New aquarium dream outfitting - 60ish galllons.

mousehunter

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I know similar threads have been discussed before, and I have done some effort to research them - probably over 100hrs of research at this point (somewhere between research burnout and information overload). I have a 60cm cube (roughly 2' and 56 gallons) and a Kessil A360 (marginal spread, but it should work). I am planning on a 20T sump, but can oversize the stand and maybe squeeze a 29 gallon into it (without making a custom sized sump). Not a whole lot of room for a refugium and ATO reservoir - but still working on that layout.

I am coming into this with some emotional baggage. I have maintained a high tech planted tank on and off for 15 years. I know the salt water tank will be even more maintenance, but I do want to limit/automate as much as possible if it is not ridiculously costly. Given the cost of livestock and time to grow out the tank - my WAG budget is 4k for the tank equipment (not counting tank and light - which is kind of inline with this thread https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/how-much-for-75g.1054019/). Going under budget is great - I just picked that number out of the air so I don't get sticker shock too easily. My current tank has mechanical filtration issues, so that is more emotional baggage - I am planning on trying to squeeze a roller filter into that sump.

So given that budget - what would be your dream equipment, test kits, supplements, etc... - all the other stuff.

My current wish list is the following:
Apex Pro with both Trident modules.
Reef Factory Smart Roller (S or M)
400 Watt Helio PTC Smart Heater
Reef Octopus 110SSS (I fear I will have space issues - but will build the sump before I order this)
Osmolator 3 Auto Top Off
Jax Racks baffle kit.
will need an RODI system - I am too far from a LFS to deal with buying water
will need wavemakers - I just have not researched them yet - so as a placeholder BRS 7 stage (my tap water is not good).
I have not budgeted for auto dosers, but suspect someone might recommend them.

So just looking at that list - I might have to readjust my budget by another k. The Apex is the budget killer, but knowing I am in for $3k, what is another $2k if it saves time and increases the chances of success. The livestock will eventually cost more than that anyway (just being depressingly realistic). FWIW, my background is accounting - I try to be realistic with budgets, even when realistic is depressing and something nobody really likes to hear.

Thanks for suggestions - items/brands. Feel free to flame me for my ignorance.
 
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Formulator

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Although I have an apex and trident, I would suggest saving that money for livestock and other equipment. You are buying a lot of high end equipment that already comes with automation and the apex control would be redundant. You can test manually a few times per week and won’t have significant enough consumption of Alk/Ca to warrant daily testing or dosing for quite some time unless you plan to plop large established coral colonies in there from the start. So you could wait on the dosing pump too. Salifert test kits have never failed me in 8 years of using them, though I did have to splurge on a hannah for accurate low range nitrate testing. The sample prep is a pain though. Don’t go over the top with supplements when you are first starting out. You are more likely to mess something up than help anything. All you really need for the first year or so IMO is reef crystals, RODI water, and some BRS 2-part. Maybe keep a bottle of seachem prime or Ammo-X for emergency use. Oh, and I’m a big proponent of running a carbon reactor. For me its a nice safety factor in case my wife sprays febreeze in the tank or I dip my hand in there after using bug spray (this really happened once). It also helps keep the water clear and protect corals from their own biochemical warfare.

7 stage RODI is a bit over the top in my opinion unless your tap is super hard or dirty. 4 stage works just fine for most folks, especially with a relatively small tank. I love my helios heaters, good choice there. A lot of people love the osmolator but I prefer the Avast ATO which is a much simpler design and rarely if ever fails due to the unique pressure switch design. Other than that, I think you have your bases covered pretty well already.
 
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mousehunter

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Thank you for the reply. I need to get a copy of the water report from my town - but reading prior years reports left me less than hopeful. I know I have a lot of luggage going into this project and it is probably clouding my judgement a bit, that and information overload reading this forum for hours a day.
 

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