ltrs. I found it sitting around my grand fathers place. And it had tropical fish in iot many years. Now, its just a shell. I have no hadware at all for it yet. So I need to now exactly what I need to get started. I will add any optional extras later.

    1.) Do I need a sump?
    I have read I would bneed a rather sizable sump for my tank. Unfortunately there isn't much space in the cabinet to put one. It's a wodden cabinet so its braced with small compartments. Can I just use a canister. I have read that they work better than sumps in smaller spaces. Except the nitrate build up. Which ofcours just means i need to clean it out more frequently.

    2.) Deep sand bed or not?
    I dont care much about having a deep bed. as I dont like the look of dirty sand against the glass. I suppose I could build up hight in the middle of the tank. But fish will be fish and they will move it as they want and I will end up with dirty sand against the glass. I only ask from a point of filtration. Does the amount of sand effect the need for more filtration.

    3.) How much filtration do I really need?
    I plan on having life rock and coral.I have read that they provide a lot of the filtration all ready. So I assume that a canister would be fine in such a tank. There wont be to many fish in the tank. Maybe 10 or so. But I will have things like a blue star and some cleaner shrimp and such. To help clean up, but mainly to get some movement on the corals and the bottom of the tank. So is there an average of how many ltrs per minute the filter needs to move.


    I really do want to keep the tank as minimal as possible with hardware. Thats one of the reasosn I want a canister. As well as the cost saving it provides. I have also read that a reef tank doesnt need a protein skimmer. And it infact doesnt add any benifits, nor take away anything by not having it. I see they are fairly cheap second hand. But I see so many people just not using them on small tanks that it would seem better to just use the money towards the canister and lighting.


    Next is water flow.

    4.) How much movment does the tank need?
    Could I get sufficient water movement buy putting a power head onto the return from the sump. I may have the understanding of how that works in correctly. But again it comes to minimalist. I dont want to have wave makers and things sitting on the inside of the tank looking all crap for themselves taking up space.

    I plan on buying everything second hand.

    5.) So if you could also let me know how much lighting I would need it would be great.
    I dont want a fake sunrise and al that. I will most definitely get it set up as such in the future though. Is LED better than globes. I assume its cheaper to run as they draw less power. But are they more expensive in the inittial buy.

    And lastly, I think.
    6.) What wattage would I need for the heater.

    So that's it. According to my limited understanding and even less understanding after everything i have read over the last couple of months.

    Could I get buy starting up with a canister, power head, lighting, and heater.

    Much appreciated agin to anybody who can help. Also if anybody is getting rid of any hardware at a decent price let me know.
     
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  3. EFJ

    EFJ MASA Contributor

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    Hi and welcome to MASA. Once this bug bites it doesn't leave you alone. Before taking a previous tropical tank rather take a look in the for sale section for a good second hand tank with a sump also take a look at Second Wave Aquariums Second Wave Dynamics - Home, maybe they can help. Sumps are not necessary but do help a lot with various advantages to any system as for canister filters rather not use them as they tend to become nitrate factories in no time. Also set your self a reasonable budget and plan around it. Rather start small and once you get the hang of things look at upgrading. I have seen people start big and spend a lot of cash with just a couple of months selling up everything. Get to know marine's and all aspects surrounding this hobby before spending loads of cash and then realizing that there is more to it than you thought. Your basic starting kit is a Display tank, a Sump (optional but preferable), Circulating pump (if you take a sump), Flow pumps for the display tank, Skimmer (a rate larger than your system needs preferably), Lighting (start off with T5's), Liverock, Sand (for the display but not a requirement), Sand for the sump (if you want to go the DSB route) and of course a heater or 2 depending on size of tank. Don't rush into things, take your time planning etc. and remember that this should be a hobby and not a sore thumb. If there is anything else just ask, plenty of members willing to help if you are willing to listen.
     
