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Silvas

Hello from Salem

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Hi there!  

I've been interested in reef tanks for somewhere around 15 years now, ever since I stumbled across some beautiful pics on the garf website way back when.  Never seemed to have the money or time to pursue it though, until recently.  I was gifted a 55 gallon tank and stand by a friend moving out of state.  After getting it in the house, I decided the stand was too narrow of depth for the height for my comfort (I have 3yo and 5yo grandchildren living in the house right now)...  But the bug was set.  I own my house and I have a reasonable income and free time now, it's time to pursue this hobby.

I spent days researching on youtube, forums, etc. learning about setting up a tank, running it, maintaining it, etc.  lots of good videos by BRStv and Aaron's Aquarium... and started putting together a list of equipment I'd want to start out with... lights, filter, RODI filter, wave maker(s), etc etc and also started looking for a more appropriate tank.  I mean maybe the 55 with the 14 inch deep stand that sits 58 inches high with the tank would be fine, the weight might be enough that the little ones couldn't tip it over, but I'm paranoid and I'd have a neverending anxiety attack over it.

I really didn't want to go much higher than the 55 gallon at first, but I ended up with a 90 gallon.  It was a local post on craigslist, the tank, stand, canopy, sump, RODI filter, protein skimmer, and a ton of miscellaneous stuff I'm not sure what all of it is lol.  Plus what felt like about 200 pounds of rock that he said was live rock.  It looks like there's several pumps.  The stand and canopy both need some love, and all of the gear is pretty grungy and needs a good cleaning, but I only paid $160 for it all, and now I've got a ton of work to do.  The protein skimmer, I honestly don't know if it's all there or not, he said something about a lid being in one of the totes but I haven't found it.  There's no markings anywhere on this thing, so I don't even know where to start on that.  The biggest reason I even bought this was because I figured the RODI filter alone was going to run me about $160 anyways, so everything else was just icing on the cake.  I worry that 90 gallons may be a bit too much tank for a beginner though.

My plan was to start cleaning things (I know not to use chemicals) and identifying all the miscellaneous equipment, get the sump and plumbing and pump hooked up and leak test everything, then slowly start getting the tank aquascaped and running, test the water conditions, add a fish or 2, make sure everything is stable for awhile, then dip my toes into a coral or 2, again make sure everything is staying stable before introducing anything more.  

 

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Welcome to the club!  I don't think 90 gallons is too much to start out with, and that's the size of my tank that I set up two years ago for my very first aquarium.  Sounds like you got a great deal even if the gear needs a bit of work.  Just take it slow, do your research before adding any livestock, and be very patient as nothing good in this hobby ever happens fast, but bad things can.

In case you're not aware, we hold monthly meetings at various aquarium stores and sometimes at fellow club member homes.  This is a great opportunity for you to meet fellow aquarium owners and to pick their brains on any questions you may have.  Take a look at this subforum for meeting announcements:  http://www.pnwmas.org/forums/forum/41-meetings-and-events/

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5 minutes ago, SuncrestReef said:

Welcome to the club!  I don't think 90 gallons is too much to start out with, and that's the size of my tank that I set up two years ago for my very first aquarium.  Sounds like you got a great deal even if the gear needs a bit of work.  Just take it slow, do your research before adding any livestock, and be very patient as nothing good in this hobby ever happens fast, but bad things can.

In case you're not aware, we hold monthly meetings at various aquarium stores and sometimes at fellow club member homes.  This is a great opportunity for you to meet fellow aquarium owners and to pick their brains on any questions you may have.  Take a look at this subforum for meeting announcements:  http://www.pnwmas.org/forums/forum/41-meetings-and-events/

Thanks for the link!  I definitely got a really good deal, assuming the tank is good.  I figure as long as the barracuda works, even if everything else ended up being trash, I still broke even or really only lost a few dollars, so as far as I'm concerned it's a good start :)

Definitely will be taking it slow.  I only really have a couple hours a day and weekends to work with for free time, so it's probably going to take me a month just to clean this stuff up and sort through it and hook up the sump and pump and leak test it.  That'll give me plenty of time for research during breaks and lunch at work, and times when I'm just sitting waiting for one process to finish so I can start another one at work.  

