First Saltwater tank
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First Saltwater tank

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Old 02-24-2013, 06:33 PM   #1
 
First Saltwater tank

We are going to try setting up a saltwater tank again. We were looking at doing this over a year ago but it didn't even get started.

We are looking at a 50g tank that comes with a Fluval u4 filter. We have a fluval fx5 filter unused we can use instead. Tank is currently freshwater so will have to be converted.

We are looking at a clownfish(maybe a pair), a flame angel, bangaii cardinal and a firefish goby as stock if possible and building around that. We anticipate it will be 3 months before we add fish based on research so far. It will be a FOWLR tank with perhaps a lone anemone for the clownfish if that works.

Couple questions before we begin this journey.

1. Do I want to go with the larger fx5 filter (capable of 900gph with no media, we previously used it on a 60g african cichlid tank. It can be adjusted.)?

2. Is a sump Mandatory? We have a 35g tank empty right now we could use, but no idea atm how we would connect the two tanks.

3. We have 30lbs or so of "live rock" It's been dry for over 2 years but still has the remains of the former cleaning crew on it. How would we go about making this usable again? I know we'll have to eventually buy a bit of actual live rock and let the organisms move on over to it but I'm thinking we'll have to cure it or something first?

4. Protein skimmer and UV sterilizer, are they mandatory?

5. Do I need high output lights for my planned set up? Can I get by with standard t8 aquarium lights?

6. With freshwater fish you usually medicate the entire tank when necessary. I'm reading that with saltwater you have to remove the individual sick fish and treat them separately? Does this mean I would have to have 2 tanks going.. with all accessories as well?

7. Is there any better or best brand of salt mix? What is the best way to get the salt into the tank?

8. RO water is mandatory isn't it?

9. Refractometer or Hydrometer?

Last edited by ladayen; 02-24-2013 at 06:35 PM..
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:51 PM   #2
 
I'll answer what I can. Others will fill in the blanks I'm sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
We are going to try setting up a saltwater tank again. We were looking at doing this over a year ago but it didn't even get started.

We are looking at a 50g tank that comes with a Fluval u4 filter. We have a fluval fx5 filter unused we can use instead. Tank is currently freshwater so will have to be converted.

We are looking at a clownfish(maybe a pair), a flame angel, bangaii cardinal and a firefish goby as stock if possible and building around that. We anticipate it will be 3 months before we add fish based on research so far. It will be a FOWLR tank with perhaps a lone anemone for the clownfish if that works.

Couple questions before we begin this journey.

1. Do I want to go with the larger fx5 filter (capable of 900gph with no media, we previously used it on a 60g african cichlid tank. It can be adjusted.)?
I'll leave this for the experts. They'll explain it better.

2. Is a sump Mandatory? We have a 35g tank empty right now we could use, but no idea atm how we would connect the two tanks.
I would say yes to the sump. Anything larger than 20-30 gallons should have a sump.

3. We have 30lbs or so of "live rock" It's been dry for over 2 years but still has the remains of the former cleaning crew on it. How would we go about making this usable again? I know we'll have to eventually buy a bit of actual live rock and let the organisms move on over to it but I'm thinking we'll have to cure it or something first?
Scrub that old live rock and you should be able to use it. You could seed the tank with some cured LR to get the total up to 50-70 pds total. Might speed up your cycle process a bit.

4. Protein skimmer and UV sterilizer, are they mandatory?
Protein skimmer yes. UV? Don't know if that is neccesary or not.

5. Do I need high output lights for my planned set up? Can I get by with standard t8 aquarium lights?
You could get by with your t-8 if you didn't go with an anenome but you'll never truly see all the great colors of your fish with that light IMO.

6. With freshwater fish you usually medicate the entire tank when necessary. I'm reading that with saltwater you have to remove the individual sick fish and treat them separately? Does this mean I would have to have 2 tanks going.. with all accessories as well?
Short answer is yes but it all depends on what your medicating them for. Also, you'd have a up and ready QT for new fish.

7. Is there any better or best brand of salt mix? What is the best way to get the salt into the tank?
Instant Ocean has worked great for me.

8. RO water is mandatory isn't it?
Depends on what you tap water is like. 90% or more folks here will say yes to RO/DI water. I'm in the 10% thats been lucky so far and hasn't had any major problems using treated tap water.

9. Refractometer or Hydrometer?
I use a hydrometer. SOme will say refractometer.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:02 PM   #3
 
Ok so we went out and got an 80g instead of the 50. May still get 50 for sump.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:02 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
We are looking at a 50g tank that comes with a Fluval u4 filter. We have a fluval fx5 filter unused we can use instead. Tank is currently freshwater so will have to be converted.

