Advice for getting back into it.

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JGTPA

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Just got back into the hobby after an almost 20 break. There is a ton of experience in this forum & look forward to all of your advice. I'm familiar with most marine fish but am new to corals. I do have some public aquarium aquarium aquarist experience from long ago so, I understand water chemistry for the most part but am rusty to say the least (I ended up switching from a part time aquarist to training dolphins very early on so, I'm very much opened to refreshers & learning new info!).
My set up is a used custom 90 gallon display with an app. 20 gallon sump. End goal is mixed reef with mostly hardy soft corals & fish. Not opposed to hard corals down the road. The system is about 2 months in stocked with 2 Anthias, 2 ocelleris clowns, small cluster of GSP, & small photosynthetic plating sponge. An older Reef Octopus skimmer came with the system. It's huge! I can't get it tuned correctly. Either all white bubbles that over flow quickly or the water overflows. It's not a water level issue because this is the same skimmer that was used by the previous owner. I'm thinking that I don't have a bioload large enough for a skimmer this size. I plan on having a light to maybe medium stocked system in the end. Should I wait until the tank is fully stocked or at least a few months older to run this skimmer? Or should I buy a new & more appropriately sized skimmer (maybe for a 55-75 gallon heavily stocked tank) for my end goal? What in sump skimmers do you recommend? If I purchase a new one, I'd like something that's easy to tune, that's quiet, & obviously cost effective. Do I even need to run a skimmer this early on?

Lastly... What filter media do you recommend? Currently, the only things in my sump are a filter sock, heater, & the non functional protein skimmer.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Jekyl

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Just got back into the hobby after an almost 20 break. There is a ton of experience in this forum & look forward to all of your advice. I'm familiar with most marine fish but am new to corals. I do have some public aquarium aquarium aquarist experience from long ago so, I understand water chemistry for the most part but am rusty to say the least (I ended up switching from a part time aquarist to training dolphins very early on so, I'm very much opened to refreshers & learning new info!).
My set up is a used custom 90 gallon display with an app. 20 gallon sump. End goal is mixed reef with mostly hardy soft corals & fish. Not opposed to hard corals down the road. The system is about 2 months in stocked with 2 Anthias, 2 ocelleris clowns, small cluster of GSP, & small photosynthetic plating sponge. An older Reef Octopus skimmer came with the system. It's huge! I can't get it tuned correctly. Either all white bubbles that over flow quickly or the water overflows. It's not a water level issue because this is the same skimmer that was used by the previous owner. I'm thinking that I don't have a bioload large enough for a skimmer this size. I plan on having a light to maybe medium stocked system in the end. Should I wait until the tank is fully stocked or at least a few months older to run this skimmer? Or should I buy a new & more appropriately sized skimmer (maybe for a 55-75 gallon heavily stocked tank) for my end goal? What in sump skimmers do you recommend? If I purchase a new one, I'd like something that's easy to tune, that's quiet, & obviously cost effective. Do I even need to run a skimmer this early on?

Lastly... What filter media do you recommend? Currently, the only things in my sump are a filter sock, heater, & the non functional protein skimmer.

Thanks in advance!
Reef octo skimmer all the way. Love mine and never seen a bad review. Chaeto in your sump with a decent light would also be beneficial.
 
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JGTPA

JGTPA

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Thank you! My current skimmer is a Reef Octo. I'm thinking that is too large for my bioload. How do I know? Maybe I should purchase a smaller Reef Octo skimmer?
Reef octo skimmer all the way. Love mine and never seen a bad review. Chaeto in your sump with a decent light would also be beneficial
 

blasterman

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Bioballs again?. Not sure why we are even discussing them in 2021. Maybe put a biowheel and wet dry on your tank if we are offering solutions in search of a problem. Maybe a UGF?

A skimmer and chaeto fuge are responses to nutrient problems. Not vice versa. If you want a tank full of happy soft coral you will want higher nutrient levels.

A rollermat would be my next investment.
 
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JGTPA

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Makes sense. Do you recommend a skimmer at all?
Bioballs again?. Not sure why we are even discussing them in 2021. Maybe put a biowheel and wet dry on your tank if we are offering solutions in search of a problem. Maybe a UGF?

A skimmer and chaeto fuge are responses to nutrient problems. Not vice versa. If you want a tank full of happy soft coral you will want higher nutrient levels.

A rollermat would be my next investment.
 

Azedenkae

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Lastly... What filter media do you recommend?
I can only help with this. XD

You should have plenty of biological filtration with live rock, but if you want and/or if it does not feel like enough, I would recommend something like MarinePure blocks in your sump. Chemical filtration is generally not needed but is good to have on hand. I prefer and suggest Poly-filter, just because it is effective at removing quite a range of things you might not want, and it changes color so you at least know when it is 'used up'. I actually always have some as the last media in my filtration system just because it is pretty cheap, and it's great. Initially might be used up quite quickly, but nowadays it takes a long time to change color, which is also a good indication of how well the filtration system is established and doing.
 
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JGTPA

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If you just want soft corals and a low bioload, forget the skimmer/media/chaeto/etc. and enjoy your low maintenance tank. decent flow and plenty of live rock will be sufficient.
I like that! I guess I can always decide to add/run a skimmer at any point down the road.
 
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lapin

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You can run a skimmer on a timer. It does not need to run 24/7 to be effective. They can also help with aerating your water if you have low Ph caused by Co2 in your house
 

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Not sure where that comes from. I ran with and without a skimmer. I'll never not have one again.

I was not trying to denigrate skimmers, I run one and love it. For soft corals and only a few fish, I would hardly call it necessary though. I've successfully run soft coral tanks with nothing but a light and powerhead and everything thrived.
 

Azedenkae

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I was not trying to denigrate skimmers, I run one and love it. For soft corals and only a few fish, I would hardly call it necessary though. I've successfully run soft coral tanks with nothing but a light and powerhead and everything thrived.
Yeah I have soft corals and fish, and can attest to not needing a skimmer. I presume having a skimmer could be better, but definitely not necessary. Although I do have an algae scrubber, so there's also that.
 
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Silly question... What do I put this
I can only help with this. XD

You should have plenty of biological filtration with live rock, but if you want and/or if it does not feel like enough, I would recommend something like MarinePure blocks in your sump. Chemical filtration is generally not needed but is good to have on hand. I prefer and suggest Poly-filter, just because it is effective at removing quite a range of things you might not want, and it changes color so you at least know when it is 'used up'. I actually always have some as the last media in my filtration system just because it is pretty cheap, and it's great. Initially might be used up quite quickly, but nowadays it takes a long time to change color, which is also a good indication of how well the filtration system is established and doing.
 
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JGTPA

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Thank you all! Great discussion!
If I do go with a skimmer...
1. How do I determine if the one I have is in fact too big for the bioload?
2. How do I tune the amount of air on the Reef Octo skimmer that I currently have?
 

Jekyl

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Thank you all! Great discussion!
If I do go with a skimmer...
1. How do I determine if the one I have is in fact too big for the bioload?
2. How do I tune the amount of air on the Reef Octo skimmer that I currently have?
If you already have one I'd just try and use it. Look up the model, should be a description of intended tank size. Once you ensure you can use it just create a separate post on here asking for tuning advice.
 
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