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Madison Area Reef Society - Club and reef discussion

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Postby ReefZoo on Thu Apr 21, 2005 9:58 pm

Hi all,

I recently stumbled upon this site while surfing around reefcentral.com. Needless to say, I was thrilled to find a reef group in the Madison area!

Although I'm new to reefkeeping, I've had fish for the majority of the past 10 years; mostly African Cichlids, but also some saltwater FOWLR tanks. The size of the tanks has ranged from 20 to 38 gallons.

One of the things I've always wanted to do, was build a tank into a wall! I recently purchased a home in Arena, where the basement was finished and had the perfect place to build it. I decided on a 75 gallon tank, which should look nice in that wall. So... here's where I'm at, followed by where I'd like to go:

I currently have the following:
75 gallon tank with all-glass versa top
Oddysea PC 4x65w lights with 4 moon lights
TetraTec 300 Power Filter and Heating Capsule (which is housed within the filter)
5 Maxi-Jet 900 Powerheads
"Starboard" bottom (white cutting board material)
Filter Direct RO/DI unit
Bucket of Instant Ocean Salt
Several Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kits (Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH, Copper, Phosphates)
About 50 pounds of "dead" tonga branch and fiji rock (currently being revived in a friend's tank)
20g & 38g tank (to possibly use one as a refugium)

My next few purchases will include (in rough order):
Black or Midnight Blue Background
More live rock (25-50 lbs)
RHS-10ATC Salinity Refractometer
Aquaflotor 1000 Multi Protein Skimmer with Ocean Runner pump
Salifert test kits (Calcium, Alkalinity)
Red Sea Wavemaster Pro Wavemaker
Lifereef Overflow Box (if I add the refugium)

As can be inferred from the above, I'm basically going with a Berlin approach - quasi-bare bottom with lots of water flow and a quality skimmer. Based on what I've read (primarily on reefcentral.com and saltwaterfish.com), this sounds like the best setup for me (given what I had, what I'm willing to spend, and the potential problems of some of the other approaches). But nothing is etched into stone yet, and I'm still learning, so I'm certainly open to any ideas or suggestions!

We cut the hole in the wall this past weekend, and I hope to build the stand this coming weekend. Then it's finally time to get this thing up & running!

OK, here's what I'd ultimately like to include (with a corresponding time table):
125-150 pounds live rock - cycle with either uncured live rock or frozen shrimp (to begin as soon as the construction of the stand is completed)
Algae Cleanup Crew of 2-3 species of snails, 1-2 species of hermit crabs, emerald crabs, and peppermint shrimp - still trying to determine the exact numbers (6-8 weeks, after the tank has cycled)
Detritus Crew of 2-3 serpent &/or brittle stars and possibly a portion of the Algae Cleanup Crew (8-12 weeks, sometime near when the first fish are added)
7-8 small fish, (would like to add them in the order of least aggressive to most aggressive, so suggestions are welcome!), adding 1-2 fish per month, over the course of 4-5 months:
Oscellaris Clowns (2)
Coral Beauty
Orchid Dottyback
Midas Blenny or Bicolor Blenny
Some type of Fairy Wrasse or possibly a Possum Wrasse (something red)
Six-Line Wrasse
Yellowtail Blue Damsel (I really like their blue color, but I've read plenty of conflicting reports on them - they're supposed to be one of the more peaceful damsels, but it seems it's hit or miss; I'm hoping that adding it last, will keep it in line! I'd love to hear ACTUAL stories about them though...)
POSSIBLY a Yellow Tang (I have standing offer from a friend to take it; he inherited it, and it's now sitting in a 30g tank, so a 75g would be an upgrade for it)
I'd also like to add a couple of Cleaner Shrimp somewhere in there

After that (6 months or so?), I'd like to get into some soft corals, mushrooms, polyps, etc. Whatever's relatively easy, and what my lighting can support.

