Large tank recommendations?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Benaminh, Aug 28, 2016.

  1. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    It offers simplicity over CaRx.

  2. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    I meant y still use kalk while you have a CaRx running.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. Benaminh

    Benaminh Guest

    If the SPS are happy and all parameters are on target, would a 10% water change every week be enough to maintain equilibrium? For a 260g, that's about 25g... which is what I do now on a monthly basis for my small tank. I'm accustomed to the hassle of five buckets; but more importantly, that will allow me to continue using real ocean water versus switching to IO Reef Crystals, and preclude complex plumbing issues. I cannot stress enough how much better, and easier, reefing has been by using ROW.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
  4. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Doubtful that a 10% weekly water can replenish the parameters required. As your colonies get more mature your water will be stripped of the elements. I've seen it attempted in smaller tanks and even in those, with mini colonies and larger SPS, the water changes had to be upped to 50%. At that point in time, 2 part and AF had to be supplementally dosed to keep up with demands.
    Coral reefer and Benaminh like this.
  5. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    +1 on unlikely for water changes to keep up.

    Curious: Where do you get real ocean water? Delivered or DIY?
  6. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    10% per week is a waist of time!!
    do 30% every 7-10 days and you will be GOLDEN!!

    I have old corals and fish
    I test NOTHING
    Benaminh likes this.
  7. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    You miss out on all the fun, tinkering with this additive and that, until you get it just wrong and everything crashes.

    Well, that and with a 300G total system, it is 5,000 gallons of salt water a year.
    Using cheapest IO, that is $1000 for salt alone.
    Maybe bulk delivery is cheaper? But not really available for the regular aquarists.
    Benaminh likes this.
  8. Benaminh

    Benaminh Guest

    Bummer. Reef crystals it is then :(. The monthly water change for the small tank is about 100%. I watch the corals and fish, if they look stressed or "off," it's time for a WC. Sometimes, even with good test numbers, that old water has a yellow tinge.

    My LFS gets ROW from a guy that trucks it in from Monterrey. My backup source is the Pet Club in Santa Rosa which carries Catalina ROW in bulk. It's probably from the same vendor, but the price is $0.95 per gallon. If you have a 60g reef tank or less, and live on the west or east coast, it would behoove you to find a source for ROW and ditch the salt mix. Booking through my LFS, I plan on having the water truck come by my house for the initial tank fill with ROW.

    IMHO it's probably comparable to breathing fresh Tahoe air versus Oakland air or in-flight plane cabin air.

    If you want DIY ROW you have to take a boat about a mile out from shore because of the pollution. Catalina ROW filters and UV's their water before selling, I had PetClub test for NO3 & PO3 last night = O. In general though, the ROW has slightly lower salinity than our aquariums and benefits from 2-part boosting.

    When I had nano-reefs, playing with supplements or doing pest eradication was risky. Tthere were countless times I was saved from tank crashes by running to PetCo (there was no Pet Club nearby) and grabbing their pre-packaged 5g box of Catalina ROW @ $18 for a 100% water change.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
  9. Benaminh

    Benaminh Guest

    *Sigh* I'm feeling a bit discouraged about the 260g tank build. Almost all of the successful tanks I admire in that size range have a dedicated fish room or manage to double the water volume with a huge sump and other in-line tanks. Maybe I'm biting off more than I can chew and should settle for building the 135g instead?

    Joseph Peck

    Dang Chevaosot

    Krzysztof Tryc

    Marc Levensen

    In preparation for the upgrade, and to better grow out my SPS in the 29g frag tank, I moved the five angels and two regal tangs into a 50g FOWLR holding tank yesterday, the fish look deceptively small in the bigger aquarium.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
  10. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well I will say that a larger tank does bring that much more work to do stuff. Dedicated fish rooms make your life easier, they are not a necessity though. However with a limited footprint to work with it often is a matter of shoving 10 pounds of crap into a 5 pound sack. Water changes become much more out in the open, so you have to deal with the potential spousal repercussions of that,

    There was one member way back when, Lapsan (forgot his handle), who had a 300g tank in the entry way of his SF house, no fish room, just everything jammed underneath the tank and it looked pretty damn good.

