Saltwater Newbie Help - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-05-2017, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Saltwater Newbie Help

Hi everyone! I want to start by saying I have quite a few years of experience with planted freshwater aquariums and today I decided to make the jump to saltwater.
I have a 46 gallon bowfront sitting empty in my room other than with about a 1/2" of crushed coral in the bottom and no water. Anyway, now that I have decided to get into saltwater after quite a bit of research, here is my plan for supplies.
- Sunsun 370 GPH Canister Filter with 9-watt UV sterilizer
- Aqueon Pro Heater 150W
- Beamswork ELF 900 LED Pent 36" Aquarium Light Marine FOWLR

Based off of what I have read a protein skimmer is not needed in a FOWLR tank and that can save me quite a bit of money. As far as stocking goes, I'm going to only add a pair of False Percula Clowns and a pair of Banggai Cardinals as well as a trio of Scarlet Skunk Shrimp. I'm sure it's obvious but I will of course get quite a nice amount of live rock to ensure there is a nice amount of bacteria established and I will make sure I purchase a refractometer to keep my salt levels in check. Is there anything else I will need to ensure my tank will live happily and avoid issues?
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-07-2017, 03:30 AM
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Salt? Have you decided what brand you will be using? if anything, I would suggest getting a protein skimmer, fish still release waste, which will be removed by the skimmer. But thats just me.


Also, canisters aren't the way to go with salt water, most - all - successful aquarists have a sump - whether its internal or external - it will increase water volume, which will help you keep on top of keeping things pristine and ensuring success. Sumps are also customisable and offer more room for media as well.

540L/140G - 'Tidal Jungle' (Crabs) | 254L/67g - 'Backwater Pool' (Fish/Snails) | 96L/25G - ''Twisted Minds" (Fish/Snails)

I've never had any problems with 'Impulse Buying'. They're just animals that I forgot I had planned to get.
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-07-2017, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussieJJDude View Post
Salt? Have you decided what brand you will be using? if anything, I would suggest getting a protein skimmer, fish still release waste, which will be removed by the skimmer. But thats just me.


Also, canisters aren't the way to go with salt water, most - all - successful aquarists have a sump - whether its internal or external - it will increase water volume, which will help you keep on top of keeping things pristine and ensuring success. Sumps are also customisable and offer more room for media as well.
I ended up doing a lot more research after I uploaded the original post and learned some of what I was doing wrong. I decided on going with a Reef Octopus 100 protein skimmer rather than the canister I planned on using. I don't plan on going with a sump due to the extra cost and room required since I plan on keeping on top of the maintenance, I don't think it will be a huge deal. As far as salt goes, I most likely won't be buying any; my LFS sells pre-mixed water that my dad and some of his friends have used for years and none of them have ever had any issues. I am aware the higher quality the supplies the better, but I'm still in highschool and decided that the money I made over the past few months should go into this since I have wanted to begin a saltwater system for years. I do have extra money I can spend if I ABSOLUTELY need to, but I would really prefer to just save it for college and other future expenses, and this is actually the only thing I have purchased for myself with money I have saved up. I hope you can understand where I'm coming from.
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-07-2017, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Quick change, I will be going with a sump/refugium rather than the HOB skimmer I planned on. I discussed it with my dad and he said he would help me out and pay for that. Have any tips as far as that goes? I believe all I need in the refugium is live rock, crushed coral, macroalgae as well as some copepods and amphipods, right? Still going to have to decide on a protein skimmer for there but I really hope the sump will be worth it.
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-07-2017, 09:43 PM
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Good choice on the sump. I personally like to search the webs - google and google images - and type in "sump aquarium" "salt water sump" "marine sump" ect and see what it comes up with. One thing I would suggest is a filter sock at the start, keep the rest of the sump clean so less work, bioballs is a nice addition if you have room, protein skimmer and heater, refugium - like you stated, along with a small light... Many reccomend keeping the refugium on the reverse cycle of the main display to ensure the pH doesn't drop - and some baffles before you hit the return pump, to decrease the microbubbles from entering your tank.

540L/140G - 'Tidal Jungle' (Crabs) | 254L/67g - 'Backwater Pool' (Fish/Snails) | 96L/25G - ''Twisted Minds" (Fish/Snails)

I've never had any problems with 'Impulse Buying'. They're just animals that I forgot I had planned to get.
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-16-2017, 05:21 PM
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The macro algae in the sump/refugium will be a big factor as it balances out and stabilizes the system.


You can also test/cycle the system using a single male molly. Much better to lose a $2 common FW fish than a more expensive marine only fish. Plus the acclimating a FW to marine will be good practice to later acclimations.


In setting up the sump be sure to:


test power out (no floods)
test power return (normal operation returns)
test drain failure (siphon break/ blockage). (no floods--sump should run dry before display floods).


If you have time I would recommend you set up the system (or even just a couple of containers) in the garage and play around until you get the above three test successful.


Best tank ever.

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-26-2017, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot guys, over the past few weeks I have really changed up what I'm going to do. I spent a lot of time working and made a few hundred more dollars. With that in mind, I decided I'm going to attempt corals inside of my tank but I will of course be waiting probably 6 months until I can be confident in my saltwater skills. Changed up my equipment planning quite a bit as well, but I want to check something for the sump. Since the tank is 46 gallons, do you guys think a return pump of about 250 GPH will suffice? Additionally I found some of the silicone isn't sticking down in some spots so I'm going to reseal it (don't worry, I did my research on that and made sure I'm using the right stuff).
But onto the main purpose of this reply, anybody have suggestions for stocking once it's cycled? My plan so far was something along the lines of a pair of ocellaris or percula clowns, a banggai cardinal and a royal gramma, but I am COMPLETELY open to change. I would however prefer to keep at least a pair of clowns since I've thought them adorable and really interesting to watch. Of course at some point I would also like to get an anemone for my clowns to host, but I hear they can be difficult and I have no problem not getting one.
Thanks for everything so far!
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-28-2017, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Woodland Spirit View Post
That 46 bow front is a great tank, my only issue is that the first one i owned gave me a heck of a scare. The top brace, front to back broke right in the middle and allowed the tank to bulge outward due to increased pressure on that type of tank. Thankfully it held until i was able to transfer all my rock and livestock to a spare 55 i had, and perfecto replaced it under warranty.
Er, do you by chance know what went wrong that caused it to break like it did? The previous owner of the tank passed away and his family gave it away with the stand so I picked it up and even though it did hold water, I decided to reseal it just to be safe. Quite honestly a bowfront wouldn't be my first choice but I'll take what I can get. I would have preferred a 55 gallon with a stand but this is what I came upon so I'm going to use it. It was built in 1999 so the silicone probably needed to be replaced anyway around now, lol.
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