New to saltwater setups, where do I start?
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New to saltwater setups, where do I start?

This is a discussion on New to saltwater setups, where do I start? within the Beginner Saltwater Aquariums forums, part of the Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef Tanks category; --> Well, first off, I own a 29 Gallon Tank. It was a freshwater aquarium for awhile, but now its empty and Im ready to ...

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New to saltwater setups, where do I start?
Old 04-21-2008, 03:03 PM   #1
 
New to saltwater setups, where do I start?

Well, first off, I own a 29 Gallon Tank. It was a freshwater aquarium for awhile, but now its empty and Im ready to start a saltwater aquarium. I want to use this one to start, I think this is a perfect tank to start with. It will ready me for when I want to upgrade. Plus I'm on a budget for now

Here is the rest of my set-up:

I use a 40-70 gallon aqua clear filter(with foam, carbon and biomax)
Aquasafe for the tap water, and 3 test kits(N0-3, N0-2, and NH3&4).

Thats about it. I want to know the minumum needed to start this tank. Now, what will I need to start? Can I use the aquaclear filter I have? I heard a Bio-Wheel like emperor works good. I want to use sand to lay out the bottom. Or should I use something else ? Does it matter ? I understand I also need a protein skimmer, and some liverock to start. All help is appreciated, thanks.......
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:01 PM   #2
 
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Re: New to saltwater setups, where do I start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jms1026
Well, first off, I own a 29 Gallon Tank. It was a freshwater aquarium for awhile, but now its empty and Im ready to start a saltwater aquarium. I want to use this one to start, I think this is a perfect tank to start with. It will ready me for when I want to upgrade. Plus I'm on a budget for now

Here is the rest of my set-up:

I use a 40-70 gallon aqua clear filter(with foam, carbon and biomax)
Aquasafe for the tap water, and 3 test kits(N0-3, N0-2, and NH3&4).

Thats about it. I want to know the minumum needed to start this tank. Now, what will I need to start? Can I use the aquaclear filter I have? I heard a Bio-Wheel like emperor works good. I want to use sand to lay out the bottom. Or should I use something else ? Does it matter ? I understand I also need a protein skimmer, and some liverock to start. All help is appreciated, thanks.......
The first thing you need to do is to get an idea of what animals you wish to keep. The selection for 29 gallons is not very large, and due to the height of the tank, stronger lights will be needed for corals.
29 gallons is very limited in length, which most saltwater animals will need!

Test kits: add calcium, carbonate hardness, and pH to your set.... these are all extremely important... and make sure you are using saltwater test kits for all of them... some are different in most kits, and freshwater kits won't give you an accurate reading in saltwater. It should say on the kit whether it is for freshwater or saltwater use...

Hydrometer or refractometer, can't even start without that...
Heater
Thermometer
Marine salt mix
seperate tub or vat for premixing saltwater, and 1 powerhead for just that alone!
lights (dependent on animals)
30 lbs of live rock or as much as you can reasonably fit into the tank. In smaller tanks it is better to work with smaller pieces of rock for stacking. 2 large 15 lb pieces, even if they fit, won't do the animals much good for territory and hiding places.
live sand, 25 - 30 lbs
Skimmer
Aqua clear filter will also be dependent on the animals you keep.
Power heads, at least 1 for that size of a tank
Good source of DI or RO water, or a good phosphate remover and extra filter running on your mixing vat. Tap water contains phosphates, and any can cause a lot of problems in a saltwater tank. Water conditioner does not neutralize that. If using tap water and filtering phosphates on the mixing vat, be prepared to let this filter for at least 48 - 72 hrs before using in the tank.
If you're considering reef tank and/or inverts of any type, a UV sterilizer is a good idea. There are a lot of little nasties to be found in saltwater, and UV is a good way to avoid infestation of your tank. If that happens, meds that are safe for the fish are not safe for the corals/inverts.

And, finally and one of the most important things that most people forget or try to leave out... a quarantine tank! Anything that goes into your main tank should spend at least 2 - 3 wks in quarantine first, especially fish, but including corals and other inverts. The majority of saltwater animals are still being wild caught, and without a quarantine tank there is no way to make sure an animal is healthy before going into the main tank, and should you end up with a sick animal, it must be treated in a quarantine tank to avoid wiping out your entire main tank!

That's going to be bare minimum to get started. Saltwater is an expensive hobby, so if your budget is tight, then even more reason to not take chances or cut corners. Screw ups are much more expensive than doing it right from the beginning.
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:28 PM   #3
 
Re: New to saltwater setups, where do I start?

thanks alot, sounds complicated lol, but I will look into all of this. As for what fish I want to put in, for now I was thinking just a clown fish, maybe 2 and something else that is compatible. So 3-4 fish max, nothing big. Again this is just to get me started. I want to be able to learn the basics and be able to do this on my own one day when I upgrade. About how much am I looking at to get this started ? Thanks again.
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:53 PM   #4
 
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Prices will vary according to location, but for a rough estimate, to start a 29 gallon tank as described, expect to spend $1000 - $2000 by the time you're ready for fish... and that won't include fish or main tank costs. For quarantine expect to need a 20 long for what you're planning to do, and for that quarantine tank, a couple of small pieces of live rock, a small amount of sand, and a sponge filter. This will keep it cycled and ready for you when you need it, and should you need to "clean the liverock and/or sand from meds, you can easily replace a few hanfulls of sand from the main tank and live rock can be bleached, then added to the main tank for reseeding. My quarantine system holds 3 small pieces of live rock, about 5 lbs total... and I keep 3 other pieces in my main tank so as to keep them interchangable for reseeding after bleaching. It works well, and is the cheapest way I've found to keep things going and stable.
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