New Setup


Reefing newb
I had a tank a few years ago and didn't have the money to do with it what I wanted to so I gave it to a friend. Now he is moving and couldn't take it so I have it back. It is a 130 Gal Reef tank. I want to start fresh with the setup and about the only thing that I want to re-use is the tank and maybe the sump, he didn't do much with it and most of the other components are either not working or about to give up.

The tank is made of glass, oceanic tank I believe. It is 6' long x 24" deep x 18" wide. The only problem with the tank is that the glass brace above the tank has been broke. He had a MH lamp over the tank and very close to the brace. Water got on the brace and it cracked and is in two pieces. Is there a good way to replace the brace?

The filter is a bioball type with two pumps, one for each down tube. The filter may be a worth re-using, but with advances, I wonder if I shouldn't just get something else.

What are suggestions for lighting? I would like to make it into a good reef tank, so I know I will need a lot of light to penetrate to the bottom of the tank. LED has made a big improvement, but I don't know if I could get enough light over the tank with them. As always, I want to minimize the heat generated, esp since I live in TX where it is already very hot.

I know I have a long road ahead, but want to do it right. Suggestions welcome.

Hello and welcome to the site...check out the suggested reading/articles on the right side of the home page to help get you started.
You can turn that bioball setup into a fuge. Just remove the bioballs replace with LR rubble and add some cheato. As for lighting, LEDs, with the correct optics can penetrate deep. I believe that many of the quality ones reccomend one fixture for every 2 feet of tank. Also, the will save money in the long run. No replacing lamps every year and use less electricity.

Any other questions just ask. There are lots of helpful people on here
Welcome aboard!
The brace will definitely need replaced. I have always seen them made out of plastic though. Youtube might have somebody helpful demonstrating how to fix it.
There are a lot of new LED lights coming out. Make sure you do your research before you purchase. The kinds of coral you want to keep can make a difference in how good of a light you will need.
Welcome aboard!
The brace will definitely need replaced. I have always seen them made out of plastic though. Youtube might have somebody helpful demonstrating how to fix it.

Looks like I can replace it with a simular section of glass and silicone it in with high tensile strength silicone. Anyone have suggestions on what to use that is aquarium safe?
Any silicone that doesn't have anti-microbial additives is safe to use in our tanks. GE Silicone I comes to mind. Just don't buy anything that says anti-mildew or stuff like that.
The first order of business is to fix the brace, but I am looking at getting the shopping list together. Been doing a little research and looks like replacing the bio-balls with cheato is the way to go. Also probably a sand substrate. I have old (dead) rock that was in the tank, but I am concerned about chemicals, phosphates, etc leaching back into the water. I know that I will need a good RO/DI filter for the water, but don't want to contaminate it with stuff out of the rocks. Am I being to cautious or should I get new rock also?

I will also need new water pumps. I want to keep soft corals, with maybe some anename. I will have to refine my selections more, but this is what I am shooting for. What is a good rate of turnover for a 130 gal tank? 4x per hour? More?

Also how much LED lighting will I need? I don't see a reason to get VHO or MH lighting if I can avoid it since I need to start from scratch anyway.

As long as he never dosed the tank with copper, the rock can probably be used just fine.
Soft corals need the least light, but anemones need a lot. Nems are also pretty sensitive and waiting about a year for the tank to mature is usually recommended. A lot of the LEDs can be changed as far as intensity goes. If you had multiple lights you could have a brighter side and a dimmer side for your softies. Different fixtures will be for different size tanks. For example, one Ecotech Radion will cover approx 2 feet x 2 feet of your tank.
4xhour turnover is plenty for flow.
I think chichi is confused by your question... For a saltwater tank, ideal turnover is 20 to 40x tank volume per hour. You accomplish this by adding powerheads. I don't think you could keep things alive in a tank with 4x turnover.
I also think you should be able to use the old rock. Maybe put a few pieces in a bucket with some saltwater and leave it there for a week or so, then test the water for phosphates and nitrates. If they are zero, then the rock is fine to use and probably isn't leaching anything.
The Chaeto (macro algae of any kind really) will need some form of lighting to hit it for it to grow and be effective. Sand is definitely a good way to go, and normally ~2in is what people shoot for, maybe a little less or more for personal taste. The rock you have is essentially base rock now just rinse it out a few times (and maybe scrub it a little) and you will be able to seed it again with some fresh rock or sand. I would point out, that if the tank was ever treated with chemicals that could leach out again, talk to your friend find out what if any chemicals medications etc he might have used in the tank. the RO/DI you buy should be capable of somewhere around 100-150 GPD (unless you want to have it running all the time) to maintain a good water stock for changes and emergencies. I wouldnt worry about the rock contaminating your ro water, like I said before, talk to your friend about treatments he used.

For turnover shoot for 15-20x if not more, this would be high for what you want (20-30 is normally the average for a reef I believe) and since you only want mushrooms and perhaps a neme or 2 later you would be fine with less. I use 2x 750 GPH and 2x 1400 GPH Hydor Koralia pumps on my 75g (yes thats a LOT of water movement). Everyones needs will be different.

With the led lighting I'm not much of a pro (I use Halides and T5's) but i know the standard should be for 3w LED's with good optics (wide angles, I believe 90dg or is it more?), normally you will need 1 good fixture per 2ft of tank (these fixtures can run up to $700 ea for "the standard") so your tank would need 3? There are also cheaper units which might not come with as good of quality but will run you a significantly less amount of $$$ while still getting the job done. Again this will all vary since you wont have many light intensive need creatures (your nemes might though)

Hope that helps some -Cathic

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