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29gal Reef Setup After Long Hiatus, Some Questions

Guy W

AC Members
Hello, I've been out of the aquarium game going on 10 years. Back then I had a 125gal FOWLR tank. I also raised clownfish for a while and there's might be some of my old threads about that on the forums still.

I've been missing having a tank and have been wanting to setup something again. I wanted to go with a Reef this time but being a bit funds limited I couldn't jump back into a larger system so I'm in the process of getting everything together to do a 29gal.

I picked up a cheap Aqueon 29gal tank, glass top, and a inexpensive stand from my local big box pet store.

I've placed an order for some stuff and I'm hoping to have that in the coming week. I've got on order:

• AquaC Nano Remora Protein Skimmer Hang-On
• Current USA Orbit Marine LED Saltwater Reef Lighting System 24-36"
• Heater, some power heads, Hydrometer/supplies, etc.

I'm hoping the Skimmer and a 3" Live Sand Bed w/ 30-40lbs Live Rock will be sufficient for my filtration needs. I'd rather not run and overflow and sump if I can help it.

Question: Should my filtration needs be met or will I need to think about other options?

I'm wanting to keep a pretty lightly stocked tank. A pair of Perc Clowns, I'm not sure if I want any other fish. Maybe a 6 Line Wrasse, a goby, or something similar, but not much more in the way of fish. I'll have a fair clean-up crew, snails/crabs, shrimp. My main focus for this tank is corals.

I'd very much like to keep SPS. When I was doing tanks before LED lighting wasn't really a thing. The light I choose, the Current USA Orbit Marine LED, had good reviews but I am not entirely sure what sort of corals it can support. I'll ofcourse have some mushrooms, zoas and polyps, and things like that and I'm sure those will be fine, but I'm not sure what else I can stock with this lighting system.

Question: With the light I've ordered can I expect to be able to maintain SPS and LPS corals? Current makes a small light strip product called TrueLumen, I imagine I could add 1 or 2 of those light bars on the tank as well if needed.

I'm not sure if I'll buy sand/rock locally or place an online order yet. I still have to shop around. My bigger concern is water. I don't really want to spend the money on an RO/DI right now, but I also don't want to haul water from the LFS. I suppose hauling some water won't be to bad after the first fill up, but moving 4-5 loads of 5 gallon buckets isn't appealing to my aching back.

Question: How many pounds of sand would you most likely need to reach a 3" sand bed? Should I go deeper? Any thoughts on my water problem and the most economical solution?

That's all for now I'll update progress as it goes. Thanks!


Josh Holloway--Be mine!!!
With the LR and skimmer and LR, and a low BIO load, I think you are OK. The LED lights may not be enough for SPS coral with a high tank. May not even be enough for a low tank.


AC Members
If you are not planning on upgrading your filtration in the future, I think you are limiting yourself to softies and mushrooms. Most are a lot more tolerant to less than perfect water, but still more sensitive to nitrates than fish. IMHO, you will depend heavily on weekly water changes to keep your corals happy, larger volume if you stick with tap water (that is if your tap water allows you to do that). I have seen first hand how a move of less than 20 miles turned a once beautiful and flawless 150g established (about 9 years) reef into hair algae central.

I have the same light (except the 48" version) on my 75g tank (fish, softies, mushrooms). Mushroom on sand no problem, but the few zoa frag I got do much better medium height or higher. By default the moonlight is setup for 10% white/0% blue, I suggest a change to about 0% white / 3% blue for better look. Plus the blue will really make anything fluorescent pop. For stability (more consistant water between changes) I highly recommend the addition of a HOB refugium later on as soon as your budget allows (either diy with converted power filter or ready made). It is alot better than nothing and much much cheaper than a overflow, sump with refugium, return pump - especially on a budget. The cost of overflow box and return pump alone will be more expensive than a complete HOB refugium with builtin pump.

As for water - I am not the right person to ask about since I am not converted to RO/DI yet. I know that lugging around the jugs from my LFS does not appeal to me - maybe if it was only 5 gallons a week, but I have almost 5 gallons alone in evaporation between my 75g and 180g.

Guy W

AC Members
Update 3. Made progress on the tank today. Got some Live Rock, Sand and Water in the tank. The tank is still really cloudy from the sand, as you can see in the picture, but it's clearing up quickly.

I tossed a power filter on the back of the tank to help with clearing up all the fine particulate from the sand. I don't think I'll keep that on the tank long term though, not sure maybe I'll just put a bag of carbon in it or something. I also got a hydor koralia 425gph in there, I'm thinking I could possibly use another one of those.

I started with 40lbs of CaribSea bags of Live Sand, I used the Oolite. It's really fine particles and the particulate in the water column was more than I was expecting, but I like it. Once it settles down I think it will be nice.

Got 30lbs of Live Rock. As you can see in the picture, 30lbs is not nearly enough. I could easily use another 30. It's not aquascaped at all obviously, as I couldn't see anything in the tank with all the sand blown up, but I'll get to that tomorrow.



AC Members
Coming along nice. Doesn't look all that cloudy, should be clear in a day or two. The rock you got looks great to stuff frag plugs in. If you want more rock then I would strongly advise you save some money and get high quality cured live rock from a LFS. Why not online? You wouldn't be able to see the piece in person before buying - and with the high prices nice rock demands it is pretty risky.


AC Members
The new rocks look nice. Looks like there is some color going on with some sponges. Will be interesting to keep an eye on and see what else crawls out.