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.