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Hello! New (soon to be hopefully) Reefer

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Hi All, 

 
Im new to Marine/reef Aquariums but i am looking to get started and i am hoping to get some advice from you guys. Im out in the Gorge by Bonneville Dam, so im a bit outside of portland :) 
 
I posted this on Reefcentral as well. 
 
I already have a 40g Breeder for a display tank and a 20L for a sump and i built a stand for both.  The list below is what i am looking at purchasing and i have a budget of about 2000 to get going, but i am looking at getting the vast majority within the 2k and then adding in smaller items later if needed. Livestock not included for now, i want to focus on getting the setup right and running and then later ill add in fish and Cuc and corals later as finances recover :)
 
I would like to eventually have a reef tank with fish and corals and i would like the option of having soft or Lps/SPS corals in the future. 
 
Equipment
1. Lighting - Hydra 52 - 600$ 
2. Powerheads - (2) Jebao SW-8 120$
3. Return Pump - Syncra Silent 3.0 714gph - Sicce  100$ 
4. Heater - Eheim Jager 150w - 28$
5. Skimmer - Eshopps Axium X-120 - 210$
6. Refractometer - BRS 36$
7. Controller - Reefkeeper Lite PLus - 279$
8. salt - red sea coral pro salt 175gal - 66$ 
9. Dry Rock - Pukani 30lbs? - 102$
10. Sand - Fiji Pink Arag-Alive Live reef Sand, 60lbs - 105$ 
11. RODI System - BRS 75gpd - 170$ 
12. Test Kits, Red Sea marine Care and REd Sea Reef Foundation Pro - 90$ 
13. Overflow Kit - Synergy 16" Overflow Kit and Hole Saw 190$ 
14. Extra power head for mixing water/curing rock - Jebao - 45$ 
 
Total - 2141$ 
 
So im already overbudget and i know there are more items i will need that arent listed, Pvc pipe for plumbing into the sump etc. I probably need a light for the sump as well if im going to make it a refugium and grow algae or put some live rock in it as well right? 
 
The biggest ticket item is the lighting and im really not sure on it, is the Hydra 52 enough? Is there a cheaper option that will work just as well/better? 
 
Am i missing anything critical?  Any and all advice would be appreciated.
 
Thanks in advance!
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Welcome to the forum! One way you can save money is looking around in the classifieds and buying used. It can save you a ton! Reefers are hoarders by nature and we all have a pile of equipment we aren't using but "saving " because we may need it.

 

Sometimes posting up a want to buy post will help. There are some things even if you buy them used that have good customer support like vortechs.

 

Welcome to the forum and the hobby!

 

Ps, thanks for reminding me how expensive this hobby is !????

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I'm new also, but I'm pretty happy with my 2 viparspectra LEDs over my 120 gallon.  I was worried they wouldn't be powerful enough because they're cheap, but I've actually found they give too much light for my RBTA when turned up, even through glass covers.  I think they were $129 each, and they're supposed to cover a 24" spread, so one might not be enough to totally cover your 40b but 2 might be overkill.  

 

I've also been just fine without a controller to this point.  I can't deny I've been thinking about getting one though!  

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Welcome!

 

I think you've got a nice list but can def save some cash buying used or similar equipment:

 

Lights - used hydra 52 is probably around $400, maybe a little less if you look around a bit (I see them a lot on R2R). Also, I've seen several 40B setups with a single OceanRevive Artic. Forget their price but it's under $200

 

Return pump - try a Jebao DCT4000, they are $63 with Prime on Amazon

 

Used RKL setup should run you around $150

 

Rock - many people have cured LR (myself included) that can be had for less than the dry. Something to consider.

 

Just those changes will get you back under the $2k range

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As others have mentioned, you can definitely save some money on lighting.  That is a great light you chose, but it's one of those things you can definitely upgrade later.  Also, a single one may not be enough for complete coverage.  Have you considered a T5 fixture?  Depending on your timeline, I have 2 Ocean Revive 247s that I will probably be looking to offload in a few weeks.

 

Also, a controller is certainly not a necessity initially, and easy to add later.  

 

The last thing I will say is that no matter how you plan, you are almost certain to blow through your budget and still need things (or maybe "need" things), so plan for that, or perhaps extend your timeline for getting things up and going.

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And don't forget to budget for plumbing...I always think to myself "that's cheap, won't cost that much". Which is then followed by 4 trips to HD and $100 later LOL

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Thanks for all the advice. 

 

I am definitely aware that it will end up quite a bit past the 2k budget. My goal is to get all the expensive framework out of the way so i can add in less expensive things later without having to put out a bunch of money at once. :) 

 

Reefbilly thanks for the suggestion on the pump and rock, it sounds like good advice, i dont need rock until a little later anyways so that might be the way to go. 

 

Leaning towards the Reef Breeders Photon V2 24" for now, found a couple threads where people say it works fine and its on sale for 350ish right now so that helps out the budget but i think is still a good light.  

 

Plumbing looks like a pain, i dont suppose anyone has a link to a good step by step process for plumbing the overflow to the sump? 

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Thanks for all the advice.

 

I am definitely aware that it will end up quite a bit past the 2k budget. My goal is to get all the expensive framework out of the way so i can add in less expensive things later without having to put out a bunch of money at once. :)

 

Reefbilly thanks for the suggestion on the pump and rock, it sounds like good advice, i dont need rock until a little later anyways so that might be the way to go.

 

Leaning towards the Reef Breeders Photon V2 24" for now, found a couple threads where people say it works fine and its on sale for 350ish right now so that helps out the budget but i think is still a good light.

 

Plumbing looks like a pain, i dont suppose anyone has a link to a good step by step process for plumbing the overflow to the sump?

