New Tank first time ever

newreef1

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Good afternoon everyone. I had saved up money and after successfully passing my finals last semester decided to gift myself a new tank. I had a 55 gallon freshwater tank which I replaced with a Red Sea 750XXL unaware of all the details and how much goes into a reef tank, I now feel stupid and very uninformed. I'm hoping you guys here, many of who have years of reefing experience will help me out because with such a large tank I need all the help possible. Until now I had to do research to find out exactly what I needed because the tank didnt come with everything.
I now have the tank, return pump installed, a protein skimmer (does it suck up the water from the sump and return it back to the next part in sump, I haven't yet figured out how that works), I finally got my RODI filter which I'm draining the 30 gallons to clean the cartridges I'm using the 44 gallon Brute trash cans, I have my Red Sea coral salt coming in, and I know I still need to purchase a water heater and the lights for the tank (which I'm saving up for because literally all my savings have been exhausted). I'm hoping to have my tank cycling by the end of the week can you guys give me a quick walk through of what I should do to fill my tank for the first time. I saw someone say that the Red Sea salt you should not mix for more than 2 hours because it'll evaporate a lot of the essential minerals and additives in the salt. Can I make extra RODI water and leave it for the future, like one 44 gallon Brute and use the other to mix salt water, is the salt water good mixed for some time? Does it not work as well if left it for too long? I also purchased the CaribSea ocean live sand, the bag says don't rinse, but what do you guys think I should do?
 
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lapin

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The skimmer should take in water then exit out down steam so you are not re skimming the same water
The salt will be fine mixed ahead of time. You could save some money by using a less expensive salt mix.
Rinse the sand unless you want a big cloudy mess. Rinse it again. The bacteria will stick to the sand like glue unless its dead. Then you dont want it anyway.
No mention of rock and bottled bacteria
 
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newreef1

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The skimmer should take in water then exit out down steam so you are not re skimming the same water
The salt will be fine mixed ahead of time. You could save some money by using a less expensive salt mix.
Rinse the sand unless you want a big cloudy mess. Rinse it again. The bacteria will stick to the sand like glue unless its dead. Then you dont want it anyway.
No mention of rock and bottled bacteria
Hey Thanks for the quick help, I have purchased some rock not live, and no bottle of bacteria yet (any recommendations). I purchased the bags of sand a week or so ago and have been in my garage since, how do I know if the sand's bacteria is dead or not? Also when I fill the tank it will automatically overflow and start filling the sump right? Once the sump is filled I should start the pumps? The tank also came with an top off which I heard I should fill with plain RODI water, that is suppose to slowly drip into the sump's return pump chamber so it accounts for the evaporated water is that correct? I also had a plastic hygrometer but I purchased a refractometer can I return one of them?

#reefsquad
 

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I'm hoping to be able to grow some coral and maybe sell them to help gain back some of the savings I used during this, is that possible?
Definitely! Just don't rush things. Do lots of research on the corals you're thinking about...and do it NOW. That way you don't buy equipment that you don't need, or buy the wrong equipment, to maintain the corals you want.
 

DocRose

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Hey Thanks for the quick help, I have purchased some rock not live, and no bottle of bacteria yet (any recommendations). I purchased the bags of sand a week or so ago and have been in my garage since, how do I know if the sand's bacteria is dead or not? Also when I fill the tank it will automatically overflow and start filling the sump right? Once the sump is filled I should start the pumps? The tank also came with an top off which I heard I should fill with plain RODI water, that is suppose to slowly drip into the sump's return pump chamber so it accounts for the evaporated water is that correct? I also had a plastic hygrometer but I purchased a refractometer can I return one of them?

#reefsquad
Lots to go over here!

1. Check the expiration date on the bag. Usually on the back.

2. I wouldn't fill the tank and use the over-flow to fill the sump. Personally, I fill the tank all the way to the overflow line. Then I fill my sump to the level I want it to be at. Adjust my ATO float to the level in the last chamber. Finally, I top off the tank just to get the overflow going and as soon as that happens (you see the water level in the sump rising), turn on the return pump.

