First Reef Tank - Final Equipment List - Want feedback on selections

Discussion in 'New to Saltwater & Reef Aquariums? Post Here' started by Dodgersfan, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. Dodgersfan

    Dodgersfan Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Hi Everyone!

    I've been in the hobby for about 10 years, but I've only kept freshwater and Fish Only saltwater in the past. after bouncing around both coasts for a few years we have now settled down outside of Atlanta, and purchased a home a few months ago. Now that we're going to stay in one place for a while I decided the time was right to take the plunge on the reef tank I've always been wanting to do. I've got my equipment list finalized, and I'm looking to get some feedback on the items I've chosen, if you'd change anything and why. The Tank will be a 90 Gallon (Aquaeon center overflow type) I've already purchased a custom stand & hood from a LFS (with side door and mounting board for controller) but haven't picked up the tank yet, planning on picking that up next week. I've also got the Sump, an Eshoppes ADV-200 (the previous generation with the large chamber in front, not the current one) I stumbled across it on Amazon for $84 bucks shipped and it was just too good of a deal to pass up, so i grabbed it. I've also got an Apex classic I picked up 1 year old on Ebay for close to half price. I'm working on a budget of $200/week for ALL hobbies (I'm unfortunately into some expensive one's, I've put off buying any more guns for the next couple of months until i get this up and running, but still spend some money on ammo and range time every now and then... also thinking of getting a boat next summer... but I've been saving since mid summer, so I've got a small pile of cash ready to go) anyway, here's the list of equipment I've settled on, my goal is to have water & rock in tank in the next 4 weeks and be stocking by late November. so I'll need to stay around the price points below for each item, or subtract from one place to add somewhere else) without further ado, here's the list:

    • Powerheads: Apex WAV Kit $500
    • Skimmer: Bubble Magus NAC5.5 - $180 or Reef Octopus 2000 HOB for $240 (See this thread for my dilemma on sump layout and skimmer location: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/sump-fuge-layout-help.325960/#post-4049266 )
    • Return Pump: Reef Octopus Various 2 - $195 or Jabao 4000 DC pump - $80 - really curious to get the feedback if the Reef octopus is worth the extra cost, i know its Apex ready, but cant i control the Jabao through one of the 0-10 DC ports on the apex?
    • Lights: was going to settle for Mars Aqua before signing up here for $200, but after reading around a bit and seeing how much more SB Lights offer for $80 bucks extra, I'm planning on going with the SB's, unless there's something better i should be looking at that's under $400. I'd prefer to get the single 32" bar because if the included moonlights & 3rd channel, but my hood height is only 12" so I'm going to have dark edges, aren't I? can I mount 2 16"s side by side using the mounting legs? i don't think these have a hood install option, do they? should i just get the Apex LSM and not worry about the moonlights on the SB's?
    • Heater: haven't even begun looking into them, can anyone recommend an a good one of appropriate size under $100 bucks?
    • Feeder: Apex AFS
    • Apex ATK is in the plans down the line as well, but probably after I've been up and running for a few months. DOS might be in my distant future too, depending on what kind of success or failure i find without it...

    I appreciate any and all feedback!

    P.S. Corals will be pretty much LPS and Zoas. no SPS. as far as fish goes it'll almost be a wrasse only tank except for a few others.
     

  2. dwwataz

    dwwataz wrasse enthusiast R2R Supporter

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    I love me some wrasses. Good luck on the new build!
     
  3. Mr.Rocc

    Mr.Rocc Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Get the SB reef lights! They are great lights! I love them! However, to answer your question about putting the two 16s on one mount. It wont work unless you custom make it.
    The auto feeder from Neptune is ok... I have it and never really use it since it feeds to much for my 40. I wasn't super impressed.
    Jager makes great heaters plus you can get like 4 of them for under 100$
    I would get the auto top off with the rest of your gear to help keep your PH up.
     
  4. Dodgersfan

    Dodgersfan Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Thanks for the Reply, do you think installing the mount front to rear on each of the 16"s would work with a hood or would it get in the way of the hood sitting on top of the tank/opening/closing? or I wonder if I could rig up some sort of bracket to secure to the top of the hood that would latch onto the four mounting points for hanger wires?