I've read a lot of horror stories from people using live rock in their tanks, especially live rock they got from an unknown source.  I'm a little hesitant on whether I should use these when I do start setting things up, or if I should just skip it and get new rocks (not live).  On one hand, it seems wasteful to just toss them, on the other it seems like it could be more headache than it's worth.  

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I started my tank with dry rock.  I let it cure in saltwater for about 2 months while setting up the tank, then it took about 1 month for the tank to cycle before it was ready to support life.

If you're interested in more details, take a look at my build thread at Reef2Reef.  I thoroughly documented every step in the process of setting up my tank:  https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/suncrestreefs-red-sea-reefer-xl-425-build.358990/

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That's a great size for anyone! Much better than a much smaller tank, I've heard over and over dilution helps with pollution so a larger tank is more forgiving when it comes to the little mistakes we make. The 55 wouldn't have been a bad choice either, believe me I understand about being worried about little ones messing with the tank! When the water, rocks are in I couldn't knock those over, I actually had a 55 when my kids were still pretty young. It looks like you're off to a great start! BRS TV is still a favorite of mine, great information. Like SuncrestReef said though taking it slow when adding livestock is a good thing, I've learned from that one. I also understand how expensive this hobby can be so I tend to look for some things used, RODI I got for a rediculous cheap price used, used tanks, you can absolutely save a little cash this way. I hope you post lots of pictures! I love seeing people's tanks progress

 

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It really looks you're off to a great start with a great deal tank! Glad I didn't see that ad lol, I was currently looking for a 90.. my husband may have finally kept his promise about leaving if I bring home another tank and up and left . Anywhoo If you can't find the round top for the skimmer cup you could probably make one. Have you tried the skimmer pump to see if it works yet? The RODI is a plus! If you have any questions about any of this stuff just ask. How do you plan on cycling the tank? I read your plan was to put a fish or two in, so were you planning on using fish to cycle your tank? My first reef tank I used a Damsel to cycle because that's how I always cycled my freshwater tanks was with fish. I no longer use fish though, just go to the grocery store and pick up a couple peices of shrimp to start the cycle instead, then remove shrimp later and 'ghost feed' or drop a pinch of fish flaked food in to complete the cycle until Ammonia and Nitrites are at zero, do a large water change and add my first fish but it's your call. Some people don't like using fish to cycle because the Ammonia can burn their gills but I personally know people who still do it. Did you see a Refractometer in the totes for testing salinity? It would look like this picture. I'd be curious to see what else is in the totes lol. You should snap a few pics of what's in the totes, it's like Christmas you may have some more great stuff in it! fc3b35da37fb93daad752264ea1e6ffc.jpg

 

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, TaylorW said:

It really looks you're off to a great start with a great deal tank! Glad I didn't see that ad lol, I was currently looking for a 90.. my husband may have finally kept his promise about leaving if I bring home another tank and up and left emoji23.png. Anywhoo If you can't find the round top for the skimmer cup you could probably make one. Have you tried the skimmer pump to see if it works yet? The RODI is a plus! If you have any questions about any of this stuff just ask. How do you plan on cycling the tank? Did you see a Refractometer in the totes for testing salinity? It would look like this picture. I'd be curious to see what else is in the totes lolfc3b35da37fb93daad752264ea1e6ffc.jpg

 

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No refractometer, there's a bunch of old chemicals, a couple old plastic hydrometers, 2 huge bags of what appears to be salt but it's just labeled not for resale (I have no intention of using these, as I have no way of knowing what kind of salt it is lol)  and a ton of rock.  2 totes of rock.  

Some really old and deteriorating 'soft' plastic tubing for plumbing, it's all being thrown away.  I wouldn't trust it with as yellowed and rough feeling as it is.  Several pumps, all AC, most pretty small and with absolutely no markings anywhere so who knows what GPH they are.  One Quiet One 3000 pump, which I found was a 700-ish GPH pump, but it's missing the prefilter and housing and flow adjuster, and the housing on the pump where the other would attach is all busted up so that's also a candidate for the trash most likely.  An old 100w glass tube heater which isn't going to be nearly enough for this tank.  

