Help with my new saltwater aquarium - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 15 Old 12-06-2009, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Help with my new saltwater aquarium

Alright, so I'm in the process of getting everything i need to set up my first saltwater tank. I'm not sure exactly what I am going to stock it with yet, but I know i want to eventually have some corals in it.

What I have so far:
  • 46 gallon bowfront aquarium came with light but not sure about the specs on it right now, ill check when im at the house
  • Coralife superskimmer 125 gal skimmer
  • Aquaclear 50 powerhead (270 gph)
  • Koralia 4 powerhead (1,200 gph)
  • API saltwater master test kit (i believe it tests for pH, nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia)
  • water thermometer
  • Instant Ocean salt
Aside from the sand/rock and stock, I still need to get a refractometer, and maybe a heater. The guy i talk to at the LFS store said he's not sure I even need a heater (I live in Austin, Texas) unless i tend to keep my house really cold. Do ya'll agree with that or should I go ahead and get a heater? If so, what brand/model.

Lastly, I plan on buying a 40lb bag of Bahama aragonite sand and 40 lbs dry key largo rock from here (marco rocks) and then 20 lbs live rock.

Am I on the right track? is there anything that stands out as incorrect or missing in my plan? Any advice, points for thought, or guidance would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-06-2009, 07:39 PM
IMO if you are keeping soft corals your current should be fine, I'd say get yourself 2 more tests...alkalinity and calcium, other than that, I'd say the above is looking pretty good.
Can't wait to see some pics!
good luck!
Not sure about the heater though, guess it would depend on what your home temp is....I might get one just to be sure, at least 100 W, submersible
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post #3 of 15 Old 12-06-2009, 07:50 PM
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You are off to a nice start. I do have some suggestions.

I have ordered Key Largo rock from Marco rock on 3 separate occasions. It is great rock, but you will want more than 40 pounds. Increase your order to the 75 pound order. You will be glad you did. FYI, 20 pounds of live rock will still be plenty to seed the rock.

Your skimmer choice is good. This is one of the best quality inexpensive skimmers on the market, and will do you good for almost any project, with the exception of the more sensitive livestock, such as clams and acropora colonies. If you are sticking with softies and SPS corals, you will be happy with this skimmer.

Finally, I agree with TerryAnn. The testing of alkalinity and calcium is not optional in my opinion. In fact, if I could only own one test kit, it would be alkalinity. The LFS often avoid this conversation, probably because it gets a little intimidating to the new marine hobbyist. I think this is a mistake and that many simple problems can be eliminated with alkalinity and calcium testing.
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post #4 of 15 Old 12-06-2009, 08:02 PM
I dont know what the lowest room temp thus it all depends on your room temp.
If you gonna get it as back up or in case of emergency, would get one that is 200 or even 300 W heater. few dollar difference anyway.

As far as light, if it is reg fluorescent bulbs, you can changed the bulbs (usually 36" double bulbs on 46 Bow) to specific bulbs such as 1 x 10K and 1 x actininc bulbs for most softies and most lps + non photo corals.

Of course, better lighting is advisable but we old timers were able to run reef with fluo bulbs with great results. Only other options avail at that time was MH & VHO came around.

Just do little reading on corals and its husbandary. Such book by Eric Borneman is good start (cheap second hand are avail on the net).

We used to have Moe's and Thiel's book as bible for reef, especially water chemistry. I dont think you need these book but wont hurt when read as reference.

All seems OK. Just dont rush especially you are not fully stocking with LR. Your dead rocks will eventually be bio active but would need more time compared to tankful of premium LR.

As far as other test kits, calcium is advisable but beofre p/u alka test, do some research on how to adjust such.
You could wait if wish until later on. But would recommend to undestand the alkality concept.
In Chemistry, I dont recall term ALKALINITY but you should be able to find more than enough information on this concept on net.

Good Luck!
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post #5 of 15 Old 12-07-2009, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick responses. Can anyone tell me which alkalinity and calcium test brands/models are good? Same with a refractometer. I want to order later tonight or sometime tomorrow.

Thanks again
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post #6 of 15 Old 12-07-2009, 06:12 PM
FOr 46 G tank and new. How about inexpensive Aquarium systems test kit for both. If serious, look into Salifert.
I have used Refractometerown by others but never own one myself.
I believe hydrometers I used was accurate enough since SG of natural sea water does shift slightly depending on their weather. I dont believe in precise since most of tools are actually not a professional grade to begin with and even natural sw is not same 24/7/365.

I am not saying not to buy one, just a thought!

What ever you do dont go crazy trying to match so called perfect levels.
IMO, no such thing. Close is enough.
It is somewhat marketing strageies developed by manufacturers also, I feel..

ALways perform gradual changes, giving time for livestock to adjust.

If possible, have small reserve running 24/7/365 in case of emergency.

I know some one who tried to save substatial amt of money by buying someone's homemade chiller for reef, against my advice. Wiped out almost all of livestock because it was made out of copper tubing. I assisted in saving some or should I say parts of some corals from his well stocked 90G reef. LR were garbage for reef once exposed to high copper level, unless used for FO tank provided level were controlled.

My point, dont make decisions abruptly. Always reason before action.

Good Luck and hope all goes well.

Last edited by cerianthus; 12-07-2009 at 06:22 PM.
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-08-2009, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Today i purchased a calcium test, alkalinity test, and hydrometer off Foster and Smith's website.

I also checked out the bulb in my light. I am not very familiar with lighting, but I am going to guess what I have will not be sufficient. Bulb reads: Zoo Med, Reef Sun, F25T8 / 50/50. 36". I suspect this is the bulb -> Zoo Med Reef Sun 50/50 Bulb .

What bulbs or specs should I look at getting? Is this light enough to get my started with my cycling or does it need to be replaced before?

Also, the tank I bought was used by the previous owner and there is still some junk in it. I have read about cleaning with a light bleach solution. I just wanted to make sure this wouldnt harm anything in the future before I cleaned it.

Any other pointers or things I have left out would be appreciated as always!

Thanks again everyone
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-08-2009, 05:27 PM
1 x 30W 36" is too little although you can use it during cycling process which should not be too long with LR.
Start looking into powerful T5's w/ variuos optionsOR MH/T5 Combo which will work (fit well) on 46BOW....
For example, separate switches for diffrent bulbs thus can alternate or control amt of lighting given as it does in nature, sunrise, day light hours, sunset. At least can simulate somewhat with timer..

Filled the tank about 2/3 way up with f/w and just circulate using one or few powerheads for a day or two without dechlorinator for reef.
I never used dechlorinator for reef. Just well aged water. Then add salt and circulate for day or two before adding rocks.
YOu can actually test the water before anything is added thus you can play/modify water chemistry without worry of affecting live stocks.

At least you will know what your tap + salt is like.

Are you using RO/DI? I forgot to mention phospahate test kit! I really dont know if you really need it but it is nice to know what the levels are from the beginning.

Once you know parameters from the beginning. at least you can resolve or eliminate some issues which may arise with time.
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-08-2009, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks cerianthus, very helpful and probably answered the questions i would have had next as well haha. Any comments on the bleach & water solution? how weak should the solution be?
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post #10 of 15 Old 12-08-2009, 07:58 PM
question as to what kind of junk was in it?
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