    The biggest issue with big tanks, if you let them go too far out of whack then it will feel like a tidal wave that is impossible to overcome, a 50% water change becomes damn near impossible (without storage elsewhere, i.e. a fishroom), dealing with algae, aiptasia, or any other pest seems hopeless, which is why you need to be on top of the tank and make adjustments as you see it starting to go out of whack. But leaving it be for a month... hell even cleaning the glass will seem like a pain.
  11. Benaminh

    Benaminh Guest

    There's that, and 135g @ $300 vs. 260g @ $1,300. Is that 1K justifiable in the next 5-10yrs in cost benefit? Will the exponentially increased scale of maintenance outweigh the fun factor? We all know there's a fine line between the mental outlook of happily futzing with the tank versus doing dreaded chores. How do you find that sweet spot before committing to a tank purchase? That's a recurring theme for both beginners and advanced aquarists. I don't know about you, but for me, when it stops being fun, the doldrums set in and the tank turns to sh!te.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
  12. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Yup, you nailed it, where's that fun/enjoyment factor, and that's a question each person needs to ask themselves and no one else can answer that for you. We can all give you our own experience but at the end of the day what is easy/no problem/etc for me may not be the same as you. I will say the amount of added stress depends upon what you're going from, you mentioned a 50g as being a larger tank, so I think a 135g will seem like a big upgrade and the 260 might seem like an gigantic undertaking.

    I had a 135g tank, it was my first big tank, and it was a fun tank that had some challenges with aquascaping and coral placement but overall it wasn't horrible, it's big but not too big, are there better dimensions? Sure, but if you're not used to them it won't seem like too much of a restriction, my 180 was 4' x 3' x 2' so it spoiled me for wide tanks forever. And the upside is the equipment can be dialed down for a tank that size too.
  13. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    I know I've got a 450 that I've had thoughts of but currently I'm only running a 30 gallon with a 125 that's slowly being built. I wanted to have it be a progeression to test out the maintenance and cost required. Also, unlike you, I've only been reefing for about a year so I also wanted to make sure this wasn't a short lived passion.
  14. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Some thoughts (opinions from a big tank owner):

    KEY: Tank and equipment should be proportional to the amount of time you have for the hobby!!!
    Look at how much time you spend on your tank now.
    Multiply up the parts that change.
    I really think that is the #1 constraint, not cost, etc.

    The tank is not even close to the main expense. If $1,000 is a big deal, don't get a bit tank. Period.
    You might want to make a spreadsheet estimate on electricity and maintenance costs.

    Don't rush the decision. The idea is that this will be a long term hobby. So why hurry.

    Don't make decisions on tank-of-the-month pictures.
    Sure, good starting points and something to strive for.
    But those are more the "exception" than the norm.
    So decisions based on those could be wrong.

    There is no true requirement for a fish room, or a giant sump. But it helps a lot.
    In particular, it helped me a lot in the early years, because I was often
    making giant spills and flooding the garage.
  15. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Yup, was going to say something similar, while yeah $1k isn't exactly pocket change, for an aquarium it kind of is. But on top of that is the cost of a relatively inexpensive skimmer, to one that is more expensive, if you go the CaRx route, you'll need the big one, water changes will easily double, cost of lighting increases as well (maybe not double but it still increases), and cost of electricity, because of PG&E's tiered rates and if you are unlucky to live in San Francisco where the temperature is mild, natural gas is abundant and we're expected to entertain ourselves with happy thoughts of days past you can get really nailed hard for electrical usage.

    Yeah, need to not rush things, after MACNA I was full of spit and vinegar and ready to order a glass tank too, but then hey I don't even have the room ready for it to be installed and I don't have anywhere near the free time to say "yeah I can get it done in 6-8 weeks". Also I'd be weary of any 260g tank that's 36" tall that is only $1300 unless it's a used tank where someone's looking to get out of the hobby, so look around see what the "norm" is as far as tank parameters, don't be afraid to ask for a quote from various tank manufacturers, see what they're doing for their cost, none will be as cheap but maybe you'll get a warning sign if they say they can get away with 1/2" glass on a tank that tall or whatever they're doing to cut costs that much.

    One of the most heart (wallet) wrenching things in this hobby is planning for a tank, buying all the equipment (whether new or used) and then not going the direction you wanted and now have a bunch of equipment you're not going to be able to use and no where you'll recoup your costs.
  16. Benaminh

    Benaminh Guest

    Thanks for all the feedback, I enjoy this conversation and appreciate being able to bounce ideas off y'all's.

