Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 25
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    715

    Newbe wants to build 130g Salt water Ecosystem

    I want to purchase a 120-130 gallon tank. I want it to be salt water and i would like to have live rock. I have been looking around but it seems that every place i go to says something different about equipment needed and pricing. I need expert advice from a non capitalistic person. I suppose this is the right place to ask questions. I have wood floors made out of pine i think and covered with a carpet; How do i know if my floor can hold 1300 pounds or should i put a thick wooden sheet over my carpet floor to hold the 4 legs of the base of the tank to spread out the weight?

    technical questions; Eqipment needed:
    -130g tank with base

    -Filter (what kind, specs and why) average cost?

    -power heads ; how many: is 1 enough...1 store told me i needed 5

    -protein skimmer, (what kind, specs) average cost?

    -Lighting: anything specific for live rock, do lights blow often, overheating. average cost? The tank will be placed under a huge skylight

    - Sand, gravel or coral for tank floor: which is better. I prefer sand

    upkeep: i understand that i will have to monitor my tank often and change 33% of the water monthly. some stores claim that i can fill up some buckets of tap water put the anti chlorine solution in it and add the salt and stir check the water and dump it back in the tank. Is this true, doesn't it have to sit for a while?

    Is it true that fish die anywhere between 2mo and 1 year?

    Is it complicated to maintain the live rock?

    Any other equipment i should consider other than salt, fish food etc.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    730
    First let me say welcome

    You've started in the right direction by asking questions. The only problem is that it would take a book to answer all your questions. I suggest reading the forum threads and then ask one question at a time. You could also attend a local meeting - MASO meets in the Ottawa area (check their forum for the latest news)

    The major problems I see with the above list are

    Usually is it recommended that you use RO (reverse osmosis) water or RO/DI water. You do not want copper, iron, nitrates, phosphates, etc that could be in your tap water in your reef tank. The copper could kill certain criters (snails for one). Phosphates, nitrates and nitrites will feed your algae. You can buy a RO unit (Aquaria Canada sells them) or you can plan on buying RO water. With a 130 gallon tank, I would recommend buying the unit.

    In a properly maintained reef tank, the fish will last for many YEARS not months as you were told. It is a matter of not overstocking, choosing compatible fish and providing a proper home (including diet).

    Most people don't use a filter. They use a protien skimmer, 2 x the tank size in living rock (in your case 260 pounds of living rock) and a deep sand bed to do all the filtering. You will require a good skimmer rated for about 1.5 times your tank size. For instance on my 90 gallon, I run an Aqua C 180 (rated for 180 gallons). A good skimmer for this size of tank will cost at least $500 (including motor).

    Lighting - you could start with VHO lights but to keep all kinds of corals you will require 250 watt MH lights (400 watt would probably be better). Each MH light covers 2 ft of tank so if your tank is 6 ft long, you need 3 MH lights. Many people, myself included, run 2 VHO bulbs along with the MH. Costing will depend upon what type of lights and ballasts as well as retro fit (to go into a canopy) or complete unit.

    Don't forget your test kits for marine tanks. I recommend starting with pH, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, phosphates, calcium and alk. You can add others - ie magnesium later, if necessary. The rule of thumb is never to add something that you have not tested for. In other words, don't add supplements (including calcium) until you have tested and know what your readings are.

    I'm sure others will add their comments - I would like to again say - don't buy anything until you have spent a month reading this forum (and asking questions) as well as www.reefcentral.com

    Vickie

  3. #3
    liv
    liv is offline
    Former Moderator liv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,646
    Hi Mike,

    all of what Vickie said is true..
    but you can lower the cost on some items by either building it yourself ( DIY ). I have to desagree with Vickie on a 500$ skimmer. PM harley on this board for a crazy price on skimmer package. i think they are like half the price.. maybe even less and look identical to a big brand model.

    260lbs of Live Rock (LR) is not too much.. but will certainly make a whole in just about anybody's budget.

    I suggest you do what I did and get some base rock ( BR ) and make the structure you want with it.. then to seed it as LR, by some LR and sit it on top of the BR.

    I have 80lbs of BR and ~75lbs of LR.

    many will disagree with me, but as a rule of thumb, 5x the wattage per gallon should be a good start.
    so 130g x 5 = 650w
    all depends what you intend to keep.
    if its fish only.. then lighting is only for asthetics...

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    715
    thanks for the help guys. Finally i found people who know what they are talking about.

    I want to spend $2000 on the barebone system, is this possible with all the equipment previously stated? I am very cost wary. I will add LR and fish as time goes by. Anyhow i will need 2mo to just get the tank running.

    How much will a RO unit cost me? any details on the specs?

    For the filter everyone up to now told me to buy a filter and a protein skimmer. Why no filter?

    Do the light bulbs go out often? I want something esthetic, built in the tank cover. I have seen some mh light domes something like the ones weed growers use or at home depot hanging from the seiling. That is not what i want. What about heat? i heard those lights get very hot. How long should i leave them on when i have a living reef? Keep in mind that the tank is under a large skylight. Can the lights be a fire hazard and will it make my power braker go off?

    As far as sand goes, i would like to use beach sand or some kind of immitation. I was told that it is better to use a type of gravel sand looks more like crushed rock or crushed coral for the tank bed. Will it be a problem with the power heads blowing the sand all over the place?

    Power heads: I went to 3 different places and i was told at the first to buy 1 power head, another told me 2-3 and the last told me 5. How do i determine how many i need?

