Getting Back Into the Hobby

BigTerp

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Hi all. I'm getting back into the reef keeping hobby after being out for about 10 years. Previously had a 10 gallon nano with various soft corals and a few fish and shrimp. Honestly, it's been so long I don't remember exactly what all I had. The tank itself did GREAT. Coral flourished as well as the fish. That is up until we moved. With the move to our new house I lost interest/motivation and the tank quickly went to crap. Sold everything and am now looking to get back into the hobby.

Plan is something in the 40 gallon(ish) range (cube preferred) with an appropriate size sump. My previous 10 gallon was upkept with only a hang on the back mechanical filter with a little bit of LR rubble, weekly water changes and the obvious LR and sand in the tank itself. So the sump addition and all that is included with that, is foreign to me. This is where most of my questions lie.

What tanks do you guys recommend? Rimless would be nice, but not necessary. I'm trying to get some decent stuff this time around, but the budget isn't limitless. I'm also planning on drilling and installing my own bulkheads for overflow and return from sump. Or should I consider getting one pre-drilled? I'm a decent enough handyman that I can handle cutting and gluing PVC and running all the necessary plumbing. Cutting aquarium glass and installing an overflow seems a bit intimidating though.

For the sump I was thinking a 20 gallon long. Is that overkill for something like a 40 gallon display?

Anything else sump wise anyone wants to school me on, feel free. I'm uneducated in them in pretty much every aspect. I'm talking protein skimmers, return pumps, DIY baffles, etc., etc., etc. The beauty of my old 10 gallon was the simplicity. But I'm ready for the increased stability and ability for more/different fish and more/different coral with a larger setup w/sump.

What GPH flow do I want in something like a 40 gallon? I plan to do the standard soft corals (shrooms, zoa's etc.) would like an anemone to accommodate a pair of clownfish and want the ability/flexibility to dabble into LPS and SPS. I know SPS takes higher flow than LPS and softies, but I'm not sure what that really means. Am I basing my GPH flow on tank size or planned livestock or both?

Lastly, what am I gaining by going with a 40 gallon over say a 30? By that I mean, what more/different fish and/or corals can I do in a 40 over a 30 or 25? I'm thinking 40 will be about my limit, but am open to a 50 or 55 if it REALLY opens the possibilities for different type of fish and corals.

Please feel free to add anything you wish. I'm a fan of DIY, so will probably stick with that type of approach. I'm just scratching the surface of getting back into this hobby and am currently in the research stage. So still a LONG ways to go. I have noticed things have changed quite a bit since I got out of the hobby and appreciate any and all help/comments!!!
 
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BigTerp

BigTerp

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I know you mentioned you want a sump, but personally for tanks I would say upto 40 gallons I dont think one is necessary. Have you looked into AIO systems. If I was going to get a 40 gallon tank, I would definitely get an AIO system.
Thanks for the reply.

Yes, I have looked into the AIO systems, but have 2 concerns with them. The sump/filter area of an AIO taking up valuable tank space which in a 40, or less, is already limited. Secondly, with a sump I can get increased water volume and added/increased filtration via a refugium. I'd like to start with the ability to eventually grow into LPS and SPS type coral. That includes the ability for the system to handle the gph flow those types of coral require, proper or expandable lighting from the start as well as the filter capacity and water volume to handle a decent bioload. I certainly don't plan to overstock my fish, but with a say 20 gallon sump for a 40 I'm basically increasing the bioload the system can handle and process. That should give the ability to comfortably keep a few extra fish versus a same size AIO and a better environment for those more finicky type of coral.

I like the simplicity of an AIO for sure, but I feel like I'm getting better bang for my buck with a 40 and sump. I'm leaning towards a 40 breeder with 20 long sump. I don't ever see myself going bigger, so I'd like to get the most out of what I've got.
 
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shakacuz

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20G sump for a 40G is definitely not overkill. the bigger the sump, the less clutter you'll have in your DT, and the more room you'll have to put rock, bio media, etc in the sump if you want additional filtration. i personally run a 40B, with a 20G long sump. drilling and plumbing is actually easier than what you'd think! all of this i did on my tank, and has no hiccups other than my own paranoia of something going wrong. difference of a 30 and 40 is dimensions/water capacity. same for any bigger tank. lastly, you really base your GPH with what you'll have in the tank. if mainly SPS, you'll want higher GPH. since you seem like you'll have a mixed reef down the road, maybe 1 or 2 AI nero 3's would suffice, and set them to how you want.
 
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BigTerp

BigTerp

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20G sump for a 40G is definitely not overkill. the bigger the sump, the less clutter you'll have in your DT, and the more room you'll have to put rock, bio media, etc in the sump if you want additional filtration. i personally run a 40B, with a 20G long sump. drilling and plumbing is actually easier than what you'd think! all of this i did on my tank, and has no hiccups other than my own paranoia of something going wrong. difference of a 30 and 40 is dimensions/water capacity. same for any bigger tank. lastly, you really base your GPH with what you'll have in the tank. if mainly SPS, you'll want higher GPH. since you seem like you'll have a mixed reef down the road, maybe 1 or 2 AI nero 3's would suffice, and set them to how you want.

Thanks!! Do you have a build thread or anything I could check out? Like I said, I'm leaning pretty heavily towards a 40B with 20 long sump. Would be interested to see how you have things setup.

What tank(s) did you go with?

What kind of overflow are you using? I've been looking into the Bean Animal type of overflow.

As far as flow goes, I'm planning on a well mixed type reef. If anything, it'll be heavier on the softie side with a good mix of LPS and SPS .I'll have to do my research on what type of SPS I'd eventually like and base my system off of that maximum flow. But it looks like I'll need a minimum of 40x turnover.

What type of flow are you getting with your system and how are you accomplishing it?
 

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