    RE: the auto feeders, I don't think I've seen many positive reviews about any brand of them, but wrasses need several feedings a day and I'm usually at work 10-12 hours a day, so I need something, I figured I'd just go with the Apex feeder since I have an apex already. Also since wrasses are jumpers and I'll have a screen on top of the DT i was thinking of setting the feeder up on the return compartment of the sump, that way the Return pump would put the food in the tank, any potential issues with that? or instead of using screens would a better option be to just completely seal up the back of my hood?
     
  5. dwwataz

    dwwataz wrasse enthusiast R2R Supporter

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    I read the reviews on the auto feeders and was put off myself. I'm currently on disability so it isn't an issue at the moment, but I do hvac and am also gone a good 10-14 hours a day. I time my lights to my schedule. My mh runs 8 hours a day but my t5s run 13 hours. More often than not I still get a couple feedings in. They also pick at copepods too though. My wrasses and my dragonette are all fat and happy.
     
  6. Mr.Rocc

    Mr.Rocc Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I dont think you will get what you want out of putting the lights the other way. I would go with the 32" since your doing lps and softies but with these lights you still have an opportunity for sps. Unless you want to rig a bracket to hang this might be your only option but im assuming its a 4 foot tank.

    That makes total sense and it is super controllable so yea I would go with that one. If I had a sump I would put it on the return end. I turn off my return and power heads during feeding i dont know if this is something you want to do but it makes it easier for the fish to get it. Get a screen top, to many people find their wrasses on the floor or in their overflow because they dont have a top.
     
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  7. dwwataz

    dwwataz wrasse enthusiast R2R Supporter

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    X100. Only because I happened to be home at the time did I save them, but I picked up my exquisite wrasse once and my lubbock's wrasse twice off the floor. That was with an egg crate cover too. Definitely invest in a screen of some sort
     
  8. Dodgersfan

    Dodgersfan Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    The hood I bought is completely enclosed except for a small strip at the back for electrical cords, if I closed that off with the a piece of plywood and just drilled holes for the cords (&covered the top of the overflow) would that be an option? Or am I overthinking it?
     
  9. dwwataz

    dwwataz wrasse enthusiast R2R Supporter

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    To be honest, I don't have a hood. I'd imagine, though, that if you sealed off that strip you'd be ok? Unless there's a huge ledge in there or something that they could land on
     
  10. Dodgersfan

    Dodgersfan Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Yes it's 4', I'm worried that at less than 12" above the water that I'm going to end up with dark edges with the 32" fixture. I may have to rig something up to support both 16" fixtures...

    Any thoughts on the return pump or skimmer?
     
  11. Dodgersfan

    Dodgersfan Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Sounds like it's time to start posting pics... there's only about a 1" ledge in the front, but I'll have to come up with an overflow cover, putting the feeder on the return chamber is probably going to be cleaner and easier to refill, guess I'll. Red to experiment with it to see how long it takes the return pump to suck up all the food and program it to shut off about a minute after it's gotten all the food into the DT. Any thoughts on the skimmers/pumps?
     
  12. XNavyDiver

    XNavyDiver Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Sounds like you're basing much of your choices around the Apex. If that's the case I would suggest going with the 2016. If you're like most, you'll be upgrading sometime in the future anyways, and the classic is going the way all "computers" go...its becoming obsolete. By the time the Trident gets released you may want to encorperate that into your system and Neptune has already said it will not be backward compatible. Just an fyi for down the road.;)

    Ps- we all start with the soft stuff at first, but soon find out it just doesn't deliver what it used to and we end up on the Hard stuff in the end. The demon SPS will bite into you someday... Just sayin'.​
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017
  13. Dodgersfan

    Dodgersfan Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    . The new apex didn't work with the budget, I got the classic for 300 including shipping off eBay, that was about the most I could sink into a controller, I may upgrade two years or so down the line, I'm sure I'll have a second tank going by then (thinking about putting a nano in the office) so I'll have somewhere to put the old apex ;)
    lol you're probably right, it's not that I have anything against it, it's a little bit intimidating for a first tank, plus 90% of the time when something catches my eye it's LPS, which is why I decided to start there, but I'm sure like everything in this hobby the addiction will grow over the years :)
     
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