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I've done a ton of research and while my wife and I want to get a custom 200g starfire tank from the start it's just not practical for our current living area and immediate income level. So, I've been digging around the interwebs for a deal on a smaller used tank for the past 3 months and finally found one. I'll be picking up a Red Sea 170 that's about a year old this weekend and since I've been strictly researching large setups and what they need to thrive I genuinely have no idea how to set up a small system like this for minimal maintenance (I'd like to be able to go on vacation for a week and not worry about everything dieing). Any advice would be welcome, please try to keep costs down on recommendations though. Our goal for this tank is LPS (torch, hammer, plate, acan, welso, chalice) and MAYBE 2 SPS if things go really well (birds nest and a monti encrusting type) and of course a few small fish and typical clean up crew.

So far I'm considering doing this:
-finding a used Radion XR15 G5 Blue
-buy new Nero 3 wave pump
-Simplicity 1600DC pump
-smallest Simplicity skimmer or find a used skimmer
-BRS carbon reactor
-turn the ATO chamber from the 170 into a refugium
-find a cheap and simple ATO with pump and have an external 10g reservoir
-create a manifold to help plumb all this easier

So, what's y'alls thoughts?
 
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I've done a ton of research and while my wife and I want to get a custom 200g starfire tank from the start it's just not practical for our current living area and immediate income level. So, I've been digging around the interwebs for a deal on a smaller used tank for the past 3 months and finally found one. I'll be picking up a Red Sea 170 that's about a year old this weekend and since I've been strictly researching large setups and what they need to thrive I genuinely have no idea how to set up a small system like this for minimal maintenance (I'd like to be able to go on vacation for a week and not worry about everything dieing). Any advice would be welcome, please try to keep costs down on recommendations though. Our goal for this tank is LPS (torch, hammer, plate, acan, welso, chalice) and MAYBE 2 SPS if things go really well (birds nest and a monti encrusting type) and of course a few small fish and typical clean up crew.

So far I'm considering doing this:
-finding a used Radion XR15 G5 Blue
-buy new Nero 3 wave pump
-Simplicity 1600DC pump
-smallest Simplicity skimmer or find a used skimmer
-BRS carbon reactor
-turn the ATO chamber from the 170 into a refugium
-find a cheap and simple ATO with pump and have an external 10g reservoir
-create a manifold to help plumb all this easier

So, what's y'alls thoughts?
If you are wanting to leave for a week and not worry about things dying, I would consider a controller like the apex and an auto feeder
 
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If you are wanting to leave for a week and not worry about things dying, I would consider a controller like the apex and an auto feeder
Thank you, completely forgot I would need an auto feeder. But do you think I'd actually need an APEX controller? Just really didn't want to spend that kind of money on this smaller tank. Are there any other equally reliable options out there?
 

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Thank you, completely forgot I would need an auto feeder. But do you think I'd actually need an APEX controller? Just really didn't want to spend that kind of money on this smaller tank. Are there any other equally reliable options out there?
Apex, Profilux, Hydros will all be about the same cost wise after you get all the necessary pieces. At least in my opinion.
Maybe Hydros is cheaper base price, but I think add ons add up quite a bit and it's a fairly new product compared to Apex or Profilux
 

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Loved my RSR 170. Great setup and with Apex and auto feeder, would go on vacation for a week or more with no problems.

6B98DF20-D9F7-44C7-BCC7-1A6277187AE0.jpeg
A8B13A83-9A92-43BD-A609-7F8BAA5DC9A2.jpeg
 
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I have a 30-gallon tank at work that is unattended for three days each week. I also take a vacation, and it's fine on its own. One of the most important things to keep watch on for me is temperature. Things can quickly go wrong if your heater stops working or cooks the tank. You can get an inkbird for $60.00. Another important thing is a reliable ATO, and I know you said a cheap one, but I would invest some money in it as you don't want it not to work and have your return run dry.
 
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Apex, Profilux, Hydros will all be about the same cost wise after you get all the necessary pieces. At least in my opinion.
Maybe Hydros is cheaper base price, but I think add ons add up quite a bit and it's a fairly new product compared to Apex or Profilux
I looked into Hydros, just not really clear on how they operate. Maybe I'll go down the YouTube rabbit hole on it lol.

Loved my RSR 170. Great setup and with Apex and auto feeder, would go on vacation for a week or more with no problems.

6B98DF20-D9F7-44C7-BCC7-1A6277187AE0.jpeg
A8B13A83-9A92-43BD-A609-7F8BAA5DC9A2.jpeg
What UV sterilizer is that? Do you have it on a recirculating pump? What other cool things are in there that helped ease things?

