Basic needs for Startring a Saltwater Aquarium - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 2 Old 12-02-2011, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
Basic needs for Startring a Saltwater Aquarium

Ok guys, gonna try to get this as a Sticky in here. Anyone have anything to add, please feel free at this point to see what we get.
-Aquarium substrate such as live sand or crushed coral. Some go bare Bottom, others choose the 2-3" bottom, others, more advanced will try the Deep Sand Bed, which is over 6" deep
-Dry Rock, there are a few hitchhickers on Live Rock that people want to stay away from, so they opt for using Dry Rock, or Dead Rock. Macro Rock is a good place to start looking for that. Either way oyu go you will need a minimum of 1lb per gallon.
-Aquarium filter (not absolutely necessary if running with adequate amounts of live rock, but nice to have if you need to use a mechanical filter or activated carbon, etc.)
-Replacement filter media like filter floss and activated carbon (if you get a filter)
-Multiple Powerheads (2 or 3) 10x your water volume for just a Fish Only With Live Rock, and at least 20x your water volume for a Reef Tank. So lets say your going reef, and you have a 100g tank, you would need flow in that tank at minimum of 2000gph, or 2 1000gph powerheads.
-Protein Skimmer, rated at 2 times your water volume
-Saltwater Test Kits. Reef Test Kit. Tets for Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, PH, Phosphates, Calcium, ALK and Magnesium.
-Saltwater fish food. Mysis Shrimp, Squid, Cyclopease, Algae Sheets, Romaine . Flake food is not really a good food to feed your marine fish.
-Aquarium vacuum. This one is iffy. Most don't use one, if you have enough flow in the tank you won’t need one
-Fish net
-Rubber kitchen gloves
-Aquarium glass cleaner, for cleaning inside the tank. Acrylic users will need a different mat than the ones used on glass
-Two, clean, never used before, 5-gallon buckets
-Aquarium thermometer, digital being the best.
-Brush with plastic bristles (old tooth brush) - needed for cleaning the live rock if you don't get Fully Cured Live Rock.
-Power Strip, possibly GFCI outlets by the tank.
-Optional but definitely recommend getting a Reverse Osmosis or RO/Deionization filter for the make-up water, and a barrel for storing the water.
-Heater rated for your size tank.
-Possibly a Quarantine Tank for your new fish. They sit in here for a few weeks to kill off parasites and bacteria, to keep it from getting in your main tank
-Saltwater Mix.
-Marine Salt
-Aquarium filter (not absolutely necessary if running with adequate amounts of live rock, but nice to have if you need to use a mechanical filter or activated carbon, etc.)
-Saltwater Hydrometer or even better a Refractometer, which is more accurate.

Last edited by Reefing Madness; 12-02-2011 at 08:48 AM.
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post #2 of 2 Old 12-10-2011, 06:10 PM
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You need to run two heaters, preferably both in your sump for cosmetic reasons. But you have to have two. If one fails, you're going to kill everything in a small tank (under 100g) within 6-12 hours. Rapid temperature spikes and drops will melt your coral and stress your fish to death. Having a second heater ensures that if one fails, your backup will do the job.

RO/DI really isn't optional in my opinion either. If you want to battle algae outbreaks for the ENTIRE time you keep saltwater reefs, then don't use RO/DI. Any additional phosphate from your tap water will be nuisance. Even 'distilled' water like Poland Spring can have TDS of over 200, which is way off the charts.

I recommend 2 thermometers, one mercury one digital, for the same reason as two heaters. You need to know if you're getting a false reading.

Minimum rock should really be 1.5 lb per gallon in my opinion, if you're not running a canister filter (which is pretty unnecessary on the regular but you should have handy in the event you need to run activated carbon in an emergency). You may need the mechanical filtration. You REQUIRE the biological filtration.

Sumps aren't necessary, but if you are running one you are (in the long run) making your life much easier, even if it seems more difficult in the beginning.

29g Saltwater Reef
10g Freshwater 'vase'

Last edited by gmate; 12-10-2011 at 06:16 PM.
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