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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

I have purchased a 110 gallon tank (6', 18", 18") and am planning to take the plunge into saltwater with a FOWLR setup. I am planning on keeping a lionfish, snowflake moray, and a larger puffer. I am going to be setting up this tank throughout the summer as a pet project so I have a few questions before i get started. Any help would be greatly appreciated

What kind of substrate would work best for this setup? I have heard that crushed coral can trap detritus, but i am also planning on introducing some snails and such into the liverock so im wondering if this will still be a problem?

As for lighting, I would like to keep my options open in case I decide to convert to a reef setup further down the road, so is there any particular bulbs anyone would recommend? Also, is there anywhere anyone knows of that you can purchase single 6 foot canopies or should I just stick to two smaller hoods?

The tank i purchased has a sump underneath but the pump was not included. I was wondering if anyone could recommend any particularly good brands, or better yet a specific model or gph. The pump will need to push the water up about 4 feet from the sump to the 110 gallon.

With regards to the UV sterilizer, I have heard that some models do not work well enough, while some types tend to remove too much. Is there a particular model anyone would recommend?

And Finally.... I want to make sure I have everything setup perfectly and have the knowledge to maintain the aquarium and keep my fish healthy... can anyone recommend any particular guides or books that might come in handy so I don't bore you all with my questions? :)

Thanks Everyone!

PS. So glad to have the site back, I was going through withdrawl :D
 

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I am just getting started and the book everyone recommended to me was The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert M Fenner. I bought it and it is really good, hope that helps good luck.
 

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Seaflor special grade is widely used. If you won't have the high flow rates of a reef tank then sugar sand might be good for keeping detritus on top.
 

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Go check out JL aquatics as they have a bunch of submersible pumps for that size of tank. You will need to go with at least a Mag 950 (whith head pressure loss) or equivlanet. You have to see if you sump is drilled for an external pump, as that can keep the heat down during the summer months. Once you figure out your pumps and return, go to Home Depot with the size and figure out your fittings.

I take it that the tank is pre-drilled on the bottom. You can make your Sump (get a tank, go to Speedy autoglass to get glass cut for dividers, silicon). Ocean Aquatics has some dyi ones or one of the guys in the form makes acylic ones. For lighting, in the sump if you plan to run it like a refuguim, go to Homedepot to pickup one of those flourescent fixture (may need to change the bulb for marco algae) and mount it in side the cabinet.

As for substrate....your preference. Crush coral or agronite will help keep your water buffered.

Lighting...go with T5 HO x 4 bulbs if you want to change to corals later.

Go with the inline UV sterilzer...you may\will need to make some adjustments on the plumbing i.e. attach it to one of the returns after the split or set up an seperate loop in order to slow the flow rate down.
 

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I am just getting started and the book everyone recommended to me was The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert M Fenner. I bought it and it is really good, hope that helps good luck.
x2

Read this almost cover to cover and start ing to re-read now.
 

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I would go with a thin layer (2") of aragonite sand (coarse). This good for fowlr or reef.

For lighting, You could go T5HOs for now (just enough to light the fowlr, and then add MH pendants or more T5s when you go reef.

Why don't you come over one day & we can talk about sw tanks? I have both fowlr & reef setups.

Anthony
 

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I wanna come over and talk salt water tanks too.
 

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wow that was fast, I think I may have to hold off a bit though. I was going to start a 20 gallon but decided I do not have the cash to do it yet. and got a lot more research to do, so I don't sound like a complete dork. But if this offer is always open I will take you up on it. Thank you Anthony
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hey everyone thanks for the replies, Ive been swamped with final exams the last couple days, but its good to be back on. I've been looking around and I think ive settled on the Eheim Compact Plus Pump 5000, I have a friend who said these are notoriously quiet. Quick question, the sump is not sectioned off right now and the bio balls are loose across the tank, would it be ok to place the pump in there or should i look into putting in some inserts?

