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Tank setup: Am i missing anything?


Jul 17, 2006
In afew week i may be setting up an octo tank of my own (finnaly) i have read all the articles and have been reading throu many a poast (for the past year) and now i need to know if the iteams list below would make for an adiquit bimac home

45$ my bimac octo
6$ FW - Black Molly (for cycleing) x3
110$ 55 Gallon Tank from perfecto
28$Instant Ocean Salt 160 gallon Bucket
18$ Aragamax Sand 30lb (Sugar-Sized) (Carib Sea)
-enuff sand?-
100$ Caribbean Live Rock - 40 lb
38$ Berlin Air Lift 90
-does anyone here use this?-
48$ Skilter 400 Filter (Supreme)
-or this-
8$ 250 ml packet of ROWAphos
Freshwater Aquarium: 500 US gal
Salt Water Aquarium: 250 US gal
19$Saltwater Basic Test Kits (pH, nitrite, nitrate, alkalinity, ammonia)
8$Hagen Test Kit (calcium)
6$ Copper Test Kit (copper)
9$ Tetra Test(oxygen)
8$ Hagen Test Kit(phosphate)
7$Aquarium Systems (A Marineland Company) Instant Ocean Hydrometer
N/A pvc pipeing or rocks/shells
N/A baby safe toys(eg. big lego blocks)
N/A wights or ducktape
N/A mesh tank lid
N/A food
so far thats...500$

as far as i know the average price for an octo tank setup is 1000$ (unless its a DIY deal) i cant help but feel im missing something really obvios :oops:
$75 SW - South Pacific Live Sand - 20 lb. Box
i am assuming live sand will do as well as rock...unless this would be too ruff for an octopus
:welcome: it looks like you're on the right track, but I'm not (yet?) qualified to be sure you haven't missed anything, so I'll defer to the experts.
Don't spend money on live sand--its a rip-off, the sand out of the bags will be just as "alive" after its in your tank with the live rock for a few weeks.

Personally, I'd skip the power filter and put in a wet/dry and a protein skimmer. Its going to cost you a lot more, but if the octo gets big I don't think any power filter would cut it. That might be some of the cost difference you mention :smile:
Hunting for the missing $500

You will also need a source of RO/DI water which can cost as much as $1/gallon. A small (read SLOW) home unit to filter tap water will cost you about $120 from eBay (and then you still have to replace filters in the future and may want to buy at least one change at the time of purchase). In addition to initially filling the tank, you will need top off fresh water (depending upon your evaporation rate which is dependent upon your filtration and cooling methods) at as much as a gallon a day and saltwater for water changes.

Instead of the Oxygen, Copper and Calcium test kits I would recommend a TDS meter if you will be making your own RO/DI (it tests for dissolved solids and will let you know when your filters need changing). I would also recommend buying the test strips (combination nitrate, nitrite and ph and the separate ammonia strips) either in lieu of or in addition to the reagent test kits. I no longer use the reagents for nitrite, ph and ammonia (after running parallel tests I found the strips to be accurate enough to dispense with the chemical testing but the nitrate testing on the stips is iffy)

IMO you need to reconsider your filtration system. If you use the Red Sea skimmer (I have not used this one but do have one of their mid range units), you will need to add a pump AND separate filtration unit. The Skilter combined filter/skimmer is not adequate for the tank. I have the smaller one on a small 15 gallon and it works OK but the design does not allow for enough filtration on a larger tank. Even on the 15 gallon, I have back flow when I use better filtration than the branded, minimal cartridge. Consider a filter that allows you to use your own carbon, most preconstructed cartridges do not provide adequate carbon for high waste removal. In the absence of a sump, cannister (harder to maintain) and some hang-on units (harder to octo proof) will accomodate loose carbon in a provided holder.

You will need some way to cool the tank unless the ambient temperature is going to be close to 70 degrees. The equipment will add as much as 10 degrees to the tank so a fan would be the minimum requirement even with the lowered ambient temperature. We have not tried a Bimac yet for this reason. We expect to purchase a chiller when the tank is again vacant to accomodate a Bimac. The least expensive chiller for this sized tank runs about $350.

I assume that you have local places of purchase in mind for the pricing you list since most of the larger items are below retail and would not include shipping costs (which can be considerable). Of note, I pay 30%more for my salt (I have it delivered at a price that is still 30% below the in-store priceing of the chain pet store near me). The tank price is suspect if it includes the light hood (the kit with hood runs about twice what you have listed), otherwise you will want some kind of lighting. If you have found this pricing on the kit (which includes the hood) you will need to examine the hood before buying to be sure you can alter it to accomodate your protein skimmer and filtration.

I also assume that you will not need a stand and have a sturdy, water proof base to accomodate a full tank in excess of 500 pounds.

I suspect I have found your missing $500 :wink:
I suspect I have found your missing $500

ideed you have iv been tying to convince myself that a chiller was unessisary but i had not taken into consideration that the equptment would heat the tank. i will also look into different fitration and test out my existing tap water filter. thank you for the helpfull poast :smile:
I would put the chiller towards the bottom of the priority list. Availability for bimacs this last year was late fall into winter, and if you keep your furnace down its not unrealistic to keep the tank water a few degrees below 70. Even the low 70s isn't that bad, its just going to accellerate his life cycle a bit. At that point as spring turns into summer and everything's been paid for a while a chiller might look more attractive.

Also, don't be too afraid of used equipment. If you hunt you can find cheap tanks, lights, skimmers, pumps. Just make sure you ask if the previous owners used any medications in the tank--most contain copper which is harmful to cephs and never really leaves the silicone. New equipment might be better if this is your first tank so you don't have to learn too much at once. Cheap, fast, quality. Three words, but when setting up a tank you can only choose two. I try to go with "cheap" and "quality" at the expense of fast.

Good luck!


LOL, there IS a difference in priorities whether or not you live above or below the Mason-Dixon line. We tested out our set up and with the cover on, open sump and two fans in the sump cabinet, I still can't keep my tank below 75 and it often goes as high as 80. With my $650 - $750 AC bills last year, we can't afford to keep the house uncomfortably cool! Since Drakanorn is in PA, he will have your longer cool season so your point is well made.
Point taken! If I were in that situation, I might consider trying to find O. briareus as an alternative. A chiller is one piece of equipment that you can't really go cheap with.
I might consider trying to find O. briareus as an alternative.

O. briareus would be ideal but im going to have enough trouble trying to get my hands on a bimac seeing as they are all found on the other side of the country.

fortunately my house has terrible circulation so too much heating in the winter wont be a problem...in the summer however i think ill just bring up a fan and hope for the best (:
the Berlin Air Lift 90 Protein skimmer is supposed to me adequate for a tank up to 90gallons but the 37$ dollar price tag makes me wonder if its too good to be true :/

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