whats the best way to set up a reef tank from the start

mjhall85

New member
I just got my 60 gallon tank and I'd really like to set it up as a reef as I think they look awesome! whats the best way to do this? I got a rubbermaid tote with my tank for the sump should I keep that or buy a actual sump? also what lighting would be best? Any help with my setup will be greatly appreciated

Thanks
 

lordofthereef

One reef to rule them all
Your question is a little too broad in my opinion. At the risk of sounding smart, I'd start with filling the tank with saltwater and the appropriate ammonite of rock. Depending on density 1-1.5 pounds per gallon is recommended. From there you can jump start your cycle with an ammonia source and get started with researching what you want to keep, specifically.
 

mjhall85

New member
Yeah it was a little broad was hoping for some insight as far as lighting goes and what not. I'm gonna go to my local store and buy catalina water to fill the tank and I plan on buying around 70lbs or so of live rock. My friend has some rock he let dry out could I put that in my tank right away or whats the process for that?
 

lordofthereef

One reef to rule them all
As far as lights, give us a budget along with what you intend to keep. Some of it is personal preference and a lot of it depends on what you are keeping.

As far as the dried rock you could out it in straight away. I might recommend anquick wash with fresh water first. There will inevitabley be Anton of die off that will get your cycle going. I would also recommend at least animal amount of live rock to seed your dry rock with.
 

mjhall85

New member
Well I don't want to spend anything to crazy trying to stay under 300 400 for lights and I would like to keep some corals and inverts in the future as well of fish of course so don't wanna buy so called cheap lights then have to upgrade to better ones in a few months. How much live rock would you suggest I buy to put in with my dry rock? i have about 8 Good size pieces of the dry rock id guess a good 30 40lbs
 

lordofthereef

One reef to rule them all
I'd recommend about 10% of your total rock be established live rock at the very least. I really have no basis for this recommendation other than less seems to be too little and more just gets expensive.

As far as Lighting, take a look at what's out there but you can certainly get a decent light with that kind of budget. I am sort of partial to LEDs myself. If you were wanting a pre built fixture I'd consider the aquatic illuminations sol light.


Sent from my iPhone (please excuse the typos)
 

mjhall85

New member
Yeah I was checking out the LED's and they are about 300 for the size I need. So established live rock meaning the cured rock I can buy at a store? like the fiji rock or what not?
 

Sugar Magnolia

Mother of Dachshunds
Staff member
RC Mod
[welcome]

If you haven't done so already, I'd suggest reading through all of the stickies at the top of this forum. It will help you answer many of the questions you will have about setting up a tank.
 

mjhall85

New member
Yeah I have been checking them out still not sure about all the plumbing for the sump I have a overflow box so not sure where I will put my return unless i just run it up the back and it kinda hangs on the back then? (the return that is)
 

mjhall85

New member
So i have a overflow box and that obviously drains into my sump then my question is i run the return up the back of the tank and have it dump in near the top then? what size sump would you all suggest for a 60gallon? I was thinking like a 20 gallon or so roughly also will it need a light on it? I'm just now starting my cycle so what do i absoloutely have to have for my cycle to get going? I have some dried out rock my friend gave me i plan on adding some live rock with it is that a good idea or no?
 

BUBBLE MAN

New member
im new to this hobby too, (like i dont even have a tank set up yet) but i was able to answer all the questions you have posted so far because i read all of the stickies, used the 'search' function on this forum, and read this book: The Conscientious Marine Aquarist: A Commonsense Handbook for Successful Saltwater Hobbyists by Robert M. Fenner. You'll be amazed how much they can help. good luck :thumbsup:
 

Brando8719

New member
You should add live rock to your friends dried out rock. This will help the cycle along... and yeah, you can just have your return entering the top of your tank. The size of the sump is up to you... 20 gallons should be fine if you have room for it. I only have a 15g sump on my 55gallon but I don't have a refugium. Are you planning on having an in-sump skimmer? You will need room for this... as well as baffle walls and a place for your return pump. The only reason you will need a light on your sump is if you have a refugium.
 

mjhall85

New member
Yeah I have room for up to about a 29gallon tank I plan on buying a sump that is already made as I am not that handy to make one ha ha. I plan on putting the skimmer in the sump don't want that much inside the tank. What kind of return pump would you suggest ?
 

EllieSuz

Premium Member
I set up my first saltwater aquarium before I discovered RC, so I made a lot of expensive mistakes. You're already a step ahead. I think your sump should be as large as you can fit in the stand, the bigger, the better. It needs to hold a lot of equipment such as skimmer, heater(s), reactors, filter sock, etc. A lot of us also use one compartment to house Chaeto. So, if you don't get the biggest sump you can, you'll eventually regret it.
 

mjhall85

New member
i just went and bought a 29gallon sump tank with a pump they included I have to adjust my bulkhead in my tank since the person i got it from only had a 3/4inch drain line which i was told by many that is too small everyone i talk to says you want a good amount of flow into the sump cause if you have too little and too good of a pump you will overflow your main tank correct me if im wrong I was just talking to a couple guys at a locally owned fish store and this is what they advised me
 

Dustin1300

Reefaholic
With a 60 gallon DT I'd probably push 400-500 GPH through the Sump. I'd also recommend having multiple overflows so you have a failsafe. Having one overflow get blocked by snail could result in your DT overflowing and having all the water from your return section going onto your floor!
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
Get the holiest, laciest rock you can find, and pick a type of coral you want to keep. Get medium aragonite sand. I would advise going for lps, which grows nicely with T5 lighting, which is moderate in price. If you are on a tight budget, go for softie corals. Have a sump, no filter, no lid, and a decent but not extravagant skimmer. I do not recommend that a new hobbyist attempt sps corals: they're very bleeding edge and break the hearts even of experienced reefers.
 

mjhall85

New member
what is lps? I have a sumo im currently working on the plumbing of it im hoping to be able to fill my tank this evening with water. I got about 40lbs of live rock in it right now I was reading to put the rock first then the sand after. Guess I will be running back to the store for the aragonite sand. What skimmer would you recommend?
Thanks for Help pictures to come soon!

MHG I'm trying not to be cheap I have already noticed it's not a cheap hobby haha
 
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