Yab00ku

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 18, 2023
Messages
13
Reaction score
1
Location
United Kingdom
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Hello Reef2Reef community,

Firstly, pardon any newbie mistakes in this post; I'm still getting acquainted with this platform.

A bit of background: About 5 years ago, I was the proud owner of a small reef tank. However, circumstances led me to sell it. I also have a history with freshwater aquariums. Recently, I've been yearning to dive back in, specifically into the realm of larger tanks, because of my passion for keeping sizable tangs.

Currently, I'm weighing options between the Cade S2 1800, the 2100, and the Red Sea 750 G2. But, an interesting offer came my way: a mammoth 3-meter tank for a bargain at under 4k$ USD. The dimensions seem to be approximately 300cm x 60cm x 60cm (L x D x H), although I need to reconfirm the depth, which might be closer to 75cm. The overall volume, inclusive of the sump, rounds up to 356 US Gallons or 1350 Liters.


I would like to keep costs under control, therefore, while I was looking into larger tanks, I am scared of the financial investment that these tanks will need. Therefore, is there a cheap way to run such large aquariums? if not, should I not buy this 3 meter tank and look into something smaller instead? (Ignore electricity costs as they're very cheap where I live, assuming the consumption is less than 3000 watt for the 3 meter tank, it's something that I can manage.)

Also, I have a few questions and concerns. I'd be grateful for insights from seasoned large reef tank keepers:

  1. Water Changes: Even a 10% water change seems challenging and potentially ineffective for a tank of this volume. Bigger changes, like 20%, could be taxing on both time and pocket. Are there contemporary methods or advancements that allow a reef system to run optimally without frequent water changes?
  2. Flow Management: How do you achieve ideal flow in such spacious tanks? Additionally, suggestions for cost-effective flow and return pumps would be great.
  3. Battery Back-ups: For those with large setups, what battery back-up and wavemaker combinations are you relying on, especially during prolonged power outages? Looking for wallet-friendly options here!
  4. Lighting: Premium brands like Radions and Kessils are a bit too steep for my current budget. I'm considering Nicrew 150 LEDs and am leaning towards getting six. Anyone here with experiences or reviews about these lights?
  5. Maintenance Tips: How do you manage the upkeep of such large aquariums? Any advice for situations when you need to leave the tank unattended, say for a 1-2 week vacation?
  6. Saltwater Mixing station: How large of a mixing station do I need? is two 100 gallon containers or barrels enough?
Thank you in advance for sharing your wisdom. It's much appreciated! ^_^
 
Last edited:

bushdoc

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 12, 2022
Messages
1,422
Reaction score
1,808
Location
Fresno
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I had 220 gal tank and downgraded to 160 gal.
Initial costs of setting up and maintaining mega tanks start raising exponentially somewhere around 220-250gal.
I had initially close loop system, which was a major headache and not efficient enough. Pumps were noisy and I had to move them outside of display area. That was 10 years ago, now you have Panta Rhei, but be prepeared to pay over $2k for one powerhead and you need at least two.
Is your tank reef ready, drilled for overflow?
Do your reserch carefully and don't give up day job.
 

LgTas

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 10, 2020
Messages
510
Reaction score
524
Location
Tasmania
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Welcome

Here's my take, albiet with a much smaller tank (1.8m).

Water changes - Yup those are going to be hard work so you may have to look at either setting yourself up a auto WC system with large mixing station or look to go a Reef moonshiners or Triton approach. I know many on the latter that have dropped WC all together.

Flow management - I use Jebao MOW-22 wavemakers. They are super powerful and a few of those will do the trick even in such a large system. I have one in my 1.8m running at 35% and its more than sufficient. I also have a jebao 8500 return pump which again is too powerful and is turned a fair bit down.

Battery Back - we have a battery and solar panel system so cant comment beyond that.

Lighting - I've got noopsyche v3 pros supplemented with aliexpress populargrow light bars. Great affordable combination.

My tank is very low maintenance, no mechanical fuge, skimmer etc. just a fuge. all dosing via jebao dosers. biggest hassle is cleaning the glass.
 
