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Below I will describe in detail the basic types of hardware that I use on all my Reef Aquariums. I have experimented with alot of eequipment over the years and have found these basic types of equipment have worked well for me and were all that was necessary in order for my Reef Aquarium to thrive. This is not to say that additional pieces of equipment will not produce results for you. All I am saying is that they have not been necessary for me to maintain a successfull Reef Aquarium.

Currently, I maintain soft coral reef aquarium (37 Gallon), hard coral reef aquarium (90 Gallon) and both a soft and hard coral aquarium (60 Gallon). I am maintaining three separate Reef Aquariums because I have found out over the years by reading several publications and through experimentation that certain types of reef inhabitants do much better under different lighting conditions. I find just about all of the reefs inhabitants interesting and in order to successfully keep several different types of species classes, I needed to keep three separate aquariums. I will describe the lighting setups and the species that I keep in each aquarium in order for you to decide what lighting package you should purchase.


Lighting

If you already don't know, Lighting is probably the most essential aspect piece of hardware that needs to be considered in order to successfully maintain a reef aquarium. There are three basic types of lighting that are used on Reef Aquaruims. They are

  • Metal hailde
  • Power compact
  • Flourscent lighting
I have experimented with all three types of aquarium lighting and have found that all three types of lighting work very well given if you choose the right type of species given the lighting setup, provide adequate water circulation, and have proper water parameters. Which aquarium lighting setup to use is a highly debatable subject and alot of hobbyists will dispute the fact that flourcent or power compact lighting is inferior to metal halide lighting. I have found out over the years that this is not necessarily the case. For more information on my lighting setups, including my lighting canopies, see the section entitled Lighting.

Soft Coral Aquarium

My soft coral aquarium is a 37 gallon reef ready acrylic aquarium. For this aquarium, I currently am using 1 55 watt super daylight powercompact and 1 55 watt attinic 03 powercompact. I purchased this setup as a retrofit kit from Hamilton Lighting. It came with a polished aluminum reflector that works very well. I have found that this lighting setup works very well for my 37 gallon soft coral reef aquarium. If you are using a larger or smaller aquarium, you will possibly need to adjust the wattage of the bulbs in order to provide sufficient lighting for your inhabitants. For more information on my lighting setups, including my lighting canopies, see the section entitled Lighting.

Hard/Soft Coral Aquarium

My Hard/Soft Coral Aquarium is a 60 gallon reef ready acrylic aquarium. For this aquarium, I currently am using 2 175 Watt 5500 Kelvin Metal Halide Lights and 2 110Watt VHO attinic 03 flourscent striplights. This lighting setup has worked very well for me. My corals are doing extremely well under these lighting conditons. For more information on my lighting setups, including my lighting canopies, see the section entitled Lighting.


Protein Skimmer

There are many different types of protein skimmers out there on the market. I have tried just about every type available and have found over time that a powerful venturi type skimmer best suits my needs. The venturi skimmer that I am using on both of my aquariums is on that I built myself. This skimmer works very well for me and is easy to construct on your own. For more information on this skimmer, refer to the section entitled Do it Yourself.


Sump

My sump on my 37 gallon reef aquarium is nothing more than a 10 glass aquarium (AGA). It was a very inexpensive alternative to purchasing a wet/dry filter system and has been more than able to accommodate my needs. On my 60 gallon aquarium, I am using a 15 gallon glass aquarium (AGA). On both of my aquariums, I built overflow boxes into each of my aquariums so I didn't need to invest in an overflow box and wet/dry filter system. For more information on how I setup and built my "Reef Ready" aquariums, refer to the section entitled Do it Yourself.


Pumps/Powerheads

Currently, for my 37 gallon reef aquarium, I am using a hagen 402 powerhead to return water from the sump back into the aquarium. I like this powerhead because it is not too powerful for this purpose and it allows for the water being delivered into the sump to be throughly cleansed by my venturi protein skimmer. As for my 60 gallon reef aquarium, I am using a Rio 2100 powerhead. I needed a strong pump for this aquarium since I have two ports within the aquarium that I return water with.

As for water circulation, for my 37 gallon soft coral aquarium I am using one Maxijet 500 powerhead positioned on the right side center top. This provides more than adequate water circulation for this aquarium since I properly aquascaped the aquarium. If I hadn't properly aquascaped my aquarium, I could have used 4 Maxijet Powerheads and I still would not have the water circulation that I am getting with just one. As for my 60 gallon Hard/Soft Coral Aquarium, I am currently using two Rio 600 powerheads positioned on each side of the aquarium at the top. On the left side, the powerhead is positioned toward the back. On the right, the powerhead is positioned toward the front. This is to ensure that I get adequate water circulation throughout the entire aquarium.

It is important to use the right powerhead for your aquarium in order to provide for the right amount of water circulation. Too small a powerhead will not be albe to circulate the water effectively. Too large a powerhead and your inhabitants will be flying all around the aquarium. You should consult a aquarium store/manufacturer for the right size powerhead to provide for water circulation.


Wave Maker

Although wave makers are not essential in order to successfully provide for the right amount of water circulation, they do provide a more realistic ocean environment and as such, I am currently using one on both of my aquariums. The wave maker that is in the picture is a Tsunami wave maker that I am currently using on my 60 gallon hard/soft coral reef aquarium. I had been using it for about a year on another aquarium and have not had any problems with it so far. I set the timers to turn on/off on 10 minute intervals. This has worked well for me so far. If you have an opinion on the on/off times that wavemakers should be set to, I would love to hear about it. Also, if you are positioning your powerheads in a way that has worked very well for you, I would love to hear about this as well.

Please e-mail me your comments/feedback on this site

joesreef@yahoo.com

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