Beginner planning a 40g breeder build... thoughts?

TikiThunder

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Brand new to the hobby, and I'm looking to create a great beginner tank on a reasonable budget, but not cutting any corners either. My goal is to learn a lot, set myself up for success, and if I love it after a year or two really invest in a larger setup.

I'd like to do something more substantial than those small nano kits, but I'm not sure I'm ready quite yet to drop $2k into a complete 50g tank setup either (not including lights, rock, corals or livestock). I've been hunting on facebook marketplace for a while now, and nothing perfect has come up. Some great deals on larger systems that I don't feel ready for, and a lot of questionable DIY setups, but nothing I feel great about.

So what I'm thinking is grabbing some Petco tanks on sale and doing a 40 breeder with a sump in a 20 long using the fiji baffle kit. I'll do a skimmer, a small refugium, and an ATO. I'd like to start with primarily soft corals, maybe a LPS or two, and a handful of fish. I think I can score some bits used, and my local club has offered to hook me up with some rock and sand, I think I can get this going for something like $1k all in.

There's a tremendous amount of reef keeping wisdom here... any thoughts or advice for my build? Am I approaching this the right way? Looking for any and all feedback!
 

davidcalgary29

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I'd look on local facebook groups and try to pick up an existing Evo setup. You shouldn't have to spend more than $200 -- with livestock -- for something like that, and it will teach you many valuable lessons you should know before going for the big tanks. Yes, yes, it's 13.5g, but free your mind from nano revulsion and realize that they actually have a decent volume for nano fish. And after you're done with it as a display, you can use it for a quarantine/hospital tank or use it for something special like a nano paludarium.
 

Roatan Reef

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Start here..

Good luck!!


I have a 40GB also.
 

Roatan Reef

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Shooooot...my 13 year old nephew is finding out fast...his little 13.5 Evo Nano was $199, then he upgraded the return pump for $25.00, added a wave maker for $15.00, ordered a custom lid for $35.00, also a custom 4 chamber media basket for $30.00, then a $75.00 battery backup...1 Black Ice Clown for $45.00, 4 snails for $14.00.

He's already over $240 of initial cost...with 0 coral as it is in week 3 of cycling.
 
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TikiThunder

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I'd look on local facebook groups and try to pick up an existing Evo setup. You shouldn't have to spend more than $200 -- with livestock -- for something like that, and it will teach you many valuable lessons you should know before going for the big tanks. Yes, yes, it's 13.5g, but free your mind from nano revulsion and realize that they actually have a decent volume for nano fish. And after you're done with it as a display, you can use it for a quarantine/hospital tank or use it for something special like a nano paludarium.
That's not a bad idea. There's a few out there in my area.... hmmmm. Definately something to consider.
 

kevgib67

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Welcome, glad you are here! Sounds like your local club is very helpful, lean on them. I lived in Chesterfield while going to school. My wife and I took full advantage of your beautiful and free zoo. I ate a lot of barbecue while living there!
 

Dom

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Brand new to the hobby, and I'm looking to create a great beginner tank on a reasonable budget, but not cutting any corners either. My goal is to learn a lot, set myself up for success, and if I love it after a year or two really invest in a larger setup.

I'd like to do something more substantial than those small nano kits, but I'm not sure I'm ready quite yet to drop $2k into a complete 50g tank setup either (not including lights, rock, corals or livestock). I've been hunting on facebook marketplace for a while now, and nothing perfect has come up. Some great deals on larger systems that I don't feel ready for, and a lot of questionable DIY setups, but nothing I feel great about.

So what I'm thinking is grabbing some Petco tanks on sale and doing a 40 breeder with a sump in a 20 long using the fiji baffle kit. I'll do a skimmer, a small refugium, and an ATO. I'd like to start with primarily soft corals, maybe a LPS or two, and a handful of fish. I think I can score some bits used, and my local club has offered to hook me up with some rock and sand, I think I can get this going for something like $1k all in.

There's a tremendous amount of reef keeping wisdom here... any thoughts or advice for my build? Am I approaching this the right way? Looking for any and all feedback!

@TikiThunder

Well... you certainly seem to have a plan! And a plan is important when moving forward with a project like this.

Your choice of a 40 gallon breeder and a 20 long for a sump are also sound choices. And while I understand the idea of dividing the sump in sections, it isn't necessary. I currently employ a 33 long as a sump on a 125 build without any baffles.

I would suggest that you ask yourself this important question: "What kind of fish do I want to keep in my tank?" and then design your system around those fish.

Finally, please remember that this hobby doesn't need to be expensive. Much of what you see in systems can be replicated as a do it yourself project.

Skimmers and refugium will go a long way in keeping your nutrients under control. And an ATO is important when it comes to keeping chemistry swings to a minimum.

Please be patient and go slowly. There are many techniques involved when it comes to cycling a tank. Some of those techniques have your tank cycled and populated in a few days. Remember; nothing good happens fast in this hobby. Personally, I use a cocktail shrimp and seed with a piece of live rock from an established tank.

Finally, yes, there is an abundance of knowledge offered here. I credit the guidance I've received here on Reef2Reef for having tanks that were surviving to having tanks that are THRIVING.

Good luck, welcome and post questions!

Dom
 
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TikiThunder

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Thanks, all! I’m still going to design out a bigger tank, but in the mean time I did score a deal on a Evo 13.5. So I think I’m going to play around with that for a bit while I piece together a larger tank.
 
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