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Unread 12/09/2008, 06:24 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 3,263
Initial Reef Setup -- Needs & Consider

Disclaimer: This is by no means a complete list and there will always be some disagreement regarding categorization, but by and large, this list represents a general community consensus among Reef Central hobbyists (Nov,2008).

Definitely Need

GFCI - It can SAVE LIFE. One for each wall outlet in use.

Surge-Protector - Will NOT save life. Keep it dry.

Aquarium - Acrylic is an option, but the need to scrape coraline-algae means you'll probably want glass.

Lighting - T5 and PowerCompact are both fluorescent and work best with individual reflectors. Metal-Halide give a lot of light intensity, but add a lot of heat. Different pets have different intensity requirements. High intensity can create often desirable ripples of light on rock and sand.

Powerhead - For display-tank water turbulence, unless using closed-loop.

Heater - Two smaller heaters instead of one big one can offer benefits.

Thermometer - More than one can be a good idea.

Protein Skimmer - Bigger is better (generally).

Reverse Osmosis and/or DeIonizer - Tap water is rarely suitable.

Buckets, Vinyl Tubing, & Towels - For the containment and transfer of corrosive solvents, such as fresh and salt water.

Sea Salt & Hydrometer or Refractometer - For salinity/specific-gravity.

Test Kits - Depends and not limited to: Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Ph, Alkalinity, Phosphate, and Calcium.

Liverock - Required by definition.

Coraline-Algae Scraper

Potentially Need

Silicone Glue - REEF-SAFE ONLY! Duct-tape of the sea. ;)

PVC Glue - For "slip" fittings that when properly glued are less likely to leak than "threaded".

Teflon-Tape - For threaded PVC.

Overflow-Box - If using a sump and not included in your aquarium.

Bulkheads - For DIY overflow unless siphon-overflow; For DIY sump with inline return-pump.

Return-Pump - A must for a sump. Add a ball-valve to the return-line to control flow and stop back-flow when pump is off.

Chiller - Some hobbyists get by without one, but don't assume you can. Tho a simple fan might suffice.

Chiller-Pump - Chillers don't pump their own water. Some hobbyists use a split return-line while others use a separate pump.

UPS or Battery Air Pump - For power outages.

Syringe - To kill unwanted pests.

Probably Want

Sand Bed - Bare-bottom is possible, but otherwise 1/2" to 1" unless Deep Sand Bed, then at least 3" (4" is better) to 6". Deep Sand Beds have special needs.

Grounding-Probe - Because your fish can't cry for help. Offers no safety to human beings.

Fish-Net & Gloves - For your own health as well as your pets.

Activated Carbon - In a reactor/canister rather than passive.

Micron Sock - In a sump, it controls bubbles, reduces noise, and can reduce evaporation. Keep it clean.

Timers - Mostly for lights, unless using a controller.

Magnetic Algae Scraper - Works on most curves and corners.

Vinegar - For outside cleaning of glass.

Turkey Baster - To spot feed, blow sand off rocks and corals, suck up stray algae, and gently prod your pets.

Unions - If using PVC, often essential for disassembly and maintenance.

Good to Have

Log Book - Because you won't remember and you'll wish you could. :]

Quarantine Tank - Separate tank for isolating pets and keeping your main tank healthy. Can prevent a much larger issue before it ever starts.

Sump - Keeps equipment out of sight and can make maintenance easier. It can take many forms and is a frequent DIY hobby.

Refugium - Ideally with a separately controlled slow flow. Ideally above and draining into the display tank, but many hobbyist adjoin it to the sump.

Acclimator - For drip acclimating your new pets.

TDS Meter - Measures conductivity and most calibrate to temperature for testing the quality of your RO/DI water.

Intake Screen - To prevent damage to inline return-pump.

Modular-Tubing (loc-line) - To control return flow.

Epoxy Putty - REEF-SAFE ONLY! For all those great aquascaping ideas.

Silicone Grease - REEF-SAFE ONLY! Should be applied to bulkheads with care; There are several theories on best practice.

Eggcrate - Can be found in the lighting department of Home Depot. Hobbyists like to use it in many constructive ways.

Micron Sock (extra) - Great material for cutting up and using in various ways.

Labels - For the plugs in your surge-protector.

Worth Considering

Fan - Possibly for cooling of equipment, or cooling water by increased evaporation.

Flood Alarm - Reef-safe sedative for hobbyists. ;)

Level Alarm - Keeps an eye on your water line so you don't have to.

Temperature Alarm - For peace of mind.

Heater Controller - Protects against faulty heaters.

Tongs - Very helpful in larger tanks.

Magnetic clips - For holding heaters, tubing, and cords, instead of suction cups.

Calcium Reactor - Best for large reefs.

UV-Sterilizer - Not a necessity, unless it becomes one. ;)

Ozone - It has drawbacks, but there are those who use it.

Gate/Globe-Valve - Larger but more precise than a ball-valve.

Check-Valve - Can prevent overflow of sump due to back-flow. Not always 100% effective on short water columns, due to insufficient pressure to seal.

Flow Meter - For when you need to know.

45* PVC - Provide less restricted flow, but can be more difficult to align than 90* elbows.

Automatic Top-Off - From a separate reservoir.

Plankton Reactor - Because you want it all! Link multiples together to create a full food-chain. :]

Controller - For the truly advanced hobbyist.

Demands Consideration

Personal Relations - A supportive significant other can be half the battle.

Prohibitive Cost - Requires large open credit line or substantial cash on hand.

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Unread 12/09/2008, 06:26 AM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 3,263
As per Waterkeeper's request, I have reposted this thread for making sticky.

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