ArmanMK

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Hey Reefers :)

I am kind of new to the hobby. I have 29 Cube reef tank for 3 years before I moved to SoCal area and had to sell it. I am a big fan of the hobby and I want to start again. My previous setup was a simple AIO setup for keeping softies and easy fishes.
Now, I want to build a much more advanced system for a mostly automated mixed reef tank, which is probably LPS dominant but has a good amount of SPS corals. My focus in reefing is going to be corals, and I'll keep some number of fishes to complement the ecosystem.

As I mentioned, I am a newbie and in order to design my new system I have been doing research for the past two months. Watching a lot of Youtube videos and reading forums and blogs. After a lot of research I am deciding to go with RedSea Reefer 300XL. The place I have to put it in my house is a nook, which means, I have to black out both sides and I only have front view of the aquarium.

Doing lots of research about various types of equipments and brands has overwhelmed me a bit. So, I decided to ask for help from advanced hobbyists here. Your comments and ideas goes a long way and I very much appreciate them since they will help me design my dream system. (I have been dreaming of building a reef system since when I was a kid but could not afford it back then!).

Now, my main question is, what equipments would you recommend for a successful build? (I am a tech and automation lover, so I am planning to add elements of automation to the tank as I move forward in the hobby, so please tune your comments based on this aspect)

What lights would you use for this system? (AI Prime HD, RedSea ReefLeds, Radeon....)
What is the ideal protein skimmer?
How should I optimally manage Calcium and Alkalinity?
What kind of automation works best based your experience?
Powerheads, wavemakers, Gyer pumps? How to create optimal flow? (Ecotechs, AI nero, ...)
Refiugium light?
What things should I dose regularly and how should I do it?
What am I forgetting?!

Any bit of info helps, so please answer to any one of the questions you want.

Thanks a lot
Arman
 

DC Reefer

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Hey Reefers :)

I am kind of new to the hobby. I have 29 Cube reef tank for 3 years before I moved to SoCal area and had to sell it. I am a big fan of the hobby and I want to start again. My previous setup was a simple AIO setup for keeping softies and easy fishes.
Now, I want to build a much more advanced system for a mostly automated mixed reef tank, which is probably LPS dominant but has a good amount of SPS corals. My focus in reefing is going to be corals, and I'll keep some number of fishes to complement the ecosystem.

As I mentioned, I am a newbie and in order to design my new system I have been doing research for the past two months. Watching a lot of Youtube videos and reading forums and blogs. After a lot of research I am deciding to go with RedSea Reefer 300XL. The place I have to put it in my house is a nook, which means, I have to black out both sides and I only have front view of the aquarium.

Doing lots of research about various types of equipments and brands has overwhelmed me a bit. So, I decided to ask for help from advanced hobbyists here. Your comments and ideas goes a long way and I very much appreciate them since they will help me design my dream system. (I have been dreaming of building a reef system since when I was a kid but could not afford it back then!).

Now, my main question is, what equipments would you recommend for a successful build? (I am a tech and automation lover, so I am planning to add elements of automation to the tank as I move forward in the hobby, so please tune your comments based on this aspect)

What lights would you use for this system? (AI Prime HD, RedSea ReefLeds, Radeon....). I a tank running Radion Pros and T5s which I have had good success with. I also run one with the Orphek which has worked well also. Between the two the Radions are more controllable, but the spread of the Orphek is pretty darn good.
What is the ideal protein skimmer? I have had good luck with the Reef Octopus skimmers on a couple of my tanks (older versions no longer in production). I recently put a Nyos Quantum on my RS170 and have been happy with it as well. I would recommend going with something a little bigger. I think the 350 is about 80 gallons +/- so I would look for a skimmer that would be for a heavy bioload in the 100 gallon range like the one on this link. https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/regal-150int-6-internal-protein-skimmer-varios-reef-octopus.html. If you are looking to automate and minimize maintenance I would get a Skimmer cleaner and an external storage container for Skimmate. I only have to clean my two skimmers with this set-up every 6+ months and empty skimmate every few months.

How should I optimally manage Calcium and Alkalinity? I manage 1 tank with a Calcium reactor, 1 with 2 part controlled by a Trident and a DOS and another with 2 part and no DOS. In my experience the 2 part with the Trident is the easiest one to manage. I still test Alk, Ca, Mg every month or two or if I get Trident readings that look odd.
What kind of automation works best based your experience? I have three Neptune Apexs controlling my tanks. I have been very happy with them. I have used the Jr, a couple of classics and now have 1 of each of the two new ones.
Powerheads, wavemakers, Gyer pumps? How to create optimal flow? (Ecotechs, AI nero, ...). Have had good luck with MP40s (4 on one tank), Gyre (2 on each of my larger tanks) and the Tunze controllable pumps. MP40s pros - control, no wires in tank, Cons - can't direct flow exactly where you want it. The Tunze has the opposite pros and cons. The Gyre put out good indirect flow but require more maintenance to keep them up than the MP40s an Tunze. I find they are all great pumps just depends on what you need.
Refiugium light? Not much experience here. I used a Kessil H80 - way underpowered for my sump in my 170 and I ultimately ditched the refugium.
What things should I dose regularly and how should I do it? After cycling the tank, I would start monitoring Alk, Ca and Mg and dose to get them to your desired level and then keep it up after that. There are multiple ways of doing this. From an automation standpoint I like the Trident and DOS. I only use this for Alk and Ca. I add MG to my auto water change water and will sometimes dose it manually if it gets low. In my opinion the Alk is the first priority to get stable, followed by Ca and then MG. It is also a good idea to get a salt that has parameters close to your targets - it just makes life easier.
What am I forgetting?! You can also automate water changes. I do that with DOS on all my tanks. Makes life a lot easier. Other things is get a decent RODI unit so you can make your own water and a solid ATO. I like the Tunze https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/tunze-osmolator-universal-3155-auto-top-off.html. I expect the 350 comes with an ATO tank as part of the sump. I didn't use the one on my 170 because it was smaller than I wanted and required to be filled every couple of days. On two of my tanks I use 35 gallon containers and on the 170 I have a 7 gallon container. I try to minimize the need for buckets:). Another option is a salinity probe. I find it good to have with auto water changes. If my DOS gets out of calibration and my salinity get off it lets me know before things get too far off. I find they are not perfectly accurate, but mine have been fairly consistent so if they start moving out of the ordinary I check salinity and more often then not it is time to recalibrate my DOS. Other things, a good refractometer made for seawater, test kits. I like the Hanna for Alk and Phosphate (ultra low level). I like Red Sea for Ca and Nitrate and Salifert for Mg. Get solid reliable heaters (I use Jager) and I would go with two so you have a back-up (1 is primary and if my temp drops .5 degrees below my primary turn on temp the other one kicks on). Good luck on your build and be sure to post plenty of pics.

Any bit of info helps, so please answer to any one of the questions you want.

Thanks a lot
Arman
Welcome to R2R!!!!
 

Anirban

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Welcome to R2R. We love pictures. Just ask about anything. You will learn slowly that in reefing world there is nothing ideal but what works for you. :)
 

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