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Reef Aquarium Equipment

150-gallon reef aquarium equipment.

By J. Charles Delbeek

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Q. I'm planning to install a marine aquarium with fish and invertebrates (hard and soft corals, sponges and so on). I have a 150-gallon aquarium (24 x 22 x 72 inches) with the following equipment:

Amiracle Berlin filter (model BFL), capacity of 300 gallons, with a Little Giant 3MDQX-SC pump; Magnum 350 canister filter; 15-watt ultraviolet sterilizer; Aquanetics 1/6-horsepower drop-in type chiller unit; six powerheads with wave motion timer; four very high output fluorescent lamps (two actinic, two daylight) with a timer.

Is this enough to run a reef aquarium? Do I need any other piece of equipment? I know there are a lot of factors to consider, like pH, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, salinity, temperature and so on, but right now the important concern is the equipment. I'd appreciate your kind response as I really need your help. Thanks in advance!

A. Thank you for your letter! As far as your system design goes, I have a few suggestions. I would highly recommend you purchase a protein skimmer unless this is already included in the Amiracle Berlin filter. I would also not use bioballs or any other biomedia in the filter. You won't need the ultraviolet unit unless there is a disease outbreak, and most likely it is not strong enough to do much good anyway. I would not install it unless you run into disease problems.

Your chiller may be undersized. In your climate you may need a 1/4-horsepower unit at the least, maybe even a 1/2-horsepower model. You need to consult with the manufacturer and tell them what the average temperature is in the room you want to keep the tank in and at what temperature you want to keep the tank. They can then calculate what size chiller you need. It is much better to have excess capacity than inadequate capacity when it comes to chillers. An undersize chiller will run constantly and wear out quickly. Everything else looks fine!

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