Feedback on any aspect of my plan is greatly appreciated! I'm looking forward to attending some of the meetings in the future, and learning more about this hobby from anyone who cares to share...
ReefZoo
 
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Postby klasikb on Fri Apr 22, 2005 8:45 am

Welcome to MARS :D
Sounds like you have a good plan. Keep us updated and hope to see you at a meeting.
Sheila
Just a girl trying to create a little bit of heaven on earth, without killing it :)
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Postby mfd78 on Fri Apr 22, 2005 12:36 pm

Yes, welcome! I'm pretty new to all this myself so I'll leave the advice to people with some salt-water time under their belts. Sounds like you have put a lot of thought into the whole process which is something I wished I had done better...

Look forward to meeting you!

Steve
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Postby OceanNwisconsin on Fri Apr 22, 2005 1:14 pm

sounds good im in the process of doing a 210 in wall. also i have 4 yellowtails and they are great no problems whatsoever,, unless you count one that got a lil close to a powerhead.. :cry: :cry: :cry:
my fish drink better then i do!

Image
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Postby Mark on Fri Apr 22, 2005 5:20 pm

Glad to have you in the club, I'll see you at an upcoming meeting!

---

If you're going barebottom, think hard about your skimmer. Mine is vastly oversized for my BB tank and would probably not be as happy with it as I am with a skimmer sized for a tank 3x my size.

It's one thing you can always `turn down' and have it collect very little ... anyway, just the peanut gallery here :roll:

Glad to have you here.
Mark
 
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Good Skimmer

Postby ReefZoo on Fri Apr 22, 2005 6:56 pm

Mark,

Getting a good skimmer for my setup is definitely sound advice! The Aqua Medic Turboflotor came recommended by someone who also has it on a 75g, and has a more complicated setup than what I'll have (although he's doesn't have a BB; he has a SSB). Here's some info on this model:
"The Turboflotor Multi SL is our most versatile protein skimmer. It can be fixed to the side of the aquarium (´hang-on´ mode), or placed inside or outside the sump of the filter. Its compact size makes it small enough to be stored under the cabinet.
In the ´hang-on´mode, only the pump is placed inside the aquarium. The pump Ocean Runner PH 2500, 37 W, features a venturi with the patented Aqua Medic needle wheel. The skimmer itself has the conical collection cup inner tube (also patented), and a lid, and two outflow boxes for directing the outflow back into the aquarium.
As an option, a large 1.2 litre (0.3 gallon) Filter Box can be placed at the outlets, for use as a first stage biological filter.
Height: 55 cm, c. 22"
Total width: 17 x 17 cm, c. 7" x 7"
motor driven outside protein skimmer for aquaria from 600 Liter (150 Gallons) "

Perhaps this model isn't sufficient for my setup? I haven't purchased it yet, so my options are still open... I'd LIKE to be able to keep it under 250. Any other recommendations?
ReefZoo
 
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Location: Spring Green, WI

Is this a better skimmer?

Postby ReefZoo on Fri Apr 22, 2005 8:13 pm

BERLIN TURBO HANG-ON PROTEIN SKIMMER WITH TURBO PUMP

The Berlin Turbo utilizes a new 12 blade TurboJet Impeller that actually creates a significant positive pressure enabling the skimmer to operate the triple pass and do it without an additional pump. The Berlin turbo comes with the pump (fitted with the TurboJet Impeller). These units are suitable for tanks up to 250 gallons.

The Berlin HO is an adaptation of the Berlin Classic that allows the skimmer to be hung on the side or back of the tank or sump maximizing space. Utilizing the same patented triple pass design the Berlin HO is one efficient skimmer. The unique design of the mixing chamber allows for maximum air/water mixing and the state-of-the-art triple pass hold the mixture together for much longer than most other skimmers to optimize the actual protein extraction.

The HO is capable of handling any tank up to 250 gallons and can be mounted inside or hung on the sump as well as the aquarium. This skimmer allows many options for the aquarist that has space limitations.
ReefZoo
 
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Postby causeofhim on Fri Apr 22, 2005 11:51 pm

I would go with a ASM3 for that price.
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Postby Mark on Sat Apr 23, 2005 9:47 am

Yeah, I don't really know that skimmer that well - and I'm positive it works for some.

