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Sehr

Soon to be Reefer in Albany

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Hi All,

My name is Sehr and my family and I are looking to get into reefing here in the Albany/Corvallis areal. My wife and I have two kids, 1yr old daughter (birthday this weekend), and a 5.5yr old son. My daughter is completely enamored with animals of any kind. I am an IT Manager with a very analytical/logical mind, and my head is just spinning with the lack of consistent information in this side of the hobby, it just doesn't compute. I'm understand there is a bit more of an art, rather than a science. That's where I truly hope this community can help me, I am no artist, and with a lack of consistent facts I hope to meet some SME's I can rely on for assistance to help me along this path.

Not a new aquarist, have maintained freshwater and planted fw for about the last decade. My wife and I have been considering going SW for the last few years dipping into research, planning and pricing for the last 5 or so, ultimately time, money, or frustration steered us away in the past.

I have been researching and planning for about the last 3 weeks, and the only thing I have purchased was a 36gal bowfront I promptly returned after talking to a few lfs and random hobbyist. My wife is getting frustrated with the lack of progress. Going to start an additional thread on the build.

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Welcome! It's true that a lot of this hobby is an art, and trial and error is a regular occurrence. But there is good information out there on many topics, so you won't have to take every shot in the dark. There are some very knowledgeable reefers in your area - @badxgillen and @Lexinverts immediately come to mind.

Did you return the 36g with the thought of going larger? 

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Bulk Reef supply has an entire series of videos on setting up a reef tank. I just recently started as well and found their videos on You Tube to be immensely helpful. 

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@Flashy Fins Yhanks for the Welcome! Certainly a lot of info out there, just have seen and heard a lot of contradictions is all. What seems to work for one, the next guy may not be able to do. Was talking to the guys at Premium Aquarium in Salem, was the only folks in the store and had 3 guys helping us, tell us some examples of one thing working for A and the opposite for B, I think it was meant to be encouraging, you figure it out as you go, but being a scientific guy just made my head reel a bit.

@Kingfisher I've seen those! They are extremely helpful. I think I got through the first 18 of the series, and watched a few more than once!

 

 

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I know Ron is in Albany too. If you are in the market for some used gear talk to him. He has a lot of stuff.

 

From years of experience go with an internal overflow tank with a sump in the stand and get an Auto top off. You won't regret not having to deal with over the top siphon systems. 

 

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Welcome to the club! This is a wonderful place to gather information. I totally understand how this hobby can be frustrating based on the info. It's so opinion based and that can drive us nuts. With that being said I have learned that simple is always better :) I'm in the Salem and corvallis area (OSU student until june) so I look forward to watching your tank grow!


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40 minutes ago, Kingfisher said:

Bulk Reef supply has an entire series of videos on setting up a reef tank. I just recently started as well and found their videos on You Tube to be immensely helpful. 

I would second this video series as a good starting point/refresher for covering some of the most salient points of setting up a tank from scratch.  As you eluded to, there are many ways to achieve "success", which is why you can find a lot of contradictory info, but you can still find some solid principals in the mix. The most consistent advice I have seen, which matches my experience, is to shoot for stability in your parameters and take whatever path to best achieve that.  There are certainly some choices to be made that will influence things such as lighting and flow (are you keeping coral? If so what kind) but, regardless, stability is a common goal for any setup.

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Was going to start a new thread to talk setup questions, but this seems to be the more appropriate place, and some of you are already eluding to some of the things I was wanting to clarify =) (Mods, if this is the right place feel free to move it for me)

First off I guess my approach: I would like to step into this hobby slowly without going overboard and spending $8k on a 500g show tank with 240g sump, if that's your style more power to ya though! While I still see that as a likely outcome of this adventure for myself. I also want to make sure I don't bite off more than I can chew, ramping up too quickly, having my parameters go crazy, or making this feel like a job instead of a hobby. I plan to go somewhat slowly and step into the hobby making sure I truly enjoy it before I drop all the $$. At the same time, I know with this hobby buying low end equipment will hurt later and likely have to upgrade it, and while some of that is unavoidable, I'd like to smartly make that decision where I can. I am not afraid of DIY and actually enjoy it, but time is $$ so unless i truly want custom, or the experience, I will likely choose the cheaper route of those available.

Used Equipment / Complete Setup's - I have looked through classified of folks getting out of the hobby, selling some equipment, or complete setups. Many of these were asking a premium due to be stable, and many others look like they have problems, bad equipment, or wrong equipment choices. Now, I am not afraid of used equipment, if it is a smart choice and folks have the stuff I am looking for, but I don't know what it is I'm truly looking for yet =)

Stock Plans - Nothing extremely specific, certainly want some fish, corals, and inverts. I know I want some form of Goby, Star's, crabs, anemone, maybe an urchin? I will likely do a FOWLR in the future in order to get all my favorite fish as they all aren't reef safe, Emperor Angel, Puffers, Angels, Harlequin Tusk, Tangs, etc. I'll likely sell my 75g lightly planted FW in the future to free up space for a larger reef or the FOWLR at a later time.