I have a 30-gallon tank at work that is unattended for three days each week. I also take a vacation, and it's fine on its own. One of the most important things to keep watch on for me is temperature. Things can quickly go wrong if your heater stops working or cooks the tank. You can get an inkbird for $60.00. Another important thing is a reliable ATO, and I know you said a cheap one, but I would invest some money in it as you don't want it not to work and have your return run dry.
So I looked into an Inkbird, but read a bunch of negative reviews says their temp swings are 3*F on average and looking at their specs those claims line up. Do you know of any other redundant controller that would work better by chance? Or maybe a really nice heater with external probe? I've look for an external probe heater but can't find any good ones with mostly positive reviews instock.

Also, yeah... I'm kind of finding out the Tunze ATO is the go to for a reason. Just hard to justify due to how simple it is. I'm toying with the idea of just making and programming my own ATO using an ardiuno.
 

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Carbon reactor isn't needed. My tank is over 3 years old and haven't needed one. So that would be a luxury expense. For lighting T5 would be the easiest and cost effective.
 

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25 Watt Aqua UV Light. Used Tunze chaeto reactor pump to pump water through chaeto reactor then through UV light.

Notice 4 Gallon slim line ATO container as well. Wife really appreciated the ATO in Sump.
 

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I looked into Hydros, just not really clear on how they operate. Maybe I'll go down the YouTube rabbit hole on it lol.


What UV sterilizer is that? Do you have it on a recirculating pump? What other cool things are in there that helped ease things?


So I looked into an Inkbird, but read a bunch of negative reviews says their temp swings are 3*F on average and looking at their specs those claims line up. Do you know of any other redundant controller that would work better by chance? Or maybe a really nice heater with external probe? I've look for an external probe heater but can't find any good ones with mostly positive reviews instock.

Also, yeah... I'm kind of finding out the Tunze ATO is the go to for a reason. Just hard to justify due to how simple it is. I'm toying with the idea of just making and programming my own ATO using an ardiuno.
I've had an inkbird for years without complaint.
 
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Thank you all for your replies, definitely has given me more to consider.

I picked up the RSR 170 today, it's a bit dirty as the guy had just emptied it a few days prior. So, what's the recommended method on sanitizing and cleaning the tank, sump, plumbing, pump, and other various things? I've heard of vinegar in a 50/50 vinegar/water solution, but really uncertain how exactly I'm supposed to do that or if it'll hurt any of my components. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I just cleaned out my old tank and used Citric Acid. Much better for pumps and it worked great. I just filled it up with hot tap water and poorer in citric acid, turned on the skimmer, and pumps, and let it run for a day. When I was done the coralline algae basically peeled off.
 

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Check the plumbing and fittings carefully and do at least one water test before filling up the tank for final use. I recently bought a used 350 and one of the previous owners decided not to replace a 50 cent o-ring and "fix" plumbing issues by caulking the fitting with silicone instead. Which worked until it didn't. That one took me a few days to work out...
 
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I just cleaned out my old tank and used Citric Acid. Much better for pumps and it worked great. I just filled it up with hot tap water and poorer in citric acid, turned on the skimmer, and pumps, and let it run for a day. When I was done the coralline algae basically peeled off.
Will just any food safe citric acid be okay or is there a specific thing I should look for? BRS is selling it at a premium for what appears to be USP kosher grade so I'd like to find it cheaper if I can.

Check the plumbing and fittings carefully and do at least one water test before filling up the tank for final use. I recently bought a used 350 and one of the previous owners decided not to replace a 50 cent o-ring and "fix" plumbing issues by caulking the fitting with silicone instead. Which worked until it didn't. That one took me a few days to work out...
Dang dude, that sounds really crappy. I've been there before many times fixing some else's handy work as well. So, I'm planning on going over every mm of the silicone and fittings with a bright inspection lamp. Can't have my apartment flood, they'd kick me out lol.
 

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Will just any food safe citric acid be okay or is there a specific thing I should look for? BRS is selling it at a premium for what appears to be USP kosher grade so I'd like to find it cheaper if I can.
Any food grade is fine. I buy mine on Amazon
 
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Just picked up a used Radion XR30 Blue with a diffuser from a local reef enthusiast. I know it's way over kill, but couldn't pass up the great deal! I was considering doing the BRS recommended settings since I don't have a PAR meter, would this be okay to do with having a smaller and shallower tank than BRS tests with? Also, if anyone else is running one of these on a smaller tank like this, what intensity and height are you running?
 

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