    Just to clarify, this isn't my first rodeo. I've had a 135g FW co2 planted tank in the distant past; granted it's not the same maintenance as a reef, but keeping a large tank is not completely a foreign concept. However, doubling the volume is somewhat intimidating after considering all the information.

    I agree, the cost of the tank is just the starting point. The $1,000 price differential was meant as shorthand for the increases in cost overall for larger everything such as equipment, etc. Just look at the price jump from an MP40 to MP60.

    I'm uncomfortable with the concept that since reefing is an expensive hobby, we should accept the idea of writing a blank check for all expenditures. As in any hobby, there are different price tiers and entry points, that's why some people drive Hyundais while others have Bentleys, but to simply dismiss a person's attempts to stay within budget as unrealistic is a disservice to our community. For one thing, it limits constructive discourse and discourages the participation of new members. Secondly, it creates a market bereft of sensible price controls. If consumers don't balk at extortionistic prices, producers have no reason to cap them. Thirdly, if we never question the status quo, how do we know there isn't a better alternative?

    At the risk of sounding contradictory, there is also some truth to the old adage, "you get what you pay for." That's why I would buy a new tank versus used for anything larger than 60 gallons. My risk aversion is proportionally inverse to the possibility of # gallons of water on the floor. However, I also understand that the progression from manual dosing, to dosing pumps, to calcium reactors is directly tied to the cost of convenience and efficacy. I would argue that if CaRx's were an absolute necessity, there would be far fewer people keeping SPS tanks. I'm still navigating which areas I can cut costs, and which require full investment.

    At this point I have more time than money, which might change in the future; but as an example, I can always upgrade from dosing pumps to a CaRx when the time comes. Mind you, I haven't ruled out a CaRx yet if a good used one comes up (@gimmito). I'm also seeking a used chiller, return pump, skimmer and two MP60's :rolleyes:. However, I think I would probably need new heaters, Apex controller, and possibly sump depending on my stand's access points. I already have the lights, co2 tank/solenoid, and fishes... plus three large Rubbermaid tubs of aquarium paraphanelia :eek:.

    Regarding TOTM's, that was a good reminder @rygh, but I wholeheartedly agree with two details Joseph Peck discusses. The first is the concept of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid), because that has also been my reefing philosophy. Discounting operator error -- the less moving parts, the less possible points for equipment failure. That's why I refer to this as my stripped down tank build and keeping it to the bare necessities. Secondly, it's true that almost all tank permutations have been explored, don't reinvent the wheel, just find a setup you like and copy it as closely as possible. I REALLY LIKE Peck's tank, but don't have room yet for a 300g sump and my tank's dimensions have already deviated from his original plan.

    @sfsuphysics I'm in no rush, the new media is presently being cycled with established live rock & sand in the FOWLR. The new stand (72x24x35) will be installed next month. I decided to order two base cabinets from my old kitchen manufacturer and altering it to fit my needs. In the meantime, I'm still researching information, contemplating plumbing, and collecting used equipment. The tank will be located in Sonoma County, and I will be installing solar panels very soon to offset PG&E.

    FYI, the $1,300 price is for a new 260g (72x24x36), 3/4" glass, with custom overflow by Elite Aquariums. I'm hoping to order the tank towards the end of the process after most of the specifications have been decided.

    Do you know if Lapsan still has his tank running? Would love to check it out.
  17. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Elite aquariums eh? Never heard of them, I'd be interested to see a few of their tanks as a point of reference. For the simple fact is that is a cheaper price than a horrible aquarium company (Glass Cages), and heck that price on the "custom" 135 is on par with a standard size tank price range. Not to say that it will be a bad tank, I'm just curious of the underlying economic factors of how he can do a tank like that for so cheap.

    Got any contact info for them?
  18. Benaminh

    Benaminh Guest

    I stopped by the LFS yesterday and talked with the owner. He'll hook you up. Sent you a PM with his #.
  19. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    That 260 is cheaper than the 75G that I had Reef Savvy price out for me. Granted they're drastically different as far as options, craftsmanship, fit and finish is concern, but that's a steal regardless.

    While I do agree with the KISS philosophy, I always bear in mind of the adage that you mentioned, you get what you pay for. You might end up with spending the same amount or even more eventually so I usually look at equipment from the long term investment perspective.

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