Lost in the RedSea... but building soon anyway

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Lazy's Coral House

DonTavo27

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Welcome! It seems like you’ve been doing some research. In my experience, both Tunze ATO‘s I’ve owned failed on me within a year. I’ve tried the Smart ATO’s and those seems to have their little quirks as well. I seem to always go back To the JBJ ATO, only thing I do for those is switch the one float switch that sits in the Tank/sump every 2 years for precautionary measures. The Kessil AP9X seems promising! I have the 360X and love it!
 
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Spartan1218

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Welcome! It seems like you’ve been doing some research. In my experience, both Tunze ATO‘s I’ve owned failed on me within a year. I’ve tried the Smart ATO’s and those seems to have their little quirks as well. I seem to always go back To the JBJ ATO, only thing I do for those is switch the one float switch that sits in the Tank/sump every 2 years for precautionary measures. The Kessil AP9X seems promising! I have the 360X and love it!
Appreciate the feedback on that other ATO. I will certainly check it out!
 
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Spartan1218

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I think I am going to mod the sump on the aquarium at install. It looks like a small bit of work but it seems worth removing the filter socks for a Clarisea. I figure the 3000 will work well enough for what I need since it is designed for up to a 160 gallon tank @ 800gph.

I have been looking at the outlay and the more research I do, the more expensive all of this gets. I'm going to have to start prioritizing some of this gear, but I think the Clarisea is a good move at install. I already know I won't be a fan of cleaning the filters socks every couple of days.
 
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Spartan1218

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I am continuing to sort through things and I feel like I'm getting lost in the weeds on what I actually need to start off and where I might be overthinking things a bit. I'm trying to plan ahead, so plumbing will matter. I would prefer to do this all up front even if it is just the plumbing initially with the idea of adding some of these devices later.

From what I can tell, my short list is:
  • Protein Skimmer - Size and vendor still undecided.
  • UV - 25w
  • Roller Filter
I have found a few more things that interest me for this build:
  • Torq G2 Dock and Media Body Reactor (Medium) - Looking at the updated version only that addressed the design flaws with the previous version.
  • 50w Algae Scrubber
I have concerns about available sump space in a Reefer 350 and especially a Reefer XL300. What I am trying to figure out is whether I am overengineering this tank to the point that I could strangle the ecosystem. Seems like a lot of sump equipment for such a small set up. Does that algae scrubber negate the need for the media reactor?
 
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Spartan1218

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Tank ordered. I wound up going with a RedSea Reefer 350 in white and it should be in this week sometime. I didn't feel comfortable going with anything bigger on the 2nd floor.

20211113_153824.jpg


I picked up a few things in the partner raffle yesterday that will help with my tank and today I decided on a few items that I had not previously considered from my local store. They helped me make the decision based on what goals I had for my tank.

  • For lighting, I am going with the Ecotech Radion XR15 x 2.
  • For the power heads, I picked up 2 Ecotech MP40QDs.
20211113_172227.jpg

We're finally starting to make some progress. The tank will be ready before I know it and not a moment too soon. I have a surgery coming up in the next few weeks. As long as I can get the heavy stuff out of the way by putting the tank in place, I figure I'll be fine to mess around with it a bit during recovery. Well, at least until my next surgery a few weeks later. ‍ :D
 
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Spartan1218

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As ridiculous as it may sound to many, I have opted to switch things up a bit and not go with the Ecotech gear. I really do not want to deal with Mobius and I really want everything controlled through the Apex system. A few things I have learned in the last 24 hours:

  1. Neptune Systems REALLY needs to update their web site that lists supported products. Sure, you could control the older gear and even some of the current powerheads at one point, but the device you needed for the Apex unit is no longer made. Makes it basically impossible for new folks like me to do it. That should be made clear on their site.
  2. Mobius has a 1.9/5 rating and I found it hard to find anyone super happy with the system. I don't want multiple management systems for the aquarium. One headache is enough. :)
  3. I am now looking at a few different lights with known working integration with the Apex system and I am looking at both Sicce and Tunze Powerheads for Apex integration as well. For now, I am opting to stay away from the Neptune Powerheads based on reviews that I have seen of them.
More to come!
 

Tcook

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Yeah, you're probably right. If I won't have it up and running all the time, likely way too much price for the function.
I have an IM Nuvo Fusion Pro 20 AIO as an observation tank and the 14 AIO as a QT/hospital tank running all the time. Not an eyesore like some of the QT tanks I ran in the past.
 
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I have an IM Nuvo Fusion Pro 20 AIO as an observation tank and the 14 AIO as a QT/hospital tank running all the time. Not an eyesore like some of the QT tanks I ran in the past.
I think that was the very reason I had considered a full tank setup for it. As of right now though, I have decided to focus on the main tank. I can worry about the QT after. I have a good long while before I need a QT anyway. :)
 

Tcook

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I think I am going to mod the sump on the aquarium at install. It looks like a small bit of work but it seems worth removing the filter socks for a Clarisea. I figure the 3000 will work well enough for what I need since it is designed for up to a 160 gallon tank @ 800gph.

