top of page

Other Equipment We Use

You may have noticed by now there are a million ways to enjoy this hobby, no setup is the same. The trick is finding what works for you; as high tech, or low tech as you wish. Whether you have a small or large tank, knowing what type of tank you wish to setup will help choose your ideal filtration.

Dosing Pump(Chemical Metering Pumps)

*Highly Recommend Using for consistency and stability*

These are our most highly recommended pieces of equipment. These pumps will slowly add a specific amount of a particular liquid at a specific time/day.​ These pumps will help with the overall stability of the tank through consistency. We cannot tell you how many people decide to dose by hand and after switching to a dosing pump they come back to us saying what a difference it made!

These are not necessary in the initial setup of the tank but as the tank fills with corals and they grow, they begin to deplete your alkalinity, calcium, magnesium and other trace elements faster than water changes will replenish them.

Due to how many systems, we are running we use Jebao because of its affordability and its ability to work with minimal issues.

We check our pumps and dosing lines weekly to make sure there are no clogs and that they are dispensing properly. 

From all the products we have tried, we prefer these two brands due to their higher concentration. This allows us to save money and dose less each time. 

We like Red Sea because magnesium is separated, making it easier to control parameters.

Reef fusion 1&2 are great for affordability and simplicity as magnesium is included in both bottles. We use these supplements on our systems that don't have any rises or drops in magnesium.

We drill a small hole in the lid of the alkalinity and calcium bottles and use 3/16" rigid airline tubing attached to flexible airline tubing to hook up to dosing pump. We also found this dosing pump line holder (pictured above) helpful and keeps tubes organized.

Setting Up the Dosing Pump

To set up the doser you will need your test results over the past couple tests to compare parameters and see if numbers are reading within acceptable ranges. Generally, alkalinity and calcium are the most common ones we have to dose. In less common circumstances, other additives can be needed but setting it up is roughly the same. 

Start your pump at once a day. For under 40 gallons start with 1-2 ml daily and test over the next day or so.

                                           For over 40 gallons start with 5-10 ml (less to start is better, small little changes reduce stress)


*We pump our calcium in the mornings and alkalinity 12 hours later in the evening.

In some of our small tanks that are very packed with coral, we have to pump 2-3 ml over several hours to avoid a large swing in parameters.  

If your parameters have raised to desired levels, leave the doser at the set rate and continue to monitor as corals grow. If they have not raised to desired levels or are dropping, add 1-2 ml more per day. Or vice versa, if it's getting too high, reduce the amount by 1-2 ml per day and test again in the next 2-3 days. 

Doing this slowly will avoid a major rise or fall in any levels that could cause stress to your tanks inhabitants. 

*We suggest testing your tank every 3-4 days when first setting up and keep a log of your test numbers.

As your tank will balance and stabilize, you will find the need for testing far less often. 

We test weekly as our tanks are heavily stocked and can fluctuate. However, our displays are tested every 2-3 weeks and pumps are adjusted as needed. (Small adjustments at a time)

We use the bottles that it comes with as dosing containers. We drill holes in the lid and place our rigid airline tubing inside the bottle. We use PVC cutters to cut the rigid tubing and attach the flexible tubing to it. The flexible tubing is then attached to the left tube of the dosing pump head. Flexible airline tubing can then be attached to the right tube of the dosing pump head and placed into the dosing tube holder. The dosing holder can be placed in the sump or back chamber of the tank.

Auto Top Off (ATO)

*Highly Recommend Using for

Consistency and Stability*

Another valuable piece of equipment we highly recommend for preventing salinity swings is an Auto Top off. When water evaporates in the tank it leaves behind the salt. An ATO will pump water into the sump or back chamber of your aquarium as it evaporates, adding small amounts of freshwater at a time. It will avoid topping off daily manually as well as being consistent for those who forget or are not able to top off daily.

Optical sensors

  1. These have worked better than float sensors for us.

Gravity fed

  1. We call it the hamster feeder

  2. Cheap and convenient for nano tanks

  3. Not pleasing to the eye in our opinion

Float Valve

  1. Works great to feed your RODI line directly into sump or auto top off chamber.

  2. We also use these in our RODI containers to avoid overflow.

  3. These can clog so they need to be checked. We check weekly.

Protein Skimmer

Convenient in High

Nutrient Systems

Protein Skimmers remove organic waste by injecting bubbles into the water that attract proteins and other waste and are pulled up by these bubbles in the chamber reaching the bottom of the neck of the cup. It also can help add oxygen to the tank. 