All in all the plumbing and 99% of what came with the tank is looking like it's just garbage can fodder.  The protein skimmer, since this is my first tank ever, I don't even know what I'm looking at or if it's all here (other than I know the cup lid isn't) and it has literally no markings anywhere on it so I don't know what brand it is or anything.

The RODI looks good though the DI resin might need to be replaced, the tank visually looks ok though it's filthy as all get out and I need to clean it.  The plumbing in the overflow looks pretty nasty, I might just start off by removing the bulkheads and getting a new aqueon megaflow accessory kit, since I'm 99.99% certain the tank is the aqueon 90 gal reef ready.  Just replace all that overflow plumbing and start fresh.  

The 20 gal acrylic sump looks like it's been to hell and back... several dozen times over.  Half of the plumbing going into it is super old and looking brittle, the clamps that were used look like the old screw style automotive clamps and they're rusted pretty bad.  That's probably the first thing getting scrubbed down, today, I'll remove all the plumbing and debris from the sump, then give it a good scrub with some warm water and a new nylon scrub sponge pad, maybe some vinegar in dilution.

In fact, I think I'm going to go take a before pic of that sump right now and then get started on it in the bathtub :)

edit: I forgot in all this to mention that this was all being stored in a storage unit for an unknown period of time, then he had to clear out the storage unit in the middle of a sudden move, and he wasn't the first owner of the tank/stand.  He also gave me a fluorescent light setup, looks like a diy sheet metal thing with 4 tubes and a crapload of heat shrunk wires going to balasts that all look pretty heavily corroded and all came detached from the metal plate.  I want to do LED lighting anyways, so that's going away too.

 

Edited by Silvas
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Just for grins and giggles... here's the light that came with it

 

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Just for grins and giggles... here's the light that came with it

 

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Oh wow lol. That light is.... Interesting Seems like you have a good idea of what you're doing! You're right a lot of it seems pretty outdated. You'll most definitely need new resins for the RODI, and if everything has been sitting in storage for that long I'd get all new pumps as well. It's nice to salvage what you can though

 

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Sump before and after light cleaning.  Filled it up in the bathtub with hot water and vinegar, let it soak for a bit, then went and gave it a scrub and a rinse with a brand new scotch brite scouring pad/sponge.  Probably didn't help the scuffing/cloudiness on the sump, being acrylic, but there was some seriously caked on grunge in that thing.

 

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Wow what a difference! If the haziness bothers you, you could always buff it out but it's a sump I wouldn't worry about it but that's me

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Posted (edited)

Found the lid for the protein skimmer, still zero markings, all I can tell about it is it's a HOB skimmer (I think, based on the lip and screw down posts on the one side)

Also took pics of the other stuff that hasn't made it into a pic yet.  The rocks and bags of mystery salt,  A bunch of AC pumps, all unknown except the blue one is the quiet one 3000 that's busted up, air pump, an AC wave maker that's missing the front half of the cage, a hydor 150w glass heater, a few hydrometers, an xwave wave pump driver 6800 that has only 1 6 pin outlet on it, some module that looks like part of an impeller and goes to a 2 pin connector that doesn't connect to the xwave, a gravel siphon, lock line and a bunch of chemicals.

The drain and return plumbing inside the tank was definitely the aqueon megaflow, which along with the overflow module and placement confirms for me that it's the aqueon 90 gal reef ready tank.  I was able to get the bulkheads undone and the plumbing pulled out, it's actually not as bad as it looked from the top I'm pretty sure I can clean them up and they'll be fine.  Might need new rubber gaskets for the bulkheads but it looks completely serviceable.

