Upgrading my tank, need your help.


Reefing newb
Hello everyone! I've currently had my 20G long tank for about 10 months and things have been great! I've really gotten everything under control and managing my tank isn't a hassle at all. I definitely want to upgrade my tank to at least a 55 gallon but don't want to get too out of control with it because I'll be moving within two years. At that point, I'm setting up my dream tank.

A few questions for you:

Is there a big difference between the necessary items I'll need for a 55 versus a 75 or a 90 gallon? I'd like to reuse as many pieces as possible for an upgrade, but just wasn't sure.

Is a refugium absolutely necessary? I'd definitely like to have a protein skimmer and over filtrate. With frequent water changes at least every other week at the absolute worst, is that fine?

What are some of the best fish for a 55 gallon? Is there a big difference between the fish I could use in a 55 versus a 75 gallon?

I'm only interested in fish only with live rock at the moment. I'll tackle corals later on. Any help would be great! Thanks!
Congrats for making it this far!

As far as pieces for the 55 vs the 75 or 90 you may want to really pick out pieces that are sized for the larger tank if thats what you really want. If you undersized your parts then you will just need to buy more and/or replace them.

A refugium is not necessary. Basically a fuge tank is where you would grow macro algae and your pods that would help feed your fish naturally. A sanctuary if you will. However you may be talking about a sump tank. For the larger tanks I'll always say this should be required. This allows you to place heaters, skimmer, any media reactors that you may want in a place that is hidden. Many aquarists incorporate a refugium into their sump setup.

As far as fish go check out liveaquaria.com there is an option to select your tank size and it will pull fish for you. Make sure you select appropiate fish if you want to go coral in the future. It's easier to stock for your future desire then change once you get your dream tank. Hope this helps a bit!!
My biggest issue with a 55 is how narrow it is, I have this issue with my 45. A 75 or 90 will give you more front to back space which is great in the display and a must in the stand. It is a real issue fitting a sump in a narrow stand. Narrow stand means smaller sump which means smaller skimmer. Its a snow ball effect. It is a real bear for me to remove my skimmer for cleaning and is impossible for me to remove my sump without taking the entire tank apart. Just food for thought.
i agree. wider is better if possible. as far as stock goes stay away from tangs- tank not big enough, stay away from dragonettes- will starve- again tank not big enough. blennies are fun- ie bycolour or tailspot, pygmy angels are nice, and there is a wide asortment of really nice reef safe wrasses there is some beautiful cardinals and real pretty damsels as well, just add those last and becareful which you buy. some can be miserable little buggers. buy bigger everything then you think you need. there is no such thing as over filtration or over skimming. if it big you can always go bigger on the tank later without buying more equip. when i say bigger i go double or even more if i can afford it. watch for second hand. sometimes you can bet real nice stuff for good price. for example, my son just broke up with his wife, has no place for his tank anymore, gave all his stock back to the fish store(3000$) and is trying to sell a 220gal for 450$. paid 1800 for it 2 yrs ago
Ok, so I found a 75 gallon set up with a great LED light and beautiful stand. I'm going to probably pick it up on Thursday. If I over filtrate with HOB filters, can I just get away with using a protein skimmer in the meantime before I set up a sump? I'm figuring I'll need to spend somewhere in the ballpark of $200 for the skimmer and between that, the live rock and sand, it's just laying out a lot of extra money at the moment.

So, am I fine with over filtration and a nice protein skimmer?
yes, you would do better with a sump, but if you dont have room or dont have the $ right now you can still have a real nice system without. i dont run a sump on my system at the present time and i have a 265 gal tank. i have a 110 aquaclear for filtration,- cleaned wkly and a hob aquamedic skimmer rated for 250 gal that gets cleaned out almost daily, and four big powerheads. i have been running it like this for 2 yrs . i dont have room for a sump. i have lots of coral, hard and soft, zoas, mushrooms, 3 anemones and a crocea clam and they all do well. its just a little difficult doing water changes cause the top of my tank is 5.5 ft high. however i am moving in a couple wks and i feel an upgrade coming on
Good luck with the move Monique. What type of skimmer are you using? I think mine needs an upgrade.

Goob, i only use LR and a skimmer so i think you'd be fine for a while without a sump.
i use an aquamedic ocean runner with an OR2500 pump on it. work well. started using that red sea no3po4x stuff and it doubles the affluent coming out of my skimmer. my new house has acsess for floor jacks and my husband said he would fix it up if i want to get my dream tank so i priced it. only a paltry 3600$ + tax. oh and i have to drive to toronto to pick it up. only 12 hrs away.[1000 miles]. 8ft by 2.5ft by 30in deep. plumbed at one end, urobracing, starfire glass, black trim top and bottom and a glass top. 700lbs empty. i havent decided for sure yet. if i do then i am turning my 265gal into a freshwater. i would have to get more lights, and a bigger skimmer but i would be able to put in a sump. and i think i would try the new maxspect gyre pumps on that. so with all the upgrades on equipment i figure 6-7 grand
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You dont have to have a sump to be successful. I ran a corner pent tank for years and did just fine. Your main filtration is your rock anyway, A decent HOB skimmer with a power filter will do it.......some power heads for flow would be good as well.

So basically +1 Monique
nice dog in your pix there ted. i have 2. great big mush balls, both of them. supposed to be guard dogs. both are big babies
the big ones usually are, Kong is very friendly...unless he doesnt know you and you come into the back yard..
my big girl -ginger-140lbs- is fine with everyone. come on over and steal my tv. she will help you if she gets to go for a car ride. just dont bring your dog or its dead. my little girl maxine-90lbs- is a golden lab in a rottie suit. loves everything. i tell you, they are not exactly guard dogs
Kong kills cats....we use to have a stray cat problem. Not a mark on them...but ya....he likes dogs
ya mine would too, she goes after any thing small. got a skunk this out at the cottage. had that thing so fast it didn't have a chance to spray her- thank god