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Newbie Aquarium Build! Need tips!

skysky

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Hello everyone. I have been in the saltwater hobby for a few years / few tanks now. My family made the big jump today to buy a 425XL Red Sea. I really need some expert help to get setup properly, as we don’t want to run into major problems later. Therefore I would appreciate all advice and expert reefer help to give their take on how to build a close to perfect reef tank! Treat this as a money is no problem post.

Goals:
-I plant to build a mixed reef of Lps and Sps. 50/50.
-I plan to have an auto doser (Neptune most likely) to dose calcium magnesium and alkalinity on the reg.
- I plan on having around 10 fish that are reef safe, perhaps a reef safe eel while maintaining proper water specifications for coral growth.

I was not sure what forum to post this in and hope I don’t intrude into proper misconduct but here we go....

Specs so far:
Two Red Sea 90’s (lights)
Red Sea 300 protein skimmer
Two Red Sea Reef wave 25’s
One 115 gallon Red Sea tank with sump and refugium included.

Things I would like to have advice on from you guys:
Setup...
Refugium Setup (what to put in it / not to put in it.)

Neptune Trident auto-tester:
Do I need this? Is it helpful to have constant Water parameters tested vs doing manual testing.

Nitrate filter media: do I need bags at the bottom of my sump of Nitrate eating bacteria? Or will chaeto with a kessil H80 do?

We have a bunch of live rock in our current tanks. Some of them have Aiptasia / green hair algae. Should I bleach the rocks I’m going to put in and start over? Or scrub them in a tooth brush in lemon water before getting them into the new tank? Or should I completely just use new live rock / dead rock?

Should I use matrix rock instead of filter floss socks in cups instead of the bags? Or should I buy the purisea filter that’s 300$ and replace the filter once a month.

How much cleanup crew should I buy? (For 115g). What kind? Nassarius Turbo Astra / hermit crabs / urchins in conjunction with sps / lps corals?

Should I use Red Sea salt / coral pro salt for my tank? I believe Red Sea salt is better for sps.

Do we need a calcium reactor? Bio-pellet reactor Or will algae do the job in keeping nitrates below 2ppm? Phosphate reactor?

These are my list of questions I pose to ask the fellow reef community. If you have an answer and want to help a fellow reefer avoid problems in the future, please lend me your advice and input. This tank represents my families dream we have always had, and we wish to make it very special.
Thanks!

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xxkenny90xx

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Nice tank!
How do you feel about aiptasia? I always hate to see people start over with dry rock when they've made to much progress maturing their current rock. I personally would use your current live rock and put a bunch of nudibranches in their to get the aiptasia (but new dry rock would be safer if you hate aiptasia).

Red sea salt would be fine.

You don't "need" any type of reactor but a calcium reactor would be nice.

For cuc a handful of Astra, cerith, and nassarius snail will do just fine. Urchins drive me crazy and hermits and other crabs can't be trusted.

As far as matrix vs filter floss they both accomplish different things. One harbors beneficial bacteria like live rock, the other polishes the water and catches large particles.
 

Albertan22

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I use a Neptune DOS riser for my auto water change system. Be warned, these things are LOUD! I only run it at night because of how much noise it makes. I have a wifi 4 head Kamoer dosed for my primary dosing, you never know when it goes off. I couldn’t imagine having a DOS going every hour doing the main dosing.

Regarding all your questions about reactors and media, I would say to add the ones you need when a situation evolves that requires them. Test your water regularly and if something is getting out of line that you can’t fix with your refugium, then worry about adding media, reactors, etc. If you put all that stuff on a new tank with little bio load you will just strip the nutrients from the water and end up with terrible dinoflagellate problems and no colour in your corals.

My advice is to research everything, but only start with your basics (tank, flow, skimmer, lighting, heaters). Don’t even start up your refugium until nitrates are over 5 to 10 and phosphates are at least 0.04. Even then don’t be too aggressive with your lighting schedule. You need some nitrate and phosphate to feed your coral and prevent dinos. As your tank matures and (if) your numbers climb to a point your refugium isn’t keeping up then move onto a reactor or media that addresses the specific problem you are facing.

The same advice goes for the calcium reactor. Start with water changes, move to dosing or kalkwasser, then consider a calcium reactor if you can’t keep up.
 
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skysky

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Nice tank!
How do you feel about aiptasia? I always hate to see people start over with dry rock when they've made to much progress maturing their current rock. I personally would use your current live rock and put a bunch of nudibranches in their to get the aiptasia (but new dry rock would be safer if you hate aiptasia).

Red sea salt would be fine.

You don't "need" any type of reactor but a calcium reactor would be nice.

For cuc a handful of Astra, cerith, and nassarius snail will do just fine. Urchins drive me crazy and hermits and other crabs can't be trusted.

As far as matrix vs filter floss they both accomplish different things. One harbors beneficial bacteria like live rock, the other polishes the water and catches large particles.
Thanks for the tips! I usually have run hermits in the past. Perhaps a smaller amount to prevent conflicts with the snails would be wise. I have just decided to take out the filter socks and switch for filter cups. I can put any type of media such as charcoal, matrix and it saves me a lot of time cleaning the socks. I have heard about calcium reactors in the past. I know that we are going to do the auto dosing route , and according to red sea’s calculator for a mixed reef, I will dose accordingly. Perhaps when the corals get much larger I will switch to a reactor. I am currently very worried that Aiptasia will get transferred and or algae with the live rock. I’m not sure if there’s a curing process I can do besides me just toothbrushing it to death that won’t kill off the beneficial bacteria.
 

xxkenny90xx

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Ya that's a tough one on the aiptasia. Even if you kill all of them now I'm sure there are more you can't see (under rocks, in plumbing, ect). To be certain they're gone you might have to qt all of your rocks in a different tank and attack them in there. Nudibranches would still be my recommendation but that would be a long road to be certain they're gone
 

PatW

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I think your planning is off to a very good start.
You absolutely need to have an auto top off.
Having an RODI unit is a really, really good idea. You control the quality of your water. And you do not have to haul water from the LFS. It is cheaper, has known reliability and much more convenient.
I am not high on auto testing. I think running 2 part will be fine. You can auto dose calcium and alkalinity. There is a good chance that you will never ever have to dose magnesium. I have an SPS dominant tank and regular water changes maintain magnesium for me.
 

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