HELP! Beginner looking for feedback.

Discussion in 'Just starting out (SW Beginners)' started by Nroddot, Oct 30, 2019.

  1. Nroddot

    Nroddot New Member

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    Hi, I'm very new to the hobby and I'm very excited (and also a little bit nervous...) to jump into the reefing world. But, before I spend thousands of dollars on equipment, I wonder if any experienced hobbyists would be willing to provide me feedback on my equipment choices?

    Tank: Red Sea Reefer 350

    Lighting: Red Sea ReefLED 90 x2

    Skimmer: RSK 600 Reefer Skimmer

    Powerheads: Vortech mp40 x2

    Return Pump: Vectra M2

    Reactors: BRS Carbon and GFO Dual Reactor

    Chiller: JBJ Arctica 1/10 HP

    Heater: Finnex TH 500 Watt Heating Element

    UV Sterilizer: Coralife Turbo Twist


    Down the road, I'd like to set up a dosing pump and refuigum. But from what I understand, refugiums are nice to have but absolutely not mandatory. Since I'm just starting, I'd like to keep things simple at first. But I do have a question on the plumbing. Can I connect everything to the return pump? Or is it better to have separate pumps for the reactors and chiller?

    This tank will be going into a bedroom. I realize some noise will always be present, but if there is anything I can do to make the system as quiet as possible, please let me know. I tried to select components that supposedly run quiet.

    Thank you for reading and I look forward to any comments or feedback that you may have for me. I really appreciate it.
     
    #1
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019
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  2. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    First off you did a very smart thing by asking about all this before you spent any money. ou have no idea how many times people have purchased first, only to find out they got all the wrong gear.

    You might find the lighting a bit sparse and give you some dim areas. Start with 2 but be prepared to add a 3rd one if needed.

    The return pump is way more than you need. Typically you want about a 5x per hour or so turn over in the tank. The red sea reefer 350 is about 73 gal. Your only going to need about a 600 gph pump to run your system. If you got a large pump, you'd just end up running it at a low speed just to keep it from over running the overflow.

    Don't purchase a chiller unless you really have a tank overheating problem. In this day and age with LED lighting and DC controllable pumps, it's usually not needed. You can leave a place to add one later if you need to but for now save your money/ Also, a 1/10 hp chiller is likely to be a bit small. If you need one you may need to go a bit larger, but don't oversize it.

    Get a smaller heater. You only need about 2 - 3 watts per gallon to keep the water up to temp. At most get a 250 - 300 watt heater. Also note that the Finnex TH 500 Watt Heating Element does not come with a tempature controller. I highly recommend getting an Inkbird temp controller. There are several models that will work, here is an example of one (offsite) - https://www.amazon.com/Inkbird-Max-1200W-Temperature-Controller-Greenhouse/dp/B01HXM5UAC?th=1

    Don't purchase a UV sterilizer unless you need it to solve a very specific problem. Most systems don't need this either. This are mostly good for clearing green water due to an algae bloom or cloudy water due to a bacteria bloom. They are very limited for disease control and for algal control. Again, you can leave a space to install one later if you really need it.

    You can connect everything off the main return pump, but you will need valves to control the flow through the various components.
     
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  3. Nroddot

    Nroddot New Member

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    Thank you DaveK for the lengthy and informative response. I see I definitely would have made some bad choices on my own.

    So, after reading what you had to say, I went with a Reef Octopus Varios 2. At 792 gph, it's much closer to the gph you suggested. I guess I could just dial it back a bit if it's still too much.

    I won't bother with the UV sterilizer. Doesn't seem like it would contribute much to my system and it's one less thing I have to mess with.

    I changed the heater to the Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm 300 watt. And I'll definitely get that temperature controller you linked... especially if I end up getting a chiller too.

    I still feel like I want a chiller for the peace of mind. I don't have air conditioning where I live and it can get pretty hot during the summer. I struggled with overheating in the past with a saltwater aquarium and even lost a couple of fish because of it. Of course, this was over a decade ago with a closed lid system and metal halide lighting. I'm sure this Reefer system would run a lot cooler, but I don't know. I guess I'm on the fence. Chillers are a lot of extra money, it would be great if I didn't need one.

    I'm not knowledgeable or skilled in the plumbing department. After seeing all these hard plumbing setups people are doing with valves, I think I'll just stick with braided vinyl tubing. And I'll just run the reactors on a separate pump. I was initially worried about the noise from adding additional pumps. But after reading reviews, I don't think a couple small dc pumps will contribute much noise.


    Thanks again.
     
    #3
  4. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    Save your money on a chiller, and get it only if you can't keep the temp down by any other means. Chillers are also expensive to run since the consume a lot of power. I got one years ago when I was running MH lighting, traditional powerheads for flow and Iwaki pumps on my 125 gal reef. It needed a chiller back then because MH lighting throws off a lot of heat into the tank.

    Now that it's all LED lighting and DC controllable pumps for flow and for the skimmer and return pumps, the chiller never comes on. It's just not needed anymore.

    Plumbing with rigid PVC pipe is not difficult at all and will give you much better flow over using hose barbs and vinyl tubing. PVC pipe and fittings are cheep, and available at places like Home Depot. It's easily cut and glued together. It you need to get it around something flexible PVC pipe, sometimes called spa-flex, is available. It cuts and glues just like rigid pipe. I use it to connect to pumps since there is a little give there. Use vinyl tubing only when there is no other way. As a note, since it will be dark inside PVC pipe, it will stay a lot cleaner inside than vinyl tubing.
     
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  5. nanoreefing4fun

    nanoreefing4fun Well-Known Member
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    :rbwwelc:to RS ! Great advise from Dave above.... +1 Post us pics so we can follow along ! Bet you will love your new tank & have great success with it !
     
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  6. r2d2

    r2d2 Member

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    I think reactors are also optional or for future needs, but not at startup.
    Congrats on your new project and happy reefing!
     
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  7. Nroddot

    Nroddot New Member

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    Thank you for the responses, everyone. Super excited. Going to be pulling the trigger on this thing in a couple of months. Just finalizing equipment choices and getting everything ready.

    Unfortunately I have no LFS near me, so I'll be ordering my livestock online (probably Liveaquaria) which means I have to wait until the warmer months to get this thing rolling. I live near the USA/Canada border where it gets pretty cold. Definitely not ordering marine life in the middle of winter.
     
    #7
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