Hello! Lots of expertise here

Westhusker

New member
Hello again, it's been over a decade since I've been on here under a name I have forgotten now. Anyway prior to finishing that build I ended up getting engaged, moving across the state, having a kid, and life in general so that setup got sold before it saw water and has just been in my mind since. Now the wife and kid suddenly have the itch so I'm going forth again, and just picked up a good starter kit from someone else - it has been dry for 3 years - that was moving out of state. I have been reading many articles in this forum, as well as other books and videos, but I still have several questions. I hope I'm not being too redundant here and appreciate any help that can be provided with many more questions to come I'm sure.

What I have on hand - picked up a 55 gallontank and metal stand, good amount (haven'tweighed it yet) of rock structure, a heater, protein skimmer (hang on back style), acanister filter with three layers of mechanical filtration of various types (travelling at moment or I'd provide a photo), and a light that they said suffered from salt creep and itswitches colors and turns itself on/off like it'spossessed so I'm guessing that will need replaced.
My desires - eventually build a wooden stand to add a 10gallon sump/refugium and not have filtersand skimmers and stuff hanging on the backof the tank, but for starters if I could use this equipment that’s be great and build the sump later. Build a tank that will contain a fewfish, maybe 12" or so worth across 4 fish, soft corals, clean up crew, etc. Although I like thelooks of hard corals as well if that requires adramatic jump in price for lighting then it's a place I can save a few dollars and live without.

Here are my main questions for starters, so much info out there now that I've started to confuse myself with various opinions and from past experience I have a lot of faith in this group.

Water flow - my last tank was drilled, this one is tempered so I won’t drill it. How much flow should go tot he skimmer and canister and can those be in-line or separate plumbing needed? How many/what power should I plan to have for powerheads within the tank?

Sump - any recommendations on DIY kits to put in a 10 gallon through the whole thing or full through skimmer and then from there split it with some to tank and a lower amount to slowly go through rest of sump? If I'm using a sump would I still use that canister filter or does that eliminate that need? Note I’d still like to do this later just to spread the cost a bit.

Lighting for tank - what would be needed for corals and fish in a 55? I know this won't be free (unless someone wants to help a 10 year old kid build his dream tank
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) but I'm also not in a endless budget position here so I'm looking for bang for the buck.

lighting for sump - what's needed here?

Other items I should be considering for sump area?

Order and timing - Once the stand is built, rock ready, and plumbing in place what is my order for cycling, starting lights, startingvarious filtration, and starting fish/corals? I plan to cycle it without fish and get them inafterward but otherwise I'm unclear on timing and order of the steps to get to that point.

One last bit if it's helpful - I live in a rural area and the nearest LFS is over two hours away which is Petco. a non-chain shop the nearest is over 4 hours away so much of this will need to be done by internet order unfortunately.

thanks in advance!
 

kharmaguru

Premium Member
Water flow - my last tank was drilled, this one is tempered so I won’t drill it. How much flow should go tot he skimmer and canister and can those be in-line or separate plumbing needed? How many/what power should I plan to have for powerheads within the tank?

Sump - any recommendations on DIY kits to put in a 10 gallon through the whole thing or full through skimmer and then from there split it with some to tank and a lower amount to slowly go through rest of sump? If I'm using a sump would I still use that canister filter or does that eliminate that need? Note I’d still like to do this later just to spread the cost a bit.

Lighting for tank - what would be needed for corals and fish in a 55? I know this won't be free (unless someone wants to help a 10 year old kid build his dream tank
clear.png
) but I'm also not in a endless budget position here so I'm looking for bang for the buck.

lighting for sump - what's needed here?

