In trying to keep up with going back to simplicity with my latest tank set up I need to ask your opinion. I told you about setting up a 40 gallon breeder tank as a reef. I am following your advice and will use 1 inch of coarse sand with no plenum. I didn't tell you that I will be using a lot of aragocrete rock (trying to do my part to save nature), I know you told me about the curing process and such but I can be patient since this is sort of a long term project. I am curing the rocks now in salt water after a 6 week curing in freshwater.
I got a great deal on one of those Coralife Super Skimmers. Only 36 bucks on Ebay! It's brand new and I'm looking forward to using it. I followed some threads on Reef Central and several hobbyists are using them and selling their Remora Pros. This sold me (I had a Remora and loved it) but according to what I've read these are just as efficient and more (especially at the price I paid!)
My question.......I want to use chemical filtration to further reduce phosphates and such. I am trying to decide between 2 approaches. Using an Aquaclear HOB filter with phosphate remover and carbon OR getting a HOB refugium to assist with extra filtration and some food production. I've heard mixed results on using a refugium for this purpose. I've also heard that using too much phosphate remover (in a phos reactor or HOB filter) can make some corals lose colors because they are not getting enough phosphate (again on reef central). I have seen a couple of pet shops that use a lot of phosphate remover in their display tanks and noticed many of their SPS have gone from vivid colors and reverting to brown. Of course it could be from other factors but when you do look at the equpment in their tanks it looks like a NASA space system. Oh going back to simple is nice!
I hope things are going well for you and I'll keep you updated on my latest going back to simple reef project.
Its extremely important that the pH of the water holding those man made rocks is normal, as they tend to raise pH dangerously high for a long time after they are made. So double check the water in the holding facility before using this type rock.
And give me some follow up on the skimmer, as I would like to read your comments on this unit.
When it comes to sps turning brown in the dealers tanks, that's almost always the lack of light intensity, not a phosphate problem.
And for your small tank, I would suggest using the CaribSea liquid product called Phos-Buster. It's so simple to use, and would be very cost effective since you don't need any other equipment to apply it. Simply add the recommended number of drops once per month, and/or as suggested on the label. I think it's a great product for small reef tanks.