View Full Version : equipment questions

michael grady
09-04-2011, 1:29 AM
Just about to start up 110 gal reef. I've been out of the hobby for ten years, and I'm not up to date on newer equipment and tech stuff.

I'm looking for a recomendation for RO filters...I think a high output would be appropriate for my setup.

Looking for a recomedation for calcium reactor.

Also, the controllers seem pretty new and high tech. Would you guys tell me exactly what they do? Turn lights off and on/monitor temp and turn heters off/on, monitor PH? What else? If you were gonna buy one, which would you pick.

Thanks so much...I have lots more questions:)


09-04-2011, 8:24 AM
Michael, welcome back. There have been a lot of changes in just the last few years. For RO/DI unit, in my opinion a 50-75GPD would probably be sufficient. I have a 75GPD that I used on a total of 300+ gallons and always had plenty of RO available. Air Water and Ice is a sponsor and have them at a good price. If they don't have what you want then check out and The Filter Guys.

I've never run a calcium reactor so I can't make any recommendations on it but Dave, acroholic, did a nice write up that you may want to read first in this thread:

I have an Apex Controller by Neptune and would buy another if I was starting over. It is very easy to program and has several additional modules that can control LED lighting, Vortech Powerheads, and additional monitors.

Lighting is another thing that has really changed over the last few years with great metal halide, T5, and now LED fixtures. There are a lot of good threads in the Product Review Forum that you might want to look through as well.

Keep the questions coming, there are lots of people here willing to share their experience and knowledge.

09-04-2011, 8:50 AM
HEY! welcome(back)
RODI - I've got an "Ebay Special" that I've used for two years now... never had to change the filters(they were new when I got the unit - used) - mine cost me $120 or so... it never leaked a drop (but some people's units have leaked..I'm handy, so I dont worry about a leaky fitting cause I've got everything I'd need on hand to fix it..
Calcium Reactor - I have an old Knop C that I haven't had to set up yet (my weekly water changes keep the calcium high enough.... my tank is 18 months old..)
Controllers - I, too, have an Apex... right now, it's completely customizable, but there are others that show promise.. it's the best bang for your buck (Digital Aquatics has a controller that is similarly priced, but its programming language is inferior to the apex which is truly customizable).. I've got about $700 in my controller, but you could control a simple reef for $400-$500

michael grady
09-04-2011, 10:38 PM
Thanks for the warm welcome (back) and advice.

So, then - two more questions:

1. Aquascaping- if you were starting over, would you use dry or wet 'live rock'. There seems to be a HUGE difference in price.

2. while I have the tank (acrylic)empty, should I drill holes for a closed loop system?

3. what about salt - favorite make?

Thanks everyone! This is a huge help. I wish I had this forum the first time around.


Edit: oops..that was three more!

09-05-2011, 12:42 AM
1) dry rock.with a few live to seed the rest. Cut down on possible pests

2). If you want a closed loop then yes, of course. Why do you think.a closed loop.will be benificial to you?

3). It will be purely personal preference. Your going to get as many answers as there is salt on the market. For me it is IO.

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michael grady
09-05-2011, 12:49 AM
i was thinking a closed loop just to keep water moving. Also, in the future, isn't this the best way to add a wave maker?

Next question...what are good choices for sand. How much should I add. the tank is 60x18x24 high.

Thanks again!

09-05-2011, 7:23 AM
I've got a tunze nanowave maker on my 90 gallon tank and it works perfectly... (and won't leak)

I'm not a fan of closed loop systems, I'd prefer to have as few holes in my tank as possible.. every bulkhead and length of pvc is a potential leak..

dry base rock with a couple pieces of cured live rock is the way to go.. it will take your tank longer to cycle, but the longer cycle will provide a good, healthy base to build your system on.. (mine cycled about 8 weeks before I put in the clean up crew)

InstantOcean is good, I use Seachem ReefSalt, (I've tried Salinity, RedSea Pro and InstantOcean)

ONE THING that I will do next time...
while you've got the dry rock out, drill about 10-20ea 3/8" holes in the top of the rocks... (anywhere you can put a hole, put a hole)..
they don't need to be deep, but they'll help you with being able to put frag plugs anywhere you want when you DO start adding coral to your tank..)