    Can anyone give me their phone # so we could discuss the various aspects of my project. If someone wants to call me, my# 514-951-5756

    Thanks, your help is very appreciated

  5. #5
    liv
    liv is offline
    Former Moderator liv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,646
    ro = ~150$

    no need of a filter, protein skimmer is all you need.
    your filter is your LR.

    the bulbs need to be replaced every 8 to 12months.
    for a 130g like mine, i would go 3 bulbs of 250w metal halides.
    then you need to choose the Kelvin rating, i like the bluer tanks, so i chose 14k as 20k was not available at the time.
    the bulbs are not fire hazards if they are installed properly. 750watts of lighting wont make a breaker jump because normal breakers are 15amps, 750w/110v = 6.81amps + loss in ballasts.. lets go 8amp total.. each breaker can hold 15amps. so you are not even close to making one jump.

    as for the sand.. all depends the look you are looking for.. I have coarse cruched coral ( aragonite size 2727 ) and I like it.. but I've seen lovely tanks with super white fine sand.

    powerheads are needed to move the water around.
    either this or a set of pipes to recirculate the water.
    people use the reefrats and squids.
    but I use 3 jbj's 550gph + 1 little hagen 402 to distribute food at the top of the water and make movement at the top.

    you did'nt talk about a sump in your setup.. you should definitly go that route. get a tank that is drilled.
    search on this site to find posts on how to do it.. lots of people post pics of there setup.. you can learn alot from a pic

    moving.. so temporarily out of SW :b8:
    planning next tank, possibly 60x30x20 on 2x plasma.
    updated: 2011/05/30

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    715
    Can't i buy a protein skimmer with a sump? Also, my dad has a salt water tank in California of 225g and it's drilled. He told me it's made of plexiglass. It seems that up north fish tanks are made out of glass. He was pretty surprised of that.

    About the filter, if i buy the equip and let it run for 2 mo to equilibrate the water, ecosystem etc... all i will have is sand or crushed coral and water. Then with how much of LR do i start with so it can filter the water? +1-2 fish.

    Would it be possible for me to call you. Dont worry i will do all the necessary reading.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    730
    Sumps can be made out of an old aquarium (glass) or made out of acrylic or made out of plexiglass or made out of a Rubber Maid tub. In other words - anything that will hold water. Most people put their protein skimmer, heaters and pumps in their sump. If you start with a plain tub (tank of some sort), you can modify as you desire.

    You can buy sump/skimmer combos but this frequently makes it more difficult to change things later.

    After you set up your tank and add salt water, you can add the sand and living rock. Most people recommend running your tank with just sand and living rock for a few weeks until the ammonia and nitrites are 0. Then you add some snails/crabs, etc (don't forget to feed them). A week or so later, as long as the ammonia and nitrites stay at 0, you can add your first fish. This beginning stage is the critical one. The longer you hold off on adding fish, the more stable your tank is and the longer your tank has to grow the pods and other little critters.

    You don't have to "run for 2 mo to equilibrate the water, ecosystem etc." No equilibration will occur with living rock or something seeding the system.

    Start reading, go slowly and plan things out before you buy anything. In the long run, you will end up spending less money.

    There are many different types of MH lights. Lights in a canopy - pendant lights - lights just sitting on the tank. It all depends upon how much you want to spend and what you want it to look like. Research - look at various people's pictures - look at various manufacturers web sites and you will see that the choices are limitless.

    Vickie

  8. #8
    liv
    liv is offline
    Former Moderator liv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,646
    Mike, you can definitly buy an acrylic aquarium, as they are super strong and clear.
    I personnaly dont like them as they scratch too easily for me.
    but they are great for sumps and refugiums etc.

    I'd stay with glass, and if you want to go the extra step, check for a tank made out of starphire for the sides you intend on looking through. they are super clear and even stronger and regular glass.

    moving.. so temporarily out of SW :b8:
    planning next tank, possibly 60x30x20 on 2x plasma.
    updated: 2011/05/30

  9. #9
    Senior Member volitan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    3,051
    You dont absolutely need a filter but it is very helpfull when you want to add chemical fitrants like carbon that will clear your water and remove the smell.I use 2 quick filters,it makes currents and i can add my carbon plus i removes minutes particles in the water.As for reverse osmosis the only place that you will find a cheap price is here with Ivan and at ebay.ca..witch is the same filter..just with ivan if you live in montreal you can take a drive to ottawa and get it right away.The fun thing about this its a justified expense..so that you can tell your wife that you can use for drinking water also.No more buying water at the store.

    I Also found that the book conscentious marine aquarist is very helpfull and easy to understand.

    Check around in montreal like www.lespac.com and http://www.aquaquebec.net/communaute/index.php some people have some live rock and base rock for sale that is already cured.

    The thing is with local fish stores and there employees is that alot of them know only the names of the fish and doesnt even know what there real requirements are...beware always check info on what you buy dont rely on the salesperson.

    Even on the internet the info is not always good.I found that you have to gather as much info as you can on what you want to get and then make a decision then.

    I also like to have a canister filter..i can make current,it doesnt take place in your tank,easy access under your tank and you can put all your chemical media in there.

    Good luck!!YOu will also see that there is alot of controversy everybody has there own opinion you just have to make your own as time goes
    Derik...

  10. #10
    Senior Member volitan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    3,051
    http://www.aquaquebec.net/communaute...ic.php?t=16084


    this guy has live rock for sale for 6$$ a pound in montreal its tonga and fiji....do you understand french cause dealt with him before and i dont think he understand french...i foyu need hand let me know
    Derik...

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. New to Salt Water and need a little help
    By bench in forum Just Getting Started
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 11-12-2009, 08:31 PM
  2. I know its not salt water but...
    By Dozerman in forum Member Tanks
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 01-11-2009, 02:54 AM
  3. Salt Water
    By aquafish in forum Just Getting Started
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12-12-2008, 07:51 AM
  4. newbe with lighting
    By mike9515756 in forum Reef Discussion
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 06-29-2004, 03:53 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •