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New tank

This is a discussion on New tank within the Beginner Saltwater Aquariums forums, part of the Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef Tanks category; --> i was thinking of converting my fw 20 gallon to sw and just want to know a few things.. can i keep my existing ...

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Old 05-03-2011, 06:15 PM   #1
 
New tank

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? would this make it cycle faster or would it be cycled still?
for live rock do you need something special for it to grow on or will it grow on limestone or clay pots?
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... 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?
thanks for your time
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:03 PM   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kieffer5 View Post
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.
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kieffer5 (05-18-2011)
Old 05-12-2011, 08:05 PM   #3
 
hey thanks for the info i feel pretty dumb about asking these questions now after doing a ton of research but i do still have some questions like can i have too much water flow what is the recommended flow rate per gallon? also my tank is only 16in deep so whats the needed lights i know it changes for certain corals but like an average please thanks and last question is how should i go about buying corals i know im a ways off from that but like buying frags or whole live rocks i just dont know what to ask the store keepers
thanks again
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:20 PM   #4
 
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well

i usualy shoot for at least a turn over rate of ten times the tank ...so a 20 gallon in theory would like at least 200 gallons per hour..this can vary from what you are keeping.as fara s lights i would shoot for T5s or power compacts as they will be able to provide the proper spectrum and lumens you will want in the long run.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:55 PM   #5
 
thanks for the input what will florescent or regular bulbs work in a tank this size though
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:33 PM   #6
 
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That still takes us back to the original point... it is entirely dependent on what you plan to keep for animals. In a tank that has no corals, nothing dependent on light for survival, there are a lot of things that can be done, such as a standard fluorescent aquarium light... however, if this is intended to be a reef tank, and knowing that 20 gallons isn't good for much beyond corals... then the stronger lighting is going to be a must. How strong will depend on animal species. Some corals can thrive under a standard T5, some would need HO T5.
This is the time to start deciding what animals you are going to keep. The best set ups are those that are carefully planned and where the tank is set up to accommodate the animals. It can be quite difficult (and more expensive) to set up an environment and then go in search of something that you like that can thrive in that environment.
If you need help with the animals part, please just ask. If you want suggestions, again, just ask.
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Old 05-15-2011, 10:03 PM   #7
 
okay thanks i got better lighting now its t5 but i got it from some guy with a bunch of live rock and on a piece of the live rock was a sea urchin and he said i could just have it i was wondering if its reef safe i have heard no but just to make sure before i bring it to the lfs i would ask you guys...its black with long spines about 1 to 2 inches my thought was a pencil urchin what do you think i will post a pic also
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Old 05-15-2011, 10:10 PM   #8
 
also my tank now i got live sand and live rock from established tanks and also took like 10 gallons of his water too thats why i have moved kinda quick also i couldnt pass it up since i has only paid about 90 $ for everything including the light and rock
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:50 PM   #9
 
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That appears to be a pencil urchin, and no, they are not reef safe.
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Old 05-16-2011, 04:39 PM   #10
 
another question sorry if im annoying this is just the greatest place ever to find answers so i made a stand for my light to rest on and was wondering if having about an inch of overhand of the metal going into my tank would hurt the fish like would the metal go into the tank or is the amount so little it doesnt matter? and i made it about 4 inchs off the water is this too high or is it ok... 16 in tall tank with 96 watt actinic bulb and 10000 k 96 watt bulb
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