Advice On Any Must Haves For Coral And Fish Aquarium.

Discussion in 'New To Reefing' started by Fmxchick, Apr 3, 2017.

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  1. Fmxchick

    Fmxchick Member

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    Hi all,

    As I am extremely new to this hobby I am wondering, what are the absolute must haves to coral and fish keeping and what are better brands of these items?

    Tank (400L) is up and running, cycled and has a clean up crew and a hammer coral. Things like lights, protein skimmer, wave maker, heater, chiller are already set up.

    I am after any info on Calcium Reactors, RO/DI systems, Dosing pumps, UV Sterilizer...anything that will be needed.

    Thank you in advance.
  2. MagicJ

    MagicJ Moderator

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    At this stage in your 'adventure' I would keep things simple for a while.

    With only a few corals, the mineral depletion from the water (calcium, alkalinity etc to build skeletons) will be minimal and will be readily maintained by your water changes. So, for now, I wouldn't worry about calcium reactors or dosing pumps.

    You will hear mixed results from UV's - I am of the view that the cheap, hobby type units are a 'toy' and are not worth while having. If you are prepared to spend big then they will help to minimise some disease outbreaks, but will not prevent them.

    RO/DI systems - I'm not sure what you are currently using to top up evaporation but if you are not using RO/DI water then I would suggest you invest in one of these filters.

    There are lots of things to spend your money on - not all of it will actually work as advertised :)
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  3. Fmxchick

    Fmxchick Member

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    Thank you once again @MagicJ.

    I am currently using store bought RO/DI but am looking into a system so I can make my own. I have been researching units on line but after reading about so many you get left with quite a headache, hence the request of brands or info etc with people who have them and use them.
    Every time I walk into the store to buy water I can see the $$$ signs in their eyes not to mention the advice that I will probably be needing 1 of everything they can possibly sell me! I have absolutely no hesitation on spending as long as it is something that is going to be of use to the aquarium.
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  4. Azfish

    Azfish Member

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    Head on over to psifilters for all your RODI needs. The unit themselves last a lifetime and replacement parts are cheap enough.
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  5. Wazza22

    Wazza22 Member

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    Brands and products are a matter of personal experience in a lot of cases and i'm only 16 months into reefing so i'm not going to throw any in.
    But i will add patience, research and good listening skills as "Essential" requirements for reefkeeping ;)
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  6. Fmxchick

    Fmxchick Member

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    Thank you @Azfish
    Someone was telling me about them on the weekend so I will definitely have a look now.
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  7. Fmxchick

    Fmxchick Member

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    Thank you @Wazza22

    Agree wholeheartedly which is why I ask on these threads. I have also come across a couple of great LFS over the weekend who seem to give great advice, but asking people on here that have had experience and steer you in the right direction without being too vague is great.

    As for research, I think I've watched every episode of brs on YouTube and read every night but sometimes doubt myself!
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  8. Savage Henry

    Savage Henry Member

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    Best thing you can buy is time.

    Time to gain experience.

    Second best thing is internet and research.

    Third is start out simple as MagicJ indicated above. Perhaps further is to avoid buying advanced equipment until you are further in the hobby. I've read a number of accounts of people getting into the hobby buying all the good equipment expecting a lovely pristine tank only to find their tank fails and they pull out and sell everything.

    Starting out with a marine tank is like starting out with a puppy. They go through all sorts of naughty stages and throw lots of shit at you until you learn how to deal with them. Finally they mature and are quite reliable and enjoyable to keep. I think in the end they are actually easier to keep than a freshwater tank. Mine only require water changes (plus sodium carbonate and calcium chloride), emptying the skimmer, and cleaning the glass). No vacuuming, no filter to clean, no weed to trim or replant.

    Some marine 'experts' bag out people who have converted from freshwater systems, especially those converting from African Rift tanks (probably the closest to marine tanks). I think they are wrong cause I think you learn so much from keeping freshwater and it is transferable to marines. So basically, if you are starting out in marines and have never seriously maintained an aquarium long term I'd suggest starting with the basics and learning lots of mistakes along the way. So, cheap easy to keep corals and fish and eventually you can trade them in (sell to newbies) and move up to harder to keep species. [These people who say you should only buy a fish you are prepared to keep as a furever fish? Well let's look at their tank and the fish they acquired over the years and see how many they still have and then hear their excuse as to why they had to trade that one in... pure bs]

    You can actually keep a tank running for a long time without a skimmer - just with a wave maker, heater and a light. Best lesson is to learn about the capacity of your tank with the given amount of live rock and see how your live rock copes as you add fish and corals. Later you add the skimmer and see what effects that has. Unfortunately it's not until you are more experienced until you actually learn what it really means to add one fish or coral at a time and see how the tank copes.

    If you start early using chemicals to compensate for a lack of natural nutrient removal by your tank (i.e. Live rock and water changes) you might miss out on important lessons that will help you later when you inevitably will encounter problems.

    I think a 400 litre tank is a great size to start with.

    Anyway, my two cents worth.
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  9. Ben Daley

    Ben Daley /dev/null

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    I couldn't agree more with the start slow / keep it simple philosophy.
    My 5c in terms of equipment:

    RODI - aside from the obvious benefits of cost and convenience, it will be there if you need it in an emergency. That said, it's not a bad idea to have a supply of water on hand if you ever need it.