OP
OP
Y

Yab00ku

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 18, 2023
Messages
13
Reaction score
1
Location
United Kingdom
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I had 220 gal tank and downgraded to 160 gal.
Initial costs of setting up and maintaining mega tanks start raising exponentially somewhere around 220-250gal.
I had initially close loop system, which was a major headache and not efficient enough. Pumps were noisy and I had to move them outside of display area. That was 10 years ago, now you have Panta Rhei, but be prepeared to pay over $2k for one powerhead and you need at least two.
Is your tank reef ready, drilled for overflow?
Do your reserch carefully and don't give up day job.
Hi Thanks for the info. Yes the tank has an overflow and a sump. The guy who is selling it to me had it custom made.
 
OP
OP
Y

Yab00ku

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 18, 2023
Messages
13
Reaction score
1
Location
United Kingdom
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Welcome

Here's my take, albiet with a much smaller tank (1.8m).

Water changes - Yup those are going to be hard work so you may have to look at either setting yourself up a auto WC system with large mixing station or look to go a Reef moonshiners or Triton approach. I know many on the latter that have dropped WC all together.

Flow management - I use Jebao MOW-22 wavemakers. They are super powerful and a few of those will do the trick even in such a large system. I have one in my 1.8m running at 35% and its more than sufficient. I also have a jebao 8500 return pump which again is too powerful and is turned a fair bit down.

Battery Back - we have a battery and solar panel system so cant comment beyond that.

Lighting - I've got noopsyche v3 pros supplemented with aliexpress populargrow light bars. Great affordable combination.

My tank is very low maintenance, no mechanical fuge, skimmer etc. just a fuge. all dosing via jebao dosers. biggest hassle is cleaning the glass.
Sounds like a great set up! I think a mixing station for such a large tank is a important too. How large of a size do you reccomend for each the RODI water and Saltwater containers? is two 100 gallon containers good enough?
 

o2manyfish

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,441
Reaction score
3,167
Location
Encino, CA
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Big tanks are awesome. But they ain't cheap. If you do them cheap, they will cost you more. More in terms of money and more in terms of livestock lost.

If you want to be successful you have to get big parts for big tanks.

If you build the system properly, then your regular maintenance can be pretty minimal. I have a 1500g system with a 750g display tank. Other than having to algae wipe the display tank viewing panels several times a week. If nothing breaks I can put in a few hours once every 6-8 weeks on the system. My records was walking out the door for 10 weeks on a minutes notice and the only thing the tank needed in 10 week was a co2 tank swapped out. Since that incident I swapped to a 50lb CO2 tank, and now my 10 weeks with hands off is doable.

I run a 270g sump/refugium and produce a ton of chaetomorph. I also run a 5' fluidized sand filter and have a literal ton of live rock in the system.

My system has over 200 fish in it. Right now we are starting to build up the coral population so there is only about 500 pcs in the system total.

I haven't done a non-emergency water change in 3 years.

If you build it correctly it will treat you right. But this is also a substantial undertaking. Every part of the system is key. You can't say I'm going to build this tank for $1000 and then when the $1000 is gone and you don't have a return pump/ a substantial heater, lights - just stop the project. It's kind of a beast on its own that needs attention.

And when it's successfully setup and operating - things are going to break. The tank can't be such a financial drain (bad pun not intended) that should a critcal piece of equipment go up in smoke you can't replace it on a moments notice without selling your kids key body organs.

It's easy to look at a few low priced Chinese power heads, and read their BS flow ratings and think - Why would I ever spend 20x that amount for a single pump...... Because that single pump will rock all the water in that 365g tank. Where a small powerhead or even 4 can't. 10' of water is alot of water to push the length of. And while you could easily put a dozen or more inexpensive powerheads in the tank for the price of one Panta Rhei ECM63 or Abyzz AFC 150 Flow Canon. There is also the value of having to maintain 12+ pieces of equipment, replacing 12 pcs of equipment, hiding (or worse yet seeing ) 12 pieces of equipment, and still not moving the same effective amount of water as one really good quality (stupidly high priced) pump.

Dave B
 
OP
OP
Y

Yab00ku

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 18, 2023
Messages
13
Reaction score
1
Location
United Kingdom
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Big tanks are awesome. But they ain't cheap. If you do them cheap, they will cost you more. More in terms of money and more in terms of livestock lost.

If you want to be successful you have to get big parts for big tanks.

If you build the system properly, then your regular maintenance can be pretty minimal. I have a 1500g system with a 750g display tank. Other than having to algae wipe the display tank viewing panels several times a week. If nothing breaks I can put in a few hours once every 6-8 weeks on the system. My records was walking out the door for 10 weeks on a minutes notice and the only thing the tank needed in 10 week was a co2 tank swapped out. Since that incident I swapped to a 50lb CO2 tank, and now my 10 weeks with hands off is doable.

