View Full Version : Help me decide what I should do!

07/21/2007, 04:32 PM
its time for a reef tank! I have had aquariums for roughly 20 years but all have been freshwater- everything from 5 gallons to 55.

I currently have 3 55 gallon tanks, one of them is in our living room and houses various local panfish from the river where I grew up, the other I am cycling to get the "salt" out of a beautiful pice of drift wood I picked up a few months ago when I was in Tampa bay. this driftwood will replace the wood that is currently in my "native" tank. the 3rd one I just got last night, and cleaned up this am.

I will attempt to put some pics in here of all the setups I have currently.

I would really like to do a nice well light coral display. the main display tank we have now has the most "room" under the stand for a sump, refuge, and odds and ends. I am pretty sure I can find some decent sized rubbermaid or tupperware bins to use as the sump/ refuge, OR I can use the numerous 10 gal tanks I have "collected" over the years. :D

thoughts, comments, idea's, suggestions, refferals, corrections adittions, etc?


living room F/W native tank


Tampa Bay drift wood, lots of tannin in that water! ;)

new 55gal given to me!

07/21/2007, 04:41 PM
nice tanks man! what are you doing with that drift wood? i didnt understand. im new so go figure :=):

07/21/2007, 04:48 PM
tryin to get the salt and other nasties out of it- I fill it up, and run the tank for a week or so then drain all the H2O out of it and fill it up again- usualy takes 3 or 4 times but it has always worked.

basicly the water in there is salt water simply from the residue left on that big ole log!


07/21/2007, 04:55 PM
Sounds like you're on the right track - you have a tank ready and waiting, and since you have some FW experience you have some idea of the order of things in terms of setup.

I would suggest to read up on the kinds of animals you want to keep and see what their requirements are in terms of lighting and water quality. There are fish, coral and invertebrate forums here that usually have some basic info links near the top of the board. It would also probably be helpful to get a good book or two on the subject to have on hand for reference. Take a look at the RC bookstore (http://www.reefcentral.com/books/); you should be able to find something.

(I know there was one book everyone was recommending as a must-have, but the title escapes me at the moment - maybe someone can jump in and help out?)

07/21/2007, 05:02 PM
the tank that has the frshies in it will probably become the salt tank, but the freshies will be moved into the tank in the "office" with the bigger nicer pice of drift wood in it.

any advice for lighting, skimmer's, ro's, sumps, powerheads, etc is much appreciated- also none of my tanks are drilled YET. :-)

07/21/2007, 05:07 PM
well as for lighting and reading so much from this forum ur gonna need intense lighting for corals. so if im not mistaking Metal Halides. skimmers not too sure about if ur gonna run a sump. ro/di check out filterguyz.biz just bought mine and it workds great and it was cheap too compared to other places. powerheads well if ur gonna have corals u will need lots of water movement so look into Koralias. there are a couple of tank threads that can give u an idea on stuff check them out!

07/21/2007, 05:50 PM
You and I have almost the same gallonage, but I have the corner bow.

I'm guessing that with a rectangular tank like that you could get away with at least 2 x 150 watt MH's. They're available in different color spectrums measured in K temperature, so your selection there will depend on what kind of look you want. The lower the K temp, the "yellower" the light will appear. The higher the K temp, the bluer the light will be. Is one better than the other? Some are better for growth, some are better for maintaining the status quo. A higher PAR rating will give you more growth, generally speaking.

As for the other equipment, I have most of mine listed below, and I can tell you that I'm very happy with all of it - the overflow, skimmer and return handle my water volume very well and keep everything clean.

07/21/2007, 07:00 PM
think I should drill this tank? or just go over the back with it?

is there some way to figgure out how high you should go when you drill for your overflow?

with the above pics, does anyone think I should increase my canopy height to better accomidate the required lighting?

L.R. :cool:

07/21/2007, 07:15 PM
I didn't drill mine because I wasn't feeling especially adventurous. But, by drilling the tank you'd eliminate the equipment hanging over the back. To some people it's unsightly, but if you paint the back of your tank and you have that part against the wall, who's gonna see it? :D

If you do decide to drill, someody who's gone through the routine will have to advise you on all the specs. That's something I really don't know.

MH lighting should be about 6-8 inches off the water surface, so get out your tape measure and see what you've got available! You might have to raise it a bit because most canopies are made for fluorescent-type lighting, which can be a little closer to the water.

