Reef Tank Conversion - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Reef Tank Conversion

I'm really enjoying my 6-7-month-old 56 gallons planted tank. So much so that I want to convert my 10-year-old reef tank to a planted tank. This tank is 125 gallons with hard plumbing and a sump. I'm thinking that I can use my sump as the filter, I have a T-5 fixture (just have to change the bulbs to accommodate the plants), a controller, and pumps for water movement. My biggest concern is preparing (cleaning) this tank sufficiently enough to safely add the fish and plants. Can anyone add any advice/suggestions to help make this happen? Thank you.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2019, 02:59 AM
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I would just rinse it out really well . A little salt won't hurt anything anyway and if you fishless cycle you will be doing water changes before fish go in which will dilute the salt,if any,even more.

My wife says if I get one more aquarium she is going to leave me . I sure am going to miss her fried chicken .
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2019, 04:43 AM
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With freshwater, you could use your sump as another aquarium, as well as a filter.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2019, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Leeatl, appreciate the help.

Bump: Thanks, Streetwise. What type of tank would that be? Are you thinking like inverts in the sump?
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2019, 05:03 PM
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I'm a former reefer who has switched many tanks over to fresh. I second the advise to clean and rinse thoroughly, and use a razor blade to remove as much coraline algae as possible. I think a 125 planted with a sump sounds perfect. If you had a CA reactor, all the better because you're almost set up for pressurized CO2.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2019, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chulai48 View Post
Thanks, Leeatl, appreciate the help.

Bump: Thanks, Streetwise. What type of tank would that be? Are you thinking like inverts in the sump?
Some people will put plants in their sump. Technically so long as you block it off properly so living things don't end up in places they shouldn't be, you could do anything down there, but most people just keep it to plants.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 06:32 AM
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I've done this several times with a 75 and a 265. Don't worry about coraline algae. Once the pH drops below 7.0 it will begin to dissolve slowly and comes off easily with a sponge over time. Try to get out as much sand as possible but don't worry if you miss a few grains. A small amount won't make any difference. A quick rinse will remove any salt down to safe levels.

Switch out the actinic lights for cheap hardware store 65K bulbs. Or if the budget allows get some plant bulbs. 10K bulbs can be used but careful with how much blue spectrum you're using. Too much tend to encourage black beard algae if you're not careful about testing and dosing phosphates and other nutrients. If using LED lights. Turn up the red and only use a little blue.

Don't need that much water flow. A return pump rated for a reef tank will have plenty of flow for a planted tank with no need of additional powerheads. The sump can basically be a top off reservoir. Skimmers don't work in freshwater but wet/dry filter will. Reactors can be used for carbon filtration. Calcium reactors can easily be converted into CO2 reactors. I have a AC3 controller managing my CO2 levels through the pH controller. Much easier than using a drop checker. It controls the lights also. Float sensors tell me when the sump gets low or if there's a flood.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Amp2020, great information. This conversion might not be as difficult as I thought.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 01:17 AM
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I have a little reef conversion story. I was running a reef tank at home (Vermont) in 2011, and then I got flooded out by Irene, killing my whole tank. I had another tank at my folks house, but I ended up breaking it down while dealing with everything. I saved all the coral, and left it outside after cleaning everything off and saying goodbye to the hobby.

Seven years later, I started a planted tank because I wanted to host an ecosystem again. A few months in, I was visiting my parents and spotted the coral I had left outside, which was now covered in moss. I now have one of those corals in my planted tank with the moss still going. It is the middle moss on the wood, which is actually from my teenage tank from the 1990s. I probably have another dozen moss-covered rocks and corals from those old tanks outside.

Cheers
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 04:58 AM
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I'm surprised no one mentioned vinegar, which will loosen up the Coralline algae and make it easier to remove with a razor blade. There's no reason not to get it all out before the change.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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Great story Streetwise, thanks for sharing. Thank you, mboley, I use vinegar to clean almost everything in the tank. I will definitely use it on the Coralline. Thanks again.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 01:30 AM
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I will send you a mossy coral if you want!

PS, I used vinegar and CO2 to get coraline algae off my old 16 recently (from the story). I really want to re-use it again, but none of my furniture fits, and my favorite Fluval lights are too long or don't fit on rimmed tanks.

Cheers

I apologize for the thread hijack. Lake Champlain used to be an inland sea, and the Coast Guard maintains various reef marks on the lake. This is a piece of limestone my dad pulled out of the woods a couple of years ago. It looks like a piece of reef to me!

Last edited by Streetwise; 09-21-2019 at 05:41 AM.
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