Getting started equipment.What is needed, what not?


New member
Besides reading, reading and further reading, what is the basic equipment needed for a 50-70 gallons tank(200 litres aprox)

Live rock and a sump are in my plans as means of filtration.
What other filters are needed and easy to maintain?

Why are powerheads needed and what specs should in these?

I think I'll need a chiller too.Last summer temperature in a fresh water aquarium increased by 4 celcius!

So its live rock, sand(does the sand have to be live?), a sump, a couple of powerheads, a chiller.What else?

I really don't know anything about lighting so any tips on lighting that should be used and the reasons for using the specific lighting would be great.


New member
You have the basics. As for filtration all I use is a sump, a refugium and a skimmer.

Powerheads are needed because most SW tanks require more flow then FW tanks. A reef tank will require more flow then a fish only tank. (20-30x turn over...50g tank = 1250gph turn over)

A chiller hmmm...maybe maybe not. Air movement is a big factor in keeping a tank cool. Most FW tanks have covered tops this is a no no for a SW tank.

Sand - LS is a joke. Look into Agronite

Lighting is going to depend on what you plan on having in the tank. A reef tank is going to need much more lighting then a fish only tank.

So basically you need to decide what you are going to put in the tank and that will dictate what equipment you are going to need.


New member
thnx ziggy!
I'll post later on the size of tank and what I plan on having!I hope I can set up the tank and equipement (everything except live rock, sand and livestock) by the summer.I'll monitor the temperature during the hot months to see if a chiller would be needed or not and then start with adding live rocks and agronite.


New member
If you have a sump you should get a protein skimmer for it. Very important in this hobby.

Also, heaters.

You will obviously need salt, test kits (nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, calcium), a refractometer....


New member
Refractometer accurately measures the salt content of your water. Probably the most important "testing tool" you will have.


Premium Member
Looks like you've got the basics and I can't think of anything to add that hasn't been mentioned above except for an auto top off unit for the sump.

Epstein: Having a hood with a light isn't necessarily a bad thing, I believe what Ziggy was saying is that a glass cover on the tank is bad.

Amoore is right, I used a floating hydrometer for a while then switched when a friend let me use his refractometer. Just remember to calibrate it per the manual.


New member
nice!thank you all for your advice.
Could I ask for some advice on what testkits I need and maybe an e-shop that sells them?

I 've been doing my reading on Lighting today and found out a lot about NO fluorecent tubes and VHO.
VHO would need special ballasts.
So anyone has a brand in mind that could cover the needs of a 50 to 70 gallons tank?
I ve also read that you can also use compact lamps and are cost effective too!
Forgot to mention that I would like to have corals sometime in the future so good light is essential!


Premium Member
Salifert is the standard recommendation I've seen. Pretty much all of the online vendors sell the Salifert tests.

For lighting it really depends on what you plan to keep. If you are looking at SPS or Clams at any time in the future, go with the Metal Halides from the start. If you only want to keep mushrooms, softies, and/or LPS, then the fluorescents should do fine.

Check the * threads at the top of the forum. Also, there is a good Newbie thread by Travis Stevens that has lots about lighting too.


Staff member
RC Mod
Don't get sold a filter if you are doing a reef. Plan your lighting re what you want to keep. Nothing worse than buying twice.
Get the biggest sump you can make fit...and consider going to the basement if you have one.


New member
Make sure you have the best quality water available... get a RO/DI filter to make the water you will use in the tank. Best investment you can make.

The rest is what the folks here have already mentioned.

Skimmer - get the largest one your budget and sump will hold. This way if you change to a bigger tank, (which I am pretty sure will happen...) you will not have to change it... something like an EuroReef RS 250 that will work up to a 200+ gal tank...

Cured Live Rock will cut your cycle from months down to a few days... when I started folks here kept telling me to put a dead shrimp to speed up the cycle… since I used cured live rock I never had to do that and was able to get this thing up and running in less than two weeks.

As of filters... and only saying this based on what I have - the live rock will be your filter... get a sock in the sump to catch the suspended solids so your water stays clear... between the skimmer, UV sterilizer, live rock you should have a nice setup.

Get some water circulation as well... inexpensive options like Koralias work well.

Here is a photo of what my setup looked like at first...



RO/DI filter to make the water:


It all worked well... but light was not correct if I wanted to do corals, skimmer is working well but only because I keep very few live stock in there...

Just feedback hoping you make less mistakes than what I did...

Here is how the tank looks today... after three months... better lights, two Koralias to provide good water circulation in the tank...


and remember I told you about wanting to go bigger... here is proof that this hobby is addictive and dangerous to the wallet...


Best of luck!!