07/21/2007, 07:56 PM
yeah, I deffinaetly got to move it up! LOL

I know the specs on drilling the tank, thats easy- I was just thinking how high or low I would want the hole- I dont think* it reeealy makes a difference, but I figgured I would ask-

obviously I wouldnt put it 1" off the bottom, nor 1" from the top.


07/21/2007, 08:27 PM
Even if you drill, you're still going to need to build some kind of overflow box. Take a look at this thread and see what some folks have been doing:


07/21/2007, 09:43 PM
I notice people are very much concerned with noise, and keeping gurgling/ sucking air to a minimum.

what should I do to take this into consideration?


07/21/2007, 09:56 PM
There are various modifications to the drain pipe you can do. Search for durso standpipe and stockman mod for some ideas.

07/21/2007, 09:59 PM
Durso Standpipe

Hofer Gurgle Buster

CPR external overflows for comparison:
(I have the 90 model on my 54G)

07/21/2007, 11:24 PM
Build overflows in, make a really good sump, buy a euroreef skimmer and good luck!! Also buy the best lighting you can afford!!

07/22/2007, 09:00 AM
how big of a sump? how big of a euroreef skimmer?

would 2/250W metal halide & 2/24W T5 actinics be over kill?

approximate price on the skimmer and the lighting?

07/22/2007, 07:47 PM
bumpy for above post~


07/22/2007, 09:50 PM
Put in as big a sump as you can fit under the stand. It'll increase your water volume and give you space for your equipment.

Euro-Reef skimmer - you'll probably want to look at the RS 80 and RS 100. Plan on spending between $200 and $300, possibly more.

What are the dimensions of your 55? Length, width, height?

07/23/2007, 03:54 PM
48L X 12.5W X 21H

standard size for a 55 I believe-

I was going to run to Lowes or HD to see about some acrylic to make a sump/ refuge with. I dont think* they are going to have any thing over 1/8th inch think- which I dont think is enough.

where do ya'll get your lexan/ acrylic from to build overflows and or refuges with?

thanks for all the help!\


07/23/2007, 04:51 PM
Don't know where you are, but I get mine locally from TAP Plastics. They have a number of stores around CA.

07/23/2007, 11:57 PM
I live in the bay area and not to "pump a store" or anything. But i had the guys at Aquatic Gallery in Milpitas make a custom one for me. It runs from 200 to 300 bucks. Best investment yet.
PM for more info or check them out online. they are legit and won't rip you off

always remember you get what you pay for!

07/24/2007, 08:15 PM
I found some good acrylic for 80 bucks, I'll build my own to suit my stand.

I am still wondering about my lighting choice though~ 2/250W metal halide & 2/24W T5 actinics


07/24/2007, 08:58 PM
i use a 40 gallon breeder for a sump heres pics of mine you can use glass but i think your going to be pushing it to fit it in thier

heres a pic of mine



and yes euro reefs rockk.... heres 13 hours of skimmate


07/24/2007, 09:03 PM
BTW a 55 gallon is a good starter size

one thing to think about your going to be investing alot of money into this tank. while this tank was given to you . you might want to check local forums and see what people are selling etc... sometimes you can get a package deal for what you would just invest in the lights. just a thought...

this is my 4th tank and i have found that sometimes when you go through alot of trouble like drilling and modifying you will find yourself spendin alot more then you could buy one that is already drilled. i hope im making sense.

i dont want to discourage you on this setup ..

i bought a 90 gallon with stand, lights, sump and return pump for 400 and the bulbs were brand new. just to give you an example.

07/24/2007, 10:33 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10398573#post10398573 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by LoneRanger
48L X 12.5W X 21H

standard size for a 55 I believe-

Sounds like you'll be OK with a pair of 250W MH's. My tank is about the same depth and nothing is getting fried. ;) And the two of them will give you solid coverage for the length of the tank.

You could go a little bigger on your T5 actinics, though, since you have a little more room to work with. A 39W bulb is about 34" long and a 54W is almost 46", so that might be pushing it because you'll have to allow for your end caps and stuff like that. I don't think you'd go wrong with a pair of 39W T5's combined with a pair of 10K 250W metal halides. It would give you some nice lighting options.