View Full Version : Small Display Tank with Large Sump/Refugium

08-26-2016, 02:44 PM
I am thinking (just thinking right now) about doing a SW tank. Based on what I have read so far, it seems that it is much easier to keep water parameters stable and correct with a large volume of water.

I have read in several places (including here on AC) that a 75 Gallon tank is a good sized tank for a beginner due to the large volume of water. My concern, however, is that corals, etc. are so expensive, there is no way my "monthly fish budget" would even get close to populating a 75 Gallon over the course of several years. I don't really want to look at a practically empty, bare tank for that long while I "build it up".

I was thinking about the possibility of setting up a large sump/refugium (say 55 Gallons) with a smaller (say 20 Gallons) Display tank. This would give me the water volume, but it would allow me to have a display tank that doesn't look "bare". Then, over time, and as I learn, I could increase the size of my Display tank to accommodate more inhabitants as I can afford to do so, and the sump/filter/refugium is already in place and basically all I would be doing is increasing the size of the Display tank.

I have a few questions:
1 - Is there a good reason NOT to do this? If so, please educate me...
2 - If I did a 20 Gallon tank without a sump and I did 25% water changes weekly, that's 5 Gallons per week. If I did the large sump, etc. could I "get away with" still doing a 5 Gallon weekly water change or even doing a 20-25 Gallon water change once per month? Or would there be a reason to still need to do 25% of the water volume?
3 - Are there other questions I should ask or things to consider? For example... I realize lighting is a huge expense that would have to change every time I increased the size of the tank, but with an expandable lighting system I could start with one or two "Modules" and then simply add modules as I get larger and larger tanks.

08-26-2016, 02:58 PM
I would say go for the larger 75 display. You world be surprised how affordable corals are unless you are getting the real popular and from online vendors. The most I have paid for a single coral frag was 40 bucks. Plus the corals will grow so it won't look empty for long. And you can always do some amazing things with your rocks to make it look awesome and full.

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