Originally Posted by porksnorkel
i could very well be aquiring a saltwater tank soon. i'm interested in coral,small to medium fish and shrimp. the tank will be 180g acylic, w/ a large sump.
i'm looking for info on how often i will need to change water, how much water, how much salt, frequency of water testing, what type of test kits, a good t-5 set up [no MH if possible] , what other equipement [sump,skimmer,heaters,lights], and anything thing else one can think of.[/list]
How often you change water and frequency of water changes will be dependent on the tank itself. Each tank is individual, and no 2 are going to be exactly alike.
Water testing should be done every few days while cycling, and cycling should be done with live sand and live rock, not fish/animals.
Test kits you'll need to have on hand are ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and calcium. You may find along the way that magnesium, iodine, phosphate, and a few others may be needed. Stick to liquid test kits. Strip tests are a waste of money and very inaccurate. API offers a good master kit, but calcium will have to be purchased seperately.
Other equip... all of the above! Skimmer, heater(s) are mandatory for keeping a healthy reef tank. Light will be dependent on the types of corals you wish to keep. High Output T5 would probably be your best bet to cover the widest range of corals.
Don't forget a hydrometer or refractometer, a quarantine tank (also a must in saltwater), live sand, & live rock, power heads... and a seperate vat for premixing the saltwater. Spg/salinity should be 1.023 - 1.025 for a reef tank. You will use the hydrometer or refractometer to measure the salt content in the water. Allow for 48 hrs to mix saltwater before it is considered safe/ready to use for water changes. The amount of water to change at a time will again be dependent on the tank. Water test results will give you that answer.
If you run into problems, are not sure of something, or have more questions... ask away!