I run a 270g sump/refugium and produce a ton of chaetomorph. I also run a 5' fluidized sand filter and have a literal ton of live rock in the system.

My system has over 200 fish in it. Right now we are starting to build up the coral population so there is only about 500 pcs in the system total.

I haven't done a non-emergency water change in 3 years.

If you build it correctly it will treat you right. But this is also a substantial undertaking. Every part of the system is key. You can't say I'm going to build this tank for $1000 and then when the $1000 is gone and you don't have a return pump/ a substantial heater, lights - just stop the project. It's kind of a beast on its own that needs attention.

And when it's successfully setup and operating - things are going to break. The tank can't be such a financial drain (bad pun not intended) that should a critcal piece of equipment go up in smoke you can't replace it on a moments notice without selling your kids key body organs.

It's easy to look at a few low priced Chinese power heads, and read their BS flow ratings and think - Why would I ever spend 20x that amount for a single pump...... Because that single pump will rock all the water in that 365g tank. Where a small powerhead or even 4 can't. 10' of water is alot of water to push the length of. And while you could easily put a dozen or more inexpensive powerheads in the tank for the price of one Panta Rhei ECM63 or Abyzz AFC 150 Flow Canon. There is also the value of having to maintain 12+ pieces of equipment, replacing 12 pcs of equipment, hiding (or worse yet seeing ) 12 pieces of equipment, and still not moving the same effective amount of water as one really good quality (stupidly high priced) pump.

Dave B
Hey Dave,

Firstly, I genuinely appreciate the time and detail you've put into your response. It's evident you have a wealth of experience in the hobby, and I'm truly grateful for your insights. Your 1500g system sounds absolutely awe-inspiring, and the way you've managed to set it up for minimal intervention is very impressive.

The perspective you've shared about the long-term costs and the value of quality equipment resonates. I had initially thought of investing in multiple inexpensive Chinese pumps, believing I could cut costs there. Your point about the maintenance, replacement, and overall aesthetics of having multiple pieces of equipment versus one high-quality pump puts things into perspective.

Your comment on the financial aspect, especially about the tank not being such a financial drain that it becomes impossible to replace crucial equipment, really hits home. It's a valid reminder that this isn't just about the initial setup but ongoing maintenance and potential emergencies.

However, I'll admit, the allure of starting with a budget is strong, especially when trying to balance quality with cost. The stark difference in price between cheaper powerheads and high-quality pumps like the Panta Rhei pumps or Abyzz Flow Canons makes it a challenging decision.
Would you have any recommendations for a middle ground? Maybe brands or specific pieces that might not be at the top-tier price range but still deliver reliable performance?

Once again, thank you for the invaluable advice. This journey is daunting, but advice from seasoned hobbyists like you makes it a tad bit easier.

Best regards,
 

StatelineReefer

Reef Safe With Caution
View Badges
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
9,339
Reaction score
27,764
Location
Beloit, WI
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
My suggestion would be if you want the tank, get the tank. It certainly is appealing at that price point for such a large tank with sump and stand.

Everything else can be planned for and bought down the road, but there's nothing like a missed opportunity to spoil all your future dreams of what 'could have been'.

Once you have the tank, you can best plan an equipment budget and timeline. For a large display like this, two return pumps would absolutely be a must-have for me. If one were to ever fail, you would minimize your losses.

Water movement is best done with Gyres or Vortechs on a large tank. Instead of moving the water down the entire length though, you'll focus on 2 foot sections of back to front movement, lacing that with structure to get your turbulence. Paired with a controller, you can get quite a lot of water movement with just a few powerheads or gyres. With gyres you can also angle them and their individual turbines to cover more tank area.

As far as water quality itself (and water changes for that matter) a good AWC can be set up for either a daily water exchange or a weekly 10% without eating too far into your time and budget, most people don't do water changes on larger tanks however, because supplementation and replenishment of trace and major elements has been made easier in the past few years.
 

o2manyfish

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,441
Reaction score
3,167
Location
Encino, CA
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
@Yab00ku, Finding a middle ground is going to depend on your situation. At 9.8m that's a lot of distance for water to be pushed. My experience with gyre pumps in a 8' frag tank is they are good, but they are also a constant maintenance nightmare. And if you go with a middle ground route like like Vortechs, your going to need 4 of them at either of the long end of the tank, or 4 of them across the back wall of the tank - if you have access to the back wall. Look at the price of 4' MP60 and you'll find the 'savings' over a single properly sized pump is pretty diminished.