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  4. TaahirS

    TaahirS MASA Contributor

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    I would definitely get a sump and a skimmer. Of course tanks can be run without them. But there's a reason you hardly see any tanks running without them. They just make life so much easier. 200l is a decent size. It's not all that small. You see loads of small tanks running without skimmers/sumps because it's so easy to do loads of waterchanges as the tank volume is so small.

    I personally like T5. But in the long run its more expensive. Not just because of electricity. But also globe replacements. 4 globes (assuming you get a quad globe unit)at R400 each per year means that every year you're going to pay R1600 every year to replace globes.

    I agree with the above. Maybe look at another tank with a sump already.
     
  5. mitchel

    mitchel

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    You welcome to come have a look at my tank and see what kind of system I'm running
     
  6. Jacojs

    Jacojs

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    Welcome to MASA!

    I am only starting up now as well so I don't have a lot of good advice yet.

    I want to however expand and get explanations on your question of using a Canister filter. I don't understand why everyone says they are Nitrate Factories, I hate that word already!

    Please someone explain to me how is a canister filter different than a sump?

    A lot of people have a filter sock in their sump, this is the filter wool in the canister filter.

    Then there is live rock in the sump, this can easily be replicated by Matrix in the canister and depending on what canister you buy you can have A LOT of matrix in there.

    Finally the return pump pushes the water back to the tank, just like the canister.

    I don't see a difference other than one is closed(the canister) one is open(the sump), how often does one change the filter sock? Change the filter wool in the canister at the same intervals then surely would be the same?

    Not picking a fight here but I dont understand why a Canister can work for a tropical aquarium and not a marine one.

    Jaco.
     
  7. Sheldon12

    Sheldon12

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    Welcome man, i also set up recently and tested my water yesterday, im ready for livestock:thumbup:
     
  8. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Hello and welcome.

    Is the tank drilled? With overflow fitted? Need that for a sump. There are over the top overflows that work on siphons, but they are not maintenance free and can fail.

    A DSB is normally remote, for example in your sump. For best results it needs to be as big as possible. With your already small cabinet I doubt that a DSB would be the correct filtration option for you. Can rather use Seachem Matrix as an alternative to a DSB.

    Proper skimmer is a must. Lights, you can start with dual or quad T5. There are plenty available in the For Sale section. Leds do not really take less power nowadays, with 3w leds in them anyway.

    A Canister filter can work. If used with a hang on skimmer. Else if you do have a sump and in sump skimmer, then use the rest of the sump as filter.

    Heater, now in the summer, maybe one * 350W heater. Can add another next year April just before the winter.
     
  9. EFJ

    EFJ MASA Contributor

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    Canister filters work but become more of a chore to keep clean that it eventually becomes a pain in the neck. Filter wool clogs up quickly unlike filter socks, the filter wool tends to catch almost everything and filter socks comes in various micron sizes thus letting bacteria and certain size items to go through. Also to add not everyone uses filter socks (like my self) as some want food particles to feed their sump inhabitants. Matrix will work but due to the small volume of a canister filter you will need to stir it regularly to prevent a debris trap from forming (and this is also true to having it in a sump but due to the volume lot less stirring). Live rock is a good filter media due to the bacteria it contains but it also contains various little critters that also help. I know canister filters are cool and they can work as RiaanP said but it soon becomes a pain in the neck to keep it effective. Sumps add more volume of water to your tank thus helping to keep your system more stable and also it gives you alot more room to add stuff later to your system plus the added advantage of less clutter in your display tank. Another good replacement for Matrix could also be Orca Bio cubes. Hope this helps.
     
  10. Jacojs

    Jacojs

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    Thank you EFJ good explanation. In the end it comes down to diligence then I suppose. But we all want easier, more time to enjoy the view :)
     
  11. FishxTank

    FishxTank Thread Starter

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    Thanks guys for all the responses. I think I may go with the sump. But it will come down to being able to fit it into the cabinet. Though I did check out a metal framed stand this afternoon. For R650 its not to bad. Just doesn't look as good as the wooden one that came with the tank. The tank was a tropical tank years ago. Its just been sitting. And of course it works out a lot cheaper to pick up a free tank and cabinet than to buy a used one. Plus I just spent R7000 on a stripped down Honda CBR150 that I had planned on building into a bike to race next season. So if anybody wants a stripped down CBR150 and don't want their marine set up then let me know. HaHa.