I have been looking at the outlay and the more research I do, the more expensive all of this gets. I'm going to have to start prioritizing some of this gear, but I think the Clarisea is a good move at install. I already know I won't be a fan of cleaning the filters socks every couple of days.
You can also pull the socks and use baskets with polyfill
 
Zoanthids

Tcook

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I think that was the very reason I had considered a full tank setup for it. As of right now though, I have decided to focus on the main tank. I can worry about the QT after. I have a good long while before I need a QT anyway. :)
As long as you use one, imo.
 

AustinBabler

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I have a reefer 250 running a reef octopus varios 4 return. Love that pump and probably won’t ever stray away from it. Only issue I’ve had with the Red Sea ATO is the needle valve to control the flow out of the ATO tank started leaking past the o ring causing a drip. Tried local hardware stores to find a compatible o ring and never found one. Figured since I have a warranty I might as well use it and they replied with just hook the hose directly from the tank to the float valve and skip the flow control valve. It’s been running like that since day one and it’s been fine. I thought I was going to be in for a new ATO unit but this float system is simple and it just works. I will say though I do not like where the ATO tank sits if you have a skimmer. It’s right in the way for watching return pump chamber height, servicing the return pump or cleaning the bubble trap floss.
 
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I have a reefer 250 running a reef octopus varios 4 return. Love that pump and probably won’t ever stray away from it. Only issue I’ve had with the Red Sea ATO is the needle valve to control the flow out of the ATO tank started leaking past the o ring causing a drip. Tried local hardware stores to find a compatible o ring and never found one. Figured since I have a warranty I might as well use it and they replied with just hook the hose directly from the tank to the float valve and skip the flow control valve. It’s been running like that since day one and it’s been fine. I thought I was going to be in for a new ATO unit but this float system is simple and it just works. I will say though I do not like where the ATO tank sits if you have a skimmer. It’s right in the way for watching return pump chamber height, servicing the return pump or cleaning the bubble trap floss.

I like that setup, but I think I would have a problem with it. Since I will be pulling the socks out for the Clarisea, I don't think I can use the ATO reservoir where they have it positioned. I had planned on a new ATO with an external tank on the other side of the cabinet wall. I doubt I will ever have need for a chiller. At least those are my thoughts for now.

Disclaimer: My decisions and logic can change without notice. :D
 

AustinBabler

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I like that setup, but I think I would have a problem with it. Since I will be pulling the socks out for the Clarisea, I don't think I can use the ATO reservoir where they have it positioned. I had planned on a new ATO with an external tank on the other side of the cabinet wall. I doubt I will ever have need for a chiller. At least those are my thoughts for now.

Disclaimer: My decisions and logic can change without notice. :D
Ahhhh yes a clarisea isn’t going to fit worth a dink with the ATO sitting on top…I think mines not long for the world either. I just cleaned my sponge filter for the first time since adding my skimmer and yeah that ATO made it miserable haha.
 
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I am going to go with the Neptune Sky LED system. The control and integration through Apex is worth its weight in gold for me and the system looks great. I think I'll use the XR30 tank mounts and the multi-light track. It will work beautifully!
 
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KK's Reef

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Hello all,

I am normally outside running on trails and competing on obstacle courses, but radiation and chemo have taken a hefty toll over the last year. I have slowed tremendously and I have been looking for a great hobby that is challenging but with a lot less running. I have had a number of freshwater tanks in the past, so I wanted to switch things up a bit and give saltwater a go.

I bet this "build" thread is a bit odd since I do not technically have a tank yet. I have been reading, researching, and deciding what to put together over the last few weeks. I want to take my time now so that I can put it together the right way and at the same time make sure that I have what I need if I ever decide to expand outside of a FOWLR tank. I have a space in my apartment that is 52" wide and 9ft tall. I'm looking to put in a Reefer XL300 or Reefer 350. I'm not sure that I want to go with anything bigger since I worry about putting to much weight on my apartment floor. I also want to be sure that I can keep up with this project. Bigger may not necessarily be better for me right now. I expect to have a tank within 4 weeks or so and begin the real build.

Parts and pieces have been changing almost daily. I am looking at a lot of equipment that I know I don't need right now, but I am doing capacity planning and research up front so that I know what my gear may look like down the road. I realize I may not need a lot of this from the start. I am including everything here to be as complete as I can for the future.

