55gal AGA

Here are a few pics of the tank and the sump. Information about the parts are to follow the pictures.

Pictures are coming… camera’s batteries died and I cant get the pics off of my card reader until the battery charges back up… oooops

Tank: 55gallon AGA with Corner Overflow (1" outlet Bulkhead and 3/4" Inlet Bulkhead)
Lighting: 48" Current USA Nova Extreme T5HO w/ 2 Current Blue Actinic, 1 UVL Actinic White, 1 UVL 75.25
Skimmer: ASM G2
Powerhead: 2 x Hydor Koralia 2
Return Pump: QuietOne 2200
Heater: Hydor Theo 300watt
Sump: I custom built the sump, it is 34"l x 11.5"w x 16" tall
Rock: Started with 27lbs of dead rock, and 14lbs of Live rock.
Sand: 40lbs of Nature’s Ocean Bio-active Live Aragonite Reef Sand and 40lbs of Carib Sea Ocean Direct Carribean Live Sand

Ok, here are the pictures.

Tank is looking good so far. I would add a couple more power heads and aim them towards the surface. This will help with gas exchange. I like to keep the surface moving good in my tank.

dito. very nice set up. the stand really looks nice. cant wait to see this thing up and running. nice sump too!

Thanks. Yeah, I was planning on turning one of the power heads up, once I got some sort of snails or fish in the water to help keep the sand kicked up off of my rocks. Right now, I am trying to use them to keep the sand that is still settling in the tank from settling down too much on my rocks. I was not sure if the sand that settles on the rocks will kill the coralline on them or not by stifling out the light. I did think about picking up at least a Koralia 1 to put in the middle on the back of the aquarium, but I am getting really good flow from my return pump, so i was thinking about moving the one powerhead from the left hand side to the middle back of the aquarium and letting the flow from my return work as the movement from that side of the tank, but I am not real sure what I am going to do yet.

Thanks for the kudos though, so far I am real happy, of course as of today, I am exactly 1 week in. So things haven’t had too much time to kick up.

That’s Cool! First time i’ve seen a 55 Reef ready tank. looks like a good base for a tank full of corals and fish. not over filled with rock, so that when you add corals they will have room to grow and further fill the tank. You have avoided a common mistake we all make when first setting up a new tank, adding rock until it looks full, then trying to add corals which usually ends up leaving one gallon of water! yup lots of room for landscaping.

Now you need a fish or two to feed, which will also feed the live sand and rock. cant keep it sterile. you need to build a complex web of life. a little at a time.

What do you have for lighting?

oops, i knew i forgot something. Right now its only a 2x65w 48" Power compact. but i am pretty close to ordering a 4x54w 48" nova extreme T5HO.

As for stocking plans, as soon as my water is ready for it, I am going to get a couple of Clowns, and against most peoples advice, if it looks like my sump and chaeto grass are creating enough ‘pods’, my wife wants a madarin. But that is going to be something that I am sure will have to wait a good 5 or 6 months just so I can make sure it is producing what it needs to.

I do know that I want to get corals of some sort, I am just not real sure what I want to get just yet. I have been down to Dr. Macs one time and oohed and ahhed over quite a bit of what he had, so one I get my T5s, I may just go down there and buy one of his grab bags and see what I get. I am not real sure.

u can seed your fuge with live pods to speed up the process some. dt’s makes some as well as reef nutrition, and everyone seems to love the tigger pods from reef nutrition. although they are a little pricey, u can visibly see the mass of pods in the bottle.

and the grab bag of frags from east coast IS nice, don’t get me wrong. but the frags are super small. the lady DID let me put in one request for some green star polyps. then filled me up with 3 different zoas and 2 mushrooms. so for a diverse start up pack, it is a good deal i think.

Well, I am starting to get what looks like maybe some brown algae on my sand bed. I am not sure if that is part of the normal cycle, or if it has something to do with my water. I’d like to go get some snails to put in the tank, but I dont know if my water levels are ready for it.

When I tested this morning here were what my readings were:

PH - 8.0
Ammonia - 0.50ppm
Nitrates - Between 0 and 5 ppm
Nitrites - Between 0 and .25 ppm but closer to 0

This is the second day in a row that my nitrates and nitrites have been above 0. Ammonia seems to be staying right at .5 and has been there for almost a week. I think I should have pulled the shrimp out before it completely dissolved into nothing… but I could not find any pieces after about 2 days. I am planning on probably doing a 20gal watter change sometime this week. Going to go pick up some distilled water from somewhere to do it. I have also noticed that for some reason my hydrometer is now showing that my salinity is around 1.019. When I first mixed all of my water I was up closer to 1.023. But I do have a refractometer on order now to help me get a better idea of what it really is.

Well, I am starting to get what looks like maybe some brown algae on my sand bed. I am not sure if that is part of the normal cycle, or if it has something to do with my water.
sounds like diatoms, which are a part of the cycle. disappears in a week or so after spreading all over
I am planning on probably doing a 20gal watter change sometime this week. Going to go pick up some distilled water from somewhere to do it. when i set my tank up, the advice was not to change any water until it cycled, as it’s just a waste of $$ I have also noticed that for some reason my hydrometer is now showing that my salinity is around 1.019. When I first mixed all of my water I was up closer to 1.023. But I do have a refractometer on order now to help me get a better idea of what it really is. may have been temperature related, but for sure the refractometer is a better choice
listen to the real knowledgeable people here, tho.
good link:
BTW, anything happen on the rodi unit?

