Hi everyone,

This is my first post of hopefully many as I set up my first salt water tank. I have had fish tanks almost my entire life and always wanted to get into saltwater but never really had the financial capability to do it the way I wanted. I've had multiple South American Cichlid, African Cichlid, and at one point even had a piranha tank. They ranged from 10 gallons to 150 gallons. I recently purchased a 100-gallon seaclear system II acrylic tank used. I was planning to make another nice African cichlid tank but decided I wanted to jump in with both feet to saltwater. Needless to say, I am drowning in information and differences of opinion. Obviously, I am trying to stay financially responsible but understand that there is a large commitment to setting up a tank properly. I have a few questions I am hoping someone with experience (hopefully with the seaclear system) can help me with.


  • Filteration
    • The Seaclear system II does not give a lot of information on how to set up the internal filtration system for saltwater - The back of the tank has a built-in filtration system. This is the only video I could find that gives any sort of guidance: https://fishtanksdirect.com/fish-tanks/fish-tanks-by-brand/seaclear/seaclear-system-2-aquariums/
    • I have not put anything into the tank or filtration system at this point - The previous owner had fresh water so I decided to start from scratch and purchase a new pump and throw out all of the bio-balls and filters.
      • I purchased a new pump that I am hoping will be more than sufficient, as long as it fits in the designed area: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004ZJDNJC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1
      • I have been looking for a protein skimmer that will fit this design of a tank but most of the hang-on skimmers are not designed for a tank this large and there is limited room in the internal filtration system. I was wondering if anyone had experience with these tanks specifically or recommendations. I may just need to buy a separate sump but almost feel like that makes the design of this system redundant.
      • Do you have any recommendations on whether or not to utilize bio balls, live rock, or other items that have worked well for you in place of the bio balls that go in the middle of the filtration system? I have gotten a lot of mixed reviews from my research online.
  • Lighting
    • The tank came with old T5 lights so I am planning to replace those - My cousin has a 200-gallon reef tank and he recommended these for a beginner: https://www.amazon.com/VIPARSPECTRA...ncoding=UTF8&refRID=NCAWBD150G30ZCFR0H2H&th=1
      He said 2 or 3 165W should be plenty of light and I could always upgrade at a later date.
    • The tank itself does not have a hood, so I was considering looking into lights that mount to the back of the tank instead of hanging them from the ceiling. With the number of options available I just wanted to see if anyone had a good quality lighting system for this size tank that I wouldn't have to sacrifice my firstborn to purchase.
  • Flow
    • I understand I am going to need to purchase a circulation pump - There seems to be a lot of differences in quality and price. I wanted to see if anyone had recommendations for a pump set up for this size tank. I also wanted to see if anyone had experience in the differences in quality. Are the cheap pumps sufficient? Is it worth buying a top-quality pump? I don't mind spending the money on this project but I feel like I am not experienced enough to understand where I need to make sure I have quality and where it would be fine to upgrade at a later date when I get a little more experienced.
  • Aquascape
    • Luckily the guy I purchased the tank off of wanted to do saltwater but decided to only have fresh water in the tank - He did throw in around 200 lbs of rock to create my own design in the tank. The rock looks like it is designed for saltwater but I'm not sure what type of rock it is. A few of the pieces were in the tank when the other owner had it and they have a nice green film. My question is, does the type of rock play a major factor in having a reef tank? Would you recommend that I just purchase something new so I know what I have? Do you have any recommendations on how to clean the rock prior to adding it to the tank? I have purchased live sand to add to the tank and a RO system that should be hooked up by the weekend. I would like to add the rock prior to putting in sand and water so I can create a design and either drill/fiberglass the design together or use adhesive to ensure it won't fall.
I know this is a lot and I really am trying to set the tank up properly - I have been to multiple fish stores in the area (Cleveland, Ohio) and received some good input but also a lot of kids that had no idea what they are talking about. I going to document this process and what I have learned good and bad as I build this tank, but advice or experience you might be willing to share would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

Andy
 

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tsouth

Advanced Reefer
Manhattan Reefs
Supporter
Treat this tank as if it were an "All in one" reef tank. You should have vents/slots/teeth on the back middle panel (I think it's on your left side) - that area is where water enters the back chamber. From there, it travels to the right and re-enters the main display. With that said, your return pump will be on the farthest size opposite of the entry point, to return water back into the display. This is the direction of flow you will need to work with. Here's an example diagram
SeaClearIIDiagramv2.jpg

    • I have not put anything into the tank or filtration system at this point - The previous owner had fresh water so I decided to start from scratch and purchase a new pump and throw out all of the bio-balls and filters.
      • I purchased a new pump that I am hoping will be more than sufficient, as long as it fits in the designed area: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004ZJDNJC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1
      • I have been looking for a protein skimmer that will fit this design of a tank but most of the hang-on skimmers are not designed for a tank this large and there is limited room in the internal filtration system. I was wondering if anyone had experience with these tanks specifically or recommendations. I may just need to buy a separate sump but almost feel like that makes the design of this system redundant.
Buying a sump is a complicated solution with many alleyways. You can get a hang on the back overflow box and use that, then somehow block off All in one sections. You could drill the tank event, but now we're risking it. I encourage you to work with what you have, or perhaps re-consider using this tank for a saltwater setup (unless you maybe do fish only?) Hang on the back skimmers are plentiful - maybe this: https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/aquamaxx-cones-hob-hang-on-back-protein-skimmer.html


