First Reef Tank Build

LauriesaurusRex

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Hello! I have prepared a basic list of the equipment I'm thinking about purchasing for my first reef tank and would love some feedback or advice. I have been watching the BRS videos, reading everything I can, looking at reviews, and researching all of the options out there. I would like to purchase quality equipment that won't fail and will last for at least a few years before needing to be upgraded but also don't want to go over our budget. Essentially, I don't want to buy the cheapest option, but also don't want the most expensive option either.

Tank: Red Sea 425 XL Deluxe (Includes Red Sea 90 LED lights and mounts)
Protein Skimmer: Reef Octopus Classic 110-INT
Heater: Open to suggestions, saw that titanium was recommended by BRS video
Power Heads: 2 Koralia 3rd Generation 2450 gph/8.5w
Return Pump: Reef Octopus Varios-6

Am I missing any significant piece of equipment that I've overlooked? I'm anticipating this being a long-term (hopefully lifelong) project that I can continually upgrade and improve over time. Thanks in advance, and I have appreciated reading through the other posts and learning from all of you!
 
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Reefer5640

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Hey welcome to the hobby! And welcome to R2R! I like the gear your thinking about. It’ll definitely get the job done. Here are a few suggestions I’d do if it were my tank;

definitely go with a heater that has a controller like you’re thinking about. The BRS are the only heaters I know of that offer a 3 year warranty and the inkbird/BRS controllers are great. That’s what I run on my tank as well. I’d consider a method for redundancy though. I know they are expensive but an apex is an amazing piece of equipment and will pay for itself time and time again. But definitely something you can add down the road. The Redsea lights are good but may not be enough just the two of them to provide enough par to support SPS if you end up wanting to go that route down the road. You may want to add a third or fourth Red Sea or supplement with another type of light eventually (ie: T5’s or reef brites). The tank, skimmer, and return pump are good choices too. The only thing I’d suggest changing is the power heads. Corals do so much better with variable flow. If you want something like the hydors you could go with the tunze wave makers.If it were me I’d go with a gyre. I run the icecaps on my grow out and Frag tanks and maxspect on my display tank. I like them both. If you’re looking for a cheap option you could go with the power heads made by Jebao. I use there power heads for my coral QT and they last for a solid 2-3 years. I also use the Jebao return pumps on all my systems which run for a solid 3 years in my experience. I’ve never ran a varios though so I wouldn’t be able to tell you how they compare.

The only other pieces of equipment I can think of that you haven’t mentioned are replenishing elements, a way to control phosphates, chemical filtration, a source of RODI, and an ATO. I know the Red Sea has a float valve, will you run your RODI supply line directly to that or were you thinking of running an RODI reservoir with an ATO pump ran to your float? Or you can keep a jug elevated above the float and just just gravity feed the float valve with RODI. That’s how I ran my one if my tanks for years (dosed the water with kalkwasser). That’s a stable cheap way to go at first.

As far as RODI goes, you can buy that down the road as well and just buy water from somewhere but it’s a huge convenience to just get one up front.

As far as replenishing elements go you could just hand dose for now or do water changes. That stuff can be bought down the road as your corals need a more consistent supply. Plus that’s a whole new world in its own with a ton of options

As far as phosphate control and chemical filtration goes; are you planning on running a refugium (you’ll need a light if so, lots of options) or an algae scrubber (never ran one so I wouldn’t have a recommendation) Or are you thinking of just doing GFO and carbon? You’ll need a media reactor if so or some media bags. I run refugiums on my tanks plus a media reactor that I run a mix of phosgaurd and carbon in. On my new build Im going to ditched the filter socks and media reactors and run filter cups with filter floss and media bags. Not sure how well that’ll go yet but those are two things I hate to maintain and if I can ditch filter socks and changing the media out in reactors forever that would be awesome.

Anyway, I hope all this helps, I know it’s a long post. There are a lot of ways to skin this cat and I’m sure there are a lot of people who would do it differently. This is just how I’d go about it. You should definitely start a tank build thread so we can watch it come together! Best of luck!
 
