I’m looking to get started on a salt water soft coral tank, so I’ll be adding notes here from time to time. Like THIS!
“Reef tank. How to build a low cost 55 gallon 240 litre reef tank”
1. The Tank
He used a Fluval Roma 240 63 gal tank. $600 new, $275 used w/shipping. Look around for used gear.
2. Reverse Osmosis Filter
He uses a Viair Reverse Osmosis Water Fileter. $67 new. You’ll need something that removes at least 95% of all dissolved solids
You’ll want 4-5 watts/gal. New Lights from HOPAR are $200. He used 4 x 54 watt t5 tubes with reflectors. 2 x 10,000k tubes, 1 x 6,000k tube, and 1 x actinic blue tube.
4. The Protein Skimmer
He uses a Primz protein skimmer (hang on tank style). $150 new, $60 used.
5. Understand Phosphates
Keep a bag of phosphate remover in the exit flow of the skimmer from the start. You’ll need to draw water through the remover. He uses a ROWA PHOS for about $12/month.
6. Power Head
He went with a Sunsun power head 1,500 gal/hr. $21 new. Aim it at the glass to deflect and create flow.
7. Live Rock
Don’t use all live rock. Use 80% dead rock and 20% live rock. Dead dry ocean rock is about $3-4/lb, while live rock is $10-14/lb. You want to use about 1lb/rock/gal. Put the smaller live rock pieces on top of the dead rock, the live rock will seed the dead and after a few weeks you will see growth on the dead rock (now live rock). Make sure to watch your water movement, salinity, and temperature before you add the live rock. If you can get it from the store to your tank in 1h or less already, already cured, and keep it warm and wet, providing it doesn’t smell and isn’t slimy, add it straight to the tank. After 48 hours check your ammonia and nitrite levels and if they are near 0, you an add fish.
1-2 fish per week over an 8-10 week period. Feed your fish small amounts, checking your ammonia and nitrite levels, every 48 hours. Remember that feeding your fish feeds your live rock.
Never add live stock too fast or it will die!
Expect to add about one small fish per 8-10 gallons of water.
If your live rock isn’t fresh or has come from the internet, you might need to clean it and cure it without fish for 3 months. Use a higher percent of live rock and feed frozen food until readings are zero
8. Test Kits
If you’re keeping fish only then temp, ammonia, nitrite, and salinity. If you’re adding soft corals then ph, kh, iodide as well. For large stony pollop corals, calcium and magnesium as well