3. Yes, ATO gets filled with RO/DI water, NOT saltwater.

4. If you're going to return one of them, return the hydrometer. While refractometers can be wrong too, you're more likely to get an incorrect reading from those plastic hydrometers.
 
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newreef1

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Lots to go over here!

1. Check the expiration date on the bag. Usually on the back.

2. I wouldn't fill the tank and use the over-flow to fill the sump. Personally, I fill the tank all the way to the overflow line. Then I fill my sump to the level I want it to be at. Adjust my ATO float to the level in the last chamber. Finally, I top off the tank just to get the overflow going and as soon as that happens (you see the water level in the sump rising), turn on the return pump.

3. Yes, ATO gets filled with RO/DI water, NOT saltwater.

4. If you're going to return one of them, return the hydrometer. While refractometers can be wrong too, you're more likely to get an incorrect reading from those plastic hydrometers.
Thank you so much for the reply.
1. Ill check the expiration to make sure.
2. How much should I fill the sump? If I start filling in the first chamber where it will flow from the tank anyways I'm assuming the water will automatically flow to the other chambers. I also didnt know the float valve pipe gets attached to the ATO, its currently just folded in the last chamber where the return pump is.
3. Thank you
4. Sounds good, I figured the plastic hygrometer wasn't accurate anyways.
Also do I need anything else for cycling the tank? Do I need the bacteria bottle, is assumed the bacteria from the sand will cycle the tank, also now that the bacteria is going to be in the sand after adding the water I guess I need to add the water heater to the tank right to keep the bacteria alive? Any recommendations for a water heater, do I really need a fancy one with the led control, I used a small one with a dial for my 55 gallon FW?

And for the coral, do you recommend any corals which are easy to grow, look nice and get decent money for maybe around $20 or so for a frag? Also what fish do you recommend for the tank? Sorry for bombarding you with questions.
 

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2. How much should I fill the sump? If I start filling in the first chamber where it will flow from the tank anyways I'm assuming the water will automatically flow to the other chambers. I also didnt know the float valve pipe gets attached to the ATO, its currently just folded in the last chamber where the return pump is.
This depends on the sump and the way the baffles are. Some sumps the baffle between the first and second chamber has slots/holes in it so water can flow from the first chamber into the second, without having to flow over the top of the baffle. If this is the case, the level is up to you, so long as it's at or above those slots/holes. Otherwise, the level in the first chamber has to be higher than the baffle. And yes, I can't be certain without seeing it, but generally an ATO has a float valve that hangs on the side of the sump and goes down into the water. When the water level drops and opens the valve, it lets the water flow in from the reservoir. Keep in mind this means your ATO reservoir needs to be elevated higher than the sump.
Also do I need anything else for cycling the tank? Do I need the bacteria bottle, is assumed the bacteria from the sand will cycle the tank, also now that the bacteria is going to be in the sand after adding the water I guess I need to add the water heater to the tank right to keep the bacteria alive? Any recommendations for a water heater, do I really need a fancy one with the led control, I used a small one with a dial for my 55 gallon FW?
You don't NEED the bottle of bacteria, but it helps speed up the cycling process. The bacteria from the sand just helps speed up the process as well, but I would say it's not enough of it to really get the bacteria levels going on the rock. A seed rock or the bottle is the way to go.

Honestly, the heater doesn't matter. They're so affordable these days just get one that's rated for your total water volume. You've got 160g in your display, so let's figure probably about 140 gallons of water in the display, plus I usually go with about 75% of whatever volume my sump/refugium holds. So if you've got a 40g sump, you'd need a heater that's rated for about 180-200g of water. Or two that are rated for 100-125g. No need to be fancy. Most people get one and then another one as a backup in case one fails.