New member
hey wachuko,

Just wondering how your ROdi system is connected to your sump, or do you just lug containers full of it to mix it and add to your sump. Also are there any other alternatives to Ro/di other than buying saltwater from a LFS


New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11676524#post11676524 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by peterk814
hey wachuko,

Just wondering how your ROdi system is connected to your sump, or do you just lug containers full of it to mix it and add to your sump. Also are there any other alternatives to Ro/di other than buying saltwater from a LFS

Not connected at this time... the plan is to get two water tanks. One for RO/DI water and one to use for mixing. My back is going to kill me if I continue to use the 5 gal home depot pales...


New member
My bad.Made wrong calculations.
The size of tank I'm planing to build is a 200 gallons tank.Is that too big for a newbie tank?
Read that the bigger it is the easier is to maintain water quality and steady temperature.

How is this going to affect the lighting for corals.maybe I'll add sps and clams in the future and these require a lot of light!How much is it going to cost for the lighting of a 200 gallons tank?If its way to expencive I'll have to go with a smaller tank!

Anyway here is some results from my reasearch and studying so far:


So far I have decided for filtration to use a sump, a refugium and a protein skimmer. Is this size of tank going to cost a lot on the protein skimmer?What is the average price for a good skimmer on this size of a tank.


I've done my stydying on lighting yesterday.

So for a 200 gallons tank I m going to need 750 Watts of lighting.

That means 6 VHO lamps of 6500K and a couple of actinic ones?Plus the ballasts!

How much is that going to cost.I m starting to think that my budget is going to skyrocket on just the fluorescent bulbs.

Can you suggest an approximation on price for a 200 gl tank, 100 and 55?

Live rock:

I'm still on search for a shop that is willing ot ship live rock to Cyprus. My other solutions is to get rock from the sea and cure it. Of course it wouldn't have the kind of life you find in coral reefs. So is there a way to create that life by adding any commercial solutions?

And what quantity of live rock would I need?Can the rocks below life rocks, just be regular rocks that I m going to use to pile live rock above them?


Its going to be a big tank so I'm going to need stronger or more powerheads. What should be the standards on powerheads/wavemakers that I'll have to check for?What are the needs of a 200 gallons tank, a 100 and a 55 gallons tank?


Climate here is warm.I can either go with fans or a chiller.Would that be needed on the 200gl tank?Or is it big enough to keep its temperature without a chiller.

I've read that the use of fans increases the water evaporation.Its a warm climate here so do you suggest fans, chillers or nothing needed?

How much can I expect a RO/DI filter system to cost?


New member
I would probably say, if you bought the complete system ready to go somewhat, it'll prolly run you in the 8,000-10,000 range without rock, livestock, or sand


New member
well add 15% to that plus shipping cause i prefer to import them than buy them locally(it would cost more money for less quality here)

Maybe I should rethink about the tank size, and do a lot DIY work on this aquarium.
Well I should already start with building the tank now that I know what size goes with what price.


New member
Hummm... I just did this... here is what I got... once I am done (but we never really are done, right??) you are looking at around US$7-8k unless you get some used equipment, make your own stand, etc...

Here is what I got... but your list might vary based on equipment brand preference, setup, etc...

Best to go to the Large Reef Tanks section in this forum.

Tank- AGA 210 gallon Tank 72x24x29" with stand and Overflow Accessory Kit
Light - 72" Current 3x250W HQI + 4x39W/3x39 T5 + 12/12 Lunar (model 1079)
Berlin Acrylic Sump
2- EH1262 pumps
Current Gamma UV 40W Sterilizer
JBJ Arctica Titanium Chiller DBM-250 1/3HP
1 - Tropic Marine 200G Salt Bucket
1000W Heater with control
EuroReef RS-250 skimmer
200lbs of Live Rock
Tunze Wavebox and Wave Controller
200lbs Arag-Alive Spec Grade Reef Sand

I have a spreadsheet with all this. Just send me a pm with your email id if you want it.

Then you start getting into controls, monitors, Calcium reactors, etc.... stuff to make your life easier and help you better control the environment you created...


New member
Way to go wachuko thanks for saying that. I was like there is no way I have that near that much in my 125 set-up. I started adding things up. I was at like 3500.00 then I remembered all the stuff I have in the basement,lol sump, barracuda pump, heaters, geo 618, octopus skimmer, yeah I have sunk more in my fishtank than I care to admit. But then again I keep telling myself it is cheaper than racing a 125 go-kart for a season so I guess it's a wash. I would say for anything over 125 gallons with a sump and spending money for quality items (so you don't have to buy things twice) you will need at least 6-7k.

It's just crazy when you start breaking things down. Not to mention 400.00 for the vortech powerhead I have on order, WHEN DOES IT STOP!!!!!!