Getting Started!


New member
Hi guys,
My name is Stella. I'm a 19 year old female from CT, and I've been planning my first reef tank for a couple months now. While I've done TONS of research, I have absolutely no firsthand experience with saltwater. Here is a complete list of the equipment I'm planning on using and my actual game plan for getting this tank up and running. If you guys could take a look and let me know what else I'll need, and/or if anyone sees any issues, I would really appreciate it! I want to start off strong and make as few mistakes as possible.

So far, all I have is a standard 125 gallon tank (72 x 18 x 24), and a 30 gallon quarantine tank with an extra heater and a good sized filter that I'll let run in the big tank until I need it. It will take me about 2 months to save up for all the equipment I need, so I just plan on buying one or two things a week until I have everything I need. After it's up and running and cycled, I plan on keeping it empty for a good while and dosing it with fish food to make sure that I can at least keep stable parameters in an empty tank! Next, I'll add a coral (star polyps?) and try to keep it alive lol. If I manage that for a month or two, I'll add some more hardy beginner corals (one per week?), and then let those guys live by themselves for a bit as well. I haven't planned out the actual fish yet, but I'm sure this will probably take me a good 6 months if not more, so I've got plenty of time to figure it out. I'm planning on adding the most peaceful, hardy reef safe fish I can find lol (one species a week, with a 7 day quarantine period?) but I'll come back later with more questions about that!

Anyways, here is my equipment list.

RO/DI Filter: LiquaGen 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis/Deionization - Aquarium Reef Water Filter System, 75 GPD (

Salt: Instant Ocean Reed Crystal Reef Salt for Reef Aquariums
I'll by a few 200 gallon bins to get started.

API Master Test Kit - Reef,aps,139&sr=8-3

Current USA Orbit IC LED - Loop Compatible (72 in.)

Sicce Voyager 4 Power Stream Pump, 1600 GPH

Unfortunately it'd be tricky to afford live sand and rock, so I'll just have to make my own! I'm in no rush to cycle the tank anyways. If you guys think it'd really be worth the money, let me know.

For sand I'm hoping to use standard pool filter sand:
Fairmount Minerals Pool Filter Sand #20 Grade Silica Sand 50 lbs
I know there's a lot of debate on silica in aquariums, and since reef tanks are super sensitive, I'd love it if you guys could give me your two cents on that or offer a good alternative!

For rocks:

I'm also planning to maybe add one 20 lb bag of natures ocean and one live rock that I'll find at my LFS just for ***** and giggles (can't hurt, right?)

For my sump system, I've decided to just buy a sump tank since I'm no good with DIY.
Pro Clear Aquatic Systems Freedom Reef Sump - 400 gal

I'm not sure if the heater will fit in the sump, but I'll have:
two Fluval E 300-Watt Electronic Heaters,pets,144&sr=1-2
(Heaters are so finnicky!! Even the really trusted brands have like 30% bad reviews that say that they killed everything)

SCA-302 180 Gallon Protein Skimmer (In Sump)
Let me know if you think this is big enough I'm really not sure.

CPR Aquatic CS202 Deluxe Siphon Overflow w/ Lid & Aqua Lifter Pump (1500 GPH)

EHIEM Compact+ Pump 5000 for a return pump (1320 GPH)

I'll have a refugium with live rock, sand, and a bunch of Cheato, and another small light for that.

And for maintenance I'll get some kind of magnetic algae scrubber and obviously a python.

I figure I'll have to wait until I figure out what's in my tank before I can figure out dosing?

Also a good set of probes for temp, salinity, ORP and pH? Does anybody have any recommendations for that? I really don't have a clue.

Thanks so much to anybody that made it through that! Please let me know if I'm doing anything wrong, forgetting something, or even if there's just something you would do differently! I'm so excited to join the world of reef aquariums and I want everything to go as smoothly as possible for my future marine friends!


New member
After reading through this, I feel like this post is a bunch of Amazon click bait to help someone make some money from link clicks.

...and what does it matter how old you are, where you are located and whether you are a male or female? It's weird that you would announce that kind of information. :lmao:


New member
400 gallon sump for a 125 gal tank ??? this correct or an error...

yes I would check other sources besides amazon.....