First Reef Tank - Options/Advice

First Tank Decision

  • Fluval Evo 13.5 AIO

    Votes: 2 16.7%
  • 40 Gallon Breeder (Separate Parts)

    Votes: 6 50.0%
  • 75 Gallon (Separate Parts)

    Votes: 4 33.3%
  • IM 15 Cube Starter (Empty)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    12

Pennywise the Salty Guy

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Hello again R2R!

I am enthusiastically planning my first tank. I’ve tried my best to go used but have had too many setbacks and am settling on going new.

I added my current ideas to the poll. It should be noted that for the 40/75 I would be using HOB equipment for a while to start.

Im trying to balance long term use and a realistic budget to get running effectively.

Open to other ideas or questions to help get some advice. Thanks Reefers!
 
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Pennywise the Salty Guy

Pennywise the Salty Guy

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All good choices entirely depending on budget. Without knowing what that is...it's your call. You may hear arguments about ease relating to size but they'll all work for sure

The budget is flexible somewhat. Maybe a center point of $400-$500 for budget options with room to upgrade components later?
 

adittam

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You have wildly different size options listed here, which seems to say that your main driving factor is price.
If that’s the case, I would recommend going with the biggest base system you can afford including filtration, and then adding lights last, when you have saved up for them. This is because it’s a lot easier and more cost effective to start with the tank size you ultimately want than to upgrade tank sizes and/or try to add a sump to a running tank down the road. On the other hand, you don’t need pricey lights until you want to keep corals. For the first few months or longer, you can get your tank running and water quality stable without lights by running it as a FOWLR system.
 
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Pennywise the Salty Guy

Pennywise the Salty Guy

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You have wildly different size options listed here, which seems to say that your main driving factor is price.
If that’s the case, I would recommend going with the biggest base system you can afford including filtration, and then adding lights last, when you have saved up for them. This is because it’s a lot easier and more cost effective to start with the tank size you ultimately want than to upgrade tank sizes and/or try to add a sump to a running tank down the road. On the other hand, you don’t need pricey lights until you want to keep corals. For the first few months or longer, you can get your tank running and water quality stable by running it as a FOWLR system.

Thanks for the input. I think I’m split on AIO vs custom. The 40 and 75 aren’t that far off in price for the tank, and as far as I know that costs is similar in HOB gear for both. The aqua scape would be a bit more for the 75 though. Either way with those I’d be making my own RODI water.

I’m worried that buying separate parts will add up faster than I expect.
 

TokenReefer

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I’m worried that buying separate parts will add up faster than I expect.
It definitely can especially factoring used equipment from people exiting the hobby. I didn't even consider this when I started; wish I had. But I also didn't use r2r then so your ahead of the game asking questions first; good idea
 

adittam

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You can run a good reef system for a long time with HOB equipment. That said, if you’re going to want to hide things like heaters, filters, temperature, probes, from view in the display tank, you’re going to need either an all in one set up or a sump. It’s much easier to set either one of those up from the beginning, than after you already have a running tank. If you do decide to go with HOB equipment, Seachem Tidal filters are some of the best for reef tanks because they pull from the water column and surface skim.
 

Piscans

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if you have only 500, i would do the evo. if you can afford more, id do the 40. if you were really cheap with it, no rodi water system included, you could set up a 40g for 500 no livestock or anything with a cheap viparspectra light and dirt cheap pumps, sand, & live rock. (you need live rock to be succesful imo). you dont really need a sump or any filter if you have a lot of live rock, and live sand. you just need flow and a light fish stock.
 

shakacuz

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bigger, the better. also you don’t necessarily have to “star” the tank. you can just keep saving or looking for deals to come by.

i’m upgrading to a 75(hoping to find a 90g), but i’m taking my time getting deals
 

Piscans

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if i was setting up a new tank with 500, id get a 30g (36*12*16) (that might be a 29g) about 2000 gph of powerheads, a viparspectra, 10-20lb gulf live rock, 40 lb caribsea sand.
 

adittam

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Also, 40 breeders really can’t be beat for budget setups. You can set the up with HOB equipment or an AIO insert, the tank is dirt cheap, and it gives you a ton of flexibility for attractive aquascaping. That said, I’d still go with a 75 if you can swing it. Bigger gives you more fish options.

Of the options you have listed, the EVO would be my last choice. There’s nothing wrong with it, but all of the other options are better for one reason or another.
 

RocketEngineer

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On a budget? 40B would be my choice. Initially, you just need a tank and stand, heater, and a couple powerheads to get started. Top off by hand as needed, water changes once a week are a 5G bucket. Once up and running you can save for things like lighting or an ATO.
 

PatW

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I go by the notion that the bigger the better within reason. The 40 gallon breeder is a good size as is the 75. It is not that hard to rig up an overflow and a sump. You make a sump out of a glass tank like a 20 long for a 40 gallon breeder and maybe a 40 gallon breeder for a 75, You can put most of your equipment in the sump: filter socks, refugium, skimmer or whatever else your heart desires.
 

adittam

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A few more random advice tidbits to save you money (I'm a complete cheapskate, and love trying to do successful reefing on a budget).

  • Don't waste your money on an API test kit. It's borderline useless, and you're better off putting that money toward better test kits right off the bat. You also don't need to spend a bajillion dollars on a whole set of Hanna testers, however. I've found that Salifert test kits are a great balance of affordable and accurate.
  • Do a bunch of research on what lights you want before you buy them. They can be the most expensive component of your system, and if you change your mind after the fact, you're going to lose some money reselling them. You definitely don't need the latest, greatest lights if you're trying to stay within a budget. That said, there are definitely differences between different light options, and not all lights are going to give your corals the same quality of light.
  • I'd highly recommend investing in a RO/DI system off the bat; it's a lot cheaper long term than buying pre-made RO water. The Aquaticlife RO Buddie is a lot cheaper than some of the other options out there, and the only downside is that's it's slower. 0 TDS RO water is 0 TDS RO water, whether it came from a $300 system or a $60 system.
 

Ingenuity against algae: Do you use DIY methods for controlling nuisance algae?

  • I have used DIY methods for controlling algae.

    Votes: 20 48.8%
  • I use commercial methods for controlling algae, but never DIY methods.

    Votes: 11 26.8%
  • I have not used commercial or DIY methods for controlling algae.

    Votes: 9 22.0%
  • Other.

    Votes: 1 2.4%
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