We are looking at a clownfish(maybe a pair), a flame angel, bangaii cardinal and a firefish goby as stock if possible and building around that. We anticipate it will be 3 months before we add fish based on research so far. It will be a FOWLR tank with perhaps a lone anemone for the clownfish if that works.
Your stocking list looks fine for a 50 gallon. The bangaii like to be in pairs, and watch the firefish, they tend to jump. Wait at least six months to add the anenome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
1. Do I want to go with the larger fx5 filter (capable of 900gph with no media, we previously used it on a 60g african cichlid tank. It can be adjusted.)?
No filter. Filters trap Dissolved Organic Solids (fish poop) and convert them to Nitrates, which do not leave the system. The best method of filtration in a saltwater tank is the Berlin method: 1-1/2 pounds live rock per gallon, 4" Deep Sand Bed and a Protein skimmer. The Live Rock and Sand harbor anaerobic bacteria that break down Nitrates to Nitrogen gas that will leave the system naturally, and the Protein skimmer will remove any Dissolved Organic Solids before they turn to Nitrates. This method can result in tests of 0ppm Nitrates consistently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
2. Is a sump Mandatory? We have a 35g tank empty right now we could use, but no idea atm how we would connect the two tanks.
Sump is not mandatory. Read this: Understanding Sumps about how to build them using an overflow box. The sump is a good place to hide equipment, such as the skimmer and heater, and other optional equipment such as UV Sterilizers and Calcium & Phosphate Reactors.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
3. We have 30lbs or so of "live rock" It's been dry for over 2 years but still has the remains of the former cleaning crew on it. How would we go about making this usable again? I know we'll have to eventually buy a bit of actual live rock and let the organisms move on over to it but I'm thinking we'll have to cure it or something first?
If it has been dry for 2 years, it is no longer "Live". Live Rock is rock that harbors that beneficial aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, along with the Coraline Algae. I also think you need about 50 more lbs. of rock. You can buy 20 of that "Live" to seed the rest, and the balance as Base (or dry) rock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
4. Protein skimmer and UV sterilizer, are they mandatory?
See above about the berlin method and the UV is good to stop infection such as Ich and other Marine parasites, but not mandatory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
5. Do I need high output lights for my planned set up? Can I get by with standard t8 aquarium lights?
With a FOWLR, you can use standard T8s, but when you get that anenome, you want a higher ouptput light. Nems have a higher light requirement, and you can't just place them high in the tank, because they will move.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
6. With freshwater fish you usually medicate the entire tank when necessary. I'm reading that with saltwater you have to remove the individual sick fish and treat them separately? Does this mean I would have to have 2 tanks going.. with all accessories as well?
It is best to have a Quarantine tank that you put a fish in before you add him to the tank, using hyposalinity (starting off at low salt count, we'll call that specific gravity, of around 1.016 and eventually getting them up to 1.025, where your Display tank should be) to treat them before adding them and in case of infection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
7. Is there any better or best brand of salt mix? What is the best way to get the salt into the tank?
Brightwell Aquatics makes a very good salt mix, but I personally use Instant Ocean and feel it is fine. It costs about half of Brightwell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
8. RO water is mandatory isn't it?
You want the water as pure as possible, and this is the best method for that. So yes, I would use RO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
9. Refractometer or Hydrometer?
Refractometer if you can afford it. Hydrometer will get you close, but not accurate. Hydrometers can swing based on the temp of the water and Refractometers won't.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:27 AM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
Ok so we went out and got an 80g instead of the 50. May still get 50 for sump.

Just saw this.

Same stuff still applies. I would try to get to about 100 lbs of rock, and you can add a few more fish to list, just stay away from tangs, angels (dwarfs such as the flame are ok, but one pertank), triggers, puffers and other larger fish.

Is the 80 drilled?
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:08 AM   #6
 
no I do not believe this 80 is my other might be (I'm using it fresh but it was bought as a saltwater tank) I'm not quite sure what to look for...

We are also unsure of what substrate to use I have some crushed coral but read somewhere it was not good for the goby.

do I cycle with the live rock in or not?
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:23 AM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
no I do not believe this 80 is my other might be (I'm using it fresh but it was bought as a saltwater tank) I'm not quite sure what to look for...

We are also unsure of what substrate to use I have some crushed coral but read somewhere it was not good for the goby.

do I cycle with the live rock in or not?
I would put all the rock in with the water and 4" of Live Aragonite sand (I like the fiji pink). Crushed coral is too harsh and not good for harboring anaerobic bacteria.

Can you switch the two 80's? Do you use a sump on your FW?
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:24 AM   #8
 
Also here is a link to the conditions of my tap water they just updated it last month

http://www.fortstjohn.ca/files/Treat...lysis-2013.pdf
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:31 AM   #9
 
We do not use a sump we use mostly canister filters in our freshwater tanks. We filter with those and live plants. We have ran Freshwater tanks for a few years now (up to 13 at once at one point in time slowly upgrading to larger tanks) but we are so new to salt it is a huge change.
Is there something I look for to see if it's drilled?
Is there anything you suggest I do?
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:55 AM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
Also here is a link to the conditions of my tap water they just updated it last month

http://www.fortstjohn.ca/files/Treat...lysis-2013.pdf
Silicates, Copper and Sulfur levels are too high to use with an anenome. They aren't as hardy as fish and should be cared for like a coral. If you forego the anenome, the high silicate level might still be a problem with Cyano and Diatom outbreaks.
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