With that said, make sure the water is up to temp before you add bacteria to the tank. Too cold (or too hot) you'll stress and kill the bacteria.
And for the coral, do you recommend any corals which are easy to grow, look nice and get decent money for maybe around $20 or so for a frag? Also what fish do you recommend for the tank? Sorry for bombarding you with questions.
I'm too new to corals to make any recommendations. As far as fish, find some that you like that are good for your size tank, that are reef safe. Also look into their temperment and make sure they will get along with any other fish you will ever get. Start small once the cycle is complete with 1 or 2 fish and then wait about a month before adding any more. Your bacteria levels need time to adjust between adding life to the tank so they can keep up with the waste produced.

And no need to be sorry! That's what we're here for. It's better to ask a ton of questions and get things right the first time. Than to not ask, and your tank blows up in your face. No worse heartache than that IMO.
 
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newreef1

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This depends on the sump and the way the baffles are. Some sumps the baffle between the first and second chamber has slots/holes in it so water can flow from the first chamber into the second, without having to flow over the top of the baffle. If this is the case, the level is up to you, so long as it's at or above those slots/holes. Otherwise, the level in the first chamber has to be higher than the baffle. And yes, I can't be certain without seeing it, but generally an ATO has a float valve that hangs on the side of the sump and goes down into the water. When the water level drops and opens the valve, it lets the water flow in from the reservoir. Keep in mind this means your ATO reservoir needs to be elevated higher than the sump.

You don't NEED the bottle of bacteria, but it helps speed up the cycling process. The bacteria from the sand just helps speed up the process as well, but I would say it's not enough of it to really get the bacteria levels going on the rock. A seed rock or the bottle is the way to go.

Honestly, the heater doesn't matter. They're so affordable these days just get one that's rated for your total water volume. You've got 160g in your display, so let's figure probably about 140 gallons of water in the display, plus I usually go with about 75% of whatever volume my sump/refugium holds. So if you've got a 40g sump, you'd need a heater that's rated for about 180-200g of water. Or two that are rated for 100-125g. No need to be fancy. Most people get one and then another one as a backup in case one fails.

With that said, make sure the water is up to temp before you add bacteria to the tank. Too cold (or too hot) you'll stress and kill the bacteria.

I'm too new to corals to make any recommendations. As far as fish, find some that you like that are good for your size tank, that are reef safe. Also look into their temperment and make sure they will get along with any other fish you will ever get. Start small once the cycle is complete with 1 or 2 fish and then wait about a month before adding any more. Your bacteria levels need time to adjust between adding life to the tank so they can keep up with the waste produced.

And no need to be sorry! That's what we're here for. It's better to ask a ton of questions and get things right the first time. Than to not ask, and your tank blows up in your face. No worse heartache than that IMO.
Thanks so much again, I'll order my water heater and see if I can get a bottle of nice bacteria also. My ATO sits on top of my sump, there also a divider in there if I want to make a refugium in the future but I'm going to wait on that for now. I'll post a pic of the sump on here just to make sure that my sump is correctly done and to show if my protein skimmer is placed correctly. Ill also check on the baffles. With that said it seems like I need a water heater before I fill my tank with sand and water, would it be okay if I wait for the lights for some time? Do the bacteria need that for cycling? Also its alright to make RODI water and save it for later right?
 

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Get a quality heater. Eheim Jager is my preference.

Bio-Spira works well and is cheaper than the alternatives for cycling.

No lights necessary for cycling.

RODI can be stored long term.
 
