New setup questions

Pete78

New member
I am in the process of researching and planning a 75 gal reef for the second time. First time around I came to the conclusion that my house and budget were too small to do it right so I sidelined it for a few years. I am back in the game now and I have a ton of questions I was hoping someone could help me with. My first questions have to do with lighting.

I know this is very general but as far as the stocking goes I would like to start out with some easier, low light corals and a few fish and then gradually move up to some tougher species that require a lot of light. I am going to have a cabinet maker build me a custom stand with canopy. For lighting I am thinking about going with a retro kit containing 2x175w MH's and 2x110w VHO's. My questions are:

1) Will this be sufficient / appropriate lighting for this size tank for most corals. Too much too little? Will it fry low light corals etc.?

2) How high should I keep the lights off the water? I have heard 8" - 12" is usually a good estimate.

3) Will fans be necessary to help deal with heat? If yes how many?

4) I have read that a piece of UV glass should be placed between the lights and the water to protect your eyes from the MH's and to prevent water from splashing the hot glass. I have also read that any kind of glass top over the tank will restrict gas diffusion. What would you suggest I do?

I have a lot more to ask but I will save those ?'s for another thread. I really want to design this system for where I want to be in the hobby eventually so that I am not constantly upgrading. Any help you guys might have for getting me there would be much appreciated.
 

jbrunken

New member
I'm hardly an expert, but I'll give you my 2 cents. I'm sure some of the real experts around here will chime in with some really good advice. :)

1) I would think that would be enough light more most corals. You (like most of us) will want to put some corals higher in the tank and some lower.

2) I'd start with them about 8" off the water and see if heat/evaporation becomes a problem. Personally, I don't think it's that critical, but if you are going for absolute best growth/color, it might make a difference.

3) That's impossible to answer as there are just too many variables. The size of your sump, the location of your tank and sump, etc. You'll just have to keep an eye on things and see how much cooling is needed (if it is needed). For example, I have 3 250W DE's over my 125 and they don't overheat my tank at all. When I do need cooling, I use too cheap desk fans I have mounted in my (large) canopy with heavy duty zip ties. Between my lights, heaters and fans, my daily temp swing is less than 1 degree.

4) You MUST use a pane of UV glass if you are using DE (double ended ) bulbs. Usually, the glass comes with the fixture or pendant that houses the DE bulb, but if you are building DIY lighting, you might need to add the glass yourself. If you are using SE (singled ended) bulbs, you don't need the glass. The UV protection is built into the outer glass on the bulb. I use DE bulbs, but it seems most people like SE bulbs better. The only reason why I use DE is that the pendants work well in my canopy.

Don't be afraid to ask questions here or on our club website @ www.greateriowareefsociety.org. It's kind of a slow time of year, but there are generally a lot of experienced people around here who are more than willing to help out.

I'm in Cedar Rapids, you're welcome to come up and take a look at my system sometime. It might give you some ideas at least on what to do (or not to do).

-JB
 

kau_cinta_ku

New member
IMHO I would go with dual 250 watt MH's. they arn't much more than 175 watter but you will get much more light.
 

Pete78

New member
JB -

Thanks for the good info! I do intend to use just the single ended MH bulbs. Just to be sure, you're saying that I do not need any glass between the bulb and the water correct? Both the MH and VHO's can sit freely over the water?

I would definately like to come see your set up sometime. What time works for you?



Kau -

I thought about the 250's but was afraid of heat issues on such a shallow tank. I see that you have 2x400w's on your 75. Does that preclude you from stocking any lower light corals? What do you use to cool that fixture if anything? Thanks
 

davidryder

Claris or Elliot?
570 watts over a 75g tank is unquestionably enough light for any coral. Most coral can be acclimated to such intense light but you might have to keep some softies on the bottom.

2 will affect 3 so those are tough to answer and 4 was already answered pretty well :D
 

jbrunken

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=12894190#post12894190 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Pete78
JB -

Thanks for the good info! I do intend to use just the single ended MH bulbs. Just to be sure, you're saying that I do not need any glass between the bulb and the water correct? Both the MH and VHO's can sit freely over the water?

I would definately like to come see your set up sometime. What time works for you?

Yes, you are correct. If you are using SE bulbs, there shouldn't be any other glass between the bulb and the water. I've never used VHO's, but I assume that if you are using water proof endcaps, then they can sit freely over the water too.

If you want to come over and see my tank setup, I'm around most evenings and weekends. PM me and I'll send you my contact info.

-JB
 

kau_cinta_ku

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=12894190#post12894190 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Pete78
Kau -

I thought about the 250's but was afraid of heat issues on such a shallow tank. I see that you have 2x400w's on your 75. Does that preclude you from stocking any lower light corals? What do you use to cool that fixture if anything? Thanks

actually when I 1st put my 400's on the tank it was a mainly softie tank.kenya trees, shrooms, ect. now it is mostly SPS, however I have a toadstool that is very high in the tank and it does very well. all my softies did well.

all corals will adapt to diff. lighting except of the non photosyntic corals, you just have to aculimate them slower.

here is a pic. of my 75 gal. with te 400's
CIMG5130.jpg
 

Pete78

New member
All good info. That helps clarify lighting a lot. Thanks all. Also, I sent you a PM JB but your mailbox was full...

Next questions are about sump design and skimmers. I am probably going to go with an external return pump and the skimmer will be submerged in the sump:

1) I am trying to decide between one 30 gal. long glass DIY sump divided into 3 compartments or breaking the sump into two seperate tanks; One holding the skimmer/return pump and a separate 10 gal. fuge that sits slightly above the main sump and drains into the return. I have seen it done both ways. Is there any benefit to one or the other or is it just personal preference?

2) How should the drain water flow through the sump and fuge ideally? I have one drain pipe and I have seen many people split the drain line and have one empty into the skimmer and the other empty into the fuge with both compartments flowing through baffles and into the return. Others I have seen have all the drain water flowing into the skimmer which flows to the return. The return line is then split so one line feeds the main tank while the second line feeds the fuge and is restricted by a valve. Fuge then drains back into the return. From what I have read I think the only thing I am not supposed to do is allow the water to be skimmed prior to entering the fuge or allow the fuge water to be skimmed. Am I wrong on that?

My idea is almost exactly like Kau's sump that is pictured in his gallery except for my pump will be external and I don't have two drain lines. Any opinions on the best route?

3) How much flow should there be through the fuge? From what I have read you basically want enough movement to break the surface. Is this correct?

4) I had intended to use an ASM G2 skimmer. It is rated up to 300 gallons. Is this overkill for my 75 or is it best to have the largest skimmer I can fit in my sump?

Also, when I researched skimmers a few years back it seemed like there was a concensus that ASM was a pretty reliable option. Looking through the forums it now seems like everyone has turned on them. From reading the millions of threads on skimmers I know this is a hugely debated subject but I just wanted to know what you guys think would be a pretty safe bet.
 

jbrunken

New member
My PM box is cleaned out now. Sorry about that.

I decided to go with a seperate tank for the refugium. I think it works a lot better because I like to see what's going on in mine and it can be hard to do that when it's built into a sump.

For the skimmer, you'll probably find a lot of people around here recommend "Octopus Skimmers". They are relatively inexpensive and work really really well. I'm also in the "your skimmer can never be too big" camp, so I'd definitely get one that's rated for quite a bit larger than your tank.

-JB
 
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