[quote=“moliken, post:11, topic:1646”]
BTW, anything happen on the rodi unit?[/quote]

I sent the guy a PM on reefcentral, but I have not heard back from him yet. I did not feel like creating yet another username and place to check on njreefers.com.

Thanks for the info by the way and I will check that link out.


Got a question about my fuge. I am pretty much ready to put the chaeto grass and live rock down there. Is it better to find 1 piece of LR, or put a few pieces of rubble rock down there? I have heard that rubble live rock would be better for the fuge, but most pictures I see just have 1 or 2 mid sized pieces, maybe like 1 or 2 lbs each at the very most.

Also, someone mentioned earlier about getting one of the spiral light bulbs and that I was looking for something in the 5000k to 6000k light range, but I can’t seem to find a rating on the bulb packages. Anyone have an recommendations about what I need? Is there a wattage and type of light I am looking for? Maybe like a 60watt equivalent using a soft white light?


Something like this maybe?
http://genet.gelighting.com/LightProducts/Dispatcher?REQUEST=CONSUMERSPECPAGE&PRODUCTCODE=85394&BreadCrumbValues=Lamps_Compact Fluorescent_Self-Ballasted_Spiral®_T3&ModelSelectionFilter=

That is exactly the bulb you are looking for, add in a cheap reflector and socket from Home Depot and you’ve got good fuge lighting.

I would not worry about a water change until you either complete the cycle or your ammonia jumps above 1.0.

The brown algae are diatoms and are normal. They go away as quickly as they showed up.

I use small rocks in the fuge, not as much for bio filtration as when I get a new frag and need to mount it to something I can pull a piece of rubble out of the fuge and mount the frag to it then mount it where ever I want to. As far as bio-filtration goes it really doesn’t matter if they’re small rocks or big rocks, you just want porous rock.

A few more pictures, this time of the diatoms that are growing.

Not sure if I am including too many pictures, but I like to take pictures… :slight_smile:

There can never be too many pictures!

Well I put a Peppermint shrimp in the tank yesterday afternoon. So my first little bit of movement has been happening, even if it is only tentacles or his antenna that I see from behind my rocks… If things work out with that, I’m going to finish out picking up the rest of my reef cleaners tomorrow or friday. My ammonia looks to be going down a little bit and the nitrates look to be sitting just above zero with nitrites still at a solid zero.

If I have a deep sand bed, around 4" in most places, what sort of snails should I get? Most of the snails I have been looking at, like nassarius snails, look to be sand sifting, which is bad for a deep sand bed. I know I can get a couple of the bigger mexican turbo’s, but any others that might be work taking a look at? Or should I go with a couple of the mexican turbo’s and more hermit crabs instead of snails?

Please refrain from adding livestock until Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate are all reading 0. Inverts are very suseptible to water chemistry issues and you do not want to run the risk of losing an entire CUC because the tank hasn’t finished cycling yet.

Sand sifting generally refers to the top layer of sand, so having a deep sand bed with sand sifting snails and stars is not really giong to hurt anything. The constant turing of the top layer by the SS inverts helps keep the sand looking clean and new.

Although they serve a purpose I have never been a real big fan of hermit crabs. If they get hungry they will eat snails, if the need a new home they will eat snails, if they get bored they will eat snails. I’d look at a few different varieties of snails to complete the CUC, nassarius, nerite, turbo, cerith.

All are not necessary at once either. With no livestock in the tank there will be very little for them to “clean” meaning there won’t be much food. I always try to build ny CUC as I increase the stock in the tank.

Ok, thanks for the info. I have read and heard from a lot of people now that my ammonia and nitrites need to be zero, and nitrates are not quite as important to be zero as long as they are in the 0 to 5 ppm range, especially if you are planning on a reef tank. That was from Water Quality Guidelines for Marine Aquariums by Bob Goemans, Ph.D who referenced Seawater Aquariums, The Captive Environment by Dr. Steven Spotte.

My nitrates are definitely below 5ppm, based on the API tests.

Here are a few pics of what I think is the nitrification process at work. I am seeing lots of the bubbles in the sand like this. After reading up about Deep Sand Beds, it mentioned that I would start to see these bubbles in the top layers of the sand along the glass and would signal that my nitrification process is working as planned. What do you all think?

Yes, ammonia and nitrite need to be zero at all times. >5 nitrates are ok. Fish aren’t really affected by nitrates, but inverts and corals definitely are. As far as DSB go, recent studies proved they are not beneficial. For a sandbed to work, there are bacterias that grow in it, converting ammonia to nitrate. In a deep sand bed, the bacteria found at the bottom has no oxygen and can actually end up converting the waste back to ammonia. A 1-3" max sandbed has bacteria that requires little oxygen but has been proven that is the benefical bacteria. There was a thread on RC about it, doubt it I could find it though, very interesting. Good thing I only have a 2" sandbed in my reef.