    I found an old small tank in my garage recently as well. It has a crack in the bottom, so I'm looking into the possibility of cutting it up and making my own sump. Will have to see if it will be big enough.

    When it comes to sand for the tank. Can I toss in sand that somebody has taken out of their set up and throw it into mine. Or is it better to just buy all new sand. I ask this because I did not realize how expensive sand actually is. At the place I was at today they had a rather small bag for R700. And I would need about 7/8 off them. Has anybody used things like children's play pit sand.

    Cool. I will start buying up odds and ends each month until I have everything I need. Would love to jump in and just buy it all now. But the bike just messed up my account and I'm starting some rather pricey laser tattoo removal sessions soon.

    Really appreciate all the help and advice. Was expecting a real bitch fit about asking stupid questions. This really is a great forum.

    Oh, no the tank isn't drilled for the sump. I don't want to have to go that route as I don't want to have to drop the water level of the tank. Will research it a bit more before finally deciding.

    Thanks Mitchel, what area do you stay in. I might just take you up on that if I can find some time.
     
  12. Juan27

    Juan27

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    You can use sand from another system depending on how and where its been stored.
    Most sand come in 9 or 10KG bags, so your tank must be huge if you need 7 or 8 bags.
    I used the Rea Sea live sand in my system, that was just over R400 for a 10kg bag
    To give you an idea, as I see you also have a 4ft. In my 4ft I used 3 bags
     
    Last edited: 15 Dec 2015
  13. FishxTank

    FishxTank Thread Starter

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    Might have been some specialty sand then. They were small bags.
     
  14. EFJ

    EFJ MASA Contributor

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    I know of guys that started off with play sand but your best bet would be to look at people selling off their tanks and getting "second hand" sand that is already seeded at a reduced price. For your display you only need about a layer of 20mm to 30mm thick, some guys don't even use sand and just go bare bottom (not really for me though). Also don't look at one LFS, shop around as not all sell at the same price, some have specials etc. this time of year. We all had to start where you are now. It seems like a huge mountain to climb and alot of moola, take small steps and you will get there.
     
  15. r0ckf1re

    r0ckf1re

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    I've used 2 x 10kg red sea pink Fiji in my tank of 1000 x 520 x 350 and it's more than enough.
     
  16. Juan27

    Juan27

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    +1 on what @EFJ said.
    Take your time, you don't need to have everything running tomorrow.
     
  17. FishxTank

    FishxTank Thread Starter

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    So I have decided to go with the sump. But it will have to be internal. So unfortunately I will be loosing some real estate. But I don't want to get a steel stand and there is no space in my wooden one. I have seen some three chamber internal sumps that have a rather big over flow area into the sump. So I will do a bit of research on maybe having a smaller overflow area and make it 4 chambers. I just wanted to find out if anybody knows the formula to work out what size return pump I would need. I wouldn't want the pump to drain the sump faster than it fills. Unless the return pump is just there to return the water at any speed and not actually create any water movement. I would like to use the return pump to create the movement though. As those wave makers look bad. And would really make the tank ugly if I all ready have the internal sump.
     
  18. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    one return pump will not create enough water movement. Check the flow ratings on those pumps. A 6000L/h pump is big compared to a 6000L/h powerhead. Plus check the power consumption. Return pumps uses a lot more power for the same flow rate than powerheads. Keep in mind that these pumps runs 24/7 and will have a big impact on your power consumption.
     
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  19. FishxTank

    FishxTank Thread Starter

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    Thanks Riaan. That's very helpful information. I will just get a small pump for the sake of returning the water and some power heads for the movement.
     
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