Originally Posted by pretzelsz
no budgets yet...I have a month or 2 to get prepared and learn about what i would be getting into. I have read some of your other posts and seems not too difficult but I beet it is at beginning right? I want to see what it is like with salt water because i want to e a marine biologist. I also love Clown Fish.
-What exactly is a protein skimmer?
-What is live rock really? Reefs?
It is these exact sort of questions that require research. If you think about it, every answer just has another question until you start at the most basic level.
For example, a protein skimmer is a filtration device that removes organics from the water.
So, your next question is "what are organics?" and "why do they have to be removed?"
Organics are a form of waste that need to be removed to prevent nitrate buildup and carbonate depletion.
So, "what are Nitrates?" and "what are carbonates?"
You see my point here?
You absolutely have to do a few weeks of reading before you start asking questions. This will give you the necessary background to ask relative questions, and to get the clarification you need to be a successful marine aquarist.
I suggest you do the following:
1) Look at these "build" threads:
These are just 3 random threads of various sized marine tanks. Reading these threads will give you a ton of knowledge.
2) Read these articles:
3) Read this book by John Tullock: Your First Marine Aquarium - Google Books
Try not to get discouraged by conflicting information. You do need to realize that there are many ways to approach this hobby. On this forum we believe that less is more. We focus on setting up the tank correctly in the beginning, using the right equipment and buying the right test kits, so that you can spend more time watching your tank and less time hauling around buckets of water. This can be done on a reasonable budget, without going crazy with technology. However, there are some basics that are necessary, and we tend to be bulldogs about making sure you do the basics correct.
Enjoy you reading. Feel free to ask specific questions as necessary.
By the way, live rock is rock that is home to microscopic life and microfauna, such as copepods, amphipods, and other very very small marine life. It also houses all the beneficial bacteria needed to maintain a healthy marine system. Live rock is the primary life support of your tank, and I personally believe that the availability and affordability of live rock is what makes marine aquariums far more successful today than in the 1980's and early 90's.