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bob salzlein

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Hey welcome to the hobby! And welcome to R2R! I like the gear your thinking about. It’ll definitely get the job done. Here are a few suggestions I’d do if it were my tank;

definitely go with a heater that has a controller like you’re thinking about. The BRS are the only heaters I know of that offer a 3 year warranty and the inkbird/BRS controllers are great. That’s what I run on my tank as well. I’d consider a method for redundancy though. I know they are expensive but an apex is an amazing piece of equipment and will pay for itself time and time again. But definitely something you can add down the road. The Redsea lights are good but may not be enough just the two of them to provide enough par to support SPS if you end up wanting to go that route down the road. You may want to add a third or fourth Red Sea or supplement with another type of light eventually (ie: T5’s or reef brites). The tank, skimmer, and return pump are good choices too. The only thing I’d suggest changing is the power heads. Corals do so much better with variable flow. If you want something like the hydors you could go with the tunze wave makers.If it were me I’d go with a gyre. I run the icecaps on my grow out and Frag tanks and maxspect on my display tank. I like them both. If you’re looking for a cheap option you could go with the power heads made by Jebao. I use there power heads for my coral QT and they last for a solid 2-3 years. I also use the Jebao return pumps on all my systems which run for a solid 3 years in my experience. I’ve never ran a varios though so I wouldn’t be able to tell you how they compare.

The only other pieces of equipment I can think of that you haven’t mentioned are replenishing elements, a way to control phosphates, chemical filtration, a source of RODI, and an ATO. I know the Red Sea has a float valve, will you run your RODI supply line directly to that or were you thinking of running an RODI reservoir with an ATO pump ran to your float? Or you can keep a jug elevated above the float and just just gravity feed the float valve with RODI. That’s how I ran my one if my tanks for years (dosed the water with kalkwasser). That’s a stable cheap way to go at first.

As far as RODI goes, you can buy that down the road as well and just buy water from somewhere but it’s a huge convenience to just get one up front.

As far as replenishing elements go you could just hand dose for now or do water changes. That stuff can be bought down the road as your corals need a more consistent supply. Plus that’s a whole new world in its own with a ton of options

As far as phosphate control and chemical filtration goes; are you planning on running a refugium (you’ll need a light if so, lots of options) or an algae scrubber (never ran one so I wouldn’t have a recommendation) Or are you thinking of just doing GFO and carbon? You’ll need a media reactor if so or some media bags. I run refugiums on my tanks plus a media reactor that I run a mix of phosgaurd and carbon in. On my new build Im going to ditched the filter socks and media reactors and run filter cups with filter floss and media bags. Not sure how well that’ll go yet but those are two things I hate to maintain and if I can ditch filter socks and changing the media out in reactors forever that would be awesome.

Anyway, I hope all this helps, I know it’s a long post. There are a lot of ways to skin this cat and I’m sure there are a lot of people who would do it differently. This is just how I’d go about it. You should definitely start a tank build thread so we can watch it come together! Best of luck!
Hydor has the Aqamai line of power heads...D/C...fully programable and compact.
 

Reefer5640

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Hydor has the Aqamai line of power heads...D/C...fully programable and compact.
Oh cool, well there you go. Just as long as it’s not constant flow was all I was getting at. I’ve never used those so I wouldn’t be able to recommend them but if hydor is the brand you were wanting to with then it looks like you’ll still be able to do that. Another option is to buy an ac wave controller. But I’d still recommend going dc
 
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LauriesaurusRex

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Hey welcome to the hobby! And welcome to R2R! I like the gear your thinking about. It’ll definitely get the job done. Here are a few suggestions I’d do if it were my tank;

definitely go with a heater that has a controller like you’re thinking about. The BRS are the only heaters I know of that offer a 3 year warranty and the inkbird/BRS controllers are great. That’s what I run on my tank as well. I’d consider a method for redundancy though. I know they are expensive but an apex is an amazing piece of equipment and will pay for itself time and time again. But definitely something you can add down the road. The Redsea lights are good but may not be enough just the two of them to provide enough par to support SPS if you end up wanting to go that route down the road. You may want to add a third or fourth Red Sea or supplement with another type of light eventually (ie: T5’s or reef brites). The tank, skimmer, and return pump are good choices too. The only thing I’d suggest changing is the power heads. Corals do so much better with variable flow. If you want something like the hydors you could go with the tunze wave makers.If it were me I’d go with a gyre. I run the icecaps on my grow out and Frag tanks and maxspect on my display tank. I like them both. If you’re looking for a cheap option you could go with the power heads made by Jebao. I use there power heads for my coral QT and they last for a solid 2-3 years. I also use the Jebao return pumps on all my systems which run for a solid 3 years in my experience. I’ve never ran a varios though so I wouldn’t be able to tell you how they compare.