The short list of things as of right now:

  • Tank : RedSea Reefer XL300 or Reefer 350
  • Skimmer: Reefer Skimmer 600
  • Lighting: Kessil AP9X - I realize I do not need this right now, but this light is one I am quite interested in for the future.
  • Return Pump: COR-20 Intelligent Return Pump (2000 GPH) - I am not sure I want to go with this pump, but I have not yet found a pump that seems to be liked universally. I have been able to find a number of bad reviews on pretty much everything I have found. I have been considering this pump because I may want to run an Apex later down the road.
  • ATO: Neptune Systems ATK or Tunze 3155 ATO - I haven't been able to decide on this. Same issue as return pump. It has been difficult to find an ATO that is universally liked. The ATK makes sense if I go with Apex later, but I think the Tunze may be better based on reviews. Really not sure.
  • Heater: IM Helio
  • Controller: Neptune Systems Apex - This one has thrown me for a loop. So many add-ons. Not sure which ones would be necessities and which ones would simply be a nice to have. I have been looking at several of the modules or add-ons. I figure DOS gear is completely unnecessary until I get to the point where I am supporting coral and such.
    • Cor20
    • WSK
    • Flow Monitoring Kit
    • ATK
  • UV: Smart UV 25 Watt - Pentair Aquatics - Not even sure I will ever need this. I have been reading some decent results for its use and Pentair seems like one of the better ones available from what I can tell right now. More research is definitely needed here.
Any thoughts or guidance on what I have listed here is appreciated. Trying to do as much research as I can now to minimize problems and losses later.

Good luck with the build. More importantly, glad that you're healthy.

I would do two Kessil 360X's instead of the AP9X. I hear the spread is much better with two separate modules of lights.
 

TastesLikeChicken

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Thank you a ton for the advice. It is much appreciated.

I had been looking at ATOs because the RedSea mechanism doesn't seem to have much love for its function. I guess it can't hurt to give it a try before investing in another ATO.

Noted on the other devices.
Red Sea gravity ATO sucks. I tossed it and an using a IM ATO that I had from years ago.
 
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Spartan1218

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Red Sea gravity ATO sucks. I tossed it and an using a IM ATO that I had from years ago.
I'm trying to hold out for the new Tunze early next year. If I can limp along long enough until that time it would be awesome. Otherwise, I think I like the idea of using something other than the RS mechanism from the start. Are you referring to the Hydrofill stuff from IM? I have actually been looking at it and want to use that reservoir regardless of whether I use their kit. I have also been looking at the Neptune kit since I will be using Apex for my aquarium.

Brad
 

TastesLikeChicken

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Yes. The hydrofill. The reservoir is nice. But there are other nice brands out there. All of them are expensive for being just a reservoir that you put water into. But they do look good.
The actual ATO I am very pleased with. I like the sensors. The only problem I’ve had is the electrical attachment to the pump has corroded from the saltwater and doesn’t always make contact, so the pump doesn’t always work. I believe ice cap ATO and of course JBJ had good reviews.
I have a refer 350 on the second floor. You were wise not to go any bigger because of weight. It’s a solid tank from a solid brand. You will enjoy it. It’s an excellent tank to start with.
With respect to lights my goal is to buy the Kessil AP9x in the future as well. I have radions and they are good but I don’t like the look of the mounts.
 

wilsonline

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Part of this thread sounds like my build. It's really not easy to advise people. I don't know if I tell you what equipment to buy or to just run away while you can lol.
Ok, let's make this clear, this is not an easy or simple hobby, but the opposite. And definitely not cheap, you may get to the point that feels like you're stuck with this. We're easily talking about 5 to 50 k. Yes, just with a red sea 350. That's why I feel bad about advising people to buy this or that lol. But looks like you have already jumped in. Poor guy, you have no idea where you're going to be in the next year with this.
Ok. Now talking about the easier part, the equipment.
All here are my personal preferences. Yes, I had both GHL and Neptune stuff, ATO from red sea Neptune and Tunxe (only the nano though). So, yes, I do have decent experience with different equipment. And it's still not simple and easy to responsibly advise on that matter. So have in mind that some of this is just my personal preference and what I did.
Tank, ok, you already bought it. I have the first version of the RS350. It's a good tank. But I want a much larger one now and at the same time, I wish I went and stick with a nano lol. I'm lucky that my tanks are on the first floor. In your case, I think you took the right decision if you're on a wood structure. If the apartment has a concrete slab oh well I think I would be tempted to go larger with something like the 500xl. I say that bc I have 2 tangs and I can say this rs350 is way too small for them. They fight all the time. I'm already working on the next tank, but this will take a while.
So if you want to have tangs, get them small, really small, and all of them in one shot.
Oh, s, here I am talking about problems lol. Ok, back to the equipment.
ATO. I run the ATK V2 on a red sea 250. I like this. All in the Apex screen. No issues so far. Nothing that wasn't my own mistake lol. On the RS350 I still run the stock ATO. But I have the DOS pulling 4.5 liters of RODI water to the tank daily. I should have bought another ATK V2, but I bought a used one and the seller sent it missing the pump and the magnet lol. Yeah, lost $120, and that kind of put me off on that.
So, what I can say is, the only problem with the stock ATO is the small container. You have to remember o close the valve while doing maintenance but that's with any ato.
The ATK V2 is my preference though. Just for the cool factor and to have it on the apex screen. And it tells you when the freshwater container is empty. It shuts off.
See one simple little detail and we already have a full page lol. It's crazy how many details we have to pay attention to this hobby.
 
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AquaCave

Have you ever had a nano reef tank?

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