Need expierenced advice - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 3 Old 03-22-2009, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Need expierenced advice

I am now entertaining the thought of switching a 180g tank from freshwater to saltwater. I have kept cichlids for over a decade and I have great knowledge of them and all there is to know about equipment, chemicals, etc, however, when it comes to saltwater I am definitely clueless .

I would like to know what I need to do to switch it over. I know I will need to get a skimmer and new lighting, but when I do the water change, can I keep some of the water and the filter pads in, to use for the bacteria to help the cycling, or is saltwater bacteria different? Or is it best to just clean the entire tank of all algae and start from zero?I also realize that the rocks and gravel need to be changed to live rock and live sand. BTW, i do not plan to have much coral at all, if at all.

My tank is a 180 with built in overflows in the corner, and a about a 30 or 40 gallon sump. I have two pumps which combine for about 1100-1200 gph.

My final question, I originally thought about doing this because I wanted bigger, "cooler" fish such as a shark of some kind. However in my research over the last day or two, i cannot find a shark that will stay small enough for a 180. My wife would also prefer salt water over freshwater, but the fish she has shown me are smaller than what I want. I want some groupers and she wants Tangs and butterflies which I have been told cannot be put together, can any of you expierenced folks give me some advise.
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post #2 of 3 Old 03-22-2009, 02:59 PM
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your starting point is going to be research, more research and some more research and when your done with that more research. all while asking questions. i had to say it that many times because it cannot be stressed enough. if you wish to do this properly and have success you will need to know what your doing and if something pops up, how to do it.
as for the tank, it needs to be broken down, cleaned out with vinegar or ammonia. rinsed, dried and set back up. the filters for a saltwater tank are useless, infact do way more harm then good. they are not needed. your filtration will be enough live rock, flow, water changes and a quality protein skimmer overrated for your tank. ( read online reviews as some are garbage and others golden.) feel free to ask about brands/models.
your going to want to decided now if you want a REEF or a FOWLR (fish only with live rock) tangs and butterflies can co-exist granted you stock right, the issue is butterflies are not reef safe but tangs are, so you need to make your choice before choosing a stocking list. as you found out, a shark is a no go. i personally feel all sharks should be kept to the wild.
feel free to ask any questions you may have, and let the research begin.

welcome to the forum.
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post #3 of 3 Old 03-22-2009, 09:45 PM
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Keep in mind, saltwater fish are MUCH more vibrant in color. The smallest fish most people consider for FOWLR are Centropyge angels, which grow to 6 inches in size! This is NOT a small fish by any stretch. Also, mixing large fish and small fish is not a problem, so long as you avoid predators. A large Angelfish, for example, is fine to mix with smaller fish.
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