If anyone happens to recognize the protein skimmer and can tell me what it is so I can go looking for documentation on it, I'd be grateful for the info :)

 

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Edited by Silvas

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I'd save the aqualifter pump if it works, they're handy pumps for ATOs and other things. It looks like there's a return nozzle there too. The skimmer is a tough one, someone may know. I just saw someone post some needlewheel pumps on here for $10 that may work for the skimmer but I couldn't be sure. The Mag Float I'd use too, the heater I'd honestly toss. I toss mine after a year now since I had an older one get stuck in the on position and fry my tank a couple years ago

 

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Skimmer looks like a coralife HOB super skimmer. I never used one myself, but they were pretty common in the hobby for a period of time. Best of luck on the setup, glad to see new reefers in town! 

 

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, jadams7 said:

Skimmer looks like a coralife HOB super skimmer. I never used one myself, but they were pretty common in the hobby for a period of time. Best of luck on the setup, glad to see new reefers in town! 
 

That does indeed appear to be it!  Thank you!

 

 

Edited by Silvas
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Welcome!  It looks like you are going about things the right way - take your time and do a lot of reading.  I actually think the 90 is a great starting tank size - large enough to provide some advantages of stability while still being "small" enough not to be completely unwieldy to work on and maintain.

Looks like Andrew ID'd the skimmer for you so hopefully that helps.  I have one of those skimmers in my basement in some state of disrepair if you end up liking it and wanting some spare parts.  It also looks like you have an old x-wave pump controller in that mix of stuff but no actual powerhead.  These were early DC "knock offs" from China that actually were pretty cool.  I still run several of them and would be interested in that power supply if you don't end up needing it.  If you have a functional power head and controller to go with it they make a pretty nice package that has various flow options and settings.  

Good luck!

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7 minutes ago, albertareef said:

Welcome!  It looks like you are going about things the right way - take your time and do a lot of reading.  I actually think the 90 is a great starting tank size - large enough to provide some advantages of stability while still being "small" enough not to be completely unwieldy to work on and maintain.

Looks like Andrew ID'd the skimmer for you so hopefully that helps.  I have one of those skimmers in my basement in some state of disrepair if you end up liking it and wanting some spare parts.  It also looks like you have an old x-wave pump controller in that mix of stuff but no actual powerhead.  These were early DC "knock offs" from China that actually were pretty cool.  I still run several of them and would be interested in that power supply if you don't end up needing it.  If you have a functional power head and controller to go with it they make a pretty nice package that has various flow options and settings.  

Good luck!

Since you have one of those skimmers, does the pump have to be the one that came with it?  I keep reading that skimmer pumps are usually matched to the skimmer, and just tossing whatever random pump on isn't going to work well.  The skimmer I have doesn't appear to have the original pump with it.  I see that it can be used in an in-sump or next-to-sump configuration too, so it might well work for me.

I wouldn't be averse to sending the xwave your way, as I don't think I'll need it... Right now I'm leaning toward using Current eFlux wave pump(s) and return pump, connected into their loop controller along with a set of marine IC Pro dual LED lights.  I looked at a bunch of other LED lighting, including the ReefLEDs and hydra32 and 64s and AI Primes, but everything I was finding was leading me to believe I was going to need a minimum of 3 units for a 48" long tank, which with those was going to get up well over $1000 just for the lighting.  The Current Marine IC Pro Duals seem to be at least decent performance from what I've read, and come in under $500 for the dual 48" modules.

Lighting isn't really up there on my list yet though, I need to get the tank cleaned and plumbing redone, and a return pump hooked up so I can fill this thing and leak test.  No sense getting *too* crazy yet until I make sure the tank holds water, right? :)

 

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7 minutes ago, Silvas said:

Since you have one of those skimmers, does the pump have to be the one that came with it?  I keep reading that skimmer pumps are usually matched to the skimmer, and just tossing whatever random pump on isn't going to work well.  The skimmer I have doesn't appear to have the original pump with it.  I see that it can be used in an in-sump or next-to-sump configuration too, so it might well work for me.

