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Hey all ! I Have freshwater 55 now starting a 40 gal breeder saltwater. What is best to do for the tank I'm putting it in the middle of a room for a 360 view. What should I do someone said reef tank with corals is less amount of work in long run. Also what equipment do I need I will have tank drilled so nothing is showing over edge. Any advice would help a lot so please let me know your ideas thank you!
 

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if the tank is glass and not already cut with holes in the bottom pane you are not going to be able to do a center overflow. Thats because the bottom pane is almost always tempered. if you want a center overflow you will have to have a tank ordered if you want it glass or go with acrylic. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Assuming you want to run a sump to hide equipment

As for bare minimum of things you'll need to get the tank cycling:

1) return pump (jerbao dc6000)
2) powerhead (at least 1 jebao wp10)
3) heater (aqueon pro)
4) live substrate
  • can be one bag to culture dry stuff to save costs
5) Rock
  • can do base but spend the money and get at least 1 small chuck of good cultured live rock to seed the base rock also to save costs
6)RO/DI water or distilled water
  • The single most important thing you need. You HAVE to start with ultra pure water there is no way around this. Distilled water in the long run will cost substantially more in the long run. Look below for more details on this.
7) Salt mix
  • Get the 5 gallon bucket or 200g box of instant ocean. When you break it down to the price and how much water it mixes, its the best you can get for the price and will be happy that you got the bucket or box.
8) Refractometer
  • Self explanatory you need to be able to accurately measure your salinity/Specific gravity. The needle float ones are junk and inaccurate. Go on eBay and get a nice used one and be sure to get some calibration fluid.
9) DIY sump tank with a 20g or 30g long glass tank

*Note the equipment #1-3 I listed above for the money will compete with the top brand name companies at a fraction of the cost. I along with many other members run the above equipment.

Once you get the tank cycled you can start spending some good chunks money *r2
1)RO/DI system
  • Again an absolute necessity! Purchase a RO/DI system from BulkReefSupply if you can't go to the LFS and purchase RO/DI water for cheap. A RO/DI system will pay itself off in a very short time compared to buying distilled water.
2) Automatic Top Off (ATO)
  • Trust me when I say, this is the solution to the biggest headache you'll have starting off! Topping off evaporated water by hand every day gets old really fast. An ATO will also add the benefit of not getting large salinity swings and keep things STABLE. STABLE (i.e. no large swings) water parameters is the most important thing once the tank is up and running.
3) Protein skimmer
  • depending on livestock regular husbandry schedule this may or may not be needed. From personal experience with cheap skimmers this is the one thing you should fork over the cash for and run a good skimmer. Since you'll be running a sump I would get an in sump skimmer and for the money you can't go wrong with Reef Octopus.
4) Lighting (ill try to break it down the shortest I can)
  • You have T5 bulbs, Metal Halides and LED fixtures. All have pro's/con's
This all depends on what you want to do with the tank
  • FOWLR (fish only with live rock) will be the cheapest route, all you need is a light bright enough to your liking to light up the entire tank. T5 bulb fixture or Cheap LED fixture will do plenty
  • Reef tank is going to be your most expensive route but in my opinion is the best eye catcher and worth the money when you get to sit back at the end of the day and enjoy what you have "created" for a lack of better terms. Again your lighting can vary depending what corals you want to keep. Although there are exceptions to my next statement to be short listing from lowest to highest light demanding corals (this correlates to the pricing of your lighting). They go as follows soft corals, LPS corals and SPS corals. You need to figure out what you want to keep in the tank before I can be more help with lighting haha. I just did hours of research on lighting a month ago for my 75g SPS dominant reef tank, so should be able to at the least point you in the right direction.

This is a break down of all the things you'll need to get the tank running successfully. There are many other things you can get but until your tank is mature aren't needed so I left them out for length's sake. Hope this answers your question and helped you!

If you have any questions at all about anything feel free to ask and ill be glad to answer the best I can.
 

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A bare bone water-running 200g reef tank can easily cost you >$10K without a fish and coral. But if you are handy and enjoy DIY, have good tool set and a sizable garage as your work shop then you can cut it down to <$5K, but with quite a few good projects to do in your spare time. Further, if you start with 125g then it's possible to finish it with a budget of ~$2K.
 

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10k??? Are you kidding me??!! I run a 240g tank,from the ground up, and cost me nowhere near that number. No way man!!
Go big or go home, but jeez 10k ROFL, no way!! Not even in the same ball park.
 

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This is my original tally, I did not make this up.


180gal Tank with stand ($1800)
LED Lighting ($1600)
Sump ($250)
Skimmer ($700)
Power heads (x3, $150)
Pumps(x3, display, frag, reactors, $500)
Power controller ($800)
Wet-dry filter ($300)
Reactors (Calcium, GAC, PhosLok, $400)
Doser ($120)
ATO ($250)
Heater-chiller ($800)
UV sterilizer ($200)
Refugium ($200)
RO ($200)
Test kits, pH/ORP ($1000)
Salt, additives ($150)
Substrates, LR ($1000)

Total: $10420!!!! (No life stock yet)
 

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Of course, some are top of line products, which if you DIY you save a bundle and get to your exact specification as well. Cost savings can be in ~55%.
 

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i need another tank.
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and you just named all of the reasons why i am not doing a sw tank:) hehe
 

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Nope. It's harder to start with small than large tank. RM is good at sourcing most you need for good prices, just follow his link above. A hobbyist can be a turn-key (if you have a deep pocket), or DIY, or somewhere in between. In my early days I did most DIY because I had limited budget on fish and photography and I had to pick and choose. Skimmer (which I posted a few weeks before), wet-dry filter, reactors, stand, refugium, dosers, controllers, LED are items for fun DIYs. I did go extreme on home-made reef mix for 4 years because I did not have resources to check specificatios each one on the market and it's much easier to formulate myself to exact specs. I also made my own UV sterilizer, because tired of changing expensive UV bulbs.
With a DIY spirit you can cut easily 50% from a turn-key system.
 

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Thanks for getting specifics! Should of done that in my post instead of just listing things needed in a broad aspect.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
well set up my spare 5 gal for a baby clown fish. Have some live rock and coral now. Will move him to the 40 gal once the stand is done and tank goes up
 

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Thanks for getting specifics! Should of done that in my post instead of just listing things needed in a broad aspect.
Beautiful and straight to the point. Thank you for stopping tank confusion and also not being afraid of suggesting an non-sump setup :). I have seen many HOB setups work just fine at that size.
 
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