But I know I upgraded my skimmer and IMO algae and nutrient issues are one of the more frequent problems in reef tanks ... and that the skimmer is the best route to address that.

As a hang-on, on that size of tank ... IMO a bit tricky as most skimmers I'd suggest are in-sump models.

I hate to welcome you to the club and critique your equipment - but I would generally get a 3rd and 4th opinion in this hobby as there's a million [all correct ;)] opinions and the equipment costs so darn much. Take it very slow, ask around, and check out places online.

--
The one best thing you're doing here, which seems to me to give much higher success - is researching before buying, setting up, and stocking. You'll save money, you'll grow the patience of a tortoise, and likely have much better sucess by planning ahead. :D
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Postby BraenDead on Sat Apr 23, 2005 9:51 am

I would definately recommend going with something like the ASM if you want to keep it on the cheaper side. You would be surprised by the performance difference between the ASM compared with the skimmers you mentioned (although I have heard some good things about the TF1000, I think the berlin turbo is not so good). With a barebottom tank, it really is important to use as good a skimmer as possible.

Before deciding on a skimmer, I would recommend first deciding if you are going to have a sump or not. If you will have a sump, you will have many, many more options of skimmers than if you do not have a sump.

Bob
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Postby causeofhim on Sat Apr 23, 2005 10:59 am

I saw this in your post "20g & 38g tank (to possibly use one as a refugium)" and assumed you were going to have a sump.
I know I shouldn't assume. But, is that a correct assumption?
I did quite a bit of research on skimmers recently also. I had decided that for me the ASM (about equal to a EuroReef with a lower price tag) was the best buy for the buck. They do not use a lot of energy and are basically plug and play. If you shop around online you can get them at great deals.
I had picked up an ETSS from another reefer at a great deal so it was hard to pass up. They are great skimmers also but it takes a lot of screwing around and a really good pump to get good performance.
I know some others that use My Reef Creations and Aqua C and think they are great skimmers as well.
Just my two cents.
Matt :wink:
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Postby ReefZoo on Sat Apr 23, 2005 9:13 pm

Thanks to everyone who's given advice... I try to take everything as constructive criticism, and desire the feedback, so I can make informed descisions - that's really the reason why I posted all the details (so no need to worry about my taking anything the wrong way!). I'm certainly going to look into the ASM model mentioned....

As a clarification, I wasn't planning on doing a sump; the refugium was more for macroalgae, possbily a DSB, and a refuge for any critters I didn't want to keep in the main tank. So my options on skimmers may be a bit limited. I'm still debating this decision, but will probably hold off at first, and add it some time down the road.
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Postby causeofhim on Sat Apr 23, 2005 9:25 pm

I highly recomend a sump/fuge and have them both in one tank (easy DIY). Use one of your tanks that will fit in your stand and plan it from the beginning. I just feel you will be much happier with yourself in the longrun if you do it now because, chances are, you will want to add one in the future.
It really opens up your skimmer options, places to put other media (carbon, etc) and have much needed macros.
I'm by no means an expert so keep asking questions and take my (and others) avice with a grain of salt.
Matt
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Postby BraenDead on Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:57 am

If sticking with hang-on skimmers, you might want to look at Aqua-C Remora Pro with Mag pumps. This is likely going to be your best bet for hang ons. There are a couple others out there which may be better (MRC supposedly has hang-ons in the works, Lifereef, Deltec), but for the money I think this may be the best bet for your tank.

Bob
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Update

Postby ReefZoo on Tue May 03, 2005 3:29 pm

OK, so after some more research, I've decided to use my 38g as a refugium, and also probably get a rubbermaid container for a sump. Right now, I'm leaning towards an ASM G2 or G3, but another brand of skimmer that's been recommended to me (and claimed to be "better" than the ASM, if it's tuned correctly) is an ETSS. From what I've subequently read, the higher end models are good, but I've read mixed reviews on the Reef Devil (which would be the model in my price range). Anyone have any comments on ETSS skimmers in general, and the Reef Devil, in particular? Needle wheel vs Downdraft... anyone have strong opinions, one way or the other and care to give an explanation why? Thanks again to everyone for their responses...
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