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Initial tank setup -- shopping for tank and gear


Sep 25, 2021
Hi all,

I'm starting an aquascape tank which may some day hold an octopus. I'm looking for something of an all-in-one package and wondering what you think of the reefer system.

You can see the detail for the inside of the tank on Youtube, but it has:
* 54 gallon capacity
* A sump with prebuilt plumbing, harvey drain
* A top up system
* A surface skimmer (protein skimmer)?

My plan would be:
1) Set up the tank with dry rock, sand, pump, and protein skimmer, and have it run for a month or two
2) Try a brittle star, hermit, or other of the tankmates for some time
3) Either move on to fish or go for an octopus

Thanks all!
Last edited:
Do you have a target species?
Your plan seems pretty sound. Just make sure you moniter two things pretty regularly. Salinity and ph. A brittle star might prove well as an indicator species. Make sure you get a good clean up crew. Snails and maybe some peppermint shrimp or banded shrimp. The shrimp aught to do well at evading predation. Snails not so much.
I’m setting up my reefer 250 as an octo tank! It’s fully cycled - was previously a mixed reef tank but I upgraded that tank and so this one is empty now
I have a Red Sea 350 and it has worked quite well. I made my own lid.
Here are a few of the accessories.
VarioS-4 Controllable DC Pump (1050 GPH) return pump
Elite 150-INT 6" Super Cone Protein Skimmer
6 Stage Deluxe Plus 150 GPD Water Saver RO/DI System - Bulk Reef Supply
I am using the Felt filter socks as I have not got a custom to the skimmer yet.
I am using APEX automation, thought I think it is over kill at this point.

I switched from Biomedia - MarinePure as it was easily fragmented. I am now using Ceramic Rings.
I also have the Plastic Bio Balls, but they float, which I don't like.

My remaining projects are deciding the best way to manage ATO and just how to vacuum the Fiddler crab shells and Octopus poop.

Apex has a dosing pump that can do ATO and talks to your salinity probe to determine the volume of fresh water to add. I've used them before and they work pretty well. Sometimes the pump can be a bit fussy but I think that's more of an issue with peristaltic pumps in general and not really an APEX problem.

Here's a link, but if you have an APEX you've probably already checked it out.