Make sure the people you are taking advice from have personal knowledge of working in big tanks. What works in an 8' tank doesn't work the same in a 10' tank. What works in a 2' deep tank doesn't work the same in a 4' deep tank. Not only is their more linear feet of water to move but the overall quantity of water to move/push is much more.

I have personal experience with a 500g 10x30x30. We started with 2 MP60 on each end and 3 across the back - 7 total. This worked well when the tank started and had frags in it. But as the corals grew and became colonies, there wasn't enough water movement. And it's not like adding more pumps would solve the problem. You need to really push the water. We replaced the 4 pumps on either end with one Panta Rhei ECM63. That one pump rocked the entire reef from top to bottom. Something 7 pumps couldn't do. We kept the 3 pumps on the back wall on timers to randomized the flow.

Another year down the road the colonies got bigger and we added a second Panta Rhei. Now the tank is like a surf zone and the corals are loving it.

Dave B
 

7of9

Resistance is Futile.
View Badges
Joined
Jul 23, 2023
Messages
1,265
Reaction score
5,971
Location
Wisconsin
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Do It Watchmen GIF by Legendary Entertainment
 

Shooter6

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
May 13, 2017
Messages
2,453
Reaction score
1,280
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Hello Reef2Reef community,

Firstly, pardon any newbie mistakes in this post; I'm still getting acquainted with this platform.

A bit of background: About 5 years ago, I was the proud owner of a small reef tank. However, circumstances led me to sell it. I also have a history with freshwater aquariums. Recently, I've been yearning to dive back in, specifically into the realm of larger tanks, because of my passion for keeping sizable tangs.

Currently, I'm weighing options between the Cade S2 1800, the 2100, and the Red Sea 750 G2. But, an interesting offer came my way: a mammoth 3-meter tank for a bargain at under 4k$ USD. The dimensions seem to be approximately 300cm x 60cm x 60cm (L x D x H), although I need to reconfirm the depth, which might be closer to 75cm. The overall volume, inclusive of the sump, rounds up to 356 US Gallons or 1350 Liters.


I would like to keep costs under control, therefore, while I was looking into larger tanks, I am scared of the financial investment that these tanks will need. Therefore, is there a cheap way to run such large aquariums? if not, should I not buy this 3 meter tank and look into something smaller instead? (Ignore electricity costs as they're very cheap where I live, assuming the consumption is less than 3000 watt for the 3 meter tank, it's something that I can manage.)

Also, I have a few questions and concerns. I'd be grateful for insights from seasoned large reef tank keepers:

  1. Water Changes: Even a 10% water change seems challenging and potentially ineffective for a tank of this volume. Bigger changes, like 20%, could be taxing on both time and pocket. Are there contemporary methods or advancements that allow a reef system to run optimally without frequent water changes?
  2. Flow Management: How do you achieve ideal flow in such spacious tanks? Additionally, suggestions for cost-effective flow and return pumps would be great.
  3. Battery Back-ups: For those with large setups, what battery back-up and wavemaker combinations are you relying on, especially during prolonged power outages? Looking for wallet-friendly options here!
  4. Lighting: Premium brands like Radions and Kessils are a bit too steep for my current budget. I'm considering Nicrew 150 LEDs and am leaning towards getting six. Anyone here with experiences or reviews about these lights?
  5. Maintenance Tips: How do you manage the upkeep of such large aquariums? Any advice for situations when you need to leave the tank unattended, say for a 1-2 week vacation?
  6. Saltwater Mixing station: How large of a mixing station do I need? is two 100 gallon containers or barrels enough?
Thank you in advance for sharing your wisdom. It's much appreciated! ^_^
Currently I own 2 8ft reefs. 1 is 8'x30"×24"
The second is 8'36"×24"
The added depth front to back in the 36" is a huge benefit.

Flow can be provided in a number of ways. All depends on budget.

Water changes can be minimized by doing the reef moonshine system
As for lighting, if you want to do a premium style at budget look up the g5 knockoff thread. Otherwise I can offer you a suggestion on another option which I currently run myself.
 
Back
Top