While this is extremely helpful, it is NOT necessary. If your tank is heavily populated by fish and/or you have high nutrients (phosphates above 0.05 ppm and nitrates above 10 ppm) then you may want to highly consider using one. They help overall and reduce the amount of water changes needed.

Bubble Magus

Bubble Magus.jpg
  1. Very quiet 

  2. Easy to clean

  3. Can work in only 4" of water 

  4. Doesn't need to be constantly adjusted

Reef Octopus

octo skimmer.png
  1. Has a variety of options to fit your designated space (We prefer the internal pumps due to compact space)

  2. Extremely quiet 

  3. Easy to adjust and clean

  4. 2 year warranty on pumps they make themselves

Grounding Probe
and Multimeters

Good Precautionary Piece of Equipment

Titanium grounding probes won't rust or corrode and eliminate possible stray voltage that can harm fish and coral.

Stray voltage can occur from poorly sealed pumps, powerheads, heaters and other pieces of equipment.

While some advise against using them as it can keep you from finding out early that your equipment is failing, we regularly look over our equipment and wipe down any salt creep etc. to keep equipment functioning at their best. We prefer using grounding probes to protect our tanks inhabitants that can be affected by the electrical current. 

**It should also be noted that it is safer overall to use GFCI Outlets

Testing for Stray Voltage

While grounding probes are good to help save your livestock from the effects of stray voltage, testing for stray voltage will help pinpoint if a piece of equipment is malfunctioning. *Most common are heaters.*


To test for stray voltage

  1. Turn off all equipment.

  2. Set multimeter to 120 ac VAC voltage.

  3. Place black probe into the ground port like shown in picture.

  4. When testing the outlet the red can be placed in the upper right socket and will read roughly 120 volts, but for testing the tank we will put the red probe directly into the water in your display or sump.

  5. Begin turning equipment on one at a time.

  6. Due to the conductivity of saltwater, there will be some voltage. If you see a major spike when a piece of equipment is turned on, that is the source of the issue.

  7.  Anything over 40 volts is considered harmful to organisms.

Carbon/GFO Reactor

Media Reactor for Filtration

While a mesh bag with carbon or a GFO is effective, using a reactor increases its effectiveness by forcing water that goes into the reactor to pass through the media as opposed to a small portion of water. If we use a reactor, we use a slow moderate rate with 3/4 carbon,1/4 GFO. 

*Make sure to cover the tube inside the reactor as you put your media in.

If choosing to use as a biopellet reactor, make sure to remove sponge filters.

Hook the pump's hose to the top inlet that is connected to the tube that runs down the 

center with a hose that is hooked to the top outlet and into the sump or other filtration


UV Sterilizer

Media Reactor for Filtration

  • Highly recommended for fish only setups or quarantine (QT) tanks!

  • Can eliminate cloudy water (bacterial blooms)

  • Can kill parasites that spread infection (requires slower flow rate)

  • Kills cyanobacteria and dinoflagellates in water column (not rock, sand & glass)

  • Can kill beneficial bacteria, live phytoplankton and many copepod species that reside in the water column.

UV Wattage Recommendations

(replace bulb every 6-8 months)

4-8 watts: 20-40 gallons

20-25 watts: 50-100 gallons

40+watts for tanks over 100 gallons

BRS Recommended Aquarium UV Sterilizers: Our Top Picks - Bulk Reef Supply

This is a great link to read more about some UV sterilizers and find one that is best fit for you. We use the Aqua Ultraviolet Classic and The Green Killing Machine and have been happy with their performances overall. 


Are they necessary??

If you live in an area where there are regularly high temps (above 85*F) with no central AC, your home and tank has no way to cool itself then we highly suggest using a chiller. If you have a larger tank that tends to run a little too warm, then a chiller may be something to consider as well. If tanks get too warm, oxygen levels drop and all organisms in the tank will struggle and begin to die including beneficial bacteria and copepods in the tank. Chillers work by pumping aquarium water through a tube in the chiller to cool the water and pumps back into the tank. These can also be necessary for many other aquariums such as cold water tanks or seahorse tanks that need to run colder.  You can also run fans over the surface of the water to help keep your tanks a little cooler if you don't a chiller. 

(Be aware of more evaporation when using fans.)​

Choosing your wattage:

10 BTU/hr for every gallon of aquarium water to drop by 1F

ex: 75 gallon tank dropping 3*

750 BTU x 3* drop = 2250 BTU/min per hour

bottom of page