New tank setup, looking for hardware suggestions.

Discussion in 'Equipment: Setup and Discussion' started by Stpaulhawk, May 11, 2018.

  1. Stpaulhawk

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    I've purchased a C-vue 40 aquarium and have been collecting parts. My plans aren't crazy as I am a 'low maintenance' sort of person and I want to make it resilient and self sufficient. I've never kept a saltwater tank.

    My last tank was very successful for 2.5 years before I took it down, and it truly needed almost no maintenance - which I'd like to come as close as I can to that experience. I had a 70 gallon tank with 10 cryptochromis leptsoma cichlids and enough neolamprologus multifacia to have 3 separate breeding groups within the tank. No alge, no water changes, no deaths. It really was a wonderful thing and I miss it a bit. Those little multis can dig like you wouldn't believe. Prior to that I kept a demasoni colony for a few years, but the occasional aggression deaths really turned me off. Fish are friends, y'know?

    I currently have or have on order the tank, a small skimmer, a heater, and a couple AI prime lights. I have about $550 budget left for non-livestock bits. Things I have interest in are a RO/DI unit, a control system/remote monitoring, a wavemaker style pump, some sort of alge reactor, an auto feeder, and an ATO system. I also need probably $100 worth of rock and sand. Tank will run with a glass top to reduce evaporation.

    How would you prioritize? I'm not planning to heavily stock the tank - I only really want a shrimp goby + shrimp, flame hawkfish, midas blenny / lawnmower blenny, and one fish that will swim around (flamefish?). 2 maybe 3 coral total (GSP, torch). I could reduce that if it would further the low maintenance goal.

    Any thoughts appreciated, including calling my plan dumb. I want to have a good course of action from the get-go.
     
  2. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    First off, welcome to the club!

    Addressing your equipment budget, I would place the RO/DI unit at the top of the list, for sure. A successful tank starts with good water and good water needs to be RO/DI water.
    There's two items that I would place second on the priority list; a controller for the heater and the ATO system. Most heaters that have an internal thermostat to control the heater is bound to fail and cause issues with your tank. If you have a heater that has a remote sensor for monitoring the temperature of the water and turning the heater on/off, you'll be fine. Topping off a tank from evaporation doesn't seem like a major chore but once you have a system that does it automatically for you, you wonder why you didn't do it earlier.
    The rest of those items that you listed have more benefits for you as the reef keeper; not necessarily the inhabitants for the tank. Those items are great to have on your system, but they would be purchases made after the RO/DI unit, the heater controller and the ATO system.

    Addressing your stocking list, I like it. I'm a huge fan of the shrimp goby/pistol shrimp relationship in a reef tank and the Ecsenius spp. blennies. I haven't ever tried keeping a Flame Hawkfish in the same system as a pistol shrimp, but I would imagine the shrimp would be safe with the goby watching out for the hawkfish.
    For corals, GSP are about as low-maintenance as you can get. If they become established, they will overrun your tank. There are other encrusting soft corals that are quite easy to keep; i.e. zoanthids. They come is a wide array of colors and sizes. Many of the other soft corals do well in systems that are quite new and can tolerate your learning curve; i.e. leather corals, nephthea, xenia, cespitularia and the various mushrooms.

    Good luck!!!
     
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  3. Reefking

    Reefking Senior Member
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    ED72566D-AD9D-454B-82C2-B656FAD41831.jpeg If you can hold out until next swap, then I have got you covered with gsp. I need a lawnmower to get rid of it.. My back corner of the tank is full of it
     
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  4. OP
    Stpaulhawk

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    Thank you for taking the time to respond! I appreciate your line of reasoning - prioritize first for the inhabitants.

    RODI filter and chloramine is pretty confusing. Read for like 30 minutes on it and I'm still confused - you just have to replace carbon more frequently? Or use special carbon? This article seems the best source - http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-11/rhf/feature/index.php but I wish I was able to find a 2nd source that wasn't a store interested in selling me something. I'm still a bit amazed that using dechlor drops before worked for me. I will purchase the RODI.

    Considering budget, what sort of controller would be best? The prices vary dramatically. Is that something that buying used is bad because the old ones aren't as good?
     
  5. Nickz

    Nickz Senior Member
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    I wouldn't say used controller is bad, my oldest one in use was bought in 2012 and still works fine. I prefer the apex for the internet use but with a tight budget the reefkeeper will work you just don't get the nice web interface or some of the other add-ons. I had a reefkeeper and it did its job just fine, I kept it until I was able to afford the apex I wanted.

    On a side note my first controller was an apex so the reefkeeper was a little disappointing as a second tank setup.
     
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  6. RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    First, have you confirmed if your water uses chloramines?

    *edit* just saw on st Paul's site that they do use chloramine.
     
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  7. RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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  8. OP
    Stpaulhawk

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    As you mentioned, SPRWS uses chloramines. I purchased the special chloramines block from BRS with the RODI yesterday. Should last me a damn long time and for $16 I'll just take the peace of mind and be done with it. As things lie right now I'm just going to put faith in BRS research being legitimate.
     

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