Something I wish I had put on my plumbing was a gate valve to control water from the overflow into the sump. To allow for fine tuning. Ball valves I can mess with 100 times back and forth and still not hit the spot I want.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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So ive pulled the trigger on most of it, interesting to see how the list has changed and grown :P.  Budget seems to have flown right by. 

 

I still need to get pluming stuff, and some live rock i think locally from here or like Cuttlefish possibly. Plan to mix the 20lbs of dry i got with perhaps another 20lbs of live.

 

Equipment

1. Lighting - Photon V2 24" - 349.99 

2. Powerheads - (2) Jebao SW-8 120$

3. Return Pump - Syncra Silent 3.0 714gph - Sicce  99$ 

4. Heater - Eheim Jager 150w - 28$

5. Skimmer - Aquamax COneS C0-1 

6. Refractometer - BRS 36$

7. Controller - Reefkeeper Lite PLus - 279$

8. salt - red sea coral pro salt 175gal - 66$ 

9. Dry Rock - Pukani 20lbs? - 75$ (will add in some live rock from local sources) 

10. Sand - Special Grade Arag-Alive! Reef Sand - CaribSea  30lbs - 45$ 

11. RODI System - BRS 75gpd - 170$ 

12. Test Kits, Red Sea marine Care and REd Sea Reef Foundation Pro - 100$ 

13. Overflow Kit - Synergy 16" Overflow Kit and Hole Saw 170$ 

14. Extra power head for mixing water/curing rock - 28$

15. Python for water changes - 39.99

16. Carbon for a media bag - BRS R0X.08 - 19.99 

17. Media Bag - x2 - 12$ 

18. Marine Pure Block for sump - 34$ 

19. Backup heater for mixing water - 25$ 

20. Mag cleaner - Flipper - 39.99 

21. Brute Trashcan - 40gal - 40$ 

22. Silicone - 13.50 

23. Hanna Phosphate checker - 47.00 

 

 

Total - 2,131$  

 

I think i might start a new tank thread in the other forum i once i start putting it all together.  My next goals are to drill and plumb the tank and overflow/sump, paint the back of the tank and leak test the system and then get it all installed in my house. Also to get the dry rock curing in the brute can and check for phosphates and see if i need to take additional steps with like an acid bath or something first. 

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You could probably save a little, at least up front, by not buying that python, and using a cheaper phosphate test kit.  

 

I think the big win with the python is that you can fill from the same system, which you won't want to do.  If you are going to be anywhere close to a drain, it's not too expensive to drain straight into it with a siphon.

 

I also personally didn't notice really any difference with the live sand.  Tank still cycled in the normal amount of time...

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You could probably save a little, at least up front, by not buying that python, and using a cheaper phosphate test kit.  

 

I think the big win with the python is that you can fill from the same system, which you won't want to do.  If you are going to be anywhere close to a drain, it's not too expensive to drain straight into it with a siphon.

 

I also personally didn't notice really any difference with the live sand.  Tank still cycled in the normal amount of time...

 

Ah, perhaps so. Its hard to know with the live sand, i found posts on forums saying either way, and in the end i just decided it wasnt that much  more so i would just go with it. 

 

with the python it seemed like a good idea because it will reach a sink from where i plan on putting the tank which i think would allow me to siphon right to it, but yea, only for draining, not filling.

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Ah, perhaps so. Its hard to know with the live sand, i found posts on forums saying either way, and in the end i just decided it wasnt that much  more so i would just go with it. 

 

with the python it seemed like a good idea because it will reach a sink from where i plan on putting the tank which i think would allow me to siphon right to it, but yea, only for draining, not filling.

 

 

The thing about the python is that it is a little expensive, and I know you're on a budget :).

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Hey, wanted to do a brief update,. I have everything up and running now.

 

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Everything seems good right now, added a few clean up crew hermits and snails. Planning on giving it another week or 2 and then I might add some clownfish.

 

Sent from my SM-G928V using Tapatalk

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A few more pictures. Ignore that little torch, I totally did not impulse buy that from cuttlefish yesterday.

 

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This last picture I am wondering if anyone can ID. It was a hitchhiker on the live rock I got from someone here. It's pinkish orange and spongy and hasn't moved or changed since I've had it.

 

2f8b173a539602e4219d8c36b70777bc.jpg

 

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Looks sharp!  Love the under sump storage, do not see that often.  

 

You will have to report back on the lights over time, I love the diodes they use and have been so tempted to try them.

 

Hey, that sump looks pretty full, was the return pump off?  

 

A good test you want to pass is the 'power off' test.

 

Basically just kill your power and make sure the sump does not overflow.  If it does, siphon out some water and keep adjusting. 

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Looks sharp! Love the under sump storage, do not see that often.

 

You will have to report back on the lights over time, I love the diodes they use and have been so tempted to try them.

 

Hey, that sump looks pretty full, was the return pump off?

 

A good test you want to pass is the 'power off' test.

 

Basically just kill your power and make sure the sump does not overflow. If it does, siphon out some water and keep adjusting.

I have tested it by turning off the power, it is pretty full but doesn't quite overflow. I also have the return pump on a battery backup so hopefully for most power outages it won't be an issue

 

Sent from my SM-G928V using Tapatalk

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Nice looking setup, I'm also have a 40b with the reef breeders photon v2. Nice to see another gorge reefer

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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4 hours ago, CuttleFishandCoral said:

Great looking tank so far. You picked out a amazing pair of clowns. 

Thanks! You guys had a nice group to choose from. I almost grabbed the Midnight one instead. If i could have 3 in one tank i probably would have :). 

Really liked that Aussie gold Torch you had too, almost walked out with it but my wallet said nooooo. :nooo:

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