GAC, Zeolite, Flow Rate


Junior Poster
Sep 1, 2007
Staten Island, NY
Hi, my name is Mike, and I'm a recovering reefaholic. After a ten year arms race, during which I upgraded my protein skimmer, lights, kalkasswer/calcium reactors, refugiums, tanks, etc. on what seemed like a weekly basis, I went cold turkey and stayed off the stuff for three years.

I may regret this, but I'm now going to set up a 75 gal plant tank with an emphasis on not spending what's left of my life's savings on the system and electricity. Been spelunking on the web and am pleased to see that I won't need a bank of 400 watt MHs or $750 gadgets or $1,000+ in live rock/sand just to get started.

Now my newbie questions:

I noticed that Tom Barr recommended in another newbie thread the use of GAC, Zeolite and a flow rate of 4x to 8x tank volume. Did I get this right?

I thought GAC would remove iron and other beneficial plant nutrients from the water?

Is the zeolite recommended for just the start up phase to aid in ammonium removal or should it be a permanent part of the filtratration system?

Re water flow, I bought an Eheim 2215 thinking that too much circulation would dissipate CO2. (I will be using a pressurized CO2 system.) Which would be preferable for increasing water flow? Powerhead(s) or HOT power filter or both?

I am planning on using Soilmaster with bottom inch mixed with laterite. Should I add some garden soil to the bottom mixture as well (or in place of laterite?)

I bought a $78 internet special light fixture with 4 x 65 watt CF daylight bulbs. It sounds like I should be able to get by with these lights alone or do I need more light? Tank will not get any sunlight.

Thanks for your help,