The only other pieces of equipment I can think of that you haven’t mentioned are replenishing elements, a way to control phosphates, chemical filtration, a source of RODI, and an ATO. I know the Red Sea has a float valve, will you run your RODI supply line directly to that or were you thinking of running an RODI reservoir with an ATO pump ran to your float? Or you can keep a jug elevated above the float and just just gravity feed the float valve with RODI. That’s how I ran my one if my tanks for years (dosed the water with kalkwasser). That’s a stable cheap way to go at first.

As far as RODI goes, you can buy that down the road as well and just buy water from somewhere but it’s a huge convenience to just get one up front.

As far as replenishing elements go you could just hand dose for now or do water changes. That stuff can be bought down the road as your corals need a more consistent supply. Plus that’s a whole new world in its own with a ton of options

As far as phosphate control and chemical filtration goes; are you planning on running a refugium (you’ll need a light if so, lots of options) or an algae scrubber (never ran one so I wouldn’t have a recommendation) Or are you thinking of just doing GFO and carbon? You’ll need a media reactor if so or some media bags. I run refugiums on my tanks plus a media reactor that I run a mix of phosgaurd and carbon in. On my new build Im going to ditched the filter socks and media reactors and run filter cups with filter floss and media bags. Not sure how well that’ll go yet but those are two things I hate to maintain and if I can ditch filter socks and changing the media out in reactors forever that would be awesome.

Anyway, I hope all this helps, I know it’s a long post. There are a lot of ways to skin this cat and I’m sure there are a lot of people who would do it differently. This is just how I’d go about it. You should definitely start a tank build thread so we can watch it come together! Best of luck!

Thank you so much for all of the advice and well thought response. I appreciate the confirmation that I'm headed in the right direction. I'm not stuck on the brand of power heads... just liked the price and had read some good reviews. I'll look into the other information you provided as well. Thanks!
 
AS

Pistondog

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Hello! I have prepared a basic list of the equipment I'm thinking about purchasing for my first reef tank and would love some feedback or advice. I have been watching the BRS videos, reading everything I can, looking at reviews, and researching all of the options out there. I would like to purchase quality equipment that won't fail and will last for at least a few years before needing to be upgraded but also don't want to go over our budget. Essentially, I don't want to buy the cheapest option, but also don't want the most expensive option either.

Tank: Red Sea 425 XL Deluxe (Includes Red Sea 90 LED lights and mounts)
Protein Skimmer: Reef Octopus Classic 110-INT
Heater: Open to suggestions, saw that titanium was recommended by BRS video
Power Heads: 2 Koralia 3rd Generation 2450 gph/8.5w
Return Pump: Reef Octopus Varios-6

Am I missing any significant piece of equipment that I've overlooked? I'm anticipating this being a long-term (hopefully lifelong) project that I can continually upgrade and improve over time. Thanks in advance, and I have appreciated reading through the other posts and learning from all of you!
Welcome lauriesaurusrex.
Oh yes, it will be lifelong, you might not always have tanks.
Try to work in a refugium later if not sooner, adds another dimension to filtering.
 

Pistondog

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have both aqamai powerheads.
The mp10s or mp40s are more money, but worth a look.
You can always upgrade any of these later, like the rest of us as we find something that suits our needs better.
 

Are you currently running a reactor and media on your reef tank?

  • Yes (please tell us what in the thread)

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  • NO but I run media from time to time

    Votes: 121 31.6%
  • NO I don't use filter media

    Votes: 108 28.2%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 10 2.6%

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