Could I do this?
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Could I do this?

This is a discussion on Could I do this? within the Beginner Saltwater Aquariums forums, part of the Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef Tanks category; --> I've always loved saltwater tanks, who hasn't? But I've never had the courage to try them. I'm getting my parents 29 gallon tank (currently ...

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Old 08-10-2008, 03:17 AM   #1
 
Could I do this?

I've always loved saltwater tanks, who hasn't? But I've never had the courage to try them. I'm getting my parents 29 gallon tank (currently freshwater) and I've been playing around with ideas of what to do with it, and I was thinking maybe saltwater. I know I should start off bigger but do to the fact that I only have a 12 by 10 room, I'm extremely limited! Plus I already have a 55, a 10, and two 1's in there alreay (all freshwater).

I was wanting to know if it would be possible to set up the 29 gallon as a saltwater tank with:
~2 Clownfish (either Percula or Ocellaris)
~1 Camel Shrimp
~1 Chocolate Chip Starfish
~1 or 2 Carpet Anemone &/or 1 Sebae Anemone
~1 other fish but unsure (help)
~Maybe some type of crab or snail...

I'm still new to the saltwater scene, only read up on it a few times and I don't know much at all yet so I'm not sure if all I listed would fit and be comfortable and compatible.

Also with the 29 it would have:
~Undergravel filter (can you even use these in saltwater set ups?)
~Pengiun 170 filter
~Possibly another Pengiun 200 filter
~Heater

Would all I need else wise be
~crushed coral gravel &/or sand (???)
~live rock
~hydormeter
~Salt Mix
~Test kit

With all that being said could you give me a rough estimate of how much of everything I would need, if this would work, and approx. how much it would cost?

Thanks :D
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Old 08-10-2008, 03:44 AM   #2
 
Anemones need really strong lighting - they're not recommended for beginners. I would definatly try keeping some corals before you try an anemone. Clowns will sometimes buddy up to certain types of corals instead of anemones. What kind of lighting are you planning to use? Don't use an undergravel filter. If I were you, I'd replace the penguins with a canister, or better yet, a sump system. Aragonite sand is what I'd use. No crushed coral or gravel.

The clown pair would be really nice in that size tank, as well as another small fish or two (depending on filtration and maintainance). Hermit crabs and a mix of snails would also be a great idea. I don't know much about the other inverts.

The cost will really be dependant on what type of lighting and filtration you choose. Live rock will also be a big part of the cost.
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Old 08-10-2008, 06:04 AM   #3
 
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( Disclamer: For the following response I am assuming that this is a teenager with a limited budget who posted the question. )

I am going to offer a completely different opinion on this setup. I see absolutely no benefit in using a canister filter on this aquarium. In fact, adding a canister filter would reduce water quality by causing an increase in organic breakdowns, resulting in a buildup of phosphates and nitrates. Canister filters are designed to accumulate detritus. This is not something we want in a marine system. A sump system would provide additional water volume, but will be a considerable expense to put in place.

On the original topic, I admire your choice to try marines. It is absolutely possible to do a VERY BASIC marine aquarium as you describe. If you are going to be successful, you need to understand a few things first about the limits of your system.

Keeping invertebrates and corals needs to be something you attempt after you get more experience, and more importantly when you are ready to invest money in marine equipment. A proper marine setup would have a protein skimmer, live rock, and deep sand bed. This will cost money. If money is available, then please post a response and we will examine this option further. For now, realize that inverts and corals will not tolerate fluctuating water parameters, such as rising Nitrates and depleting calcium and alkalinity levels. With a biological filter, such as a u/g or Penguin, these levels are going to ping-pong all over the place.

However, if you want to do marine with the equipment you list, then you can. You will need to stick with only fish, and limit yourself to only 2 or 3 small fish. This is a MAXIMUM number. Do not try to push this to 4 or 5 fish. You will simply not be successful.

I will not go into detail on how biological filtration works. I assume you know this already. However, please realize that Nitrates need to be kept at under 40ppm and weekly testing is a requirement. To do this, you will probably have to change 10 gallons of water per week, assuming you stick to keeping only 3 small fish.

I recommend that you use the u/g filter and one of the Penguins. On the Penguin, clean the filter pad DAILY to remove detritus and organic acids which cling to the pad. These acids may be invisible. Clean it daily.

For fish, I would cycle the aquarium with a Yellow Tail Blue Damsel. This will take 5 or 6 weeks. Then add a pair of TANK RAISED Clownfish, both at the same time.

If you follow this setup and rules exactly, then you should be fine. However, if you bend these rules at all, then you will experience all of the problems of the 1980's all over again. Setups like this will not work long term unless you frequent water changes and stick with extremely hardy small fish. Do not even think about adding anything other than a Damsel, Clownfish, Pseudochromis, or Dottyback to this type aquarium. Other small fish, such as Dwarf Angels, are much to sensitive to tolerate the fluctuations of a marine aquarium sustained entirely on Nitrate producing biological filtration.

