So I have recently decided that I never should have gone with an AIO in an effort to save money when I set up my tank. Don't get me wrong, I like it a lot, it's relatively healthy, and has been a great starting point for me. I now want to establish a system with a sump however I have limited room to do so, which partially drove the decision to the AIO.
I'm planning a new system right now that will be 36" long and have a width of somewhere between 18"-24" and be no deeper than 16". I really like the look of the shallower tanks and I only have room for a 36" long tank. I'm also pretty well set on using a coast to coast external overflow "Bean" style. Based on how I built the house I'm in, I'm somewhat limited. A larger tank would require some structural reinforcement and movement of walls that the wife is simply not going to allow. Right now, I'm pretty well set on the equipment. The tank will be rimless, I'm getting a new skimmer soon, and have a BRS reactor running carbon and GFO and a separate TLF reactor that I plan on using for biopellets. The only variable for me now is lighting. I know for sure that I want to do LED. I'm considering either a DIY LED set up or looking into the Kessil fixtures.....not sure yet. The intent is for a mixed reef, likely SPS dominated.
Equipment that I have that will be used in this build:
- RKL with temp and pH probe.
- Vortech MP10
- Tunze 6045 (not controllable)
All other equipment will be either new, or purchased used. I plan on having a sump with fuge so I can have a growth spot for pods with the intent of eventually having pod dependent fish once the tank matures. Most rock will be new but seeded with rock from my current tank.
So, for the members of CR, what are your recommendations considering the tank sizes I'm thinking of? Does anyone have anything that they wish they had done when they set up their tanks? Or, does anyone have things that they have done that they regret? Does anyone have any comments regarding lighting, DIY vs. a purchased fixture? Does anyone have any thoughts about the tank footprints I'm considering?
This build will take time. My wife and I are expecting a second child at the end of the year and have some other financial commitments, so I will slowly acquire equipment to make this happen, but it must be right. I need it to be the best it can be because it's all I'll be able to have.