Starting with a Frag Tank and Questions


New member
Oct 9, 2019
Fontana, Ca
Hi everyone! My name is David and I'm starting a frag tank as my first saltwater and have a lot of start up questions. I have had freshwater for 5 years and recently came across someone selling a 6'x2'x1' acrylic frag tank with overfrow and a return pump and he directed me here. I also acquired a 60g glass sump. And plan to clean them both with vinegar (maybe bleach). I want to get it up and running so it can start cycling and have these questions:

STAND: I plan on making a stand of 2x4s with a 3/4" plywood top. I've never built a stand before but heard acrylic needs the whole bottom supported so does this sound good? 2x4 supports every 2 feet. Also, it is drilled in the bottom corner. I'm assuming I just cut out a whole in the plywood for it? And because I'm not 100% sure about positioning. Is it unheard of to put locking wheels on the bottom? And does raising the sump off the ground have any benifits?

WATER: I'll be getting an RODI system. What size filtration and resivior should I get and what kind of salt works well for people? (I plan to do all types of corals)

LIVE ROCK: I'll be adding live sand and to the sump/ refugium, live rock. Any recomendations? I found someone selling their Fiji Live Rock still in tank but I do wish I could get the premium live rock from arc reef. Either of these good options? And how much should I buy? Should I treat this like it's a 100 gallon tank (top) or like a 160 (top and sump)?

LIGHTING: I was given the lights I attached and dont really know anything about them. Halogen bulbs i guess. Can these grow corals? I was hoping for LEDs like the Ocean Revive Artctic T247 B full spectrum ones on sale here ( but it is a little pricey and I would need 2 for coverage.

EQUIPMENT TO START CYCLING: I'm assuming the bear bones I need to start are Filter socks, protein skimmer, return pump, heater and some circulation pump or wave maker. Things I'm assuming can wait are any reactors, controllers, refugium settup, ATO, etc. As far as filter socks any recomendations or are they all the same? For the heater I plan to use 2 half powered ones. Do I need wave makers or could I just use a power head until its cycles? And protein skimmers I have no idea about. Anyone know of an affordable one for my system or at least a size to keep an eye out for?

I know it's a lot of questions but i appreciate any help. Thanks and glad to be a part of the forum! 20191016_225617.jpg 20191016_225542.jpg


Premium Member
Oct 17, 2010
La Quinta, Ca.
It sounds like an exciting project! My best advice would be, if you're just starting off, don't try to get all high-end equipment right off the bat. You can grow coral under those lights (depending on which corals you want to grow). Just get it going and let it cycle. Besides, you won't be adding corals for quite some time anyway.
I've used instant ocean salt for the past 20 years on both fish only systems as well as my current full blown reef. The best thing would be to read up on what works for most people.
How you describe your stand should work fine. There are hundreds of youtube videos out there that I always take advantage of!
As far as filtration and sump size, I always recommend getting a sump big enough for the equipment you want to use, such as the skimmer. Maybe have room for a refugium down the road as well.
I'll give you a tip that might make all the wives or significant others not very happy....Marine Depot and BRS will let you pay monthly if you spend over $200. That comes in handy when you start buying better equipment! It's ok to blame me so you won't get in trouble!

Best of luck and oh, I almost forgot the most important thing you'll need for your reef......PATIENCE!!