Again, these are generalizations. But this is an internet forum. I can't write a book here. I want to provide advice that will work and can be achieved under the terms of the person asking the question.
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Old 08-10-2008, 05:28 PM   #4
 
Yes you are correct in assuming I'm a teenager (17), money is only a small obstacle, I have two jobs but I do have other monthly expenses that I have to pay for, but I'm not in a big rush, I could keep it freshwater for a while until I have enough money. If I did what you (Pasfur) suggested could I still keep a chocolate chip starfish, that and the clowns are what I'm really the most interested in.
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Old 08-10-2008, 08:09 PM   #5
 
i am kinda in the same place as you....just a month or so ahead. it is costly, so i have been just buying things for the tank every time i get paid. i started with the 29 gallon tank, bought the sand, salt, another filter, hydrometer, ....already had other things that were used with freshwater to help get me started. today, i got my clownfish, powerhead and more live rock. i am really enjoying taking it slow and learning about each new thing i add to the tank-equipment or livestock. right now, i have 2 blue/green chromis, two clowns, a skunk cleaner shrimp, blue and red legged crab and snails. that is probably all i will do. next is to change the lighting, add more live rock ( i need about 15-20 lbs more rock), then down the road consider the easier to care for corals. .....so, i guess what i am saying....don't get discouraged with the challenge or the price, i have gotten a lot of great advice and guidance here and i have really learned a lot already-it has been a great hobby.

in case you are interested, here is where i am with the 29 gallon-

http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h7...g/100_0410.jpg
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:30 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sillyzoedog
i am kinda in the same place as you....just a month or so ahead. it is costly, so i have been just buying things for the tank every time i get paid. i started with the 29 gallon tank, bought the sand, salt, another filter, hydrometer, ....already had other things that were used with freshwater to help get me started. today, i got my clownfish, powerhead and more live rock. i am really enjoying taking it slow and learning about each new thing i add to the tank-equipment or livestock. right now, i have 2 blue/green chromis, two clowns, a skunk cleaner shrimp, blue and red legged crab and snails. that is probably all i will do. next is to change the lighting, add more live rock ( i need about 15-20 lbs more rock), then down the road consider the easier to care for corals. .....so, i guess what i am saying....don't get discouraged with the challenge or the price, i have gotten a lot of great advice and guidance here and i have really learned a lot already-it has been a great hobby.

in case you are interested, here is where i am with the 29 gallon-

http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h7...g/100_0410.jpg
Very nice progress. Just watch the Nitrate buildup. I am taking a brave shot in the dark at this... but it looks like you have a Penguin 200 with a biowheel and a Whisper 100? (Based on the strainer types and splash pattern on your water surface.-)
I would suggest running the Whisper empty, just for water movement. Alternatively, you could fill the white bag completely with activated carbon. However, if you choose to use any mechanical filtration in a saltwater aquarium, you should clean the filter pads DAILY. The chemistry behind this gets very advanced, so lets just say it helps reduce phosphate buildup and algae outbreaks.

Also, if you add another 5 to 8 pounds of live rock you will be ready to eliminate the biowheel completely. At this point, you should add more sand to reach a full 3'' depth. If you can afford a skimmer, this would be the time to add one. If not, continue to utilize activated carbon to the fullest for organic waste removal. The skimmer will become mandatory as you move to a full blown reef. I would recommend a SeaClone for your tank size. You can get them on e-Bay for under $100.

Unsolicited advice, i know. Best of luck.
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Old 08-11-2008, 05:45 PM   #7
 
i will take any advice, solicited or not!

okay, i have to admit, i am stupid on some of this stuff...or still learning....what is a protein skimmer exactly and why is now the time to add it? i do need to add more sand. by wheel do you mean the filters? what is a "white bag".

ok-just checked the devices....you're good....it's a penguin 100, i already had a filter for that, but it was for a cichlid tank, so they recommended i just add the penguin 100.

oh no....please don't tell me i messed up my tank already...don't know if i can handle that right now-lol- :P

nemo and marlin seem to be doing great though!
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Old 08-12-2008, 06:08 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sillyzoedog
what is a protein skimmer exactly and why is now the time to add it? i do need to add more sand. by wheel do you mean the filters? what is a "white bag".
!
A protein skimmer is normally added at the beginning, when the aquarium is first set up. Some people wait a few months to add the skimmer, which is fine for a lightly stocked or gradually developing aquarium, such as yours.

The skimmer can hang on your aquarium. Water enters the skimmer and comes in contact bubbles. Organic waste in the water bonds to the bubbles, and is removed from the water, falling into a collection cup at the top of the skimmer. You simply empty the collect cup every few days, directly removing the waste. Most experience hobbyists will tell you that the skimmer is the single most important piece of equipment for long term success in a saltwater system.

Here are a couple of options for an aquarium your size:

http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod/198286/product.web
http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod/209793/product.web

There are many skimmers that are designed poorly, so beware of models that are less expensive than the ones I just posted. You can find less expensive models on that same web site, but they are basically junk. Each of these units above will easily handle a 29 gallon aquarium, and can even be used on a 55 gallon aquarium should you choose to upgrade tank size in the future.

The "wheel" is a biowheel, which most Penguin units have as part of the design. If your Penguin does not have a biowheel, GREAT! Marine systems with live rock are best without them.

By "white bag", I was referring to the filter pad that goes inside your Whisper filter. The picture of your tank shows 2 intake strainers. The black one is the Penguin. Is the other a Whisper? If not, what is it?
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Old 08-12-2008, 05:10 PM   #9
 
thanks for the info on the protein skimmer!

the other filter is a topfin 20-we used it for the cichlid tanks and the guy at the LFS said it was fine to use with another filter.

the penguin does have a wheel-what do i need to do with it?
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Old 08-12-2008, 06:59 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sillyzoedog
thanks for the info on the protein skimmer!

the other filter is a topfin 20-we used it for the cichlid tanks and the guy at the LFS said it was fine to use with another filter.

the penguin does have a wheel-what do i need to do with it?
Ok, what kind of filter does the TopFin20 have inside of it? I am pretty sure this is the generic version of the Whisper, commonly sold at WalMart, etc.

For now, leave the biowheel as is. If and when you get a skimmer, I would suggest removing it. The organic waste removed by the skimmer will allow your live rock to function as the only necessary bio filter, making the biowheel unnecessary and even hurtful.
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