Just starting out

Discussion in 'Just starting out (SW Beginners)' started by Eash, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Eash

    Eash New Member

    Mar 12, 2019
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    London, United Kingdom
    Hi, I have a 250L freshawater that I want to convert to saltwater, specifically a reef tank. I know that you should have a skimmer but I dont really have space for a sump. There cannot be a HOB skimmer as I have a hooded aquarium. I have a fluval 305 canister filter but no skimmer. If I do regular water changes, like 1-2 times per week, would that suffice? I will use live rock, live sand, and carbon. Anything else that I could include, but obviously not the skimmer?
    Squatch XXL and nanoreefing4fun like this.
  2. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2003
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    Philadelpahia, PA
    Let me prefix this post by saying that I'm not trying to "beat up on the new guy". However, you do have some issues with what you plan.

    If your asking if could use your existing lighting and filtration could support a SW reef system, I'd have to say yes, but the system would be very marginal and very prone to problems. While you don't mention the exact lighting your have, I suspect it is far too low in quality and quantity to support most corals. Your filtration system using the Fluval 305 is a bit marginal, even for using it on a FW system. It's going to be extremely small for a SW reef. The bottom line here is that you will most likely need to upgrade both of these areas.

    A note on canister filters on SW reef system. They can be used, but you do some things a bit different. First, you need to clean it often, especially if you don't have a skimmer. Typically this is about once a week. Second, you should not use any bio media in the filter. The biological filtration in a SW reef is done by the live rock and live sand. Bio media in a filter just creates another dirt trap.

    As for a skimmer, again it is possible to maintain a tank without one, but not recommended once you get into a tank size much over 25 gal (about 100 L) or so. I would highly recommend a skimmer on your tank, and I wouldn't set up a tank that size with out one. If you shop around a little your should be able to find a hang on the tank skimmer that is no more intrusive that a hang on the tank filter.

    As for the existing hood. If you have one of the typical FW tank hoods, you might as well figure your going to replace it, since you'll need to upgrade lighting anyway. If you have one of huge, thick, made of a lot of wood hoods on the tank, you should easily be able to cut it out a bit to accommodate a skimmer.

    As for a sump. In a tank this size, it's nice to have but it's not something you must have. You still might one one though, since it lets you remove a lot of equipment from the display tank.

    One final thought, as you can see, you will likely be upgrading most of the areas on the system. About all you'll have left is the tank and stand. You might want to price out getting a new tank and stand and starting from scratch or getting an all in one SW tank like a Red Sea Max.
    Squatch XXL likes this.
  3. Uncle99

    Uncle99 Well-Known Member

    Aug 27, 2017
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    Province of Ontario, Canada
    Remove the top, add skimmer and lights, OK for canister but keep it clean. I have no sump either.

    I have a converted 250L done this way a pic below if that helps.
    image.jpeg image.jpeg
    nanoreefing4fun and rustyreefer like this.
  4. nanoreefing4fun

    nanoreefing4fun Well-Known Member

    Mar 10, 2009
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    Arkansas, USA
    Reef Chronicle:
    :rbwwelc:to RS ! Post us some pics ! good advise ^
  5. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

    May 6, 2015
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    Head above water.
    Reef Chronicle:
    I have to echo many of the same sentiments as @DaveK. A skimmerless system is possible, and 250l is a small-medium sized "reef" tank. A canister filter can become a headache very quickly. I have a few things I would advise anyone new to the hobby. Bare bottom would be something I would suggest to anyone new to the hobby. Research on the topic of "Berlin Style" with a bare-bottom would be a great starting point to get the hang of some of the nuances. The lighting that is typical for freshwater is usually insufficient for most corals. I love my sump, if not for anything the added room to filter. Mine is a 20 gallon tank with filter media for mechanical filtration, a heater and my skimmer. I run a very basic 40 gallon (150l), and for the most part it works well for my lifestyle and the amount of time that I spend on it. I would tell anyone new to this side of the hobby that it is very much worth it to have a sump. The added water volume alone helps with stability of mineral content of the water. In my situation, I have 10 extra gallons of water and based on the total volume of water is a 25% increase.

    There is no wrong answer, but some of the solutions will require more diligence with water changes. A skimmer may save you from doing a water change every other week to every 3rd or 4th week, but this is totally dependent on systems.

    Another option is to start out slow, and see what you can do. Resolve problems as they happen and learn to understand the goofy things that will happen....but be using what you learn over time to plan your next tank.

    Another totally different suggestion would be to get a totally different tank just for SW. There are a few All-in-ones that are a bit pricey, but are a system designed specifically for SW, and are exceptional for their size.
    nanoreefing4fun likes this.
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