New To Reefing


Mar 23, 2016
Right Direction
Hey everyone.

First post and looking for advice and tips as I go. I'm new to setting up a reef tank, first one I will ever have.

Still learning lots and lots! Alot of advice I have been given from stores I've visited so far is getting a tank and setting up a system before I think about anything else.

I purchased a tank today, I'm looking at converting a aqua one 620T aquarium. Wish I had the money to buy a reef tank setup or a red Sea tank but I'm wanting to gradually set this up when and as I have the money.

Any advice on what I should buy next or what step I need to take in getting closer to having a successful reef tank.

Much appreciated.



Lead Moderator
Jul 29, 2011

Plenty of people start with the aqua one tanks (myself included), in the long run you spend more to accomplish less with them but that is not to discount them as a starting point.

My advice would be to spend time in selecting livestock that is most suited to them and be very realistic about what you can accomplish in the set up. If you do this it can be quiet rewarding.

The fundamentals of a reef tank are lighting, flow and filtration, unfortunately the AR's dont have enough of any of those and the T model takes the low light that it does have and makes it even worse.

There are however lots of retrofit options in terms of LED's now that don't require you to a PHD in electrical engineering, have a search around and feel free to post anything you are thinking back here for advice.

Flow is really easy to solve, id suggest getting something like a tunze 6015, they are relatively cheap for what you get in terms of reliability and quality and if you need more flow out of it there are plenty of pages showing you how to mod them.

Filtration is the hardest bit with these tanks. They overhead filtration that looks so neat and does such a good job on fresh water and fowlr doesn't really adapt well reef. you can look at HOB skimmers but you just start turning the tank into a frankenstein contraption. Id suggest just putting some marine pure blocks in there, some carbon and maybe a little bit of rowaphos, but water changes are going to have to be the backbone of your system.

Draw a line on the side of your tank so you know where to keep the water level and you will have to top up the tank with fresh water a couple of times a week, if you have somewhere that sells RO/DI water this is best, you can also get distilled water from your supermarket but this can be expensive long term.

If you happened to have purchased this new and at all have the option of taking this back, id highly recommend doing so and perhaps looking at the aqua one mini reef 90 as the starting block to work from as your short term mods will cost more than the price difference between the 620t and this and it opens up a lot more choice for you. If you have picked this up second hand, ignore this and enjoy the journey.


Team Leader
Nov 24, 2011
Brisbane Northside
Yep, it's going to be bit of a battle to turn what you have into a reef tank. If you're able to change we can suggest a number of viable options.
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Lead Moderator
Jul 29, 2011
Just as a reference here is a photo of a tank my parents used to run which just had 3 t5's a propellor powerhead and marine pure balls, it theoretically had a skimmer but it never actually skimmed anything.

This is the first tank they ever kept and by choosing sensible livestock choices i think we managed to get an effect that was easy to maintain and enjoyable. It was never going to win tank of the year but as a low tech, low budget, low maintenance tank it worked


Sam Parker

May 6, 2013
That picture above is a brilliant example of what can be achieved (well done by the way!)

I'd try to keep it simple (as already described) and focus on the basics (again, as already described). Being your first marine tank you will have a lot to learn, so it helps not having to learn a million new gadgets at the same time. Water changes are going to be key for this tank, so have a look at how you can make that as easy as possible (will you be using ASW or NSW?). Keep livestock levels as low as you can and you will be fine.

You will probably find that once having this tank running for a little while, you will either succeed and really enjoy it and be on the hunt for a major upgrade, or have more trouble than expected and leave the hobby (no shame in that, hobbies are to be fun - not hassle). Our job is to try and help you avoid as many disasters as possible so that your tank thrives and we have another long term reefer in the mix. Actually really interested to hear about the reefing scene in NZ!

Welcome, enjoy - ask lots of questions and take your time.


Jul 11, 2011
Hobart, Tasmania
Hi @sjriwhi and :welcome.

I was looking at an on-line marine shop from New Zealand a few months ago and the prices were very high. Is it an expensive hobby in NZ (not that it is cheap in Australia!!) ?