Need some gear recommendations...

Imaexpat2

New member
Im an "œOld School Reefer" and I am planning to set up a new 90 gallon SPS dominated mixed reef tank a few months from now and need a little help moving my reef keeping into the "œnew millennium" a bit more than I currently have in the past. As such I am looking for some gear recommendations, so I can buy once, get what I need the first time, get gear that will automate my reef keeping more than doing everything manually and I am not Big Daddy War Bucks. Being an older guy I am kinda technologically challenged when it comes to electronics. So I need something that's pretty simple to set up and run.

I have the tank, the lights (Kessil A360X x2) and power heads/wave maker controller (Koralea but may upgrade down the road later) I want already figured out. To keep things cheap I have a decent sized simple sump that will hold a Skimmer, Heater, some live rock and macro algae that I still want to use. The sump has a filter sock for particulates. In the past I have used a Kalkwasser dripper to boost Calcium and Alk and I want to still stay with that since its worked very well for me even when I had the space for a 240 gallon SPS/Clam tank in 2006-2010. I do manually dose my tank via a dripper and RO/DI water when water test start to show a deficiency in levels, which is not all that often.

What additional gear would you SPS freaks recommend to help me move forward? Not very many reefers in my area, especially those who are accomplished with SPS tanks, to lean on for "œspiritual enrichment".

So please feel free to help the "œHandicapped" and point me in the right direction if you have some solid recommendations!
 

cody6766

Super Best Friends!
Premium Member
Some people drop a lot on gear and there are some chemical routines that are used by a few (Zeovit and similar).

I take a simpler approach to it. Both my old 120g and current 60g were/are my "big boy" tanks. What I mean by that is, aside from buying used gear, I didn't really compromise in what I thought I need for a successful tank.

The 120g set up:
-I started with 2 Kessil A350s. I quickly realized that I needed more flood lighting in the tank and augmented them with 4 T5s, two on each side. This grew everything I wanted in the tank and looked really good doing it.
- 3 MP40s for flow...all bought used to save some cash
- big Reef Octopus skimmer (I think), also used
- Reef Keeper Lite controllers for the lights and heater (no longer available)
- autotopoff.com ATO
- Ocean Runner return pump
- manual dosing for alk, Ca, and Mg using Bulk Reef Supply dry chemicals

60g set up
- 2 Kessil A350s the first go around, now it's an AI 6-bulb T5 light
- sump and return pump are from the Cadlights kit
- Bubble King 3 channel doser for Ca, Mg, and Alk
- The rest of the gear is the same as above.

Both tanks grew all manner of corals in any position in the tank. I'd recommend you add an extra Kessil to your list, look into BRS chemicals, possibly a peristaltic doser when you get enough corals in the tank to worry about it, some MP40s (used saves a lot).

You can dump a ton into reef tech, but I prefer to keep it as simple as practical and buy used higher end gear when it makes sense.
 

Imaexpat2

New member
Cody6766, thanks!

I was thinking an up grade to MP40's or something later on after initial set up. Maybe even Calcium reactor later. Just dont want to drop 10 grand trying to build Rome in a single day...
 

cody6766

Super Best Friends!
Premium Member
I ran Koralia pumps for years before jumping to Vortechs. They moved water, but I had to use several to get the randomized flow I wanted. I was always struggling to make the tank look clean and not blast nearby corals. Cleaning was a bit of a pain since the whole pump/wire has to come out of the setup. I also got tired of their reliabilty. Some were great, some failed after 6mos to a year. I have one in my water mixing jug that I've been using for 7 years, but others didn't last 7 months. My vortechs were bought used and I've been using them for about 7 years without a single issue. They're a big hit in the wallet, but a hit worth taking. I feel the same about good lighting. It sucks up front, but it's worth it in the end.
For everything else, I don't really feel the need to get the Mercedes model when a reliable Malibu will do the trick. I don't see myself springing for Ecotech's DC return pumps when cheaper pumps are just as good at moving water. Same for really expensive skimmers and other gear.
 

Imaexpat2

New member
Yeah I was on BRS and saw the apex for 2500 fun dollars and I was like holy crap! Plus it looked like I would need a Nasa Aerospace engineering degree to set it up to boot. I am thinking dang do I really need all that...? I mean I am sure it will do some pretty cool stuff and simplify reef keeping to the max though and take some of the work out of it and leave more time to enjoy the tank.

I was kinda thinking maybe the seneye would be good enough to get me started and automate some stuff for me. I like the MP's and will upgrade to them next I think unless there is something better. In the mean time I am gonna just run these Koralia's until they drop since I already have them. They are a bit unsightly in the tank though.

Im just one of those guys that I like to have my tank all thought out before I even get started so I know where I am going with it and how I am gonna get there.
 
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