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DocRose

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Thanks so much again, I'll order my water heater and see if I can get a bottle of nice bacteria also. My ATO sits on top of my sump, there also a divider in there if I want to make a refugium in the future but I'm going to wait on that for now. I'll post a pic of the sump on here just to make sure that my sump is correctly done and to show if my protein skimmer is placed correctly. Ill also check on the baffles. With that said it seems like I need a water heater before I fill my tank with sand and water, would it be okay if I wait for the lights for some time? Do the bacteria need that for cycling? Also its alright to make RODI water and save it for later right?
Lights are irrelevant until you have corals. And yes you need the heater to maintain the water temperature. RO/DI water can last indefinitely if you have the proper container with a lid. Saltwater...the jury is out on that one. Some people mix it ahead of time and just keep a powerhead and heater in it. Some people just mix it as needed.
 

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I dont flush my rodi unit for that long. Eventually you should pick up a TDS meter (not too expensive) and measure the TDS of your RO water.
Thats how I know when I need to change things for mine
 
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newreef1

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I dont flush my rodi unit for that long. Eventually you should pick up a TDS meter (not too expensive) and measure the TDS of your RO water.
Thats how I know when I need to change things for mine
The RODI unit I got said to flush and not use the first 30 gallons so help clean the matrix tube. I did get a TDS meter, I'll check the water before I discard it and then check the new water after the flushing and let you know.
 
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newreef1

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Lights are irrelevant until you have corals. And yes you need the heater to maintain the water temperature. RO/DI water can last indefinitely if you have the proper container with a lid. Saltwater...the jury is out on that one. Some people mix it ahead of time and just keep a powerhead and heater in it. Some people just mix it as needed.
Good to know, I have lids for both my cans, I just ordered not fancy heaters that work with 160 gallons. One person mentioned he used on of those on a 200 gallon tank just fine but I feel like that probably put too much pressure on the heater which could cause it to break sooner than later. Maybe I'll just plug them both in and put them in my sump (I'm assuming that's where most people place their heaters) do I need a thermometer In the display tank or can I use one in the sump. Maybe if I have the heat up a couple degrees than what I want it, taking into account heat dissipation by the time in gets back up to the tank it should be a good temp. Does that sound like a good idea?
 

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Good to know, I have lids for both my cans, I just ordered not fancy heaters that work with 160 gallons. One person mentioned he used on of those on a 200 gallon tank just fine but I feel like that probably put too much pressure on the heater which could cause it to break sooner than later. Maybe I'll just plug them both in and put them in my sump (I'm assuming that's where most people place their heaters) do I need a thermometer In the display tank or can I use one in the sump. Maybe if I have the heat up a couple degrees than what I want it, taking into account heat dissipation by the time in gets back up to the tank it should be a good temp. Does that sound like a good idea?
Yep. In the sump is fine. You'll have to tune it. Set it to where you want it to be, wait 24 hours and check the temperature. If you need to dial up the heaters then do so. I keep a digital thermometer suctioned to the outside of my sump, with the probe in the return chamber, and my heater in the chamber that receives the overflow from the tank.
 
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newreef1

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Good to know, I have lids for both my cans, I just ordered not fancy heaters that work with 160 gallons. One person mentioned he used on of those on a 200 gallon tank just fine but I feel like that probably put too much pressure on the heater which could cause it to break sooner than later. Maybe I'll just plug them both in and put them in my sump (I'm assuming that's where most people place their heaters) do I need a thermometer In the display tank or can I use one in the sump. Maybe if I have the heat up a couple degrees than what I want it, taking into account heat dissipation by the time in gets back up to the tank it should be a good temp. Does that sound like a good idea?
Thanks so much for all your help, I'll get back to you tomorrow with updates and more questions lol! Thanks again!
 
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newreef1

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Yep. In the sump is fine. You'll have to tune it. Set it to where you want it to be, wait 24 hours and check the temperature. If you need to dial up the heaters then do so. I keep a digital thermometer suctioned to the outside of my sump, with the probe in the return chamber, and my heater in the chamber that receives the overflow from the tank.
Good to know, ill also place my thermometer similarly. In the next day or two I'll get my remaining supplies, Ill check my sump and make sure that's good to go, Ill show you guys a pic. I'll also check the sand expiration and the RODI water quality.
 

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