I wouldn't be averse to sending the xwave your way, as I don't think I'll need it... Right now I'm leaning toward using Current eFlux wave pump(s) and return pump, connected into their loop controller along with a set of marine IC Pro dual LED lights.  I looked at a bunch of other LED lighting, including the ReefLEDs and hydra32 and 64s and AI Primes, but everything I was finding was leading me to believe I was going to need a minimum of 3 units for a 48" long tank, which with those was going to get up well over $1000 just for the lighting.  The Current Marine IC Pro Duals seem to be at least decent performance from what I've read, and come in under $500 for the dual 48" modules.

Lighting isn't really up there on my list yet though, I need to get the tank cleaned and plumbing redone, and a return pump hooked up so I can fill this thing and leak test.  No sense getting *too* crazy yet until I make sure the tank holds water, right? :)

 

It's true that it can be difficult to "mix and match" pumps on skimmers but it can be done.  The main problem is having one with too much overall flow which can overwhelm the chamber and cause wet skim mate or even overflow.  They all have some ability to modulate via outlet control but you still need to be in the general range.  I can check and see if I have the original pump or not.  I recall someone saying they had pretty good luck using one and they can be useful if the space in your sump is limited (which is why I originally picked it up).

Would be cool to have the driver if you end up not needing it - they have been out of production for something like 10-12 years I think so not easy to come by 😀  I have extra controllers if you end up deciding to use it though.

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Oh yeah, and lighting is definitely something that takes some thought.  I had been running two SB Reeflight 32 inch Pro Timer units on my 6ft tank which worked well.  I just switched over to three of the ReeFi duo extremes.  My 125 has similar issues to your tank - long and narrow - so it can be tricky to find the right light form factor for efficient coverage.  Probably true that you would need three of any of the single "puck" style lights so looking at some of the other options makes sense.

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Well I'm definitely committed to pursuing this hobby now lol

I ordered about $65 worth of plumbing fittings and braided tubing and such from BRS (braided tubing as a first step so I can get a quick and dirty setup for leak testing the tank and while I plan a more permanent stand and plumbing setup), and went ahead and ordered the majority of the main equipment for the tank from amazon

Current USA Marine IC Pro Dual LED 36"-48" with the Bluetooth Loop controller

2 1050GPH Current USA eFlux accessory wave pumps

1 1900GPH Current USA eFlux DC flow pump

1 HM Digital dual probe TDS meter, so I can test the rodi filter (and see what my tap water is before the rodi)

1 Seneye Reef aquarium monitor and PAR meter

I'm going to hold off on ordering sand and rocks and salt etc etc until after I've leak tested; if this tank doesn't hold water I'll either end up using the 55gal long, or I'll end up going and buying a new 65 or maybe 70 gallon somewhere, or maybe I'll return the stuff I wouldn't need and go with an AIO system like the 40gal nuvo or maybe just bite it, since the main equipment is over 1k already anyways and spend the money on a red sea reefer

 

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Well I ran into my first showstopper.  While cleaning the tank, I noticed the seals look pretty rough.  frayed edges, discoloration, and my fingernail slid under the edge of one with no effort all the way down to where the silicone starts to get thicker at in the corner.  I'm now trying to decide what I want to do - offload this one and go buy a brand new tank, or attempt a reseal on the tank, which I'm very nervous about because I'm new and I've read in several places it'll be fine but I've also read in several places that it shouldn't be done unless you're going to take the whole tank apart and sand the edges and get all the silicone off the glass in the butt joints too and reassemble and reseal the tank fully (basically remake the tank).

 

 

 

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Well I ran into my first showstopper.  While cleaning the tank, I noticed the seals look pretty rough.  frayed edges, discoloration, and my fingernail slid under the edge of one with no effort all the way down to where the silicone starts to get thicker at in the corner.  I'm now trying to decide what I want to do - offload this one and go buy a brand new tank, or attempt a reseal on the tank, which I'm very nervous about because I'm new and I've read in several places it'll be fine but I've also read in several places that it shouldn't be done unless you're going to take the whole tank apart and sand the edges and get all the silicone off the glass in the butt joints too and reassemble and reseal the tank fully (basically remake the tank).
 
 
 
Uh oh! Do you have pics?

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3 hours ago, TaylorW said:

Uh oh! Do you have pics?

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