  • Do you have any recommendations on whether or not to utilize bio balls, live rock, or other items that have worked well for you in place of the bio balls that go in the middle of the filtration system? I have gotten a lot of mixed reviews from my research online.
Leave these empty until you think you "need" to add it. These compartments serve as a great placeholder area for necessities such as skimmers, heaters, auto top off systems, and so forth.

  • Lighting
    • The tank came with old T5 lights so I am planning to replace those - My cousin has a 200-gallon reef tank and he recommended these for a beginner: https://www.amazon.com/VIPARSPECTRA...ncoding=UTF8&refRID=NCAWBD150G30ZCFR0H2H&th=1
      He said 2 or 3 165W should be plenty of light and I could always upgrade at a later date.
    • The tank itself does not have a hood, so I was considering looking into lights that mount to the back of the tank instead of hanging them from the ceiling. With the number of options available I just wanted to see if anyone had a good quality lighting system for this size tank that I wouldn't have to sacrifice my firstborn to purchase.
Give us a picture of an example of someone else's tank you want to look like, and we'll tell you what is required. Those lights are fine, but sometimes this hobby is a "buy now, save later" game
  • Flow
    • I understand I am going to need to purchase a circulation pump - There seems to be a lot of differences in quality and price. I wanted to see if anyone had recommendations for a pump set up for this size tank. I also wanted to see if anyone had experience in the differences in quality. Are the cheap pumps sufficient? Is it worth buying a top-quality pump? I don't mind spending the money on this project but I feel like I am not experienced enough to understand where I need to make sure I have quality and where it would be fine to upgrade at a later date when I get a little more experienced.
Quality get's spent on your lifeline items. Return pump, lights, auto top off, salt, RO/DI setup. In tank flow via powerheads can vary and I encourage you to stick with reputable name brands such as ecotech, tunze, sicce

  • Aquascape
    • Luckily the guy I purchased the tank off of wanted to do saltwater but decided to only have fresh water in the tank - He did throw in around 200 lbs of rock to create my own design in the tank. The rock looks like it is designed for saltwater but I'm not sure what type of rock it is. A few of the pieces were in the tank when the other owner had it and they have a nice green film. My question is, does the type of rock play a major factor in having a reef tank? Would you recommend that I just purchase something new so I know what I have? Do you have any recommendations on how to clean the rock prior to adding it to the tank? I have purchased live sand to add to the tank and a RO system that should be hooked up by the weekend. I would like to add the rock prior to putting in sand and water so I can create a design and either drill/fiberglass the design together or use adhesive to ensure it won't fall.
Rock is expected to be porous to give bacterial life an opportunity to thrive. Create your rockscape outside of the tank to avoid breaking a panel, scratches, etc. Tape or cut out a box with a similar footprint and work on that instead. Share a picture of the rock if possible.

I would not recommend using rock's typically found in FW aquaria (not porous enough) and rocks where you have no idea what their history is like. For example - if they ever used copper, it probably leeched into the rocks and will be detrimental to the life of all inverts in the future and they will die from copper poisoning.

If they haven't used anything harmful, you can soak the rock in a water and bleach solution, soak again in ro/di, rinse, let it dry out in the sun, and then cure it. This is quite an extended process where instead you could possibly find man made base rock at a relatively good price eg Marco rock.

Fyi, when you start adding water to the setup with the sand and rocks in there, lay down some plastic or some sort of barrier so that the sand doesn't get stirred up and cloud your tank.
 
I really appreciate all of the advice - I have my RO system (to be installed tonight or tomorrow), my lights (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SHR6HW1?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details) I ordered three, but honestly think three will be a little too much. I was thinking about using some sort of mount that I would attach to the stand to hang the lights over top instead of drilling into the wall or ceiling (that will likely be something homemade). I have my pump ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004ZJDNJC?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details), my heater (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GFZD32M?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details), and my live sand.

Items I still need to purchase:
Powerhead for flow
Protein Skimmer
Salt
Testing Kit

If you have any other thoughts or items that you would recommend, please let me know. My goal is to have the tank filled and running by the end of the weekend. I won't likely add any fish until I have the other items listed.

Thanks again!
 

tsouth

Advanced Reefer
Manhattan Reefs
Supporter
Perhaps fabricate mounts or use something like 80/20 "T-Slot" extruded aluminum.
Other objects:
1. Bottled bacteria such as biospira
2. Some sort of filter media like filter floss that you can use in the meantime to help rid the tank of its initial cloudiness
3. A way to check your salinity (I use one of these)
4. For the future - you may want to order another smaller powerhead and heater to mix and warm up your fesh saltwater when you do water changes
 

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