    Auto top off (ATO) - While not strictly necessary (you could top off by hand), an ATO is fairly inexpensive and will help keep the salinity consistent improving stability, not to mention eliminating a tedious and regular maintenance task.

    Spares of essential equipment - Having a spare heater (and possibly a return pump) could save your tank in an emergency. Murphy's law dictates that if you don't have a spare, these parts will fail, and they will fail when your LFS is closed. Doesn't need to be anything fancy, just something to get you by in a pinch.

    Be aware that UV sterilisers and UV clarifiers are quite different in their capabilities.
    The clarifiers are low powered and may help with keeping the water clear by killing micro algae, but will do nothing against pathogens such as Ich. These units are much smaller and cheaper than sterilisers. I presume these are the units MagicJ is referring to as toys.
    The sterilisers have the potential to kill pathogens in the water column when properly sized for the tank and flow rate, but these units are bulky, considerably more expensive and are more common in aquaculture than aquaria. I have an Emperor Aquatics 25W steriliser for a 200L species tank and it's a monster - I have literally had to design the cabinet and sump around it.
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  10. Fmxchick

    Fmxchick Member

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    Thank you @Savage Henry

    I have been in the freshwater hobby for many years and still my 220gal Frontosa display is a highlight in my house. I'm confident with a marine tank in many ways due to having the freshwater but only to a certain degree atm. So many hours of research and everything seems to make sense but then you read something that is totally conflicting of what you had just read and BOOM self doubt starts creeping in.

    I will def keep it slow, as mentioned I have only a CUC and a Hammer coral in there atm.

    This post was just to clarify if I need any other equipment really due to the LFS bringing it to my attention that I will be needing a Calcium Reactor sooner rather than later.
  11. Fmxchick

    Fmxchick Member

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    Thank you @Ben Daley

    Checked off the RODI system on the list this morning. Went the PSI 4 stage unit.
    I have a little 10 Litre ATO set up atm which is ok, I had no room in the cabinet for anything bigger and I always have a spare heater around due to the freshwater display in the house.

    Def heading everyone's advice. Sometimes I think I worry too much and complicate things that shouldn't be so complicated!
  12. MagicJ

    MagicJ Moderator

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    As mentioned by @Azfish, PSI Filters have a very good name in the hobby, and I would highly recommend them - I have been using one of their filters for 8+ years.

    You might want to have a look at this page - http://thereefuge.com/threads/special-offer-from-psi-water-filters-ro-di-water-filters.322/ ;)

    The link to the discount Forum's page looks to have changed - you can now find it here - https://www.psifilters.com.au/content/14-masa

    Quite a few members use the last system on that page - PSI-020B-DI-LW.
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  13. Fmxchick

    Fmxchick Member

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    :eek jumped the gun and got the PSI-020B-DI-GM and no discount! I'll be sure to save this for future orders!
  14. MagicJ

    MagicJ Moderator

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    You won't be disappointed with that unit - similar to the unit I mentioned but with some added gauges and different membrane.
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  15. Sam Parker

    Sam Parker Moderator

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    Any further details on your system? Sounds like you are off to a good start and as others have mentioned, the best thing you can do is give everything time. But, is worth showing us where you are at in case there are any obvious things we could suggest to make your life easy :)

    Welcome and enjoy :D
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  16. Fmxchick

    Fmxchick Member

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    Thank you @Sam Parker

    Tank details are as follow:

    Tank: 400 L
    Lights: Zetlight Pro
    Skimmer: Aquaexcell Cone Skimmer
    Wavemakers: Sicce Voyager x 2 plus controller
    Sicce Syncra HF Pump
    Eheime Heater
    TK 500 Chiller

    Live Rock
    Live Sand

    1 x Hammer Coral
    1 x CBS
    5 x killer Nassarius snails:eek
    10 ( now 9 as the Nassarius absloutley annialated 1 ) Trochus snails
    5 x Turbo snails
    1 x Sea Urchin

    So far all has been running smooth apart from an onset of some GHA in the last week. Keeping up with WC so hopefully this doesn't spread!
  17. Sam Parker

    Sam Parker Moderator

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    Sounds great. Have you considered starting a tank journal on this site for it? They are a very handy tool to allow others to follow your progress and more importantly, for you to be able to go back and look at how things were 3/6/12/24/60 months ago. You'd be surprised at how much things change.

    Let your tank cycle for as long as you can, take your time adding fish and try to research your fish list as best as you can. Impulse fish purchases usually end in disaster :)
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  18. Fmxchick

    Fmxchick Member

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    Thank you @Sam Parker

    I think I just might start a journal. I have been writing everything down in a diary: test results, purchases, problems etc but with no photos so your idea may just be an even better idea. Tank looks unsightly atm ( I'm use to pristine water in my freshwater display tank and am unsure if this is what the marine tank should look like at this stage or if I'm doing something wrong!)
  19. Sam Parker

    Sam Parker Moderator

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    all the more reason to share up here. I understand it can be daunting, but rest assure that we are a friendly bunch here and will not attack you - merely offer friendly advice where we think it might help :)
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