View Full Version : To Reef or Not to Reef

10/06/2009, 03:33 PM

This looks like the best place to get a few important questions answered before starting up a reef tank so here goes. I have had several tanks up to 75gallons in the past but have not done anything in at least 15 years and never saltwater. I have been dying to get back into it and would like to start a 75 gallon with live rock and corals that would not require halides and a few reef safe fish. My first concern is water and how many hours prior to adding it to the tank do you mix it? Can you even use tap water or is an RO needed or when does a RO unit become neccessary? I have the space for a large tank but can't exactly store a drum filled with water as I had in the past when I had tanks in my basement at a previous house. Next question is quarantine tank, Is it a must?

Thank you for the help

10/06/2009, 03:43 PM
It is a good idea to mix the water 24 hours before using it.
Using tap water at any time is a very bad idea; you could be fighting algae for months because of it.
The quarantine tank is not a must, but not using one is like playing Russian roulette, sooner or later you will pay the price. When you first set-up a tank the cost of starting over isn't that large and may be worth the risk. If you have a well established tank with thousands of dollars invested in it, a quarantine tank is a necessity IMHO.

10/06/2009, 03:47 PM
I premix saltwater in 35G bins, sometimes weeks ahead of time. No issue there. But you can mix it right before use also, but it is generally better to heat the water to tank temp before mixing and changing/adding to the tank.
Tap water is generally a no-no, however that is obviously a variable dependent on where you are and the quality of your tap. In general tap water is a source of unnecessary hardship, introducing chlorine, nitrates, phosphates, and who knows what else to the system.
An RO/DI system makes life easier for the reef aquarist, but is not necessary if you have access to good local RO/DI water, like from a LFS (TEST YOUR LFS' WATER!!).
QT tank, I say is a must have. Many will disagree with that statement, I say they have been lucky to this point. The last thing you want to do is introduce a pest to your system, that can destroy all of your invested time, hard work and money, over not wanting to invest a minimal amount of the above to the QT tank.

10/06/2009, 03:56 PM
I agree with the above, plus on QT you don't need to take chances.

10/06/2009, 04:10 PM
Thanks. I do see the need for a QT and can find the space for it. I understand the tap water issue being I'm in Dirty Jersey so then how do you make or obtain safe water?

10/06/2009, 06:03 PM
You can buy a ro/di water filtration system for your home for around $100 or less!Look on ebay or craigslist.It will be worth every penny!If not,i'm sure your local fish store sells it by the gallon.

10/06/2009, 06:13 PM
here is an awnser to your lighting ? that i did not see in anyone elses posts you dont need MH lights i have heard and seen great results from T5 lighting and you can change the bulbs around to get different colors to one that you like.

10/06/2009, 07:23 PM
I'd definitely recommend the RO/DI, too. For the first year, I was using spring water right from my parents house and the tank was nice, but still had some algae issues (that I didn't even really realize were caused by the water at the time). Since switching to RO/DI, so many of the things that I battled that whole first year have just disappeared. It is SUCH better quality water.
Also, suggested to mix 24 hrs in advance with a heater & powerhead.
T5 lighting is great and with individual reflectors you can keep just about anything. I loved it on my 55 and only upgraded to MH because I got it practically free in a giant lot of stuff.

10/06/2009, 07:29 PM
I just bought gallon jugs of water from walmart. I have a TDS meter and checked them all. They were all under 3 TDS. But for a larger tank a RO/DI unit is almost mandatory. When I got a bigger tank I got a ro/di. spend a little and no more hauling water.

I ussually mix my water up the day before I use it but a hour or 2 has never hurt me either.