Originally Posted by kieffer5
i was thinking of converting my fw 20 gallon to sw and just want to know a few things..
can i keep my existing tank the same like same sand and water and then just add the salt mix?
Aragonite sand is what you would need for saltwater environment, which is probably not what you are keeping in a freshwater tank. Most common sand for freshwater is a silica sand... and no, silica sand would not be a healthy sand for saltwater.
would this make it cycle faster or would it be cycled still?
Converting to saltwater means going through the cycling process once the environment is correct for a marine environment.
for live rock do you need something special for it to grow on or will it grow on limestone or clay pots?
Live rock does not grow "on" other rock. Live rock is a specific type of rock, very porous and soft, heavy in calcium bicarbonate. Limestone and clay pots are not recommended for a marine tank. Limestone is too dense to be effective in a marine tank. Live rock is the main source of filtration for a saltwater tank and is one corner that should never be cut. It is expensive, but there is no replacement for quality live rock.
and what are some easy living rock to start with i like the tenticle like plants that you see nemo swim through in the movies...
The living tentacle "plants" you are referring to are not plants, they are anemones. These are living animals, not rocks or plants at all. Anemones need to be fed, and it can be quite difficult to find a species suitable for a 20 gallon tank because they grow too large and require a very stable water chemistry environment. The condylactus anemone and the rock anemone are the only 2 really suited for a small nano tank (such as 20 gallons), and are not usually suitable hosts for clown fish, although some clowns will conform if thats all they are offered.
Not all clown fish will accept and bond with an anemone. For that to happen you would need to find either a wild caught clown fish or a captive raised that was born/raised by a wild parent with an anemone in the rearing tank. The bond between clownfish and anemones is a learned behavior taught by the parent fish and most captive bred clowns have never learned this.
sorry for being a newb :( but i have done some research but would like more direct answers
sorry last thing will sandblasting sand do okay in saltwater?
No. For a marine aquarium you will need to work with aragonite sand, either live or dry, however, live sand (which is wet inside the bag) will better help seed your live rock and provide the needed organisms to keep a healthy environment. Cycling a marine tank using dry aragonite sand is a longer process. Instead of the typical range of 8 - 12 wks for cycling you could expect up to 16 wks using dry sand to start... provided you also add enough live rock and not dry base rock.
thanks for your time
I will encourage you to explore the world of saltwater, its a fun and rewarding hobby... however, it can also be quite expensive and requires careful planning to be successful. I don't suggest a newby start out with less than 30 or more gallons. Nano tanks are much more difficult to keep stable and healthy, and lack of experience makes it even more difficult. A failed marine tank is the most expensive and can be difficult to "clean up" or "fix" once things go downhill.
A 20 gallon tank for a marine environment is going to be very limited for animals and is most suited for keeping corals and other invertebrates such as shrimp, crabs, snails, etc. There are not many marine fish that can stay in a 20 gallon tank long term, and the number of fish that can be kept together in a small marine tank is very few (1 - 2 small fish that stay 3 inches or less in size).
If you should decide to pursue a saltwater tank and anemone & clownfish are what you desire, please do your research ahead of time. Each species of clownfish has a specific species of anemone they host in, and as mentioned before, these get very large and require very stable water chemistry. The best size starter tank for an anemone/clownfish environment would be 75 gallons or larger... the bigger the better. (the larger the tank the easier it is to keep water chemistry stable)
Saltwater needs to be premixed before adding it to the tank beyond the initial start up of the tank. This requires a ready supply of freshwater (RO/DI water, never tap water) in one container and a ready supply of premixed saltwater always available for water changes in another container with power head for mixing. Other supplies that are vital would be a hydrometer or refractometer to measure salt content in the water (salinity), a skimmer (something a newbie should never be without, especially in a nano tank), power heads, good filtration (many options available), and proper lighting. Even a marine tank that contains only substrate, water, and live rock still needs proper lighting for the organisms within the rock to grow and survive/thrive. What lighting is needed depends on depth of the tank and what animals are kept in it. Corals are not created equal and all have their own specific needs/requirements for lighting and this applies to anemones as well. Depending on your environment, a heater or chiller may also be required, again, depending on what animals are kept.
Saltwater doesn't have to be difficult, but it is very different from freshwater, and is much more of an exact science than freshwater. There is no room for slacking on water changes, less room overall for error. Depending on the salt mix chosen and water supply used, may marine tanks require additives to keep a healthy balance of minerals in the tank (calcium, iodine, magnesium, strontium, etc).
All of these things should be researched and understood before you begin.
If you need further help, please ask.