I will definitely pick up that book thanks for the tip, and thanks Anthony that sounds good ill let you know when im closer to getting the setup started.

Does anyone know a good place to pick up dead coral for decoration in the tank?
 

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You could probably just go into J&L or Ocean and ask if they have anything dead or dying lying around. I would worry about flatworms and other critters though. Maybe give them a boil.

I would stay away from crushed coral. Sand does a better job at keeping detritus on top. This was a big mistake on my part and will be changing substrates when I move my tank in a week.

Think about ditching the bio balls. With all the rock you have they will be useless. Put a light over the tank and grow cheato. It's like a neato science experiment. Here's a pic to give you an idea of what I started with. And then how I changed the arrangement to solve some problems



With the water flowing left to right I found that detritus would settle in the middle section. I figured this would eventually become a problem. I also needed more room for a skimmer and realized that I put 1 too many baffles that were too far apart.To fix this I switched the fuge and return section around and added a T to the return line to feed the fuge. If I could make one more change, I would have placed the middle baffle lower so bubbles would have to take a longer trip and hopefully have fewer reach the return pump.



I left the sump bare bottom because I want to be able to remove every bit of detritus that collects there. I am not the best handyman and it's not pretty, but I hope this helps.
 

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Hey thanks for the pics! Ive already prepared the wet/dry trickle section of the sump so i might as well keep it, but i like the looks of the cheato as well. Its a fairly long 33 gallon sump so i should have room for both.

I will upload pics when i get a chance, but basically I took a rubber-made drawer set and drilled a hole in the lid for the down pipe and then drilled rows of small holes through each drawer. And in each drawer I've put a different type of mechanical filtration pad: phosphate, carbon etc. The bottom drawer then empties into the trickle section with bioballs, and then i think i will take your advice and grow something in the middle chamber before reaching the protein skimmer pump etc. Are there any particular benefits to cheato or would live rock etc. do just as well?

Where did you get your glass cut for the baffles?
 

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I just came across this thread. You mentioned adding snails to the aquarium at some point. The Puffer will probably eat them so you might want to rethink that one.
We recommend the Aqua UV sterilizer line. They have the longest bulb life in the industry and their construction is solid. We use several of their units in both our stores from 25 to 400 watts. The bulbs(s) are easy to change and you can do so without shutting anything down.
T5 lighting is probably your best bet but I am not sure if I would go HO. With the predators you want to keep, finding animals to keep the algae down will be a challenge.
Enjoy yourself, sounds like a great project!
 

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I will upload pics when i get a chance, but basically I took a rubber-made drawer set and drilled a hole in the lid for the down pipe and then drilled rows of small holes through each drawer. And in each drawer I've put a different type of mechanical filtration pad: phosphate, carbon etc. The bottom drawer then empties into the trickle section with bioballs, and then i think i will take your advice and grow something in the middle chamber before reaching the protein skimmer pump etc. Are there any particular benefits to cheato or would live rock etc. do just as well?

Where did you get your glass cut for the baffles?
Any local glass shop will cut glass for you. I used glass from an old tank and had them split it into pieces. You probably want to have your skimmer in the first section of the sump because any bubbles will be far away from the return pump. Also, it will have a chance to clean the water before it touches anything else in the sump.

Live rock works great, its just expensive. Cheato is cheap and as it grows it removes nitrates. It also gives pods and other critters a place to grow that fish can feed on. The problem people have with wet-dry filters is that the balls trap detritus that will increase nitrates. This will be important if you keep fish that are messy eaters

As I said before, I wanted to set up my system so I could remove the detritus which will usually settles in lowest flow sections in the sump. With my current setup, this occurs in the refugium. I keep it bare bottomed so I can see how much is settling. You are going to have to make sure you are changing out those pads religiously. That can get expensive so I don't think many people go that route. For water quality, I would just have a good skimmer and keep up with water changes.

Not trying to jump on you. I think you have put a lot of thought and planning into this. You'll do great.
 
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