Waterflow. If you mean through your eventual sump, 5x to 10x per hour is more than enough. Flow that benefits the corals and fish should be provided by wide flow circulation pumps in the tank. AI Nero or Jebao SLW or MLW come to mind for that type of flow. Neros are somewhat pricey but jebao are not bank breaking. While you're using hang on equipment, the skimmer should have it's own matched dedicated needlewheel pump and canisters are canisters, so I'm not sure what you mean by "inline"? If you have the option to use a HOB skimmer like an Aquaclear or a newer good one is the Seachem Tidal, then it's much easier/more likely to be maintained than a canister.

Sump. It's really not hard to DIY a sump with some glass and silicone. Definitely the cheapest route.

https://gmacreef.com/reef-aquarium-sump-tank-design/

Lighting. Good cheap LED is Aqua Knight v2, but you would need two. Good value LED with a long track record is AI Prime HD16 but again you would need two. SInce a 55 is 4 ft long a two bulb t5HO fixture would do a great job for your proposed stocking as well and would likely be the cheapest up front but would require yearly bulb changes that increases the long term cost. All of these options will support LPS corals and maybe SPS with proper in-tank placement.

Sump requires no special lighting unless you intend to have a refugium. I just use a standard task light fluorescent over my sump to see for maintenance.
 

Westhusker

New member
Waterflow. If you mean through your eventual sump, 5x to 10x per hour is more than enough.

correct thanks, so a 300-500 hog return pump.

Flow that benefits the corals and fish should be provided by wide flow circulation pumps in the tank. AI Nero or Jebao SLW or MLW come to mind for that type of flow. Neros are somewhat pricey but jebao are not bank breaking. While you're using hang on equipment, the skimmer should have it's own matched dedicated needlewheel pump and canisters are canisters, so I'm not sure what you mean by "inline"? It’s a plastic container with an inlet and outlet on top, then runs through a stack of 3 different media before going back up the outflow.

If you have the option to use a HOB skimmer like an Aquaclear or a newer good one is the Seachem Tidal, then it's much easier/more likely to be maintained than a canister. So just a skimmer, nothing else? Or do I need either canister or sump after the skimmer?

Sump. It's really not hard to DIY a sump with some glass and silicone. Definitely the cheapest route.

https://gmacreef.com/reef-aquarium-sump-tank-design/

Lighting. Good cheap LED is Aqua Knight v2, but you would need two. Googling these but not finding any for sale?

Good value LED with a long track record is AI Prime HD16 but again you would need two. SInce a 55 is 4 ft long a two bulb t5HO fixture would do a great job for your proposed stocking as well and would likely be the cheapest up front but would require yearly bulb changes that increases the long term cost. Suggestions on good ones for the price?

All of these options will support LPS corals and maybe SPS with proper in-tank placement.

Sump requires no special lighting unless you intend to have a refugium. I just use a standard task light fluorescent over my sump to see for maintenance.

thanks, followup questions included above!
 

kharmaguru

Premium Member
Sorry I said HOB skimmer but I meant HOB filter instead of a canister filter because canister filters can be awkward to maintain which usually leads to you not doing it. If you want to use the canister filter, you absolutely can. Yes use your skimmer as well.

Here's the Aqua Knight light. I know Reefbreeders also sold rebranded versions of this same light which JohnL uses but I don't see them on their wesite.

https://www.fish-street.com/aqua-kni...no-led-a029-v2

So the purpose of adding a sump would be to move your skimmer, heater, and some biological media out of the visual area of your tank. Once you've done that, I would no longer run the canister filter but you certainly still could if you wanted to.

I personally am just using a Vivosun T5 horticultural fixture that I bought off Amazon for my frag tank. I saw no need to pay extra for an aquarium specific one, especially when I was hanging it from the ceiling anyway. Of course I am using reef specific fluorescent tubes though.

I forgot to mention many people have good luck with what they term "Chinese black boxes" for lighting. They are usually pretty cheap and very bright and you could probably get away with one for that tank if you didn't mind less illumination at the edges. Another Amazon or Ebay purchase. Here's an example:

https://www.amazon.com/Phlizon-Dimma...xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
 
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