Tank - As stated before I originally grabbed a 36g bowfront, this was due to the wall space restriction of where it's going. Talking with some friends, random hobbyists, and the guys at Premium Aquarium I decided to return it due to the distortion of a bowfront, and the use of space. I am currently planning on obtaining a 40g breeder, this hits the maximum of my wall space available and came highly recommended for a starting reefer due to the low height and greater footprint. I am not stuck to this idea, but is what I am planning on otherwise. Previously considered a 50g or 65g tall due to sales on the LFS, but was advised weren't the greatest layout. (I am aware that the larger the volume of water the more fault tolerance, but don't want to necessarily pay for that difference in lighting either for the taller tanks)

Overflow/Sump - I was originally planning on doing this at a later time and doing a DIY PVC overflow & weir. ATM I'm not sure what I want to do. I'm worried about trying to add the sump later and actually getting it under the tank. (Plan on building my own sump). Part of it is I just missed the darn $1 a Gallon sale, and I have a rough time paying 2x the cost for the 40b or 20l for the tank & sump. I am not afraid to drill the overflow's myself, but my wife isn't to keen on the idea, but I have a rough time paying $125 for a LFS to drill a single hole! If someone has a used tank with overflow's laying around I'd be happy to buy it, or a sump or appropriate sized tank to build one.

I have considered an all-in-one to start and solve both problems, I love the idea of the simplicity, but not a fan of the cost and lack of options for future modifications, and the lower volume of water they usually have.

Thanks for the welcome's already, the feedback already and those to come!

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if you ever wonder who to belive when conflicting advice is given on a forum, I find its quite helpful and revealing to look at their profile and see some pictures of their tank....

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40b with a 20l sump is an awesome setup. I've drilled a bunch of tanks, and I live in Albany. Hit me up if you need a hand drilling yours or if you are looking for anything for your tank. Welcome to PNWMAS, it's a great club with great people.

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ya know.. if you want to go the 40 gallon breeder route.. which personally I think is a little shallow but whatever.  petco will likely be having there $1 per gallon sale soon.   I picked up three 40g breeders and two 75 gallons for $270. 

 

 

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18 hours ago, Sehr said:

Hi All,

My name is Sehr and my family and I are looking to get into reefing here in the Albany/Corvallis areal. My wife and I have two kids, 1yr old daughter (birthday this weekend), and a 5.5yr old son. My daughter is completely enamored with animals of any kind. I am an IT Manager with a very analytical/logical mind, and my head is just spinning with the lack of consistent information in this side of the hobby, it just doesn't compute. I'm understand there is a bit more of an art, rather than a science. That's where I truly hope this community can help me, I am no artist, and with a lack of consistent facts I hope to meet some SME's I can rely on for assistance to help me along this path.

Not a new aquarist, have maintained freshwater and planted fw for about the last decade. My wife and I have been considering going SW for the last few years dipping into research, planning and pricing for the last 5 or so, ultimately time, money, or frustration steered us away in the past.

I have been researching and planning for about the last 3 weeks, and the only thing I have purchased was a 36gal bowfront I promptly returned after talking to a few lfs and random hobbyist. My wife is getting frustrated with the lack of progress. Going to start an additional thread on the build.

Welcome.

Having an analytical mind will help you in this hobby. The reason that some reefers discourage following hard and fast "rules" is because there are so many factors to consider from tank to tank that it can be difficult to predict with certainty what you will observe in your own tank. What you need to do is pay close attention to what happens in your system and base your tank maintenance on your own careful observations.

With that said, there are some good guidelines to go by. Keep your Alkalinity at 8-ish, Calcium at 450-ish, and Magnesium around 1300. Make sure that your nitrates are not higher than 20 ppm and phosphates are not higher than 1 ppm, but at the same time make sure that you have some nitrate and phosphate. 0 nutrients levels will starve your corals.

A 40 breeder system is a good one to start with. You can often find drilled 40 breeders for sale in the classifieds here on the forum. I have a 40b system with a sump that I use for frags and it works great for me.

If you do decide to start without a sump, I have a Hydor Slim Skim skimmer that works in the display tank that I am trying to get rid of.

Good luck!

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Lex here lists some solid parameter basics, and never forget consistency and stability stand for alot in the reef tank so try to measure things before doing any big changes to the system.OH, and Is the tank in Albany or Corvallis? I might be able to give you a hand or some advice once you get chugging along. When things are in the clear parameter wise I can throw you a couple of starter corals as tank warming gifts, just keep us posted yeah.

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@xmas_one Appreciate the offer! I may take you up on that!

What are folks doing for overflow's these days? Internal, or External? DIY or Aftermarket?

Anyone have experience with the DIY PVC overflow?

@pdxmonkeyboy They just had there $1 a gallon sale in Feb it seems, so I missed it, and was quite bummed.

@Lexinverts Thanks for the numbers Lex, I wrote them down for future use! I did post in the classifieds and have been keeping my eye on craigslist for the last couple weeks. Will like just pick up a new one if I luck out, but they are $90 today. I also posted a wanted up in the PNWMAS classifieds.

@badxgillen Greatly appreciate the offer of corals, I love the community you all have going here! I'm in between Tangent and Albany.

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65 is one of my favorite tanks.. Great height and deep enough to do some nice aquaplaning. 

I've done a few 65 and 55 tanks with just a 10g tank as a sump with a tub refuge added on like this.

No need to dump a lot of $$ into a sump you plant to replace anyway.

 

IMGP8604.jpg

 

The kind of soup can you choose is completely up to you but the kids did want the spaghetti ohs back shortly after this was taken.

 

Edited by sschering
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